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Ships returning

Ketchikan Daily News

Ketchikan will enter the zone in 21 days.

The 2016 tourism season is scheduled to start in earnest on May 1, with the arrival of 1,080 passengers aboard Crystal Cruises’ Serenity. The ship also has the capacity for a crew of 655 for a total of 1,735 daytime visitors. They arrive at 7 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m.

The Ketchikan Visitors Bureau’s cruise ship calendar shows that 38 ships will come to call this season, making 489 stops and bringing 895,076 passengers to the First City. That’s 49,424 fewer passengers than in 2015. It’s still about 10,000 above the 885,404 average for the past 13 years.

These projected numbers are based on the “lower berth count.” Actual numbers are typically 5-7 percent higher, which could mean between 44,000 and 62,000 more passengers this season, placing 2016 in the top four or highest cruise-ship-passenger year on record since 2003.

The community will be hosts to the most daily cruise ship passengers on two days during the season. On June 6 and Aug. 15, 11,028 passengers will visit for the day. May’s highest passenger day is the 26th with 9,022 visitors; July’s is the 14th with 9,890, and September’s is the 8th with 9,630.

The Crown Princess and the Ruby Princess, operated by Princess Cruise Lines, boast the highest passenger capacity for ships arriving in Ketchikan. Each can carry 3,082 passengers, plus 1,240 crew, per cruise, and expect 58,558 passengers for the season.

Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Quest, which is scheduled for Ketchikan calls, is the smallest ship of the season. It has a capacity of 22 passengers per trip (66 for the season) and nine crew.

Yet it isn’t the smallest ship in 2016. That will be the Alaskan Dream operated by Alaskan Dream Cruises, which is 104 feet long. The longest ship will be Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice at 1,040. The next closest ships in terms of length to the Solstice, of which there are several, are 75 feet shorter.

Holland America Line will be introducing the Nieuw Amsterdam to Ketchikan this season. The 936-foot ship will bring a total of 46,200 passengers. It has a capacity of 2,100 passengers and 930 crew, and is expected to make 22 calls.

No passengers are scheduled on only five days between May 1 and Sept. 30 (the last day of the cruise ship season). Those will occur in the first week of May and the final two weeks of September.

Ketchikan will get a glimpse of the new season when the first small ship arrives on April 23. The 165-foot Wilderness Adventurer, operated by Un-Cruise Adventures, can carry 120 passengers and 24 crew. It is expected to call three times with a total of 360 passengers.

All of this translates into an active summer for Ketchikan, with increased pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic. Vehicle tours will be cruising in and out of town. Seasonal shops will join the year-round ones. With seasonal jobs available, the city’s population will rise.

Ketchikan will look like it’s thriving, and it will be. And life will feel grand. The community will be in the zone, a highly economic one.


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