First Windstar cruise ship starts re-engine and stretching work at Fincantieri

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 21 October 2019

ShipInsight


Work has begun on stretching three cruise ships operated by small ship specialist Windstar at Fincantieri’s yard in Palermo.

Star Breeze has now been cut in half ready for the insertion of a 25.6m new midsection. The ships’ owner says the extension will help evolve and transform the Windstar experience.

As the first Windstar ship to emerge from this transformation, Star Breeze, will sail from Barcelona to Lisbon on February 20, 2020, and celebrate re-inaugural activities in North America at the Port of Miami on March 19, 2020.

Star breeze

While many a ship has been “stretched,” as it is referred to in the cruise industry, the complexity and significant undertaking with Star Breeze (and sister ships Star Legend and Star Pride in 2020) is not just cosmetic or experience-based. It also involves removing and replacing the engines to ensure a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly operation.

The ship’s four Bergen main engines and three Bergen auxiliary engines will be replaced by a pair of V12 Wärtsilä 26 engines and a pair of eight-cylinder in line versions of the Wärtsilä 26 giving an extra 4kt speed and extending the range of the ship. The new engines will run on distillate fuels to meet the 2020 sulphur cap requirements.

“The $250m Star Plus Initiative is the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project undertaken in cruising, and we are very proud to be working with Fincantieri, the leader in major cruise ship renovations,” stated Windstar Cruises President John Delaney. “The slightly larger ships and new enhancements will significantly build upon the signature onboard environment Windstar is famous for. The social and friendly public spaces on the ships create a welcome chemistry with guests and the crew.”

This is the first of three new mid-ship sections to be constructed and inserted as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, which iscommitted to the expansion and transformation of the cruise line’s three Star-class vessels. In addition to the all-important propulsion system and “back-of-house” investment, what guests will welcome most are the two new restaurants including the eclectic, Spanish-styled Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso and a modern, alfresco Star Grill by Steven Raichlen capitalizing on the ships’ increase in deck space.

Vice President Ship Repair and Conversion of the Fincantieri Services Division Andrew Toso stated, “Today is a big day. A proud day. A day of amazing accomplishment by Windstar, Fincantieri, and our shipyard in Palermo. Cutting Star Breeze in two, inserting a new section, replacing the main engines and diesel generators is evidence of our ability in these kinds of highly sophisticated and complex operations, which require engineering and design skills, as well as project management competence that represent the state-of-the-art in the industry.”

That additional space also translates into a new pool and whirlpool on the upper deck, a re-imagined, world-class spa and fitness center, a new retail shop, and more. In addition, every bathroom on the ship with be re-built and fitted to modern luxury standards. The new 25.6m midsection will also welcome most of the 50 new suites. With the new section, Star Breeze will now be able to accommodate 312 passengers (previously the ship accommodated 212 guests). The expanded ship will also allow for more crew and maintain the enviable 1.5-to-1 guest-to-service staff ratio.

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