Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises today announced the appointment of Darius Mehta as its new Director of Land Programs, reporting to Christian Sauleau, executive vice president of fleet operations. Mehta will oversee hotel, pre- and post-cruise land programs and shore excursions.

He replaces Jim Droney, who left the company last week to pursue other professional opportunities.

Commenting on the change, Sauleau said, "I want to thank Jim for his past service and wish him the very best in his future endeavors, personal life and career."

Mehta will be based in the company's Fort Lauderdale office, where he will see many familiar faces. He previously worked in the same office during his tenure as Silversea's manager of hotel and land programs from 1997 to 2000. He started with Silversea in 1995 as a tour manager aboard Silver Cloud and Silver Wind.

"We're delighted to welcome Darius back," said Sauleau. "As we continue to expand and enhance our worldwide land programs, his extensive planning and leadership experience will prove invaluable to the company."

Prior to joining Silversea, Mehta was the director of land programs at Regent Seven Seas Cruises. His nearly 40-year career in travel includes management positions with Royal Cruise Line and British Airways.

Mehta commented, "Silversea is an exceptional travel company with an unsurpassed reputation for excellence. It will be an absolute pleasure to work again with such a devoted and enthusiastic team of professionals. I look forward to contributing to the company's continued success."

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 Condé 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 Condé 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 (2008).