Skagway rockslide takes out cruise ship dock


3:30 pm update: The Railroad Dock will remained closed to allow an engineer to assess the damage. Ships being reaccommodated are: Carnival Miracle, after dock, tendering passengers to the Small Boat Harbor; Ruby Princess, Broadway Dock, Norwegian Jewel, Ore Dock.

An early morning rockslide in Skagway at the cruise ship dock rained down massive boulders onto the dock that just minutes later would have been filled with tourists disembarking a cruise ship. Portions of the dock are crushed but the dock is still usable. The damage is on the east side of the dock, rather than the west side, where the ships are tied up. Geotechnical engineers are coming to Skagway on Friday to assess the damage.

The area has been problematic in the past and presents an ongoing challenge for Skagway. The rockslide came from property owned by the Municipality of Skagway.

This morning, longshoremen were on the dock, tying up the Discovery Princess in the forward berth and placing the ramp that passengers use to leave the ship.

About 20 minutes after the longshoremen left and about 20 minutes before passengers would have started to disembark, the rocks came down in the area that last slid in 2017. This slide is in a nearby steep area, not in the same area as the 2017 slide.

The Discovery ship was subsequently moved to the aft berth and passengers are being tendered by small boats into the small boat harbor.

As a result, the cruise ship Quantum of the Seas has skipped its Skagway stop this morning, as there is no place for it to tie up. The dock is the only one that can handle the largest class of cruise ships that come into Southeast Alaska.

Rocks came down off the mountain onto the cruise ship dock in Skagway, but no one was injured.


  1. Wow, 20 minutes and catastrophe could have struck. Area has been “problematic” in the past. Might need to make some adjustments. Funny thing, as I was reading this the radio was playing Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”

    • How bizarre, how bizarre! And I was just taking a toke and listening to Dylan’s “The Times They Are A‐Changin’.” If that don’t make you hack, nothing will! Now speaking of adjustments….

      • @Tiffany,
        That song by Van Halen is not allowed to ever be played on the cruise ship public address system. At least not prior to mustering.

  2. We are scheduled to be in Skagway on Tuesday, July 5th, and for several reasons it is my most anticipated port stop! I am praying our ship, the Holland America Koningsdam, will still be able to go there! That’s still 12 days away so hopefully they’ll have repaired things enough that the ships can safely go into port. The Koningsdam is a mid-size ship so not nearly as large as Quantum of the Seas, which the article said skipped Skagway today.

  3. An observation… move the Town over to Dyea! Less wind and nice big Cottonwood trees.

    This dock has had it’s share of landslide related disasters over the years, including the massive submarine landslide back in what was it? the late 80’s?

    For those who haven’t visited Skagway I highly recommend putting it on your bucket list. The drive from Whitehorse is unforgettable also.

  4. I am one of the passengers on the discovery princess, this incident happened around 6:00AM. I was sleeping and suddenly woke up to a loud crashing sound, almost like a train wreck. I rushed to my balcony to see large boulders had fallen about 300 feet on to the dock, from the adjacent hillside. All of which damaged the dock, leaving a large hole in it.

    If you need and photos, I have some great photos of the Incident.

  5. No dock was damaged here, it was a PIER that was damaged.
    A “dock” is the spot where a ship is berthed, NOT the pier leading from it.
    It is tiresome to see this mistake incessantly propagated, much less the uneducated stating that they “could care less” about something, when they actually mean that they could NOT care less.

    • Sorry bud, but the dock was damaged. In fact one of the boulders struck the ship. Please relax.

    • Since I seem to have found and expert; I’m just curious, since it was a pier then and it’s still a pier now, shouldn’t it be

      ‘ …it is a pier that was damaged’?

    • Maybe some people are very interested, but then find out it’s not quite as interesting as they thought. So they actually COULD care less. ?

  6. No dock was damaged here, it was a PIER that was damaged.
    A “dock” is the spot where a ship is berthed, NOT the pier leading from it.
    It is tiresome to see this mistake incessantly propagated, much like the uneducated stating that they “could care less” about something, when they actually mean that they could NOT care less.

  7. Old Alaskan…the problem with Dyea is the same as it’s always been…the shallow water goes way way out…it’s not really a good place for a dock

    • Bob. I am aware of that, Skagway has just the opposite problem as we have just witnessed. Dredging and creation of uplands might be one answer at Dyea. I’ve seen old photos of ships unloading at Dyea.
      I helped build the road in Skagway back in the ’70s. An amazing bit of engineering and a lot of dynamite! However each day I would gaze across at the Railroad and wonder about the tough S.O.B’s that built the Rail Road by hand and strong back!

      • Yeah those old-timers were made of stern stuff….Think of the porters who were paid to carry goods over the chilkoot on their backs….its well known that they often carried more than 100 pounds at a time up that hill.. One Tlingit guy is known to have packed a baby grand piano from Dyea to the top.

        • I’ve not heard about the Baby Grand before! Imagine that! Say, I wonder who was around to tune it ??
          But then many pianos sounded out of tune playing ” Rag Time”!

  8. Actually,this slide IS in the same area as the 2017 slide. It is roughly 50-100 ft away. To me, that is the same area. I was just there on june 9 and 16th on the discovery princess. They are still working on getting the 2017 area fully netted and fenced in.

    • Sean, the issue in that area goes back at least a century maybe more…Periodically it decides to shed some rock.

  9. How did you get the best photo’s and Anc and Fai papers not have it? That is the pier with the hole in it and only the rebar showing.
    Will have to check this website more often if I want the better news delivery.

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