I was astonished to read the “Secret Shopper” story in CVN’s Oct. 28 edition, wherein Lenise Henderson-Fontenot declared at a Chamber of Commerce lunch that cruise visitors to Haines “can feel a bit lost” when they step off the dock in our town. Positioned right at the gate where passengers leave their ship and step onto the pier is a very visible booth where the words, “Visitor Information,” are prominently displayed.

The booth is well stocked with a variety of literature about Haines activities. I know, because I am the ‘Diana Kelm’ referenced in the article as joining Mayor Hill in handing out brochures and answering passengers’ questions. I am out there on the dock 8 a.m. until noon every ship day.

As well, port security officers, on duty the entire time the ship is in port, help inform and welcome visitors where they are able, and many volunteers give rides all day long to the end of the pier in the People Mover cart. The clearly marked shuttle bus to town and surrounding areas is frequently the focus of my talks to passengers.

They have reported back to me that the drivers are both informative and entertaining. We make a point of “setting ourselves apart” (from other ports) with emphasis on the preponderance of original art displayed in Haines and Fort Seward shops, as well as easy access to wilderness experiences and wildlife viewing.

I am curious to know how Ms. Henderson-Fontenot could have missed all of this, and us?

Diana Kelm

Visitor Information Aide