Alaskan Roots

A new small-ship line celebrates culture and nature.

Out of the demise of Cruise West comes rebirth, for at least two of the line’s former 78-passenger vessels, the Spirit of Columbia and Spirit of Alaska. A new Alaska-based small-ship line, Alaskan Dream Cruises will launch in May 2011 with these ships renamed Admiralty Dream and Baranof Dream.

Sitka for Alaskan Dream Cruises
Sitka, a scenic fishing village in the shadow of Mt. Edgecombe, will serve as home port for Alaskan Dream Cruises.

Owned by Allen Marine Tours of Sitka, AK, Alaskan Dream Cruises will also operate a third smaller vessel, the Alaska Dream—a catamaran that formerly operated as Contessa and Executive Explorer.

Starting May 14, 2011, and continuing through September 3, 2011, Admiralty Dream and Alaska Dream will sail eight-day roundtrip voyages from Sitka on Saturdays.

Industry veteran Noel DeChambeau, a consultant representing the new line, said both ships will operate the same itinerary and guests can expect a hefty focus on native Alaskan culture, wildlife viewing and sustainable tourism. After extensively touring Sitka, guests will cruise to such Inside Passage destinations as Icy Point Strait, Port Adolphus, Hobart Bay, Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. The itinerary will also give clients a touch of urban Alaska with a port call at Juneau, the capital city.

During the launch season at least, the line expects to utilize the Baranof Dream for charters and groups. At press time, the line said bookings were expected to open sometime in November. DeChambeau said the line plans to sell through the trade and pay agent commission, but that details of the latter were not yet finalized.

He also said Alaskan Dream Cruises was looking at setting up an escrow system for client payments, designed to instill consumer and trade confidence in the aftermath of Cruise West’s shutdown. Fares were yet to be finalized at press time, but agents may expect them to start at about $4,500 per person depending on guest cabin designation and vessel. A single supplement is planned.

With corporate offices and a shipyard in Sitka, Allen Marine Tours has four decades of experience in operating day boat tours for visitors in Alaska. Those day cruises focus on wildlife viewing, scenic cruising and cultural touring in and around Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau.

Initial press material for the line touts seeing the “True Alaska with True Alaskans.” The Allen family, owners and operators of the new line, are descendents of the First Nations tribes of the Pacific Northwest People and members of the Kaagwaantaan Clans of the Tlingit people. The family also has a Russian connection, according to DeChambeau.

Agents may access information about the new line on http://media.alaskandreamcruises.com or call 855-747-8100.