Fincantieri stretches Windstar’s Star Breeze

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Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze is getting an 84ft (25.6m) stretch, as part of the cruise line’s US$250m (€223.6m) Star Plus Initiative to augment three of its ships. The lengthening, which involves cutting the hull in two and inserting a new section, is being conducted at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo, Italy.

Star Breeze is the first ship to undergo the re-sizing project. When work is completed it will sail from Barcelona, Spain, to Lisbon, Portugal, on 20 February 2020. The company has also planned re-inaugural celebrations in North America at the Port of Miami on 19 March 2020.

In addition to stretching the hull of Star Breeze, and sister ships Star Legend and Star Pride in 2020, and making corresponding changes to the interiors, the engines will be removed and replaced for more environmentally friendly operation.

“The $250m 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.”

As part of the experiential improvements onboard, Windstar will introduce two new restaurants including the eclectic, Spanish-styled Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso and the modern, alfresco Star Grill by Steven Raichlen, which capitalises on the ships’ increased deck space.

The added space will also allow for a new pool and whirlpool on the upper deck, a re-imagined spa and fitness centre, a new shop and other experiential elements. Each bathroom on the ship with be rebuilt and fitted to ‘modern luxury standards’.

The new 84ft (25.6m) mid-section will house most of the 50 new suites that will be introduced on the ship. After being stretched, Star Breeze will have the capacity to accommodate 312 passengers (previously the ship accommodated 212 guests). The expanded ship will also allow for more crew and maintain the cruise line’s 1.5-to-1 guest-to-service staff ratio.

“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,” said Christopher Prelog vice president of fleet operations for Windstar. “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.”

Andrew Toso, vice president of ship repair and conversion for the Fincantieri Services Division added: “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.”

Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo, Italy, will perform the extensions of Windstar’s other Star-class ships – Star Legend and Star Pride – and renovate each ship in succession with all work to be completed by late 2020.

The second ship to undergo the transformation, Star Legend, will debut in Barcelona on 2 July 2020. The third and final ship, Star Pride, is scheduled for completion in the Autumn of 2020, with her first cruise sailing from Barcelona on 20 November 2020.

Image: Windstar Cruises

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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