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The story of Windstar Cruises’ Star Legend is a bit of a stretch — literally.
Following the completion of the cruise line’s $250 million Star Plus Initiative this year, each of its trio of motor yachts — in which Legend is included — will be stretched 84 feet, in addition to the implementation of several enhancements. However, this ship’s “legend” started long before the Star Plus Initiative; what surprised me the most was just how wonderful the existing product already is.
My first introduction to the 212-passenger Legend was its former incarnation under Seabourn Cruise Line, but not from personally sailing. The sleek, then-Seabourn Legend (which began its life even earlier as Royal Viking Line’s Royal Viking Queen) made a cameo in the 1997 movie “Speed 2: Cruise Control.”
As a film geek, I got a kick out of spotting everything that I had seen on screen. (Spoiler alert: Many interior scenes were staged and took place on sets, but the actual exterior, the Star Bar, the atrium, the suites, the marina and the lifeboats were featured quite prominently in the film.)
When my wife and I weren’t humming composer Mark Mancina’s punchy “Speed 2” film score, we were loving the small touches we had come to admire on Windstar’s sailing ships. (We previously enjoyed a Tahitian journey on Wind Spirit.) What made it all the more special was that this time, we shared it with my parents, who quickly became fans.
Naturally, we relished every meal that featured the line’s James Beard Foundation partnership, but the ship’s movement put a little wrinkle in our enjoyment. The small vessel’s motion is a bit wobbly in seas that would not affect larger ships — a problem Windstar believes will be alleviated after Legend is lengthened. (I’ll be sure to let you know the outcome once we sail on the stretched sistership Star Breeze later this year.)
Easily superseding any discomfort, though, was our wonderful time spent onshore in Alaska (to which Star Breeze sails for the 2020 and 2021 seasons). Zodiacs and kayaks deploy right from the ship on Signature Excursions. There is not enough tour capacity to accommodate every guest, so they do command an additional (but fairly priced) charge. Excursion highlights include the opportunity to motor and paddle within Alaska’s Tracy Arm and the Misty Fjords for eye-level views of dramatic glaciers and spectacular flora and fauna, which are usually only seen from large cruise ship decks.
Windstar’s Alaska itineraries can best be described as a hybrid between traditional cruising and expedition cruising, visiting favorite ports such as Juneau and Ketchikan while diving deeper into the region’s more remote destinations.
And the intimacy and top-notch service is not expected to change after Legend’s lengthening. In fact, Windstar president John Delaney emphasized that the ship will still remain small — at only 312 passengers — but will be enhanced with extra equipment and expedition team members, additional suite categories and configurations, redesigned stateroom bathrooms, a pair of new dining options and more.
The DetailsWindstar Cruiseswww.windstarcruises.com