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Cruise West

Cruise West

Home > Reviews > Cruise West

General Information
Cruise West
Chairman:
Dick West
Ships in Fleet: 11
Year Established: 1973
Corporate Location: Seattle, WA
 
Overview
The Cruise West Fleet
Destinations & Itineraries
Onboard Experience
Past Passenger Program
Links to Cruise West Ships:

Dick West, owner of Cruise West, announced in September of 2010 that Cruise West is no longer in business (due to financial troubles). Attempts at selling the company have failed, so they have decided to cease operations. We will update this fleet's details should any other news come about. The company has begun selling off its ships and will continue to do so with no intentions of re-opening.

Cruise West Overview
Originally named West Travel, Cruise West was founded in 1973 by former World War II pilot Chuck West and his family. Chuck West was known as "Mr. Alaska" because of his role in the pioneering of Alaskan tourism. He even married the Miss Alaska of 1937! Chuck's son, Dick West, is now the company's Chairman and Managing Director.

Initially, West Travel only operated land-based tours in Alaska. In 1986 Cruise West acquired the 70-guest Sheltered Seas, operating 5-, 6- and 9-day Alaska cruises. Today, Cruise West is one of the top small ship cruise lines in the world. As can be expected, Cruise West is especially well known for its Alaska cruises, the former flying grounds of their founder. However, as of 2002, Cruise West expanded into other destinations. They now offer Costa Rica and Panama itineraries. In 2006 Cruise West began to offer cruises in Japan, South Pacific and the Kuril Islands.

The Cruise West ships do not have most of the "big ship" features, such as casinos, spas, fitness centers, room service, and grand show rooms. However, what they lack in onboard features they make up for in shore excursions and the overall destination experience. Those that go on a Cruise West cruise typically want to truly immerse themselves in the ports of call visited, as Cruise West offers an excellent destination-focused cruise product. As such, Cruise West offers a slew of interesting shore excursions, usually focused on the wildlife and history of each destination.

For years the flagship of the Cruise West fleet has been Spirit of Oceanus, an all-suite ship that was larger than the rest of the fleet. However, in 2009 Cruise West introduced four ships to their fleet: the new 148-guest Amadeus Diamond, the 114-guest Corinthian II (an Antarctic expedition ship), Galapagos Explorer (sister ship of Spirit of Oceanus) and the 40-guest Isabella II (that will be cruising the Galapagos Islands). Amadeus Diamond is now the newest and largest ship in Cruise West's fleet.
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Cruise West Destinations
Cruise West heavily focuses on Alaska cruises. As explained above (in the Overview section), they have been expanding their destination offerings over the past few years to include Costa Rica, Japan, Panama, and the South Pacific. Since 2007, Cruise West also features itineraries featuring stops in Korea, China and Vietnam.

Like other small cruise ship companies, the Cruise West fleet is able to travel to many ports that are not typically visited by large cruise ships. The result of this is a nice range of interesting itineraries that attracts many people.
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Onboard Cruise West
On a Cruise West ship there are a limited number of onboard features. The Cruise West ships are pretty small. They have a very vintage (late 19th century) look to them. Compared to their competition their interior decorations are nice. Their ships lack some of the more popular cruise ship features, such as casinos, spas and large show lounges. Some of the ships in the Cruise West fleet have staterooms with small bathrooms.

The onboard atmosphere is very casual. You'll typically see many guests out on deck, scanning for wildlife or just relaxing. Getting to know other travelers, and staff members, is a popular onboard activity. There may even be a special guest onboard, from a local town, giving a lecture of some sort.

Personal service is heavily stressed across the Cruise West fleet. The Cruise West staff is very friendly and enthusiastic. Staff members are relatively young (with many of them being college students, on the Alaskan itineraries), often performing more than one duty during the cruise. For example, you may see the same staff member serving breakfast at one point in the cruise, and then cleaning a stateroom later in the cruise.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served at set times each day, each in an unassigned seating format (going along with the casual onboard experience that Cruise West strives for). There are also various snacks that will be served during the day, to keep guests satisfied until the main meals are served.

An advantage that Cruise West offers, with its small ships, is that they can stop the ship at any moment of the cruise if something interesting is going on around the ship. For instance, if a whale (or other interesting sight of nature) is nearby the ship, they may stop the ship and have an announcement, informing all passengers of the opportunity to see it.

A typical Cruise West passenger ranges in age from 50 to 75, makes a good living, is well educated, and enjoys adventurous vacations. They seek a relaxed atmosphere, with casual dress codes. Most of the Cruise West sailings do not offer a children's program.
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Cruise West Past Passenger Program
The past passenger program of Cruise West is known as the Quyana Club. You become a member after your first Cruise West voyage. Benefits of club membership include exclusive price discounts. View our Quyana Club page for more details.
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Cruise West Fleet
There are 11 ships in the Cruise West fleet, including the upcoming (Antarctic expedition ship) Corinthian II.

Amadeus Diamond

Amadeus Diamond
Inaugural Year: 2009
Corinthian II

Corinthian II
Inaugural Year: 1992
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2005
Joined Cruise West in 2010
Galapagos Explorer II

Galapagos Explorer II
Inaugural Year: 1990
More Info Coming Soon!
Isabella II

Isabella II
Inaugural Year: 1979
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2000
More Info Coming Soon!
Pacific Explorer

Pacific Explorer
Inaugural Year: 1995
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 1998
More Info on Pacific Explorer
Spirit of 98

Spirit of '98
Inaugural Year: 1984
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 1995
More Info on Spirit of '98
Spirit of Columbia

Spirit of Columbia
Inaugural Year: 1979
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 1996
More Info on Spirit of Columbia
Spirit of Discovery

Spirit of Discovery
Inaugural Year: 1976
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 1992
More Info on Spirit of Discovery
Spirit of Endeavour

Spirit of Endeavour
Inaugural Year: 1983
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 1999
More Info on Spirit of Endeavour
Spirit of Oceanus

Spirit of Oceanus
Inaugural Year: 1991
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2001
More Info on Spirit of Oceanus
Spirit of Yorktown Spirit of Yorktown
Inaugural Year: 1988
More Info on Spirit of Yorktown


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