Windstar Cruises Announces $250 Million Star Plus Initiative:
Major Investment Engages Fincantieri to Renovate & Lengthen
Windstar’s Three Star-Class Ships beginning in Fall 2019
Sleek, modern design configuration and expansion (above) to include creation of 50 new suites and all-new guest experiences including new dining & spa venues
Windstar Cruises today announces the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, a major investment and expansion for the innovative cruise company. The multi-million dollar, multi-year undertaking will impact and enhance all aspects of the guest experience for the highly awarded small ship cruise line’s three Star Class vessels.
“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. “The initiative not only creates beautiful new suites and public spaces, but we will also take the opportunity to re-engine the ships with a more fuel efficient and environmentally responsible propulsion system. This will be a true game changer for Windstar and our small ship cruise experience.”
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 Pridein succession between October 2019 and November 2020, and take place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. The project represents an overall capacity increase of 24% for the small ship line.
The project is expected to be partially financed through an export credit facility guaranteed by SACE, Italy’s export credit agency.
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 meters, still the right size to access the smaller ports and harbors that Windstar favors on the line’s immersive itineraries. 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.
“This major investment is an efficient way to build on a winning brand that shows strong momentum and growth potential. Support for this exciting new initiative demonstrates our commitment to Windstar as an important part of the Xanterra portfolio,” said Andrew N. Todd, President and CEO of Xanterra Travel Collection.
Also involved in the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative is the creation of state-of-the-art public spaces including two new dining locations; new shop and retail space; a much enlarged fitness center; and a new world-class spa.
In addition to the impressive scale of work to be done, the renovation includes a comprehensive
re-engine project for each ship. This complex undertaking is an uncommon occurrence in the cruise industry and involves the removal of seven current engines and installation of four new, more environmentally friendly engines that will run on cleaner fuel and reduce emissions impact to sailing regions.
“Given our expertise as a leader in major cruise ship renovations and lengthening projects, we are gratified to be chosen by Windstar to undertake this complex and extensive endeavor. We look forward to working with the Windstar team to totally transform these elegant small ships,” said Giorgio Rizzo, Executive SVP, Fincantieri Services.
NEW: 50 New Suites, New Dining Venues, New Spa & Fitness Areas Take Center Stage
Windstar has partnered with acclaimed designer Ray Chung, Director of Design at The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, to create modern and inviting design aesthetics for the new public spaces and new suites.
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 – the first of its kind in the cruise industry.
- Two brand new dining experiences including: an intimate, alternative dining restaurant, and a casual barbecue space adjacent to the top deck Star Bar, perfect for outdoor grilling during Windstar’s Signature Onboard Barbecue celebration or enjoying while spending time on deck.
- Expanded Veranda Restaurant to offer significantly more ocean-view 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 offering outstanding views, along with more and enhanced outdoor deck area for relaxing and sun-bathing.
- A completely re-imagined and enlarged spa and fitness center to invigorate active guests.
- 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.
In addition, 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 impressive 1.5:1 guest to hotel staff ratio.
As planning on the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative progresses, 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.
For more information on authentic small ship cruising with Windstar, contact a travel advisor or Windstar Cruises by phone at 877-958-7718, or by visiting www.windstarcruises.com.
About Windstar Cruises
Windstar Cruises operates a six-ship fleet of small sailing and all-suite ships visiting approximately 300 ports and 80 countries sailing to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, Asia, Alaska and British Columbia, Canada and New England, South Pacific and Tahiti. Windstar’s fleet is the market leader in small ship cruising and has just embarked on a $250 Million Dollar Star Plus Initiative to enhance its Star-class ships and the onboard guest accommodations and experiences. Calling on hidden harbors, off-the-beaten-path and popular ports, the boutique cruise line carries 148 to 312 passengers on six small ships and takes travelers on cruises that are 180 degrees from ordinary. Windstar is known for immersive experiences and destination authenticity, port-intensive itineraries, exceptional award-winning service, and an innovative culinary program with culinary-themed cruises as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation. Windstar Cruises is a part of Xanterra Travel Collection, an award-winning, globally diversified travel company offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences in some of the most beautiful and iconic places on earth.
Fincantieri is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one for diversification and innovation. It is leader in cruise ship design and construction and a reference player in all high-tech shipbuilding industry sectors, from naval to offshore vessels, from high-complexity special vessels and ferries to mega yachts, as well as in ship repairs and conversions, production of systems and mechanical and electrical component equipment and after-sales services.
With over 230 years of history and more than 7,000 vessels built, Fincantieri has always kept its management offices, as well as all the engineering and production skills, in Italy. With over 8,400 employees and a supplier network that employs nearly 50,000 people, Fincantieri has enhanced a fragmented production capacity over several shipyards into a strength, acquiring the widest portfolio of clients and products in the cruise segment. To hold its own in relation to competition and assert itself at global level, Fincantieri has broadened its product portfolio becoming world leader in the sectors in which it operates.
With globalization, the Group has around 20 shipyards in 4 continents, over 19,000 employees and is the leading Western shipbuilder. It has among its clients the world’s major cruise operators, the Italian and the US Navy, in addition to several foreign navies, and it is partner of some of the main European defense companies within supranational programs.
Fincantieri’s business is widely diversified by end markets, geographical exposure and by client base, with revenue mainly generated from cruise ship, naval and offshore vessel construction. Compared with less diversified players, such diversification allows it to mitigate the effects of any fluctuations in demand on the end markets served.