Silversea cruises the open ocean of digital media

rps20150223_194113.jpgI happily accepted a lunch invite on the Silversea cruise ship, the Silver Spirit, ostensibly to gauge how such a key, upmarket cruise business is adapting to marketing in the digital age.

Ok, I confess I enjoyed the free lunch (which I am not big on) and I’ve included pics of the cuisine and menu on this post for all you foodies.

As well as the good food, there was plenty of good feedback: immediately next to me were Fairfax Radio’s Ross Stevenson, the deputy editor of the innovative printed/online publication The Saturday Paper (celebrating its first anniversary), Cindy MacDonald, and Silversea Australia general manager Karen Christensen. So there were plenty of insightful ideas to digest.

We all brought something to the table. Ross Stevenson is as witty and entertaining a lunch dining companion as he is a breakfast radio announcer at the crack of dawn.

We were encouraged to hear from Cindy MacDonald about The Saturday Paper’s buoyant print circulation figures in Melbourne and Sydney, one year on, and the recent expansion into Adelaide and Brisbane. Online subscriptions will be crucial.

But the reason for the gathering was to look at Silversea’s ship, and cruising products. Folks, we are talking about a crew-to-passenger ratio of one-to-one, and the fare price covers all food and beverages, so this is in an exclusive niche of the cruising sector.

We were told that Australia had now replaced the United Kingdom as Silversea’s second largest source of patronage, behind only the United States. That’s significant, my friends, when you consider that Silversea is entirely owned and managed by an Italian family. According to Silversea’s president for “everywhere but the US”, Steve Odell, the company’s chairman “is very hands on”. It’s a family owned and run business that spans the seven seas, in 2015… I think that’s great!

The cruises fall in either of two categories: Worldwide Voyages, and Worldwide Expeditions. There’s an expedition cruise from Darwin to Broome that explores the Kimberley, that grabbed my attention. You want to check that one out.

I will be interested to follow up with Karen Christensen about how Silversea taps into the travel digital medium, and all the evolving marketing conduits that social media freely provides to such a signature, top-shelf offering, that obviously has broken free of the restrictive moorings of exclusive magazine marketing and is now navigating the open sea of digital opportunity.

So watch this cyber space…

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