Silversea to launch third expedition ship

expedition next year, taking?its total fleet to eight ships.

The luxury operator's new ship, Silver Discoverer, will sail in Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Russian Far East, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand from March 2014.

The ship joins Silver Explorer and Silver Galapagos which is set to launch in three weeks.

The ship was previously Clipper Odyssey which has now been taken out of service ahead of a major refit at an Asian shipyard.

Conrad Combrink, director of expedition cruises, said: "A lot of people see us as a luxury cruise line that offers expeditions, but that isn't the case - we are now one of the leaders in expedition cruises.

"We want?people to understand that we are an expedition cruise line that offers luxury -? why shouldn't our customers experience luxury while exploring some of the most stunning parts of the world?

"The past few months have been about training our internal staff so they can take bookings from today and have all the information they need about the destinations and what we are offering."

He said the ship would benefit from a fleet of 12 zodiacs as well as a glass bottom boat which will be used for all-inclusive scuba diving and snorkelling trips.

Mike Bonner, general manager for the UK and Ireland, said: "We have a sales team who will be going up and down the country to give agents all the information they need and we also have very good training modules online through our online academy and there will be a new module on there for agents to learn all about Discoverer.

"We are going out there and telling agents to be aware that the people wanting this type of holiday aren't their normal cruise customers, these people don't like to consider themselves cruisers - they are more adventurers or travellers.

"Typically the crossover between our cruise customers and expedition customers is just 5%. This is very exciting and the fact it's happening on our 20th anniversary is great.

"There is always a possibility of further expansions but for us it isn't about saying we will launch this amount of ships in a set time. We will wait until the right ship and the right opportunity comes up.

"We are likely to add another ship to our classic fleet in the future."

Enzo Visone, chief executive of Silversea, said: "It's fitting that, in our 20th anniversary year, our newest ship will continue the Silversea tradition of reaching some of the most remote areas of the world.

"Silver Discoverer will bring our guess even closer to dramatic landscapes, historic locations, and ecologically important destinations - all in the comfort of one of the finest expedition ships operating today with all the trappings that our guests have come to expect of Silve