The discovery and removal of asbestos in Star Breeze has delayed Windstar Cruises’ Star Plus Initiative and led to 20 sailings being cancelled
Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride are undergoing a stretch, re-engining, adding new onboard venues and replacing technical equipment in the US$250M Star Plus initiative at Italian shipyard Fincantieri.
A statement by Windstar explained “While preparing the engineroom and mechanical spaces on the Star Breeze for this comprehensive project, Fincantieri conducted an asbestos survey and discovered a limited number of asbestos-containing components in these spaces.”
It added Fincantieri has contracted with SAIT SpA to conduct asbestos abatement prior to installing four new, environmentally friendly engines and other new equipment. SAIT SpA is an independent, certified asbestos abatement contractor.
The abatement is expected to delay the completion timeline for the ship’s renovation from 14 February 2020 to 4 May 2020. The delay on Star Breeze will affect the schedules for Star Legend and Star Pride, which will complete their renovations now on 30 August 2020 and 29 November 2020 respectively.
Twenty sailings will be cancelled across Star Breeze, Star Pride and Star Legend in Latin America, Alaska, Europe and Transatlantic. Windstar Cruises said it had contacted all travel agents and guests affected by delays to offer to rebook another Windstar cruise in 2020 or 2021. All guests rebooking a cruise will receive US$100 shipboard credit and 20% off a future cruise valid for two years. Windstar will reimburse non-refundable travel expenses in full. Guests can also opt to cancel the current booking and receive a full refund and receive a 10% discount on a future cruise valid for two years. Windstar will also reimburse non-refundable travel expenses up to US$350 per person.
Explaining further about the situation, Windstar said “Asbestos was discovered in certain equipment components found in the engineroom and mechanical spaces, primarily gaskets used in a limited number of valves and pumps and related insulation.”
No asbestos-containing materials were found in any guest or crew accommodations or in any public spaces in connection with the Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) survey or additional surveys on Star Breeze conducted in Fincantieri’s Palermo shipyard. Additional testing on the Star Legend and Star Pride following the IHM survey also did not find asbestos. Windstar added “after air sampling on Star Pride and Star Legend, we are pleased to report that no asbestos was detected in any air sample.”
“We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause our guests and travel partners,” said Windstar Cruises president John Delaney. “However, we look forward to ushering in a new era of small ship cruising following these major renovations.”
The renovation will add 50 new suites, two new restaurants, a new pool with an expanded, enhanced deck area, a spa and fitness centre, and new bathrooms in all suites. The work will significantly enhance the guest experience on board these ships. Windstar is also replacing the engines to increase fuel efficiency.