Windstar Cruises ushers in a new era by cutting its Star Breeze cruise ship in half to stretch it with a new 84-foot section. This adds new suites, two restaurants, pool and more. It’s the first of three cruise ships Windstar will be stretching.
The Star Breeze is the first of its cruise ships to undergo this transformation and when complete it will sail from Barcelona to Lisbon on February 20, 2020, and celebrate re-inaugural activities in North America at the Port of Miami on March 19, 2020.
While many a ship has been “stretched,” as it is referred to in the cruise industry, the complexity and significant undertaking with Star Breeze (and sister ships Star Legend and Star Pride in 2020) is not just cosmetic or experience-based.
It also involves removing and replacing the engines to ensure a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly operation as the ships sail through some of the world’s most beautiful waters and call at small, enchanting ports for decades to come.
“The $250 Million Star Plus Initiative is the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project undertaken in cruising, and we are very proud to be working with Fincantieri, the leader in major cruise ship renovations,” stated Windstar Cruises President John Delaney. “The slightly larger ships and new enhancements will significantly build upon the signature onboard environment Windstar is famous for. The social and friendly public spaces on the ships create a welcome chemistry with guests and the crew.”
This is the first of three new mid-ship sections to be constructed and inserted as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, which is committed to the expansion and transformation of the cruise line’s three Star-class vessels. In addition to the all-important propulsion system and “back-of-house” investment, what guests will welcome most are the two new restaurants including the eclectic, Spanish-styled Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso and a modern, alfresco Star Grill by Steven Raichlen capitalizing on the ships’ increase in deck space.
That additional space also translates into a new pool and whirlpool on the upper deck, a re-imagined, world-class spa and fitness center, a new retail shop, and more. In addition, every bathroom on the ship with be re-built and fitted to modern luxury standards.
The new 84-foot (25.6 meters) mid-section will also welcome most of the 50 new suites. With the new section, Star Breeze will now be able to accommodate 312 passengers (previously the ship accommodated 212 guests). The expanded ship will also allow for more crew and maintain the enviable 1.5-to-1 guest-to-service staff ratio.
Vice President of Fleet Operations for Windstar Christopher Prelog said, “This is a momentous undertaking for Windstar and a major milestone. Thanks to our partners at Fincantieri, we are literally witnessing the evolution of a cruise line. Star Breeze and her sister ships have always been coveted for their beauty, pleasing lines, and cozy yet seemingly spacious environments. The significant investment and the transformation of these ships will be stunning, and we are all eager for our guests to experience the renaissance of Windstar Cruises.”
Vice President Ship Repair and Conversion of the Fincantieri Services Division Andrew Toso stated, “Today is a big day. A proud day. A day of amazing accomplishment by Windstar, Fincantieri, and our shipyard in Palermo. Cutting Star Breeze in two, inserting a new section, replacing the main engines and diesel generators is evidence of our ability in these kinds of highly sophisticated and complex operations, which require engineering and design skills, as well as project management competence that represent the state-of-the-art in the industry.”
Windstar is transforming three of its Star-class ships – Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride – and renovating each ship in succession at Fincantieri’s Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. Work will be complete in late 2020.
The second ship to undergo the transformation, Star Legend, will debut in Barcelona on July 2, 2020. The third and final ship, Star Pride, will be complete with the departure of Star Pride from the shipyard in fall of 2020, with her first cruise sailing from Barcelona on November 20, 2020.
Reservations are open for 2020 and 2021 cruises aboard the post-Star Plus Initiative Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride, including a Colors of Key West & Central America 10-day voyage from Miami to Colón, Panama on March 20, 2020; sailing from Miami will be a first for the Seattle-based company. For more information contact a travel advisor or Windstar Cruises at 1-800-258-7245.
For Cruiseguru’s review of the Windstar Pride click here