Silversea says UK market key for new Galapagos ship

The chief commercial officer of Silversea Cruises has reiterated the importance of the UK market to the line’s growth as she showcased opportunities to attract first-time cruisers and switch-sell from luxury land-based adventure holidays to its latest ship.

Speaking during the recent naming of Silver Origin – Silversea’s first destination specific ship built to sail in the Galapagos – Barbara Muckermann described the experience on offer as a “safari at sea” and said the bespoke vessel offered increased sales potential and the opportunity to attract a wider range of customers.

“Agents with clients who have booked holidays such as safaris in Africa or tours to India would be perfect for this product,” she said. “Agents can explain that is an amazing experience for them which is very similar to buying a luxury safari in Kenya or other – safari destinations.

“The UK market is fundamental to us as it is our second largest market globally and represents 19% of our source market. We are brand leaders in the UK and our growth projection is to grow our global market share of luxury and experiential cruising from the current 20% to 29% by 2026. The UK is paramount to this growth.” 

Muckermann added that agents could now offer another booking option alongside Silversea’s ultra all-inclusive door-to-door pricing. 

“In addition to our main offering we have the new Port-to-Port pricing strategy,” she said. “This gives travel agents a tool for the more value-conscious customer, such as a customer that is typically taking a suite in a premium line or who is maybe sailing with other larger cruise brands.

“It is basically a cruise-only fare that has all the inclusivity of the product on board but it is more than 20% cheaper than the door-to-door because it doesn’t have the air, transfer or hotel. So it could suit someone that wants to use up air miles.

“We hope that this double offering will enable agents to find the right product and the right price for their customers.” 

Muckermann said Silver Origin marked a “strategic shift” for the line and ticked the boxes for a bucket list destination combined with the line’s signature luxury all-inclusive style of cruising.

Replacing Silver Galapagos, which was converted to sail to the protected islands off the Ecuadorian mainland that are renowned for wildlife, the 100-passenger vessel marks the line’s first destination built ship and the biggest investment since Silversea became part of the Royal Caribbean group in 2018.

 “This ship was purpose built for the Galapagos,” she said. “There’s no other destination in the world where she will work. She has been designed for this unique place where there are no ports and where the temperature changes so much during the year but where you still want to be outdoors the whole of the year, so these are some of the things that had to be taken into consideration.” 

Design details include the line’s first Horizon Balconies, with a drop-down floor-to-ceiling window that can be lowered to create an in-cabin veranda, The Grill restaurant which can be converted for indoor or outdoor dining, a fire pit and stargazing deck.

Among the technical features are fuel tanks with storage capacities for the two alternating one-week itineraries that operate year-round and an eco-friendly dynamic global positioning system that allows the ship to stay in one place using the thrusters and propellers. 

Muckermann spent a week on Silver Origin ahead of the naming which was carried out at sea. Passengers in Zodiacs watched the traditional Champagne breaking over the hull, with the bottle in a protective net to stop glass falling into the sea. The ship began sailing last June and the christening ceremony was put back due to the pandemic. 

She said there was a very positive feedback from the guests she had spoken to, including members of the line’s Venetian Society loyalty programme. 

“Once we switched from Silver Galapagos we saw more Venetians coming to the Galapagos than before,” she added. “I was talking to some of them the other day and they love it.”

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