BETWEEN THE ROCKS AND A HARD PLACE

More Rockslides Close Busiest Skagway Cruise Dock for the Rest of Alaska Season

Regent Seven Seas Mariner in Skagway, Alaska
Regent Seven Seas Mariner on the White Pass Railroad Dock in Skagway, AK. Photo: Lynn Elmhirst

More changes to Alaska cruise itineraries are coming as media reports that two new rockslides in just the past week mean the popular White Pass Railroad Dock in Skagway will remain closed for the rest of the season, especially as current, rainy weather could further destabilize the mountainside above the dock.

As Open Jaw reported, following an earlier rockslide this summer, inspections revealed that further, "catastrophic" rockslides were "imminent," resulting in closing of the dock as a precautionary measure. No injuries have been reported, and only minor "cosmetic" damage to Discovery Princess, calling in Skagway, has apparently occurred. While attempts were made to reopen the dock, the latest rockslides mean it will likely remain out of commission until major work is done to ensure long-term safety.

In the meantime, as the White Pass Railroad Dock is the only one in the town able to accommodate the largest ships, an estimated 30 ships - totalling 100,000 guests -  have cancelled port calls and diverted to other destinations.

For example, Princess Cruises released a statement 10AUG that it will retain two thirds of its port calls to Skagway through the remainder of the 2022 Alaska season.

Of the 31 remaining calls to Skagway, 21 itineraries will remain intact and include calls in Skagway. "However, because the forward dock that has been closed for the season is the primary location where Princess Royal Class ships dock, and because there are no other viable alternatives, Princess is making adjustments to 10 itineraries," which will now divert to Icy Strait Point, Haines, or Sitka instead.

Norwegian Cruise Line told Cruise Week "we have altered several itineraries for Norwegian Encore’s sailings through Sept. 25, 2022."

But both Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line say at the moment, they're able to maintain their Skagway calls using an unaffected pier.

Meanwhile, the White Pass & Yukon Railway continues to operate. The rockslides affected only the forward berth of the Railroad Dock, and the aft berth, where the railway meets the port, remains open.

Advisors with guests embarking for the remainder of the season may want to make their clients aware of possible itinerary changes, which can be confirmed via individual cruise lines.

Lynn Elmhirst

Editor

With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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