A tale of two cruise lines

Image result for silverseas muse

Two European businessmen created two different cruise lines in the 1990s. Both have been successful in their own terms, but one formula for success has a lot more scale than the other one.

The two lines are Silversea Cruises and MSC Cruises. Silversea was formed in 1994 by building two new ships straight out of the gate for the luxury market. It was marketed primarily, if not exclusively, in North America.

MSC took a different route. Created from the leftovers of the Lauro Lines in 1995, MSC operated used, some would say very used, tonnage. Like Carnival Cruise Line, it deployed its older ships to cater to the mass market. It was marketed primarily to Europeans, with a few winter itineraries in the Caribbean.

Silversea’s first newly built ship, the Silver Cloud, was a thing of beauty. It was instantly competitive with other luxury vessels.

MSC’s first newly built ship didn’t arrive until a decade after the Silver Cloud was delivered and it was a takeover of an option that couldn’t be exercised by the Greek line Festival Cruises when it went into bankruptcy.

Since launching, Silversea has acquired a fleet of nine ships, with two more vessels on order.

With the delivery of the MSC Seaview, MSC has 15 ships in its fleet, with another nine on order through 2026.

Image result for msc seaview christening

Last week, Silversea and Royal Caribbean announced an agreement in which Royal will get a 67% equity stake for $1 billion. Silversea gives up its autonomy as a private company in exchange for continued growth and investment in its brand.

MSC is investing in its own future with a $10.5 billion newbuild program, and its autonomy is not in doubt.

MSC took a slower, less glamorous route to success but in the end, it is the company that stands independent.

Two major differences steered MSC and Silversea towards different outcomes. The first is that MSC Cruises was a side project for MSC chairman Gianluigi Aponte, whose main business, container shipping, made it easier to secure the financing that kept MSC’s order book growing.

The second is that MSC operates in the low-price, high-profit segment of the cruise business. Catering to the mass market may not be where the glamour is, but it is where the money is. The finances of both MSC and Silversea are private, so it is perhaps unfair to say one is more profitable than the other.

Advertisements

Three Inaugural Calls for Dover in May

Three Inaugural Calls for Dover in May

Viking Sun

The Port of Dover saw three first-time cruise calls in May, highlighted by the Viking Sun and also including the Deutschland and Zenith.

The ships were greeted in true Dover Cruise style with a water salute from Dover Tugs Doughty and Dauntless, the port said.

In addition, the first bank holiday weekend saw the historic Western Docks at full capacity for the first time since 2016 with three cruise ships berthed together.

There was also a call from the expedition vessel, the Silver Cloud. The ship’s guests¬†enjoyed a unique kayaking experience to view the iconic White Cliffs up close.

Holland America Line’s Prinsendam arrived in port on the Royal Wedding day on Saturday, May 19 to a celebratory great British Street Party in Cruise Terminal Two.

“Complimentary tempting food and drink were provided along with musical entertainment from the talented Nick Bosworth on piano and keyboard. Life-size cardboard figures of the Royal Family were positioned in the terminal where guests enjoyed taking selfies with them creating unique holiday memories. It was marvellous to see the affection passengers from all over the world have for our Royal Family,” the port said.

Silversea Adds Free Wi-Fi

Silver Muse

Starting with voyages sailing in April 2018, all guests on Silversea ships will get free unlimited Wi-Fi access.

Since January 2016, guests have enjoyed at least one hour of free Wi-Fi per day, the company said.

The new policy will provide each guest booked in standard suites with free unlimited standard internet access. Guests staying in larger suites (from Silver suites to the Owner’s suites) will enjoy free unlimited premium internet access for up to two devices simultaneously per guest. Unlimited premium internet access is also available to purchase for guests wishing to upgrade.

“We know how important it is to catch up on emails or share photos on social media while on vacation,” said Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s chief marketing officer. “Now, with free unlimited Wi-Fi in all suites, our guests can stay as connected as they like while they voyage to the most fascinating places on Earth.”