Revitalisation: exclusive cruising for the modern traveller

Windstar Cruises’ John Delaney discusses the upcoming ship renovations that are part of the Star Plus Initiative

Revitalisation: exclusive cruising for the modern traveller
The elevated pool and whirlpool will be the focal point of the expanded open-air decking area and the once-per-cruise Deck Barbecue

This article was first published in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Between October 2019 and November 2020, Italian shipyard Fincantieri will renovate three of Windstar Cruises Star Class ships; Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride. The line will add a 25.6-metre-long section to each vessel, adding 50 suites to accommodate the new capacity of 312 guests. Fincantieri will simultaneously retrofit each vessel with new engines.

“Many cruise lines have stretched ships before; that’s not that uncommon,” says John Delaney, president of Windstar Cruises. “But no one has ever fitted a ship with a new engine and stretched it at the same time with this level of renovation. It’s safe to say that this is quite a big project for us.”

The major overhaul will touch almost every area of the ships, including refurbishments to all the accommodation and guest bathrooms, as well as some of the public spaces.

“It’s not just about getting bigger; it’s also about giving our guests more of what they love,” Delaney comments. “When these ships were designed several years back, a world-class spa, a beautiful pool and a real fitness centre weren’t priorities onboard cruise ships. Now, they are extremely important to the affluent travellers we cater for.”

The Veranda restaurants are just one of the public spaces receiving an update on each ship. The casual eatery currently boasts beautiful outdoor seating but doesn’t offer much in the way of indoor seating.

“This isn’t ideal for when the weather takes a turn,” explains Delaney. “During the renovation, we will extend the Veranda with two fantastic new seating areas featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that will overlook the ocean.”

Another major part of the overhaul will be focused on introducing a new range of suites specifically designed for the modern cruise passenger.

“The current suites on the ships feature a lot of French oak and are beautiful,” comments Delaney. “However, they aren’t necessarily how you might envision a new ship today.”

To create suite designs that reflected the Star Class brand, the design team will open up the rooms.

“The beds will be against the balcony, giving guests a glorious view of the sea the instant they wake up and when you walk in, you will enter the living room, rather than going straight into the bed,” notes Delaney. “In addition, each room will feature a large hidden walk-in wardrobe, which creates more floor space.”

The suites will also offer dual vanity bathrooms to give passengers an extra hint of luxury that most wouldn’t find at home.

“They will be given a clean, fresh and updated look, following a soothing colour scheme that gently reminds guests of a spa,” says Delaney.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the new ships is the Grand Owner’s Suite, which has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. The new room can also be connected to one or two neighbouring suites for a larger configuration.

“This will be a beautiful, light, enjoyable space,” says Delaney. “The neutral colour palette for this suite is based around the room’s light woods, with dark grey and khaki green accents in the soft furnishings.”

The Star Class ships provide a more exclusive cruise experience due to their small size and capacity. Post-stretch they will retain this exclusivity, remaining small enough to visit locations accessible only to vessels below a certain size, such as the Corinth Canal in Greece.

“Despite their small size, the ships will hold onto some of their key features,” says Delaney. “We will recreate the Amphora restaurant, expand our beautiful Compass Rose lounge and introduce a beautiful jewellery shop. With the upgrades, the ships will offer the modern cruiser next-level luxury.”

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Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts
Friday, July 5, 2019