The world’s most expensive expedition cruise ship, Silver Endeavour, is earmarked for replication – as was intended by the original owner, Crystal Cruises – a senior exec with Silversea Cruises has flagged with LATTE.
Built for Crystal Cruises at a cost burgeoning on half a billion dollars by the MV Werften shipyard in Stralsund, Germany, and delivered in June 2021, the previously branded Crystal Endeavor had been slated at the time as the blueprint for a sister ship, Crystal Endeavor II, alongside a potential fleet of ultra-luxury expedition ships proposed for high-end hoteliers, including Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts.
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Genting Hong Kong Group’s former President, Colin Au, disclosed details of the Endeavor Class ships at the christening ceremony of Endeavor, saying construction on the next ship would commence in 2023.
Ultimately, following the collapse of Crystal Cruises in early 2022, Crystal Endeavor was scooped up by Silversea Cruises. Silversea and parent company, Royal Caribbean Group, were able to hold off bids to acquire the 200-guest polar class vessel from both A&K Travel Group and the investment group behind The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, to take ownership in mid-2022, launching it as Silver Endeavour in Antarctica three months ago.
Speaking to travel advisors – and LATTE – at an event in Sydney last week, Conrad Combrink, Senior Vice President of Expeditions admitted that when Crystal Endeavor was revealed, and as the project evolved and went into development, Silversea could see it was “going to be a game changer in the industry”. He revealed that the day it was evident that Crystal Cruises, under the ownership of Genting, was not going to be coming back “we went hard after the ship.”
Silver Endeavour is “truly one of the most spectacular ships, was built for $465 million, we paid $275 million,” he confirmed.
Combrink told advisors that Crystal had spent just over $2 million dollars per berth on Endeavor. “To put that into context, a ship like Silver Nova will cost us around $800,000 per berth, and an expedition ship is normally about $1 million per berth.”
He reiterated that it is an “incredible, incredible ship” that only required relatively minor updates to bring it into line with Silversea’s brand positioning, as it was practically brand new.
Given the ship’s appeal, plus Silversea’s previous ambition to further develop its expedition offering, LATTE questioned Combrink if the Royal Caribbean Group-owned cruise line may reproduce Silver Endeavour.
Combrink revealed that steel had already been cut by the former shipyard, MV Werften, which LATTE understands was intended for Crystal
Endeavor II. The Miami-based expedition specialist however wasn’t able to divulge if that laid the foundation for a future Silver Endeavour II or if the potential project would be developed at the same shipyard.
It is however very rare that any cruise line will operate one ship of the same class.
In addition to Silver Endeavour, Silversea Cruises’ current expedition fleet consists of Silver Wind, Silver Cloud, Silver Origin and Silver Explorer, the latter or which will exit the fleet in November.
In April last year, former Silversea President Roberto Martinoli flagged the likelihood of newbuild expedition ships, telling media in Miami Beach that additional ships were “one of our first priorities” behind sustainability. Martinoli’s comment was made, however, before Silversea was confirmed as the new owner of Endeavour.
New suites to be added
Combrink also confirmed to LATTE that six new suites will be added to Silver Endeavour, occupying the space of the un-utilised helicopter hangar on Deck 8 – the topmost deck with suites, already fitted with eight Silver Suites and two Superior Veranda Suites.
The category of the six new suites was not confirmed but would be comprised of four of one style and two of another – all of which will have much taller than usual ceiling heights due to their former capacity as a hangar. Combrink did confirm they would not be duplex or split level.
The disused casino and gaming rooms on Deck 4 of Silver Endeavour will be converted into additional crew quarters and a relocated medical centre (from Deck 5).
Following its final expedition sailing to Antarctica for the 2022/23 season, currently underway, Silver Endeavour will reposition from Puerto Williams in Chile to the Northern Hemisphere on a non-publically listed sailing bound for Genova, Italy, where the ship will undergo a hard fit-out for the installation of the new suites during April.
Combrink said the upgrades are likely to continue onboard the ship when it repositions to Portsmouth, UK for its May 2023 sailing and the first few expeditions of its maiden Northern Hemisphere program, however guests will not be impacted.
Expeditions aboard Silver Endeavour are currently open from 7 May 2023 to 31 March 2025. Interestingly, the southbound positioning voyages from New York to Puerto Williams this year (departing 7 October) and in 2024 are not listed, in addition to a void in the program from King George Island on 10 March to London on 6 April 2024, which may be blocked for a future expedition release, or charter operation.