International Cruise and Ferry - Autumn/Winter 2018

International Cruise & Ferry Review Cruise Business 50 rivately owned luxury and expedition cruise operator Silversea Cruises shocked the industry this June when it revealed that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) would acquire a 66.7% equity stake in its business. The acquisition, which was approved in July, sees Silversea owner Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio retaining a 33.3% stake and is part of the brand’s plan to grow its business sustainably. “Manfredi Lefebvre has been looking for the right partner to support the accelerated growth of the cruise line for a long time and chose RCL as it shares his vision for Silversea’s future,” says Roberto Martinoli, who will remain Silversea’s chief executive. “RCL considers Silversea as the jewel in the crown of the luxury cruise industry and it plans to cherish, support and grow our brand and reputation through its own financial and operational strength. Silversea will remain an independently managed brand; Manfredi Lefebvre will continue to lead the long-term strategy and our senior executive team will stay the same.” According to Martinoli, the new partnership will have multiple advantages for both brands. “RCL and Silversea expect to identify synergies in supply chain, purchasing power and other economies of scale going forwards,” he says. “Thanks to RCL’s financial and operational strength, Silversea will be able to grow at an unprecedented pace and capitalise on the burgeoning demand for ultra-luxury, small ship, and expedition cruising. We’ll also be able to communicate our offering to RCL’s large guest base.” Another main advantage of the partnership will be the new Project Invictus, a multi-year initiative that will take Silversea’s ultra-luxury offerings to the next level. Enhancements, which will range from product upgrades to ship revitalisation programmes, will be implemented across the fleet. Silver Whisper, which was already scheduled for a refit in December 2018, will undergo a more comprehensive renovation and have her guest suites partially refurbished. Meanwhile, Silver Wind’s planned dry dock will be more extensive than initially anticipated. “In line with Silversea’s brand positioning, we’re working on enhancing the overall guest experience,” comments Martinoli. “Silversea is not only about luxury cruise ships; we’re the pioneer in the so-called ‘travel deeper’ concept. Our mission is to enable our guests to experience the authenticity of our wide selection of destinations [more than 1,000 on all seven continents] in ultimate comfort.” Silversea’s new Silver Moon and Silver Dawn will launch in 2020 and 2021 as planned. “We’re very excited about their arrival, following the success of their sister Silver Muse,” says Martinoli. “Silver Muse is, without a doubt, the best cruise ship within her segment in terms of culinary variety and quality, and we want to further enhance this on Silver Moon. Our marketing team is working on some very attractive and innovative concepts.” Noting that Silversea practices the concept of ‘whispered luxury’, Martinoli adds: “I’ve asked my team to explore using unconventional materials for Silver Moon’s interiors, asked my team to explore the usage of different materials, not the conventional ones. We always say that we ‘whisper’ luxury at Silversea, don’t ‘shout’ it. Our interpretation of luxury centres on the finer, personalised details that amplify each voyage for our guests and make them feel at home. We want our guests’ experiences to stand out, not our ships’ adornments.” Martinoli expects Silver Dawn and Silver Moon to be as popular as Silver Muse when they debut. “Guests love Silver Muse for a combination of reasons, but primarily her outstanding onboard service and eight restaurants, which offer 26 food concepts,” he Heading for new horizons Roberto Martinoli explains to Sandra Speares how Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s acquisition of Silversea Cruises will help it to grow its luxury and expedition cruise business INTERVIEW Roberto Martinoli and Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio will continue to steer Silversea’s long-term strategy, despite the acquisition