Crystal Serenity brought tourists, but little profit for Nome businesses

Last week, the cruise ship Crystal Serenity sailed into Nome and 850 of the cruise ship’s passengers were ferried in from the offshore vessel and took the day to tour the city.

Listen now

The luxury cruise liner Crystal Serenity arrived off the coast of Nome on Sunday. (Photo by Lauren Frost, KNOM - Nome)
The luxury cruise liner Crystal Serenity arrived off the coast of Nome on Sunday. (Photo by Lauren Frost, KNOM – Nome)

Those passengers accounted for a roughly 25 percent increase in Nome’s population, and for local businesses that meant a hypothetical increase in profits.

Some business owners are saying their expectations for the day weren’t met.

Airport Pizza manager Ayyusue Katchathe said she only saw a handful of cruise ship passengers stop by to eat.

“We had a few customers, a couple pairs, a single, and maybe a group of four,” Katchathe said.

Katchathe thinks that most of the cruise ship traffic was directed to the blueberry festival and Front Street.

Planned in conjunction with the arrival of the ship, the Mini Convention Center hosted the blueberry festival, where Nome residents and vendors from around the Norton Sound region sold crafts and displayed local culture.

Nomemade co-business owner Kim Knudsen participated as a vendor at the festival.

Most of her sales came from people in the community despite the cruise ship’s arrival, Knudsen said.

“Even with some of the smaller items, I didn’t get the impression people were buying much,” Knudsen said. “They could take home smaller items of jams or jellies … but they just weren’t buying as much as the locals were buying.”

The Crystal Serenity docked in Nome on Sunday and a special commemoration speech was given for this historic event. (Photo by Lauren Frost, KNOM - Nome)
The Crystal Serenity docked in Nome on Sunday and a special commemoration speech was given for this historic event. (Photo by Lauren Frost, KNOM – Nome)

The Mini Convention Center was made an official stop for the tour buses shuttling passengers around Nome to encourage commerce.

The tourists came in waves but by afternoon had dwindled, Knudsen said.

Crystal Serenity passenger Marc Sola was a part of the morning peak at the blueberry festival, but he wasn’t really looking to eat at a restaurant here.

“I haven’t had anything to eat here,” Sola said. “I’d just had breakfast before I came here, so it wasn’t that big a deal to me.”

His plan for the rest of the day was to walk down Front Street and see the sights, he said.

Local businesses will get one more shot at selling their wares next year, however.

The plan for Crystal Cruises is to send an even bigger ship through the Northwest Passage in the late summer of 2017.

More stories about the Crystal Serenity

Previous articleAlgo Nuevo August 28, 2016
Next articleSoutheastern elementary school evaluated for landslide risk
Tyler Stup is a reporter at KNOM in Nome. Born and raised in Colorado, Tyler graduated from Colorado State University class of 2016. Majoring in economics, he sought a path that combined his studies and radio. When the opportunity came to do radio in Western Alaska he jumped at it the first chance he got. He’s been in radio for three-and-a-half years now and has loved every second of it.

No posts to display