Category Archives: cruise west
Back in the 90’s and into most of the 2000’s, Cruise West was a major player in the small ship cruising niche industry. Many of our clients fell in love with their Alaska experience and the ships. With the one-year anniversary of the Cruise West’s demise approaching, we like to check in on the former Cruise West ships to see where they are now.
Spirit of Oceanus
The one time 120-passenger flagship of the line was the most luxurious ship in the fleet, and sailed grand Alaska and Asia itineraries. The Spirit of Oceanus was in the midst of sailing a world cruise when Cruise West halted operations. The ship terminated its sailing in Newfoundland, Canada and was immediately sold to TN Cruise K/S, who now charters the ship to other cruise lines.
Today, the ship, renamed Sea Spirit, is now chartered to several expedition lines, including Quark Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions, sailing the Antarctic.
Sea Spirit Itineraries
- Crossing the Antarctic Circle – Quark Expeditions
- Explorers’ Quest – Quark Expeditions
- Antarctic Explorer – Quark Expeditions
- Circumnavigation of South Georgia with the Falkland Islands – Zegrahm Expeditions
I just find it so interesting that two of the now defunct Cruise West ships have been re-appointed within the past 24 hours.
- Spirit of Yorktown – now Yorktown with Travel Dynamics International sailing the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes more…
- Spirit of Endeavour – now Safari Endeavour with American Safari Cruises now sailing Alaska more…
We at Sunstone Tours & Cruises are very happy these fine ships continue to be utilized, providing memorable experiences for thousands of travelers.
Ketchikan is usually the first port in Alaska to visit on an Alaska cruise. The big ships dock on one side of town our small ships dock in the middle of town. One of our small ship lines Inner Sea Discoveries starts and ends their cruises in Ketchikan. Those who book their small ship crusie with us, Sunstone Tours, the small ship experts, receive a map and all sorts of fun information on Ketchikan as well as where to stay if you come in a night early. Here is some of the information that we provide our clients..
And…for a fun unique private tour of Ketchikan in her vintage Chevy, visit my friend Lois at ClassicTours…tell her Linda sent you
Stop by the visitors center on the dock to pick up the Historic Ketchikan walking-tour map and guide to area attractions. The 2-mi/3-km tour is an excellent way to see many of Ketchikan’s sites. Even if you stray from the map, don’t worry: The town isn’t big enough to get lost in. The city has also put up signage to make it even easier for visitors to find sites of interest and then return to the docks.
The walking tour will take you past the turreted, Victorian-style Burkhardt House; the 1954 tunnel on Front Street, which claims to be the only tunnel that you can go over, around and through; and E.C. Phillips & Sons, one of the few remaining cold-storage and fish-processing plants in the city.
You might also want to drop by the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, one block inland from the cruise docks. It provides interpretive exhibits about the rain forest, wildlife and native cultures, a film about the Tongass National Forest, and information on public lands, area hiking, kayaking and local ecosystems.
Along with the prosperity brought by salmon and mining came a red-light district built on the pilings above Ketchikan Creek. The community had as many as 30 bordellos before prostitution became illegal in 1953. Most of the women moved on; one who didn’t was Dolly Arthur, whose bordello is now a museum, Dolly’s House.
Strolling along the rest of Creek Street and checking out the various shops can be great fun. There are also a few cafes where you can eat outside if the weather is nice. Or just hang over the railings and watch the fish and kayakers go by. While you’re on Creek Street, catch the tram up to Cape Fox Lodge. From there you’ll be treated to one of the best views of Ketchikan.
It is exciting to have more small ships to offer my clients. As Cruise West closed down, their popular ships are being purchased by other companies and will be put back into service in Alaska. Two ships for now…others to showup in the future.
Hawaii, by small ship. A very new unique one of a kind cruise experience. This is a first and it is filling up amazingly fast. Very popular idea that no other line has jumped on. Being on your almost private yacht for a week sailing between the Hawaiian Islands………sign me up…
By Jay Clarke
Special to The Miami Herald
Two new small-ship cruise lines will start service in Alaska in May.
