Going Away With No Word Of Farewell, Norwegian Cruise Line Abruptly Abandons Valdez

After Norwegian Cruise Line Skipped Town  Valdez Takes Stock  Valdez Small Boat Harbor (Photo, Country Journal)  Fortunately, The Main Sourc...

After Norwegian Cruise Line Skipped Town 

Valdez Takes Stock 

Valdez Small Boat Harbor (Photo, Country Journal) 

Fortunately, The Main Source Of Tourism In Valdez Is The Independent Road Traveler 

This spring, the City of Valdez was excited. Cruise ships were coming back in 2023! 

There were a number of different cruise lines expected. But the biggest was Norwegian Cruise Line, which was anticipated to make at least 16 stops.

This was going to be a great partnership with the Norwegian Spirit. It was the Norwegian Cruise Line's first year in Valdez, and people in the port city were happy when the huge ship steamed into town on its first run of 2023 at 7 am on May 16th. 

The lack of cruise ships during the long Covid pandemic was drawing to a close. 

***

FLY BY NIGHT

But it was a fly-by-night romance. This past Tuesday, June 13th, the love affair with the Norwegians was abruptly over, as fast as it had begun, and Norwegian Cruise Line sailed off into the sea. 

They aren't coming back. 

It was a crushing emotional and financial blow to businesses around Valdez who had anticipated extra visitors and invested in inventory and equipment to provide them with services.  The cruise line was due to visit Valdez on June 27th and 29th, July 11th and 13th, July 25th and 27th, August 8th and 10th, and August 22nd and 24th. 

People on the cruise had made arrangements to go rafting, and on other adventures. 

But now Norwegian was taking its unwitting travelers to greener pastures. They were taking them to new places, such as Icy Strait Point.

For people in Valdez, it was like any early teen romance. There was little if any warning that the ardor had cooled, and no indication at all of what had gone wrong. 

The announcement that Valdez was being abandoned was abrupt. 

The Director of Valdez Harbor, Jeremy Talbott, told the Country Journal: "The boat came in on Tuesday, and they told us on Tuesday night, right after the boat left, that they weren't coming back." It was 9 pm, only hours after the ship had steamed out of Valdez Harbor. 

The decision left Valdez in shock, even though there will be other cruise ships coming by this summer, including the Viking Orion, the Silversea Silver Whisper, Holland America's Noordam, and Windstar's Star Breeze. None of them were expected to have as much impact as the Norwegian Spirit.

•••

MOST TRAVEL IS OVER THE ROAD

The City put out an announcement. It did not shed any light on why Norwegian Spirit had cancelled its long-understood plans, but the notice showed a certain maturity. The City was proud of what it had to offer, and felt sad, but unbowed, by the rejection of a relationship that had somehow seemed so promising:


The City of Valdez profoundly regrets to announce the cancellation of all Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) port calls to Valdez, Alaska, for the remainder of the 2023 season.

The City understands and shares the disappointment that may arise from this cancellation. We sincerely apologize to the passengers and all those who eagerly anticipated the arrival of the NCL ship in our picturesque port. The City of Valdez remains committed to supporting the tourism industry and fostering the growth of our local economy.

We will work closely with Norwegian Cruise Line to explore alternative opportunities and future collaborations. The Port of Valdez remains an enchanting destination, and we are actively engaged in efforts to develop exciting new itineraries that will continue to showcase the natural beauty and unique experiences our city has to offer.

Afterwards, Valdez took stock. There will be other ships. 

The harbor director pointed out: "Everybody's scrambling and trying to adjust to this, similar to Covid, when they all cancelled (during the pandemic.) It's sad. It's a one-two punch." 

Yet, he added, "We're still looking good. We don't put all our eggs in the cruise ship basket. Because most travel is over the road.

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