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Cruise ships return to Unalaska

Berett Wilber/KUCB

Unalaska has officially kicked off its first cruise ship season after two years of pandemic-related cancellations. The 459-foot Roald Amundsen docked in Dutch Harbor on Monday with about 350 passengers aboard.

Unalaska Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carlin Enlow said the cruise ship was a test to see how the rest of the season will go.

“It feels like a big experiment after not having ships for the last two and a half years,” she said.

Enlow said after years of cancellations, it has been a challenge to recruit volunteers to help with cruise ship visits and motivate local businesses to get involved in the port of call.

Over 40 cruise ships canceled their visits to Dutch Harbor during the pandemic.

“It’s kind of like we're starting all over again with the cruise lines,” said Enlow.

Prior to the pandemic, Unalaska was seeing a steady increase year to year in cruise ship tourism. In 2019, around 20 cruise ships docked in Dutch Harbor.

Ten cruise ships are scheduled to come through Unalaska this year.

Laurelin Kruse is a writer and radio producer from rural Colorado. She has a BA in American Studies from Yale, and she learned radio at the Transom Story Workshop in Massachusetts, where she reported stories for the local public radio station. Kruse is excited to spend the summer roaming the tundra and doing stories for the Unalaska community.
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