Living With Cruise Ships (Part 4)

By , June 13, 2018

Since Living With Cruise Ships (Part 1) I introduced a series of questions about cruise ship traffic from a reader, Judy. I will close the series by addressing Judy’s final question: “do you look at the cruise ships as an intrusion and/or a welcome from civilization?”

Short answer: it all depends on the day and the circumstance.

Long answer: read on . . . .

cruise ship through the window

A cruise ship passes in the morning, seen from the cabin window (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger).

Like most Alaskans, we are proud of our state, and love to show it off to visitors. Our family depends directly on tourism, especially cruise ship passengers. Most Southeast communities prosper because of tourism.

But, there are draw backs.

Most of them are fairly negligible, and have been addressed in earlier parts of this series on the blog. Navigating our waters around large cruise ships is fairly safe, but requires wariness and an abundance of caution. Cruise ship exhaust sometimes hangs over our homestead, obscuring the view and stinking. The early morning nautical parade, and the cat’s response to it, can be tiresome, but not unbearable. The crowds of visitors on the streets and in the stores can intimidate, but, especially in Haines, is manageable. In Skagway, it’s rather overwhelming.

Ruby Princess in Lynn Canal

The Ruby Princess heads south from Skagway in Lynn Canal (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The telecommunication black outs are the worst impact (see The Mysteries of Cellular Internet Explained). This not only threatens the livelihoods and safety of Haines (call 911 on a Wednesday? Good luck!), it effects visitors as well. Many of the stores and businesses they visit use Internet-connected check out systems (particularly, credit card processing) that bogs down when visitors and their smart phones flood our system. This should be addressed by the cruise ship companies, usually so fiercely protective of their customers’ every convenience. If the town complains to phone carriers, nothing gets done; if the corporations complained, the problem would get fixed almost immediately!

I live like a hermit out of choice. By doing so, I avoid much of the negative impacts of cruise ship tourism. It also helps me better appreciate some of the positive aspects as well (see Charlie Anway Gives the Gift of Autumn and Be a Tourist in Your Own Town).

Baranof Dream in Lynn Canal

Cruise ships come in many sizes. The Baranof Dream seems like an intimate cruise, where you might actually meet most of your fellow passengers (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Mainly, the cruise ships form an important part of the scenery. They’re impressive, beautiful machines in all their shapes and sizes. We feel excitement when they begin to arrive in the spring, and excitement (and relief) when they stop coming in the autumn. Then, for a short while afterward, we miss them.

Thanks to Judy, whose questions inspired this series. Ask your own questions in the comments section of any post!

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