December 20, 2019
(5:45 p.m. EST) -- Windstar Cruises is canceling 20 sailings on Star Breeze, Star Pride and Star Legend due to construction delays that follow the discovery of asbestos during the ships' renovation.
Removal of the material will delay Star Breeze's completion from February 14 to May 4, 2020, when it will begin sailing in Latin America and the West Coast. It will also affect the schedules for Star Legend and Star Pride, which will now complete their renovations on August 30, and November 29, 2020, respectively.
The canceled itineraries include Latin America, Alaska, Europe and transatlantic sailings.
The line says it has contacted all travel agents and passengers affected by the delays and offered two options.
Rebook: Passengers can rebook another Windstar cruise in 2020 or 2021 and keep the same cruise rate if the cruise is the same duration and region. If not the same, the cruise will be priced at the prevailing rate, but passengers will receive a \$100 shipboard credit and a 20 percent future cruise credit, valid for two years. The cruise line will also fully reimburse non-refundable travel expenses.
Cancel: Passengers can also cancel and receive a full refund, and receive a 10 percent future cruise credit, valid for two years. In that case, Windstar will reimburse non-refundable travel expenses up to $350 per person.
"We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause our guests and travel partners," said Windstar Cruises president John Delaney. "However, we look forward to ushering in a new era of small ship cruising following these major renovations."
Windstar says the asbestos was found in the engine room and mechanical spaces on the ships, which are being renovated at Fincantieri's Palermo, Italy, shipyard. The material was found primarily in gaskets used in a limited number of valves and pumps and related insulation. The cruise line says it took air samples aboard the ships and found no traces of the substance.
"No asbestos-containing material was found in any guest or crew accommodations or public spaces," the line said in a statement.
The $250 million renovations will add 50 suites, two new restaurants, a new pool with an expanded, enhanced deck area, a spa and fitness center, and new bathrooms in all suites. Windstar is also undertaking the complex process of replacing engines to increase fuel efficiency, which led to the discovery of the asbestos.