In media briefings last week, Silversea’s President and CEO, Roberto Martinoli (pictured) and Barbara Muckermann, Silversea Cruises Chief Marketing Officer, gave a rundown of the company’s response to COVID-19.
Talking about newbuildings, they said that the 596 pax ‘Silver Moon’, a sistership to flagship ‘Silver Muse’, was due to be delivered from Fincantieri in August at Trieste, Italy, but shipyard closures have forced the date back to 2nd October.
The launch of the line’s purpose-built Galapagos ship (see other story), the 100 pax ‘Silver Origin’, will now be on 22nd August, Martinoli explained.
However, he confirmed that the planned newbuilding programme of five ships, including the two mentioned, would be unaffected.
Martinoli, said: “Our future expansion projects are not affected. We have and we will continue to have five firm ship orders: ‘Origin’ will be a ship in operation soon, sometime in October we will have ‘Moon’ starting operations, so that’s two of the five.
“And the two Evolution vessels that are being built and designed in Germany will come after that, so in terms of firm orders there are no changes,” he stressed, adding; “We are also looking to other projects, and this pandemic situation has delayed our ‘homework’ in terms of what it is we want to order next, and I would expect we will have a clearer picture by the end of the summer when we will hopefully be back to a normal operation and we will be able to work on our expansion plans which will continue to be aggressive.”
As for the ‘Silver Origin’, Muckermann confirmed that the ship was in Rotterdam, ready to be delivered.
However, most of the furniture, artwork and carpets were stuck in customs. She explained that the furniture for the public spaces was coming from Italy; outdoor furniture and other fixtures from the US and China; and artwork from the UK.
Following the pandemic, in March, Silversea chartered 24 planes to get guests home, the company explained.
As for the other ships, ‘Silver Whisper’, ‘Wind’ and ‘Shadow’ will remain in Marseille until further notice, close to the company’s Monaco headquarters.
The ‘Silver Cloud’ and ‘Spirit’ are in Southampton with 350 crew on board, which the company is trying to repatriate.
‘Silver Muse’ is to sail from Panama to Manila to repatriate crew, while ‘Silver Explorer’ will sail from Panama to Europe to repatriate European crew.
Silversea said it had given crew the option of staying on board if they wished.
Going forward, the company expected to have around 40 crew on each ship for critical manning levels and to ensure the ships can quickly return to service.