Alaska Cruise News, June 1891
SITKA, ALASKA TERRITORY, June 20, 1891
The arrival of the steamship Queen at Sitka last Sunday marks the real beginning of the Alaskan tourist travel for the coming season. Captain James Carroll brought the Queen into port and will continue in command during the remainder of the season. So great is the business already that the passenger lists of the three big steamers are now full up to August 16th, and it really looks as though many tourists desirous of making the trip would be forced to remain at home for lack of means of transportation. In fact, July and August are considered the most desirable months in which to make the trip, and as a majority of travelers never make up their minds until the eleventh hour, it may he put down as a fact that many such are doomed to disappointment.
Something over 3,000 tourists visited this region last summer, but the number this year will be greater. The Queen made the first trip last year in June with a passenger list of 75, but on the initial trip this season she had on board 185.
This Alaska summer business is becoming so great, growing larger year by year, that the addition of another steamer is already under consideration for next season. It is said that such a boat will he put on in 1892.
The addition of the staunch and commodious steamer Mexico in place of the George W. Elder, which was on the run last year, is quite an improvement. The Mexico is a much bigger and better boat, but still there are not accommodations for all.
As these three vessels now run Sitka is favored with a service of four boats a month.
The popularity of this enchanted northern region is becoming greater
every year. Five summers ago it was hardly known, and the trip to the home of the seal and the bear was thought of only as one of great hardship and privations - not as one of the
most delightful diversions for the overworked business man, and one of the greatest pleasures of a life time. The Alaska summer trip is destined to be one whose delights no traveler will overlook.
Speaking of the prospects of this year's tourist travel to Alaska Agent Lyons of Tacoma, said recently: "I think from present appearances it will be about as usual. Of course the recent flurry in the East may have a tendency to make the people of that section draw their purse strings a little tighter, but the growing popularity of the trips may over come that. Captain Carroll, on his return fromm the East, predicted a big trade this season. Whatever it may be, the company can handle it readily."
On the Queen which came in last Sunday arrived Mr. J. F. Muirhead, from London, England. For a number of years he has been the editor-in-chief of Baedecker's European guide books. The reputation of these guide books is world-wide, and a continental tour without a copy of "Baedecker" would be like the play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out. Mr. Muirhead comes to this country for a year's sojourn during which time he will collect material for an American addition to the series issued by his publishers. The foreign demand for a competent and reliable guide book for American visitors has made this almost an imperative duty. Alaska and its scenic beauties, of which Mr. Muirhead speaks with great enthusiasm, will receive their proper recognition in the pages of the contemplated volume. Mr. Muirhead, personally, in a genial, cultured gentleman, and THE ALASKAN wishes him a good time generally in his wanderings to and fro in the great Republic.
These articles have all been reproduced exactly as printed in the June 20, 1891 edition of The Alaskan. See more articles from that edition here.
As well as being in command of the Queen, Captain James Carroll was a tireless promoter of Alaska cruises, and particularly of Glacier Bay. He started sailing to Alaska in 1878, and spent 25 years with the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. Carroll Glacier, located at Queen Inlet in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, was named after him.
In 1890, about 3,000 tourists sailed to Alaska. The highest number to ever sail Alaska waters in a single season was 2008, when there were 1,032,074 cruise passengers. How to Choose an Alaska Cruise.
The Steamer Queen in Glacier Bay, 1890