Cruise West’s Alaska Experience

Within more than half a million square miles lies a world so vast, so rich, that even with repeated visits you will never grasp its scope.  Alaska.  Known as the Great Land, it is a place of extremes.  Majestic mountains.  Thundering glaciers.  Picturesque ports.  Ancient cultures.  Towering rainforests.  Sweeping tundra.

Cruise West’s small ships share Alaska’s secrets with you.  Four unique voyages in the coastal waterways of Southeast Alaska offer unique insights and rare experiences. Your journey will take you away from crowds to the grandness of the special places around you, the hidden fjords, the secret coves, the Native villages and the enchanting ports.

Your choices of itinerary are as wide as the Alaskan sky and Cruise West’s small ships take you to more of Alaska than any other cruise line.  From 4-day to 11-day cruises, there’s an itinerary that’s just right for your dreams.

Two exciting routes explore Alaska’s Inside Passage with routes from Seattle to Juneau, and round trip Juneau, all exploring the charming ports and scenic waterways of the legendary Inside Passage.  Lush evergreen forests, snow capped mountains, calving glaciers, breaching whales and gatherings of bald eagles invite you to one of the last great wild places on earth.

With more permits than any other cruise line, our Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve cruises offer you an unending panorama of wildlife, fjords and the wilderness heart of Alaska, allowing you to discover the real Alaska, accompanied by an onboard National Park Service Ranger and a Native Cultural Interpreter.

Beautiful Prince William Sound is the home of mammoth glaciers, colonies of seabirds, a myriad of wildlife like humpbacks, orcas, grays, otters, seals and sea lions.  This spectacular region of meandering shorelines studded with hidden islands and enfolded fjords is a hidden treasure where few roads reach and even fewer cruise lines go.  Here is a pristine landscape the world has come to treasure.

Alaska’s glorious coastlines stretch for more than 6,000 miles.  Yet these enchanted waterways only reveal part of its beauty because Alaska’s interior is also filled with surprises.  To complete your Alaska voyage, come to the heartland.  Discover mountain ranges, vast landscapes that are home to moose, caribou, grizzlies and wolves.  From the enormous wilderness of Denali National Park to the serene peace of remote, rustic lodges, when you add a land tour to your cruise, you’ll capture even more of the unsurpassed beauty that is Alaska.

Come with Cruise West on the trip of a lifetime to experience the realization of something you’ve dreamed about, planned for and looked forward to.  Seeing Alaska by small-ship will get you closer let you see more and show you personally what Alaska truly means.

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IGLTA Announces Partnership with the Cruise Lines International Association

IGLTA and CLIA Organizations join forces to increase visibility, cross-promotion and joint membership.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 10, 2009 — The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are proud to announce a new cooperative agreement that will bring the two organizations together on a variety of educational, marketing and member recruitment opportunities.

Under the new agreement, IGLTA and CLIA will not only exchange memberships, but also work together to identify prospective members and joint visibility opportunities in domestic and international markets. Both organizations will support and recognize each other as industry partners at their respective events and annual conventions, including registrations and trade show exposition space.

“With a growing and diversifying membership, IGLTA and its leaders have been focused on increasing the organization’s strategic ties within the travel industry, and this new partnership with CLIA is a major component of that continued outreach,” said IGLTA Executive Director John Tanzella. “I have no doubt that our working together is going to mean many great things for both our membership rosters and the industry at large.”

Created in 1975 by approval of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade organization. Today, over 16,000 North American travel agents are registered members. The organization’s 23 member cruise lines sail the world and source guests globally, and these cruise lines represent over 97% of the cruise capacity marketed within North America . Programmatically, CLIA is engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cursing. The organization also participates in the regulatory and policy development processes for the cruise industry while supporting measures that foster safe, secure and healthy cruise ship environments.

“The gay and lesbian community is very important to the cruise industry, and we look forward to working with IGLTA to promote cruises for all who love to travel,” said Robert Sharak, CLIA executive vice president, marketing and distribution. “The cruise industry has shown tremendous growth over the last twenty years or more in part because the variety of cruise vacations has exceptional appeal for a diverse audience. There is a cruise for every taste, interest and budget, and all travelers are made to feel welcome.”

In January 2009, CLIA reported an optimistic outlook for its industry for the remainder of what is already an economically challenging year around the globe, citing (among many other positive indicators) a still-solid popularity among consumers for cruising, $4.8 billion USD in new ship construction, a diversification in global and “close to home” ports and destinations, and strong growth statistics that have followed the cruise industry through a number of economic downturns since the 1980s.

