Holland America to end Yukon Queen II cruises
High-speed catamaran took tourists on river tours between Dawson City and Eagle, Alaska
Cruise ship giant Holland America announced Friday it will pull the Yukon Queen II out of the Yukon River for good.
The high-speed catamaran takes summer tourists on 164-kilometre river tours between Dawson City and Eagle, Alaska.
"We're not really sure what we're going to do with her, but we will move her out of the river this summer," said Paul Goodwin, an executive vice-president at Holland America.
"It's just been a number of issues that have made it difficult to continue to operate and given that, we've just come to the conclusion that we are better off finding another way to give our guests the river experience."
Goodwin said the Yukon Queen may be leaving Dawson City but Holland America will continue operating there. However, he said that with the departure of the boat, the company is now less invested in the town.
"Obviously the less assets we have up there, the less invested we are," he said.
The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board has been reviewing the Yukon Queen II for the past two years.
The company has been slow to provide data on issues of concern on how the boat’s high-powered wake affects shoreline erosion and salmon habitat.
"Our rules set out that we need to receive that information within a certain amount of time," said Stephen Mills, chair of YESAB.
Goodwin said the assessment process was one of the reasons for the decision to remove the boat.
"We don't necessarily see an end in sight because of course once we get through the YESAB process, assuming we got through the YESAB process, we then have to make application to DFO [the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans], so it's a long, drawn out, expensive process and the other side of it is we have the road in Eagle," Goodwin said.
Holland America plans to hire a local boat — the Klondike Spirit — to help with its visitors this season.