Alaska Dream Cruises will operate a three-ship fleet that includes two former 78-passenger Cruise West vessels that will be renamed Admiralty Dream and Baranof Dream and a 49-passenger renovated catamaran to be named the Alaska Dream. The new line, created by Allen Marine Tours, will offer seven-night cruises from Sitka. http://www.allenmarinetours.com.
Inner Sea Discoveries, created by American Safari Cruises, will operate two 49-passenger vessels, Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Discoverer. The former Glacier Bay Cruise Line vessels are undergoing extensive renovation. They will explore coves and other rarely seen sites along the Inside Passage. Inner Sea will offer seven-night one-way cruises between Juneau and Ketchikan and 14-night one-way trips between Seattle and Juneau. http://www.innerseadiscoveries.com.
NEW HAWAII CRUISES
A second American-flagged cruise line will begin making cruises within Hawaii next year. The 36-passenger Safari Explorer, owned by American Safari Cruises, will make seven- and 10-night one-way cruises between Maui and the Big Island and reverse starting in October. Ports of call will include the less-visited islands of Molokai and Lanai, and itineraries will be flexible, enabling passengers to explore remote coves, inlets and shorelines.
Cruise West Spirit of Oceanus gets new life…Sea Spirit
Cruise West, Spirit of Oceanus sold to a charter company who re named her Sea Spirit is going to get a new life and sail again.
Quark will charter her to temporarily take the place of their present charter which is in dry dock being repaired.
She will replace the Clipper Adventurer who ran around during her Arctic 2010 season. That incident led to the cancellation of first three scheduled voyages of the 2010-11 Antarctic season. The repairs to Clipper Adventurer will take longer than previously expected. As a result, Sea Spirit, formerly known as Spirit of Oceanus, for the Antarctic 2010-2011 season. Sea Spirit will be used instead of Clipper Adventurer, taking over Clipper Adventurer’s scheduled voyages.
Her first voyage as a Quark Expeditions vessel will be the 20-day Explorers’ Quest . Sea Spirit will carry a maximum of 120 passengers. She is equipped with rigid inflatable boats – RIBs – for shore transfers and cruising. The RIB fleet is comprised of Achilles and Zodiac boats.
Once the Clipper Adventurer is repaired the Sea Spirit will be sent home for a new company to use her.
Quark’s Quality Adventure Coupled with Unsurpassed Comfort and Style
Sea Spirit guests sail in the most spacious cabins in our fleet and have a choice of one King Size bed or two twin beds. All 57 cabins have private facilities and exterior views. Fifteen of the cabins have private balconies for viewing the extraordinary Antarctic icescape. While enjoying the excitement of Quark’s 20-day Explorers’ Quest, your clients can phone home on the in-room phone with satellite access. Every cabin has individual temperature controls, a sitting area, refrigerator and in-room safe.
Sea Spirit has 7 cabin categories, including triple cabins and the very spacious Owner’s Suite.
New cruise line to launch in Alaska with ships from failed Cruise West
By Gene Sloan, USA TODAY
An Alaskan company with a long history in the boating business has announced plans to launch a new small ship cruise line in the state.
As was first reported today by industry watcher Travel Weekly, the new line will be called Alaskan Dream Cruises and operate two vessels that until last month were part of the Cruise West fleet.
Cruise West, one of the most storied names in Alaska tourism, collapsed in September after years of dominating small ship cruising in the state.
Alaskan Dream Cruises is being launched by Sitka, Alaska-based Allen Marine Tours, which has operated day tours in the state since the 1970s and also owns a boatbuilding business. The new line will operate Cruise West’s 78-passenger Spirit of Columbia and Spirit of Alaska, which will be renamed the Admiralty Dream and Baranof Dream.
