Fincantieri Fits New Midsection in Star Breeze
The most complex cruise ship lengthening ever undertaken is clipping along at Fincantieri’s Palermo yard.
The final welding cut to Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze was completed and the ship’s 25.6-meter/84-foot prefabricated midsection was glided into place between the two halves in the drydock, an operation that took just half an hour.
Overnight, Shipyard crews at Fincantieri Palermo had carefully split the ship, pulling the 4,000-ton bow forward centimeter by centimeter while a new 25.6-meter midsection waited on shiny black rollers at the far end of the 370-meter pit.
The first Windstar ship to emerge from this transformation, Star Breeze, will sail from Barcelona to Lisbon on February 20, 2020, and celebrate re-inaugural activities in North America at the Port of Miami on March 19, 2020.
While many a ship has been “stretched,” as it is referred to in the cruise industry, the complexity and significant undertaking with Star Breeze (and sister ships Star Legend and Star Pride in 2020) is not just cosmetic or experience-based. It also involves removing and replacing the engines to ensure a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly operation as the ships sail through some of the world’s most beautiful waters and call at small, enchanting ports for decades to come.
“The $250 Million Star Plus Initiative is the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project undertaken in cruising, and we are very proud to be working with Fincantieri, the leader in major cruise ship renovations,” stated Windstar Cruises President John Delaney. “The slightly larger ships and new enhancements will significantly build upon the signature onboard environment Windstar is famous for. The social and friendly public spaces on the ships create a welcome chemistry with guests and the crew.”
This is the first of three new mid-ship sections to be constructed and inserted as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, which is committed to the expansion and transformation of the cruise line’s three Star-class vessels.
In addition to the all-important propulsion system and “back-of-house” investment, what guests will welcome most are the two new restaurants including the eclectic, Spanishstyled Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso and a modern, alfresco Star Grill by Steven Raichlen capitalizing on the ships’ increase in deck space.
That additional space also translates into a new pool and whirlpool on the upper deck, a re-imagined, world-class spa and fitness center, a new retail shop, and more. In addition, every bathroom on the ship with be re-built and fitted to modern luxury standards. The new 84-foot (25.6 meters) mid-section will also welcome most of the 50 new suites.
With the new section, Star Breeze will now be able to accommodate 312 passengers (previously the ship accommodated 212 guests). The expanded ship will also allow for more crew and maintain the enviable 1.5-to-1 guest-to-service staff ratio.
Windstar is transforming three of its Star-class ships – Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride – and renovating each ship in succession at Fincantieri’s Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. Work will be complete in late 2020.
The second ship to undergo the transformation, Star Legend, will debut in Barcelona on July 2, 2020.
The third and final ship, Star Pride, will be complete with the departure of Star Pride from the shipyard in fall of 2020, with her first cruise sailing from Barcelona on November 20, 2020.