Windstar’s Return to Alaska

Award-winning boutique cruise line, Windstar Cruises will be returning to Alaska next year with lots of bucket list experiences.

Voyages ensure there is ample time for scenic cruising in both Canada’s and Alaska’s famed inside passages, home of orcas, bears, and bald eagles.

Star Legend will sail Misty Fjords National Monument and Kenai Fjords National Park, which are experiences usually booked via a shore excursion because the ‘big ships’ do not go there.

All Windstar Alaska itineraries include sailing through Tracy Arm Fjord – so close that passengers can hear noise of the ice breaking during glacier calving.

Skilled park rangers, scientists, glaciologists, geologists, and other experts will provide education, one-on-one discussions, and ample opportunities for individual discovery in America’s ‘last frontier’.

The news comes on the heels of Windstar’s recent announcement of its return to Asia in 2017/18, with the 212-guest, all-suite Star Legend yacht sailing from Tokyo to Seward (Anchorage), Alaska over a 14-day trans-Pacific cruise, which also stops in Miyako, Hakodate, and Kushiro in Japan.

Windstar President, John Delaney says Windstar is thrilled to enhance the Alaskan travel marketplace by introducing the brand of true small ship cruising to Alaska.

“We are bringing our guests right to the heart of what makes Alaska and the Great Pacific Northwest such an amazing destination and magical place by sailing close to pristine deciduous shorelines, delving deeper into all-enveloping fjords, kayaking in icy straits right off the ship’s watersports platform, and viewing an endless wilderness from sea level,” he says.

Cruises will include the chance to hike to the massive Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska’s capitol of Juneau, zip-line over crystal-clear creeks in bear country, snap a classic whale tail picture on your mobile phone – during a romantic deck-side dinner, fly over majestic Glacier Bay in a private plane, uncover Sitka’s rich Russian heritage, or check out Petroglyph Beach in Wrangell – a destination rarely visited by cruise ships.

Highlights

Highlights of Windstar’s inaugural Alaska season with the 212-guest Star Legend yacht include:

  • Cruising Tracy Arm and Misty Fjords.
  • Optional up-close and personal kayaking and scenic cruising by Zodiac directly from the ship.
  • Full destination immersion with 7 to 8 Southeast Alaska and British Columbia ports each cruise.
  • Sailing right into Misty Fjords and Kenai Fjords, due to small size of ship.
  • Multiple glacier experiences on northbound/southbound sailings featuring Mendenhall Glacier, Tracy Arm, and Kenai Fjords.
  • Longer itineraries of 11 to 14 days allowing the yacht to move slower and get closer to shore exploring more off the usual charted course.
  • Naturalist/Expedition Leaders on all voyages who will customise the experience for guests along with speakers from Native American tribes.

Sailing dates

Star Legend offers three new itineraries with eight sailing dates, departing May to August 2018, including a 14-day Seward (Anchorage) to Vancouver option; 12-day Vancouver round-trip itinerary, and 11 or 12 day Vancouver to Seward (Anchorage) voyages. Windstar also plans to offer pre and post cruise land excursions, allowing guests more time to explore Alaska’s interior.

Wonders of Alaska & Canada – These 14-day voyages from Seward (Anchorage) to Vancouver are offered three times, allowing guests a full two weeks of jaw-dropping scenery and history. British Columbia’s Prince Rupert, located on Kaien Island just north of the mouth of the Skeena River, is a highlight – a picturesque port rich in culture and heritage. Teeming with wildlife, guests can expect whale, eagle, salmon, and grizzly bear sightings, and also visit the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, with one of the densest remaining North American bear populations.

Alaskan Splendors – Multiple journeys between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage) over 11 or 12 days offer a tour de force of top Alaskan destinations. From the wildlife and glaciers of the Inside Passage to the First Nations totems of Ketchikan; hiking in Haines or sampling its cultural offerings like the Alaska Indian Arts Center, where traditional craftsmen demonstrate their work; to the biggest zip-line in the United States in Icy Strait Point.

Islands & Inlets of the Inside Passage – Offering two 12-day sailings, this itinerary cruises roundtrip from Vancouver, passing under the famed Lions Gate Bridge twice, both en route to the rugged coastline and on the return. A hidden gem at the midway point of the Inside Passage sits Metlakatla, Alaska on verdant Annette Island. This locale is the only US settlement of the indigenous Tsimshian people, where guests can visit a traditional longhouse and experience the full regalia of Native American song and dance shows.

The Star Legend

Star Legend, one of the world’s most luxurious small cruise ships, plays the casually elegant host to 212 guests. The experience is like sailing on your own private yacht with nearly a 1:1 staff to guest ratio, boasting all-suite accommodations and beautifully appointed public spaces such as the elegant AmphorA and romantic Candles restaurants. The classy and comfortable Yacht Club lounge located on the top guest deck is sure to be the place for spotting whale spouts and wildlife on the shoreline, as cruisers relax with a Captain’s Coffee and enjoy the 270-degree indoor/outdoor viewing opportunities.

The suites

Star Legend’s 106 suites offer more room than many hotels, with stylish décor, walk-in closets, marble bathrooms, L’Occitane® toiletries, and a tranquil seating area — all with a view. Alaska-bound travellers may choose from 106 suites, including 36 Balcony Suites with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that bring fresh air and sweeping scenery indoors; or select one of 64 Ocean View Suites with large picture windows; or splurge on a decadent Owner’s or Classic Suite located just below the yacht’s Open Bridge, with a stunning view from the private veranda. Yacht guests will enjoy ‘destination authenticity’ like only Windstar can deliver with regionally themed cuisine, libations, entertainment, speakers and activities, as well as personalised small group shore excursions, and always gracious and attentive service.

Fares

Windstar Alaska fares start from $7163 per person twin share based on Oceanview Suite Cat S for the 11-night Alaskan Splendors departing 31 May 2018.

Bookings Windstar Australia on 1300 749 875 or reservations@windstar.com.au