May 16, 2002
Buried way down deep in a Princess Cruises’ press release about bulked-up gift shops on ships cruising Alaska is a genuinely innovative new service. Aimed at all travelers who’ve ever had to buy an extra suitcase to carry all that cool new stuff home (wonder why cruise shops sell luggage?), Princess has teamed up with Mailboxes Etc. to offer onboard shipping services. There’s a caveat of course -- the service, which is available for a fee, only applies to purchases made on board. However (and, ahem, this was the point of the press release), Princess is trumpeting a widely-expanded merchandise range -- including many made-in-Alaska trinkets, souvenirs and valuables -- in its gift shops on the six ships sailing Alaskan itineraries this summer. Among the highlights? A new “Gold Rush Marketplace,” a one-day event held on every cruise (presumably on sea days) will consist of products with a tie-to-Alaska that could include, for instance, salmon from Juneau-based Taku Smokeries, crystal by Evergreen, which makes a line of decanters, glasses and bowls (with totemic art themes), and Russian enameled boxes. Additionally, the shops will carry National Geographic-licensed t-shirts and other paraphernalia featuring Alaska-inspired designs. Of course, travelers who are bound and determined to do their shopping in the towns they visit can still take a hint from Princess’ announcement -- and schlep their stuff over to a local Mailboxes Etc. to avoid that nasty extra-suitcase conundrum. The new shops and services will be featured on all six of the lines’ ships in Alaska. Star Princess, Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Ocean Princess are sailing on the Gulf of Alaska route, while Sea Princess is sailing on the Inside Passage route roundtrip from Vancouver. Regal Princess is sailing on a 10-day roundtrip Inside Passage from San Francisco.