Get Away With Fran

September 11, 2009

Disney does Alaska

Filed under: Travel Advice,U.S. — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 10:49 am

Mickey

It’s official, Disney Cruise Line will be heading to Alaska for the first time in 2011, cruising in the 49th state for four months with the Disney Wonder. The weeklong itinerary from Vancouver will hit the hot spots (well, hot in Southeast Alaska) of  Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.

No word yet on whether or not Disney has snagged a coveted permit to visit Glacier Bay – but I bet they’re sure trying. Most of said permits are in the possession of market leaders Princess and Holland America.

No word either what shore excursion experiences Disney has up its sleeve, but I can’t wait to hear about them. Maybe a little gold panning? Goofy in a miner outfit? Chip and Dale doing a little salmon fishing?

The ship will also be stopping by LA for a series of Mexican Riviera cruises before and after the Alaska season. Heck, they have to move it from Florida anyway, and LA is on the way. And as an aside, Disney also announced its Disney Magic will be going to Europe again in 2011, leaving the Florida/Caribbean routes to be serviced by the Disney Dream, which debuts that year.

BTW, Disney is the second line to add Alaska to its 2011 roster – Crystal Symphony will return to Alaska after a several year absence. It’s a good thing for Alaska which is going to see a big decline in cruise passengers in 2010 (Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Cruise West all decreased their fleets in Alaska for 2010). The reductions were blamed mostly on a $50 per passenger head tax the cruise lines object too (there is also the fact the market wasn’t as popular this year, and the cruise lines had to resort to all kind of sales fares to get people excited about making the trek).

Guess it’s a good thing for me too, since I co-write Frommer’s Alaska Cruises & Ports of Call (yup, that’s a plug).

And yes, I am a big fan of Alaska. My opinion it’s a must do for travelers – you don’t understand the concept of the Last Frontier until you visit there. And observing a glacier calving is an unforgettable experience.

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