Cruise Line’s New Ship to Sail Alaska and Japan Routes

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Windstar Cruises is set to reintroduce Alaska and Japan to its itinerary in 2026 with the launch of its latest ship, Star Seeker. The announcement marks a return to the regions after a three-year hiatus.

Star Seeker, a 224-passenger boutique yacht expected to debut in December 2025, will begin its Alaskan cruises in May 2026. It will offer 7-, 10-, and 11-day journeys between Juneau or Seward, Alaska, and Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The Star Class ship, currently under construction at WestSEA shipyard in Portugal, will operate in Alaska until late August, providing pre- and post-cruise land tours to Denali.

Windstar Star Breeze in Alaska
Windstar Star Breeze in Alaska. (Photo Credit: Macklin Holloway)

Following its Alaskan season, Star Seeker will travel to Japan, where it will run 10-day Grand Japan cruises between Tokyo and Osaka from late August through November 2026.

“We are really happy to be able to bring back Alaska and Japan for our guests,” said Windstar’s President Christopher Prelog. “We know these popular destinations, and we have many people asking us to return there.”

Windstar last sailed Alaska and Japan in 2023 before deploying its 312-passenger Star Breeze to Tahiti.

Windstar will make the details for Star Seeker’s deployment in Alaska and Japan available for booking in August 2024.

Windstar’s New Ship and New Routes

Itineraries for Windstar’s Alaska and Japan programs have yet to be revealed. However, Star Breeze itineraries before its repositioning included 7-, 11-, and 12-day options, as well as repositioning cruises between Seward and Tokyo.

Alaskan cruises typically sailed the Inside Passage, Tracy Arm, Kenai Fjords, and Misty Fjords, and called on Ketchikan, Wrangell, Haines, Skagway, and Sitka. Japan itineraries featured stops in Tomatsu, Tomonaura, Karatsu, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Shingu, Shimizu, and Tokyo.

Similar to its previous deployments in the region, the Signature Expeditions will include onboard expedition leaders to guide them. The expeditions will feature hiking, kayaking, and skiff tours, allowing guests to explore more remote wilderness areas like Misty Fjords.

Star Seeker rendering
Star Seeker rendering. (Photo Courtesy Windstar Cruises)

The small group excursions will be led by expert guides who provide context and insights throughout the journey. Onboard presentations by expedition leaders will further enrich guests’ understanding of Alaska’s history, culture, flora, and fauna.

“The immersive, small group expeditions are a key part of our Alaska program and bring our guests closer to the beauty of Alaska,” said Prelog. “Being on the water and seeing the topography from that viewpoint brings the grandeur of Alaska into perspective.”

Star Seeker will feature 112 suites with full private verandas and infinity windows. Among these, two VIP suites, known as the Owner’s Suites, will be situated at the rear of the ship, boasting wrap-around balconies.

Read Also: Small-Ship Cruise Line Announces Plans to Expand Fleet

The new ship will have ice-strengthened hulls and advanced safety and navigation systems, including pump jet thrusters and forward-facing sonar. It will also feature Rolls Royce tier III Nox-rated engines, shore power connectivity, and advanced wastewater treatment systems.

Familiar amenities such as the Watersports Platform, Yacht Club café and lounge, a state-of-the-art spa and fitness facility, and deck barbecues will also be available. At the same time, the main dining room, Amphora, will be reimagined.

Star Seeker’s sister ship, Star Explorer, is also under construction at WestSEA shipyard and expected to be delivered in December 2026. No announcement has been made at this time on where it will sail.

The additional ships will bring Windstar Cruises’ boutique fleet to eight ships.

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