Thursday, June 03, 2010

All ashore that's going ashore, but some it seems are just not that into us!

If Prince Rupert is to become one of the jewels in the Alaska Cruise industry crown, we apparently have a bit of work to do.

With the weekly Thursday visit of the Norwegian Star, thousands of would be visitors have the option to come ashore and explore our charms, though if they read ahead more than a few apparently might be inclined to stay aboard the big boat and look at us from a distance.

The Northern View outlines a small sample of the feedback thus far to a website called, which offers up commentary from those that have blazed that cruising trail. And if the early reviews are any indication, we're not wowing the visitors at the moment.

The Norwegian Cruise Lines is the only major line of the cruise industry to regularly call on Prince Rupert, those exciteable days of three or four visits a week but a memory for now and unless the reviews improve on what's available here we imagine that won't be a situation that will change in the near future.

It wasn't that many years ago that former Mayor Pete Lester was talking about how the cruise industry was going to be a major asset to the city, but a variety of factors back then (including concerns over attractions in the community) contributed to the industry's disappearance from the local scene. A cautionary tale for those that are hoping that this time around the industry will become a permanent fixture and contributor to the economy.

The full page of reviews for the Norwegian Star can be found here, but below are some of the more interesting of reports from those that have wandered ashore to see what we have to offer. And while clearly the sampling of four or five accounts won't tell the whole picture of the Prince Rupert experience, it does provide an idea as to what perhaps folks may be talking about once the ship pulls away and heads out to sea again.

We'll update the reviews as they come with a link on our right hand column of the blog in our Podunk info centre section.

The only reason I can figure that NCL stops in Prince Rupert is to have a foreign port before returning to the US. We saw no NCL shore excursions that looked remotely interesting, and none of the trips being sold on the dock were any more interesting. The weather was nice, so we walked up the hill into town and to a mall, where we were able to buy Wi Fi access for $2 per hour. Half of the storefronts in town are vacant. There are several blocks of vacant lots, and even a burned out building. The town center appears to mainly serve fishing crews. How else would you explain 5 barber shops, and a bar that does not open until 9 PM? The fire museum just up the hill from the dock is somewhat interesting and is free (donations accepted). There were some little craft shops in Cow Bay, down by the dock. We also stopped for a beer at Breaker’s Pub in Cow Bay. They had some interesting Canadian beers and free Wi Fi. Nearby, we watched a bald eagle in a nest.

There is absolutely NOTHING in Prince Rupert, so I consider the time there to be a total waste of time. The biggest attraction was the very friendly RCMP Mountie taking pictures with the tourists. I would rather leave from Vancouver than from Seattle if it means skipping Prince Rupert.  Don't even bother to get off the ship in Prince Rupert, nothing to see or do.

Scenic but tiny Prince Rupert was, mysteriously, allotted the same time as Juneau with a 4pm arrival time.

We spent most of the day sailing, with a stop in Prince Rupert, B.C. in the evening. We had no excursions planned and visited a few museums. I enjoyed the tiny Police/Fire museum, and the train museum was pretty cool as well. I generally hate museums, and the one at the visitor center was boring as hell. I split away from my parents afterwards, as they were wet and grumpy and I don’t mind the rain. I walked around a bit and found a pub, where I pretended I was Canadian by drinking Canadian beer and watching hockey. I even cheered for Montreal. I was very annoyed at lunch when I found some scallops in the baked pasta which was labeled “baked pasta” with no mention of scallops (what if I had a deadly shellfish allergy?), and then found ham in the (unlabelled) waldorf salad. Thus far I’d had no qualms with the food, and this vexed me. Granted, I shouldn’t assume that the food is meatless, but it had been until that point. I was angry with myself for not analyzing it beforehand. I then found a tiny sliver of pepperoni on my cheese pizza. I stopped eating and fumed silently. This special snowflake had started to melt. I got over it, though. My displeasure was voiced via comment card. 

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