Carnival Cruise Line has announced a partnership through Onboard Media that will highlight local Alaska businesses aboard all its cruises to the Last Frontier. Customized shopping recommendations will help guests seek out the most meaningful retail and dining options in every port, supporting local businesses with every visit.
Supporting Local Alaskan Businesses
Cruise travel is a vital part of the economy in many ports of call, and this new initiative will ensure Carnival Cruise Line guests know the very best ways to support businesses in Alaska during their bucket-list vacations.
This is especially vital this year, as many Alaskan communities are continuing to struggle with the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of much cruise travel during 2020 and 2021.
“With Alaska not having received cruise guests since 2019, it was so important to support local port towns and small businesses, aiding in their economic recovery,” said Jon Bittner, Executive Director of the Alaska Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
“With this Onboard Media partnership, we can provide exponentially higher exposure for our members’ businesses and expedite their recovery.”
Experienced cruise travelers are very familiar with the shopping maps they receive at every port of call. These maps, which are provided during shopping talks onboard, delivered to guests’ staterooms, and available at the gangway during port visits, highlight local retailers who offer guarantees to cruise ship travelers, as well as businesses that pay to advertise directly to travelers.
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Now, the guides Carnival cruisers will receive will feature the BuyAlaska directory, accessible via QR code, to identify locally owned businesses.
“We are thrilled to be the first media company to partner with the SBDC on this important initiative to promote small businesses from the ports visited, as well as align with our partner Carnival Cruise Line’s mission to support the local communities visited as part of the cruise itinerary,” said Jeffrey Meister, General Manager of Onboard Media.
The new shopping guides will also use exclusive Made in Alaska and Silver Hand seals to denote which retailers offer authentic products made, manufactured, or handcrafted in the state, produced by both Native and non-Native craftspeople.
For example, the Silver Hand seal may only be attached to original work produced in Alaska by a full-time resident and member of a federally recognized Alaska Native tribe.
“Being able to clearly and easily identify authentic Alaska Native arts and crafts is good for the artist and the cruise guest who is buying work that’s unique to Alaska,” said Andrea Noble, Executive Director of the Alaska State Council on the Arts. “We’re thrilled to be a part of this important initiative.”
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Cruisers often purchase keepsakes to commemorate their getaways, and local items are especially popular for the memories they will evoke long after the vacation ends.
In Alaska, top souvenirs include replica totem poles, traditional ulu knives, local photography, native crafts, jade jewelry, glacial mud spa products, and native boots and other outerwear.
Cruise Travel and the Alaska Economy
No cruise ships sailed to Alaska in 2020, and the 2021 season was dramatically abbreviated both in terms of overall cruise ship visits as well as passenger capacity aboard sailings that were eventually permitted in the region. This dramatically impacted the economy and devastated local retailers and artisans alike.
In a typical year, more than 2 million visitors travel to Alaska, with more than half of them arriving by cruise ship during the sailing season from late April through early October. One in 10 jobs in Alaska is part of the tourism industry, and all aspects of the Alaskan economy are affected when tourism suffers.
Now, by putting local businesses at the forefront, Carnival Cruise Line is reaffirming its dedication to support the communities it visits and to create strong economic partnerships as well as authentic experiences cruise travelers will love.
In 2022, Carnival has its largest Alaskan deployment ever, with three ships offering sailings to the Last Frontier. Carnival Miracle, Carnival Spirit, and Carnival Splendor are all sailing Alaskan itineraries, with 49 departures through the season to bring eager guests to this amazing destination.