Relaying a letter from a satisfied Prince Rupert cruise ship passenger

Last week I received an e-mail from a woman in California.

Last week I received an e-mail from a woman in California.

“I have never bothered to write a tourist bureau before,” she wrote, “but Prince Rupert made quite an impression on us. I had the privilege of  visiting when the Norwegian Star docked last Thursday. It was my fourth Alaskan cruise, but my first trip to Prince Rupert.”

I see these e-mails from cruise ship passengers every summer. These folks feel motivated to look us up online and tell us what they liked, or occasionally did not like, about their experience here. This particular note was memorable because it reflects some of the special effort being taken this year is having an impact on our visitors.

“I got off the ship to be greeted by First Nation dancers. There was also a most excellent totem explanation (with no admission charge!). As we walked to the boat (for the ‘Cruising with the Eagles’ excursion) there was not an overpriced cruise line owned jewelry store in sight! What kind of port was this?”

It’s common in these e-mails to hear that our visitors enjoyed their excursions. Our tour programs are first rate and have always been popular.

“I must say that our boat trip and eagle viewing was some of the best money spent” this visitor writes, “and an experience I won’t forget. Our boat narrator asked us to sign on to Cruise Critic and/or recommend Prince Rupert to others. I now have mixed emotions about doing this. This is the first unspoiled port I have been to in years.”

What really interested me about this e-mail, however, was the reaction to the Ambassador Program and the new additions this year – the Interpreters, buskers, and social media specialists.

“The helpful residents (I’m told they are volunteers) clearly have immense pride in their city and the sincerity of their welcome was palpable. I felt relaxed and strange (no salesman chased me down the sidewalk with a diamond bracelet as in Juneau). People were friendly and helpful. Guides steered shipmates to the library and a less expensive bus ride to go hiking.”

This visitor was clearly impressed by everything she saw. She commented on the shopping she did here, and the Salmonberry Trading Company market across from Atlin Terminal.

“The Canadian sense of humor was evident in the dock stores, and I loved the ‘flea market’ style vendors from the area who were down by the docks. I was glad to pay them for their work.”

All of this is very positive evidence that the community’s effort is paying off. The new organization brought to visitor reception in the area of Northland Terminal by the Port Authority’s cruise task force, the introduction of an interactive First Nations welcome spearheaded by Te Taru White, community initiatives such as Paint Prince Rupert, or the salmon display from the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, have clearly made a difference.

A last word from our visitor from California:

“Our short stay did not do your city justice and the local residents waving the ship out and blinking porch lights made me sad to go. Your volunteers need to know what a positive impact they have on visitors. Yes, I will relay my experience to others and I hope that visitors will come to your port for the honest, unspoiled experience it now is. I hope to be back soon.”