Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 8:33 PM on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

15 ships plan stop in Homer

Amsterdam's visit on Saturday is first of summer season

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

Put up the "open for business" sign, said Tina Day, acting executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce. Day was referring to the Saturday arrival of the M/S Amsterdam, a 1,380-passenger ship that is part of Holland America's cruise line.

In 2010, the Amsterdam tied up at Homer's Deep Water Dock a total of nine times. It does the same again this year. However, the 680-passenger Regatta of Oceania Cruises and 350-passenger Silver Shadow of Silver Sea Cruises also have scheduled stops in Homer, for a total 15 cruise ship visits.

"We just hope businesses will see the value in this and really open up their front doors and welcome these passengers and give the ultimate courtesy treatment," said Day. "The message needs to be throughout the community that Homer's open for business."

Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins is preparing for the kick-off of Homer's growing cruise ship season, particularly with the majority of the visits occurring on Saturdays and Sundays.

"The weekends are already busy with normal Spit traffic and use, so we'll possibly change shifts so we're available on the weekends," said Hawkins. "I'll definitely be here for the first landing."

The 15 arrivals mean 15,840 visitors to the Homer area.

"The (Homer stop) was received well by Holland America customers, I understand," said Hawkins of feedback received from last year's passengers.

While Homer was the next to last stop on the Amsterdam's schedule before the ship arrived in Anchorage, this year the route has been reversed so Homer will be the first community visited after departing Anchorage.

Homer also is the first port-of-call for Silver Shadow passengers, following an Anchorage departure. The Regatta's Homer stop comes after Seward and before Anchorage.

"That's really good positioning," said Hawkins of Homer's place in the ships' itineraries.

Day agreed.

"I don't know what will happen in the future, but (Holland America) seems to be really happy with us. From what I've heard, passengers find this a unique community," said Day.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.

INFO BOX:

2011 cruise ship arrivals

Saturday, May 21: M/S Amsterdam, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sunday, May 29: Silver Shadow, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday, June 4: M/S Amsterdam, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday, June 18: M.S Amsterdam, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Tuesday, June 28: Regatta, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Thursday, June 30: Regatta, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday, July 2: M/S Amsterdam, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Saturday, July 16: M/S Amsterdam, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Friday, July l22: Regatta, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sunday, July 24: Regatta, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday, July 30: M/S Amsterdam, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 13: M/S Amsterdam, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 27: M/S Amsterdam, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 9: Silver Shadow, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 10: M/S Amsterdam, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

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