Over the past two weeks there has been, finally, some good news for the Alaska cruise market.
Until recently, most of the headlines surrounding cruising and Alaska have focused on 2010 capacity reductions, lawsuits over the state's head tax and declining tourism revenues.
But in a welcome piece of news for the Frontier State, Disney Cruise Line last week said that it would offer an Alaska cruise season in 2011, operating seven-day cruises out of Vancouver on the Disney Wonder.
The ship will spend four months in Southeast Alaska and offer 18 departures calling in Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway and visiting Tracy Arm fjord.
The deployment will come a year after the 2010 summer season, when Alaska is expected to lose capacity equal to 140,000 cruise passengers as a result of capacity cuts by Princess, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line and Cruise West.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, a survey of second-quarter cruise sales from Wells Fargo Securities found that, in a turnaround, Caribbean cruise pricing had weakened slightly while Alaska cruise pricing was showing some improvement.
A Wells Fargo survey during the first quarter found that Alaska pricing had hit "new lows."
Wells Fargo's Q2 findings echoed a recent report from retailers CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. that also indicated Alaska pricing was doing better late into the season. In that report, 34.4% of travel agents listed Alaska as the best selling cruise destinations during the second quarter; during a first quarter survey, only 15% of agents chose Alaska.