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The Skift New Luxury newsletter is our weekly newsletter focused on the business of selling luxury travel, the people and companies creating and selling experiences, emerging trends, and the changing consumer habits around the sector.
Given the fact that Royal Caribbean didn’t have a true luxury offering, last week’s announcement that it was buying a majority stake in Silversea Cruises shouldn’t come as a complete surprise.
What’s interesting about the move is not that it was the last of the big three to get into the luxury sector but that in the words of Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor at large at the industry news and review site Cruise Critic, “it’s the first of the big three to get to expedition.”
Previously this segment had been seen as more of a specialty for smaller lines. Not anymore. And with Royal Caribbean bagging Silversea, might Carnival or Norwegian decide to enter the market as well?
One company that might interest them is Ponant, which is currently making a big push outside its European comfort zone in North America.
As Edie Rodriguez, the former Crystal Cruises CEO who joined Ponant last October, said: “What river cruising has experienced in the past 10 years … that’s what will soon be happening in the luxury expedition sector.”
— Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor
5 Looks at Luxury
Royal Caribbean Is Buying a $1 Billion Stake in Silversea to Boost Its Luxury Offerings: Buying Silversea will certainly improve Royal Caribbean’s offering in the luxury and expedition sectors. Will it be happy as a majority shareholder, as it says now, or will it eventually want complete control?
Ponant’s North American Push Highlights Growth in Expedition Cruising: With luxury travelers getting more adventurous it is not a surprise to see expedition cruising growing in popularity. French company Ponant is making a big push in North America, something that is likely going to benefit the sector as a whole.
Viceroy Hotels Is Using Smartwatches to Be More Hospitable: Personally — while Virgin Atlantic may disagree with us — wearing a smartwatch is preferable to donning a Google Glass, and we have a feeling hotel staff members would agree, too.
High-End Airport Lounges Are Evolving to Fight Jet Lag as Flights Get Longer: New airport lounges are emerging with spa elements and wellness options for business- and first-class passengers. The average flyer or business traveler, though, will still have to use the same old overcrowded lounges they’re used to.
Austrian Ski Destination Turned Film Location Is Getting an Immersive James Bond Museum: Being “closer to a movie than to a traditional museum” is a minimum requirement these days, especially given the cost of building even a small set of galleries. Mere art on the wall doesn’t cut it anymore.