Alaska Port Advocates for No Cruise Ships on Saturdays

Activists from Juneau are working on banning large cruise ships with over 250 passengers from docking at the island on Saturdays and on the 4th of July. They hope to decongest the city one day a week while restoring residents’ quality of life.

juneau alaska cruise ship passengers
Juneau, Alaska

Well over a million cruise ship passengers visit Juneau, Alaska, each year—a fact that hasn’t sat well with some residents.

According to Karla Hart, who filed the paperwork for the initiative, the crowds of visitors bring too much noise and traffic. “We want one day where we don’t have buses, where we don’t have helicopters, where we can go to Auke Bay. One day a week,” she told Alaska Public Media.

There have been attempts to regulate the number of cruise passengers who visit the area. Earlier this week, Juneau Tourism Manager Alexandra Pierce mentioned a conceptual agreement with cruise lines to limit the industry’s daily passengers

Aerial view of a coastal area with small islands, a residential settlement along the shoreline, and Ship-Free Saturdays impacting the serene waters.
Juneau, Alaska (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

However, Hart’s submitted documents expressed dissatisfaction with the pace at which cruise tourism has been handled.

“…A majority of Juneau residents think that our local government is not doing enough to manage cruise tourism…city leaders and industry have had decades to act and have failed to balance the economic benefits,” sections of it read.

Pierce acknowledged that imposing such a drastic ban could have far-reaching effects. “…it impacts everybody else up and down the chain. And we need to be very cognizant of that as we move forward,” Pierce reminded a local news outlet.

Meanwhile, Renée Limoge Reeve, a spokesperson for Cruise Lines International Association Alaska (CLIA Alaska), mentioned in an earlier meeting that negotiating with the city is preferable for the community to putting issues to a public vote.

“It may take a little bit longer for us to come to the decisions and for us to make decisions together. But it’s a far better way than litigation and ballot initiatives, in my opinion,” she said.

Based on recent history, the city has found it more fruitful to work with major cruise lines and industry associations.

majestic princess alaska juneau
A Princess ship in Juneau (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

In 2023, negotiations with cruise operators led to a 5-cruise-ship-per-day limit and a dramatic reduction in trash from cruise vessels. In contrast, earlier petitions from Sitka and Juneau to regulate cruise ship passengers failed to gather enough signatures.

Once the documents are certified, Hart and her group will have 30 days to gather almost 2,400 signatures. If they succeed, the petition will move to the ballot, where citizens can vote on the issue. Should the measure be ratified, it could be implemented as early as 2025.

Share this post

Send this to a friend
Hi, this may be of interest to you: Alaska Port Advocates for No Cruise Ships on Saturdays. This is the link: