Norwegian Cruise Lines to double Haines visits

HAINES -- Two of Norwegian Cruise Lines biggest ships will anchor Haines’ 2002 cruise ship schedule, doubling large-ship visits next season.

The first of 22 dockings of the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Sky marks the beginning of the visitor season May 1. The ship will visit weekly every Wednesday through Sept. 25.

A sister ship, the 1,754-passenger Norwegian Wind, will make the first of 20 stops May 2.

The ships are the only large liners planning to stop in Haines next summer.

The addition of a second big ship will have a big impact, said Haines tourism director Michelle Glass.

Cruise ship passenger numbers tanked last year from 187,388 in 2000 to 40,150 in 2001 when Royal Caribbean International dropped Haines from its itinerary.

The remainder of Haines’ summer cruise ship schedule is filled with ships with less than 200 passengers. Alaska Sightseeing-CruiseWest "Spirit" ships account for most of that traffic.

Glass said seven planned visits of the 114-passenger Spirit of Oceanus should prove whether Haines could serve as an auxiliary port for Skagway.

"They’re going to be here all day, and they’re a higher-buck tour than the other smaller ships. They’ll be shuttling passengers back and forth to Skagway to ride the train."

01/06/2002 - 8:00pm