Star Breeze has departed the Fincantieri shipyard in Palmero for the first set of sea trials following her refit and refurbishment that included a lengthening to ‘stretch’ the ship by 25.6-metres.
At the time of writing, Star Breeze was alongside in the outer basin of the harbour adjacent the Fincantieri shipyard ahead of an expected departure on her sea trials.
She is the first of three Windstar cruise ships to complete the complex refurbishment proceedure that saw her cut in half, a new prefabricated midsection inserted, before being welded back together.
The new midsection includes 50 new suites, new engines, and additional upgrades to public spaces. The total capacity of the expanded ships will be 312 guests. There will also be two new restaurants onboard, including The Star Grill by Steven Raichlen.
The restaurant will sit on the upper deck of all three ships, just steps away from the popular Star Bar, which offers ocean views. The restaurant will occupy newly created space thanks to the ships’ refurbishments.
The Star Grill by Steven Raichlen will focus on grilled, smoked and rotisserie fare, including seafood, meats and vegetable dishes paired with craft side dishes and sauces in a casual alfresco environment, according to Windstar.
The ships will also feature revamped state rooms and suites. The new suites will borrow an idea from river cruises, positioning the bed by the window and the living area closer to the door (a flip from the current suite configuration on most cruise ships).
In another change, the new balcony suites will have French balconies (rather than full balconies) like the existing suites, providing guests with more space within the cabin itself.
The US $250-million Million Star Plus Initiative is being carried out on Star Breeze, Star Pride and Star Legend, the trio of cruise ships Windstar acquired from Seabourn in 2015.
The initial cut to Star Breeze was made in October, 2019 and her new engines were installed in February of this year.
The three ships will all feature a revamped spa experience. The World Spa by Windstar, developed in-house but operated by One Spa World, debuted on Wind Surf, which emerged from her separate renovation in December, 2019 and will be included aboard the trio of engine-only vessels.
The refurbishment was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted several cruise ship build and refurbishment programs, but Star Breeze is poised to debut in the Caribbean in January 2021, sailing from San Juan on a seven-day cruise program.