NEW YORK -- Cruise West, the small-ship Alaska cruise operator and
land-tour specialist, is in the midst of management and fleet
changes designed to capitalize on the company's expanding cruise
Cruise West is exploring the purchase of a foreign-flag,
deep-draft ship that Richard West, the company's president and
chief executive officer, said would be "in the Cunard Sea Goddess
or Renaissance class" of vessel that could begin operations next
West said Cruise West "has experienced rapid growth through ship
acquisitions" and is looking to assuage the "high costs associated
with operating U.S.-flag vessels."
Acquiring a foreign-flag vessel will allow the company to
operate the ship at a lower cost compared with a U.S.-registered
vessel, in part by enabling Cruise West to hire foreign crew
The new ship also would allow the company to expand its
itineraries beyond Alaska and coastal Mexico, possibly into the
waters around Costa Rica, a company spokesman said.
West said Cruise West would retain some English-speaking staff
on board any foreign-flag ship the company would operate.
Cruise West has ruled out building and operating a new
American-flag vessel, said West, because of prohibitive costs
associated with a U.S-produced new build.
In other developments, Cruise West is changing its management
structure, effective in January.
Chuck West, Cruise West's founder, will become the company's
chairman emeritus and hand chairman duties over to Richard
The firm is in the midst of a search for a new president and
chief operating officer to fulfill company-wide administrative
duties, said Richard West.