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During a recent conference call with Silversea Cruises, executives shared the luxury line’s current outlook including hopeful news regarding Silver Origin, an expedition vessel built for cruising the Galapagos Islands. Despite the pandemic, the new expedition ship has completed its sea trials, and Silversea is getting ready to accept delivery.
Silver Origin will only need to cancel sailings until Aug. 22 since the De Hoop shipyard in the Netherlands was able to sustain construction. Around 200 of the yard’s 250 employees chose to continue working on through the vessel’s sea trials, which were similarly manned with limited staff. Ingeniously, many tests were successfully completed remotely during the trials.
The ship will accept its furnishings and artwork in June before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. It will then refuel in the Caribbean and pass through the Panama Canal on its way to the Galapagos, says Fernando Delgado, vice president of Canodros C.L., Silversea Cruises Ecuador.
Other Silversea NewsAt the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand chartered a total of 24 planes to return guests home, and now a portion of the fleet is repatriating crew members who wished to go home, as well.
As for Silversea’s newbuilds, Silver Moon has been delayed due to the closure of the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy, which will not fully reopen until the end of May. All its inaugural sailings have been canceled until Oct. 2, though the date is subject to change.
Mark Conroy, managing director of the Americas for Silversea Cruises, laments the loss of what were sold-out cruises, but remains optimistic for future rebookings.
When business takes off again, advisors are going to be on the forefront instead of in the background.
According to Conroy, customers were initially canceling cruises, but cancellations have slowed thanks to relaxed “Cruise with Confidence” policies.
Conroy also reiterates how Silversea has supported travel agents through this time by offering fully protected commissions.
When the line has to cancel a voyage, it provides commissions on both the suspended reservation as well as the new one, regardless of whether the fully paid client opts for a future cruise credit or a refund. The same is true if the client cancels and chooses a future cruise credit.
RELATED: Advisors Should Receive Commission Within 14 Days of Final Payment
As it is, most guests are rebooking canceled cruises, and Silversea’s oldest segment of guests (61-80 years old) are among those who want to travel first. And they’re eyeing bucket-list destinations such as Antarctica for when they get to travel again.
When Silversea does return to service, Damian O’Connor, senior vice president of hotel operations, admits that the experience will be different, but that they will uphold “the luxury way.” For instance, buffet spreads will be fully served to the table. The ability to make such changes possible, he says, is Silversea’s greater space per passenger and crew-to-guest ratios.
Ultimately, new sanitation measures and standards to combat viruses will be part of a “unified message within the industry,” says O’Connor.
“We’re terribly excited about getting back into operation,” he said. “This is an opportunity for our travel agency partners to take their systems and processes and improve on them. When business takes off again, advisors are going to be on the forefront instead of in the background. I think that’s the critical story.”
Silversea is currently targeting June 13 to resume service.
The DetailsSilversea Cruiseswww.silversea.com