A third vessel, a 49-passenger catamaran to be called the Alaska Dream, also will be part of the Alaskan Dream Cruises fleet, the line says.
Aboard the Queen of the West, Sept 25 – Oct 2, 2010
If you want a cruise steeped in history, this is for you. We had watched the Ken Burns video prior to going, and it was immensely helpful in understanding the magnitude of the Lewis & Clark 4000 mile exploration in 1804-1806. Traveling up the Columbia River while hearing an on-board narration by a local historian gave us a vivid sense of the trials they experienced, and of the historic discoveries they made (over 200 species of animals and plants never before seen). To hear about their survival while undergoing extreme weather conditions, lack of food from time to time, successful travel through unknown territory controlled by many different Indian nations (some hostile), and terrain most difficult and inhospitable gave us an appreciation of modern luxuries. These Indian nations lived, hunted, and traded for more than 10,000 years in The Dalles area near the Bonneville Dam (erected 135 years later). Read the rest of this entry
Guilford, CT – American Cruise Lines has announced it is expanding to the Mississippi River system with a brand new sternwheeler, already under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. It plans to operate the new riverboat on routes similar to those formerly run by Delta Queen Steamboat Company, which will include the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers. Cruising the Mississippi River on a sternwheeler is a true all-American experience that American Cruise Lines is pleased to bring back. The new paddlewheeler will recreate the grandeur of past riverboats while possessing the latest safety, environmental and construction technologies. The ship will have the look of a traditional riverboat along with more amenities, a faster speed, and an unmatched level of comfort. Features include six unique lounges, a library, an elegant dining salon, elevator service to all decks, and the exceptionally large staterooms found on all American Cruise Lines ships. With only 140 passengers, each guest will receive personalized service in the intimate and friendly atmosphere for which American Cruise Lines has become known.
The first cruise is a scheduled to depart August 11, 2012 from New Orleans, Louisiana on a 7-night journey up the Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee. The ship will then begin a series of 7-night cruises travelling as far north as St. Paul, Minnesota while utilizing its remarkable speed to open up new itinerary possibilities. As on all true riverboats, a stage and bow ramp will give the ship access to the many interesting ports without docking facilities.
American Cruise Lines has experienced record bookings in 2010 and has seen an increasing demand from passengers to bring their style of cruising to the Mississippi and tributary rivers. The company decided to introduce a new riverboat so that it could offer its superior style of cruising to the Mississippi River.
American Cruise Lines will soon usher in a new era of Mississippi riverboats that will set the standard for years to come. For details on the best Mississippi River experience aboard the finest riverboat in the world please call an American Cruise Lines cruise specialist at 888-815-5428.
If you were booked or thinking of booking Cruise West, we need to talk.
By now you should have applied for your refund through your credit card, travel insurance or USTOA.
My other small ship operators are reaching out to accommodate Cruise West passengers. There are a number of options depending on your destination. Some are similar to the Cruise West product, others different. This is where you need a small ship expert like Linda, Sunstone Tours to help you. Give us a call 888-815-5428
American Safari Cruises have offered reduced prices to passengers who were booked on Cruise West sailings that have been cancelled.
Orion Expedition Cruises to offer discounts for passengers booked on Cruise West this year and next.
InnerSea Discoveries, upcoming 2011 Alaska, Mexico’s Sea of Cortes and Columbia River seasons.
Lindblad Expeditions is offering varied discounts to Cruise West passengers.
American Cruise Line will honor the Cruise West price on their remaining Columbia Snake River 2010 sailings.
A sad moment for us here at Sunstone Tours & Cruises.
Cruise West announced that they will cease operations on Saturday, September 18th. For the last year, Cruise West has aggressively pursued a number of options with interested parties to maintain operations, including investment, selling assets, and selling the company. In part because of the most recent dip in the markets and the continued lack of economic confidence, these options have not come to fruition. Read the rest of this entry