Bryan Johnson speaks to CEO Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, as well as the team delivering the luxury line to the UK, about how they are adapting to the current market
“Innovation implies that you are taking certain risks,” says Silversea CEO Roberto Martinoli from the purposely understated Venetian Lounge on board Silver Muse. Since its inception in 1994, Silversea, whose founder Antonio Lefebvre d’Ovidio was replaced in 2001 by next of kin Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, has sought to benchmark luxury for the industry. Luxury that’s carefully curated. “More like an Italian, European in general,” says Martinoli, echoing both the company’s personality and the stylishness one naturally assumes of an Italian.
Alumni of the Francesco Morosini Naval Military School, Martinoli and d’Ovidio form an intellectual partnership, driving Silversea forward as an innovator in the industry. It’s clear that Silversea has prioritised the uniqueness of its products, whether classic or expedition. It’s not for everyone and they’re proud of that: but if you’re selling to customers with a taste for luxury travel, Silversea should be on their map and yours.
The UK, from a Silversea perspective, is the second largest source market. Hell will freeze over before I lose that second position
Following the launch of Silver Muse, the line’s new flagship, Silversea has announced plans for a tenth ship, Silver Moon, set for completion in 2020. Cruise Adviser caught up with members of the team responsible for delivering the product to the UK market.
Cruise Adviser: Demographics are always important to luxury cruise lines, it’s always about who you’re targeting and how best. How did Silversea form a personality and adapt it to suit its market without losing its individualism?
Barbara Muckermann, chief marketing officer: Earlier, we really wanted to stress our international sophistication, we wanted to say to the world that we’re not like others just bringing Americans from Palm Beach, we want to be interesting for the British guests. We want to hear multiple languages on board. What we’ve seen, particularly in our type of demographic, is that they’ve changed their priorities. They don’t care about buying a new car anymore, but they would spend a fortune to bring their grandchildren on the experience of a lifetime.
The confidence in the European market, and the European style, is what defines Silversea among their competitors, but the company has also been pioneering luxury-style, expedition cruising since introducing Silver Explorer in 2008. How has the UK been responding to the range of products?
Lisa McCauley, managing director, UK & Ireland: The UK is the largest long-leading booking market that we have, so, not even just for Silversea, but generally within the travel industry, the UK is an early adopter of new products. The UK, from a Silversea perspective, is the second largest source market. Hell will freeze over before I lose that second position.
Barbara Muckermann: I think, sincerely, that the most important tool that is under development is strengthening the trade portal. The trade comes first for us and always will be – particularly if Manfredi keeps building all these ships!