Royal Caribbean Acquires Silversea Cruises

Silver Spirit at the Port of Mombasa (file image)

By The Maritime Executive 08-02-2018 01:05:21

Royal Caribbean Cruises announced Wednesay that it has finalized its purchase of a two-thirds stake in luxury cruise operator Silversea, giving RCL a presence in all of the main market segments. The corporation also owns mainstream brand Royal Caribbean International, boutique small-ship operator Azamara, Germany-based TUI Cruises, Spain-based Pullmantur and premium brand Celebrity Cruises. 

RCL paid $1 billion for the controlling stake, and it will make a significant investment in Silversea's nine-ship fleet under an initiative that it has dubbed "Project Invictus." The improvements include a refit to the Silver Whisper and an enhanced drydock program for Silver Wind and Silver Shadow. 

Silversea was founded in Monaco 24 years ago by Antonio Lefebvre d'Ovidio, and his son Manfredi will still be executive chairman of the firm after the acquisition. d'Ovidio is keeping one third of Silversea's ownership. "This partnership enables us to realize our vision of being the uncontested leader in ultra-luxury cruising and expedition, taking our guests to more than 1,000 destinations aboard some of the world's most luxurious vessels," he said in a statement. 

Silversea began in 1994 as a venture between V-Ships and the Lefebvre family. The brand joined an all-inclusive pricing model with ultra-luxury appointments. One flat fare bought access to shore events, travel insurance, dining, beverages and more, all on small-ship cruises offering a super-premium standard and a high crew-to-passenger ratio. The firm was among the first to offer this combination. 

In recent years, Silversea has been investing heavily in the expansion of its fleet, with projects like the lengthening of the Silver Spirit, the delivery of the popular Silver Muse, and an order for a third Muse-class vessel, the future Silver Dawn.