Juneau & Cruise Industry Reach Passenger Numbers Agreement

People standing by a glacier in Juneau, Alaska
Updated Published

Juneau, Alaska has reached a preliminary agreement with the cruise industry to regulate the influx of cruise ship passengers, though a formal Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) is yet to be concluded. This agreement is centered around the introduction of a daily cap on passengers.

This decision comes on the heels of a record-setting tourist season in 2023, which saw 1.6 million visitors, representing a 23% increase from the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

According to Rain Coast Data, projections for 2024 suggest a further increase in visitors to approximately 1.7 million, marking a 6.25% rise from the previous year.

In a proactive move, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the city of Juneau have jointly agreed to a provisional daily maximum of five cruise ships for the year 2024, though the specific daily passenger limit is still under negotiation.

The objective is to reduce the visitor count from current figures, with particular attention to making Saturdays less congested.

The 2024 season anticipates the arrival of about 660 cruise ships to Southeast Alaska. Notably, on April 9, the Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Bliss, with a capacity of 4,803 passengers, docked in Juneau. This vessel is part of the seven-night Dawes Glacier, Juneau & Ketchikan cruise originating from Seattle, which includes stops at Tracy Arm/Endicott Arm, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, Alaska, and extends to British Columbia.

The season is expected to conclude with the arrival of the Norwegian Jewel, another NCL ship, on October 24.

Juneau's efforts mirror actions taken in other locales to mitigate cruise ship congestion. Sitka, an Alaskan city with 8,500 residents and an annual influx of 550,000 cruise visitors, has proposed limiting its passenger intake to 240,000 per year.

In a similar vein, Bar Harbor, Maine, home to about 5,000 people, has implemented a daily disembarkation limit of 1,000 passengers.