Silversea Cruises has announced it will embark upon its first ever ship lengthening revitalisation program, with Silver Spirit scheduled to be the first to go under the knife. Its unclear if the refit will be done before or after her South African cruise next year.
With competitor Seabourn Cruise Line having recently sold its three oldest ships to Windstar Cruises during a major fleet enhancement and expansion project, Silversea Cruises has found itself needing to play catch-up.
In April this year it took delivery of its first newbuild since 2009. The 40,700 gross ton Silver Muse is the largest ultra-luxurious cruise ship ever built for Silversea, going head to head with Seabourn’s new Encore-class cruise ships.
Silver Muse – Silversea’s newest cruise ship.
With a capacity to accommodate 596 passengers on board, she maintains the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations that are hallmarks of the Silversea experience, while featuring a wealth of enhancements to the on board experience.
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“Based on the wonderful feedback from guests sailing aboard our beautiful Silver Muse, we believe the comprehensive makeover we have planned for Silver Spirit will enrich the on-board experience and be equally appreciated by guests,” said Christian Sauleau, Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations for Silversea Cruises.
“They will see many of Silver Muse’s innovations and elevated comforts embodied by our reimagined Silver Spirit,” he added.
The 2009-built Silver Spirit will be stretched next year at Fincantieri’s Palermo shipyard. She will be cut in half and a 49-foot prebuilt midsection housing six Silver Suites, 26 Veranda Suites and two Panorama Suites will be inserted.
She’ll then be welded back together, but that’s rather oversimplifying the process.
“The lengthening of a ship always entails a rare level of complexity,” says Giorgio Rizzo, Senior Vice President Services of Fincantieri. “We are particularly proud of it because we will supervise it entirely, from design to its full execution, to the delivery to the ship-owner.”
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This latest announcement from Silversea comes just a few weeks after it revealed that it had ordered a sister ship to Silver Muse from the same shipyard. Silver Moon is due for delivery in 2020 and will expand the fleet to ten ships (including the three-ship expedition fleet).
With Silver Muse and Silver Moon, and a fully revamped and lengthened Silver Spirit, Silversea Cruises’ older tonnage will be increasingly obsolete in the fleet.
Sister ships Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow, built in 2001 and 2000, are likely safe for now, especially as Silver Whisper received a comprehensive makeover last year, but Shadow hasn’t been for refit since 2011.
If a lengthening or renovation program for her isn’t announced soon, it may mean Silversea are planning to sell her out of the fleet, or transfer her to the expedition fleet, as they are planning to do with 1994-built Silver Cloud later this year.