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By BILLY SINGLETON
Daily News Staff Writer
Ketchikan’s 2018 cruise season was extended by six days when Norwegian Cruise Line recently added an additional, Oct. 5 stop for the Norwegian Pearl.
The ship will dock at Berth 2 from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Friday stop is part of the ship’s regular week-long itinerary, which involves sailing roundtrip from Seattle throughout the summer.
The season had been scheduled to conclude on Sept. 29 with the departure of Oceania Cruises’ Regatta.
Such a late end to the season is uncommon, but City of Ketchikan Port and Harbors Director Steve Corporon said that he doesn’t anticipate any issues for the city resulting from the stop.
Corporon said that the city will have to bring back some port security, but that it shouldn’t be an extraordinary effort from a security standpoint.
“It’s not the biggest passenger holder we get, but it’s a decent-sized ship,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a heavy lift from a security standpoint.”
He added that in some cases, construction in the port area is scheduled to coincide with the end of the season, but that this doesn’t seem to be the case this year. Public Works Director Mark Hilson confirmed that the call is not expected to affect his department’s operations.
Some seasonal, tourism-based businesses plan to stay open on Oct. 5 to accommodate the passengers.
David Wiechelman, a division manager at HAP Alaska-Yukon, listed the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, Experience Alaska Tours and HAP Alaska-Yukon as businesses that he knew planned to be open on that date. HAP Alaska & Yukon is a transportation and tour provider operated by Princess Cruises and Holland America Line.
With eight months until the end of the season, it’s still unclear whether seasonal stores downtown will remain open to accommodate the extra passengers. But those that are open year-round will surely welcome the business.
“I would think stores like Tongass (Trading Company) and Julie’s (Fine Jewelry & Gifts) and those that are open year round would probably be ecstatic,” Corporon said.
Following its stay in the Pacific Northwest, the Norwegian Pearl will head to the Caribbean for the season.
The season’s schedule is still not final. The latest information can be accessed at www.ktn-ak.us/port.