Cruise West Enhances Value on Alaska Voyages for a More Distinct Guest Experience

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Cruise West Land Tour Guides and Exploration Leaders Earn Interpretive Guide Certification.

As the leading cruise line traveling Alaska, Cruise West has once again set new standards for guest experiences in the “Great Land.” All of their trademark land-based Exploration Leaders and land-tour drivers in Alaska recently completed the National Association of Interpretation’s Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) course, making Cruise West the first cruising company to receive this certification. The program gives these guides the tools to improve the interpretive education and experience obtained on the land tours, providing added value and a more meaningful connection to the region for those guests who travel with Cruise West on any Alaska adventure.

The 32-hour course trains guides in the basics of theme-based presentations, improving skills to tailor lectures to different audiences and respond to questions. Guides learn to construct tours to make the excursion enjoyable, relevant, organized and thematic. This certification enables Cruise West guides to emotionally and intellectually connect guests to the area that they are visiting within Alaska, while continuing to respect the biodiversity and cultural diversity of the regions. Guests can trust that they will gain a thorough understanding and background of the area with a skilled guide, whether on a city tour of Ketchikan or exploring the backcountry of Denali National Park, adding greater value to traveling with Cruise West.

“Cruise West strives to provide guests with meaningful and inspiring journeys,” said John Kreilkamp, VP Alaska Land. “We believe that the CIG certification is necessary to truly educate and connect guests with the vast regions of Alaska.”

Cruise West continues to invest in tour enhancement and interpretation. The Exploration Leaders and managers have trained with the National Association of Interpretation (NAI) for five years. Cruise West’s Southeast Regional Manager Larry Johansen completed CIG training and the “Train the Trainer” course. Special guest speakers are also integrated in Cruise West land tours in various communities throughout Alaska. At Denali National Park and Preserve, through the Denali Foundation, Cruise West guests hear an exclusive presentation by a park naturalist, resulting in a better understanding of the second largest national park in the country.

The following voyage enhancement land tours are available with Alaska cruises during May through September 2006:

  •     Denali National Park & Preserve, a six million acre wonderland comprised of 650 species of flowering plants; 39 species of mammals, including grizzly bears, ptarmigan, moose and caribou; 167 species of birds; and 10 species of fish.
  •     Extraordinary Wilderness Lodges, a visit to one of five secluded lodges either deep in Denali Park or at the foothills of the Alaska Range.

Up-Close, Casual and Personal Cruising

Cruise West – a second-generation, family-owned business and the largest American-owned cruising company – offers the opportunity to explore remote, worldwide locales by providing distinctive, one-of-a-kind, personalized itineraries not offered by the traditional larger cruise lines. Cruise West’s smaller ships – 10 in all – hold between 70-138 guests each, and the casual style onboard encourages relaxation and congenial interaction between guests and crew alike. The experience is personally enriching through expert Exploration Leaders providing onboard narrative and lectures, special local guests from a wide variety of backgrounds, and the library provided on each vessel. All have forward lounges and ample outdoor deck space for viewing and photographing wildlife and scenery. All vessels are also equipped with inflatable landing boats for close-up exploration of remote areas and shore landings.    

To make reservations or request a brochure, visit or call (800) 888-9378.

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Harriet Zois
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