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Old 02-01-2005, 05:51 PM
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The way the Alaska market has expanded over the last few
years, especially since the expansion of the number of
ships sailing round trip from Seattle, it has changed the
market dramatically in the type of passenger sailing and
what they are looking for when they get there. The change
has caused many in the cruise industry to start referring
to Alaska as the Caribbean North. A growing segment of
the market wants to go on a cruise, doesn't really care
that the destination in Alaska, and chooses that cruise
because of the convenience of the departure point or
price.
To support the swelling number of people going north,
this week Princess Cruises announced they have expanded
their catalogue of shore excursions in the 49th state by
thirteen new offerings to a total of 137 excursions for
the 2005 season. (More choices and options. That's what
Princess likes to give customers.) What's interesting
about it is that five of the thirteen (about 40%) really
have nothing to do with Alaska's unique scenic wonders
and could just as easily be offered in an appropriate
setting on an island in the Caribbean, in Mexico or along
the US Pacific coast.
Of course that means that the other eight are really
centered on the "Alaskan experience," and they promise to
provide a unique experience to passengers. They include
things like a raptor exhibition and native storytelling
in Ketchikan, a combination evening cruise and whale-
watching experience (with guaranteed whale sightings) at
Juneau, or the opportunity to combine that with a salmon
feast and a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier. Technically
not in Alaska, but at the foreign port of call on the
itinerary (Victoria), passengers will be able to choose
to go stargazing at the Dominion Observatory, once the
world's largest telescope.
What did catch my attention in the list were the
programs that weren't your traditional outdoor Alaska
experience like the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Tour in
Ketchikan where you get to drive a Harley on a 55-mile
scenic route with a coffee stop at Totem Bight State
Park. Also in Ketchikan, if you're feeling particularly
agile, you can go into the Alaskan rain forest and
navigate an obstacle course that includes balance beams,
a suspension bridge, a Tarzan rope swing and ends with a
175-foot zip line between the trees and repelling to the
ground. (Princess also says you can do it again for free
if you want.) In Juneau, the new offerings include a
photo safari where a local photography coach takes you to
scenic spots on land and sea and shows you how to take
better pictures, or on another new excursion you can have
a "taste of Juneau" which includes visits to the Alaskan
Brewing Company and the Taku Smokeries' Smokehouse along
with a quick stop at the Mendenhall Glacier. Ah, but in
Skagway, Princess has used their special knowledge of the
area to arrange the "Afternoon Red Light Delight" tour.
On that one passengers first get to pan for gold at the
Liarsville Gold Rush Tail Camp and then have a private
party at upstairs at the Red Onion Saloon and Brothel
Museum (which begs the question of what they have in the
display cases).
The bottom line is that as the market for cruises to
Alaska expands, Princess is willing and able to provide
some experiences for everyone, both fresh offerings for
those who want something more of the traditional Alaska
experience and things for those who don't really care if
they are sailing to Alaska or somewhere else.
But that could also be seen as a rather ominous
indication for the Alaskan tourism industry. By virtue of
the fact that the number of shore excursions is growing
which have little to do with the uniqueness of the
Alaskan destination, it confirms there is a growing
number of passengers on these cruises who really aren't
necessarily looking for a truly Alaskan experience. That
will make it much easier for the cruise lines to sail
those ships away from Alaska should the ever-escalating
operating costs or political climate in Alaska ever
become unbearable.
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 02-01-2005, 05:51 PM
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default
The way the Alaska market has expanded over the last few
years, especially since the expansion of the number of
ships sailing round trip from Seattle, it has changed the
market dramatically in the type of passenger sailing and
what they are looking for when they get there. The change
has caused many in the cruise industry to start referring
to Alaska as the Caribbean North. A growing segment of
the market wants to go on a cruise, doesn't really care
that the destination in Alaska, and chooses that cruise
because of the convenience of the departure point or
price.
To support the swelling number of people going north,
this week Princess Cruises announced they have expanded
their catalogue of shore excursions in the 49th state by
thirteen new offerings to a total of 137 excursions for
the 2005 season. (More choices and options. That's what
Princess likes to give customers.) What's interesting
about it is that five of the thirteen (about 40%) really
have nothing to do with Alaska's unique scenic wonders
and could just as easily be offered in an appropriate
setting on an island in the Caribbean, in Mexico or along
the US Pacific coast.
Of course that means that the other eight are really
centered on the "Alaskan experience," and they promise to
provide a unique experience to passengers. They include
things like a raptor exhibition and native storytelling
in Ketchikan, a combination evening cruise and whale-
watching experience (with guaranteed whale sightings) at
Juneau, or the opportunity to combine that with a salmon
feast and a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier. Technically
not in Alaska, but at the foreign port of call on the
itinerary (Victoria), passengers will be able to choose
to go stargazing at the Dominion Observatory, once the
world's largest telescope.
What did catch my attention in the list were the
programs that weren't your traditional outdoor Alaska
experience like the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Tour in
Ketchikan where you get to drive a Harley on a 55-mile
scenic route with a coffee stop at Totem Bight State
Park. Also in Ketchikan, if you're feeling particularly
agile, you can go into the Alaskan rain forest and
navigate an obstacle course that includes balance beams,
a suspension bridge, a Tarzan rope swing and ends with a
175-foot zip line between the trees and repelling to the
ground. (Princess also says you can do it again for free
if you want.) In Juneau, the new offerings include a
photo safari where a local photography coach takes you to
scenic spots on land and sea and shows you how to take
better pictures, or on another new excursion you can have
a "taste of Juneau" which includes visits to the Alaskan
Brewing Company and the Taku Smokeries' Smokehouse along
with a quick stop at the Mendenhall Glacier. Ah, but in
Skagway, Princess has used their special knowledge of the
area to arrange the "Afternoon Red Light Delight" tour.
On that one passengers first get to pan for gold at the
Liarsville Gold Rush Tail Camp and then have a private
party at upstairs at the Red Onion Saloon and Brothel
Museum (which begs the question of what they have in the
display cases).
The bottom line is that as the market for cruises to
Alaska expands, Princess is willing and able to provide
some experiences for everyone, both fresh offerings for
those who want something more of the traditional Alaska
experience and things for those who don't really care if
they are sailing to Alaska or somewhere else.
But that could also be seen as a rather ominous
indication for the Alaskan tourism industry. By virtue of
the fact that the number of shore excursions is growing
which have little to do with the uniqueness of the
Alaskan destination, it confirms there is a growing
number of passengers on these cruises who really aren't
necessarily looking for a truly Alaskan experience. That
will make it much easier for the cruise lines to sail
those ships away from Alaska should the ever-escalating
operating costs or political climate in Alaska ever
become unbearable.
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 02-02-2005, 07:10 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Jefferson City, MO, USA
Posts: 32
Default
David,

This is very interesting. We did the photo safari aboard the Norwegian Star when it was a Hawaii ship, and while I found it a trifle basic, I still enjoyed it.

I wonder if they've considered the possibility of making the photo safari a two-track experience. One that focuses on instruction (for the people who can't find the "on" button on their digital camera) and one for advanced beginners who know how to take good pictures, but would like to be shown some of the better venues to do that.

It's hard to think of Alaska as the "Carribean North" but I have noticed that all the cruise lines are adding routes up there.

Thanks for the update.
__________________
A. L. DeWitt
 
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