Cruise Ship Tourists Use Homeless Shelter to Get Coffee

The Ketchikan Visitor’s Bureau reported that last year, 38 cruise ships stopped at their cruise port. These ships brought approximately 944,500 visitors to the small community of only 8,245 people.


The First City Homeless Services shelter provides free coffee and some food to the local homeless. Earlier this week, the shelter’s chairwoman, Evelyn Erbele, told the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly that cruise ship passengers are sometimes stopping by to use the bathroom in the facility, and then staying to have coffee, eat a snack, and watch TV.

The shelter’s manager, Chris Alvarado, stated that he understands why tourists may come to the shelter. The shelter is open starting at 8 AM, when some local stores are still closed. Therefore, cruise ship passengers may not have much to do, and need something to pass their time.

Add this one to the list of “who would do that???” traveler stories.

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  1. How can 38 ships bring nearly a million passengers they would have to carry 30.000 passengers a ship get your facts right

  2. This seems like an opportunity for the shelter. Start “charging” or at least requesting a donation from the obvious tourists. It might be quite profitable and help them be able to expand their services for their real customers, the local homeless folks.

  3. Some of those people might be on one of the ferries that visit Ketchikan each year. I know I got off the ferry and went grocery shopping there.

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