Holland America’s history in Alaska dates back to 1947 in Fairbanks when the legendary Chuck West started Arctic Alaska Tours, later renamed Westours.
West pioneered the cruise-tour concept, combining cruising with a land tour through Alaska and the Yukon. Westours originally arranged bus, rail and air trips for passengers arriving on Alaska Steamship vessels at Seward and Valdez.
At its peak, West’s holdings included Westours, Alaska’s leading tour operator; hotels; a fleet of motorcoaches; and a staff of highly trained tour escorts and service people. He also chartered the first cruise ships to operate in Alaska waters.
Westours became a Holland America subsidiary in 1979.