Cruise lines announce plans to sail to Alaska in 2021

Published: Oct. 24, 2020 at 9:41 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The COVID-19 pandemic shut down Alaska’s cruise ship industry over the summer, but help may be on the horizon for businesses struggling after a quiet season, as six cruise lines have released summer 2021 schedules with stops in Alaska.

“Very encouraging and positive news,” said Sarah Leonard, the president and CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association. “We were projecting record-breaking cruise visitations, over one million visitors.”

Grizzly’s Gifts, a store in downtown Anchorage, seems to have something for everyone. There is however something the business could use: More shoppers. The store is normally filled with them, with many visitors traveling and ship passengers and looking for souvenirs.

“This season has definitely been rough,” said store manager Josh Franklin. “Our normal summer, we have all three registers open, and we have lines. We normally have 14-15 additional employees than what we do currently.”

The cruise lines have so far planned 142 trips around the state for next summer, which could provide some relief for businesses similar to Grizzly’s Gifts, but that shop isn’t banking on anything immediate.

“There’s no way it’s going to come back to fully normal immediately," said Franklin, who at least wants a better summer season for the shop next year. “That’s not how things work.”

Two other cruise lines, that also serve Alaska, have yet to announce their plans.

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