Silversea hosts 50 agents on new vessel Silver Muse for the ship’s shakedown cruise in the Med. Hollie-Rae Brader reports
Silversea Cruises has revealed it has options to build three new ships as well as a $170 million budget to refit its existing fleet.
Speaking on board the new 596-passenger Silver Muse during its ‘shakedown’ voyage from Genoa to Marseilles, owner and chairman Manfredi Lefebvre and his team also announced plans for a new global brand campaign this summer.
“Silver Muse sets a new standard and, of course, I’m now aware I will have to invest more money on the rest of the fleet to bring it up to the same standard,” he said.
“We want to have the same feeling and product development across the entire fleet. If you [agents] help me fill this ship we will build three more of these.”
Chief executive Roberto Martinoli said Silversea could launch ships in 2020, 2021 and 2023.
The line has a budget of $170 million for the refit of older ships but Manfredi said he would increase that spend if needed.
The line currently has nine ships in its fleet, including Silver Muse – five ocean ships and four expedition-focused vessels.
Lefebvre said his late father had once described a fleet as being 12 ships, and this was his target.
He also said he felt the luxury cruise line had been “too silent” with the trade and press.
UK and Ireland managing director Lisa McAuley said efforts to improve this had already begun.
She said: “We’ve made great strides building new and stronger relationships with the trade, and adding new people to the team.
“We’ve also widened our distribution. When I joined the business [in 2015], I was very conscious that we weren’t talking to enough retailers. We had become a little dismissive of larger cruise retailers that may not have appeared to have a brand match with Silversea on the surface.”
Silver Muse is the line’s first ship launch since Silver Spirit in 2009. As well as having a more contemporary feel, the most significant developments are the ship’s eight new dining areas, a longer pool and bigger gym.
Silver Muse will sail in the Mediterranean until August before heading to Canada and then the Caribbean for the winter season.
Line to host 1,000 agents this year
Silversea is to give agents “1,000 opportunities” to experience the line on fam trips and ship visits this year – up from 600 opportunities last year. UK and Ireland managing director Lisa McAuley said trade training remained key and new modules would be added to Silversea’s agent academy programme. So far 1,500 modules have been completed. She also said the line’s sales team had been encouraged to complement its focus on service with a greater awareness of commercial considerations such as load factors and yields.
‘Learn about expedition cruises and you’ll cash in’
Agents who invest time and effort now to become experts in expedition cruising will capitalise in the long run, according to UK chief Lisa McAuley (pictured).
She said: “The growth in expedition cruising is high and agents who learn about it may not benefit now but certainly will in the long run.
“Prices for expedition sailings tend to be higher and it’s a great opportunity for agents to specialise and set themselves apart.”
Silversea Cruises’ ocean vessel Silver Cloud will join its expedition fleet later this year, having been fully refitted as
an ice-class ship. It will join existing expedition vessels Silver Explorer, Silver Discoverer
and Silver Galapagos.
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