Silversea Cruises was awarded the sustainability award at the 2020 Seatrade Cruise Awards, which took place virtually on 6 October.
Silversea’s project, the Silversea Fund for the Galapagos, was chosen amongst two other finalists, Nordic cruise operator Hurtigruten’s hybrid-electric expedition ships and Marseille Provence Cruise Club’s Blue Charter initiative.
“Silversea Cruises launched a dedicated fund that will preserve the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands,” said organisers. “The fund will strengthen the balance between humans and nature in the archipelago by financing projects related to local youth empowerment, education and training, science technology and conservation.”
Judges rewarded Silversea because it “put sustainability, both socially and environmentally, at the forefront of its business.”
Who is Silversea?
Headquartered in Monaco, Silversea Cruises is a luxury cruise company owned by the Royal Caribbean Group.
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The company, which was initially founded in the early 1990s, expanded from a level 4 vessel company to a level 9, which will turn soon into a level 11.
With the 2008 introduction of the Silver Explorer model, the company debuted its luxury expedition cruising programme, which aims to combine more adventurous destinations with the highest standards of luxury.
The Galapagos Islands are not the only adventurous destination in the programme. Expeditions ships sail also to Oceania, Southeast Asia, South America and West Africa.
What is the Silversea Fund for the Galapagos?
Set up in October 2019, the Silversea Fund for the Galapagos is dedicated to supporting a selection of projects each year, ranging from youth empowerment to technology and education.
The fund was established by Silversea alongside Galapagos Conservancy, a US-based organisation focused on protecting the archipelago’s ecosystem and biological integrity.
“The Silversea Fund will help to protect the natural environment, as well as the fauna that inhabits the archipelago, for generations to come,” commented Galapagos Conservancy president Johannah Barry.
“The Silversea Fund for the Galapagos is a natural extension of our belief that sustainable tourism can open eyes and foster respect for our planet, particularly for such unique and diverse destinations as the Galapagos,” added Silversea Ecuador VP Fernando Delgado.
“We will use education as a means to sustain the long-term conservation of the environment, leveraging on our strong relationships with the region’s local people.
“We are honoured to have Galapagos Conservancy as our administrative partner for this initiative, and we know our guests will be excited to help protect the island’s natural treasures by supporting the fund.”
In addition to helping conservational efforts in the area, passengers donating to the fund will also save on future Silversea voyages, as the company will match contribution from guests in the form of future cruise credit.
The fund is not the only project Silversea has collaborated on with Galapagos Conservancy. The company has already been contributing to the Floreana Island Ecological Restoration Project, which aims at restoring the island’s ecosystems and species while addressing community social issues and aspirations.
As part of its commitment to sustainability, Silversea has replaced its Silver Galapagos ship with Silver Origin, which was launched this summer.
The new vessel has a more ecological approach to cruising, as it is endowed with a new positioning system that prevents the anchor from causing damages when the ship is berthed in seabed ecosystems.
Silver Origin will also rely on a purification system that converts seawater into drinking water, effectively reducing the use of plastic.
What was the reaction?
“We are thrilled to be recognized by Seatrade’s distinguished panel of judges for our contributions to such an important region,” commented Silversea chief marketing officer Barbara Muckermann.
“This award affirms our commitment to the long-term conservation of the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands, which reflects our approach in all destinations.”
The industry reacted positively to Silversea’s win. Award host Seatrade Cruise took to Twitter to congratulate the company, while cruise industry reviewer Cruise Smart described the win as “well deserved.”
Congratulations to our Sustainability Award (sponsored by Cruise Baltic) winner @Silversea for The Silversea Fund for the Galapagos! #STCAwards #CelebratingSuccess #STCVirtual pic.twitter.com/PeCBEBibYu
— Seatrade Cruise (@SeatradeCruise) October 6, 2020