The expanded dock will soon be joined by a new terminal facility to enhance the arrival experience for cruise visitors.
Alaska's largest cruise ships
The dock can serve Alaska's largest cruise ships and is able to handle two neo-Panamax vessels at a time, as when Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas and Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam called recently.
The facility is located six miles north of downtown Sitka and a mile from the Old Sitka State Historical Park. The 40,000-square-foot terminal will feature local retail shops, a locally owned restaurant, an outdoor covered terrace and departure point for land and water-based shore excursions.
Family-owned business with Royal Caribbean and Ceres support
The dock's majority owner is Halibut Point Marine Services, a Sitka family-owned business, with financing support and minority ownership by Royal Caribbean Group and Ceres Terminals.
'The expanded dock and terminal positions Sitka as a premier destination in Alaska, opening up additional opportunity for our community,' dock owner Chris McGraw said. 'Tourism has always been a staple of our economy — from retail to guided excursions and dining on the freshest Alaska seafood — and now we’ll be able to share what makes Sitka special with guests aboard the newest, largest ships visiting Alaska.'
'As we look beyond this year's partial Alaska season, we are more optimistic than ever that our guests will absolutely love the authentic experiences Sitka offers with its rich culture and awe-inspiring wilderness,' said Josh Carroll, VP destination development, Royal Caribbean Group.
Strategy to support sustainable development
'This partnership,' he continued, 'exemplifies our strategy to support sustainable development that is majority-owned by Alaskans to bring maximum economic impact to the local community.'
The partnership investment extends beyond enhancements at the port to extensive community planning efforts in collaboration with local stakeholders and industry experts. Plans will focus on transportation capacity, visitor traffic flow and opportunities for more tours and destination experiences to benefit residents and visitors alike.
New kayak tours and the introduction of Alaska Coach Tours to manage land transportation are key examples of the work of community partnerships.