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Traveling with Prescriptions: the Do’s and Don’ts
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Traveling with Prescriptions: the Do’s and Don’ts

Porthole Cruise Magazine - June 25, 2019
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REPORT: Port Ketchikan Eyes New Cruise Docks

While most cruise ship enthusiasts marvel at the size and grandeur of today’s megaships, those at Port Ketchikan in Alaska see a major problem in the making. According to local radio station KRBD, Ketchikan is apparently in talks with Norwegian Cruise Line to increase the limited number of mega-ships which can dock in town at once.

Bigger Ships Cruising to Ketchikan

While there are four cruise ship berths at Port Ketchikan, only one is large enough to accommodate new plus-sized cruise ships carrying thousands of passengers. This is obviously a big problem for cruise lines like Norwegian, whose new ships are comically large compared to those of the past.

Talks of new docks are nothing new, but thanks to a partnership with Ward Cove Group and Godspeed Inc, local Alaskan companies, Norwegian Cruise Line may have a fast track on getting it done once and for all.

KRBD in Ketchikan is reporting the deal would revolve around space formerly occupied by Ketchikan Pulp Co., a now-defunct paper mill just 7 miles north of downtown. The cost to retrofit the mill into a cruise dock? An estimated $150 million and over a year’s worth of construction time.

Why Does Ketchikan Need New Docks?

In an interview with KRBD, Trevor Shaw, a spokesperson for the project, explained that the new docks coincide with an increase in tourism and the need for more space.

“The conversation really became, how do we capitalize on the growth of tourism in Ketchikan while also solving the issue of congestion and creating more capacity, (for) the flow and the overall experience for not only the visitors, but the people who live here year round,” Shaw said.  

Since Norwegian Cruise Line is footing at least a portion of the bill, it seems likely that their ships will have priority docking at the new berths. Just last year, Norwegian Bliss became one of the largest ships to ever sail Alaska and signs point to even bigger ships on the horizon.

RELATED: Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils Exciting Features for Norwegian Bliss

Have you cruised to Ketchikan? What did you think of the port facilities? Did you feel like the town was overcrowded with just one megaship in town? Let us know in the comments below!

This is an updating story from Porthole Cruise Magazine. We will provide more information as it comes available. 

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5 Comments

  1. Leave the mega ships in the Caribbean. We don’t need floating amusement parks in Alaska. If you’re not there to enjoy the outdoors and the scenery, cruise somewhere else.

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  2. I like the current port being right in the downtown area, as I do anywhere. Easy to walk off the ship and tour around on foot. Having to be shuttled or pay for a taxi into a town is a pain, which will be the case with this new port 7 miles out of town. Bummer.

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  3. We have visited Ketchikan many times and always on cruises. I have loved the oportunity to dock on Main Street/Front Street. But I will ever only cruise on mid sized ships like HAL’s. The Idea of flooding a small and fun town like Ketchikan with 1,000’s of people from those monstrosities is disgusting. Most of those cruisers are on the mega ships for the activities and not to experience the culture and history of the ports. I hope the downtown docks will still be available to the smaller ships. Maybe they can arrive on days when the town is not flooded with these crowds.

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  4. We were in Ketchikan last month, May 2019, on the Westerdam. Next to us was the Bliss and further away was the Oosterdam and Maasdam. The Bliss had over 4000 guests, nearly as many as all 3 of the Holland America ships together. We arrived first to a relatively calm shoreside welcome, but with Bliss’s 4000+ spilled out, it completely overran little Ketchikan. The street was mobbed.
    Ketchikan is a nice port, but not with that many cruise guests .

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  5. Agree with the above sentiments! Alaskan ports are based on access to the activities that celebrate the unique Alaskan environment. The ports are already over commercialized with the presence of the same international cruise port shops as the Caribbean, and in danger of loosing their uniqueness. My last Alaska cruise, I met almost no Alaskans in the tourist areas, the employees came from all over the world, a lot employed by international companies who of course take their profits from the area. I really had to seek out activities ran by and for locals.

    Flooding the ports with passengers aboard a couple megaships per day would double the load on the environment and make the area ripe for the destruction already forcing cities and areas around the world to reassess the value of cruise ships due to the “over tourism” they bring. Venice is leading the way after excess tourists have despoiled the experience a dare causing destruction of the city’s treasures. Another more relevant comparison is Iceland where the excessive number of tourists, who are after their selfie so they can say they’ve been there, and not really appreciative of its natural wonder, have destroyed areas that due to Iceland’s unique geography and climate will take decades or more to heal. The Galapagos, another unique ecosystem, is also trying to revise their tourism rules to reduce the load and prevent additional damage to fragile environments.

    This rush to bring in more tourism everywhere is based on greed – greed of the multinational large corporations who want to control the tourist experience to increase their profits and greed of the local and indigenous populations who see a way to make fast money over protection of the environment and their heritage.

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