The 126-day experience (available only for full-cruise bookings at this point, though segments will also be available) will take place on the 28,258-ton, 382-passenger Silver Shadow. The voyage begins in Ft. Lauderdale on January 15 and winds up in New York on May 22.
While it's too soon yet to announce events (speakers, activities, unique shore excursions and the like), at this point Silversea has established a special in-house team that includes Michael Green, a wine educator; Shirley Lord, a novelist and former Vogue editor who will oversee the enrichment program; and David Monn, an event planner who will create special destination-oriented ambiences along the way by way of floral arrangements, shipboard events, etc.
The idea behind the onboard and in-port experiences, says Joe Prato, the company's newly hired world cruise director, is that the around-the-globe voyage "is a lifestyle to us. We're not just visiting these places. We're trying to provide an experience -- adventure in cultural heritage, onboard enrichment -- that's unique to each passenger."
For Silversea, which launched in 1994 and has never attempted a world cruise, timing -- and former experience of staff members -- were defining factors in making the decision. First, world cruising is definitely one of the hottest niches in travel; uniquely, both Holland America and Cunard are dedicating two ships to these three-month-plus voyages in 2007. Silversea, which like other luxury lines struggled to fill ships following the events of September 11, 2001, and which "laid off" half its fleet for a time, is now sailing all four vessels and can dedicate one to a long journey. And finally, two of the major forces behind the decision -- the company’s David Morris and Marilyn Conroy -- garnered much experience during their tenures at Cunard and Crystal, two lines that have been able to create distinctive annual voyages.
Crystal spokeswoman Mimi Weisband notes that Silversea's entry into the world cruise market "supports the fact that more and more people are interested in taking world cruises.
"There is," she adds, "a much greater interest in more far-reaching and exotic travel ... and the demographics of the world cruiser -- increasingly focusing on folks who are very active and interested in collecting experiences -- is changing."