Carnival Cruise Lines will conduct alternate week-long Alaska cruises between Vancouver and Seward aboard its 1,022-passenger Tropicale beginning May 1996.

The 36,674-ton Tropicale will be replaced in her New Orleans/Tampa program by the larger 48,000-ton, 1,486-passenger Celebration.

By repositioning the Tropicale to Alaska from mid-May to mid-September, Carnival will boost the region's capacity by 18,300 passengers, based on double occupancy and some 17 sailings, in a vigorously growing cruise region.

Carnival's move into Alaska puts sister companies CCL and Holland America Line side-by-side in another major market besides the Caribbean.

Although both lines are positioned in different market segments, contemporary and premium, respectively, in today's price conscious environment, time will tell whether some premium buyers may opt to save some dollars by traveling on the lower-priced Tropicale. Built in 1981, the Tropicale still remains a comfortable, traditionally designed and salable vessel, according to surveyed travel agents.

The introduction of the bigger Celebration into Tropicale's spot may also speak of Carnival's success with its dual-homeport western Caribbean program.