“There is no doubt that 2009 represents an uncertain environment, not only for CLIA members but for all industries and consumers,” said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. “However, CLIA members are confident that they will weather the challenges and emerge stronger than ever, as they have before. This is an industry that plans ahead and invests in the future, as evidenced by the impressive number of new ships on order through 2012. The remarkable diversity and variety of cruises give consumers a unique opportunity to find a vacation that fits their budget even during these economic downturns, and we expect that North Americans, Europeans and travelers from all over the world will respond positively.”

Earlier this month, IGLTA released similarly optimistic findings demonstrating the steady strength of the gay and lesbian travel market despite economic conditions that are causing many consumers to alter their spending habits. According to the organization’s press release, which quotes data collected online by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, gay and lesbian travelers continue to vacation in greater numbers than many of their counterparts in the marketplace today. Of particular note is the finding that this niche — which is characteristically brand loyal to gay and lesbian “friendly” companies — is currently buoyed by a growing market power and a higher than average amount of discretionary income.

“When considered side by side, the current findings and projections about the cruise industry and the gay and lesbian travel market suggest a natural partnership between IGLTA and CLIA,” Tanzella said. “Though no industry, organization or single consumer is exempt from the economic downturn, opportunities for growth still exist, and I’m convinced that our two organizations working more closely will demonstrate that.”

IGLTA is the world’s leading authority, resource and representative of gay and lesbian travel. Its membership is located in 55 countries around the world and consists of accommodations, airlines, tour operators, travel agents, tourism office, media and other key players in the tourism industry. IGLTA works to help the tourism industry attract gay and lesbian consumers and learn more about the gay and lesbian market. Since its founding in 1983, IGLTA has expanded its international influence from just 25 members to over 2,000.

My personal note in regards to this wonderful news announcement and joint partnership. There are currently many great cost values and promotions on many of the various cruise lines. When selecting a particular Cruise and the ports of destinations, please be aware that not all ports of call are GLBT friendly and  in some counties our life style is not accepted. The port and and or the country maybe on your “list of places” to visit and experience. Just be aware of this issue. Make the most of the experience enjoy the sites and experience but be aware.

JOIN THE GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT

I’m passing this on to those of you that may want to consider participating in this weekends “Count for Fun, Count for the Future”. As I prepared this post my 4 Brown Eagles are presently hovering overhead. I have named the parents Rodan and Priscilla and I still need to figure out and name their 2 children who are about 4 years old now.

New York, NY and Ithaca, NY—Bird and nature fans throughout North America are invited to join tens of thousands of everyday bird watchers for the 12th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 13-16, 2009.


A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation. Participants count birds and report their sightings online at www.birdcount.org.


“The Great Backyard Bird Count benefits both birds and people. It’s a great example of citizen science: Anyone who can identify even a few species can contribute to the body of knowledge that is used to inform conservation efforts to protect birds and biodiversity,” said Audubon Education VP, Judy Braus. “Families, teachers, children and all those who take part in GBBC get a chance to improve their observation skills, enjoy nature, and have a great time counting for fun, counting for the future.”

Anyone can take part, from novice bird watchers to experts, by counting birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and reporting their sightings online at www.birdcount.org. Participants can also explore what birds others are finding in their backyards—whether in their own neighborhood or thousands of miles away. Additional online resources include tips to help identify birds, a photo gallery, and special materials for educators.


The data these “citizen scientists” collect helps researchers understand bird population trends, information that is critical for effective conservation. Their efforts enable everyone to see what would otherwise be impossible: a comprehensive picture of where birds are in late winter and how their numbers and distribution compare with previous years. In 2008, participants submitted more than 85,000 checklists.


“The GBBC has become a vital link in the arsenal of continent-wide bird-monitoring projects,” said Cornell Lab of Ornithology director, John Fitzpatrick. “With more than a decade of data now in hand, the GBBC has documented the fine-grained details of late-winter bird distributions better than any project in history, including some truly striking changes just over the past decade.”

Each year, in addition to entering their tallies, participants submit thousands of digital images for the GBBC photo contest. Many are featured in the popular online gallery. Participants in the 2009 count are also invited to upload their bird videos to YouTube; some will also be featured on the GBBC web site. Visit www.birdcount.org to learn more.

Businesses,  schools, nature clubs, Scout troops, and other community organizations interested in the GBBC can contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 (outside the U.S., call (607) 254-2473), or Audubon at citizenscience@audubon.org or (202) 861-2242, Ext 3050.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible, in part, by support from Wild Birds Unlimited.


I hope that you enjoy this activity as much as I will.  If you have the time and space, why not plan to invite some your favorite birds into your backyard this year. Select the appropriate bird houses and place them in your yard.

I am sure they will give you many hours of pleasure and possibly help you eliminate some annoying insects that you are not fond of.

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