Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has held a steel cutting ceremony marking the start of Seattle-based Windstar Cruises’ vessel upgrade program.
The ceremony, held at Arsenale Triestino San Marco shipyard in Trieste, saw the first cut in the new steel that will become the first of three new ships’ sections as part of Windstar’s USD 250 million Star Plus initiative.
Under the initiative, dubbed as the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project undertaken in cruising, Windstar will renovate half of its entire fleet, namely Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride.
The project is scheduled to begin with work on Star Breeze in October 2019 and end with the departure of the Star Pride from the yard in November 2020.
The units ships would be cut in half to allow the installation of a new stepped mid-body section that will lengthen each vessel by approximately 25 meters to 160 meters. The total capacity of the “new” expanded ships will be 312 guests. The sections will be built in Trieste and then transported by barge to the Fincantieri yard in Palermo Sicily to be inserted into the Windstar ships along with the new engines.
The most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project in the cruise industry has started today with the steel cutting ceremony for our three ships. The ceremony took place at Fincantieri shipyard “Arsenale Triestino San Marco.” pic.twitter.com/akhP2xbNMm
— Windstar Cruises (@WindstarCruises) April 2, 2019
The timeline requires the new sections to be fabricated from April through September, shipped in October, and then inserted into Star Breeze so that it can be completed in time for its arrival for re-inaugural activities at the port of Miami on March 19, 2020.
“This is not about just cutting a ship in half and making it bigger. We are replacing the engines and ‘back of house’ too, so that these ships deliver on their promise of visiting smaller ports and special waterways of the world with a softer environmental footprint for generations to come,” John Gunner, Vice President of Expansion Projects for Windstar Cruises, said.