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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Carnival Plans Switch To Seattle As Hub For Alaska Cruises

Add Seattle to the list of industry giant Carnival's home ports.

The world's biggest cruise operator today announced the northwestern city would be its new base for Alaska cruises starting in 2010. The line, which sends a single ship to Alaska each year, will in turn be dropping Vancouver and Whittier, Alaska as its hubs for the region.

Carnival says it has assigned the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit to sail its new Alaska routings in 2010 -- the same ship it is sending to the region this year.

Carnival has been cruising in Alaska for about a decade, but until now its voyages in the state always have begun and ended in Vancouver, Whittier or Seward, Alaska. The move to Seattle is in keeping with the line's renewed focus on cruise hubs that are easy for Americans to reach by car.

The Spirit will sail 17 cruises to Alaska out of Seattle between May 10 and August 31, 2010. The ship will call in the Alaskan ports of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan as well as at Victoria Island, British Columbia. It'll also spend a day cruising in Alaska's famed Tracy Arm Fjord.

Vancouver isn't entirely off the scheduled for 2010. Prior to the start of the new Seattle program, the Spirit will operate a single six-day Inside Passage voyage that starts in Vancouver and ends in Seattle departing May 5, 2010. It'll also sail a single seven-day Glacier Bay cruise from Seattle that ends in Vancouver on Sept. 7, 2010.

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