Cruise ship visit boosts Port Angeles business, merchants say
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Cruise ship passengers Mariam and Eduardo Fatum of Buenos Aires, center, show elation after cutting a ribbon as the first off the ship as Port Angeles Ambassadors, from left, Ruth Fox, Lynda Williamson, Shenna Straling, Julie Hatch and Charlie Comstock welcome their arrival.
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Passengers disembark the cruise ship Oosterdam after its arrival in Port Angeles on Friday. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News.
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The Holland America Line cruise ship ms Oosterdam sails past Port Angeles City Pier during its arrival in Port Angeles on Friday. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Rain did not seem to dampen the spirits or shopping habits of some 1,800 cruise passengers who disembarked the massive ms Oosterdam on Friday and descended upon downtown Port Angeles.

“It was a great, overall positive day,” said Kevin Elliott, who co-owns Elliott's Antique with his wife and another business partner.

“I hope there are more ships in the future because our experience was wonderful.”

The 710-foot, 1,258-passenger-capacity Holland America Line cruise ship ms Statendam is slated to come into the Port of Port Angeles' Terminal 1 North at noon this coming Saturday.

The much smaller 205-foot American Spirit stops at City Pier in Port Angeles every Tuesday and leaves each Thursday for a day in Port Townsend as part of American Cruise Lines tours that began in April.

Antiques a draw

Elliott said he had a noticeable uptick in business as a steady stream of passengers from the Oosterdam walked past his store at 135 E. First St., many purchasing antique jewelry and other trinkets.

“I had an average of six [cruise ship customers] at a time, all day, even with the inclement weather,” Elliott said.

West on First Street at the Port Angeles Antique Mall at 109 W. First St., mall owner Lin Beck said she stayed open 2 hours later than normal to accommodate the cruise passengers.

Beck said she saw a jump in sales, too, including a British couple buying a $425 ring, the store's biggest sale of the day.

“It was wonderful. I wish the cruise ships could come every day,” Beck said.

Passengers were international, many from England, New Zealand and Australia, which is where the Oosterdam started its trans-Pacific journey.

At the Port Angeles Visitor Center, Warren and Lyn Sharpe, cruise passengers from Adelaide, Australia, were among about a half-dozen people taking refuge from the sudden downpour that struck Friday afternoon.

The Sharpes had just come from touring the downtown antique shops, where they bought ceramic fish and wolf ornaments and a decorative copper salmon to commemorate their trip.

“[The stores were] very well laid out, a lot of little usual things,” Lyn Sharpe said.

“It was nice to see bric-a-brac like that.”

'Bric-a-brac' shops

Jim and Barbara Gillespie, cruise passengers from Melbourne, Australia, said they stopped into a few antique — or “bric-a-brac” shops, as they're called in Australia — and visited the Museum at the Carnegie while strolling around downtown.

“The people are very, very friendly,” Jim Gillespie said.

“Everyone talked to you.”

“[Port Angeles] feels safe [and] welcoming,” Barbara Gillespie added.

Michelle Adolphsen, owner of Bay Variety at 135 W. First St., reported a “very successful” Friday for her store because of the cruise passengers, with Port Angeles souvenir T-shirts, candy and umbrellas proving most popular.

“They pretty much cleaned us out of umbrellas,” Adolphsen said.

“They didn't seem to mind the rain. That didn't seem to slow them down at all.”

'Better than normal'

MarySue French, co-owner of Cabled Fiber Studio at 106. N. Laurel St., said types of yarn made in America seemed to be especially popular in her shop.

“It was a very good day for us. It was better than normal on a Friday,” she said.

The Oosterdam came in a just a bit earlier than the expected noon arrival time, said Russ Veenema, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce

This called for some scrambling of volunteers to greet them, Veenema said, but no major problems.

“I think, all in all, it went really well,” he said, adding that between 25 and 35 people signed up as volunteers.

Shuttles busy

Veenema said All Points Charters & Tours sold 700 shuttle tickets to stops around downtown, which included the Museum at the Carnegie on Lincoln Street and The Landing mall on Railroad Avenue.

Additionally, all 280 tickets to shuttle tours of Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, Marymere Falls and wineries in the Port Angeles area sold out, Veenema said.

The same trips will be offered to the passengers of the Statendam when they arrive this coming Saturday.

Veenema said he wanted to thank the Port of Port Angeles staff who made sure the Oosterdam docked safely while other port activities went on.

“They really did a good job,” he said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 10. 2014 5:30PM
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