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Published in: Cruise News



Windstar Cruises will see a 24 percent capacity increase by the time its $250 million Star-class stretch program is done, adding a total of 300 new berths to the existing trio of Star-class ships, according to John Delaney, president, delivering the keynote address at the Marine Hotel Association’s (MHA) conference and trade show in early April.

Speaking to a room full of cruise industry vendors and other various suppliers, Delaney showed off Windstar’s small-ship product, and highlighted the boom going on in the small ship space.

Since taking over at the helm of Windstar in 2016, Delaney has led a number of major initiatives at Windstar, including an expanded deployment profile.

“We’ve added over 150 new ports since I started, and we couldn’t have done that without the support a lot of the vendors in this room, helping us get the product to the ships,” Delaney said.

As for the stretch, it may be the most complex project ever undertaken on existing ships, not only stretching them, but replacing all engines at the same time on the trio of three-decades old vessels.

The timeline also means the company gets the additional capacity faster than it would if it were to build a new vessel.

“It’s a very cost efficient per berth cost,” said Delaney. “We’re adding 100 beds, from 212 to 312. The flow-through, the revenue flow-through, on these 100 beds is almost 90 percent because we’re ripping out some non-environmentally-friendly and major fuel-guzzling engines. We are putting in four brand new, very fuel efficient state-of-the-art engines, we add the extra beds, and it gives us a chance to add some other improvements.”

And with IMO 2020 looming, meaning new emissions regulations requiring new technology or expensive fuel, the new engines are well timed.

“These ships would have been very hard to operate and make a profit on in the (new) fuel environment. It allows us to get 100 beds and new engines,” Delaney said.

The company is a major customer to many vendors across the cruise space.

“We spend a lot of money on food,” Delaney continued. “It’s probably as a high as any cruise line out there when you back out caviar and a few other things. We did it working with the great vendors here (at the MHA).”

The company has invested in local ingredients, often buying fish locally.

“There are 50 new vendors here this year, which is fantastic,” Delaney said, speaking to the MHA crowd. “If you’re not focused on small ship cruising, I would really recommend thinking about that … it’s a relationship business.”



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