Westerdam heads to Juneau early, but no passengers



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.


  1. Since Collette is flush with cash and apparently doesn’t need the business, perhaps that can be cemented by letting the crew of this ship know they should spend their money at businesses that support them, rather than at the Gold Town Theater, or any other business in which Collette and co. might be affiliated. Hard to fathom that this is actually a business woman. She must be an import.

  2. Collette…only you can help your mental well being… I sincerely hope you get what ever help you need. Many persons are emotional stable to review the information and not have a break down… Those who are constantly in such fear of losing their “mental well being” might benefit from learning that many more people are not going to allow such people to get what ever they want, when they want, with such a statement. Clearly some have grown up past holding their breath till they turn red or laying on the floor by the the candy bars having a screaming fit and now as adults (?) They have evolved to crying about potential harm to one’s “mental well being” as a status update to moral superiority as such we are to follow and support and now to your wishes. Honestly we laugh about how childish and intolerant and demanding these people are.

  3. A floating petri dish placed in the center of a Lefty neighborhood. Sounds like an experiment right out of the Trump conspiracy playbook.

    • Holland America is looking for cleaners. Here’s honest work for Bill Walker and Byron Mallott…….finally.

      • The cruise to nowhere. Walker and Mallott together again, in Juneau, with no scheduled sail date. Walker in charge of the ship’s fuel system and Mallott as cruise director with plenty of underage entertainment specialists. Bookings now being made. Democrats get 50% discount.

        • I’m sure a lot of us would like to jump on that, but we need to have a good community entertainment on the Westerdam and let the community enjoy the beautiful ship. How’s that for salesman and marketing?

  4. I won’t be spending any of my dollars at any establishment you own while in town this summer. Hope you don’t lose your business over your chicken little fear. The sky, dear, is not falling.

  5. My question would be why Juneau? I seriously doubt we were their first pick which probably means other cities officials have deemed it wise to not host this ship. So who’s wrong? (Maybe me) But the question is, why risk it? Gambling for some money that Most in Juneau wont see just doesn’t seem wise.

  6. Who would want to put themselves in such a trap? There is no ready escape for you when the COVID-19 rears its ugly head.

  7. Build it and they will come.
    Juneau has built infrastructure to service and accommodate large passenger ships with money paid to the City by Tour Ship Owners. Seems logical to me that the Ship Owners would use these facilities.
    Don’t back down Rorie!

  8. Use the money they are paying to dock here to fix our freaking roads! Been here 30 years worst I’ve seen them….

  9. In a week the cruise lines won’t be able to give tickets away. Followed closely by airline tickets. That’s not fear, it’s reality.


    What will the tourism industry do then?

  10. Collette Costa’s courage in speaking out against the “nihilistic, abusive industry” putting Juneau residents at risk should be an inspiration to everybody!
    Doesn’t seem fair for Juneau residents to be so burdened, enslaved almost, by the “nihilistic, abusive industry” of state government metastasizing from cottage industry to money-munching monster.
    The “nihilistic, abusive industry” could well be mistaken for organized crime legitimized as greedy government that Juneau folk have to feed because they can’t get away from it.
    Maybe it’s time to move the capital to some place where residents outnumber rulers
    …and, by the way, pass some kind of law and tax to keep the cruise industry out of Juneau, yes?

    • Wake up and smell the incinerators.


      What cruise industry? When will you wake up to the new reality? Nobody is getting on those boats.

  11. Not trying to sound too right or left , just going to break this down with common sense and a touch of opinion
    If you don’t invite a possibly infected cruise ship into a state which has no cases of this virus ,
    Wouldn’t you increase your economy more since Americans with disposable income
    Are likely to still travel to SAFE location , like your community ,
    If you didn’t make what in my opinion is a irresponsible decision for the public health and safety of the whole Alaskan community inviting this cruise ship into our ports , & even worse try to rush it underneath the eyes of a complete and compelling
    Public awareness discussion and vote.
    The governor should overrule and override these greed thirsty actions by an industry already polluting your community more then the citizens subjugating us to what they SAY rather than for the people by the people , this is Mr. watt just trying to overstep his boundary’s as a job he’s not public health and safety or the cdc.
    Inherently blind for short term money gain rather than thinking about any possibility’s and long term pros vs cons.

    • No one on the ship has had the virus that has circled the globe in the past two months.

      Just cause it is a ship does not mean it is an infection ship.

      No one has had the virus on this ship, is an important part of the information used to make my view.

  12. Don’t like it? Come on down to Georgia – where we are still paying for 2 nuke plants that will never be finished! And will never pay off the bill for it all.
    Don’t like them? How long would your coastal towns last, without these cruise ships? Some times, you have to pay the devil. We all do.

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