Wednesday, June 09, 2004

LAST FRONTIER SO COOL, IT’S HOT: Alaska sizzles as a cruise destination, reports Cruise Lines International Association. Despite a season running only May to October, Alaska trails only the Caribbean and Europe in cruise volume, thanks to expanding thrills. A CLIA 2004 season sampling shows: Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Spirit sailing 19 seven-day Glacier Route itineraries (marking its first departures from Whittier) and three Glacier Bay roundtrips from Vancouver with “extreme” snowshoe trekking. Crystal CruisesCrystal Harmony departs San Francisco on Sept. 3 with the Wine & Food Festival’s Great Chefs of California. Holland America‘s seven ships sail on 139 cruises to Alaska, with the 1,848-passenger Oosterdam departing Saturdays from Seattle to Hubbard Glacier. NCL’s SuperStar Leo, starring Freestyle Dining in seven restaurants including Maxim’s, Shogun and Tai Pan, sails from Seattle on seven-day Inside Passage routes. Princess Cruises, touting Inside Passage roundtrips from Seattle and San Francisco, is the only line offering Alaska’s two most popular attractions – Mt. McKinley and Glacier Bay – on every cruise tour. Radisson Seven Seas CruisesSeven Seas Mariner puts a “Spotlight on Food and Wine” on July 14 as chefs from New York’s Montrachet and Tribeca Grill team with Seattle restaurateurs and winemakers. Royal Caribbean International now markets the Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure (where participants in wetsuits explore kelp forests in Ketchikan) and the Four Glacier Adventure via Helicopter (ideal for guests with mobility disabilities). Silversea Cruises’ inaugural Alaska season has 10 different seven to 12-day itineraries, the highlight celebrating the line’s 10th anniversary, as Silver Shadow departs Vancouver on Aug. 16 for a voyage including a Juneau salmon / chicken / ribs barbecue extravaganza along rainforest creek banks.


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