Big Guy in Alaska for Princess

We spent almost two weeks looking up to Guy Glaeser, and the fact that he’s six-foot-six was only part of the reason.

He’s a nice man who runs cruise tours in Alaska for Princess. Being nice doesn’t make him good at his job any more than being six-six makes him a basketball player, but it’s hard to imagine anybody being better at educating non-Alaskans about Alaska than Guy Glaeser.

What little he doesn’t know about the 49th state, he will find out. Not now, right now. He knows so much about Alaska because right from the beginning he had impeccable credentials. Right?

“I had ‘outdoor, Northwest’ experience,” he laughs.

The outdoor came from enjoying things like hiking, camping and biking. The Northwest came from having lived in Oregon and Seattle most of his life. The job that has been Glaeser’s every tourist season for more than 15 years now was almost an accident. A friend of his college roommate suggested he apply.

“It was dumb luck,” he says now.

A communication and psychology major at college, he could never have imagined applying those skills to his current position, but he does. Nor, for that matter, does being a recruiter and corporate trainer for UPS qualify you to be an Alaskan tour guide, but it did.

Guy explains it this way:

“I was raised by an art history professor and a librarian, so I’d been dragged into a lot of museums by the time I was 12. I have a passion for history, and a passion for information. The greatest privilege with tours is being able to be responsible for sharing. You try to be entertaining but you feel like an ambassador, to have that role with a group.

“There are so many components. I’m just a component. Once you establish your presence, I’m just part of it. My component provides continuity, comfort and fun. That’s the best part. If I’m not having fun, my guests aren’t having fun.”

Spending 16 summers in Alaska came with an added benefit. Her name is Robin, who for the last nine years has been Guy’s wife and now mother of their three-year-old. They met in Kenai, just south of Anchorage.

“We were co-workers,” he recalls. “I was impressed by her smile. I was fortunate to train her in Alaska. That was on the Kenai Peninsula and it was wonderful because there will never be another trip like it.”

There have been many trips since then, for both of them, including six months in  South America and Cuba. They settled in Portland but every May through September, Guy is back in Alaska, doing what he does best in a state that he says is “worthy of studying.”

If he hasn’t perfected running cruise tours in 16 years, probably nobody has. Among other things, he has the right demeanor, and he has developed this philosophy:”What you see is what you get with me. The hardest part of your tour should be recognizing me, and I’m six-six.”

One good reason to look up to him, right?

Norwegian Dawn
7 nights
October 14, 2011
Boston (return), Bermuda (3 nights)
Inside $349

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