On May 24, Holland America's MS Amsterdam will dock here for the first of nine times. The ship will carry nearly 1,400 people, transforming the industrial hub into a tourist destination.
"Our responsibility is to make what they want to do happen by keeping the crowd control part of this thing as easy to manage as possible," Ribuffo said.
From the dock, passengers will flood downtown.
"Certainly the cruise ship landing in Anchorage is going to help the retailer operators, the restaurants, our local attractions from the museums to our dog sled tours, down in Ship Creek, it's going to be great for everybody," said Anchorage Convention and Visitor's Bureau CEO Julie Saupe.
Each tourist is expected to blow at least a little, if not a lot of cash.
"Since this is the first time for Anchorage, it's hard to say. I can tell you that on average in Alaska each cruise passenger spends about $950, so what portion of that $950 Anchorage will get is hard to say," Saupe said.
"We're going to turn 1,400 people loose in town for 16 hours: Let your imagination wander," Ribuffo said.
The cruise line is committed to another round of trips in 2011, but if they continue after that, it's up to the community.
"There's the comment cards that the passengers fill out and if coming into Anchorage was a success as far as they are concerned, if they were treated well by the merchants in town and by the folks here in town -- which, quite frankly I can't imagine they wouldn't be -- then there's another opportunity for another cruise ship to call again in 2012," Ribuffo said.
The Port of Anchorage will use taxis and free shuttles to bus the tourists into Anchorage.
The ship begins its journey in Seattle. It's a two-week roundtrip cruise that also stops in Homer, Kodiak and several other towns.
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