Northwest NEWS

June 4, 2001

Entertainment

Take that dream cruise to Alaska this year

by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   Alaska is beckoning. The land of the midnight sun, incredible mountain ranges, wildlife and glaciers is luring thousands of tourists a year, many of them taking the "inside passage" route on cruise ships leaving from Seattle or Vancouver.
   Ships that have spent the winter in the Caribbean are in Puget Sound now for what is expected to be a banner year for the Alaska cruise business.
   Most ships bound for Alaska leave with a full load of passengers.
   Holland America's MS Ryndam was at Pier 66 in Seattle a couple of weeks ago, where I toured the 720-foot vessel.
   The size of the ship and the accommodations were impressive.
   Outside medium-priced cabins were roomy with either large windows or private decks. Suites are also available. Grand curved staircases and lavish artwork are reminiscent of the classic luxury liners that crossed the Atlantic before the jet age.
   The ship, built in 1994, carries 1,266 passengers and a crew of 602.
   Ten passenger decks offer something for everyone, including food, food and more food, gambling, a theater and show lounge.
   Sports facilities and a swimming pool help to take off the pounds.
   Holland America Inside Passage Cruises are seven days, according to Courtney McKenzie, Holland America public relations coordinator.
   The trip highlights Juneau, Ketchikan and a full day cruising Glacier Bay. The line also offers customized package tours of Alaska via Gray Line.
   The increased cruise ship business has not only benefited Seattle, with the increasing numbers of tourists shopping there, but other communities as well.
   McKenzie, a Woodinville native, said 19 businesses in Woodinville are vendors to the Line, delivering a variety of items to the ship, including food and wine.
   "Holland America cruises have a $908,000 impact on the city of Woodinville because of those businesses," she said.
   Those interested in taking a Holland America cruise may call 1-800-426-0327.