Royal Caribbean International is reaching out to many guests booked aboard Quantum of the Seas to inform them that one Alaskan port will no longer be accessible for the large ship, and therefore a substitute port of call is being used for 2023 sailings. Instead of Skagway, many sailings will instead be visiting Icy Strait Point.
Skagway Removed From Quantum of the Seas Itineraries
Royal Caribbean is notifying guests that many of the 2023 Quantum of the Seas Alaska sailings will not include a stop in Skagway, due to pier damage that occurred from multiple rockslides last summer.
“Last season, landslides in Skagway, Alaska impacted the pier where our ships dock. While repairs have been ongoing, they won’t be ready for two large ships visiting simultaneously,” the email explained. “So, to ensure we provide you with the best experience, we’ve replaced our visit with Icy Strait Point, Alaska.”
All Skagway shore tours booked through Royal Caribbean are being automatically refunded. Guests who have made independent tour arrangements will need to contact their tour operators for options.
Repair work is continuing on the forward berth of the White Pass Railroad Dock, but the berth is not yet suitable for the largest cruise ships. Weighing in at 168,666 gross tons, Quantum of the Seas is one of the largest ships to have been scheduled for Skagway this year.
For some impacted itineraries, Royal Caribbean is also lengthening the ship’s visit to Sitka by several hours, giving guests more opportunity to immerse themselves in Alaskan culture and beauty, despite missing out on Skagway.
For other itineraries, a visit to Ketchikan is being substituted for the now-cancelled call on Skagway. “We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused by this,” the email continued. “Nevertheless, we’re excited to sail away with you!”
Booked guests have reported multiple Quantum of the Seas sailings impacted by this change, including the following departures:
- May 15, 22
- June 12, 19
- July 10, 17, 24
- September 11
Additional sailing dates may also be impacted as the cruise line continues to reach out to guests with updated information, and more than likely, all Quantum of the Seas sailings will be adjusted. Any travelers booked on the ship for a 2023 Alaska cruise should stay in close contact with Royal Caribbean for any itinerary adjustments.
Quantum of the Seas will begin her Alaska season first from Vancouver, Canada, departing on a 7-night voyage on May 8, 2023. This unique sailing is a one-way journey that will visit Alaskan ports of call while repositioning the ship to Seattle, where she will remain homeported for the rest of the season.
The ship’s final Alaska sailing of 2023 will depart Seattle on September 25, 2023, again doing a one-way repositioning to Vancouver. After the Alaska season ends, the ship will sail first to Honolulu, Hawaii, before moving on to Brisbane, Australia, where it will remain homeported for the Austral summer season.
Comparing Skagway and Icy Strait Point
Skagway and Icy Strait Point are roughly 100 miles (160 kilometers) apart, but have very different characteristics and experiences.
Skagway is on the Alaskan mainland and was founded in 1897 during the Klondike gold rush. It has the rich, colorful history of a mining town, with extraordinary characters and appropriately tall tales.
It is also the southernmost terminus for the historic narrow gauge White Pass and Yukon Route railroad, which offers guests a scenic trip into Canada with great historical context and phenomenal views.
Icy Strait Point, on the other hand, is a privately owned destination outside of the island village of Hoonah. Owned and operated by the Huna Totem Corporation, Icy Strait Point has been developed specifically for cruise tourism, and offers glimpses into Alaska’s native history as well as the importance of the local cannery to the community’s history and economy.
Both ports of call offer unique and interesting opportunities for cruise guests, but because they are such different destinations, guests may be disappointed in the switch.
This is particularly true for travelers who had been booked on the White Pass and Yukon Railroad tour, which is one of the most popular excursions offered in Alaska and is only available in Skagway.
Have you visited Skagway or Icy Strait Point? Which port do you prefer? Share your experiences on the Cruise Hive boards!