As the Alaska cruise season came to a close, Princess Cruises again celebrated the year’s favorite local tour operators and guides with its 14th annual CRUISE service awards. Winners were honored at special ceremonies aboard Princess ships, to recognize the best shore excursion experiences in select ports on Alaska itineraries.

The awards for the most acclaimed tours, individual guides and dock representatives are presented in the ports of call of Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and for the most acclaimed tour in Victoria. Chosen from the extensive line-up of shore excursions offered to Princess passengers, the awards highlight the important role local tour operators play in each community as part of a passenger’s overall cruise experience. Winners are determined largely by customer satisfaction scores and passenger comments.

“Getting out to truly experience Alaska and British Columbia is so important for passengers on cruises to this magnificent region,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “These local tour operators have made an outstanding contribution toward providing our passengers with unforgettable vacation moments, and we’re happy to again recognize their important contribution.”

The CRUISE program is the longest running customer service program in the cruise industry. The awards began in 2000 and cap off a season-long effort to recognize the role that locally owned tour partners play in passengers' cruise experiences. Tour Guide of the Season and Dock Representative of the Season award winners receive $100, a letter of commendation, a plaque, a ship tour and lunch onboard with their family. Operators of the Shore Excursion of the Season receive a plaque and a letter of commendation, a tour of the ship, and lunch onboard for company officials.

The 2013 winners are:


Co-Shore Excursions:
Helicopter Glacier Trek, NorthStar Trekking
Pilot’s Choice Ice Age Exploration, TEMSCO Helicopters
Mendenhall Glacier, Whale Quest & Salmon Bake, Allen Marine Tours

Co-Tour Guides:
Dylan Robins, Alaska Icefield Expeditions / TEMSCO Helicopters
David Cannamore, Alaska Galore Tours

Dock Representative:
Kelsey Castagnola, TEMSCO Helicopters


Co-Shore Excursions:
Back Country Zodiac Expedition, Ketchikan Outdoors
Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour, Commercial Fishing Adventures
Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition, Alaska Canopy Adventures

Co-Tour Guides:
Marcus Lyng, Snorkel Alaska
Rob Holston, Lighthouse Excursions

Dock Representative:
Jill Gates, The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show


Co-Shore Excursions:
Golden Glassblowing Experience at Jewell Gardens, Jewell Gardens
Glacier Point Wilderness Safari, Alaska Excursions
Glacier Discovery by Helicopter, TEMSCO Helicopters

Co-Tour Guides:
Aaron Schmidt, Jewell Gardens
Matt Hall, Alaska Icefield Expeditions / TEMSCO Helicopters

Dock Representative:
Crystal Ketterman, White Pass & Yukon Route


Shore Excursion:
High Tea at the Empress Hotel & City Highlights, Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services