It is with heavy hearts but loving memories that we report the passing of our beloved founder, Kelly Parker.
Keen interest in the welfare of his customers, combined with a lifetime of experience and a deep appreciation of value, beauty, and opportunity make Kelly impossible to replace, so we've made the difficult but unavoidable decision to close Parker Cruise and Tour at the end of summer, 2015.
But in the meantime, as Kelly would have said, we are going to do the very best we can for you.
If you have a paid-up booking and you are scheduled to sail on or before September 30, 2015 - We will supervise your booking ourselves.
If you have an existing booking scheduled to sail after September 30, 2015 - We will transfer your booking to Professional Travel Services. Professional Travel Services is a longtime Kirkland, Washington institution, hand-picked by Kelly Parker in his succession plan.
If you do not yet have a booking, we recommend that you call Professional Travel Services at 1-800-275-9876.
As leader of Parker Cruise and Tour, Kelly successfully navigated the vast changes in the cruising industry over recent decades. These include a five-fold increase in passenger traffic since 1990, coupled with substantial increases in the number of ships as well as their size and capacity, particularly in the Alaska market. Cruising has seen big changes in security procedures, and also in the commission, fee, and tax structure of cruise fares. All of the above factors, along with increasingly widespread adoption of the internet and offshore call centers, have pushed independent agencies to maintain profitability by increasing the volume of ticket sales, even at the cost of service quality.
But service quality has always been the hallmark of Parker Cruise and Tour, a centerpiece for our pursuit of excellence in an increasingly impersonal world. This was made possible by Kelly himself, who kept Parker Cruise and Tour not merely afloat, but steaming full speed ahead through his unwavering focus on you, his customers and friends. Whether you know him from his radio show, hosted cruises, field reports sent from his adventures in America's National Park System, orchestral performances, the Seattle Bridge Club, or his email responses sent at 2am, Kelly maintained an astounding pace of productivity. So, if you have a paid-up sailing this summer, please bear with us. We will do our best to help make sure your experience this summer is as close as possible to the quality you've come to expect from Parker Cruise and Tour.
Kelly, the world is a much emptier place without you. But thank you for showing us its beauty.
"Stop talking about it and go already!"