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Ketchikan Students Learn About The Visitor Services Industry


September 17, 2004

Ketchikan, Alaska - This week fifth-grade Ketchikan students are visiting magnificent cruise ships as part of a Visitor Services Industry Curriculum established 8 years ago by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District. Under the leadership and vision of Dean Vincent and the late Kris Geldaker this program of study was developed and later adopted in Sitka and Juneau.

jpg ship tour Ketchikan, Alaska

Tour Guide Kelvyn
Photo courtesy Mark O'Brien, Houghtaling 5th Grade Teacher

Each school has a box of curricular materials, sample menus and daily newsletters from a ship, writing extensions, math extensions, and a selection of literature with nautical or sea-ocean themes. Children can examine careers on board, science as applied to pollution control, and national origin - as many ships have over 60 different nations represented in their crew.

Culmination or central to the learning is a tour of a cruise ship. The nine members of the Northwest Cruise Ship Association have all provided tours over the years. Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, and Crystal Cruise Lines among others, have given Ketchikan's 5th Grade students quality learning experiences during the season.

jpg Sapphire Princess Ketchikan, Alaska

Andi Skultka and Shermeli Malabanan at the pool on Sapphire Princess.
Photo courtesy Mark O'Brien, Houghtaling 5th Grade Teacher

Students usually board a vessel and have a group photo taken by a ship's photographer. The group is then split into two groups for a tour. The 45-minute tour visits the public areas of the ship including the sports decks, gym and spas, restaurants, libraries, kids game areas, theaters, and the atriums. Sometimes, depending on Security levels in place, children may visit the bridge or engine control room as well as the galley areas. Student groups at times have been able to witness ice carving in the kitchen areas and show or musical practice in the theaters.

jpg Sapphire Princess Ketchikan

Demetrius Milne on the Sapphire Princess.
Photo courtesy Mark O'Brien, Houghtaling 5th Grade Teacher

After the tour a 20-minute question and answer period is held and the students have an opportunity to ask their questions. Afterwards it's time for lunch in grand style - such as pizza, hot dogs, burgers... or occasionally a visit to the Buffet in one of the ship's restaurants.

jpg view of Ketchikan

Students enjoying view.
Photo courtesy Mark O'Brien, Houghtaling 5th Grade Teacher

Many shipping lines also provide souvenir items for the students as well.

This Fall from Houghtaling School Mr. Larsen and Mr. O'Brien's classes had a tour on the Sapphire Princess, while Ms. Morris' class joined Ms. Hanson's Class from Holy Name School for a tour onboard the Norwegian Sun. Students were picked up at school by coaches provided by Princess Tours and Gray Line of Alaska.

Friday the Tongass School of the Arts and Sciences joins the Charter School for a tour on the Norwegian Star.




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