Fincantieri has cut Windstar Cruise’s Star Breeze in half as part of a $250 million project to “stretch” three cruise ships.
The final cut in the hull of the Star Breeze took place at Fincantieri’s Palermo shipyard, marking the first major milestone in the process of inserting a 84-foot (25.6 meters) mid-section.
Star Breeze is the first of three Windstar cruise ships to receive the “stretch” treatment. Sister ships Star Legend and Star Pride will follow in 2020.
Lengthening cruise ships is far from a new concept in the cruise industry, but the Windstar project is significant because it also involves removing and replacing the main engines and diesel generators with a more environmentally friendly propulsion system.
As part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, the company is transforming the three Star-class ships – Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride – and renovating each ship in succession at Fincantieri’s Palermo shipyard.
Work will be complete in late 2020.
Following completion, Star Breeze will sail from Barcelona to Lisbon on February 20, 2020 before sailing to the Port of Miami on March 19, 2020.
The second ship to undergo the transformation, Star Legend, will debut in Barcelona on July 2, 2020. The third and final ship, Star Pride, 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.
“Today is a big day. A proud day. A day of amazing accomplishment by Windstar, Fincantieri, and our shipyard in Palermo,” said Andrew Toso, Vice President Ship Repair and Conversion at Fincantieri’s Services Division. “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.”
“The $250 Million 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,” said 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.”