Windstar Cruises, the leader in small ship cruising, has revealed big news about the award-winning line’s US$250 Million Star Plus Initiative at last week’s Seatrade Cruise Global, the cruise industry’s most celebrated worldwide event.
The Seattle-based cruise line’s President John Delaney revealed 360degree “views” and vibrant renderings of what guests will experience on the line’s three renovated vessels, Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride. Delaney was joined by Giorgio Rizzo and Lawrence Zammit, respectively Fincantieri Services Executive Vice President and Vice President Merchant Market Strategies and Sales for partnered shipbuilder and ship conversions specialists Fincantieri. Zammit shared technical details and video on the complex project in the wake of last week’s “Steel Cutting Ceremony” that began creation of the first new section of ship, proving the project is moving from renderings to reality at Fincantieri’s Shipyards in Trieste and later in Palermo, Italy.
The Star Plus Initiative is the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project in cruising.
"This is the biggest investment and expansion in Windstar Cruises’ history," said Delaney. “The investment of a quarter of a billion dollars ensures to our loyal and future guests, and industry partners, that these ships will continue to sail for generations and deliver on their promise of visiting the smaller ports and waters of the world that our brand is known for. We are all proud to be part of this historic event in the small ship cruise industry."
Windstar will take half of its fleet – Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride – and renovate each ship in succession. Work on the ships begins in October 2019 and ends in November 2020. The total capacity of the expanded ships will be 312 guests, with additional staff hired to maintain the line’s impressive 1.5 to 1 guest-to-staff ratio. The ships’ new engines will meet and exceed new global International Maritime Organization (IMO) limits – one of the requirements being the engines produce no more than .5 percent sulphur content. In addition, the new engines are designed to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, supporting the company’s goals of traveling with a softer environmental footprint.
Giorgio Rizzo, Executive Vice President Fincantieri Services, said, “Star Plus Initiative is an extraordinary and very comprehensive program, which is why we are honoured to partner with Windstar for its execution. Ship conversions are much more than simple upgrades, they’re about enhancing the main technical and commercial qualities of the ship, while enriching the brand attributes that have earned Windstar the reputation of being an innovative leader in small ship cruising. In the last few years, our company has made a long-term strategic choice to specialise in these kinds of operations, particularly in the cruise segment, which has allowed us to quickly gain an acknowledged leadership position in this sector.”
Ray Chung, Director of Design at The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, and his team have been tasked with creating modern and inviting new public spaces and 50 new suites.
“They just don’t build ships like this anymore,” said Chung. “We are keeping the best elements and designs from these iconic vessels and re-envisioning them for the modern guest. The design of the public and private spaces provides a rich backdrop for guests as they create their own storytelling moments of their time on board. The design is very conscious of how people ‘flow’ effortlessly through the ship and leverages drama and scale for a larger visual impact.”
Planned updates include 50 new suites configured with the bed by the window or balcony plus a new Grand Owner’s Suite, the elegantly appointed mid-ship suite that boasts three adjoining individual suites to create a 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath suite, separate dining room and living room areas, an entertainment bar, a spacious central balcony, and additional balcony in one of the bedroom suites. Totalling 1,374 square feet, the combined three-bedroom suite can accommodate up to seven guests – ideal for extended families and friends. In addition to the new guest suites, all bathrooms in existing suites will be renovated in the same design.
An inviting new infinity pool, along with a reimagined Veranda restaurant with all new layout and more seating will also be a feature of the upcoming refurbishments. More news and reveals will be announced in the coming months, including two highly anticipated new dining spaces and new dining concepts on board, a world-class spa and fitness centre, and enhanced “living room-esque” deck space, where guests will no doubt congregate.
The just-released renderings and 360-degree views are available to the public and travel advisors by visiting Windstar’s updated webpage at https://www.windstarcruises.com/starplus/.
The renovated ships will chart courses to some of the most popular, aspirational, and legendary destinations in the world including Iceland, Northern Europe, the British Isles, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Crete, Israel, Egypt, Malta, the Cote D’Azur, Alaska, the Panama Canal, Mexico, Baja, the West Coast of the U.S., and the Caribbean. Itineraries will continue to feature transits of the famous Corinth Canal – a feat only small ships can fathom – along with a plethora of other “small ship only” experiences.
Reservations are available to book for new cruise itineraries aboard Star Breeze and Star Legend after the ships completed renovations including Star Breeze’s Colours of Key West & Central America 10-day voyage from Miami, FL to Colón, Panama on 20 March 2020 starting from AU$3,454*pp twin share; sailing from Miami will be a first for the Seattle-based company.
Bookings to be directed to your travel agent or Windstar Australia on 1300 749 875 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Windstar Cruises
Windstar Cruises operates a six-ship fleet of masted sailing ships and all-suite motor ships cruising throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, Asia, Alaska and British Columbia, Canada and New England, Tahiti and the South Pacific, and new for 2019, Mexico and U.S. West Coast. Windstar’s fleet is the market leader in small ship cruising with a total of 1,242 passenger berths calling on off the-beaten-path and popular ports in nearly 80 countries. The boutique line carries less than 350 guests on each sailing and takes travellers on cruises that are 180 degrees from ordinary. Windstar is known for immersive experiences and destination authenticity, port-intensive itineraries, exceptional award-winning service, and an innovative culinary program with culinary-themed cruise as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation. Windstar Cruises is a part of Xanterra Travel Collection, an award-winning, globally diversified travel company offering once in a lifetime experiences in some of the most beautiful and iconic places on earth.