Juneau sets record at over 1.6 million cruise ship visitors

The last of this year’s record of 1,646,862 cruise ship passengers left Juneau on Oct. 25. It was dark, temperatures were below freezing and a steady wind was blowing.

All of which suited Shane Carl, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, just fine. “I wanted to experience cold,” he said. “I knew it would be cold because the summers I hear are warmish, I heard. And I wanted to see the northern lights. But also the prices were great. It was toward the end of the season and I knew there’d be a lot of sales. And it did not disappoint.”

The 1,936-passenger Norwegian Sun was the final ship of the season.

The cruise season has extended further into what used to be the off-season, which along with bigger ships has resulted in new visitor records being set regularly, with this year’s total representing the first full rebound since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The unaudited numbers for the season include 1,638,902 passengers on large cruise ships and 7,960 passengers on small cruise vessels, according to Carl Uchytil, the city’s port director. That’s more than 25% higher than in 2019.

Concerns about impacts due to the high volume of cruise tourists resulted in an agreement between major cruise lines and the city for a five-ship daily limit in 2024.

Juneau’s passenger count this year was more than 50 times the number of cruise visitors to Wrangell – less than 30,000. Skagway and Ketchikan also exceeded 1 million visitors each this year; Sitka was close to 600,000.

 

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