Cruise Company Offers $10 Million in ‘Humanitarian Relief’ to Alaska Port Towns

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Norwegian Cruise Line announced Tuesday that it’s giving $10 million to six Alaskan ports: Ketchikan, Juneau, Hoonah, Sitka, Skagway and Seward.

The company announced in a written announcement that it will provide assistance directly to each port community in an effort to alleviate the impact of the ongoing cruise suspension.

“My heart breaks for Alaska and its wonderful people as we face a potential second year of zero cruise operations during the all-important summer tourism season, bringing yet another blow to Alaska’s tourism economy. Alaska is one of our guests’ most popular cruise destinations and we are doing everything in our power to safely resume operations in the U.S. which will provide much-needed relief to the families, communities and small businesses who rely on cruise tourism for their livelihoods”.

CEO Frank Del Rio said in the statement.

The announcement did not include specific dollar figures for each community and a company representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

Last week, however, the Sitka Assembly accepted an offer for $1 million, while Juneau City Manager Watt said $2 million will be offered as well.

“I’m just taking it as a, just sincere good faith effort to try to be helpful,” Watt said. “You know, I think it gets really good symbolic value for them, as well.”

Watt said he first discussed the donations with officials at NCL in the fall before the news broke that Juneau locals wanted to limit cruise ship traffic through ballot initiatives.

Watt said there are no strings attached, but the Juneau Assembly will have the final say on accepting the money.

The cruise industry as a whole has been mostly unable to sail during the pandemic. But pandemic aside, NCL has been making big infrastructure investments in Southeast Alaska, including in Hoonah, Ketchikan and Juneau.

“You know, they’re definitely taking the long view. They’re trying to develop a system,” Watt said.

The holding company operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The company said it is working through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s process to resume cruises by July 4. It said mandatory vaccinations of all guests and crew are the cornerstone of its plan.

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