We wanted to cruise Alaska for a long time but the large ships were totally unappealing to us as our preferred cruise line has been Windstar for many years. We had high expectations as Windstar advertised this as more of an "off the beaten path" experience with "signature expeditions". We were NOT disappointed! Not only was the expedition staff great with their lectures and knowledge of glaciers, bears, whales, seals, sea lions and everything else that roams Alaska, they were really great fellow travelers who enjoyed the cruise as much as the paying passengers. We had almost perfect weather which was a plus; beautiful sunshine most days and very little rain but cool and refreshing days. We were thrilled with the food and presentation on this sailing. Windstar has really upped the quality and presentation as a result of their James Beard Foundation partnership. Because of the cooler weather they opened more dining venues for both breakfast and lunch which made for nice choices. The new zodiac expeditions and kayaks were a great addition and gave us the ability to get "up close and personal" with the glaciers. Riding on a zodiac while seeing mountain goats as ice floated by from a calving glacier was a total thrill! The shore excursions were mostly exceptional with lots of opportunity for "flightseeing" over glaciers, fjords, etc. For those who were interested, there were lots of cultural opportunities to learn about the native Alaskan tribes and visit their villages. We also did the 5 day land tour of northern Alaska and Denali. It was a first for Windstar in Alaska and could have used a few tweaks here and there but also a great experience.
The larger Classic Suite is certainly comfortable for a 14 day cruise. We have been in the regular suites on this class of ship many times and while this was a nice treat, the regular balcony suites or ocean view suites would also be very comfortable. Everyone we met onboard was happy with their accommodations.
Stikine River Tour - a bit of a letdown after days of spectacular glaciers. It's a long way to get 6 miles away from a glacier. River was clogged with ice so no passage past the ice floats.
Lovely port. Very quaint and took advantage of the ability to just walk around, eat locally, and enjoy the Hammer Museum.
Sitka is a nice port town with lots to do and see. A cab will take you to the Fortress of Bears and just about any other local spot. Cab drivers are waiting at the port building.
Ship left from Seward. Because we were on the 5 day land tour we only arrived in Seward to board ship but looked like a nice town. We would have liked to spend some time there.