Windstar Turns Alaska Cruises Into Upscale Expeditions on Star Legend

–by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor

Star Pride

(3:30 p.m. EST) — When Windstar returns to Alaska in 2018, it will offer passengers an expedition-like experience on its upscale, small-ship Star Legend. The ship will receive new hardware to support its adventurous ambitions in Alaska.

The line has announced multiple new components to its Alaska sailings. “We are offering travelers the chance to slow down and truly enjoy scenic immersion cruising amongst the glaciers and wildlife,” said Windstar Cruises president John Delaney in a company statement. “Our experienced team has created the most intensive Alaska experience available in small ship cruising today and we can’t wait to proudly welcome guests to Windstar’s Alaska. It’s all about our unique style of casual yet luxurious adventure.”

Windstar’s new Alaska programming includes the following:

Expedition team

A team of five expedition leaders will sail on every Alaska voyage, and will be made up of geologists, glaciologists, marine biologists and outdoor experts. The team will lead complimentary enrichment classes, engage in one-on-one discussions and host presentations on regional themes.

Signature expedition excursions

The expedition leaders will also take passengers on immersive excursions on foot or via kayak or Zodiac. These will depart straight from the ship and take passengers into wilderness areas not easily accessible to big-ship cruisers. Examples include kayaking the Misty Fjords, a Zodiac tour of Kenai Fjords National Park or a hike around Wrangell, following the footsteps of John Muir. Signature expeditions will have an additional charge, like any shore excursion: $40 for hikes, $150 for zodiac tours and $170 for kayak tours.

New shore excursions

Windstar has also developed a roster of equally exciting regular shore excursions. These include a visit to the Kroschel Wildlife Sanctuary near Haines, an Alaskan meal at the accessible-only-by-seaplane Taku Lodge near Juneau, and a fishing trip in the Inside Passage, departing from Wrangell.

Pre/post-cruise land tours

Passengers who can’t get enough of Alaska can add pre- or post-cruise land tours to their Windstar vacation. The five-day, four-night tours run from Seward to Fairbanks (or vice versa) and visit Anchorage, Talkeetna and Denali National Park.

Star Legend will sail Alaska from May through mid-September 2018 and call on less-visited ports like Wrangell and Metlakatla, with scenic cruising in Tracy Arm and the Misty Fjords.