Skip to main content


Chuck and Dick West

From our Press Folder came news of CRUISE WEST which happens to be a part of the NAUTICAL LOG sea career history. On September 08, 2010 the Company stated it was pursuing a number of options with various parties to maintain operations, including investment, selling assets and selling the company. They suspended all new bookings and closed their reservation centre. On September 18, 2010, they ceased operations a Press Release titled Cruise West Ceases Operations stated in part;
"because of the recent dip in the markets and the continued lack of economic confidence, these options have not come to fruition".
It was signed by Dick West, Cruise West's Chairman and Managing Director, the full Release can be read online.

In the 1960's NAUTICAL LOG was living in Canada and was offered a position as Third Officer in the SS Glacier Queen operating from Vancouver, BC. She was under the Canadian Flag and sailed on eight day cruises from Vancouver, BC to Skagway, AK via the Inside Passage. Both the SS Glacier Queen and her sister ship SS Yukon Star where converted Royal Canadian Navy WW2 frigates. Back in 1947 Chuck West had formed Westours and offered Alaska cruises using three small ships operated by Union Steamship Company of Vancouver, Canada. NAUTICAL LOG had previously served as Third and Second Officer in Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. Chuck West was very successful and in 1958 bought the two ships mentioned above and formed Alaska Cruise Lines. Being once again successful in 1971 he sold out to Holland America Line (HAL), as things happen in seafaring NAUTICAL LOG later served in the MS Veendam/Monarch Star as a First Navigation Officer on Holland America/Westour Alaska cruises.

In 1973 Chuck West restarted in the tour business, bought ships and interests now operated as Cruise West the company which was passed on to Dick West. However things began to slip and slid somewhat and the Cruise West safety record suffered. In 2007 and 2008 there were four groundings. The Spirit of Columbia ran aground in Latouche Passage Prince William Sound on August 19, 2007. On November 08, 2007 the Spirit of Nantucket hit an object in the ICW near Virginia Beach, VA. During the 2008 season the Spirit of Alaska hit a rock in Tracy Arm on June 04, 2008. Then on July 07, 2008 the Spirit of Glacier Bay (formerly the Spirit of Nantucket) was cruising Tarr Inlet in Glacier Bay National Park when it grounded on a silt bar.

It is notable that all the incidents involved different ships in different areas which tended to indicate an overall operation and training problem which clearly needed to be addressed. In fact after this latest incident namely the silt bar grounding the United States Coast Guard (USCG) released a statement which stated that the Cruise West vessels were part of a programme designed to review the Cruise West safety procedures and maintenance records due to their recent incidents at sea.

So it would seem that perhaps there is a bit more to the demise of Cruise West than just the current economic situation. Chuck West, whom NAUTICAL LOG knew personally, successfully restarted several times so maybe Cruise West will rise like the phoenix.

Good Watch


Popular posts from this blog


A popular U.S.-based cruise ship style
A popular European ferry style

Several times during the year NAUTICAL LOG has had visitors searching for lifejacket instructions. With two just over Christmas we decided to publish something for everybody to see and read.
Choose a Coast Guard approved life-jacket and make sure it is undamaged. Make sure life-jackets are readily accessible, never locked away. Check the fit, there are adult, child and infant sizes, the correct one MUST be used. Choose bright colour life-jackets so as to be seen easily by Search and Rescue (SAR).Put your life-jacket ON BEFORE you leave the berth. Make sure you have a light and whistle attached AND they BOTH WORK.
Good Watch


Ships now operate under the International Management Code for Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (ISM Code).  Since this is a Post on Auditing NAUTICAL LOG, who is a Trained Auditor, will not go through the requirements as these can be found on the Internet and in your local nautical bookshop - you do have a bookshop hopefully as they are a dying breed.  There are two types of Audit an External Audit and an Internal Audit.

The External Audit consists of the Flag State or an outside Auditing Firm coming into the Company and going through all the Protocols, Procedures and associated Manuals.  They may also hold a drill simulating a situation in one of the Company's vessels and observe the results of the Shore Staff dealing with it.  NAUTICAL LOG has been through this experience with two very different Companies and believe me it is a long, difficult, trying day not made any easier by the subsequent debrief.  The External Auditor then prepares a Report which causes a…


This month saw the commissioning into the Irish Naval Service of a new Class of Irish Naval vessel more of the Frigate size than the previously Corvette size.  However they are all classed as Patrol vessels, the new vessel is LÉ Samuel Beckett P61.NAUTICAL LOG wishes her well and a successful service.

The older vessels saw unbelievable service and value for money the first being commissioned in 1979 and continued through the '80's and 90's into the 21st. Century.  During those years in addition to patrolling the stormy seas around the rugged Irish coast they made passages across the Western Ocean to the United States and Canada, south to South America as far as Argentina, and east to Asia as far as Korea.  Such passages are really remarkable for such small vessels and show the competence of Irish seafarers who as Naval Officers and Merchant Marine Officers train together.

Good Watch.