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Today’s luxury customer is rapidly evolving. They still crave the traditional concepts of luxury, such as quality, comfort, and elegance, but they also place high value on a new set of aspirations and lifestyle goals that revolve around deep, meaningful experiences.
Windstar Cruises, a small ship cruise line that operates a fleet of six upscale, elegantly casual cruise ships, recognizes that these travelers increasingly seek out experiences that set them apart from their peers, help them learn, facilitate their overall wellbeing, provide one-of-a-kind access, and connect them to their personal passions. Its new Signature Expeditions program is a clear example of a luxury experience that can help travelers achieve this.
The program was initially launched in Alaska, and Windstar plans to eventually roll out Signature Expeditions to other ports of call around the world. It’s designed with a two-fold concept in mind to provide guests with opportunities for immersive and instructive enrichment both on and off-board amongst the Alaskan glaciers and wildlife. First, all guests can participate in complimentary enrichment classes, one-to-one discussions, and topical presentations with industry-leading outdoor expert biologists, glaciologists, and others. Every cruise will be equipped with an expedition team of six specialists on board.
Second, guests can combine these learnings and put their new knowledge of the region into immediate action with optional off-the-ship, personalized, exclusive small group excursions on the ship’s fleet of kayaks and zodiacs, or on intimate small group hikes. All off-the-ship Signature Expeditions are launched and led by those same experts on board, and include up-close explorations of awe-inspiring locales where few cruisers ever visit, and even fewer ships are allowed to sail in, including Denali National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, Tracy Arm Fjord, and Misty Fjords.
A guest might join a two- to two-and-a-half-hour kayak expedition through Misty Fjords National Monument, viewing 3,000-foot glacier-sculpted cliffs with numerous waterfalls, wildlife like bald eagles, brown and black bears, and mountain goats. Or, he or she might partake in a guided hike through the region of Wrangell or visit Kroschel Wildlife Sanctuary, which sprawls over 60 acres and is home to orphaned Alaskan animals living in their natural habitat. Another excursion might include a seaplane trip to Alaska’s famous Taku Glacier and dining at a nearby lodge serving homemade local fare.
The intimate size of Windstar’s 212 guest ships allows Windstar to uniquely offer signature expeditions. As Windstar Cruises President John Delaney explains, “We’re offering travelers the chance to slow down and truly enjoy scenic immersion cruising amongst the glaciers and wildlife, and we have the perfect size ships for Alaska, period. With the addition of our brand-new Signature Expeditions, comprehensive land tours, and exciting roster of shore excursions, each guest will get to experience the best of adventure and breathtaking nature, and completely personalized service in an incredibly immersive yet completely uncrowded cruise.”