Silversea Cruises has ordered a third ship in its Muse class just months after it signed a contract with shipbuilder Fincantieri for Silver Moon, which is due to be delivered in 2020; Silver Dawn is scheduled to set sail in 2021.
Silver Dawn will be the 11th ship in the Silversea fleet, which now comprises five "classic luxury" and four luxury expedition ships, and the contract is worth more than $507 million. Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea's chairman, said: "We look forward to welcoming guests aboard in November 2021. It was my father's dream to grow Silversea to at least a 12-ship fleet; today, we are one step closer to fulfilling his vision."
Silver Muse launched in 2017. It carries just under 600 passengers and is an evolution of 2009's Silver Spirit, which originally accommodated 540 passengers. Spirit recently underwent an extensive makeover that involved it being "stretched" by the addition of a new midsection, so it now carries more than 600 passengers and is 15 metres longer than it was.
The Muse-class ships' accommodation is all-suite, all-balcony and every category of suite has butler service. Restaurants include Atlantide, La Dame by Relais & Chateaux and Kaiseki (both extra-charge), Spaccanapoli for pizza and Silver Note, a dinner-dance venue that serves tapas-style dishes to the sound of jazz and swing.
Silver Cloud was transformed into an expedition ship last year and next month Silversea is celebrating 10 years of luxury expedition cruising. On June 3, 2008, Silver Explorer left London for Svalbard, the remote Norwegian archipelago and later that year Silversea went to Antarctica for the first time. In 2012, after an extended scouting period, the cruise line became the first to launch itineraries to the Russian Arctic and along the west coast of Africa.
In 2013, Silversea bought Silver Galapagos and expedition cruises in the Galapagos islands continue to be one of the company's most popular offerings; later that year the company added Silver Discoverer to the expedition fleet. Last year, Silversea added Bangladesh to its expanding list of destinations; the Philippines is new this year.
"It seems like only yesterday that Mr Lefebvre d'Ovidio and I had our first discussion," said Conrad Combrink, Silversea's senior vice-president of strategic development expeditions and experiences. "After a few minutes of conversation, I knew that this outlandish idea was going to be extremely successful… we have transformed the industry to enable travellers to reach the world's most beautiful and secluded destinations in utmost comfort."
THE PORT Portoferraio, Elba, Italy
WHO GOES THERE Azamara, Crystal, HAL, Hapag-Lloyd, Oceania, P&O UK, RSSC, Seabourn, SeaDream, Silversea, Star Clippers, Voyages to Antiquity, Windstar.
WHY WE LOVE IT Italy's third-largest island is surprisingly untouristy for such a beautiful place. It was famously where Napoleon spent several months in exile in the 19th century – visitors today wonder why he ever wanted to leave.
TAKE A TOUR OR GO IT ALONE? Most ships that call at Elba are small to mid-sized and dock at Portoferraio, in the centre of town. It's the biggest town on the island, overlooked by the 16th-century Fort Stella and surrounded by lovely beaches. It's worth joining an island tour that takes in Napoleon's residences, the historic fishing village of Porto Azzurro and the hillside town of Marciano Alta, 365 metres above sea level. Views from the town and from Mt Capanne are incredible – there's a cable car to the peak from Marciano.
MUST SEE Villa dei Mulini di Napoleone, Napoleon's official residence; Villa di San Martino, his private summer house; the Roman ruins of Villa Romana alle Grotte and Villa Romana di Capo Castello; the Medici Fortress, built in 1474.
MUST EAT Freshly caught fish and seafood is the basis of the island's cuisine. Try riso al nero di seppia (rice with squid ink); totani ripieni (stuffed squid); cacciucco (a soup of fish and seafood); zerri fritti (small fried fish); and sardine ripiene (stuffed sardines). Panzanella elbana is a bread salad containing tuna and anchovies. Sweet Tuscan treats include torta della nonna – a custard tart scattered with pine nuts and cantucci, almond biscuits.
NEED TO KNOW Shops are usually open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 8pm. On Sundays and the rest of the week souvenir shops are open all day long. Take some euros for small purchases, coffee and drinks.
The Pacific Ocean covers almost half of the entire surface of the planet and borders four continents: Asia, North America, South America and Australia.
Windstar's wine experts
Luxury small-ship line Windstar Cruises is ramping up its gourmet food and drink offerings across its fleet of three boutique yachts and three sailing ships. Windstar recently entered a culinary partnership with the renowned US James Beard Foundation and is bringing top sommeliers onboard to host wine-tastings, accompany guests on shore tours to local wineries and advise on wine selections in the dining room. The program launched on the 310-passenger Wind Surf, which is sailing the Mediterranean, and is being rolled out on Star Breeze, Star Pride and Star Legend. Star Legend is now sailing its first Alaska season and will be returning to Asia in September with new Japan itineraries as well as a range of 11-day cruises in China and south-east Asia. See traveltheworld.com.au.
Azamara Club Cruises has announced its 2020 itineraries, including newly added destinations South Africa, French Polynesia and Hawaii. With a total of 92 individual cruises sailed by its three ships – Azamara Journey, Quest and Pursuit – Azamara will offer 41 maiden ports, 303 late-night stays, 170 overnight stays and 40 "country-intensive" voyages, where guests can explore numerous ports within one country and stay late or overnight in most cities. Other highlights include a meeting of the three ships in Koper, Slovenia on October 8, 2020, when the cruise line will host a grand AzAmazing Evening in port for all guests on all three ships, and then sail together to Venice; and the line's second world cruise, from Cape Town to Southampton onboard Azamara Quest, departing February 2020. See azamara.com.