The cancellation of the Eurodam means a loss of over 25,000 visitors to Sitka in the second half of the summer.

The biggest player in Sitka’s summer cruise schedule is cancelling its season.

Holland America Lines, a brand of the Carnival Corporation, won’t be bringing any of its cruise ships to Alaska this summer. The company made the announcement on Wednesday (5-6-20), just two days after announcing that its two other brands, Princess and Carnival, also would not be sailing this summer.

Note: The smaller cruise lines, Seabourn and Ponant, have also cancelled their 2020 seasons in Alaska. See the VisitSitka email blast for details.

The Carnival Corporation’s three cruise lines hold the lion’s share of the Alaskan market. Tourism Management Best Practices — a Juneau-based trade group — says nearly 80% of sailings for the 2020 season are not going forward. That’s a loss of nearly a million (955,574) cruise passengers to the state, according to the group.

Coastal communities will bear the brunt of the economic impact. RainCoast Data says cruise visitors are 90% of visitors to Southeast Alaska. 

Holland America’s Eurodam was the last large ship to regularly call on Sitka’s summer schedule. Until this latest announcement, Eurodam was planning a total of twelve calls here, beginning on July 8. The Eurodam has a capacity of 2,100 guests.

The path forward for cruise lines that have not cancelled sailings is unclear. Both the Viking Orion, with 930 passengers, and the Regatta, with 634 passengers, are still on the calendar — both with multiple calls in Sitka beginning in July. So is the Silver Muse, with 596 passengers. Remaining passenger totals for Sitka this summer are 9,233 in July, 9,756 in August, and 12,437 in September.

The September totals in Sitka include one call each by the Millenium and the Eclipse on repositioning cruises. Both ships have a capacity of over 2,000 passengers.

A federal “no sail” order currently remains in effect for large cruise ships through July 24.

Critical ports in the region are also closed to large cruise ships. Canada’s ports are closed to large cruise ships until at least July.  And Seattle’s cruise port remains shuttered until Washington state’s emergency declaration is lifted.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Alaska had been projected to shatter all previous records by receiving 1.44 million cruise passengers, with over 180,000 calling in Sitka.