Posted: Tuesday, May 02, 2000

Cruise ships tout efforts

As the major cruise ship season gets under way in Juneau this week, the companies are touting their assets and customer service.

Holland America Line is noting the Alaska debut of the ``luxurious,'' 1,440-passenger Volendam, featuring the first Internet center on one of the company's ships. The ship will feature a Native artist-in-residence program and a cultural history program in Glacier Bay provided by Huna Totem members.

The Volendam goes on its first of 20 week-long Inside Passage/Glacier Bay tours Monday, sailing roundtrip from Vancouver. It is scheduled to dock in Juneau on the afternoon of May 10.

Meanwhile, Princess Cruises claims to have a unique program in Alaska for advance registration of shore excursions. Upon boarding, passengers receive tickets for excursion reservations they've made. The system allows Princess to request tour operators to increase capacity for particularly popular excursions, the company says.

The first large ship of the season, Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam, with a capacity of 1,214 passengers, is scheduled to dock in Juneau Saturday.

Sealaska reports profit

Sealaska Corp., the regional Native corporation for Southeast, reported 1999 revenues of $176 million and net earnings of $10 million, for a 16th consecutive year of profitability, according to the company's annual report.

Revenue was down 7 percent from the 1998 figure of $189 million, however. The corporation's investment portfolio earned an average of 8.8 percent last year, down from 12.1 percent.

And subsidiary SeaCal, which operates a limestone mine, recorded a net loss of $876,000. No mining was conducted at the site on Prince of Wales Island in 1999, and sales of previously mined limestone were impeded by devalued Asian currencies, according to the annual report.

The corporation has 16,500 shareholders, most with Tlingit, Haida or Tsimshian ancestral ties. They received $9.4 million in dividends in 1999.

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