zoomImage Courtesy: Fincantieri Italy’s shipbuilder Fincantieri held a steel cutting ceremony for a new mid-section of Windstar Cruises’ MS Star Legend on September 5 in Palermo.The unit is the second of three Star-class vessels that will undergo the transformation from a 212-passenger ship to 312 passengers by installing a new section of ship as part of the Seattle-based cruise company’s USD 250 million Star Plus Initiative.The transformation will increase capacity by 100 with the addition of 50 new suites, the majority of which are to be housed in the new mid-sections being built at Fincantieri shipyards.“This is a momentous day for Windstar as we reach another major milestone. A project of this magnitude takes time to realize and unfold,” Christopher Prelog, Vice President of Fleet Operations for Windstar Cruises, said.Under the initiative, Windstar is looking to renovate half of its fleet, namely the Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride vessels. The works will see the small ships cut in half to allow the installation of a new stepped mid-body section that will lengthen each vessel by some 26 meters. Each of the new sections will be fabricated over approximately a six month period of time.The lengthening works of the cruise ship operator’s first vessel, Star Breeze, were launched in early April. The unit is scheduled to emerge from its transformation and sail from Barcelona to Lisbon on February 20, 2020.Star Legend will complete its transformation in late June and debut in Barcelona on July 2, 2020, while the third and final ship, Star Pride, is scheduled to depart from the shipyard in fall of 2020.