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Coronavirus: Updated Cruise Ship Policies and Cancellations Because of COVID-19 (2021)
Coronavirus: Updated Cruise Ship Policies and Cancellations Because of COVID-19 (2021)

Petition to Limit Cruise Ship Calls in Juneau Fails


June 03, 2021

Aaron Saunders
Senior Editor, News and Features

(2:45 p.m. EDT) -- A petition that could have severely limited cruise ships from calling on one of Alaska's premier ports has failed to garner the signatures needed to amend the city's charter.

The anti-cruise group, Cruise Control, had sought to dramatically curb cruise traffic from calling on the Alaskan capital of Juneau. The group had proposed adding three ballots to the Juneau City Charter that would have seen cruise ships over 250 passengers between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., and all day Saturdays; and would have seen cruise ships over 100,000 tons banned from the city completely as of 2026.

The group was provided with ballots by the Juneau City Clerk, but failed to collect the necessary 3,000 signatures per initiative required in the 30-day time period.

The Juneau Empire estimated the ballots, if approved, would have resulted in a loss of $162 million in annual revenue at a time when Alaska's tourism economy has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of the state's cruise industry.

Though the anti-cruise group intends to continue to pursue curbs on the city's cruise tourism, there doesn't seem to be much appetite by locals to introduce bills that would further damage the local economy.

Protect Juneau's Future, a group that opposes the ballot initiatives and Cruise Control's actions, stated that 84 percent of Juneau respondents supported the cruise industry in the city, while just 13 percent were opposed to it.

"Protect Juneau’s Future and our community of supporters share an icefield sized sigh of relief that Juneau Cruise Control has failed to collect the signatures necessary to add the anti-cruise initiatives to this fall’s ballot," said the organization in a statement. "In choosing to not sign, the people of Juneau have shown solidarity and support of a diverse and sustainable economy."

The issue of cruise in Alaska has become a major talking point as of late. U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law an amendment allowing cruise vessels to bypass Canadian ports of call (and the U.S. Passenger Vessel Services Act) in a bid to save Alaska's 2021 cruise season and restore prosperity to communities in Southeast Alaska and beyond.

Towns like Skagway had been warning as early as last fall that a lost 2021 season could permanently cripple local municipalities throughout the State.

In 2020, Alaska lost nearly 1.44 million passengers on 800 sailings that were to call on the State due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Big-ship cruises are set to resume to Juneau and the state of Alaska in late July.

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