Cruise season is over for the year, but cruise ships were the focus of Thursday night’s joint work session between the Nome Port and Planning Commissions. The commissioners brainstormed additions to make the port more tourist-friendly. This discussion comes in the wake of the Crystal Serenity’s historic visit in August, which Harbormaster Lucas Stotts believes will prompt more cruise traffic in years to come.
“They set a precedent that’s kind of sparking everyone’s interest,” said Stotts.
Port and planning commissioners alike were enthusiastic about developing an alternate point for cruise ship passengers to disembark. Additionally, they discussed building a walkway that would lead passengers from the port toward visitor services and vendors. Port Commission Chairman Jim West, Jr., speculated that this design would prevent overcrowding at the floating docks.
“It keeps less congestion for the fishermen and the dredgers,” said West, Jr.
The topic of cruise ship accommodation continued into the subsequent regular meeting. During the citizens’ comments period, the Commission heard from Mitch Erickson of the Nome Visitors Center. Erickson hopes to partner with the Port Commission in his quest to get a cruise line to home port in Nome.
“We may be able to entice a ship in here,” said Erickson. “What that does, again, is, fills our hotels, opens up our road system a little bit for traffic. Hopefully, AC or someone like that could contract with the ship for the food stuffs, and Bonanza could work a deal out with them to provide fuel.”
Erickson hopes the cruise line would operate seven-to-ten-day cruises out of Nome for a period of about six weeks in the summer season. However, this project is still in the early, developmental phase.
In the meantime, the Port Commission meets again on December 15th at 5:30 pm.