Notable journeys don’t have to be far from home. Cruise West (www.cruisewest.com), the global leader in small-ship exploration voyages and the largest American-owned cruise line, offers domestic departures from five cities in three western states. As travelers look to make the most of fewer vacation days with experience-rich, pocketbook-friendly getaways, Cruise West’s convenient domestic departures ensure guests find memory-rich trips right in their own backyards. Itineraries with domestic departures include the San Juan Islands & British Columbia from Seattle, WA; three itineraries on the Columbia & Snake Rivers traveling roundtrip from Portland, OR; and five distinctive Alaska voyages from Juneau, Ketchikan or Anchorage, AK.

“We understand that many travelers want to maximize their vacation days by traveling closer to home and avoiding the hassle and expense of international travel,” remarked Cruise West President & CEO Dietmar R. Wertanzl. “With so many incredible sights and experiences available here in the United States, guests don’t have to travel far. Cruise West’s seven US-flagged ships allow American citizens traveling on select itineraries to by-pass the Jones Act which requires the ship to stop at a foreign port.”

Known for their 63 year heritage of operating tours and cruises in Alaska, the company will offer five ships, seven itineraries and 120 Alaska departures in 2009 ranging from four to 25 days. Cruise West’s Alaska itineraries ensure passengers see a less-visited, undiscovered Alaska and the crew offers guests the perfect combination of creature comforts onboard the inviting ship as well as thrilling adventures awaiting them everyday. Alaska cruises operate May through early September. Prices start at $1,149 per person, double occupancy for the four-day Glaciers of Prince William Sound. Guests who book and pay in full prior to December 12, 2008 will save up to $1,100 per person plus an additional $105 per person on a seven-night cruise to $360 for a 24-night cruise with the fuel surcharge promotion. Those who book and pay in full by February 27, 2009 will save up to $550. A passport is required to participate on all cruises onboard the Spirit of Oceanus.

Cruise West’s 8-day/7-night Pacific Northwest Coastal Escape cruise roundtrip from Seattle, operates in the spring and fall on the 102-guest Spirit of Endeavour. The voyage visits quaint ports, bustling cities, and remarkable wilderness. Ports of call include Nanaimo; Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park, considered one of the most beautiful cruising areas in British Columbia; Victoria; and historic Port Townsend known for its Victorian architecture. Prices begin at $2,799 per person, double occupancy. Guests who book and pay in full prior to March 27, 2009 for fall departures will save up to $350 per person.

Three distinctive 8-day/7-night Columbia & Snake River Itineraries cruise round trip from Portland, Oregon. The River Voyage of Discovery itinerary highlights the history of Lewis & Clark and operates in the spring and fall onboard the 96-guest Spirit of ’98. Prices start at $3,099 per person. Inquisitive food and wine lovers will favor the Taste of the Pacific Northwest itinerary, launched in fall 2008. This cruise operates in the fall and is offered onboard the 84-guest Spirit of Discovery. Prices begin at $3,349 per person, double occupancy.

Launching summer 2009, the new Northwest Passage - Summer Celebration itinerary will highlight the native culture, cuisine and history of the region. The cruise will operate weekly May 15 through September 11, 2009 on the Spirit of ’98. Prices start at $3,399 per person, based on double occupancy. Guests who book and pay in full prior to December 19, 2008 will save up to $450 per person. Guests who book and pay in full by February 6, 2009 will save up to $350.