Alaskan Splendors with Windstar Cruises


Brooke Cromwell
PUBLISHED BY:

Brooke Cromwell

February 4, 2020
Advisor Stories / Brooke Cromwell / Alaskan Splendors with Windstar Cruises

The Basics

  • Advisor Traveler: Brooke Cromwell
  • Cruise Line: Windstar Cruises
  • Itinerary: Alaskan Splendors
  • Ship: Star Legend
  • Duration: 11 days
  • Date: June 2019
  • Departure: Vancouver
  • Ports: Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, Haines, Icy Strait Point, Seward

The Ship and Service

I enjoyed the small ship (only 212 guests), the personal experience, and the breathtaking scenery.The staff and guests become very good friends so by the time you leave everyone knows your name. The environment was casual and our fellow travelers were friendly. As is common with expedition travel, there was no specialty dining, but we enjoyed eating outside whenever possible. I love the deck BBQs and relaxing in the coffee/library lounge.

This was one of Windstar’s first voyages on their Signature Expeditions program, so we didn’t know all the details and options prior to departure. The pace was much more active and we enjoyed more time in port. The expedition experts traveled with us, and everyone was involved in the destination! There are additional costs on the ship, with each expedition excursion costing nearly $200 per person. The ship was about to go in for a huge renovation, which created a stir when word spread on board . This ship will reappear in the summer of 2020 after being renovated and lengthened to accommodate 312 guests.

The Destinations

I drove an ATV through the forest and joined a biologist-led nature hike—it was wonderful! Our group of ten trekked straight up with the reward of an amazing view at the top. We learned about the current ecosystem and how Alaska is a completely self-sustaining environment. The onboard experts were excellent resources and provided great information.

The Takeaway

The expedition style IS for everyone! For anyone considering trying an expedition cruise, it’s important to keep open communication with your travel advisor and manage your expectations. You want to be well prepared for this type of adventure! High level and low level activities are noted, so there is something for everyone as long as they do not have any outstanding medical concerns. Travelers with limited mobility would be fine on a few of the zodiacs but not on some of the other options.

Relax and enjoy each day! Weather and wildlife are not always on schedule, so you’ll need to be patient and flexible to enjoy this type of cruise. The cost may be prohibitive if you are not prepared, so try to prebook the excursions to avoid surprises and make it more inclusive. I always recommend one extra day in Vancouver, and there are great pre- or post-cruise land packages if you have time. You’ll be glad you did.

Contact Brooke about this vacation