Cruise Ship Passengers: A Portrait

Note: For anyone who has ever been, or wanted to be, a passenger on a cruise ship, please take no offense.

 Sunny Day Outside the Library

The sunny summer waters of Sitka, cruise ship and all!

Someone just walked in my office and announced, “It’s a DTTD day!”

The response she got was, “What’s a DTTD day?”

To which she replied, “It’s a DownTown Tourist Disaster day!!”

Ah yes, a Holland America ship sits anchored just off Crescent Harbor, and the tourists roam obliviously through town. Here are some people I encountered as I attempted to walk through town during lunch:

The Sidewalk Stander– Typically found outside of a shop standing directly in the middle of the sidewalk, possibly browsing the photos on their camera, searching through their bag, or looking off in the distance trying to orient themselves–always completely unaware of their immediate surroundings and the cluster of people on either side of them attempting to pass.

The Pioneer– Generally found at the front of a line of people, charging ahead with a map in hand, but not viewing it, because most of the map memorization has occurred on the ship before coming to land–once on land not a moment is to be wasted! Typically wears a brimmed hat and sunglasses to cut the glare and, consequently, avoids any delay of viewing all the sights.

The Drag-Along– Commonly found ten to fifteen steps behind the Pioneer, wishing that they had just stayed on the boat. Not interested in the sights, shooting glares at the locals who pass by that scream, “I hate this. Why am I on this trip?! Ugh.”  Usually between the ages of 12 and 19.

The Parka People– All the packing decisions of the Parka People have been dictated by the stereotypes of Alaska (which have been learned while watching the Discovery Channel): it is always cold, there is always snow on the ground. The Parka People show an inability to comprehend any sense of geography (coming to Southeast Alaska, not the Interior) or the actual climate of the visited locations. Instead, they decide it is best to prepare for a snow storm on what they believe will be their wild Arctic adventure.

The Matchy Matchy (2 varieties)– 1) The woman with matching shoes, purse, sunglasses, and nailpolish and 2) the matching husband and wife. Both varieties of Matchy Matchy present outfits that were clearly purchased right before, and only for the purpose of, the cruise and were taken out of the suitcase only moments before disembarking the ship.

The Sitters– Commonly found close(r) to the dock or only part way down Lincoln Street, unable to make it to the end of the street without a hiatus. The benches located near the dock and directly outside of shops are regularly filled with them. They angle their shopping bags accurately as to have the bulkiest part protruding into the busiest walkways. They are often overweight or elderly, or both.

Girls Gone Wild– Their significant others have been left at home, they usually travel in groups of 3 to 7, they are close friends that have been reunited after many years away for a fabulous week on the high seas. They’ve been saving up money for their trip for months and frequently encourage each other to splurge on the items found in the center of the window display. Typically between the ages of 45 and 75. Often seen having a glass of chilled white wine on the deck immediately after “happy hour” begins.

Have you spotted any others? Share your sightings!

5 thoughts on “Cruise Ship Passengers: A Portrait”

  1. So when my parents got back from their cruise to Alaska, I approached the pier to see my dad standing there wearing the most horrifying shirt I’d ever seen. It was like a Hawaiian shirt, but Alaskan style. It was green with giant fish all over. As he started searching through his bag telling me, “I brought you back something”, the words, “please tell me it’s not the same shirt you’re wearing” accidentally slipped out of my mouth. He proceeded to tell me he got it on sale at a local store! GO FIGURE! There’s a reason it was on the sale rack … Dad! He would be classified under “pioneer”. So much so, he actually won the nautical map the captain used in a silent auction their last night at sea. Enjoy the tourists!!! 🙂

  2. My goal is to create some sort of art piece titled “Pictures of Tourists Taking Pictures.” And you totally forgot about the people who stand in the middle of the street to take pictures, mostly of St. Michael’s or their friend(s) standing with the giant grizzly on Lincoln. Go ahead, tourists, ’cause this isn’t a real town with real cars or anything!

  3. The “Clubber”

    Sitka doesn’t have a discoteca? What?!

    Normally attached to an overly-tan man whose cologne makes the ravens fly away as he passes, the Clubber is normally wearing what the rest of the world calls a shirt as a dress. Normally wearing stilettos, excessive makeup, and over-processed hair, she has no idea where the cruise ship make her get off for the day but she doesn’t like it because it smells like fish and there’s a lack of spray-tanned people.

    I would like to say that these are all young women of club-going age, but that would be false. 50% of the Clubbers are indeed young women whose outfits would be tolerated on the club scene. But not in Sitka. The other 50% is a slew of older women who shouldn’t being wearing apparel from Forever 21, but what the hell? I’m retired and I’m on vacation and this water bottle is actually filled with straight gin.

  4. Based on my outfit walking through Juneau yesterday, I think I am the “matchy match” type. hahahahaha. Let’s just say I looked like a tourist or a resident from the Cape in my cardigan, collared shirt, boat shoes, and sailboat shorts… awkward haha.

    1. If you don’t immediately send me a whole slideshow of photos of you and Liz all matchy-matchy in your argyle sweater vests, I’m going to be VERY upset with you both.

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