Windstar Cruises today announced the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative which will see it stretch and re-engine its three Star-class vessels.
“We are thrilled to announce the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, a significant investment in the future of Windstar Cruises. This exciting initiative is our 180 degree from ordinary solution to add new capacity and major enhancements to the guest experience in a very time efficient manner,” said Windstar President John Delaney. “The initiative not only creates beautiful new suites and public spaces, but we will also take the opportunity to re-engine the ships with a more fuel efficient and environmentally responsible propulsion system. This will be a true game changer for Windstar and our small ship cruise experience.”
The initiative will expand guest accommodations on the line’s three vessels increasing capacity from 212 passengers to 312 guests per ship, following the lengthening.
The work will be done to Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride in succession between October 2019 and November 2020, and take place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy.
The project represents an overall capacity increase of 24 percent for the small ship line, according to the company.
The project is expected to be partially financed through an export credit facility guaranteed by SACE, Italy’s export credit agency, Windstar said.
Each Star Class ship will be cut to allow the installation of a new section of ship that will lengthen each vessel approximately 25.6 meters bringing the total length to just over 159 meters, Windstar said, in a prepared statement.
The project adds 50 new suites to each vessel, bringing the total number of suites per ship to 156, and represents an investment of more than $267,000 per passenger berth.
“This major investment is an efficient way to build on a winning brand that shows strong momentum and growth potential. Support for this exciting new initiative demonstrates our commitment to Windstar as an important part of the Xanterra portfolio,” said Andrew N. Todd, President and CEO of Xanterra Travel Collection.
Also involved in the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative is the creation of new spaces including two new dining locations; new shop and retail space; a much enlarged fitness center; and a new spa.
The renovation includes a re-engine project for each ship and involves the removal of seven current engines and installation of four new, more environmentally friendly engines that will run on cleaner fuel and reduce emissions impact to sailing regions.
“Given our expertise as a leader in major cruise ship renovations and lengthening projects, we are gratified to be chosen by Windstar to undertake this complex and extensive endeavor. We look forward to working with the Windstar team to totally transform these elegant small ships,” said Giorgio Rizzo, Executive SVP, Fincantieri Services.
Windstar has also partnered with designer Ray Chung, Director of Design at The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, to create a modern look for the new public spaces and new suites.
Among the suite additions will be two new larger owner’s suites and for existing suites, there will be all-new bathrooms and installation of new sliding doors for suites with balconies.
Windstar will add two brand new dining experiences including an alternative dining restaurant, and a casual barbecue space adjacent to the top deck Star Bar.
In addition the ships will get a larger pool, and a completely new spa.
The mid-ship section will see the addition of another elevator.
Other changes include a new tender loading area located mid-ship and two new 90-passenger tenders that will ferry guests to port when ships are at anchor.
In addition, ship staff and crew areas and accommodations will be expanded and upgraded. Additional crew will be hired and the increase will maintain the line’s 1.5:1 guest to hotel staff ratio