ANCHORAGE -- Phillips' Cruises and Tours' new Klondike Express will
have its first "normal" Alaska season in 2000.
Fares for its 26 Glaciers Cruises program will be pegged at 1999
levels -- $119 for adults, $49 for children.
The 342-passenger, high-speed catamaran day boat is in Prince
William Sound service this year, but its season is in no way
normal. The much-delayed boat started the season late, and because
of uncertainty over its exact arrival date, marketing plans were
short-term rather than long-term.
The saga of the Klondike Express has been well-publicized. Its
construction was first commissioned in a yard in Port Townsend,
Wash., which dillydallied for more than two years before going
bankrupt, leaving behind only a badly built shell of a boat,
virtually impossible to complete.
Brad Phillips, president of the sightseeing cruise-tour company,
opted to cut his losses and, at short notice, commissioned the
Nichols Bros. Shipyard in Freeland, Wash., to build him a boat from
It was completed in double- quick time but still missed several
weeks of the start of this year's summer season.
Phillips thinks the boat was worth the wait. "There isn't
another vessel like this on the West Coast," he said. "It has been
very popular this year."
The Klondike Express offers close-up viewing of the wildlife and
scenery of Prince William Sound, both from the outside decks and by
videocamera images shown inside the plush cabin.
Its cruising speed -- 38 knots -- allows it to cover the
110-mile roundtrip from Whittier to 26 different glaciers in five
"Because of our speed," Phillips said, "we get to the glaciers
faster, so passengers have more time to enjoy the scenery and the
wildlife than they do on other boats."
The bulk of the passengers on the new Klondike Express -- as on
its predecessor of the same name -- originate in Anchorage.
Transportation from Alaska's largest city is by rail ($52
roundtrip for adults, $26 roundtrip for children) or by motorcoach
($61 and $31, respectively.) These prices are in addition to the
sightseeing boat charges.
The Klondike Express has three decks and is
handicapped-accessible. A hot lunch is served on board.
Phillips' Cruises and Tours
Phone: (800) 544-0529 or (907) 276-8023