Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

50 COVER STORY Barbara Muckermann explains to Rebecca Gibson how teamwork, itinerary innovation, new ships and a guest-centric approach will enable her to capitalise on Silversea Cruises’ success and drive it towards an even greater future Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” The sentiment behind this quote from American business executive and philanthropist Sheryl Sandberg is one that Barbara Muckermann has wholeheartedly embraced throughout her more than 25-year career in the luxury industries. “The objective of any leader is to make themselves redundant; once you have established a strong team, your role becomes less directional and more focused on supporting effective communication and collaboration,” she says. “I believe in leading by example. You can only be an effective leader if your relationship with the team is based on trust. And you can only build trust if you put yourself on the level of the team by supporting them in their decisions. That’s why I focus on building my team’s confidence and passion and encouraging them to work collectively.” Muckermann reinforced her commitment to following this philosophy when she transitioned from her long-term role as chief commercial officer of ultra-luxury operator Silversea Cruises to the brand’s president and CEO on 1 January 2023. However, while Muckermann now considers herself to be the “keeper of the Silversea brand”, she is acutely aware that she cannot implement the company’s ambitious vision and evolve the pioneering initiatives set out by her predecessor, Roberto Martinoli, alone. “Working closely with Roberto taught me that a company requires people with complementary talents to achieve success,” she says. “For example, Roberto’s deep knowledge of the sector from his former career as a marine engineer complemented my experience in luxury marketing, branding and sales, and this enabled us to achieve great things and elevate Silversea to where it is now. We have the best team of people in the industry, and they all share my passion for innovation, so I’ll leverage their collective talents to build on our legacy of success.” More than two decades of working in the luxury sectors, and time teaching luxury brand strategy at several universities, has also shown Muckermann that listening to customers is another fundamental factor for driving success. “My experience has taught me that our guests’ evolving needs must drive the evolution of our brand,” she says, noting that this tenet inspired the launch of Silversea’s S.A.L.T. culinary programme in 2021 and the Otium wellness programme in 2022. “We’ll continue to listen carefully to our guests to innovate in the future and remain at the forefront of the industry.” Silversea’s main aim is to keep growing its market share and strengthening its position as the leader in ultra-luxury cruising without compromising on its pricing strategy, according to Muckermann. “In the short term, we’ll continue to optimise our itineraries, products and prices, while tailoring our offering to meet our guests’ needs and interests, providing them with variety and choice as the only cruise industry player to cover over 900 destinations across all seven continents.” Growing a legacy of luxury “