By Dominic Bencivenga, Chief Sales Officer, Worldwide Travel
We recently had a conversation with Mark Conroy, Silversea Cruise Line’s Managing Director for the Americas. Mark is responsible for leading reservations, guest relations, sales, and marketing activities in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. Mark is also one of our original Travel Advisory Board Members as well as an Active International business partner for over 20 years.
Here are some of Mark’s insights into the current state of the Cruise Industry and Silversea’s outlook:
“The industry has faced unprecedented challenges as a result of Covid-19 and has had to improvise with agility and flexibility. From a logistics- perspective, we have helped thousands of guests and crew members return safely home as the world borders were closing; we have had to get our ships to safe harbors and assure they be maintained in warm layups, so they would be approved to sail again when back in service; and, we have processed thousands of cancellations and multiple trip-reschedules while working remotely and with a significantly reduced staff. From a financial perspective, we have refunded millions of dollars of advanced deposits, resulting in major revenue hits, debt increases and, the need to raise substantial capital to survive without operating.”
“As for good news, Silversea is now part of the Royal Caribbean Group, a very stable and profitable entity thus far. As such, we have been able to raise funds from lenders and investors to get us through this rough period. I believe we will recover and be ready to come out of this stronger than ever.”
“Cruising has and will continue to be the safest vacation you can take, in my opinion. When the vaccine is readily available, and our entire crews are immunized, we will have the much-needed flexibility operationally to prevail. The Cruise industry has had a long relationship with the CDC and WHO. We are the only segment of the hospitality industry to be regularly inspected by them, as well as a variety of national and international health regulators in the countries we visit. This will help us reinforce the safety of our cruises moving forward.”
“Of course, to get back on track to a full recovery, three things need to happen:
- Borders need to open to both visitors and ships;
- An alternative plan of action among ports and governments about how to deal with on-board COVID cases that will not include quarantining the entire ship needs to be established; and,
- A program for effective on-going testing for crew and passengers needs to be developed.”
Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines have put together a Healthy Sail Panel of experts who have recommended 74 detailed steps to safeguard the health of guests, crew and, communities. Click here for details
About Mark Conroy
Mark Conroy is Silversea’s Managing Director for the Americas. With over 40 years’ experience in the travel and hospitality industry, Mark has earned a renowned reputation for his achievements in a number of senior positions in the luxury travel sector. He also served as chairman of the Executive Committee of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) from 2002 to 2004 and in 2013 was inducted into CLIA’s Cruise Industry Hall of Fame.
Since taking his position at Silversea in February 2016, Mark Conroy has been hard at work filling up the line’s fleet of ultra-luxury ships: Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit, Silver Muse; Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, and Silver Cloud. Plus, those launching in 2020 – Silver Origin and Silver Moon; in 2021 – Silver Dawn; and from 2022 – two Evolution-class ships.
Managing Director for the Americas
Silverseas Cruise Lines