Mixed reactions as Royal Caribbean buys controlling stake in Silversea

Silversea’s passengers reacted with mixed emotions to the announcement that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has bought a US $1-billion stake in the ultra-luxury cruise line.

Long a champion of independent luxury cruise lines, Silversea will now be 67% owned by Royal Caribbean, the second-largest cruise company in the world.

It marks RCL’s first entry into the luxury segment, its other brands, Azamara Club Cruises and Celebrity Cruises are premium cruise lines.


Manfredi Lefebvre D’Ovidio, Chairman of Silversea, and Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, sign the deal for RCL to buy a controlling stake in the luxury cruise line.

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“Silversea is a crown jewel, and the acknowledged leader in luxury and expedition cruising, two key markets that are poised for growth,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Uniting our two companies presents an extraordinary opportunity to expand vacation options for guests and create revenue in strategic growth areas.”

Fain added in a press statement that Silversea’s current Chairman, Manfredi Lefebvre D’Ovidio, would remain in charge of the cruise line. Silversea Cruises has also said that all executive control of the cruise line would remain firmly in Europe.

Despite this, fans of the line expressed concern on Twitter.

Silversea Cruises has attempted to head-off any concerns of passengers by pointing out that the deal is financial only, and does not represent a full merger of the two corporations.

“RCL is a strong believer in Silversea’s mission, and values Silversea’s leadership in the luxury cruising sector,” the cruise line said via Twitter. “As such, RCL plans to retain the current team who is most familiar with how to best serve Silversea’s guests, and leverage our leading brand and reputation.”

“This new partnership gives Silversea the opportunity to accelerate the growth of the most successful luxury and expedition cruising brand in the world,” says Lefebvre, whose father founded the cruise line.

Lefebvre and Fain also confirmed that Silversea’s CEO Roberto Martinoli will continue in his role, working with the existing Silversea management team.

Silversea Cruises is nearing the end of a major fleet expansion and refurbishment program and will now be able to take advantage of significant synergies related to global market access, supply chain, purchasing power and other economies of scale through the new partnership with Royal Caribbean.

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