Luxury yachting entity plans 7 stops in Cordova in 2018

Prince William Sound by Cinthis Gibbins-Stimson
Prince William Sound. (Photo by Cinthia Gibbins-Stimson/The Cordova Times)

Cordova’s salute to summer kicks off in early May, around the time of the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival, but now is picking up speed in the wake of the third Copper River salmon opener on May 28.

Vehicle and foot traffic is up on Cordova’s main street and businesses are stocking up for the visitor season and are on summer operating hours.

The big news from the Cordova Chamber of Commerce this week is that the 160-foot luxury yacht Pacific Provider will be visiting Cordova, starting on June 16, with the tour company Offshore Outpost bringing 12 guests at a time into Cordova twice a month on Saturday mornings for about three hours. These visitor dates include June 16 and 30; July 14 and 28; Aug. 11 and 25, and September 8.

“There’s several restaurants that when they open it’s kind of like the signal of summer,” said Cathy Renfeldt, executive director of the Cordova Chamber of Commerce. “Like when Baja Taco opened…there’s always bragging rights if you get first taco or first burrito. It’s kind of like first chair with skiing.”

Marketing efforts for the city of Cordova have also increased interest and potential tourism. Through use of more advertising on the statewide level, publications, festivals, a larger presence at the Great Alaska Sportsman Show, a new chamber website, and enhanced social media outreach, Cordova is continuing to make a name for itself.

Hashtags such as #cordovaalaska and #ilovecordova are surfacing Instagram with growing popularity.


“I feel like a lot of Cordova businesses are getting more of a presence in social media and they’re doing a really good job of showcasing the place,” Renfeldt said.

However, there are hurdles for the city when dealing with tourism. Lack of available harbor, hangar and housing space, and limited schedules offered by Ravn Alaska and the Alaska Marine Highway System’s make handling the influx of people during the summer season difficult.

The chamber is continuing its efforts to encourage more non-consumptive, high income tourists to visit Cordova. Right now, the biggest influx of tourism during the year is sport fishing season, which is a consumptive activity said Renfeldt.

AMHS is now offering sailings through August, via the M/V Aurora, four times a week, traveling directly to and from Whittier, although with no direct stops to Valdez.

“The town benefits definitely,” said Monika Reghetti, AMHS Cordova ferry terminal manager. “It brings in not only goods but of course tourists and…it’s really important for local businesses.”

With more people coming to Cordova from late April to mid-May, and eventually leaving around August or September, it’s best to plan ahead for travel.

“Rule of thumb is make your reservation once you know that you really want to go,” Reghetti said. “Especially if you have anything bigger like a truck/trailer combo or a box truck…because there’s of course space limitations and there’s also limitations on the amount of combination things that they can take.”

Reghetti also noted that departure times out of Cordova will change a bit during the summer and to be sure to check in one hour prior to sailing.

If traveling via Whittier, incoming travelers should also be aware of the tunnel opening times, and construction on the Seward Highway to avoid being late for ferry check in. “Traffic will be affected both directions, passengers should give themselves plenty of time to get to Whittier,” Reghetti said.

The fast ferry, FVF Fairweather, will service Cordova Thursday through Sunday starting in mid-September for at least two weeks.

Travelers should be prepared to show a valid picture I.D. and make sure their vehicles are not leaking oil. Owners are responsible for cleanup if their vehicle leaks on the car deck. Usually a number of standbys will get on the ferry as well, Reghetti said.

For more information or for ferry reservations call 907-424-7333 or 800-642-0066.

Editor’s note: this article has been revised to reflect an updated schedule provided to The Cordova Times after its original publication.