Passengers disembark from the M/V Statendam in May 2015 in Homer after the Holland America cruise ship arrived, the first of the season that year. Holland American canceled Gulf of Alaska sailings of the M/V Maasdam, a sister ship, that included stops in Homer. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News).
                                Passengers disembark from the M/V Statendam in May 2015 in Homer after the Holland America cruise ship arrived, the first of the season that year. Holland American canceled Gulf of Alaska sailings of the M/V Maasdam, a sister ship, that included stops in Homer. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News).

Passengers disembark from the M/V Statendam in May 2015 in Homer after the Holland America cruise ship arrived, the first of the season that year. Holland American canceled Gulf of Alaska sailings of the M/V Maasdam, a sister ship, that included stops in Homer. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News). Passengers disembark from the M/V Statendam in May 2015 in Homer after the Holland America cruise ship arrived, the first of the season that year. Holland American canceled Gulf of Alaska sailings of the M/V Maasdam, a sister ship, that included stops in Homer. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News).

Cruise companies extend delay, cut trips to Alaska

Summer 2020 season is going to be light

Holland America and Princess Cruise Lines extended their respective delays for the 2020 cruise ship season, and in Alaska have canceled certain voyages for the entire summer, including trips to Homer on the Holland America Maasdam.

In a press release, Holland America said because of travel restrictions and global health concerns the company was suspending the majority of its summer operations.

“These are unprecedented times,” Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line said in the release. “Having to delay summer cruising and cancel our land tours for the entire season is the responsible thing to do, yet also very disappointing and a first in our more than 70 years of taking guests to Alaska.”

Princess Cruises, which like Holland America is owned by Florida-based Carnival Corporation, is also limiting the number and kinds of voyages the company will make to Alaska during the summer.

While Princess Cruises will still be running two ships out of Seattle, voyages across the Gulf of Alaska and certain onshore excursions have been canceled. Foreign-flagged ships must stop in a foreign port after departing the U.S., so the Port of Vancouver would need to be open to cruises in order for such ships to come to Alaska.

“Princess Cruises can confirm modifications to the Alaska season, which includes the cancellation of all Princess Alaska Gulf cruise and cruise tours. The five wilderness lodges, trains and buses operated by Princess in Alaska will not open this summer,” a release from Princess Cruise Lines said.

As sailings are being canceled, cruise ship companies are trying to retain their customers, offering reimbursement deals for future voyages.

According to Southeast Conference, the visitor industry makes up 18% of the economy in Southeast Alaska and the predicted number of tourists for the 202o season was roughly 1.4 million people and $793 million in tourist spending.

The lack of tourists will also mean diminished returns for the City and Borough of Juneau which collects a bed tax on the number of visitors coming to the city.

In October, Southeast Conference said the visitor industry “has the strongest outlook of all Southeast Alaska industries,” but with the season effectively canceled, the lack of revenue from the industry will have deep impacts for Southeast.

Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnoEmpire.

Information on the coronavirus is available from websites for the City and Borough of Juneau, the State of Alaska at coronavirus.alaska.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with flu-like symptoms are encouraged to contact their health care provider.

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