Silversea has delayed the launch of new vessels Silver Moon and Silver Origin.
Silver Moon had been due to launch in August, however the closure of the Fincantieri shipyard due to the coronavirus crisis has resulted in a delay of at least two months. Silver Origin had been due to launch in July, but will now set sail a month later than planned.
President and chief executive Roberto Martinoli said no exact date had been set for Silver Moon’s launch but the brand was aiming for October 2 as a potential option. All cruises through to October 2 have been cancelled as a result.
The Fincantieri shipyard was closed on March 16 and partially re-opened on April 20. It is hoped it will reopen completely by the end of May.
Martinoli said “slowly but surely” progress was being made since the shipyard came back to life two weeks ago.
“Work is active now and there will be measures in place for the foreseeable future which need to be taken into account,” he said. “They will be working in a different way with different shifts to allow people to be onboard for more hours but with less people working onboard [at any given time].
“All of this will certainly cause a delay. We don’t have a final date yet but we have started postponing the starting of operations to October 2 – until such date the ship will not be ready. We are waiting for the yard to give us more details about it and we will keep everyone informed. October 2 is a date that works if the yard can continue to step up production. We have good hope that if nothing else happens that date is a reasonable date.”
Silver Origin, being built off the Waal River in the Netherlands, had faced challenges since December due to water levels and now faces delays due to the virus.
Martinoli said the ship, which will be dedicated to Galapagos sailings, was close to being complete but was missing furniture and artwork which was due to be delivered from Italy, China and the UK. He said once complete the ship would sail to Ecuador where it would then face a lengthy process to flag the ship as Ecuadorian.
As a result, cruises on Silver Origin have been cancelled through to August 22.
When asked whether the pandemic had affected the line’s future expansion plans, Martinoli insisted the brand remained “quite aggressive” on its future plans.
Silversea has three more ships on order after Moon and Origin are delivered – Silver Dawn [launching next year] and two Evolution ships, the first of which is due to launch in 2022.
He said: “We are also looking at other projects but this pandemic situation has been delaying our homework in seeing what we want to order next but I would expect we will have a clearer picture by the end of the summer when hopefully we are back to a normal operation.
“We will be able to continue to work on our expansion plans. We continue to be quite aggressive. We are seeing that business is very difficult in the very short term but in the medium to long term interest is very high. More news will come after the summer.”
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