Thursday 17 June 2010

Adventurous Asians Embrace Expedition Cruising

20% of Silversea's Asian Customers Select Prince Albert II as their Ship of Choice

An increasing number of Asian travellers will sail on Silversea's luxury Expedition cruise ship, Prince Albert II. this year  representing around 20% of the company's regional business. The biggest regional market for the ship is China followed by Hong Kong.

Demand is such for this all-inclusive expedition product that guests are booking far in advance to secure their place on the exploration voyages that take place in both Polar Regions, as well as exciting destinations in Central and South America, Great Britain, Ireland and Africa.

Melvyn Yap, Silversea's Regional Director Asia, commented: "Since Prince Albert II's debut, this region has really embraced our new style of expedition cruising. After two sell-out seasons, Asia and more specifically China, Hong Kong and Singapore have emerged as high yield, early booking markets with the mainland leading the way.

We have been aggressively targeting new-to-Silversea and first-time cruisers by going after a larger share of the lucrative baby boomer market and are seeing phenomenal growth in this market segment.  Younger people have the money and time to travel, and can appreciate the exceptional value a luxury cruise offers when compared to land-based vacations.  In the United States our target market is couples aged 45+; a mix of retirees and successful entrepreneurs, but in Asia our market is couples, slightly younger in age than the company's overall profile. They tend to be successful business people and young professionals; lawyers, doctors, dentists and accountants, who have a love of food and wine but also a sense of adventure. Of particular interest to this younger clientele is the Prince Albert II."

Prince Albert II completed a hugely successful 2009 season of 25 sell-out voyages and the 2010 and 2011 expeditions are selling fast. From June to September 2010 a series of Arctic adventures are on offer exploring the Svalbard Archipelago, Iceland, Greenland or the Canadian Arctic, and the Antarctic season runs from November 2010 to February 2011 with 8 round-trip Ushuaia voyages navigating Drake's Passage and the Antarctic Peninsula.

New expeditions currently on offer include a Discovering Central America voyage in October 2010, taking in the wildlife, indigenous tribes and historic sites of the Dominican Republic, Netherlands Antilles, Panama and Costa Rica, and a Cape to Cape Adventure in March 2011, following explorers' footsteps to Cape Horn, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Tristan Da Cunha and Cape Town. A 22 day West Coast of Africa sailing from Cape Town to Dakar, Senegal is taking place in March 2011, and such is the appeal of this itinerary that the expedition is already fully sold out. Due to strong demand, this programme will also be offered in 2012.

Part of Prince Albert II's great appeal is the totally all-inclusive nature of the product, with fares that cover all shore excursions with a highly experienced expedition team; the largest accommodation of any expedition ship; butler service; wines and drinks throughout the ship; gourmet menus by Relais & Châteaux, and all gratuities. And with a maximum of 132 passengers, guests aboard Prince Albert II have numerous opportunities to go ashore in destinations such as Antarctica, where only 100 passengers at any one time may land.

Yap added: "With suites selling so quickly on these expedition voyages, we do encourage travellers to book early to avoid disappointment.  We expect the demand for this category to continue growing over the second half of 2010."

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