Mark your calendars! The Port of Astoria 2018 Cruise Ship schedule. Incoming cruises always serve to greatly enhance the community revenue. Our favorite restaurants, small shops and even our big-name department stores all benefit from the surplus crowds. Many business owners have even credited tourism dollars as a vital resource that keeps everything running for the rest of the year. According to the Port’s data, every two passengers make about $175 that goes toward Clatsop County businesses.
Bruce Conner, Director of Marketing at the Port of Astoria, recently shed a little insight on how these ships make their way to our shores. “The concept is that these guys reposition out of the Caribbean, Mexico and South Pacific. We capture them and convince them to go to Astoria on the way up and on the way back, just like the whales.”
Revealing why a major cruise line would actually give way to a small town marketing pitch, Conner said, “There’s one phenomenal thing that we do that no other port does.”
That phenomenon is Astoria’s Cruise Host, a club of 150 local volunteers. While not directly affiliated with the Port, Cruise Host specializes in a meet-and-greet with each ship. The organization calls for at least 40 people on any given cruise day. Generally, there’s about 20 people at the port and 20 downtown or along the river walk. Donning special blue coats that designate their role with Cruise Hosts, these volunteers are available to answer questions and direct foot traffic logistics.
These hosts also aid via a bus service as well as handing-out reading material relevant to a passenger’s visit. Additionally, the group takes part in a training course bi-annually. This ensures that every member is well equipped to educate tourists on Astoria’s treasured history, landscape and culture.
Self-funded, the group’s financing has been reported to be a walk in the park. This is due to Cruise Host’s brilliant attitude and willingness to help with a large need. The volunteers have become a seasonal staple, reducing an otherwise overwhelmed crowd of tourists into a manageable and pleasant adventure.
Bruce concluded that all locals played a hand in this success and should be proud of what they helped accomplish, both in economics and reputation. “It works like a charm. We are voted the friendliest town on the Pacific West Coast by Princess Cruises. That’s because we go after it. We’re competing with LA, San Francisco, Seattle. These are huge cities! No city that size has small groups like we do. You’re only going to get the ‘small-town-welcome’ from a small town. We did that and we’re growing.”
Here is a fun fact: the Port of Astoria began hosting with just a pair of cruise ships back in 1998. This year, a record 26 cruises are expected throughout the season that runs to the end of October.
Here are the scheduled arrivals:
Tue 9/4/18 Celebrity Infinity
Tue 9/11/18 Disney Wonder
Fri 9/14/18 Coral Princess
Sat 9/15/18 Celebrity Solstice
Thu 9/20/18 Island Princess
Thu 9/20/18 SS Mariner
Sat 9/22/18 Explorer of the Seas
Sun 9/23/18 Ruby Princess
Mon 9/24/18 Oceania Regatta
Tue 9/25/18 Grand Princess
Wed 9/26/18 Amsterdam
Sat 9/29/18 Explorer of the Seas
Wed 10/3/18 Norwegian Pearl
Sat 10/6/18 Oceania Regatta
Tue 10/9/18 Grand Princess
Thu 10/18/18 Eurodam
Sat 10/20/18 Emerald Princess