Windstar Cruises has just revealed its new Star Plus Initiative, a $250 million refurbishment programme.
It will stretch and re-engine its three Star-class ships: Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride.
Between October 2019 and November 2020, each ship will be cut in two and receive a new 25.6 metre midsection.
Star Breeze will be the first and there will also be an addition of 50 cabins to each ship, bringing the passenger count from 212 to 312.
It will keep the ship size small enough to get to the out-of-the-way, smaller ports Windstar is proud to visit.
The renovations will be take place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Italy where the line will also be hiring more crewmembers to maintain its 2:3 crew-to-passenger ratio.
Windstar president, John Delaney, has explained the reasoning behind the stretch: “They don’t build ships like this anymore. These ships were so well built. The steel on these ships is almost perfect, like new.
What this lets us do is add capacity in a very efficient manner . We can add 24 percent capacity to the fleet in a 12-month window.”
Windstar has hired designer Ray Chung, director of design for The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, to design new suites and public spaces onboard.
“The new suites will have a different look and feel to the existing suites, and we want them to. We want to give guests a different choice,” says Delaney.
The new suites will position the bed by the window and the living area closer to the door (a flip from the current suite configuration and following in the steps of river cruising).
New balcony suites will have French balconies, rather than full balconies like the existing suites.
“The suites will feel more open and have a more modern design. It will feel like a Windstar ship but different,” says Delaney.
Existing suites will receive brand-new bathrooms and sliding doors for the verandas.
Additionally, two new larger Owner’s Suites will be created from existing cabins which will be three-bedroom, two-balcony suites.
The ships’ larger sizes will allow Windstar to add more than just cabins to its Star-class ships.
Guests can expect two new dining venues which will include an intimate 42-seat speciality restaurant on the side of the ship: the perfect spot for ocean views.
The second venue will be a casual barbecue on the top deck, offering lunch and dinner.
The Veranda Restaurant will also be expanded and upgraded with a circular buffet and more seating.
The spa will be enlarged and redesigned, and the pool deck will be enhanced with a larger pool and hot tub, as well as more deck area for sunbathing.
The refurbishment won’t just touch passenger areas as Windstar is actually going to re-engine its ships.
This is an uncommon cruise procedure; the shipyard will remove seven current engines and replace them with four new environmentally friendly engines on each ship.
These will use cleaner fuel, reduce emissions and provide greater fuel efficiency as well as allowing the ships to travel at greater speeds.
Guests can expect more details about the Star Plus Initiative will be revealed in the coming months.
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