Oct 11, 2019 · Business

Innovation meets ultra-luxury in RCL-Silversea partnership

There is a beautiful symbiosis in the pairing. When Royal Caribbean partnered with Silversea Cruises, the billion-dollar deal filled two gaps in RCL’s portfolio – ultra-luxury and expedition cruises – and enabled Silversea to grow faster that it might only have imagined.

Before the cruise lines joined forces, the comparatively small, ultra-luxury Silversea – launched in 1994 by the Lefebvre family from Rome – had two new ships in the works. Now, thanks to RCL’s vast resources, there are five. In addition, three existing ships in its fleet are being seriously spiffed up. Such indulgences as caviar and champagne services – part of the all-inclusive fares, along with a butler for every suite, in-suite dining, all gratuities and more – have been or are being upgraded and expanded across the fleet.

Silversea is recognized for its destination leadership and the unparalleled immersive experiences offered to the guests in the most incredible and hard-to-reach destinations around the world. Silversea’s offers more than 1,000 destinations worldwide which has not only made them true destination experts but has kept them at the forefront of the industry for 25 years. The recently announced itineraries for summer 2021 and winter 2021/2022 exemplify the incomparable range of Silversea’s experiences on offer around the world.

Now a year into the partnership, Silversea’s chief marketing officer Barbara Muckermann is frank about the integration of the two companies.

“We are a small company, we are a small team,” she says. “We could never work on five ships at the same time without (RCL’s) help.”

“Let’s start with the amazing things that Silversea can do, thanks to the arrival of the Royal Caribbean family. The first is having their newbuild department as partners.”

The department’s technical abilities and resources are unsurpassed in great part because of the Innovation Lab on Royal Caribbean’s Miami headquarters campus, now at Silversea’s disposal. There, an elaborate array of cameras, projectors, and a virtual reality simulator allows the creators to walk through and inspect a ship as it’s under design, making changes as desired, as though it is a real, tangible vessel. Muckermann notes that RCL Chairman and CEO Richard Fain and Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio have visited the lab together, adding their own touches and suggestions to the new designs.

Besides the newbuilds, scheduled dry docks for some of Silversea’s existing fleet have been enhanced, making them “much more extensive than originally planned before the partnership,” Muckermann says.

Called Project Invictus, it is a fleetwide initiative announced soon after the partnership was approved, intended to take Silversea’s already lofty standards to higher heights. Everything from finer, more extensive food and drink selections to upgraded design motifs in suites, bathrooms, public spaces and restaurants will make ultra-luxury even more so.

The Silver Wind, for example, was already renovated in a December 2018 dry dock that was more extensive than planned before the partnership. “We’ve touched all public spaces, all suites, the exterior decks, the works,” Muckermann says. And Silver Wind will go dry again in summer 2020.

Though much more will be done to the interior spaces, one of the most significant alterations will be to strengthen the hull, bringing it up to ice-class standards so it can slip safely through floating ice in such expedition destinations as the Arctic and Antarctica. It will resume service that fall for its inaugural season in Antarctica while offering guests even more indulgences as they sail.

For more details on Silversea and a look at new 2021-2022 itineraries, please visit silversea.com.