The luxury cruise market is projected to carry over one million guests this year.
New players and new ships are contributing to the growth in the sector. The 2023 Luxury Cruise Market Report by Cruise Industry News, reported earlier this year, there will be one and a half million luxury cruisers by 2030.
Just in the last month, two luxury lines launched their new ships – one designed for the expedition space while the other, for smaller, rarely-visited ports.
Seabourn’s Seabourn Pursuit is a PC6 Polar Class ship that is designed to visit remote places like Antarctica. Silversea’s Silver Nova, the 11th ship from the line, will visit Australia and New Zealand this coming wave season.
Here, Cruise Passenger breaks down the core differences in their sailing experience, where they’re sailing to and gets some extra input from the cruise experts.
The expert take
Sharon Summerhayes, owner of Deluxe Travel & Cruise, says despite the similarities, they are two contrasting ships.
“They are very different ships, even though they both appeal to the ultra-luxury market,” she said.
“Seabourn Pursuit is a small ship, purpose-built for ultra-luxury expedition cruising, including 2 submarines, whereas Silver Nova is a medium-sized ship focused on luxury ocean cruising.”
Summerhayes says it depends on what experience you’re after.
“Even on non-expedition itineraries, at 264 passengers, Seabourn Pursuit will be suited for those who prefer a more intimate experience and the ability to dock in smaller ports.
“Silver Nova at 728 passengers, will suit those who prefer ultra-luxury on a bigger ship with more variety of restaurants and entertainment.
Michelle Levins, director of My Cruise Concierge, also says it’s dependent on your destination.
“Silver Nova is part of Silversea’s classic fleet, offering included shore excursions in every port, exceptional service, fine dining and luxury inclusions,” she said.
“Seabourn Pursuit is the newest ship to join Seabourn and is an Expedition ship, purpose-built for polar standards and other diverse environments.
“The exceptional Seabourn service, dining, and luxurious spaces are still ever present on their expedition ships. These ships are both very different, so it would depend on what the client would like to experience… Which one would I go on? The answer is both!”
Silver Nova is the first Nova-class ship for Silversea. It immediately stands out as having the highest space-to-guest ratio of any Silversea ship, with 728 guests onboard. There are 13 suite categories, all with personal butlers and private verandas.
Categories begin with classic veranda suites, with medallion suites for those who want a taste of extra luxury. Suites then increase in size and amenities until the Otium Suite. This 123-square-metre room includes floor-to-ceiling windows, a 40-square-metre balcony and a private whirlpool.
Silver Nova has eight signature restaurants. The largest is La Terrazza, with 340 spaces, both outdoor and indoor. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a side of ocean views with floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the venue.
La Dame will offer signature French cuisine, hosting an intimate 70 guests. However, plenty of other flavours are also available. Guests can enjoy Asian fusion in Kaiseki, al fresco Italian at The Marquee and locally-inspired dining for all regions at SALT Kitchen.
Spaces and experience
Also significant to Silver Nova is its newly designed layout, with an emphasis on expansive public spaces. For example, the Venetian Lounge provide 550 square metres of space, with live music, performance, film screenings and more filtering in and out. For more intimate sophistication, the Dolce Vita Lounge offers relaxed drinks and enrichment activities during the day, becoming a piano bar by night.
Other enticing areas include the Observation Lounge, featuring 270-degree views of the deck, the premium cigars of Connoisseur’s Corner and the brand new The Shelter, a small-striking bar.
Seabourn Pursuit may be padded out in luxury, but its primary purpose is to explore. The ship is built to PC6 Polar Class standards. Onboard you’ll find two custom-built submarines, 24 Zodiacs, kayaks and a 24-person expedition team.
The ship takes in just 264 passengers, however, there’s still much variety in suite categories. There are a total of 12, all with private ocean-view verandas, living areas, smart TVs, marble bathrooms with full tubs and more. The rooms also have heated jacket wardrobes where guests place their complimentary expedition gear.
Categories range from veranda suites and veranda spa suites, right up to the gigantic signature suites. These luxurious lofts have dining facilities, pantries, canopied whirlpool spa tubs on their veranda and every luxury amenity you could imagine.
There are five main restaurants on Seabourn Pursuit. The main venue is The Restaurant, covering all meals. Here, there will be two new recipes every week, keeping offerings fresh and innovative. The Colonnade offers a more casual buffet and Earth and Ocean showcases different dishes from around the world.
The Patio offers a casual alfresco dining option and Sushi in the Club offers fresh sushi bites each evening. Other smaller eateries are scattered across the ship as well as in-suite dining 24 hours a day.
Spaces and experience
There will also be plenty of spots to relax in the day or grab a drink in the night. The Bow Lounge offers access to expedition equipment like touchscreens and navigational charts, as well as prime real estate for wildlife spotting.
The Club offers drinks, food and live music, while The Sky Bar offers a spot for sipping your drink in a whirlpool on the deck.
The Discovery Centre is the key expedition area, where special guests will provide talks and briefings each day. The centre then becomes a music and entertainment venue at night.
Both these ships started out sailing in the Mediterranean. They both have a range of exciting sailings planned, before coming to our very own shores. Here are some of the best ways to catch them, both near home and along the way.
14-day Wild Guianas to The Amazon Basin – from $17,054 per person – departing October 10, 2024
This sailing from Barbados to Brazil offers the perfect cross-section of Seabourn exploration. Rare ports will be visited with wildlife and adventure at the centre of all activities.
38-day Easter Island, Chilean Fjords & Antarctic – from $48,599 per person, departing September 27, 2024
Seabourn Pursuit won’t waste much time before starting on absolutely epic itineraries like this one. In over a month guests will tick off endless amazing sights, including five days in the Antarctic.
10-day Kimberley Expedition: Waterfalls & Wandjinas – from $14,579 per person – departing August 1, 2024
For something a little closer to home, Seabourn Pursuit will be sailing in the Kimberley. Guests can see Australia’s most rugged region in Seabourn luxury.
For more information on Seabourn Pursuit click here.
Nine-day Barcelona to Lisbon – from $10,600 per person – departing October 7, 2024
To catch Silver Nova at the tail end of her inaugural European season, you can hop on this European cruise. Guests will visit Spain, Morocco, France and Portugal with Silversea’s door-to-door luxury.
20-day Lima to Buenos Aires – from $22,850 door-to-door or $15,650 port-to-port – departing January 16, 2024
This itinerary offers a luxurious adventure through South America. Guests will explore Peru, Chile and Argentina in-depth.
16-day Sydney to Aucklund – from $16,800 door-to-door or $11,750 port-to-port – departing December 4, 2024
To cruise on Silver Nova close to home, you can take your pick of local itineraries. This one offers a classic exploration of New Zealand, with a few sea days to enjoy the luxurious vessel.