Major Cruise Destination in Alaska Signs Agreement With Cruise Lines

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The City of Juneau and cruise lines in the form of the industry representing organization CLIA have signed a new agreement. The parties agreed on several initiatives that will lessen the impact that cruise ships have on the local environment and inhabitants of the city.

The agreement will ensure the local community and the cruise lines that depend on the port have a clear pathway to continue their partnership, which includes supporting local businesses, lessening the waste deposits, and enforcing the enjoyment for cruise ship visitors to the area.

Juneau and Cruise Lines Sign New Agreement

Based on recommendations made by the local Visitor Industry Task Force (VITF), the City of Juneau and member companies of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), signed a new agreement to help manage the visitor industry impacts in the popular cruise destination.

The task force made several recommendations back in 2020, which have now been put to the cruise lines, and include initiatives to support local businesses, strengthen the visitor experience, and protect the quality of life in the community.

Juneau Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Steve Heap / Shutterstock

Over the last years, there has always been considerable criticism of the cruise lines to ensure they not only profit from the beautiful Alaskan landscapes but also consider how they operate in the areas. This has led to several initiatives, including the new memorandum. While not binding, there are several new rules that will impact cruise traffic in the area.

Cruise Lines have committed to eliminating the disposal of large bulk waste and minimizing the waste streams that quickly fill up the limited Juneau landfill. Cruise ships will also be turning off large screens on the outside decks when in port and when sailing in view of the city’s neighborhoods.

In times of drought, cruise ships will also be limited in taking on fresh drinking water.  The cruise lines have pledged to work on the strategic docking of vessels to minimize congestion. There are up to six port calls daily to Juneau during the summer, so these pledges will undoubtedly help reduce congestion in the city.

Renée Limoge Reeve, Vice President of Government and Community Relations at CLIA: “CLIA member lines have made tremendous advancements in sustainable tourism and destination stewardship across the globe and remain committed to being good partners with the communities we visit in Alaska. This MOA is a demonstration of that and will continue to strengthen the relationship between the community and the cruise industry,”

Supporting the Local Communities

Several other initiatives will see more interaction between cruise lines and local businesses. 

With thousands of people dependent on the cruise industry for their income in the Alaskan summer, cooperation between cruise lines and local businesses is imperative.

Under the new agreement, the cruise lines have pledged their support for up to $10 million in cruise ship passenger taxes for the proposed expansion of the Centennial Hall convention center.

Cruise Ship in Juneau, Alaska
Photo Credit: Josip Pastor / Shutterstock

“Throughout this process, we have appreciated the cruise lines’ open dialogue, receptivity to community needs, and dedication to collaboration,” said Alexandra Pierce, CBJ Tourism Manager. “We’re looking forward to future agreements that advance community goals and address concerns while preserving a sustainable visitor industry.”

Significant investments will also be made to enable cruise ships to use shore power, which will significantly reduce the amount of exhaust fumes during port calls in Juneau. 

The agreement sees a significant shift away from the issues that arose around cruise ship traffic in 2016. At the time, the cruise association CLIA sued the city over its collection and use of cruise passenger taxes. After a ruling, the town and CLIA have worked together to improve the working relationship and how tax money collected would be spent. 

In the last weeks, several initiatives have regulated how the cruise industry operates in Alaska. On July 30, the cruise industry and Glacier Bay announced a new program for inspections on cruise ships in Glacier Bay, following several years where cruise ships were left unchecked. 

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