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The Denali Debate Known To Cruisers


We’ve been lucky enough to visit Alaska twice, in 2009 and earlier this year, both times while cruising on Princess ships, first the Coral Princess and then the Star Princess

On both occasions, we heard the tale of the Mount McKinley versus Denali name debate, which was new to us. On both occasions, we concluded that the vast majority of the people of Alaska thought the mountain should be called Denali, its native and original name. And on both occasions, we came away thinking the stalemate was such that it wouldn’t happen in our lifetime.

Last week, in case you hadn’t heard, it happened.

Denali it is.

As another Alaska cruise season concludes this month, passengers currently extending their time on land tours are the first to see Denali with its “new” name.

This has been a never-ending political debate. McKinley was a Republican U.S. President who never visited Alaska but who had the misfortune of being assassinated 114 years ago. Alaskans started trying to re-instate Denali — “The Big One” to the Athabaskan people — 40 years ago, when the name of the national park became Denali. Through various means, mostly technicalities, it was blocked by a congressman (Ralph Regula) from Ohio, President McKinley’s home state.

In layman’s terms, the statute of limitations ran out on the stalemate, and last week President Obama instructed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to change the name to Denali. Yet the political debate never dies. Yesterday on CNN, there was former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, dismissing (or dissing) the loss of the McKinley name.

Palin is, of course, Republican.

Cruise passengers who get to see “The Big One” in person and who listen to guides and Alaskans alike know that last week’s decision was not so much political as it was the will of the people.

They’ve known the mountain as Denali for a long, long time.

In the news…

• Norwegian Epic's winter home to be Fort Lauderdale, not Miami
• Puerto Rico Quality Service Program to enhance tourism service
• Royal Caribbean President's Cruise set back a week to Sept. 18, 2016

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Holland America Zuiderdam
17 nights
December 11, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Bonaire, Panama Canal, Colon, Puerto Limon, Fort Lauderdale, Half Moon Cay, Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $1,360
Cost per day: $80

Stop the presses, stop the presses…

Five news bulletins from the cruise world…

Charlie Sheen is offering to take all those who applied for a job as his intern on a one-week Royal Caribbean cruise as long as they are under the age of 30, wear bikinis well and are open-minded about open relationships.

Moammar Gadhafi has dipped into his loose change and made an offer to buy Cunard Cruise Line so that he and his wives, girlfriends and/or far-flung family members can take around-the-world-trips in perpetuity.

Sarah Palin and Michael Moore are booked for a theme cruise on Carnival’s appropriately named Fantasy to float their latest theories about everything for an audience of Spanish-speaking chimpanzees from the jungles of Guatemala.

Disney is removing Mickey Mouse and all his memorabilia from the Dream, the Wonder and the Magic, and replacing him with Minnie and all her memorabilia, because it’s her turn.

Norwegian Cruise Line, owned by companies in Malaysia and America, has traded its 44 mostly-Scandinavian captains to Princess Cruises, owned by Brits and Americans, for The Love Boat, Gavin MacLeod and free access to Princess Cays.

Oh, and did we mention today is April 1?

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