As the Alaska cruise season comes to a close each year, Princess Cruises celebrates the year’s favorite local tour operators with special shipboard ceremonies. The winners of the line’s 13th annual C.R.U.I.S.E. service awards have just been announced, honoring the best shore excursion experiences and guides in each port on Alaska itineraries, based largely on passenger feedback throughout the season.

The awards recognize the most popular tours, individual guides and dock representatives in the communities where Princess ships call. Chosen from the extensive line-up of Alaska 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 tour scores and comments made on passenger surveys.

“Shore excursions, especially in such an exciting destination as Alaska, are so important in providing passengers with the unforgettable moments that highlight an Alaska vacation,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We’re proud to have such a long-running program in place to recognize the contribution these local tour operators make to providing our passengers with the best shore experience possible.”

The C.R.U.I.S.E. program is the longest running customer service program in the cruise industry. The Alaska awards began in 2000 and cap off a season-long effort to recognize the role that Alaskan-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 2012 winners are:

Co-Shore Excursion of the Season:

Helicopter Glacier Trek, NorthStar Trekking
Taku Lodge Feast & 5-Glacier Seaplane Discover, Wings Airways and Taku Lodge
Alaska’s Ultimate Zipline & Canopy Adventure, Alaska Canopy Adventures

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

Glacier Discovery by Helicopter, TEMSCO Helicopters
Golden Glassblowing Experience at Jewell Gardens, Jewell Gardens
Heli-Hike & Rail Adventure, Packer Expeditions

Sealife Discovery & Crab Extravaganza, Seaquest Explorations 

Co-Tour Guide of the Season

Shaynee Seipke, Gold Rush Tours / TEMSCO Helicopters
Adriane Honerbrink, Gastineau Guiding Company 

Don Andrews, Alaska Amphibious Tours
Rob Holston, Lighthouse Excursions

Aaron Schmidt, Jewell Gardens
Matt Hayashida, Gold Rush Sled Dogs / Klondike Gold Fields

Dock Representative of the Season

Jackie Schulz, juneau jeep adventures 

Jill Gates, The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show

Karin Lombard, Klondike Gold Fields