After more than a year without cruise ship dockings, Petersburg on Wednesday morning saw its first visit from one of the ships scheduled to stop here in 2021.
The 104-foot Alaskan Dream tied up in Petersburg’s harbor as guests enjoyed a show of Norwegian dancing and the crew prepared to continue the trip. The ship is owned by Sitka-based Alaskan Dream Cruises. That company is requiring COVID vaccination for passengers 18 and up and is allowing those guests to explore communities and shop. Petersburg did not see any port calls during the 2020 pandemic year.
Alaskan Dream captain Eric Morrow said it was exciting to return to cruising after last year’s shutdown.
“You know I think for all involved after the hiatus that we all experienced during the 2020 season there’s definitely some rust to knock off, but overall it’s get back to cruising and enjoy what makes Southeast Alaska special,” Morrow said Wednesday morning. “The small boats in particular really emphasize the communities, Petersburg is our visit today, we visited Wrangell yesterday and the reception we’re getting from the locals and from the communities is what makes it special.”
Morrow said the passengers on the first cruise include some Alaskans who chose to see another part of the state.
“We opened it up to the state, the small boat cruise for this trip, so we’ve got quite a few Alaskans aboard,” he said. “In fact, yesterday (in Wrangell former U.S. Senator and Alaska Governor) Frank Murkowski and his wife joined some of the Alaskan guests and we had the honored gentleman aboard for lunch and it’s just neat to see what is community and the sustainability of Southeast.”
The Alaskan Dream headed next to Thomas Bay and Tracy Arm on the mainland.
Petersburg has over 60 port calls scheduled for the companies that are planning to dock here in 2021. Some are requiring vaccination and not planning to let guests off in all communities. Others are not requiring vaccination but are encouraging it.