Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau's cruise ship season ended Tuesday. As projected the number of cruise visitors exceeded a million.
Kirby Day, the Port Operations Manager for Princess Cruises, Holland America and Seabourn Cruises, said on Action Line that the projection was about a million, 165 thousand this year. "I think we'll be pretty close to that, maybe a little bit more." Day figures that will be about an eight percent increase over last year. Official numbers from the cruise line association are expected in the next couple of weeks, he said.
Day said they're looking at a 12 to 13 percent increase next year. When asked for the reason for the increases, he attributed itto the redeployment of ships with Alaska being tremendously popular as a vacation destination right now. In addition, the industry is extending the season. He said Princess will have a ship in Juneau next year on April 28.
" I think people are just recognizing Alaska as a great domestic destination," he said. As an example he said that Cunard Lines will bring its Queen Elizabeth to Juneau next summer for five or six sailings which he called "fantastic."
Liz Perry, the President and CEO of Travel Juneau joined Day on the program and was asked about the number of independent travelers this year. "We're looking at staying very stable along the same percentages we've seen previously at about 7 or 8 percent of whatever the cruise traffic is so that means about 80,000 to 85,000 independent travelers here during the season."
She said the McDowell Group is now conducting research for her agency on independent travelers and what they are spending when they visit Juneau.