The name is fitting for a ship that will be dedicated to the exploration and conservation of the planet's oceans, wildlife and indigenous cultures. The Principality of Monaco, aside from being the world's capital of wealth and luxury - and home to Silversea's global headquarters - has long been recognized as a leader in marine environment research. Prince Albert I, a pioneer in oceanographic science and exploration, first explored the Arctic's Svalbard archipelago in the early part of the last century, and founded the world renowned Oceanographic Institute. In 2006, Prince Albert II plotted a similar course on part of his journey to the North Pole, in an effort to add to the scientific body of work started by his ancestor - and to draw attention to the effects of global warming on the Arctic regions. As a result, the Prince is the first incumbent head of state to have reached the northern most point on Earth.
"We are deeply honored to have our new expedition ship named after His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco," said Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's chairman. "His passion for environmental conservation is well known and we are committed to supporting his mission by offering travelers the chance to discover and appreciate some of the world's most remote and unspoiled regions."
When Silversea's adventure ship sets sail on June 12, following a naming ceremony in Monte Carlo, it will herald the beginning of a new mode in exploration cruising - where a luxurious ambiance is just as important as the eye-opening educational experiences it will deliver.
The Lloyd's Register A1A ice-rated vessel is purpose-built for expedition cruising and is currently undergoing an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation at the Fincantieri shipyard in Trieste, Italy. To ensure the ship will deliver an expedition cruise experience consistent with Silversea's award-winning luxury standards, the refurbishment will include exterior design modifications, state-of-the-art technological enhancements and a comprehensive upgrade of all guest accommodations and public spaces.
The ship is also being outfitted with a new fleet of eight, latest-model Zodiac boats with Yamaha four-stroke engines (for lowest possible emissions) that will allow guests to enjoy up-close exploration and access to some of the world's most remote landscapes.
"The interest in expedition cruising is definitely on the rise, among both affluent baby boomers and seasoned travelers wanting to further enrich their already wide knowledge of more traditional and established destinations. Silversea's HSH Prince Albert II will be the perfect option for those adventure-seekers who prefer a genuine expedition ship experience enhanced with the comforts of a true luxury product," said Amerigo Perasso, Silversea president. "Adventure travel is also about having experiences that are intellectually enriching, so every voyage will feature a carefully selected expedition team of lecturers and leading experts who will share their insights on the natural, cultural and historical highlights of some of the most pristine and secluded regions on Earth."
In a related development, the company has announced the appointment of Conrad Combrink as Silversea director of expeditions, with responsibility for developing the ship's itinerary and programs. He will also oversee the recruitment of expedition staff and lecturers. Combrink's career of over ten years in expedition cruising includes serving as expedition leader on World Discoverer I and II.
EXPLORING THE EARTH: TOP TO BOTTOM
Silversea's expedition ship will set sail June 12 from London on an Inaugural Season of voyages of 10 to 21 days focusing on polar adventures. Sailing first to the Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland for the Northern summer, the ship will then reposition to South America and Antarctica. From mid-August to November 2008, HSH Prince Albert II will journey from the east coast of North America through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles before heading south to Ushuaia. Along this special repositioning route are opportunities to explore the Sea of Cortez (with an extension to Copper Canyon), Falklands and South Georgia Island. Pricing starts at US$3,867, per person, double occupancy, and includes shore excursions as well as Silversea's signature all-inclusive amenities.
After the ship's refit, the ice-class vesselwill carry just 132 guests in 66 ocean-view accommodations, many featuring private verandas. With staterooms and suites ranging from 180 to over 600 square feet, it will provide some of the largest accommodations of any expedition ship. 18 suites will each feature more than 400 square feet of luxury.
Guests will also enjoy many amenities found on larger ships, such as an elegant single-seating main dining room, library (with computers and Internet access), boutique, beauty salon, fitness center, full-service spa and two Jacuzzi pools. The ship will also feature several lounges for enjoying drinks, music and entertainment, including a cigar lounge like the Humidor on the line's other ships.
The HSH Prince Albert II will also be equipped with state-of-the-art satellite communication systems, providing bow-to-stern wireless Internet access, enabling guests with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops and PDAs to surf the Internet and check e-mails from the comfort of their suites as well as public areas. Cellular phone service will also allow guests to stay in touch using their own cell phones even when the ship is miles away from land. All suites and staterooms will feature flat screen monitors offering interactive TV and video options. In the ship's lounges, the latest audio-visual equipment, complete with high-definition video screens, will display live lectures hosted by the ship's world-class expedition and lecture staff as well as visiting destination experts.
Guests aboard Silversea's HSH Prince Albert II will be inspired by the varied and constantly adapted itineraries that will make the most of the natural opportunities created by the landscapes around them. There is so much to explore that they can sail for up to 48 days on back-to-back voyages without repeating a Zodiac landing site. This is not soft adventure; this is full scale exploring from an ultra-luxury base at sea, in true Silversea style.
Reservations are set to go on sale starting Friday, February 29, 2008. A colorful self-mailer will be available to travel agents in a few weeks.