(Ft. Lauderdale, FL — July 31, 2008) Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is seeing record growth in the percentage of its guests who have never previously sailed with the line. For the third consecutive year, the award-winning company has enjoyed a year-over-year increase in new guests of about ten percent. Currently, fifty-four percent of all guests are new to Silversea, the largest percentage it has ever achieved.
“We are aggressively targeting new-to-Silversea and first-time cruisers by going after a larger share of the lucrative baby boomer market,” said David Morris, Silversea’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. “We’re encouraging our travel agency partners to check their preconceptions at the door. Younger people have the money and time to travel, and can appreciate the exceptional value a luxury cruise offers when compared to land-based vacations. Our sales force has made great strides in showing our retail travel partners how to tap the client base of upscale hotels like Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons, and the hard work has paid off.”
Added Morris, “We’ve also been successful in attracting guests who are new to cruising by encouraging agents to scour their communities and social networks for luxury travel prospects. Our agency partners are working closely with businesses in their communities that cater to an upscale clientele and launching joint promotions and sales campaigns that benefit both parties. And of course we’re dedicating the necessary financial resources, with about twenty percent of our sales budget going to cooperative marketing initiatives that support our agents in their efforts to target this new business.”
Marilyn Conroy, Silversea’s senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas, noted, “A lot of our sales efforts have been directed toward Canada and emerging luxury markets like Mexico and Brazil. Though we do have concerns about the weak stock market and the downturn in the U.S. economy, we are far ahead of where we were in 2007 both in terms of sales and yields. Since our customer base is quite diverse internationally, we’re less affected by any single country’s soft economy.”
Due to strong business from new customers and sales increases in emerging markets, Silversea is fully committed and investing aggressively in its future. In June, the company launched its first expedition ship, the Prince Albert II. Extensive multimillion dollar refurbishments are planned for Silver Wind and Silver Cloud in November 2008 and May 2009, respectively. And Silversea’s newest all-suite ship, Silver Spirit, is currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard and scheduled to join the fleet in late 2009.
Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, the company’s itineraries encompass all seven continents.
In the U.S., Silversea has been voted “World’s Best” by the readers of CondÃ© Nast Traveler (nine times) and Travel + Leisure (seven times), and rated Number-One luxury cruise line by high-net-worth consumers in the 2008 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI). International awards include “World’s Leading Luxury Cruise Line” from World Travel Awards (2007); “Five Star Diamond Award” from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (2007); “Number One” small-ship line in the Readers’ Choice” survey conducted by Britain’s CondÃ© Nast Traveller magazine (2007); “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by Spain’s Cruceros & Destinos magazine (2008); “Best Small Cruise Line” by Australia’s Luxury Travel Magazine (2007); and “Best Luxury Cruise Operator” according to Asia’s Travel Weekly (2007).