Windstar Cruises announced the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, a major investment and expansion for the cruise company. The multi-million dollar, multi-year undertaking will impact and enhance all aspects of the guest experience for the small ship cruise line’s three Star Class vessels.
The initiative will expand guest accommodations on the line’s three all-suite 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% for the small ship line.
The project is expected to be partially financed through an export credit facility guaranteed by SACE, Italy’s export credit agency.
Each Star Class ship will be cut to allow the installation of a new section of ship that will lengthen each vessel approximately 85 feet bringing the total length to just over 452 feet, still the right size to access the smaller ports and harbors that Windstar favors on the line’s immersive itineraries. The project adds 50 new suites, bringing the total number of suites per ship to 156.
The renovation also includes a comprehensive re-engine project for each ship. This 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.
Among new guest amenities and accommodations in the planning phase are:
- 50 new suites featuring new suite categories and open floor plan configurations.
- Creation of two brand new, larger Owner’s Suites, that combines existing suites to create up to a three-bedroom, two-balcony suite.
- Two brand new dining experiences including: an intimate, alternative dining restaurant, and a casual barbecue space adjacent to the top deck Star Bar, perfect for outdoor grilling during Windstar’s Signature Onboard Barbecue celebration or enjoying while spending time on deck.
- Expanded Veranda Restaurant to offer more ocean-view seating and upgraded dining area.
- For existing suites, all-new bathrooms and installation of new sliding doors for the Balcony Suites.
- Larger pool and hot tub that will be reconfigured and elevated, along with more and enhanced outdoor deck area for relaxing and sun-bathing.
- A completely re-imagined and enlarged spa and fitness center.
- A new elevator mid-ship, making access to all decks easy from anywhere on board.
- A comfortable, 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 staff ratio.
As planning on the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative progresses, additional details about the work to be done, new onboard experiences, and new partnerships will be revealed and highlighted.