|The Silver Whisper hosted a program for agents discussing the new expedition ship. // All photos by Susan J. Young|
Luxury clients who’ve “been there, done that” in Monte Carlo, Hong Kong, London or New York, are increasingly seeking a bit more adventuresome, unique cruise experience. Younger upscale consumers also are attracted to an off-the-beaten path cruise experience that offers the chance for exploring natural landscapes and spotting wildlife.
Both groups are responding well to the opening of bookings last week for Silversea Cruises’ (www.silversea.com) new expedition product in the Galapagos Islands. The 100-passenger Silver Galapagos will sail two seven-night Galapagos itineraries, starting in late September 2013.
|Keith Spondike, vice president of marketing for the Americas for Silversea|
“We’re really excited about the early momentum for this product,” Keith Spondike, vice president of marketing for the Americas, told travel agents attending a Silversea Expeditions trade presentation onboard Silver Whisper at Port Everglades last weekend. “We’ve taken over 60 bookings [just in the initial period after bookings opened] and on this particular cruise on Silver Whisper, our onboard cruise consultant sold five cruises to the classic fleet guests."
From a trade perspective, “our expedition vessels are a great way for you to reach new clients,” Kristian Anderson, Silversea’s vice president of sales, North America, said, noting “they represent an opportunity to engage a younger demographic who ideally will move on to our classic fleet.” The trade program – jointly hosted by Spondike and Anderson - included a presentation in the ship’s theater and a luncheon in the dining room.
The 100-passenger Silver Galapagos, which has previously sailed as Galapagos Explorer II, will be totally renovated and upgraded prior to entering service for Silversea. A full expedition team will sail on every voyage to create a one-of-a-kind expedition vacation for clients.
The line already operates one expedition vessel, the 132-passenger Silver Explorer, which sails during 2013 and 2014 to such regions as the Arctic, Antarctica, West Africa, South America and the South Pacific.
Silver Galapagos’ voyages will couple Silversea’s ultra-luxury service and accommodations with the thrill of getting up close to sea lions, blue footed boobies, Darwin’s finches and gargantuan tortoises. “This is a new niche, bringing luxury and adventure together,” Anderson emphasized.
Clients sailing on Silver Galapagos will set off in Zodiacs for the complimentary excursions. Clients will view bird rookeries, hike through mangrove forests and across volcanic landscapes, explore lava tunnels, read 1800s cave inscriptions and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station.
They’ll also have opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. Fares, which include those shore options, will start at $5,540 per person double.
“You are our highly traveled value partners,” Anderson stressed to the agent audience, noting that additional announcements will be coming in future months about more Galapagos product details. He said regional and area sales directors will be available for product training.