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It's probably good news that the first move Royal Caribbean made after closing its majority stake in Silversea was announcing improvements to its fleet. We'll be curious to see what those upgrades include — and how the experience changes for passengers.

Royal Caribbean Cruises announced Tuesday that its new luxury addition will get some sprucing up.

Under a multi-year plan dubbed “Project Invictus,” Silversea Cruises’ nine-ship fleet will undergo a series of upgrades.

Royal Caribbean, which announced plans in June to pay $1 billion for a 66.6 percent stake in the small luxury line, did not detail the enhancements or say how much it will spend. The program will include both onboard tweaks and major ship overhauls.

“Our intent is to solidify our already strong leadership position with an exciting array of upgrades that thrill our guests,” Silversea CEO Roberto Martinoli said in a press release.

The first change will involve an improved “champagne and caviar offering” on Silver Muse, the line’s newest ship, in mid-August.

“Immediately thereafter, these and other enhancements will be implemented fleet wide, impacting a wide variety of onboard features and strengthening Silversea’s reputation for indulgent, luxurious embellishments,” the company said in its announcement.

A renovation of the 17-year-old Silver Whisper in December will be more in-depth than planned, with partial refits of all staterooms. Silver Wind will get its own enhanced upgrades in December, and Silver Shadow will follow. The company said the changes are part of a plan to include popular features from Silver Muse on ships across the fleet.

The news came as Royal Caribbean announced that it had completed the acquisition of its stake in Silversea following final regulatory approval.

“We are proud to officially welcome Silversea’s industry-leading team to the RCL family,” Royal Caribbean Cruises CEO Richard Fain said in the announcement. “This is a dynamite combination.”

The deal valued Silversea at $2 billion; Executive Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio will hold a 33.3 percent stake and stay in his role.

“We’re excited to join the Royal Caribbean family and ready to begin this next chapter as part of an industry leader that is uniquely qualified to support Silversea’s future growth,” Lefebvre said in a statement. “This partnership enables us to realize our vision of being the uncontested leader in ultra-luxury cruising and expedition, taking our guests to more than 1,000 destinations aboard some of the world’s most luxurious vessels.”

Royal Caribbean is the world’s second-largest cruise company but had no pure luxury line like its largest competitors. The operator also wanted to get into the growing market for expedition cruises, which Silversea offers. For its part, Silversea wanted a partner with deep pockets to invest in the line’s growth.

At the time the deal was announced, industry observers said Royal Caribbean’s cash flow could be just the ticket for Silversea, which was already in a bit of transition.

Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor at Large at the industry news and review site Cruise Critic, said in June that new management was already making a big change before the deal.

“It’s really old-school luxury,” she said. “But what the new management is doing is putting a contemporary twist on the old-school luxury — putting more flavors, more vibrancy, less formality, less stuffiness.”

Spencer Brown said Royal Caribbean’s new position could only be a positive.

“Royal has a track record of investing in its brands,” she said.


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Tags: luxury, royal caribbean, silversea

Photo credit: Silver Muse, a ship from Silversea that launched in 2017, is pictured. Majority owner Royal Caribbean announced Tuesday that it will Gary Bembridge / Gary Bembridge, Flickr

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