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Our MD Clare Dunne chats to the MD of SilverSea, Peter Shanks about the cruise trends for cruising in 2022 and beyond, the expedition cruises and sustainability in this sector.

LISTEN or WATCH here.

 

Good morning. I’m here this morning with Peter Shanks from Silversea Cruises at our cruise convention in the Clontarf  Castle. Peter, can you tell us your role in Silversea Cruises and maybe a little bit about the trends you’re seeing in cruise going forward?

Yes. I’m lucky enough to be the managing director for Silversea in the UK, Europe, and Africa, and been through a really tough 20 months, like we all have. But now, we’re all coming back, cruises are coming back, and it’s great to be here today with many of our partners talking about the excitement and the portion of coming back, and things are looking really bright. ’21, we’ve had quite a few people sailing on our ship, Silver Moon, down in the Mediterranean, which is very nice.

Indeed and it’s been so wonderful, not just for Silversea, but for other cruise lines to see customers coming back and mixing with the crew who equally happy to be coming back.

Absolutely.

And the experience is terrific. So we’ve got six of our nine ships sailing today. And in fact, yesterday we set sail in Antarctica for the first time. So even the far-flung corners of the Earth are coming back to life now, which is terrific.

And Silversea are known for expeditions. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Yeah, so not only do we have the classic ships that go to all the places you’d expect like the Caribbean, Mediterranean, et cetera, but we go to the far-flung corner of the world with our three expedition ships. There are three iconic destinations, there’s Antarctica, there’s the Arctic and Galapagos. Those are the three most popular, but as the ships move around the world from one to the other, we actually go pretty much everywhere. We go to places I didn’t even know were places.

And they’re smaller ships. The explorers are 140 guests and then Silver Cloud, Silver Wind 250 and on the ship we have exhibition teams between 20 and 25 complete experts in philanthropy and nature and science and you get right into the heart of the most incredible destinations in the world. Whether it’s on Zodiacs, whether it’s swimming with turtles in Galapagos, whether it’s going to meet tribes and people who may not see anyone from outside their tribe for the whole year and suddenly we arrive. So expeditions are probably the ultimate bucket list and coming out of the last 20 months bucket lists coming back to life really strong.

Yeah, they sounds so exciting. I can’t wait to go to Alaska and Antarctica myself, I am really looking forward to it. Can you tell me a little bit about sustainability? It’s becoming a big issue now for all of us in the travel industry.

It is, and very topical to what we’ve been talking last week. So just this last week, the CLIA, the association of global cruise lines, we’ve come out with our own commitments going forward, which is obviously matching 2050. We’ve also reduced emissions by 40% by 2030. So we’re on the same journey as everybody else. And then all the different cruise lines are doing remarkable things and they bring their new ships in. And as each new cruise ship comes into service, it tends to be around 25% better from an emissions perspective than the prior design ship. And we’ve just announced ourselves that our latest new ship, which will join the fleet in summer ’23 will run off a number of different hybrid fuels and will power batteries. And it will be the first cruise ship ever, that when it’s in port, absolutely no emissions.

Wow.

And then if you go on the ships today and you’re lucky enough to go down and see what they do in terms of waste management, recycling, you know, we know we have a long way to go.

Yeah.

But we are definitely on that journey. And we are noticing it’s more important now to our guests and it’s becoming even more important to younger people as well. Cause it’s what we’re hearing about and it has to be done. So the cruise industry’s investing between 5 and 8 billion dollars over the next 10 years in research and development, because we all work together to do whatever we can and it’s very important.

Yeah, really important for all of us.

Yes. Yes.

Have you seen a trend for people booking further ahead now? Have you seen people booking for ’22, ’23, ’24?

Yes, ’22 is really strong in terms of bookings and it’s people wanting to stay close to home, so what we’re seeing is a really strong demand for the Mediterranean and for those lovely Northern Europe, Copenhagen, Stockholm type sailings. We’re seeing a little bit of a demand for the Caribbean coming back this winter. And then we can’t unfortunately go this winter to Asia or Australia. So we are now on sale right through until the spring of 2024. So what we’re now beginning to see, and we see even more is people saying like, I do want to go to Asia, Australia, I think brilliant destinations. And they’re now starting to book in big numbers for the next winter ’22-23′ and also ’23-’24. And I think people just want to have something in the diary to look forward to. I mean, my best advice is book yourself a really nice big cruise for one of the next two winters. And then when you’re ready book a couple between now and then as well.

Ha-ha, that would be great! Fantastic! Absolutely. Just before I let you go, you mentioned earlier on about world cruises. Can you tell us a little bit about that, a lot of people don’t know what that means?

Yeah, so world cruises are growing a number. A number of different cruise lines do it, Cunard are the famous for world cruises, P&O do world cruises. And in our sector, both Regent Cruises and ourselves, Silversea, we’ve been doing world cruises for many years now and it’s about four months in the year from early January until late May and they sell out. So we are going to be the only company operating a world cruise for 2022. We’ve managed it, we’ve had to change direction with it. So we’re sailing with full ship departing this coming January. And we are pretty full for spring ’23, and we are pretty full for spring ’24. So at our end of the market, it’s quite an investment, but there’s no better way to spend four months seeing the world. So it’s an interesting market, it’s not just the elder clientele, it’s people who made a bit of money and want to escape. It’s a great business.

Wow. Fantastic. Peter, it’s been pleasure to talk to you. Thank you very much.

You’re welcome.

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