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Silversea plots expedition expansion

Silversea Expedition cruises is playing an increasingly major role for the cruise line’s overall revenue with the company already plotting additions to its expedition fleet.

Fresh from the inaugural cruise of the Silver Discoverer, director of expeditions Conrad Combrink said a fourth ship would be added as the boom in expedition voyages continues.

The biggest challenge for Silversea remained convincing the market that it was offering genuine expedition cruises in luxury rather than a luxury cruise line dabbling in the expedition arena, he told Travel Today.

“Will there be another expedition ship? This year or next, no, but there are opportunities out there and I think we can say for certain that there will be more ships,” Combrink said.

He refused to rule out a new build although an acquisition and refurbishment would be the most likely expansion strategy.

Expedition cruising now represents more than 20% of Silversea’s revenue and is “growing all the time”.

“It is a very important part of the business,” Combrink said.

He predicted the vast majority of passengers on the Discoverer’s Kimberley itineraries would be Australian as he talked up the importance of the local market.

While only around 15% of passengers on Silversea’s ‘classic’ cruises would be likely to take an expedition cruise, the brand has become “known and trusted” in Australia, Combrink said.

“The Kimberley voyagers are sold out and 98% of passengers are Australian,” he said.  

Australia generates around a quarter of Silversea’s overall expedition business.

Karen Christensen, Silversea general manager and director of sales and marketing, said its expedition voyages were attracting customers new to cruising which was opening up new opportunities for the company.


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