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Small ship cruise line adds Alaska to its itinerary

Posted: May 31, 2011 - 9:04pm

A new small ship line will dock in Alaska next year.

America Cruise Lines tells the Empire the destination fits into its development plan perfectly.

Public Relations Manager Britt Rabinovici said a 100-passenger vessel will make the first trip in June 2012 with 11 scheduled sailings for the season. The exact vessel has not yet been decided.

She said they hope to set the schedule next month.

Rabinovici describes the Alaska addition as “us meeting demand.” She said there’s always been a large interest from their passengers and the cruising grounds here are a good match for the company.

Charles Robertson in the line’s operations department agreed, saying, “We saw the demand from our passenger base and felt we had potential to be up there.”

“Alaska’s always been an interest to us and now it’s truly a reality,” he said.

Robertson also said the ship will be one of the line’s newer ones.

The Alaska market goes along with the company’s western expansion. Robertson said they started on the East Coast then the cruise line started going to the Columbia and Snake rivers around the Oregon and Washington border last year.

“It is wonderful to welcome another small ship operator to Juneau. The variety of cruising options provides visitors the opportunity to choose the style of travel that suits them best,” said Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau President and Chief Executive Officer Lorene Palmer. “The bureau appreciates that small ship itineraries allow passengers to build a pre- or post-cruise visit to Juneau. We believe that adding a few days in Juneau before or after their cruise adds tremendous value to their Alaska vacation.”

America Cruise Lines CEO Charles Robertson mentioned the timing of this venture with that of Cruise West’s recent departure in a Tuesday USA Today article. Rabinovici said the line had planned to come to Juneau anyway and that timing is just a coincidence.

“It’s just been on our radar for the last four years,” she said.

Even without Cruise West, there are still a number of small ships that cruise Alaska, including Lindblad Expeditions, InnerSea Discoveries, American Safari, the Boat Company and Alaska Dream Cruises.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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