This season, Alaska brought in over 1 million cruise guests, passing a mark that hasn’t been reached since 2009.
This number is expected to continue growing, too, as some cruise lines have announced plans to add more ships to their Alaska itineraries in the coming years. Princess Cruises is the most notable announcement; the line will be increasing their capacity to The Last Frontier by 15 percent in 2018 by adding another ship to the region, making for their largest Alaska deployment in history. Holland America will also be growing their capacity to Alaska; replacing one of their ships with a larger one for the 2017 season.
The 2018 season is also going to be longer to accommodate the large number of guests who are looking to head out on an Alaskan adventure. Cruises will begin earlier in May, and/or extend later into September. John Binley, president of the CLIA of Alaska, said the state’s “robust marketing budget” over the past five years has helped attract more cruise guests. This year though, the state cut their tourism marketing budget for 2017 significantly.
Royal Caribbean won’t be adding to their guest capacity in Alaska next year, but the company already increased capacity when Explorer of the Seas debuted there this past summer. It’s the largest cruise ship to ever sail Alaska’s waters, nearly 40 percent larger than most others holding 3,835 guests. That ship along ramped up the company’s capacity in the state over 12 percent.
2018 is going to bring Norwegian Cruise Line’s upcoming Norwegian Bliss to Alaska, which will carry 4,000 passengers. Another ship, the luxury Crystal Serenity also made Alaska history this year as the largest cruise vessel to ever visit Nome.
The CLIA of Alaska has reported that this year, 1,025,900 guests visited Alaska via cruise ship. Next year, numbers are projected to hit 1,060,000, breaking the state’s record set in 2008.
Information: Alaska Dispatch News