SEATTLE — Windstar Cruises says it plans to invest US$250 million into upgrades for its three Star Class vessels, as part of its new multi-million dollar, multi-year Star Plus Initiative.
The initiative will expand guest accommodations on the boutique 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 Italy’s Fincantieri Shipyard.
The project represents an overall capacity increase of 24% for the small ship line.
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 138 metres, “still the right size to access the smaller ports and harbors that Windstar favours on the line’s immersive itineraries”, says the cruise line.
The project adds 50 new suites, bringing the total number of suites per ship to 156, and represents an investment of more than $267,000 per passenger berth.
“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.
He adds the initiative not only creates new suites and public spaces, but also creates a more fuel efficient and environmentally responsible propulsion system by re-engining the ships.
The $250 million Star Plus Initiative will also add new public spaces to the ships, including two new dining locations; new shop and retail space; a much enlarged fitness centre; and a new spa.
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 – something Windstar says is a first of its kind in the cruise industry.
- Two new dining experiences including: an intimate, alternative dining restaurant, and a casual barbecue space adjacent to the top deck Star Bar.
- Expanded Veranda Restaurant to offer significantly more oceanview 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, plus more and enhanced outdoor deck space for relaxing and sun-bathing.
- A re-imagined and enlarged spa and fitness centre.
- 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.
Windstar says 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.
Additional details about the extensive work to be done, new onboard experiences and new partnerships will be revealed and highlighted in news announcements and on a dedicated microsite that will launch in 2019, adds Windstar.