Cruise West Gains Speed

Cruise West, a Seattle-based cruise company operating tours across the world (see Travel Agent's April 2 issue), is rapidly building up its management team in recent months, promoting Al Petrone as chief marketing officer and adding Jerrol Golden as director of public relations. In addition, the company is ramping up its Alaska product, offering tours that range from soft adventure to leisure cruising.  A Cruise West ship passes sun-bathing sea lions

"New programs are a product of guest demand as well as new vendors that approach us," says Karen Kuest, program manager for Cruise West.

A popular new Alaska itinerary offered by Cruise West is "Overnights in Glacier Bay," which gives guests the opportunity to spend the night in Glacier BayNational Park, where few other cruise vessels are permitted. "The vessels are pretty shallow, so we can go close to the shore and see sea lions," Kuest says. "On one trip we were able to latch out on Glacier Bay 30 feet from the shore and watch wolves for a half hour." Guests also can participate in shore excursions, which include hikes along the coastline or through the forest. Cruises run May through September. Visit

Cruise West also operates a very lucrative commission program, where agents can earn up to 20 percent. "Agents can select up to three itineraries they want to promote; they come up with a campaign and we provide them with whatever they need for marketing," says Melanie Cole, vice president of sales for the company. For every booking of a marketed tour, the agent earns an additional 10 percent, which they can keep or pass along to clients.