Silversea celebrates 25 years of operation

"We're only just getting started" Adam Armstrong, Silversea MD Australia/NZ

Silversea Cruises has marked its silver anniversary with a series of events around the country for past passengers, otherwise known as Venetian Society members, over the past few weeks. Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Adam Armstrong, and Director of Marketing – Asia Pacific, Leanne Fonagy, have held morning and afternoon teas to thank customers directly for their loyalty and support.

Armstrong’s presentation includes a look back to 1994 when Silversea started cruising, reflecting on what was trending at the time. That line-up included two other “big companies” forming 25 years ago, Yahoo! and Amazon, “both of which have gone on to a similar success to Silversea,” Armstrong quipped.

What else happened in 1994? Well, it was the year that Justin Bieber was born, when Forest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption and the original Lion King were released; Friends and E.R. were the big new TV shows of the period; Nelson Mandela became Prime Minister.

Silversea MD Australia and New Zealand, Adam Armstrong

Locally, in 1994, Paul Keating was Prime Minister; it was the year that Captain’s Choice was formed, Blue Heelers and Heartbreak High launched and Muriel’s Wedding and Priscilla Queen of the Desert were the big movies.

Silversea Cruises itself entered service in 1994 with Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, based on a business plan of small ships, all-suite accommodation, with an all-inclusive price-point. It was a model that was very unique for its time and has since been replicated by a few competitors, Armstrong said.

Silver Cloud entered service in June 1994 and fast forward to present day and Silversea now has eight ships in its fleet, having last month farewelled its smallest vessel Silver Discoverer. With five ships on order, the fleet will swell to 13 in coming years, which is one ship more than founder Antonio Lefebvre’s vision for the company.

In recent years Silversea has stretched a ship (Silver Spirit), converted a ship to ice-class (Silver Cloud) and launched an expedition sub-brand in 2008.

Armstrong said that even with a new owner, in Royal Caribbean Cruises, Silversea’s DNA “remains constant throughout. Small ships, all-inclusive, all-suite, all with butler service, fine-food, fine wines and a staff-to-guest ratio of almost 1:1.”

Throughout Silversea’s 25 years the cruise line has carried Australian and Kiwi travellers, with the business growing so strongly a corporate office was established in 2003 headed by Steve Odell (now Norwegian Cruise Line Holding), followed by his successor Karen Christensen (now Crystal).

Armstrong said that travel agents have been Silversea’s first group of supporters, followed by guests, adding that consumers probably only became aware of the brand via a travel advisor.

With 25 years now under the cruise line’s belt, Armstrong said “we’re only just getting started”, with 2020 to see three ships launched/relaunched. Silver Origin, Silversea’s new Galapagos ship, will launch in July and is the first ever expedition ship the company has built from scratch. In August, Silver Moon, the sister-ship to Silver Muse will debut [read more about Silver Muse here], and Silver Wind will be converted to an ice-class ship and relaunch in November.

“The future is really bright,” Armstrong said.

Lead image: Leanne Fonagy with Adam Armstrong at a media event at Aria in Sydney on Wednesday morning.

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