What does Sitka, Alaska and a 9-Night Alaskan Cruise have in common with the current Alaskan itineraries offerings for 2013? Nada, Zilch, Nothing at all... So why are they listed on Disney Cruise Line’s Site Map?
UPDATE Feb 4, 2013: The Site Map has been “fixed” and no longer shows the 9-Night Itinerary or Sitka under the Alaska grouping.
With just a few months before the Disney Wonder sails to Alaska I find it hard to believe DCL will change any of the 15 currently scheduled 7-Night Alaskan Cruises between May and September 2013. So what does this mean? At first glance, I would pass this off as a typo if it were just a 9-Night Alaskan Cruise listed, but to also list Sitka, Alaska on the Site Map under Alaska is more than a typo. This latest finding, coupled with the previous business license issued by the State of Alaska lead me to believe the Wonder will in fact return to Alaska in 2014 with a 9-Night itinerary. This could be in addition to the current 7-Night Alaskan itinerary, or it could be replacing them. I’d bet it would be in addition to rather than a replacement.
UPDATE: Confirmation? Not 100%, but more evidence.
An article posted this past December on AlaskaPublic.org states that Disney Cruise Line has agreed to one visit to Sitka in 2014. More than likely, this will be part of the aforementioned 9-Night Alaskan Cruise and would come at the beginning or end of the cruise season in order to maintain a regular 7-Night port schedule.
In addition to the two ships planning to use Old Sitka in 2013, a Disney vessel has signed on for one visit in 2014. It will be the cruise line’s first visit to Sitka. Disney won’t ferry its passengers to shore, so without a dock, their ships wouldn’t visit at all.
Sitka is settled on Baranof Island, located on the outer coast of Alaska’s Inside Passage. Like most Southeast Alaska communities, Sitka is accessible only by air and sea. Once in Sitka, visitors can travel by foot, taxi, tour bus, rental car, visitor trolley or bicycle for those not bringing their car or RV via the Alaska Marine Highway ferry. The downtown area is centrally located and most points of interest are within walking distance of one another. (Source: Sitka Convention & Visitors Bureau)
According to Ed Ronco’s article the cruise ship dock was built two years by a businessman without any buy in from the cruise lines. It seems like it was a situation out of Field of Dreams where… if we build it they will come. This year will be the first season with line making regular stops to the port. This one call in 2014 sounds more like a test to judge passenger response before moving forward in 2015.
Have you visited Sitka, Alaska? I’ve heard it is bit on the touristy side and full of cruise ships.