Whale of a Time

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The National Park Service has doled out several dozen more cruise permits for Glacier Bay, Alaska. Holland America and Princess received the most permits -- all for summer 2000 in anticipation of the lines' boost in service to that part of the world during the big millennium year.

In return, Holland America pledged to undertake a study of the bay that includes determining the impact of cruise traffic on whales that spend the summer months there.

Princess, Crystal, Royal Caribbean and World Explorer Cruises all agreed to take part in the study.

That's great news, as anyone who has ever visited majestic Glacier Bay would undoubtedly agree. I've been there once. I sailed on Holland America's Noordam from Vancouver, British Columbia, through the Inside Passage to Glacier Bay. The wildlife was astounding -- eagles, seals, whales, bears.

Agents who pitch an Alaska cruise to their clients might mention the cruise lines' pledge. It could help clinch the deal.

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