Alaska News

Cruise ship collides with iceberg near Southeast Alaska glacier

Juneau cruise ship

This story was originally published by KTOO Public Media and is republished here with permission.

Coast Guard divers in Juneau assessed damage to the 2,000-passenger cruise ship Norwegian Sun on Monday.

The Norwegian Cruise Lines ship hit an iceberg near Hubbard Glacier on Saturday. A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Lines said the ship was “engulfed by dense fog, limiting visibility,” and that’s the reason it hit what the cruise line is calling a “growler” — a small iceberg about the size of a grand piano.

But passenger Jason Newman of Atlanta, Georgia, says the fog had cleared when he felt the impact.

“The ship had a severe judder,” he said “You could feel the strike. And then it listed minorly.”

Newman said the ship limped out of the bay and all the way to Juneau at 10 mph — he tracked their speed using a phone app. The ship skipped its scheduled Skagway stop on Sunday and reached Juneau on Sunday night at around 5 p.m.

He said passengers did not hear from the captain until 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning, when he confirmed the ship had struck an iceberg.

Newman says passengers were allowed a five-hour shore leave Sunday night in Juneau but were confined to the ship on Monday.

“They told us they couldn’t get the authority to approve us to leave the ship,” he said.

Newman said the cruise line had canceled the entire day of tours for everybody on board by 10 a.m. He had planned a jeep tour in the morning.

“I’m sure that all the tour operators lost revenue,” he said.

The cruise ship was moored at Franklin Street Dock in Juneau until Monday afternoon when it left port. It’s next scheduled stop is in Ketchikan, but port agents, cruise agencies and the coast guard could not confirm that the ship would stick to its itinerary after the incident.

Petty Officer Lexi Preston with Coast Guard public affairs said that after the assessment, it would be up to Cruise Lines Agencies of Alaska to determine what will happen next.

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