The first cruise ship of the season stopped in Sitka today (Monday 5-9-16), unleashing as many as 2,300 tourists downtown. While the streets were busy, some shops were slow.
“It’s always one of the things on the bucket list” Everybody has got to experience Alaska once in their life. What do you think so far? Lovely, just lovely. Too cold though. It’s cold though, but we like it.”
That’s Paul and Margaret Gleva of Loveland, Colorado. They were meandering on Lincoln Street mid-afternoon. They had already gone shopping.
“I didn’t get anything too expensive but I got some glassware and the old souvenir mug,” she said.
And they planned to visit Castle Hill before grabbing something to eat.
“We’ll probably stop and have lunch because we’re not going to waste our time going back to the ship,” she said. “So we’ll probably get some food in town and support the local economy.”
Some local businesses weren’t quite feeling that boost as of Monday afternoon though. Linda Anderson, owner of The Totem gift shop was concerned about the longer travel time once passengers come ashore:
“It’s a little slower getting started. I don’t care for them being out the road to be honest. It just seems like it took them two hours to get to town. It’s starting to pick up.”
Pete Menendez, bartender at Ernie’s Old Time Saloon, was seeing the same thing with his customers, who didn’t show up until later than he expected.
“Folks are starting to come in off the boat. It’s nice to see all the new faces in town again. It’s been a long winter.”
The Norwegian Pearl was the first of 119 cruise ships that will be docking in Sitka this summer, up from 102 last year.