By Jeremy Schwartz and Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The vessel, operated by American Cruise Lines, will berth in Port Angeles until Thursday morning, when it’s set to leave for Port Townsend.
The American Spirit is expected to dock at Union Wharf in Port Townsend at about 10 a.m. each Thursday beginning this week through June 19 and from Aug. 28 through Nov. 6.
Don Johnson, West Coast operations manager for the cruise line, has said 82 passengers have reserved berths on the American Spirit’s first 2014 trip to Port Angeles and Port Townsend.
The vessel is expected to visit Port Angeles and Port Townsend 20 times this spring and fall as part of larger cruises of Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.
It is scheduled to dock in Port Angeles each Tuesday in April, May, June, September and October, as well as the first Tuesday in November.
The cruises, beginning and ending in Seattle, also stop in Anacortes, Friday Harbor and Poulsbo.
The American Spirit stopped in Port Angeles and Port Townsend 10 times last year: weekly in May and September, and for the first two weeks of October last year.
The passengers are expected to be serenaded with musical performances Tuesday and Wednesday night aboard the vessel and have their choice of tours.
These include a bus tour up to Hurricane Ridge hosted by Willie Nelson’s All Points Charters & Tours, a downtown walking tour led by Heritage Tours owner Don Perry on Tuesdays and an opportunity to visit Victoria on the MV Coho ferry Wednesdays.
If Hurricane Ridge is closed by poor weather, Russ Veenema, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, has said he plans an alternative outing that would take cruisers east to a Sequim lavender farm and Railroad Bridge Park — and potentially a local Sequim winery.
Veenema and Port Angeles City Councilman Patrick Downie had estimated last year that the 2013 visits had about $96,000 worth of impact on the Port Angeles community.
In Port Townsend, cruise ship passengers will be offered a downtown walking tour, an uptown bus tour and a tour of Fort Worden State Park — in addition to shopping and eating out at area restaurants.
Events are organized by the Jefferson County Historical Society.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.
Port Townsend/Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant contributed to this story.