Combrink updates agents on Silversea expedition cruise moves

Issues & Trends – February 2013

Combrink updates agents on Silversea expedition cruise moves

combrinkIT was a whirlwind visit to Australia for Conrad Combrink earlier this month but it was an important one for him.

Combrink is Silversea’s director of expedition cruises and he is well aware that Australia is the second biggest market in the world for his product.

And with the luxury line bringing a second expedition ship into service later this year he wants to make sure this country’s agents are well aware of the expedition cruise offerings he has put in place. So he spent five days earlier this month in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne bringing them up to date.

He told them about the new cruise itineraries he has introduced to the Silver Explorer program in 2014. And he provided details on the ship refurbishment and staff training that will ensure the recently purchased Galapagos Explorer II meets Silversea’s exacting standards when she is re-launched as Silver Galapagos in late September.

Silver Explorer chalks up 85,000 nautical miles in a year visiting adventure travel destinations around the globe and Combrink says: “Our aim is to find something new every year.”

He is “very excited” by the addition of the North West Passage and Russian Far East, saying: “We now have the following and the know-how to do it.”

Another development likely to be of particular interest to Australians is a re-designed West Coast of South America cruise.

The traditional seven-day Costa Rica-Panama combination will be replaced by a 12-day cruise
that drops Costa Rica in favour of Colombia.

Promising a cruise that will introduce passengers to “wonderful bird and marine life”, Combrink believes the extended duration will suit Australians who want to stay longer than seven days if they undertake the journey to South America.

Silver Explorer is also returning to the South Pacific after four years, a move that has been “very well received”, according to Combrink.

“We are putting our toes in the water in Papua New Guinea,” he said.

Asked if he would look at the popular Australian expedition cruising destination, the Kimberleys, he said: “There is already an excellent product there with Orion. It’s not off the drawing board but we would not rush into it.”

Meanwhile, he said work is well under way on the training of the staff who will be expected to provide Silversea standards of service aboard Silver Galapagos.

The Galapagos is on everyone’s bucket list, he said, and Silver Galapagos will be the first to bring a luxury cruise experience to the region.

“It is very important to us that our guests know immediately they are on a Silversea ship,” he said.
“We don’t underestimate the required investment in time and money … We have told the existing staff ‘we’re not interested in letting you go, we want to make you part of the Silversea family’. They are excited about that.”

Some of the innovations he foreshadowed aboard Silver Galapagos include the addition of sea kayaks to the ship, the provision of photographic workshops, the development of standard lectures and briefings “so the educational content is there”, checklists of wild life, an interpretative centre – “and we are playing with the idea of interactive touch-screen bulletin boards”.


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