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The Klondike Express: An Alaskan Success.



If you haven't taken a cruise on the MV Klondike Express, you haven't taken a cruise!

Plying the pristine passages of Prince William Sound Prince William Sound, large, irregular, islanded inlet of the Gulf of Alaska, S Alaska, E of the Kenai peninsula. It has many bays and good harbors; the large Columbia Glacier flows into Columbia Bay, in the N central portion. , Brad Phillips' 137-foot, sightseeing catamaran catamaran (kăt'əmərăn`), watercraft made up of two connected hulls or a single hull with two parallel keels. Originally used by the natives of Polynesia, the catamaran design was adopted by Western boat builders in the 19th cent.  accommodates 350 passengers in splendid luxury through milky-blue and jade-green waters, the likes of which are seen nowhere else in the world.

May is National Tourism Month and while last month premiered with snow and freezing weather for most of Alaska, this June issue we seize the official season opener as our excuse to focus on many of Alaska's unique visitor options. We feature tourism for three months running and can't begin to scratch the surface of what's fun to do in Alaska in summertime.

When last we cruised aboard the Klondike Express, it was ending its first full season (2000) of operation and a full complement of passengers was on board, many visiting from around the world. If one was ever proud to be an Alaskan, that was one of the times. Scenic beauty we often take for granted had macho gauchos and dilettante dil·et·tante  
n. pl. dil·et·tantes also dil·et·tan·ti
1. A dabbler in an art or a field of knowledge. See Synonyms at amateur.

2. A lover of the fine arts; a connoisseur.

adj.
 docents awestruck awe·struck   also awe·strick·en
adj.
Full of awe.


awestruck
Adjective

overcome or filled with awe

Adj. 1.
 and lost for words to describe the untamed, uncivilized and unbelievable sights of the sound.

And the boat! The boat is one-of-a-kind on the West Coast of the Pacific. Truly. An honest-to-goodness catamaran, even in the roughest waters the ride is steady and smooth. Seated inside viewing through picture-window galleries or from three open observation decks (two heated) puts one up close and face-to-face with the marine world of Prince William Sound (named by Captain James Cook for William Henry Noun 1. William Henry - English chemist who studied the quantities of gas absorbed by water at different temperatures and under different pressures (1775-1836)
Henry
, later King William King William may refer to:
  • William I of Bimbia
  • William II of Bimbia
  • William I of England
  • William II of England
  • William III of England
  • William IV of the United Kingdom
  • King William County, Virginia
  • William I, German Emperor
 TV of England).

Nina at the Helm

Brad and Helen Phillips pioneered the day cruise industry in Alaska. In 1958 they began Columbia Glacier Cruises in Valdez. In 1986 Phillips introduced the now legendary 26 Glacier Cruise, and launched the Klondike Express' five-hour day cruise in 1999. When Brad Phillips is not in the wheel house, Captain NinaJones is at the helm, much to the surprise and thrill of passengers who are welcomed onto the bridge to have a look at the state-of-the-art navigational gear and get a picture taken with one of the captains. Jones, a lifelong resident of Seattle, is a licensed captain. A graduate of two maritime academies, she has "ojt" experience that has taken her around the world.

Phillips gives a running nature commentary along the way, often spiked with his keen sense of humor Noun 1. sense of humor - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous; "she didn't appreciate my humor"; "you can't survive in the army without a sense of humor"
sense of humour, humor, humour
 and gift of gab gift of gab
n.
The ability to talk readily, glibly, and convincingly.
. (He is a retired Alaska State legislator-and an attorney!) (Oh, you didn't know that?) These traits endear en·dear  
tr.v. en·deared, en·dear·ing, en·dears
To make beloved or very sympathetic: a couple whose kindness endeared them to friends.
 him to his passengers who enjoy a complimentary, gourmet hot luncheon served by some of the most gracious deckhands you'll ever hope to meet.

The 26 Glacier Cruise and the Klondike Express depart from Whittier, a scenic hour south of Anchorage. Get there by auto, train or bus. Call Phillips Cruises, (907) 276-8023 for reservations and details. Bon Voyage.

Vern C. McCorkle
COPYRIGHT 2001 Alaska Business Publishing Company, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Jun 1, 2001
Words:481
Previous Article:May Alaska trends.
Next Article:KAKM and Phillips Petroleum to Co-Produce Alaska's First Digital Documentary.
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