Windstar Cruises is carrying out a first for the cruise industry – a ‘stretch’ and re-engining of its trio of Star Cruise-class ships, which its president John Delaney said was the “most complex refit ever imagined”.
The US$250M Star Plus initiative will see Fincantieri insert a 25.6-m mid-ship block into Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride, with work starting on Star Breeze in October 2019 and ending with the departure of Star Pride from the yard in November 2020.
Mr Delaney told a press conference at Seatrade Cruise Global “It is touching on every area of the ship: there will be four new engines, very fuel-efficient Wärtsilä engines, [it will include] onboard systems, all new bathrooms. It is a major innovation.” The new engines will meet IMO Tier III emission standards.
He said the Seattle-headquartered company chose Fincantieri because “this is the most complex refit that has ever been imagined. Many cruise lines have stretched cruise ships before, no one has ever done a re-engining and a stretch at the same time, with this level of renovation. We chose Fincantieri as a partner because of its leadership in this area, it has done most of the major refits and stretches in the industry over last decade and brings an enormous amount of skill.”
Capacity on each ship will increase by 50 suites, boosting passengers from 212 to 312, representing a 24% capacity increase for Windstar as a brand, at a “very cost efficient” US$250,000 per berth.
Fincantieri has been awarded 10 major stretches in the cruise industry since 2010, with six completed and Windstar well under way.
Each ship will take four months to complete. Mr Delaney commented “Four months per ship is a little longer than normal but that is because of the complexity and all of the other work that is being done.”