Travel Weekly's Alaska E-letter: July 25, 2007

CRUISE WEST will rename its 102-passenger Spirit of Nantucket in conjunction with the ship's move from the East Coast to Alaska in 2008. Its new name will be the Spirit of Glacier Bay. The rechristening will take place in Seattle in spring 2008 before the ship heads to Alaska to begin operating in the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The ship will continue sailing East Coast itineraries through 2007. In 1990 Cruise West launched a 52-passenger ship called the Spirit of Glacier Bay that sailed a similar itinerary, but that ship was retired in 2001.

ERA AVIATION plans a major expansion in September, adding five scheduled daily flights from Anchorage to Fairbanks and Bethel. The daily flights will begin Sept. 4. Era plans to offer three daily flights to Fairbanks using a 37-passenger aircraft and two daily flights to Bethel aboard a 19-seat plane. Anchorage-based Era offers scheduled flights between Anchorage and Kenai, Homer, Kodiak, Valdez and Cordova.

YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO BE A CRUISE PASSENGER to sign up for a Snorkel Alaska snorkeling tour. The company, in its seventh year of operation, has opened up its snorkeling excursions off the coast of Ketchikan to all. The excursion was voted Ketchikan's Shore Excursion of the Year by Princess Cruises from 2003 to 2006. The clear waters off the coast of Ketchikan reward snorkelers with a surprisingly colorful array of sea life, including urchins, sea cucumbers and sea stars. To keep warm, snorkelers wear quarter-inch-thick wetsuits with hoods as well as boots and gloves. Excursions last approximately three hours. The Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure is available May to September in Ketchikan. For information or reservations, visit www.snorkelalaska.com or call (907) 247-7783.

ALASKA AIRLINES launched technology that gives customers the option to use credit and debit cards instead of cash for in-flight purchases. The airline introduced hand-held devices this month on some two dozen daily, transcontinental flights that enable flight attendants to process credit and debit cards for food and beverage purchases and personal entertainment device rentals. Alaska said it would expand the service to more flights this fall and ultimately plans to offer the service on all flights.

Alaska Editor: Jorge Sidron

Phone: (973) 898-0011

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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