Martinoli believes Silversea’s small ultra-luxury vessels give the brand an inherent advantage
Royal Caribbean Group fully acquired ultra-luxury brand Silversea Cruises in July 2020, two years after purchasing a controlling two-thirds share of the brand in July 2018.
“This was a significant moment in the history of our cruise line, and we all welcome the positive news,” says Roberto Martinoli, president and CEO of Silversea. “We’re in unprecedented circumstances and these are challenging times for not only the cruise industry, but also for many sectors, especially for those within the global travel industry. Now more than ever, we’re grateful to be able to count on the invaluable support of Royal Caribbean.”
Some of this support has come in the form of Royal Caribbean’s new Healthy Sail Panel. “The panel is a very strong team of 11 industry-leading health professionals that will combine their knowledge and experience to provide clear guidelines to not only the cruise industry as a whole, but also to other travel sectors too,” says Martinoli. “We’re perfectly placed to lead the way in the healthy return to service once the time is right.”
Martinoli believes the global cruise industry is exceptionally resilient, having weathered many storms in the past. “Cruise lines have always applied the most rigid sanitary protocols and used innovative technologies to safeguard the welfare of guests and crew, such as ultraviolet lighting and fogging,” he says. “Once the time is right, we’ll return to sailing with even stricter sanitary protocols to ensure that guests are safe.”
In Martinoli’s view, Silversea has an inherent advantage in that it operates small ultra-luxury vessels with some of the highest space-to-guest ratios and crew-to-guest ratios at sea. “This will help to facilitate physical distancing and ensure high sanitation standards,” he explains. “However, this will never mean social distancing – meeting friends and enjoying a wonderful dinner will always be a fundamental part of the Silversea experience. Settings will probably be more spread out – with tables seating fewer people – but the essence of the unique Silversea experience will remain in place.”
Confident in the cruise industry’s future, Silversea has continued to prepare for newbuilds joining its fleet. In June, the company took delivery of its newest ship from Netherlands-based Shipyard De Hoop, which implemented a series of strict health and safety measures to ensure its team could continue working safely throughout the pandemic. De Hoop also used innovative methods to conduct Silver Origin’s sea trials. The ship’s dynamic positioning system was tuned remotely from engineers in St. Petersburg, Russia – over 1,800 kilometres away.
“Silver Origin’s construction is indeed an amazing story of resilience and I must pay my compliments to the incredible team at De Hoop, which overcame a number of obstacles to deliver our beautiful ship in such a timely manner,” says Martinoli.
Work also continues to progress well on newbuild, Silver Moon, which is due for delivery from Fincantieri in October 2020. “I’m especially eager to see the launch of our pioneering new Sea and Land Taste (S.A.L.T.) programme, which will unlock entire ecosystems around culinary discovery, with the programme changing with each port the ship visits,” says Martinoli. “The S.A.L.T. Kitchen, S.A.L.T. Lab, and S.A.L.T. Bar onboard Silver Moon will enable travellers to form strong connections with each destination.”
Regarding the rest of the fleet’s ships, Martinoli says Silversea will “not be too hasty” when it comes to returning to service. Organising safe trips ashore will be a key consideration. “It’s still too early to share details on our protocols for shore experiences, but we’ll use the expert insight of the Healthy Sail Panel to address this concern. One option that we’re exploring is to make the voyage experience as closed-loop as possible, with a series of enhancements to ensure that we’re in control of every aspect of guests’ travel experience. This way, guests and crew can be confident that everyone follows our enhanced procedures.
“We’ve remained in constant contact with all ports and destinations to work together on protection of passengers, crew and the communities we visit and we’ll share itinerary details soon.”
This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
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