The city of Nome is busy preparing for the arrival of the Crystal Serenity cruise ship on Sunday, August 21, with the first boat of passengers docking at 8 a.m.
The Crystal Serenity carries about 1,000 passengers, and it is the first vessel of that size to travel to Nome.
Robin Johnson, a partner at local travel agency Nome Discovery Tours, said preparations for the Crystal Serenity began more than a year ago.
“They came to us and said, ‘What can you develop for us?’” she said, “and we worked on that. And they told us what they liked, and what sounded good. We’ve been talking a lot all year. There’s been a ton of communication.”
Nome Discovery Tours has prepared an extensive list of activities for Crystal Serenity passengers.
Passengers can choose from a variety of hikes and flying tours, as well as a trip to Shishmaref and even a flight to Russia.
Meanwhile, the Nome Berry Festival will give passengers a chance to experience the art, food, and entertainment that Nome has to offer.
“So that will be a full day of music and crafts and food and dancing and door prizes and berry buckets,” Johnson said. “And I think there’s going to be a polar bear swim that evening as well. If everything falls into place like it’s supposed to, it’ll be a good day.”
However, things might not fall into place if the weather is bad. Because the Crystal Serenity is too large for Nome’s port, the ship will anchor out at sea and passengers will be ferried to Nome’s shore.
Choppy seas could make it impossible for passengers to deboard, but Johnson isn’t concerned.
“Well, if the weather is really bad, getting them off the ship could be an issue,” she said. “But I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”