ST. LOUIS -- Only one cruise line can lay official claim to
"close-to-home cruising": Clipper Cruise Line, which trademarked
the phrase a few weeks ago.
The small-ship line said it began using the phrase after 9/11 to
reinforce awareness that half of its four-ship fleet "sails
basically in our backyard," according to Scott Kluesner, Clipper's
vice president of sales.
The two U.S.-flagged ships, the 100-passenger Nantucket Clipper
and the 138-passenger Yorktown Clipper, are among the few cruise
vessels that can offer domestic itineraries without calling at a
foreign port. This means that in addition to visiting smaller ports
that are inaccessible to larger ships, the pair can offer coastal
itineraries and Civil War heritage routes.
Kluesner said it still makes sense to advertise "Close to Home
"It's not just from a safety and security standpoint, [although]
obviously that was big after 9/11, and we really did play that up,"
he said. "Some of our guests have traveled overseas extensively,
and now they're interested in staying closer to home ... sort of
rediscovering North America in comfort."
Kluesner said interest has been building for the line's new Wine
and Cuisine cruises from Redwood City, Calif., near San Francisco,
on the Yorktown Clipper. The cruises operate in April, May and
Clipper brought on culinary adviser Dede Wilson to craft the
program and to lure well-known Bay area chefs to the ship,
including Joanne Weir and Laurent Gras.
Highlights include dinner at the Culinary Institute of America
at Greystone, a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train and visits to
several Napa wineries.
Kluesner said on one evening, Clipper passengers will receive
dine-around cash for use in one of about 10 San Francisco
"We'll take them by limo to the restaurants," he said. "It's
really cool, and it's something new for us."
On July 1 and 17, meanwhile, the Nantucket Clipper offers a
10-day cruise through Lake Erie and Lake Huron, an itinerary that
is limited to small ships like Clipper's. Ports of call include
Windsor and Goderich, Ontario, and Mackinaw City and Port Huron,
The Nantucket Clipper also will offer two eight-day Route of the
Traders and Explorers voyages on Aug. 11 and 18; these cruises sail
from Buffalo, N.Y., to Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.
While those two ships ply the waters of North America, the
122-passenger Clipper Adventurer and 128-passenger Clipper Odyssey
venture abroad on more exotic itineraries.
For example, the Clipper Adventurer this summer will offer
Liberating Europe, a 12-day cruise that includes the American
cemetery at Omaha Beach and the Musee de Debarquement in
Arromanches-les-Bains, France, and a tour of the Cabinet War Rooms
and Imperial War Museum in London. Voyages depart May 23 and 30 and
To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].