Windstar Announces 2021 Alaska Season – Other Cruise News: Princess Cruises’ New Discovery Princess – Costa To Shed Five Older Ships
by Kevin Griffin
Seattle-based Windstar Cruises today announced its 2021 Alaska program. Added in 2021 will be 7-night cruises between Vancouver and Juneau, as well as a call at the railway port of Skagway for the White Pass & Yukon Railway. Los Angeles-based Princess Cruises has revealed that its sixth “Royal Princess” class ship will be named Discovery Princess. And Costa Cruises is about to shed five of its older ships, while one already gone, now the Grand Classica, will begin 2-night cruises from West Palm Beach to Nassau this Saturday.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Windstar Announces 2021 Alaska Season
Windstar Cruises announces its 2021 Alaska season today, offering a choice of nine different voyages on four different itineraries from June through September. Included is a new seven-day option from Vancouver to Juneau and vice versa.
Scenic Alaska will feature coastal wilderness cruising along the Canadian Inside Passage, as well as time in Alaska’s Misty Fjords plus Tracy or Endicott Arms, with stops in Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway (for the first time for Windstar), and Juneau. Windstar also will offer a comprehensive Alaska experience combining coastal cruises with overland explorations to Denali and Fairbanks.
“We achieved the highest guest ratings in the company’s history during our second season in Alaska in 2019, proving that Windstar is the absolute best way to experience the majesty of Alaska,” said John Delaney, President of Windstar Cruises. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sail for a few days during our Alaska season and was able to visit the small native community of the Inian Islands and to kayak deep up in Tracy Arm – it was an incredible experience.”
While Wind star’s popular 11-day (and longer) itineraries in Alaska allow plenty of time for scenic cruising and in-depth exploration, its new 7-day cruise is in response to guest demand for shorter options. Guests will see something spectacular every day, with no days spent at sea, allowing them to get the most out of their Alaskan cruise.
New 2021 Signature Expeditions include Zodiac cruises and haymaking in Icy Bay, a remote fjord near Prince William Sound. In Barry Arm, three glaciers flow from the Chugach Mountains into the fjord, making the area magnificently picturesque.
The location is perfect for Zodiac cruises and kayaking because the area is relatively ice free.
The line’s 2021 shore excursions will include taking the vintage White Pass & Yukon narrow-gauge train from Skagway through a panorama of mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, tunnels, and historic sites, or embarking on a Glacier Point wilderness safari, including catamaran cruising along fjords, hiking through dense rainforest, and paddling a canoe on a mountain lake to the face of an ice wall.
Windstar also excels at bringing Alaska’s local bounty on board for guests to enjoy with their chefs’ focus on sourcing local ingredients, which will continue in 2021. These tasty items include seasonal huckleberries, reindeer and venison sausage, birch syrup, and of course seafood like King and Sockeye Salmon, Pacific Ling Cod, and King Crab.
All 2021 Windstar Alaska sailings will take place aboard the stretched 312-berth Star Breeze, with fifty new suites, two new restaurants, an enhanced spa and fitness centre, and more. Fares for 2021 Alaska sailings and cruise tours start at $2,999 per person.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Princess Cruises’ New Discovery Princess
Princess Cruises has unveiled its sixth “Royal Princess” class ship to join its fleet, offering both luxury and adventure for travellers. Set to sail the West Coast of America, the new 3,660-berth Discovery Princess will first enter service in the Mediterranean. Departing from Rome, passengers will be welcomed aboard to experience what Princess describes as “pure luxury travel”.
The ship will depart for sea on November 2021, in time for winter holidays.
The sixth Royal-class ship is currently under construction at Fincantieri in Italy. Itineraries on Discovery Princess will be offered to Europe, the Caribbean, South America, Mexico and the California Coast for the 2021/22 cruise season. Discovery Princess will be the first Princess newbuilding to be based on the West Coast, sailing out of Los Angeles.
The Discovery Princess’s inaugural seasons will include thirty departures on twenty-one unique itineraries to more than fifty destinations in twenty-three countries.
Three new Royal-class ships are currently on order with the next new ship under construction, Sky Princess, scheduled for delivery in October 2019, followed by Enchanted Princess in June 2020.
Princess previously announced that two new 4,300-berth LNG ships, the largest vessels in the Princess fleet, are planned for delivery in 2023 and 2025.
Princess now has five ships arriving over the next six years between 2019 and 2025.
Costa To Shed Five Older Ships
Working to reduce mass market capacity growth in Southern Europe, five ships will leave the Costa Cruises fleet by May 2021. Of these, two Europe-based ships will leave the fleet in 2020, and two ships will leave Costa Asia in the same year.
In addition, the Costa Mediterranea will leave the fleet in May 2021.
The ships will be replaced with more efficient vessels such as the new 4,300-berth Costa Smeralda.
The 2.112-berth Costa Atlantica and Costa Mediterranea will likely transfer to Carnival’s joint venture with China State Shipbuilding Corporation.
Meanwhile, one former Costa vessel, the 1,680-berth Grand Classica, ex-Costa Classica, will soon also add sailings from West Palm Beach to Nassau beginning this Saturday, October 12, for Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)