Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Another Shake-Up at Silversea Cruises: Ellen Bettridge Resigns and Moves to Unique Vacations-Sandals

The revolving door at Silversea continues.


Ellen Bettridge spent less than two years as Silversea Cruises' President of the Americas and has now, reportedly by her own decision, departed to become president of Unique Vacations, the US distributor of Sandals Resorts in the Americas.

Taking over as General Manager (curious position?) is Kristian Anderson who was brought in with Ellen as Vice President of Sales.  He will also improve his position becoming Senior Vice President of Sales in what I guess would be considered a dual role.

Silversea has had quite a bumpy road of late and "stability" does not seem to be a word associated with this cruise brand...troublesome for a luxury cruise line.  Personally, every time I seem to forge a relationship that seems to be worth developing and trusting, there is a shake-up.  That, to me, means one thing...and one thing only:  Silversea's ownership is not allowing those that know the business to actually run the business.

It is no secret that Silversea has been suffering from soft sales of late.  While it might have seemed curious that with slow sales and lower yields, it has made a strong move into the expedition cruising market with its expansion from the single ship Silver Explorer into the Galapagos and then with the purchase of the Discoverer, to me it makes perfect sense.

While I have absolutely no idea if Ellen or Kristian had anything to do with the plan, I would bet my bottom dollar that Silversea figured it could (and did) pick up two expedition ships dirt cheap (there is a very small market for them), fix them up and be able to charge a higher per day rate on relatively high demand expedition ships to prop up Silversea's sagging classic fleet sales and yields.  (I have said this to quite a few people in the past and nobody seems to be overtly disagreeing with me after they hear my theory.)

So what does all of this mean for the future of Silversea?  Honestly, I don't think it will mean much at all. 

That is not an insult to Ellen Bettridge or Kristian Anderson.  It is simply because until Silversea's ownership lets the people that actually know what they are doing do their job there will be a continuing revolving door and a suffering not only of Silversea's profitability, but the quality of the product it delivers to the luxury market.