Massive Glacier Calving Sends Ice Flying Towards Tourists

One of the reasons to go on an Alaskan Cruise is to see the massive ice structures in areas like Tracy Arm Fjord. When ice breaks off it’s known as calving – and when it breaks off in huge chunks – it’s known as “DANGER DANGER” according the the camera woman. There was only one injury – and it was actually because a 60 year old woman fell down and broke her leg. To her credit, you can see smaller (volley-ball sized) chunks of ice shooting toward the boat at dangerous speed.

Via: Cruiselog

Top 4 Last Minute Cruise Deals to Alaska

Alaska has long been a destination we’d love to visit – and with all the news lately, we decided to compile a few last minute deals from the major lines. We are not a travel agency nor affiliated with one – and all links on this post go directly to the cruise line’s website.

Below are four of the best deals that we found (at least as of today). These fares are per-person, based on double occupancy, and do not include taxes or government fees – and it’s possible you may qualify for deeper discounts based on location, age, or other factors.

Princess Cruises: 7-Day Alaska Inside Passage Cruise

Ship: Golden Princess
Departs: Seattle, Washington
Departure Date: July 31, 2010
Ports of call: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan while sailing in Glacier Bay or Tracy Arm Fjord, depending on your itinerary.
Length: 7 Days

Inside Cabin $799
Oceanview Cabin $949
Balcony $1,499*
Suite $1,679

*Note: Take a look at the August 14th sailing – it’s $200 less per person for a balcony, but the same or higher in every other class.

Visit Princess Cruises for more information. (limited time link!)

Holland America Line: 7-Day Alaskan Explorer Cruise

Ship: ms Zaandam
Departs: Seattle, Washington
Departure Date: September 3, 2010
Ports of call: Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria BC while sailing in Glacier Bay
Length: 7 Days

Inside Cabin $699
Oceanview Cabin $699
Balcony $1,099
Suite $2,649

Visit Holland American Line for more information.

Carnival Cruise Line: 7-Day Glacier Bay Cruise

Ship: Spirit
Departs: Seattle, Washington
Departure Date: September 13, 2010
Ports of call: Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Vancouver BC while sailing in Glacier Bay.
Length: 7 Days

Inside Cabin $569
Oceanview Cabin $779
Balcony $1,009
Suite $1,679

Visit Carnival for more information.

Royal Caribbean 7-Day Sawyer Glacier Cruise

Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas
Departs: Seattle, Washington
Departure Date: August 27, 2010
Ports of call: Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria BC while sailing in the Alaska Inside Passage and Tracy Arm Fjord.
Length: 7 Days

Inside Cabin $644
Oceanview Cabin $949
Balcony $1,999
Suite $2,149

Visit Royal Caribbean for more information.

Alaska Cruise Dollars Decline after Tax Hike

While politicians are debating tax hikes in Washington D.C., the state of Alaska is learning firsthand what increased taxes can do to your local economy and the businesses that operate there. Preliminary results from the Alaska Department of Revenue show a 20% decline in cruise tourism in May from a year ago following tax increases that caused several cruise lines to drop itineraries to “The Last Frontier.”

The cruise industry typically sets itineraries two years in advance, so it took a little time for Alaska to see the decline after the $46 tax for each visiting cruise passenger was put into place a few years ago. Last year, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess all announced plans to pull ships from Alaska once they saw their profit margin sinking under the new taxes.

Carnival’s CEO made a statement last year explaining that cruise lines operate primarily as a business, and if business is better somewhere else (e.g. a ship can make more money in Europe than Alaska) the line won’t hesitate to move a ship.

Earlier this year Alaska changed the law and lowered the tax rate (after much lobbying from local tourist associations and the cruise line industry) – but the effects won’t be seen until at least 2012 since ships have already been scheduled and booked for other itineraries around the world.

Unfortunately for businesses dependent on cruise tourism in Alaska, this could be too little too late. It will take years to recover the business cruise ships were bringing to the region and may force some local businesses to close.

Cruise lines have the luxury of taking their business elsewhere relatively easily by pointing their ships in another direction – land-based companies do not.

Poll after poll will tell you jobs and the economy are the number one concern in America – which is why it’s puzzling to me why a state would impose a policy that encourages business to leave the region – and in most cases the entire country. Lower tourism means fewer businesses and higher unemployment.

Alaska figured it out too late for it to benefit anyone in the next two years – I hope Washington D.C. doesn’t make the same mistakes.

VIA: USA Today – Cruise Log

U.S. Coast Guard Suspends Search for Overboard Princess Cruise Passenger

The U.S. Coast Guard called off their search earlier today after receiving information from Princess Cruise Lines that 67-year old Edelgard Carney went overboard 200 miles south of U.S. waters.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the task of finding the body of the elderly California resident now lies with the Victoria Search and Rescue team in Canada, but has offered its assistance if needed.

The latest information indicates that Sapphire Princess passenger Carney went overboard at 6:08 AM on Tuesday. Previously they thought she may have gone overboard on Monday evening closer to the Alaskan port of Ketchikan and in U.S. waters.

The precise time indicates there could be video evidence, since even a witness would have a hard time noting the exact time of the incident (and probably would have reported it sooner).

The Sapphire Princess is a luxury liner with 740 balcony staterooms, and is now headed south to begin Mexican Riviera itineraries.