Windstar Cruises is expanding its fleet from four ships to six in May 2015 with the addition of two small luxury ships from Seabourn.
Windstar takes possession of the first Seabourn ship on April 15, 2015, when it undergoes an $8.5 million, three-week renovation in Genoa, Italy. It will debut as Star Breeze during a christening ceremony on May 6, 2015 in Nice, France.
The second ship follows suit, joining the fleet on May 4, 2015, and completing a similar $8.5 million renovation. The yacht will be christened Star Legend on May 25, 2015 in Rome, Italy.
Star Breeze and Star Legend join sister-ship, Star Pride, marking the completion of the acquisition announced in February of 2013.
The expansion doubles the size of Windstar’s fleet of three luxury sailing yachts, making the company a market leader in small ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers, with a total of 1,242 berths and six ships.
“Star Breeze and Star Legend will receive a full stem-to-stern transformation, more than doubling the investment that was spent on Star Pride’s original enhancements,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer.
“We learned a lot about our guests’ preferences with the debut of Star Pride last year. We are taking their feedback and giving them what they want with the launch of these two all suite yachts.”
Key changes on Star Breeze and Star Legend that differ from Star Pride include:
Lounge: The entertainment lounge completely transforms with new flooring, and furniture. The added elegance creates an ambiance that makes the show lounge an amenable space for entertainment, meetings or small gatherings.
Veranda: the restaurant in the aft of the yacht will have expanded outdoor seating, complete with a garden wall.
Star Deck: the outdoor deck will expand by four feet on each side, giving additional space for guests to relax on lounge chairs
Star Screening Room: The space completely transforms from a card room to an intimate screening room where guests can watch current movies and play video games.
Both yachts, each holding 212 passengers at double occupancy, will also receive upgrades to the suites, public areas, and dining venues. The transformation will include the following overhauls and upgrades:
Public Spaces: Public areas receive updated décor, complete with new, more modern upholstery, lighting, wall coverings, carpeting, ceiling finishes, window treatments, and floors. The contemporary color palette combines sand and marine shades to contrast with the warmth of wood finishes, thereby creating an upscale, nautical feel, signature to Windstar. Some public space renovation highlights include:
Yacht Club: The observation lounge on the top deck was one of the most well- received spaces on Star Pride. The space becomes a chic coffee bar and lounge where guests can enjoy espresso and light bites. The lounge receives a complete overhaul, including new flooring, lounge furniture, and an open layout that embraces the view of the shoreline.
Reception: The carpeting receives an upgrade to Windstar’s signature blue, while new accent lighting and art give the reception area the quintessential Windstar welcoming look.
Compass Rose: The club space will turn into Windstar’s popular Compass Rose, redesigned with all new contemporary furnishings, including rich new flooring finishes, plantation shutters, and comfortable chairs and bar stools designed for socializing. Live music can be found here nightly.
Star Bar: The Star Bar will offer casual drinks during the day and a venue for star-gazing by night. The bar area will be expanded with teak decking, new stools, new awning, and lighting.
Dining Venues: All restaurants will be transformed to embrace Windstar’s casual elegance, where guests are free to eat when, where, and with whom they please (no jackets or ties required). All dining experiences are complimentary.
AmphorA: Windstar’s formal dining experience will be introduced as AmphorA Restaurant. The main dining room will be redesigned, featuring mirror panels with Murano glass, new soft lighting, wall coverings, and art work. The room will feature a new seating layout; setting the stage for Windstar’s signature dining experience featuring contemporary, international menus and fresh, local dishes.
Candles: At night Veranda will transform to Candles, a favorite Windstar romantic experience where guests can dine with table service under the stars.
Suites: Every guest suite (a total of 106 suites) undergoes upgrades to reflect a more luxurious and stylish experience. Changes include new carpets, linens, couches, chairs, mattresses, curtains, and headboards, as well as a modern color palette including vibrant blue hues, rich brown tones, and opulent greys.
Destination Suites: the Owner’s Suites will now showcase different, unique Windstar destinations, such as the Bora Bora Suite. Guests can get a taste of one of the hidden harbors that Windstar sails to, all in the comfort of their suite.
Coming in 2016: Star Pride Renovation
Windstar is planning a $3 million additional renovation of Star Pride in April 2016. The Star Pride joined Windstar’s fleet from Seabourn in May of 2014, after a moderate facelift and updated furnishings with some remodeling. The continuation of the transformation includes the completion of the AmphorA dining room remodel and a total renovation of the Lounge, Veranda, Screening Room, and more.
“With the addition of these two newly renovated yachts, we can meet our consumer demand, enhance the feel of luxury, and continue to rank at the top of the small cruise line industry,” added Birkholz.