After two years operating just three ships on its Voyage of the Glaciers route, today Princess Cruises announced that it will be returning a fourth ship to its signature itinerary for the 2012 summer season.
The decision by Princess to increase its Alaska capacity was prompted, in part, by recent changes to the head tax structure in the state and the more balanced approach to doing business in Alaska, according to the line.
“We are particularly appreciative of the efforts of Governor Sean Parnell and the Alaska state legislature that have resulted in meaningful progress toward resolving the challenges facing Alaska’s recovery as a cruise destination,” said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises. “We still have work to do, but the recent changes definitely played a part in this decision.”
Buckelew pointed out that bringing a fourth ship back to the Gulf of Alaska route has wide economic impacts from Southeast Alaska to Prudhoe Bay. “Because the one-way route lends itself to longer visitor stays, with visits to both the interior and Southeast Alaska, we calculate it has twice the potential economic impact of roundtrip cruises,” he said.
“We are especially pleased to be able to announce this additional capacity to our business partners and supporters throughout Alaska who have worked tirelessly to advocate for a more positive business climate,” Buckelew added. “They have improved the investment environment for all cruise lines and for all cruise dependent businesses throughout the state.”
Princesses’ Voyage of the Glacier itinerary is the line’s most popular Alaska itinerary, taking passengers between Vancouver and Whittier across the Gulf of Alaska with a visit to Glacier Bay and ports of call in the state’s southeast. Because many passengers on this one-way route usually spend extra time in Alaska’s interior utilizing Princess’ lodges, rail and motorcoaches, this itinerary provides significant tourism benefits to the state.
Full details of Princess’ 2012 Alaska deployment will be announced in spring 2011, including which ship will be added to the lineup.