World Explorer Cruises adds Kodiak to Alaska voyage

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n an Alaska market dominated by new megaships and shorter itineraries, World Explorer cruises continues to steam along with a classic ship offering extended voyages in and around the waters of the 49th state.

World Explorer is entering its 24th season of cruising in Alaska this summer with a new two-week itinerary called Land of the Ancestors.

The voyage will feature visits to areas that are absent from most cruise charts, including the Metlakatla Tsimshian Indian reservation and Kodiak, home of the Altutiiq Eskimos.

The line's 737-passenger Universe Explorer also will visit better-known Alaska ports during the 14-night itinerary, including Juneau, Skagway, Sitka and Ketchikan.

Ketchikan is one of the ports on the World Explorer Itinerary.Three of World Explorer's 14-night cruises will feature the Land of the Ancestors itinerary.

The other five 14-night voyages offer the company's traditional itinerary, known as Route of the Pioneers.

This route includes visits to Wrangall, Juneau, Skagway, Seward, Valdez, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, British Columbia.

The itinerary also features cruising in Glacier Bay and past Hubbard Glacier.

Both 14-night itineraries depart roundtrip from Vancouver, and Land of the Ancestors also includes calls at Seward and Kodiak, a new port of call for World Explorer.

World Explorer will spend the latter half of the year in Central America and the Panama Canal.

The line is offering two 18-night holiday cruises in the Central America/Panama Canal region from Dec. 12 to 30, and Dec. 30 to Jan. 17, 2002.

Both itineraries feature port calls at Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Puerto Limon, Panama; Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. The sailings also include daylight transits of the Panama Canal.

Port calls will enable passengers to explore Mayan ruins and tropical rain forests, volcanoes and the beaches of the Mexican Riviera.

World Explorer also offers more active shore excursions, including river rafting and nature walks.

The voyages feature noted lecturers who discuss Central America's art, history and archaeology as part of a series of onboard programs designed to explore subjects related to the destination.

Lecture topics include Art and Architecture of the Maya People and Belize Barrier Reef and its Marine Life.

Passengers who want more in-depth study programs can select from two enhanced programs -- archaeology/history and natural sciences/environmental.

These sessions are limited in availability, and advance enrollment is recommended.

The Universe Explorer is a classic ship built at the end of the transatlantic shipping era and remains one of the oldest U.S.-built passenger vessels afloat.

According to company officials, the liner has the distinction of having sailed under more names (nine) than any other passenger ship.

The vessel cruises Alaska during the summer and Latin America the rest of the year.

It serves as a floating campus for Semester at Sea, an educational program run by the Seawise Foundation.

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