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Alaska Cruise Market: Better than the worst year?


Even with additional ships added to the Alaska cruise market, the number of passengers coming to Alaska in 2011 is still 150,000 less than 2008.

Number of cruise ships in 2008: 36

Number of cruise ships in 2009: 38

Number of cruise ships in 2010: 32

Number of cruise ships in 2011: 30

While there are isolated reports of Alaska tourism doing better than expected for 2010, we are nowhere near the levels in the past. 

Many small businesses are suffering due to lower volumes of visitors and we have a long way to go to get back to the number of visitors we had in 2008. 

Positive news articles point out that the cruise lines are adding ships to the Alaska market for 2011.  The Disney Wonder, the Crystal Symphony and the Regatta are coming to Alaska in 2011 with a total addition of about 48,000 passengers.  While this is good news for those who work with and for the cruise lines, we need to remember we are losing ships as well. 

2011 Changes to the Alaska cruise market:

New Ships for 2011
Disney  Wonder     18 Voyages     1,754 Lower Berths     31,572 total passengers

Oceania Regatta     10 Voyages     685 Lower Berths 6,850 total passengers
Crystal Serenity
9 Voyages 1,070 Lower Berths        9,630 total passengers
(accounts for 48,052 new cruise passengers)

Ships Leaving Market in 2011
Ryndam                     19 Voyages     1,266 Lower Berths     24,054 total passengers

Royal Princess           8
Voyages       685 Lower Berths        5,480 total passengers
Cruise West              55
Voyages     7,000 Lower Berths     7,000 total passengers
(accounts for 36,534 lost cruise passengers)

NET GAIN: 11,518 passengers

Lower Berths= two passengers per cabin
Please note Cruise West is based on total voyages for 2010 with 4 vessels combined lower berth count

We are losing the Ryndam and the Royal Princess.  This is a loss of about 29,000 passengers.  CruiseWest has also ceased operations as of September 18, 2010 and there are no current plans for vessels in Alaska for 2011.  This is an estimated loss of about 7,000 more passengers for a total of 36,000 less passengers by cruise vessel in 2011.  The net gain in passengers for 2011 is estimated to be about 11,500 passengers as compared to 2010.  It is nice to have the  additional passengers, but it is not enough.

If you compare the two years of 2008 and 2011 only, we are still down by roughly 150,000 passengers traveling by cruise vessel to Alaska, based on each ship holding 2 passengers per cabin.  In 2008 there were 36 ships visiting Alaska and in 2011 there will only be 30.  The ships and the passengers that spend their money are gone and spending money is going elsewhere.

How does this compare to the worldwide market? The worldwide cruise market grew by 6.5% in 2010.  The Alaska cruise market fell by 15% in 2010.

Please see the graph , which demonstrates the difference in trends of the worldwide vs. Alaska cruise markets.

AlaskaACT and its members continue to work with the State of Alaska and other parties to encourage a positive business environment in Alaska. We know that it will take a few years to see improvements, and we hope to see a stronger improvement in 2012.

Please visit www.claalaska.com for a complete listing of the 2011 cruise ship calendars by port.

Alaska Allicance for Cruise Travel
AlaskaACT, 121 W. Fireweed, Suite 250, Anchorage, AK 99503

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