Silversea Cruises' parent company, Silversea Cruises Group Ltd., announced today that it has purchased the expedition ship World Discoverer. The company took delivery of the vessel in Singapore on September 17. The ship will undergo a multi-million dollar refurbishment before it begins service in spring 2008.
"We're very excited about this acquisition, as it means we'll be able to further tap that segment of the luxury travel market that is adventure driven," said Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's chairman. "We have been looking into this segment for quite some time. When we were informed about the opportunity to buy World Discoverer, we took immediate action in a matter of days. We believe that exploration cruises can combine extremely well with an utterly exclusive product. With the addition of World Discoverer, our current fleet increases to five ships and to six in 2009, offering a more-expansive cruise schedule that encompasses all seven continents."
Amerigo Perasso, Silversea president, added, "We will be unveiling more details about World Discoverer, including the new name, in the next few weeks, when all the elements of the project will be finalized. However, at this time, I can advise that the refurbishment will extend to virtually every area of the ship. Although we will maintain much of the vessel's current configuration, which features all ocean-view accommodations, we will dramatically enhance and redesign a number of public spaces, as well as some of the accommodations, and even some aspects of the ship's external appearance. This will bring World Discoverer in line with our usual high standards, but with some modifications to better adapt the ship for the special needs of expedition cruises."
Perasso further elaborated, "The mix of innovative land programs, top-quality lecturers, enrichment programs and exotic destinations will enable us to offer a very special experience that will appeal to the most discerning world travelers. It just made good sense to grow our company with the addition of a vessel purpose-built for in-depth exploration and adventure in places far off the beaten path. World Discoverer is well suited to become the "best in class" for this type of operation."
After the planned refurbishment, World Discoverer will accommodate around 140 guests (reduced from current 175) in ocean-view staterooms, including Owner's Suites, Grand Suites, and 12 yet-unnamed suites that will be similar to the line's popular Silver Suites -- offering an intimate club-like ambiance that will deliver an expedition cruise experience consistent with Silversea's award-winning luxury standards.
Guests will also enjoy many amenities found on larger ships, such as an elegant single-seating main dining room, a specialty restaurant, library (with desktop computers and Internet access), boutique, beauty salon, fitness center, sauna and whirlpools. The ship will also feature several lounges for enjoying drinks, music and entertainment, including a cigar lounge like the Humidor on the line's other ships.
World Discoverer will be equipped with state-of-the-art satellite communication systems, providing bow-to-stern wireless Internet access, enabling guests with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops and PDAs to surf the Internet and check e-mails from the comfort of their suites as well as public areas. Cellular phone service will also allow guests to stay in touch using their own cell phones even when the ship is miles away from land. The vessel will also feature flat screen TVs in all suites and staterooms. In the ship's lounges, the latest audio-visual equipment, complete with high-definition video screens, will display live lectures hosted by visiting destination experts.
The ship will maintain the line's reputation for intimate yet spacious ships. And the vessel's crew complement of 106 will continue to ensure the highest level of service with a crew-to-guest ratio that will equal or exceed that of Silver Cloud and Silver Wind , thus being among the highest in this niche market.
The 6,072-ton vessel also boasts a strengthened hull with the highest Lloyd's Register ice-class notation (1A), appropriate for navigating waters, without an escort, in some of the world's most remote regions, including Antarctica.
Earlier this year the company finalized plans to purchase one 36,000-GRT, 540-guest, ultra-luxury vessel from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri with delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2009. The line has also signed an option for a sister ship with the same shipbuilder.
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. Silversea has won numerous awards and accolades around the world, including "Five Star Diamond Award" from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (2007), "Five Stars" in the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships (2006); "Number One" small-ship line in the Readers' Choice" survey conducted by Britain's Condé Nast Traveller magazine (2007); "Five Anchors" for Gastronomy and Service in Germany's Kreuzfahrt Guide (2007); "Best Small Cruise Line" by Australia's Luxury Travel Magazine (2007); and Best Luxury Cruise Operator according to Asia's Travel Weekly (2007).