SHIP HAS NO VIRUS, BUT ONE BUSINESS OWNER IS MAD
The first cruise ship of the season in Juneau wasn’t expected until April 24 with the arrival of the Carnival Spirit. But it’s now likely that the Holland America’s Westerdam will dock in Juneau for about three weeks in late March prior to the start of its summer cruising season in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
Holland America Line says it plans to simply take the ship out of service for those weeks, which were previously booked for Asia cruises. With the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Asia cruises are being cancelled and ports are facing ever-changing restrictions.
No one on the ship has had the virus that has circled the globe in the past two months.
The Westerdam, which flies under a Netherlands flag, is due to arrive without passengers in Honolulu on March 16. After receiving clearance there, it will travel to Alaska, and be docked for three weeks. It’s expected to arrive March 24.
By the time it arrives in Juneau near the end of March, it will have been empty of passengers for more than a month. While transiting the Pacific, the crew, all of whom have tested negative for the virus, will be disinfecting the ship further out of an abundance of caution.
Juneau’s City Manager Rorie Watt advised the Assembly and an assembly member leaked the news to the media earlier this week before the decision was announced by the company, forcing Holland America to play catch up in informing city leaders.
At least one local business manager in Juneau is unhappy with the arrival of the ship. Collette Costa, co-owner and manager of Gold Town Theater, wrote that she doesn’t welcome the “nihilistic, abusive industry” putting Juneau residents at risk:
“Hey folks, before we begin, have y’all heard about the city’s brilliant decision to let this CORVID-exposed cruise ship sit here for a couple of weeks at the end of the month?? So apparently the city officials aren’t happy lapping at the water-dish of this nihilistic, abusive industry for 6 months a year, they need to extend that time frame while simultaneously risking the physical and mental well-being of its year-long residents by capriciously deciding–without our knowledge or consent–to let this ship sit at our docks. So anyway, if you care at all, maybe throw a letter to Rorie Watt at [email protected].”
Others in Juneau don’t share the sentiment. One resident immediately scribed a note to Watt:
Acting on [Collette Costa’s] suggestion, I’m dropping a note to let you know that I, for one, do not share Collette’s fears. I’m sure that any medical professional will affirm that based on the timeframe since the passengers departed the ship (of which none have been diagnosed), the prevention steps taken to disinfect the ship and the monitoring of the crew, we can confidently welcome this economic boost to Juneau. My mental well-being is enhanced knowing that numerous local business will benefit by this unexpected, and timely, injection of cash. Thank you for whatever role you or other city officials played in approving this short-term ship visit.