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With One Port Call Left, Unalaska's Cruise Ship Tourism Plummets For Second Year In A Row

Hope McKenney/KUCB


All but one of the cruises originally scheduled to stop in Unalaska have been cancelled. 

The island was expecting nearly 20 ports of call for the 2021 summer season, but by early May, that number had dropped drastically to about five

Now, the Oceania Regatta is the only ship that is still planning to make a stop on the island. But Unalaska Visitors Bureau (UVB) Executive Director Carlin Enlow said the ship, which is scheduled to arrive at Unalaska in October, likely won't make it.

"We assume that one in October will likely cancel as well," Enlow said. "But they're still on the books for multiple locations for [their] sailing." 

The majority of the ships cancelled because of coronavirus concerns, she said. While there are nearly 25 ships scheduled for next summer, Enlow said another bleak tourist season is going to be rough on the community.

"It's definitely a big hit compared to a couple years ago, when we had almost 18 vessels in town and the number was supposed to be growing every summer," she said. "And people were really starting to rely on some of that income from the cruise season — whether it was nonprofit entities or businesses in town. And so to have [the season] completely vacant for two years in a row now is kind of concerning."

While Unalaska may not see any cruise ship tourism for the second year, the island has three more Tustumena ferry sailings scheduled. 

UVB recently opened a new location near Safeway. Enlow added that they hope to host an open house sometime later this summer.

Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses.
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