The potential broadening of the proposed trans-Tasman travel bubble to include cruising has executives at Silversea biting at the bit.
Currently, the mooted bubble would allow Aussies and Kiwis to fly between Australia and New Zealand and avoid the government imposed 14-day quarantine period on either side of the ditch, due to the relatively low rates of coronavirus infections. There is now talk of the bubble potentially encapsulating cruising.
Silversea Cruises outgoing Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Adam Armstrong, last night [Tuesday 19 May] threw his weight behind the venture while hinting that there are still some obstacles in positioning its scheduled fleet operations Down Under in late 2020.
“We have two ships coming to Australia and New Zealand towards the back end of this year: Silver Muse, our flagship, and Silver Explorer expedition ship, ideally sized to get into all the ports of call around Australia and New Zealand. So if the bubble is expanded to include cruise… we’ve got two ships waiting, ready to go,” Armstrong said.
The soon-to-be Contiki CEO forecast that a “significant majority” of guests on those deployments would be locals, rather than the common mix of a predominantly international passenger list.
“We’re quietly optimistic about the bubble,” Armstrong said, adding that: “We’re working behind the scenes to get Muse down here and to get Explorer down here, providing the borders are open again”.
Armstrong also used Silversea’s online media update to provide insight on cruise booking trends from this region as coronavirus induced travel restrictions begin to wind down.
He said that the Australian market was “a little bit back” behind the booking curve observed in Europe and the US markets, possibly as a result of a “disproportionate amount of attention in mainstream media about cruising”. However, in the last couple of weeks, the curve “has improved and we are starting to see some green shoots and early signs of bookings”.
Interestingly, Armstrong said that Australian members of Silversea’s loyalty program, Venetian Society, were already booking again and accounted for two-thirds of new reservations.
“Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, we are getting more bookings from Venetians who are making new bookings rather than Venetians swapping from this year to next year or using a credit,” Armstrong added.
This month Silversea named Qatar Airways’ Senior Manager Australasia, Adam Radwanski, as its incoming Managing Director for the Asia Pacific.