Category Archives: USA Today Travel

Alaska, Cruise West ships get new life

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.

Sunstone Tours Featured in USA Today Travel

Glaciers, iceburgs, whales, polar bears and bald eagles — all can be part of your Alaskan cruise with your children, an experience that will leave them with a lifetime of memories. Particularly interesting for grade schoolers and teens are the shore excursions to such attractions as the Ketchikan Native Village Tour or Skagway’s gold panning demonstration. For “boat-huggers” there is plenty of activity on board, including knowledgeable experts who will point out and explain the flora and fauna as the ship sails through passages, past icebergs and near the shore.

Sunstone Small Ship Adventures

Although not appropriate for toddlers, Sunstone Tours offers a family Alaskan adventure on a small ship that is perfect for kids over 5. With a little more than 80 passengers — as opposed to 2,500 on major cruise lines — these smaller vessels offer better maneuverability, quicker docking at ports and much more personalized service. While your kids won’t find waterslides and pizza parlors, they will have a chance to learn a great deal about Alaska and its inhabitants. Kids under 18 sail for half price and have full privileges both on and off shore (except for alcohol). The small ship visits coves and fjords, threads through fields of small icebergs and gets closer to wildlife than would be possible with any large cruise ship. Kayaks and zodiacs are provided — with professional guides — so that the whole family can penetrate even further into the wilderness. Sunstone Tours 28779 Sea Ranch Way Malibu, CA 90265 888-815-5428 sunstonetours.com