Busy cruise pier in Skagway closes due to rockslide risk

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A Princess Cruises ship docked in Skagway, Alaska. A berth in the city has closed due to rockslide risk, and Princess has rerouted several ships' itineraries as a result.
A Princess Cruises ship docked in Skagway, Alaska. A berth in the city has closed due to rockslide risk, and Princess has rerouted several ships' itineraries as a result. Photo Credit: Princess Cruises

The forward berth on the Railroad Dock in Skagway, one of the busiest cruise ports in Alaska, has been closed because of a rockslide risk, forcing cruise lines that usually dock there to make other plans.

The berth is the primary location for Princess Cruises' Royal-class ships in Skagway, and Princess said it was adjusting itineraries for several vessels.

The Majestic Princess called at Icy Strait Point instead of Skagway on Tuesday, but the Crown Princess continued with its scheduled call in Skagway, docking at a different pier.

Princess also said on Tuesday that the July 27 call of the Royal Princess, the July 28 visit of the Discovery Princess and the July 30 visit of the Grand Princess would all be moved to Sitka.

Princess said it was working with officials from Skagway and the dock's owner, White Pass & Yukon Route Railway, to determine when scheduled calls can return to the forward berth on the Railroad Dock.

Earlier this month geotechnical engineering firm Shannon & Wilson prepared a report for the city of Skagway about the slope conditions of the cliff above the Railroad Dock.

The company concluded that a slide mass above the forward berth on the Railroad Dock "will eventually fail, and the consequences of such failure will be catastrophic in nature with significant risks to life and property."

Shannon & Wilson recommended a "controlled excavation to reshape the slope."

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