Luxury cruise line Silversea is breaking new ground by being the first cruise line to cruise to Bangladesh’s Sundarbans, Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is the largest single block of mangrove forest in the world, says Silversea’s director of Expeditions Planning, Conrad Combrink.
“It is also home to about 400 endangered Bengal tigers. There is a small chance our guests may be able to spot the tigers when they are on the zodiacs visiting the mangrove swamps. But we do not want to over-promise and under-deliver’’
Silversea Discoverer will embark on its first Bangladesh voyage, which is almost sold out, in February next year. The 16-day expedition will also take in Sri Lanka, the Andaman Islands and India including a post-cruise, fully escorted land expedition to Bhutan or a pre-cruise discovery of Nepal. Fares start from $19,350 per person.
Expedition cruises to the Antarctica and Arctic are also a growing emerging market among Asians especially those from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. “Interest for expedition cruises has grown exponentially from these three markets although it is not a big attraction for travellers from Singapore and Malaysia. “Traditionally, Singapore with its cruise facilities is more of a destination rather than a source market for our expedition voyages.”
Expeditions to the Russian Far East and the polar regions continue to remain the big trends for 2017. “While other companies are offering gimmicks like helicopters and submarines, Silversea would never consider them as we pride ourselves in offering immersive expeditions to our clients who are well travelled, inquisitive and well educated, 60-plus retirees who are primarily interested in the destinations,’’ Mr Combrink says.
Silversea has four expedition ships from its portfolio of eight. They are Silver Explorer, Galapagos, Discoverer and Cloud.
The luxury line will add Silver Muse to its fleet next year.