Cruise West (, one of the world’s leading providers of small-ship exploration cruises to the most fascinating destinations on earth, reports a 52 percent increase in bookings since the beginning of July 2009 compared to July 2008.

“There is a strong close-in booking trend for Alaska and our other summer and fall products,”
reported Richard Genovese, vice president of sales & marketing. "This increase has been driven by those last-minute travelers interested in our core Alaska product, as well as our new summer Columbia & Snake Rivers itinerary.  In addition to the demand for summer travel, we have seen strong interest in the fall season, particularly for our last chance itineraries in Asia, aboard our flagship, the Spirit of Oceanus.  In 2010 this vessel will embark on a new 335-day epic world journey, the Voyages of the Great Explorers.”

"We have been very pleased with these close-in bookings and believe that the consumer is beginning to feel better about traveling again.  It really appears to be a harbinger of things to come for later this year and into 2010," states Mr. Genovese.

Great deals are still available for 2009 Alaska cruises. Cruise West has extended its Alaska 25 percent off sale through the end of the season for all Alaska cruises.  In addition, on the following select dates the line is offering a $200 per person shipboard credit:

Inside Passage                 August 20, 2009
Whales & Wilderness      July 29, August 5, August 26 and September 2, 2009
Glacier Bay Highlights      August 1, 2009