Small Ship Cruising Alaska – The Loss of Cruise West
It’s been about a month since Cruise West announced that they were ceasing their operations. In the tail-end of our busy season on the M/V David B, we were surprised to hear that they had gone bankrupt, but we too consumed with our fall operations to really take in what it means to us when a company like Cruise West is no longer around.
For the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about next year and how our prospective passengers will hear about us. I know many of our passengers have gone on Cruise West tours in the past. That was their first exposure to small ship cruising and it primed their enthusiasm to find an even more intimate cruising experience – something like the cruises we offer on the David B. The loss of Cruise West also means that there is now an even bigger gap between mega cruise ship companies and owner/operator tour companies. Without the advertising dollars of Cruise West firing up the imagination of prospective passengers, it makes more work for us to educate prospective passengers that there are alternatives to seeing Alaska on an enormous cruise ship.
Many of our passengers began their search for an Alaskan Cruise by typing in “Small Ship Cruise Alaska” or “Small Cruise Alaska” and found Cruise West’s website sitting at the top of their search results. After looking at beautiful, professionally staged photos of smiling, happy people in expedition-style skiffs racing to the face of a tidewater glacier, close-ups of brown bears and breaching whales, our passengers asked themselves, “Hmmm, what else is there?” That’s when we would capture our passenger’s desire for a truly individualized cruising experience in Alaska. Maybe it will be easier for people looking for a quality small ship experience to find us more directly. I hope so, but I wonder without the bigger voice of Cruise West out there promoting small ship cruises, if we’ve lost something valuable. I hope not.
In the coming months we’ll be talking to more people who would have gone on a cruise with Cruise West, and I welcome everyone who had hoped to see Alaska with Cruise West on board the David B. We have admired the cruises that Cruise West offered and we look forward to sharing our style of small ship cruising in Alaska on an even smaller scale.