At Fincantieri’s shipyard in Trieste, Italy last week, Windstar Cruises‘ John Gunner, Vice President of Expansion Project, triggered the button to activate the torch to commence the first cut in the new steel that will become the first of three new ship sections – part of the US$250 Million Star Plus Initiative.
The work on the first of the three Star class ships begins on Star Breeze in October 2019 and shall end with the departure of the Star Pride from the yard in November 2020. This steel cutting marks the beginning of true project construction. The ships will be cut in half to allow the installation of a new stepped mid-body section that will lengthen each vessel by approximately 25 meters. The total capacity of the “new” expanded ships will be 312 guests, and additional staff will be hired in order to maintain the line’s impressive 1.5 to 1 guest to service staff ratio.
The new sections will be built in Trieste and then will be transported south by barge to the Fincantieri yard in Palermo Sicily, Italy to be inserted into the iconic Windstar ships along with the new engines. The timeline requires the new sections to be fabricated from April through September, shipped in October, and then inserted into Star Breeze so that she can be completed in time for her arrival for re-inaugural activities at the port of Miami on 19 March, 2020.
The extension and modernisation project is being performed by the Ship Repair & Conversion part of the Services Division of Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one for diversification and innovation that has built 89 cruise ships from 1990 to today with 54 new ships currently being designed or built in the group’s yards.
The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, led by Ray Chung, Director of Design, has been tasked with creating modern and inviting design aesthetics for the new public spaces and 50 new suites. In addition to new suites, there will be a new pool area, restaurants, a spa & wellness centre, and enhanced “living room deck space.”
Gunner pointed out, “This is not about just cutting a ship in half and making it bigger. We are replacing the engines and ‘back of house’ too, so that these ships deliver on their promise of visiting smaller ports and special waterways of the world with a softer environmental footprint for generations to come”.
Reservations can be made for cruises aboard the post-Star Plus Initiative Star Breeze and Star Legend, including Star Breeze’s Colors of Key West & Central America 10-day voyage from Miami to Colón, Panama on 20 March, 2020; sailing from Miami will be a first for the Seattle-based company.