In the heart of Monte Carlo's harbour this morning, the expedition ship Prince Albert II officially joined the Silversea fleet during a naming ceremony conducted by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. As in the time-honoured tradition, the dedication included a blessing of the ship by H.E. Monsignor Fabrice Gallo, Prelate of the Pope of Rome.
Guests listened attentively to speeches and then raised their glasses in a toast when the red and white ribbon (representing the heraldic colors of the Grimaldi family) was cut by HSH Prince Albert II, marking the launch of a new era in expedition cruising -- one that will offer authentic and respectful adventures from a base of easy-going luxury.
"This is a very exciting and proud day for Silversea," said Manfredi Lefebvre, chairman of Silversea. "We are extremely honored that His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, has personally dedicated the ship that will bear his name. May her many journeys of discovery always honor His Serene Highness through a commitment to responsible travel."
Added Silversea President and CEO, Amerigo Perasso, "It is indeed a great privilege that His Serene Highness is here with us today and is the namesake of our new ship. In keeping with his legacy of exploration and environmental conservation, it is our hope that by educating and connecting people with distant cultures and wildlife, the Prince Albert II can open eyes and foster respect and greater care for our planet and its inhabitants."
Fresh from a multimillion dollar renovation, the Prince Albert II boasts the largest average size accommodations of any expedition ship. An unmatched selection of 20 premium suites has been created especially for the discriminating traveller with 350 to 675 square feet of luxurious living space, double private French balconies or large private verandas, and additional elite amenities including butler service. All 66 ocean-view accommodations are tastefully appointed and have private marble bathrooms with bathtubs.
The Prince Albert II welcomes her first guests on June 12 as she sets sail from London on an Inaugural Season of voyages of 10 to 22 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 for autumn and winter voyages.
From mid-August to November, the Prince Albert II will journey from the east coast of North America through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles before heading south to Antarctica. Along this special repositioning route are opportunities to explore the Sea of Cortez (with an optional overnight excursion to Copper Canyon), the Chilean fjords, Falklands and South Georgia Island. Pricing starts at US$3,867, per person, double occupancy, and includes most shore excursions as well as Silversea's signature all-inclusive amenities.
For most of 2009, Prince Albert II will be positioned in Tahiti offering a series of non-traditional itineraries exploring the idyllic lagoons and coral atolls of French Polynesia, including the southernmost Austral Islands, the sprawling Tuamotu Archipelago and the northernmost Marquesas Islands. The ship will spend the balance of the year in South America and Antarctica.
Silversea is a provisional member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), dedicated to managing respectable, environmentally friendly and safe expedition cruising in the Arctic. The company has also joined the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). This important organisation promotes and practices safe and environmentally responsible travel to Antarctica. In addition, Silversea plans to voluntarily adopt and apply similar operating procedures in all other destinations where the Prince Albert II will operate.
For more information please contact Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or toll free 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit www.silversea.com
Silversea Cruises is recognised as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II in 2008, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents. Silversea has for the past four consecutive years been named Best Cruise Line by readers of Australia's Luxury Travel and Style magazine. For nine consecutive years, Silversea has been named "Number One Small Ship Line" in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine in the USA and in 2007 was the only cruise line named in the UK edition of Condé Nast Traveller's "Top 100 Luxury Travel Experiences" at the same time topping the Small Cruise Line award for the eighth time. Silversea has been selected as "World's Best Small Ship Line" in the US Travel + Leisure readers' poll for the past eight years.