Silversea Cruises took possession of what it said is the first in-person cruise ship delivery since the pandemic prompted a global lockdown.
Dutch shipyard De Hoop delivered the Silver Origin, an expedition ship bound for the Galapagos, in a June 3 ceremony in Rotterdam. Manfredi Lefebvre, the line's chairman, Roberto Martinoli, its CEO and Barbara Muckermann, its chief marketing officer, were among the executives in attendance.
Some ship deliveries have been postponed since the Covid-19 pandemic has halted work around the globe and driven down demand for tonnage, but De Hoop was able to complete the ship during the pause by employing some creative measures.
Lefebvre said that every element of the 100-passenger ship was designed "with the destination in mind." The all-suite, all-balcony Origin is expected to begin cruising in August and will operate year-round in the Galapagos archipelago offering two different seven-day itineraries.
Unlike most cruise ship debuts, missing were the events for travel advisors, members of the press and local dignitaries that usually visit a vessel upon delivery. In place of the usual delivery ship inspections, Silversea produced a virtual tour for press.
"It's the closest we can get you to the ship," Muckermann said during the tour.
A virtual event to deliver the Silver Origin
The ship's Marina area will be its entry point, offering what Silversea calls an "unprecedented" arrival and disembarkation experience on Zodiacs. A fold-out stern can accommodate two Zodiacs at once.
Silversea called the Basecamp area the "heart of the ship" and one of its most innovative spaces. Designed "to bring the destination on board," Basecamp will host educational activities with expert guides before and after excursions to learn about the wildlife, landscapes and the history of the Galapagos. An interactive, LED digital wall, which Silversea says is the largest interactive screen in the Galapagos, enables passengers to access destination-related content, including historical pictures provided by the Royal Geographical Society of London, videos with aerial and underwater shots, excursion previews and scientific presentations. The ship's expedition team will use the wall to educate guests before embarking on Zodiac and kayak adventures to experience the destinations firsthand.
The ship's Explorer Lounge, which Muckermann called one of the coziest spaces onboard, serves as its library, a room for daily lectures and briefings and, by night, a spot for cocktails and live piano performances. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer 180-degree views. An outdoor terrace has sofas, armchairs and a fire pit.
The Origin's culinary focus will be on regionally grown ingredients and Ecuadorian cuisine. Both the Restaurant on Deck 4 and the outdoor Grill on Deck 7 will be able to accommodate all guests at once. Silversea's Hot Rocks concept will have an Ecuadorian twist at the Grill, Silversea said. And while the ship has a buffet, guests will "never touch any utensils," Muckermann said. The line will also plans to offer passengers onshore culinary experiences.
Silversea CEO Roberto Martinoli, center.
Silversea's top executive said that Covid 19-related protocols are still
a work in progress but that some changes can be expected.
Silversea said that the Origin's cabins are among the most spacious in the Galapagos and that it is the only ship in the archipelago offering butler service for all guests. Cabins have neutral tones and natural materials to complement the environment, Silversea said, and all cabins were designed to offer excellent views, with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies. Upper-level suites have ocean views from bathtubs and shower, a first for Silversea, Muckermann said.
Silversea said the Origin has its highest level of sustainability and is the most energy efficient ships in its class. Features include a dynamic positioning system to be used over delicate seabed ecosystems to prevent the anchor from causing damage; cabins with freshwater purification systems that convert seawater into drinking water, drastically reducing the use of plastic on board; and a wastewater treatment system that meets or exceeds the world's strictest regulations. All waste will undergo rigid segregation procedures, Silversea said, and will be delivered to local waste management firms to be recycled or shipped out of the islands.
Silversea also said it has launched the Silversea Fund for the Galapagos, which supports educational projects "to safeguard the Galapagos Islands for future generations." Passengers who donate to the fund will be offered savings on Silversea cruises: the line will match guests contributions in the form of a future cruise credit up to $1,000.
The Origin is the first Silversea newbuild to arrive since the line was acquired by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
"The ship demonstrates how fruitful our collaboration has been," Martinoli said.