Kenai Fjords Tours is Alaska’s most popular wildlife and glacier cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords Tours is owned and operated by the CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI). CIRI is one of 12 Alaska-based regional corporations established by Congress under the terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

Passengers aboard Princess Cruises have selected this year’s best shore excursion in Alaska as part of the ninth annual C.R.U.I.S.E. service awards.

The awards acknowledge the importance of local tour operators and their staff and the vital role they play in a passenger’s Alaska cruise experience. The most popular tours, individual guides and dock representatives are determined by passenger surveys taken throughout the season, and are chosen from the extensive line-up of more than 200 Alaska shore excursion options offered on Princess ships.

“The Alaska tour operators we work with do a wonderful job of continuing Princess’ culture of service once passengers go ashore,” said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. “It’s always gratifying to receive so many positive comments about the experiences passengers have on their Alaska shore adventures. These awards are to recognize and thank those who make the shore experience special for our visitors.”

The 2008 winners include:

Juneau: Co-Shore Excursions: Alaska’s Whales & Rainforest Trails, Gastineau Guiding Company; Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter Tour, TEMSCO Helicopters; Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition, Alaska Canopy Adventures. Co-Tour Guides: Jami Likins, Gastineau Guiding Company; Matt Failor, Gold Rush Tours/TEMSCO Helicopters. Dock Representative: Aubrey Reece, TEMSCO Helicopters.

Ketchikan: Co-Shore Excursions: Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour, Commercial Fishing Adventures; Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure, Snorkel Alaska; Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition, Alaska Canopy Adventures. Co-Tour Guides: “Kiwi” Allan Brann, Commercial Fishing Adventures; Rob Holston, Lighthouse Excursions. Dock Representative: Jill Gates, The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.

Kodiak: Shore Excursion: Near Island Sea Kayak Adventure, Orcas Unlimited Charters of Kodiak. Tour Guide: Sue Rohrer, First Group.

Seward: Shore Excursion: Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise, Kenai Fjords Tours. Tour Guide: Whitey Van Deusen, Trails North.

Sitka: Co-Shore Excursions: 4×4 Wilderness Adventure, Greenling Enterprises. Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest, Allen Marine Tours. Tour Guide: Justin Horn, Sitka Tours.

Skagway: Co-Shore Excursions: Dog Sledding & Glacier Flightseeing, TEMSCO Helicopters; Klondike Rock Climbing & Rappelling, Alaska Mountain Guides; Takshanuk Mountain Trail by 4×4, Takshanuk Mountain Trail. Co- Tour Guides: Mike Fortney, Chilkat Guides; Nicki Bunting, Skagway Street Car Co. Dock Representative: Rebecca Hylton, White Pass & Yukon Route.

Valdez: Shore Excursion: Columbia Glacier Cruise, Stan Stephens Cruises. Tour Guide: Chris Arrate, Keystone Outfitters.

Whittier: Shore Excursion: Blackstone Glacier Adventure Cruise, Prince William Sound Cruise & Tours.

The C.R.U.I.S.E. program is the longest running customer service program in the cruise industry. The Alaska awards were begun in 2000 and cap off a season-long effort to recognize the role that Alaskan-owned tour partners play in passengers’ cruise experiences. Tour Guide of the Season and Dock Representative of the Season award winners receive $100, a letter of commendation, a plaque, a ship tour and lunch onboard with their family. Operators of the Shore Excursion of the Season receive a plaque and a letter of commendation, a tour of the ship, and lunch onboard for company officials.

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