Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which recently acquired a majority stake in Silversea Cruises, has announced plans for three new ships for the luxury cruise line -- two in an all-new class of luxury vessel, and one for the line’s expedition cruises in the Galapagos.
Silversea has signed a memorandum of understanding with Meyer Werft for two new ships in a new “Evolution Class,” the first of which is slated for delivery in 2022. The cruise line has also signed a contract with Shipyard De Hoop for a new expedition vessel, named Silver Origin, to sail the Galapagos Islands itinerary currently served by the Silver Galapagos. That new ship is scheduled to debut in March 2020.
Royal Caribbean announced the purchase of its majority share in Silversea back in June, adding the luxury cruise line to a portfolio which includes the premium Celebrity Cruises and the destination immersive Azamara Club Cruises. At the time executives said the move would help the company develop long-term capacity growth in the luxury and expedition cruise markets, diversifying Royal Caribbean’s portfolio with additional options for travelers in those segments.
In a follow-up interview with Travel Agent, Silversea executives noted that Royal Caribbean’s size and financing would add economies of scale to many of the luxury brand’s operations, as well as provide additional reach within the travel agency distribution system. In that interview, too, executives noted that Silversea’s status as a player in the expedition space was a major draw.
The agreements for the three new cruise ships are subject to certain contingencies which are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019, Royal Caribbean and Silversea said.