Cruise ships to return to Anchorage this summer, starting Sunday

Nathaniel Herz

A cruise ship will dock four times at the Port of Anchorage this summer, in the industry's first visits to the city since 2012, tourism officials said this week.

A Holland America ship, the Amsterdam, will first dock in Anchorage on Sunday for a 16-hour visit, and returns once in June and twice in August, according to a schedule posted on the website of an industry group.

The ship can carry up to 1,380 passengers and 600 crew members, and each arrival should give local businesses a boost, said Andrew Halcro, president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.

"More people equals more buying opportunities equals more revenue," he said. "The more bodies we have on the street wandering around, the more the likelihood they'll get on the trolley or rent a car or go throughout the city or the state and spend money."

For each visit, the ship will come up Cook Inlet on an incoming tide, then stay through one full 12-hour tide cycle before departing on the outgoing tide, according to Jack Bonney, the public relations manager for Visit Anchorage, the city's tourism bureau.

During the docking, passengers will have the option to travel as far north as Talkeetna, and as far south as Seward, said Julie Saupe, Visit Anchorage's CEO.

The Anchorage stops are part of an Alaska itinerary that includes several other dockings around the state.

In the past, the Amsterdam has stopped in the city as many as nine times in a single summer, but it didn't visit at all last year, Saupe said.

At a news conference Wednesday, she reminded Anchorage residents to be accommodating to the visitors.

"We do have one request of everybody throughout the city, and that's to welcome and say thank you to the visitors when you see them here on the streets," she said. "Because they are an important part of our economy."

Reach Nathaniel Herz at or 257-4311.