Pearl earns environment award

The Norwegian Pearl, a familiar sight in Southeast Alaska, received the Port of San Francisco’s Cruise Ship Environmental Award. The program recognizes cruise ships whose on-board environmental systems help decrease air and water pollution. It is the second time the Pearl has won the award.

“The Port of San Francisco is pleased to acknowledge the officers and crew members of Norwegian Pearl for going above and beyond the existing regulations to preserve and protect the air and water quality of San Francisco Bay and beyond,” said Peter Daily, maritime director for the port.

Ships feature travel guides

Cruisers on all Holland America line ships bound for Alaska in 2008 will see and hear about their surroundings from an expert – an Alaskan Travel Guide. New this year are Alaska Native Travel Guides on Glacier Bay-bound ships. Through a partnership with Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska Native guides will be on board 114 sailings in Glacier Bay.

“We are very pleased at how this program has evolved,” said Richard D. Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest relations. “Our guests visitng Glacier Bay will enjoy having an Alaska Native guide on board the full cruise to provide another perspective on the land they’re visiting.”

PWS growth slow but steady

A new study by Ecosystems, an Anchorage economic consulting firm, found that tourism ? along with tourism-related employment and earnings – is slowly but steadily growing in Prince William Sound.

Bed and other special taxes collected between 2000 and 2006 increased by $601,666 (23 percent). During the same period, total wages in the hospitality and leisure sector increased by $1,553,584 (24 percent). Cordova, Valdez and Whittier all saw an increase in tourism-related business licenses between 2000 and 2006. Entitled “Prince William Sound Tourism Economic Indicators,” the study was funded by National Wildlife Federation and is available online at

Alaska cruises flat

Juneau reports that about 1 million cruise-ship travelers will head our way this season, but that’s only with more aggressive cabin discounting this year. “They lower the price until someone will pay to go on the cruise,” said John Binkley of the Alaska Cruise Association.

Drew Green works for Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska doing logistical work at ports. “I don’t see the investment in Alaska we’ve seen in the past, with the new builds, the new ships coming out. We used to have the biggest, the best, the newest up here.”

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