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Windstar Cruises acquiring two Mystic Invest ships, one a newbuild

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Windstar's John Gunner, left, with Xanterra's Andrew Todd, center, and Windstar's Chris Prelog with a model of Star Seeker
Windstar Cruises will be adding a pair of 224-passenger all-suite ships to its fleet, both acquired from Mystic Invest.

The news was announced Wednesday at Seatrade Cruise Global by Windstar President Chris Prelog.

Star Seeker and Star Explorer

The first ship, coming in December 2025, is a newbuild from WestSea Viana that was initially intended for Mystic Invest's Atlas Ocean Voyages and was named World Seeker. It will be called Star Seeker.

The other, coming in December 2026, is World Explorer, the 2019-built first ship in the Mystic expedition series. It is currently on seasonal charter to Quark Expeditions. It will be renamed Star Explorer.

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Renderings of Star Seeker and Star Explorer

'Full-on Windstar ships'

Their designs will be converted for Windstar.

'They will be full-on Windstar ships,' Prelog told Seatrade Cruise News.

'We're very excited,' added Andrew Todd, president & CEO of Windstar parent company Xanterra Travel Collection. 'We've been wanting to grow Windstar for some time.'

Watersports platform, two-story spa and fitness facility

The ships will see the addition of a watersports platform, a Windstar-style pool, a two-story spa and fitness facility, an intimate whirlpool on the bow and the transformation of the helipad into two big owner's suites with wrap-around balconies. Some suites will have a third berth option and a few connecting suites will be created. 

The main dining room, Amphora, will serve a variety of upscale and inventive dishes, including rotating items from James Beard Foundation-affiliated guest chefs. Alfresco dining will now be available at both Amphora and the Star Grill by Steven Raichlen. A no-charge specialty restaurant seating 38 and 24-hour room service rounds out the dining options.

Windstar's John Gunner, VP of expansion projects, is overseeing the conversions, and the interior design will be done by the line's in-house team.

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An added ducktail will support the new watersports platform

Gunner said the bow will be changed a bit to look more yachtlike, and a ducktail added to support the watersports platform.

30% capacity increase

The two ship additions represent a 30% capacity increase for Windstar, from 1,500 berths to 2,000 berths.

More ships enables the line to expand deployment, and bring back one of its Wind-class ships, Wind Star, to Tahiti, where it will join Star Breeze in 2027, to meet the growing demand for French Polynesia sailings.

Star Seeker and Star Explorer both have ice-strengthened hulls, unlocking access to new destinations, however Prelog indicated they won't be operating as expedition ships or going to the poles. But the capability could come in handy for destinations like Alaska and Greenland.

Itineraries and booking details for Star Seeker are expected to be announced in late June.

Atlas Ocean Voyages can still grow

World Seeker going to Windstar still leaves future capacity growth for Atlas Ocean Voyages, with two newbuilds, World Adventurer, due in 2026, and World Discoverer, scheduled for 2027, in the orderbook.

Seatrade Cruise News reached out to Atlas Ocean Voyages, which declined to comment.

In late 2023 Atlas took on a third ship, World Voyager, adding capacity sooner than anticipated.

Prelog's message to employees

Here's a video Prelog made for employees to let them know the news before it was announced at Seatrade Cruise Global: