A judge’s decision to immediately limit cruise ship visits to Glacier Bay, one of Alaska’s most beautiful destinations for cruise travelers, has an instant ramification on passengers sailing “Last Frontier” itineraries this season.
According to Chip Dennerlein of the National Parks Conservation Association, a ruling by U.S. District Judge James K. Singleton last Friday rolled back the legal number of cruise ships that can enter Glacier Bay from 139 per season -- to 107. Because the rule is effective immediately, and 96 ships have already made the foray to Glacier Bay this season, some cruise ships originally scheduled to call there (this month and next) will have to go elsewhere. What no one seems to know yet is which ships and/or voyages will be affected.
According to Holland America’s Erik Elvejord, “The Parks department will provide instructions on how many entries are lost for each line. After that, I will know what cruises are affected. It won't be all.” And for those ships who lose their permit to Glacier Bay, Elvejord says, “the likely plan is to include Hubbard Glacier instead.”
Glacier Bay has had a spate of bad luck in the past few weeks that’s not necessarily related to cruise lines. In July, a humpback whale was killed in the vicinity by what environmentalists say was a major trauma to the head and a cruise ship collision with the mammal is suspected. Last week, six people died in a plane crash on an Alaskan glacier during a sightseeing tour of Glacier Bay National Park. The travelers -- none of whom were cruise ship passengers -- had embarked on the tour out of Skagway.