In its 20th anniversary year, Kristian C. Anderson is leading ultra-luxury line Silversea into a new chapter in the company’s already-rich history. As Senior Vice President & General Manager of the Americas, Anderson is passionate about getting the word out about the company’s increasingly-diverse offerings.
Already lauded for their fleet of five crisp, white-hulled luxury cruise ships, Silversea today is pioneering the concept of the luxury expedition cruise through their Silversea Expeditions brand.
Historically, expedition cruises were something of a unique beast: they were typically offered aboard converted icebreakers or Russian research vessels that were designed with little or no regard to onboard creature comforts. They could also be financially straining, with some expeditions to Antarctica running in excess of $25,000 per person – and still not including the bar tab.
Silversea thought it could do things differently – and so did their guests.
“The expansion of our Expedition Fleet is largely in part due to listening to our guests,” Anderson remarked, in an exclusive interview with From the Deck Chair. “Since the launch of Silver Explorer in 2007, Silversea Expeditions has established itself as the world’s leading, luxury expedition cruise line enabling guests to view extraordinary scenery, get up-close and personal to amazing wildlife, and experience fascinating cultures all while visiting some of the most inaccessible and incredible destinations in the world.”
“A lot of people may see us as a luxury cruise line that offers expeditions, but we are now one of the leaders in expedition cruises. This is something we’re extremely proud of.”
The allure of a luxury expedition cruise is immediately apparent: what could be better than hopping aboard a zodiac raft in order to visit deserted islands or get up close to ice floes and wildlife in nearly every corner of the globe, all while still being able to return to a ship with suites so sumptuous they feature full butler service and pillow menus?
The resulting product, which Silversea has continued to perfect since the launch of Silver Explorer in 2007, has been so successful that some of the line’s most frequent guests have never set foot aboard the line’s ‘traditional’ luxury vessels.
“Our Expedition guests are more than just port collectors, they are adventure seeking travelers constantly looking for new, unique and enriching experiences and are drawn to the farthest corners of the globe,” Anderson said. Their passion and feedback drove us to launch Silver Galapagos expeditions in the fall of 2013, and Asia-Pacific expeditions this spring on our newest expedition ship, Silver Discoverer.”
Anderson is candid about the entire Silversea Expeditions fleet, but is particularly passionate about the new Silver Discoverer – and where she will be spending most of her time sailing.
“We’ve all heard the expression, ‘been there, done that’,” he said, “but when guests set sail on a Silver Discoverer expedition, they haven’t been here, and they haven’t done this.
“We’re taking guests to incredible destinations, but we’re also doing so in true Silversea style. Silver Discoverer is a beautifully appointed ship from bow to stern and we are very proud of the way she fits within the Silversea family. All of the interiors have been upgraded to Silversea standards, featuring a sophisticated blue and yellow color palette, tasteful furnishings and décor throughout the ship, and we’ve got stunning destination photography lining the walls from our very own staff Expedition photographers.”
“Silver Discoverer is also the first expedition ship in our fleet to boast a pool deck, where guests can relax and enjoy a signature interactive ‘hot rock’ meal at The Grill.”
While some guests aboard Silversea’s Expedition vessels have yet to set foot aboard one of the line’s more traditional luxury cruise ships, the opposite is true for some of Silversea’s repeat guests on intimate vessels like the elegant Silver Wind and the modern and sleek Silver Spirit. So how can the line convince those who have yet to try an expedition cruise? What makes the ideal Silversea Expeditions guest? Anderson is quick to answer:
“The guests we see traveling with Silversea Expeditions are adventure enthusiasts seeking to gain an incredibly up close and personal interaction with the natural beauty and culture of an off-the-beaten-path destination. We cater to them in every way possible. Days start early for exploration and wildlife spotting by Zodiac and glass-bottom boats, and guests take part in lectures given by our expert Expedition team – biologists, zoologists, ornithologists, historians and anthropologists – who introduce the history, wildlife and cultural customs guests will encounter at each landing.”
Naturally, coming back to the ingredients for a bubble bath sitting on your bathtub, or ordering white-gloved room service doesn’t hurt, either. It’s a strategy that is clearly starting to rub off on some of the other players in the cruise industry, but they’re about four years behind the luxury expedition curve. Even though Anderson is the top man at Silversea’s Fort Lauderdale office, I have to ask the impossible question: What’s your favorite Silver Discoverer itinerary?
“The Silver Discoverer itineraries are all so different and fantastic, but the natural beauty and biodiversity of New Zealand’s Sub Antarctic Islands are especially appealing to me. Experiencing both the fjords of Milford and Dusky Sound up close would be stunning,” he said.
For Anderson, the mystery and beauty of Silver Discoverer‘s first itineraries are also an immense draw.“We are also beginning to receive images from the ship as she starts her inaugural season through The Kimberley [in Australia], and the inaccessibility and remoteness of the destination coupled with the jaw-dropping landscapes is definitely a sight to see,” said Anderson. “These itineraries also include a complimentary flight over the Bungle Bungle Range, which is a must-see for our guests.”
Those guests will find it easier than ever to get onboard the Silver Discoverer. Back in February, we wrote that Silversea was offering a special Air Promotion available for a limited time on Silver Discoverer’s maiden Asia-Pacific season. There’s good news: the offer has been extended to all new bookings made by June 15, 2014.
Because luxury is all about choice (even on expeditions), Silversea is offering either complimentary roundtrip economy-class airfare to guests booking (by June 15) voyages aboard Silver Discoverer, or reduced Business Class airfare.
It’s a heck of a good deal; as we wrote earlier, airfares to this region of the world aren’t exactly inexpensive. Even those who reside on the West Coast of the United States and Canada stand to benefit; it’s hard to argue with free airfare, after all, and the option of reduced Business Class just might be enough to convince guests to splurge on a little luxury en-route to their luxury Silver Discoverer expedition cruise.
At the moment, I’m preparing to head to Australia to partake in my second outing with Silversea Expeditions – which begins in the port of Broome, Australia. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry – many folks haven’t. To me, though, that’s one of the key draws of any Silversea voyage: off-the-beaten path ports of call that the big-ship lines pass over. Given that, I’m naturally curious as to where the line might take the fleet next.
“Silversea currently sails to over 700 destinations throughout the world, so there isn’t really anywhere we don’t visit!” Anderson says with a laugh, before getting back to business. “But we are constantly reviewing and considering new ports of call not only for our expedition fleet, but for our five traditional vessels as well. Diverse and enriching destinations are the cornerstone of the Silversea experience and we are constantly striving to take our guests places no other cruise line can go.”
As the man leading Silversea into the next chapter of its history in the Americas, Anderson is mindful of the success of both of Silversea’s luxury brands. “Silversea Expeditions is a different type of cruising experience from our traditional vessels that focuses first and foremost on the destination and experiences ashore,” he concluded. “But – that doesn’t sacrifice the hallmark exclusivity of Silversea style and all-inclusive service that our guests have grown to love.
More information on Silversea and Silversea Expeditions can be found by paying a visit to their website. You can read our Live Voyage Report from onboard Silver Explorer as she winds her way from Portsmouth, England to Greenock, Scotland by clicking here, or tune in next week for the start of our own Live Voyage Report adventure aboard Silver Discoverer in Australia and Indonesia! Coverage begins Friday, May 9, 2014 from Sydney, Australia.
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