Windstar to Stretch Three Ships
By Anne Kalosh.
Windstar Cruises recently announced plans to lengthen and upgrade its trio of motor yachts in a massive project that will add 50 suites per ship, re-do all accommodations and expand dining choices, the spa, fitness center and pool deck.
Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride are going to be cut in half so a midsection can be added. This will extend the ships by 25.6 meters/84 feet, bringing the total length to just over 159 meters/522 feet. The passenger capacity will go from 212 for each ship to 312.
In addition, Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride will be getting new Wärtsilä engines that are far more fuel efficient—and, therefore, less polluting—while adding 4 knots of speed, opening new destinations for Windstar like New Zealand and Spitsbergen.
The $250 million “Star Plus Initiative” will stretch each vessel in succession, between October 2019 and November 2020, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, Sicily.
With more space, Windstar can offer additional dining choices, a larger pool and more outdoor deck space, a bigger and better spa and fitness center, and two new owner’s suites, one with three bedrooms and two balconies—unheard of in ships this size.
Despite their stretches, the ships will still be able to access all of the smaller ports and harbors they currently visit.
“There is no place we go today that we won’t be able to go tomorrow,” Windstar President John Delaney said, including transiting the Corinth Canal and up the Guadalquivir River to Seville.
New Zealand is Windstar loyalists’ most requested destination, but the ships’ current speed would mean too many sea days to get there. Spitsbergen in the Arctic is another desired addition that could spice up Norwegian fjords itineraries. The 4 extra knots of speed will put both places in reach. And Delaney noted Windstar’s “Signature Expeditions” program of Zodiac and kayak adventures, which debuted in Alaska, would be perfect for New Zealand’s fjords and the Norwegian Arctic.
The 50 new suites per ship will include new categories and open-floor-plan configurations. Two new, larger owner’s suites include the one that combines with neighboring suites to create up to a three-bedroom, two-balcony suite, ideal for families.
All bathrooms will be modernized, and new sliding doors will be installed in balcony suites.
A 42-seat alternative restaurant will be introduced, providing a cuisine (to be announced) that Windstar doesn’t currently offer, and a casual barbecue space will be added near the top deck Star Bar. This will enable grilling during Windstar’s “Signature Onboard Barbecue.” The Veranda Restaurant will be enlarged to offer significantly more ocean-view seating, with an upgraded dining area.
Staff and crew areas and accommodations will be expanded and improved, too. This will enable Windstar to maintain its high 1.5:1 passenger to hotel staff ratio.
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