Alaska goes from boom to bust as season is halted

Two of the biggest players in the Alaska cruise season have cancelled the start of the season, leaving  Alaska tourism reeling.

Princess Cruises and Holland America Line cancelled most of their Alaska sailings this summer and also closed their lodges, motor coaches and trains.

Holland America operates the McKinley Chalet Resort, McKinley Explorer rail cars and motorcoach tours. Also cancelled are its Land+Sea Journeys, which combine cruises with an overland tour to Denali and the Yukon.

The Maasdam, Noordam, Oosterdam, Volendam and Westerdam will not sail in Alaska this summer. Decisions on the Koningsdam and Eurodam have not yet been made.

“These are unprecedented times,” said Holland America Line CEO Orlando Ashford. “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. We know this decision impacts our loyal guests, travel advisor partners, staff members and local businesses who rely on summer tourism for their economies. We look forward to better days and returning to a full summer cruising season in 2021.”

Princess also closed five wilderness lodges, trains and buses for the summer. Princess will continue roundtrip sailings from Seattle to Alaska on the Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess.

The move will have a devastating effect on Alaska’s economy, which was gearing up for its biggest season ever with over 1.4 million visitors.

Capacity has been scaling up. Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas and the Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss sail there, but the US curfew until July 1 will curtail their activities.

Royal Caribbean had already cancelled all Canada, New England, and Alaska sailings through June 30, due to Canada closing all of its cruise ports.

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