Three cruise ship docked in Skagway's port in Sept. 2016. (Emily Files)

Three cruise ship docked in Skagway’s port in Sept. 2016. (Emily Files)

Cruise ship season is right around the corner in Skagway. The first boat is set to arrive at the beginning of May, kicking off a busy tourism season in the Northern Lynn Canal.

Last year, Skagway welcomed the largest ship ever to sail Alaskan waters to its port.

“It went wonderfully,” says tourism director Cody Jennings.

“We had a great season,” says Jennings. “I think most of the – if not all the feedback I received – I think everyone was really happy.”

Now, the days are getting longer, seasonal workers are arriving in town, and the first ship of the 2017 summer season is not far off.

“Our first cruise ship is going to be May 2 with the Nieuw Amsterdam,” says Jennings.

Looking ahead to this summer, Jennings says the calendar is pretty similar to last year.

“Our 2017 cruise ship schedule is looking a lot like 2016 did. Just in terms of – our busy days are traditionally Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,” says Jennings. “A little lighter on the weekends.”

The port will see one new ship this year, the Emerald Princess, with a capacity of just over 3,000 passengers.

Jennings expects a few more cruise ship visitors this year. She estimates 816,000 passengers. Last year, about 780,000 passengers came through town. With crew, that number topped a million.

In total, 31 different ships will make 400 port calls on the town of just around 1,000 permanent residents.

But, not everyone that visits comes in on a boat. Jennings says Skagway saw about 140,000 non-cruise ship travelers in 2016. She expects similar numbers this year.

Jennings says she’s looking forward to the upcoming season.

“I think things are shaping up to be another great season,” says Jennings. “There’s lots of activity happening in Skagway right now. The sun’s out, windows are being washed, freight’s being delivered. So I think everyone’s really getting excited. You can see lots of activity going on. So it’s here very quickly.”

The last ship of the season will sail to Skagway on September 28.