The MMT Blog / What’s New in 2018
Our cruise season is just around the corner, with our Gray Whale Watching Cruise starting on March 16th! Reflecting back on last year, Major Marine Tours had a wonderful 2017 season. We launched our new Orca Quest Cruise, made some updates to our vessels and Harbor 360 Hotel, joined the Whale SENSE program to further our commitment to responsible whale watching, opened a brand-new office in Whittier complete with gift shop and espresso stand, and, most importantly, we shared the beauty of Alaska’s glaciers and wildlife with thousands of guests from all over the world.
We already have high hopes for 2018. We’ve made some changes to our cruise schedule for the convenience of our customers, made some additional renovations to Harbor 360 Hotel, and will be offering new overnight package opportunities in Whittier. The most exciting news for 2018, however, is the addition of the Kenai Fjords 360 to our fleet. This custom-built catamaran will arrive in Seward in May and will offer passengers a unique viewing opportunity unlike any other available in Seward. Read on to learn more about all of the exciting happenings at Major Marine Tours in 2018!
KENAI FJORDS 360
The Kenai Fjords 360 is a brand-new, custom-built 98-foot high speed catamaran that will join the Major Marine Tours fleet in May. We have been excitedly watching the progress of the vessel’s construction in La Connor, WA, and even got to go out on a cruise on a similar ship, the Island Explorer 5, which is part of Island Adventures’ fleet in Anacortes, WA. Not only is the Kenai Fjords 360 shiny and new, with all the latest features and amenities, but it also boasts a unique design that will give our passengers an exclusive experience: unobstructed 360 degree views from the third deck. Rather than having the wheelhouse on the third deck like most catamarans, the Kenai Fjords 360 wheelhouse is located on the second deck, leaving the third deck entirely open for viewing. The vessel also has fully-wraparound outside viewing decks on the first and second decks, allowing for ample outside viewing space for our passengers.
Cruising at speeds of up to 30 knots, the Kenai Fjords 360 will be our fastest vessel. It is equipped with EPA Tier III fuel efficient and low emission engines. Passenger comfort was a top priority for the design of the vessel, which is outfitted with three restrooms and snack and beverage bars on the first and second decks. For the 2018 cruise season, the Kenai Fjords 360 will be one of two vessels used on our 6 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise. Two Major Marine Tours Captains will take the Kenai Fjords 360 on the 1300 nautical mile journey from La Connor, WA to Seward in May. We absolutely can’t wait to welcome the Kenai Fjords 360 to our fleet in 2018!
HARBOR 360 HOTEL UPDATES
The Seward Harbor 360 Hotel has undergone some updates this winter, most notably the addition of a new room type: the Deluxe King Harbor Balcony Room. These rooms offer our guests deluxe amenities along with harborside views and a private balcony overlooking the harbor. In addition to the great amenities offered with our standard rooms, the Deluxe King Harbor Balcony Rooms include a king bed, twin sofa sleeper, large screen TV, and microwave. These newly-remodeled rooms have fresh, modern-rustic décor and feature photography from our cruises. In addition to the Deluxe King Harbor Balcony room renovations, we have also remodeled many of our standard and harbor view rooms. We will continue with room remodels next winter and will have all of our rooms remodeled within the next several years.
ALASKA SEALIFE CENTER WILDLIFE RESPONSE SUPPORT
Major Marine Tours is now collecting donations at the time of reservation for the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response Program, which responds to and rehabilitates marine wildlife throughout Alaska that has been abandoned, stranded, or injured. After many years of accepting donations for renewable energy projects in Alaska, we decided that it was time to support a local Seward organization. Major Marine Tours has been a proud partner of the Alaska SeaLife Center for many years, and we encourage all of our customers to visit this wonderful facility when they visit Seward. In addition to collecting donations at the time of reservation to the Wildlife Response Program, all proceeds from our boarding photos are donated the Alaska SeaLife Center. Thanks in advance to everyone who makes a donation or purchases a boarding photo to benefit the Alaska SeaLife Center!
NEW WHITTIER CRUISE & HOTEL PACKAGES
We are excited to begin a partnership with the Inn at Whittier, a stunning waterfront hotel located right on the shores of Prince William Sound. The Inn at Whittier is THE place to stay in Whittier, featuring amazing views, a restaurant and bar, and beautiful décor. The Inn’s convenient location is just a few minutes’ walk to the Major Marine Tours check-in office. Most people who embark on one of our Prince William Sound cruises experience the town of Whittier for only an hour or so before or after their cruise. We encourage you to stay the night and explore Whittier’s unique history, stunning scenery, and beautiful hiking opportunities. More information about our Whittier Cruise & Hotel Packages will be posted on our Specials & Packages page soon.
SHOREBIRD FESTIVAL DATES EXTENDED
Based on feedback from the wonderful birders at the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival we have decided to extend our Shorebird Festival Cruise dates to allow our passengers to experience more of the festival. We will now be departing from Whittier on Thursday, May 3rd and returning on Sunday, May 6th so you can enjoy the each day of the festival. If you haven’t joined us on this cruise yet, now is the time to experience this fun, exciting, and educational festival that celebrates the return of millions of shorebirds to Alaska. Last year, we were treated to an amazing sighting of a sperm whale on our way to Cordova. Who knows what amazing things we will see in 2018!
CRUISE SCHEDULE CHANGES
Lastly, we have made a few changes to our cruising schedule for the convenience of our customers. We have changed the departure times of our Gray Whale Watching Cruise and our Orca Quest Cruise from noon to 1:00, giving you a little more time to drive from Anchorage to Seward or explore Seward before your cruise. Both cruises will depart from the Harbor 360 Hotel at 1:00 pm and return at 5:00 pm. We have also changed the cruise time of our Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise in Whittier, which will depart at 12:30 pm and return at 4:45 pm, giving our passengers the option of leaving Whittier through the 5:00 pm tunnel.
Let the countdown begin for another great cruise season in 2018! We hope to see you on one of our cruises in Kenai Fjords National Park and Prince William Sound this year!