What do you think of this itinerary?

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#1
Sacramento, California
787 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
We had a great first trip to Alaska this August. I'm thinking of going again Spring 2018 to unwind after retiring (on my own because husband isn't interested in going again). I'm leaning toward Windstar Star Legend - Wonders of Alaska and Canada. Most of my cruises have been on this line and I prefer the smaller ships.

The itinerary includes: Seward (Anchorage), Kenai Fjords National Park, Icy StraitPoint (Hoonah), Haines Tracy Arm / Endicott Arm, Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, MistyFjords, Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Prince Rupert, Grenville Channel, and Vancouver so it has some less common ports.

The ship is small (200 passagers) so it can get into fjords and channels that are inaccessible to the big ships. It has a water sports platform that they can launch kayaks from.

I'm also considering Uncruise. They have a good single rate policy so a single can pay only a slight premium over the double occupancy rate. Even with that, their 8 day cruise would cost almost as much as (or more than) the 14 day Windstar cruise. Also, possibly Alaska Dream.
#2
Syracuse, New York
50,241 Posts
Joined May 2000
this certainly is an excellent itinerary. I however, question what they are doing in "Kenai Fjords"/ If all day there and getting IN Aialik Bay and/or Northwestern Fjords would be ideal, if just a sail by like every other crusie ship that sails out of Seward, then in my opinon, an add on Kenai Fjords boat tour is way superior (and essential anyway in my case. )

Longer always equals - more in Alaska. Between the 2 choices, this sounds ideal.
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#3
Sacramento, California
787 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
It won't be just a sail by or like what the big ships do. The itinerary (there is a link to the detailed itinerary on the word "itinerary" on the initial post) starts:
Seward Depart 8 PM
Scenic cruising Kenai Fjords National Park Arrive 10 AM Depart 5 PM (presumably after cruising in circles for the night)
Then there is a sea day before arriving in Sitka.

Tracy Arm / Endicott Arm is 7 AM to 7 PM and
Misty Fjords is 8 AM to 8 PM.

I expect that they would anchor and bring out the kayaks and zodiacs.

When we took Star Legend from Lisbon to Barcelona, they sailed right up the river to dock a short walk from the Alcazar rather than docking at an ocean port over an hour's drive away like the big ships do.

Snippets from their blog on this cruise:
http://blog.windstarcruises.com/2017...a-summer-2018/
Enthusiastic park rangers, scientists, glaciologists, geologists, and other experts will be aboard each cruise to provide education, perspective, one-on-one discussions, and ample opportunities for individual discovery in America’s “last frontier.
  • Due to the small size of the ship, Star Legend will sail right into Misty Fjords and Kenai Fjords.
#4
Anchorage, Alaska
3,184 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
We’re looking at Windstar for next year as well. While I agree the more time you can spend in Alaska the better, UnCruise does an exceptional job in Alaska. We’ve done two with them with the Alaska trip being the best of many on the main lines.

I hope Windstar does well. It will certainly add some competition to the smaller ship sailings although with the demand for Alaska trips increasing each year it may not affect pricing.
#5
Redmond WA
8,626 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Do a search on the word ' uncruise' and you'll find several trip reports. Shazzah has an excellent photojournal for a 2 week trip in 2016 and another in 2015. .
#6
Sacramento, California
787 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by mapleleaves
Do a search on the word ' uncruise' and you'll find several trip reports. Shazzah has an excellent photojournal for a 2 week trip in 2016 and another in 2015. .
I've read a number of the UnCruise trip reports including Shazzah's. (I only found a partial one for the 2016 trip and the blog for their 2013 trip.) Many aspects sound enticing.

At this point, I'm pretty torn between UnCruise and Windstar. I've narrowed it down to one Windstar cruise and one of two options on UnCruise. Windstar had the cruise I wanted on special this past week so I booked it but the deposit is fully refundable.

On Windstar - May 17 14-night Wonders of Alaska and Canada on Star Legend
On UnCruise - May 6 or May 20 14-night Alaska Glacier Cruise - Ultimate Expedition on Wilderness Explorer
or May 12 14-night Fjords of Alaska - Ultimate Expedition on S.S. Legacy

Windstar
Pro- a really comfortable ship, great food and much better price.
Con - first Windstar cruise there in a long time. Will there be glitches? Not clear how much time for kayak/zodiac/hiking adventures vs. cruising.

UnCruise
Pro - great reviews and trip reports in Alaska. Lots of opportunities for experiences on the water and land in the coves and fjords.
Con - Price. UnCruise has a pretty low multiplier for single rates depending on the ship, but their 14-day single price would still be 1.5 to 1.7x as much depending on which of the two choices). More basic cabins and food (with some variation depending on ship).

At the moment I'm leaning toward Windstar. I think for this trip I may want a bit more luxury rather than more adventure. Being on the first Alaska sailing for Windstar in years is a bit of a concern.
#8
DFW
955 Posts
Joined Sep 2014
Oh my gosh, it sounds amazing! I would do the 14-day--more time, better food, more comfortable ship, cheaper and you would see some of Canada too. It sounds great and I am glad to now know about it for the future.
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#9
Sacramento, California
787 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
I've decided to do the Windstar 14-day (the Uncruise alternatives were 14-day also). I also booked the Japan to Seward ocean crossing before it so the total will be 27-days (actually almost 28 because the Japan to Seward cruise starts on May 4th in Japan and gains a day crossing the international date line.).

This is to celebrate my retirement after 44 years of working. It's a change of pace because my longest cruise has been 8-days (though usually with land time the total trips were 2 weeks or more). I hope I'm not crazy to do something so different from my past style of travel, but I've been wanting to try an ocean crossing.
#11
Redmond WA
8,626 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
I think you made a great choice!
Combined with the ocean crossing, it will be quite the adventure. A great way to celebrate your retirement. Congrats !