KODIAK, Alaska — The Alaska village of Larsen Bay — with a population of 87 — will have its first luxury cruise ship visit this summer.
Kodiak city harbormaster Lon White said it’s the first time he can remember a cruise liner visiting one of Kodiak’s outlying villages, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Wednesday.
Village Mayor Alice Aga said the ship’s stop will allow residents to supplement their income at a time when the Icicle Seafoods processing plant will be closed. Jobs in the village depend almost entirely on tribal and local government administration when the plant is closed.
“The community is really excited,” Aga said. “This is a high-end cruise.”
The SilverSea cruise will be a 12-day Alaska trip costing $9,900 per person. It includes luxury ocean-view suites, a spa and fitness center, fine-dining restaurants and a personal butler.
Aga said village leadership is working with SilverSea to plan activities for the tourists. Officials are considering a tour of the village and fish cannery, a lesson in the preparation of traditional foods, a hike to the village reservoir, a kayak trip and a demonstration of how to process salmon and deer.
“We’re just hoping that we can pull something together that’s presentable and represents our community,” Aga said.
Aimee Williams, director of Discover Kodiak, said developing a tourism program on short notice in a village where none existed before is a challenge.
“We’re struggling a little bit, because we don’t have a lot of touristy things to do over there,” she said. “We’re working with them step-by-step.”
In Kodiak, cruise ships are a common sight during the summer. This year, 17 port calls are planned between May 4 and October 5, the Daily Mirror reported.
White said visitors often rent cars or pile into cabs to stock up on supplies for the next leg of the voyage.
“I’ve seen a line at the liquor store out the door and around the corner,” he said.
The villages have historically not benefited as much from the island’s summer tourism boom. Williams said she hopes the visit is a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s exciting if the villages want to get involved in stuff like this,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to tie them into tourism.”
Aga said the cruise company has expressed interest in returning in August.
Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com