Burned Safari Spirit serves important Juneau market

A small cruise ship that burned at a Seattle dock two weeks ago serves a market Juneau is working to develop.

The 110-foot Safari Spirit was due to leave Juneau on Friday for its first voyage of the season. The yacht carries 12 passengers and a crew of six on each tour. It would have stopped in the capital city 18 times this summer, bringing a total of 325 passengers and crew for the season.

While its volume is tiny, it represents a niche market of more adventure travelers, says Juneau Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director Lorene Palmer.

“You know, these individuals are paying a premium price for a small cruise experience and though it is small in volume, because these are types of travelers who, in their mind, think of themselves as more independent minded, are the ones who are likely to stay in Juneau for a couple of days, or actually go exploring from Juneau as well to other communities around Southeast,” Palmer says.

The Safari Spirit is one of four American Safari ships scheduled to sail to Alaska this summer, including Juneau. One eight-day trip costs $5,500 per person. It leaves and returns to Juneau, and includes kayaking in tide-water glacier country.

Palmer says JCVB has been working with the company to encourage passengers booking a trip to spend more time in Juneau on either end of the voyage.

Palmer says the company is transferring Safari Spirit passengers to other ships and hopes to replace the burned yacht this season.

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