An estimated 30 cruise ships will not make their way to Skagway, Alaska — the small town, a staple stop for many popular Alaskan cruises — due to recent dangerous rockslides, the city's mayor confirmed to Travel + Leisure this week.
"We have to figure out the cost of mitigation, what the cost and timeline is going to be, and then do the work. There's a lot involved," Mayor Andrew Cremata told T+L of the recovery, adding, "Coming off the pandemic, it's a pretty big hit."
The falling rocks started in June when a rockslide impacted one of two berths at the town's Railroad Dock. Then last week, the rocks began tumbling again, followed by yet another "significant" slide on Friday, Cremata said, which lead him to issue a declaration of emergency.
Courtesy of Princess Cruises
Since then, Mayor Andrew Cremata has closed down that part of the port along with the surrounding road, and is grappling with how to move forward. In the meantime, the small town, a staple stop for many popular Alaskan cruises, is suffering and losing money.
When it comes to major cruise lines, the town has already lost business from several ships including Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean. Ships that do dock will need tenders to ferry passengers into town — an approach that Carnival Cruise line is taking, a spokesperson confirmed to T+L.
"While officials in Skagway continue to make assessments, we have revised plans for some sailings to dock at a location away from the impacted area," and use "water shuttles" for guests, the spokesperson said.
Skagway isn't completely closed to ships. In fact, it has three other berths that are unaffected, including the aft berth of the Railroad Dock.
Reps for both Holland America and Disney Cruise Line confirmed that their itineraries are not impacted by the port closing.
But Cremata said there are several days each week when four cruise ships come to town and now, only three can dock, severely limiting the town's potential tourist revenue.
Cremata said one restaurant in town already had to lay off 16 people and is estimating a loss of about $75,000 each week. The municipality itself will suffer about a 30% loss in business for things like revenue and sales tax.
"We're hopeful we'll be ready with [all] berths at the start of next season," Cremata added. "It's not going to be easy — we're literally going to be moving mountains."
Representatives for Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to requests for comment from T+L.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.