Windstar cuts steel for second Star-class ship with Fincantieri
The beginning of Star Legend’s journey to transformation under small ship cruise leader’s $250M Star Plus initiative
Today at Fincantieri’s shipyard, in Palermo, Italy, Christopher Prelog, Vice President of Fleet Operations for Seattle-based Windstar Cruises, pushed the button which activated the torch to make the first cut in the new steel that will become the newlyconstructed mid-section of MS Star Legend. This is the second of three new mid-ship sections being designed and constructed as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, to expand and transform the line’s three Star-class vessels.
“This is a momentous day for Windstar as we reach another major milestone. A project of this magnitude takes time to realize and unfold", said Prelog. “We’ve accomplished so much already on the first ship, Star Breeze, along with our partners at Fincantieri, that it makes the excitement for Star Legend that much greater. Today is an especially proud moment for me personally, as Star Legend was the first ship I ever worked on in the cruise industry, two decades ago. She is a beauty and the coming transformations are going to be truly amazing, for our guests and all fans of Windstar to see".
Andrew Toso, Vice President Ship Repair and Conversion of the Fincantieri Services Division, stated: “As the reference point worldwide for this kind of highly complex operations we are very proud to partner with Windstar for such an ambitious programme, and the milestone we are celebrating today is the best proof possible of our commitment and successful project management we are bringing in".
"Star Legend" is the second of three Star-class vessels that will undergo the transformation from a 212-passendger ship to 312 passengers by installing a new section of ship. The transformation of the three Star-class ships will increase capacity by 100 with the addition of 50 new suites, the majority of which are to be housed in the new mid-sections being built at Fincantieri shipyards.
In addition, the transformed ships will boast 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. Guests will also enjoy a new pool and whirlpool, a re-imagined, world-class spa and fitness center, new retail shops, and more.
Windstar’s award-winning small ships will be cut in half to allow the installation of a new stepped mid-body section that will lengthen each vessel by approximately 26 meters (85 feet). The total capacity of the “new” expanded ships will be 312 guests, and additional staff will be hired in order to maintain the line’s impressive 1.5 to 1 guest-to-service staff ratio.
The new mid-ship sections for Star Legend and sister ship, Star Pride to come in 2020, will be built and inserted into the iconic Windstar ships along with all new, environmentally friendly engines at Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. Each of the new sections will be fabricated over approximately a six month period of time.
The $250 Million Star Plus Initiative is the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project undertaken in cruising. Windstar is transforming three of its Star-class ships – "Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride"– and renovating each ship in succession.
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 Legend" will complete her transformation in late June and debut in Barcelona on July 2, 2020. The third and final ship will be complete with the departure of Star Pride from the shipyard in fall of 2020, with her first cruise sailing from Barcelona on November 20, 2020.
The first mid-ship section insertion for the Star-class ships takes place on "Star Breeze" in Palermo in mid-October 2019.
Reservations are open for 2020 and 2021 cruises aboard the post-Star Plus Initiative Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride, including a Colors of Key West & Central America 10-day voyage from Miami to Colón, Panama on March 20, 2020; sailing from Miami will be a first for the Seattle-based company.
AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency