Ship sail

Cruise ship anchors in Cordoba

Onlookers in Cordoba watch from the ferry dock as the cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen prepares to drop anchor and ferry visitors to the city, Monday, May 31, 2022. Photo by David Little/for The Cordova Times

A Hurtigruten cruise ship with a capacity of 528 people dropped anchor outside the port of Cordova on Monday May 30. Passengers aboard the MS Roald Amundsen arrived in small groups from around 3 p.m. There they were welcomed by Cathy Renfeldt, executive director of the Córdoba Chamber of Commerce. who provided them with maps of Cordoba, a guide to restaurants and shops and a “things to do on foot” brochure. Around town, visitors could be seen wandering the streets.

The indigenous village of Eyak and the cultural center of Ilanka organized an exhibition for visitors, with the sounds of indigenous drums and songs in the background. Table displays for passengers featured various furs they could touch, raven tail dress, beaded headdress, trapper hats, Alutiiq war shield, paddles and dance masks.

Teal Hansen, Cultural Center Coordinator of NVE’s Ilanka Cultural Center and Museum, presented information on the history of the Eyak people in this region. Katrina Hoffman, President and CEO of the Prince William Sound Science Center, also gave a presentation to visitors at the Cordova Center.

Teal Hansen gives a presentation to passengers of the MS Roald Amundsen. Photo courtesy of Danaya Hoover

This expedition was the first trip of the year and only the second time the company had visited Alaska. Before anchoring in Cordoba, the ship had previously stopped at Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. The ship is due to return to Cordoba on Thursday June 23.

According to Renfeldt, passengers said they had many opportunities to purchase tourist items in the other cities they visited, but many were interested in more local, unique and handmade items. The Masonic hosted a craft fair featuring local craftsmen and makers.

A passenger boat arriving at the Port of Cordova to transport cruise passengers from the MS Roald Amundsen to the city on Monday, May 31, 2022. Photo by David Little/for The Cordova Times

Many businesses that don’t typically open on Mondays, especially Memorial Day, have opened specifically for ship passengers. Restaurants and food trucks were also open and ready for visitors, although many said local Cordovans made up the majority of their sales on Monday.

One of the companies was Copper River Fleece.

“We wouldn’t have opened otherwise,” said store manager Cindy Maxwell, adding that “it was fun.” She echoed other business owners that the majority of her customers were locals, not the ship.

The cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen prepares to anchor before ferrying visitors to spend an afternoon in Cordoba, Monday, May 31, 2022. Photo by David Little/for The Cordova Times

Brooke Stewart, owner of the Witch Kitchen food truck, said “it was a good result, but it wasn’t because of the cruise ship.”

She noted that they had “more cannery workers and fishermen” than cruise ship passengers.

Many passengers indicated that they wanted to go for walks and observe wildlife, which could explain the number of sales lower than the ship’s expectations. The passengers came from countries like the UK, Germany, Spain, Scotland, Norway and France.

The cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen passes Orca Lodge under colorful skies just before 11pm on Monday May 31, 2022, after passengers spent the afternoon and evening in Cordoba. Photo by David Little/for The Cordova Times

The Hurtigruten Group is a Norway-based cruise line that owns and operates the MS Roald Amundsen. The company says it is “striving to be the most sustainable travel operator in the world”.

In addition to an electric-powered hybrid vessel to reduce emissions, the 549-foot-long vessel bans the use or single-use plastics, recycles and provides educational opportunities for guests to learn about culture and l ecology of the places they visit.

The cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen prepares to anchor before ferrying visitors to spend an afternoon in Cordoba, Monday, May 31, 2022. Photo by David Little/for The Cordova Times