February 20, 2002
While all the big cruise lines -- Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, to name a few -- are assigning extra ships to Alaskan itineraries this summer, one cruise line is actually cutting its fleet back. CruiseWest, the Seattle-based adventure-oriented small ship cruise line, is pulling Spirit of Alaska off the roster -- for this summer only. “We made this decision because in the fall, we found it difficult to predict what our booking patterns would be,” says spokeswoman Maureen Camandona. “Like other cruise lines, the beginning of our main booking season (this fall) was atypically slow.” Ironically, CruiseWest credits part of its ship-shuffle to expanded demand and passengers scheduled to sail on the 78-passenger Spirit of Alaska may actually benefit because the cruise line has redeployed the somewhat larger (102 passengers), somewhat more, as Camandona puts it, “generously appointed” Spirit of Endeavor. They’ll still sail the same itinerary -- “secluded waterways,” an all-Alaska voyage, includes port calls at both the mainstays (Skagway, Haines, Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan along with scenic cruising in Glacier Bay, and Misty Fjords National Monument) and those off-the-track small communities (Petersburg and Metlakatla, a native Tsimshian village) that big ships can’t get to. In the meantime passengers on Endeavors’ originally published itinerary will simply be shifted to two other CruiseWest ships sailing that same route.