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Video: Exploring Alaska by land and sea


Royal Caribbean sees record for Alaska cruises


During Royal Caribbean's third quarter results announcement, the company reported a new record for its Alaska cruise business.  While overall results for Royal Caribbean were generally good, the news out of Alaska was amazing.

Royal Caribbean didn't have to discount its cruises to fill its ships this year, which meant that Royal Caribbean net revenue yield (profitability per passenger after costs) was up quite a bit.

Royal Caribbean's Chief Financial Office Brian Rice described the results during the quarterly report, "Our yields in Alaska this year were the highest in our history."

While Royal Caribbean did not divulge exact figures,  it did say that overall its revenues rose to $2.3 billion for the quarter, which is up from $2 billion from the same quarter last year.

Royal Caribbean expects this years strong showing in Alaska to continue in 2012 as well, although it's still a little too far out to know for sure.

New Orleans blogger takes trip on Radiance of the Seas to Alaska


Dave Cariello, a blogger for Canal Street Chronicles, took a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas to Alaska despite some hesitations about going to a cold water port.  Nonetheless, Dave came away impressed by his trip and definitely a fan of both Alaska and Radiance!

I admit that when my wife suggested Alaska as a possibility for our next destination, I was a bit skeptical. Isn't cruising supposed to be for tropical destinations? And isn't Alaska anything but tropical?

I've been to quite a few wonderful places in my young life but Alaska is truly the most unique. Unless you've seen for yourself the untouched beauty that is The Land of the Midnight Sun, you cannot fathom it's true awesomeness.

Dave posted a lot more photos and summaries of each port they visited, such as Skagway, Juneau and Seward, on his blog.

Royal Caribbean cruises to Alaska in 2012 announed


Itineraries for Royal Caribbean cruises to Alaska in 2012 were announced yesterday of 10 to 18 nights.

Cruises include sailings aboard Radiance of the Seas that sail north and south between Vancouver and Seward as well as Rhapsody of the Seas offering round trip cruises out of Seattle, Washington.

Royal Caribbean also announced 20 new land tours including a 12 night offer for families that include a trip to Fox Island and excursions to the Anchorage Museum and Imaginarium.  There are also six-night Canadian Rocky Mountain cruise tours that include an overnight train journey.

Adam Armstrong, commercial manager, Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia loves the new Alaska itineraries, “Not only do we have great cruise itineraries on offer, but they can also be packaged with land tours in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. We call them ‘cruisetours’ and they offer something for everyone – fun, adventure or relaxation – plus once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see the region’s dramatic cliffs, Alpine glaciers, unique marine life and expansive wilderness.”

Other interesting offerings include

  • An 18-night Ultimate Cruisetour couples the Canadian Rockies pre-cruise with a five-night post-cruise escorted Alaska land tour
  • A six night Canadian Rockies cruisetour that combines Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Vancouver and Victoria with an overnight train journey aboard VIA Rail and accommodations throughout at world-renowned Fairmont hotels.

Photo of the Day: Rhapsody of the Seas leaving Alaska


Photo by Alan C

Photo of the Day: Close to glacier aboard Radiance of the Seas


Photo by Brandi Palechek

Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines drop lawsuit against Alaska


The Alaska Cruise Association, a group that Royal Caribbean is part of, has dropped its lawsuit against the state of Alaska over a cruise ship passenger tax.  The bill passed by Alaska lawmakers this past Friday cuts the head tax from $46 to $34.50 and allows deeper offsets for ships stopping in at least one of two ports. It was signed by Governor Sean Parnell last week, and hailed as both as a way to settle the litigation and attract more ships and tourists.

In addition, cruise lines will be reimbursed an additional amount each time a ship calls in Juneau, Ketchikan or both.

The cruise association had placed at least partial blame on the tax and Alaska's regulatory climate for an expected loss of ships, and about 140,000 passengers, this season.

The tax was voted into law by Alaska residents in 2006 and was highly unpopular among the cruise lines and even argued to be illegal as it discriminates against the larger ships that carry more than 250 passengers.  Experts blame much of the relocation of cruise ships away from Alaska stemming from the tax increase.  

Juneau's Cruise Ship Comeback


The cruise market in Alaska is heating up as cruise lines are showing higher demand for the cruise location than in the recent past.  Royal Caribbean gave a positive assessment of the Alaska market in a report two months ago.  Daniel Hanrahan, president of Celebrity Cruises (Royal Caribbean operates Celebrity Cruises) said, "The Alaska product, where we are once again operating three ships, is also performing well and doing better than ... last year".  

Competitor Carnival reported that "Alaska and other exotic locations," are helping drive increased revenue in Carnival Cruise Line's North American brands.  In addition, Alaska has seen "significantly higher year-over-year pricing," according to David Bernstein, chief financial officer of Carnival Corp.

Last year one million cruise ship passengers came to Juneau, but this year only about 860,000 are expected after Carnival and others relocated ships to other destinations, citing the head tax as one reason for the decline.

Alaska approves tax cut for cruise ship visitors


The Governor of Alaska, Sean Parnell, signed into law a bill that reduces the state head tax on cruise passengers that will lower the head tax from $46 to as little as $19.50 per person.  The tax hike had caused cruise lines like Royal Caribbean to send their ships elsewhere to avoid paying the higher costs.  Loss of business as a result of the withdrawal is estimated at $25 million for Juneau alone this year.

Last month, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell proposed the agreement to persuade several major cruise lines -- which claimed the tax was unfair and possibly illegal -- to drop a lawsuit they had filed against the state to contest the tariff, which was passed in a 2006 vote by Alaska residents as part of a larger initiative.

The new tax law comes into effect in October 2010, but it will be 2012 at least before ships can be re-routed as 2011 itineraries are already planned.

Cruise review from Alaska


Marc Liberts of posted a very thorough trip report from his recent cruise to Alaska aboard Rhapsody of the Seas and shared not only his report of what happened, but also gave some tips and lessons he learned through his cruise.  For those that enjoy reading some thorough reports about past cruises, this is a real treat. 

"My wife and I have been on about 10 cruises of varying length and in cabins varying from inside to suites. Overall, we like to have a balcony, and we like suites, but have decided that the suites aren't worth the extra expense. Normally we would have done the balcony, but we wanted to be near the kids who had ocean-view cabins, and we were only 3 doors down from them. They had 2 adjoining cabins for the 5 of them. One of their cabins had 2 single beds and 2 bunk beds over the singles. The kids loved the bunk beds, so that was a great idea and mom & dad loved having their own room."

Seems like Marc had a great trip and also shared some fantastic photos he took from his trip.  Definitely a good read.