This continuing blog series takes a look at the talented folks responsible for putting the “Grand” in Silver Spirit’s Grand Inaugural Voyage 2010.
Interview with Joseph Proto: “Grand Experience Director”
As Silversea's Director of Venetian Society Worldwide, Joseph “Joe” Proto is responsible for ensuring our returning guests receive the extra attention and special rewards deserving of their loyalty to Silversea.
Could you start by telling our readers more about Silversea’s Venetian Society?
When guests complete their first Silversea voyage, they become part of the Venetian Society. Membership is complimentary and opens a door to a world of exclusive members-only benefits and privileges. Our current Venetian Society is an ever-expanding group of discerning, international travellers who enjoy exploring the world in luxurious style with fellow guests who share similar interests including an appreciation for the Silversea lifestyle.
What do you think Venetian Society members will appreciate most about Silver Spirit?
Silver Spirit encompasses everything our guests already love about the current Silversea fleet, plus many additional enhancements. The all-inclusive value, full spectrum of entertainment and enrichment, gourmet dining, dedicated butler service, intimate onboard atmosphere, luxurious accommodations, and personalised service are all part of Silversea’s award-winning distinctions and will all be found on Silver Spirit. In addition, Silver Spirit will have six sublime restaurants – revolutionary for a ship its size, a world-class spa measuring 8,300 square feet, the largest suites in the Silversea fleet – 95% with private verandas, and a sophisticated 1930s Art Deco décor.
Did Venetian Society members have an opportunity to provide their input during the design process of Silver Spirit? If so, what did they want most in the new ship?
Absolutely! The comment cards completed by guests at the end of their voyage have always provided Silversea with highly valuable information. We carefully review all feedback – the praise as well as the critiques.
Also, my position allows me to communicate regularly with our guests and so I am extremely familiar with what they want and expect from their Silversea experience.
One thing everyone agrees on is that they love our Silver Suite category. As a result, Silver Spirit has 23 Silver Suites – almost double the number available on Silver Shadow and Silver Shadow. These premium suites have 742 square feet of pure luxury with an array of indulgent amenities plus a level of service found only on Silversea.
Based on comment card feedback, our guests also greatly appreciate being out on deck as much as possible. Consequently, Silver Spirit was designed with a huge amount of open and covered deck space where guests can lounge, dine, drink, exercise, and enjoy panoramic views of the sea and the ports we visit. The expansive outdoor deck space is so exhilarating, guests may never want to come inside!
Does Silver Spirit’s Grand Inaugural Voyage appeal to Venetian Society Members?
Very much so. Since the itinerary is so diverse and allows for great booking flexibility, there is a high number of members booking the entire 91-day voyage or shorter segments from nine to 70 days. Even without having experienced the ship before, our Venetian Society members trust us and are confident Silver Spirit will exceed all their expectations.
What benefits do Venetian Society members receive for booking Silver Spirit’s Grand Inaugural Voyage?
The benefits for all guests sailing 70 or more days are especially exciting. They include an onboard spending credit and 5% Extended Voyage Savings, plus we've arranged some very special complimentary onshore events. One of the most exciting of these events will be the Inaugural Overnight Celebration.
Beginning the evening before departing on the Grand Inaugural Voyage, guests will enjoy a gala dinner and overnight accommodation aboard Silver Spirit while she is docked in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The following day, guests are invited to attend a special Christening Ceremony and VIP luncheon.
New-to-Silversea guests will become Venetian Society members upon the conclusion of the first voyage segment, and will be invited to exclusive Venetian Society member parties and get-togethers throughout the cruise.
Another memorable event and the centrepiece of the Grand Inaugural Voyage is the ship's arrival in Rio de Janeiro on 14 February, at the height of Carnaval. Guests will have the chance to experience the magic of the Rio Carnaval parade from prime seats reserved for them at the Sambadrome.
What makes Grand Inaugural Voyage so enticing for well-travelled Venetian Society members?
Although many of our members have been to many of the ports-of-call on this voyage, they will be experiencing it from the perspective of a new ship aboard Silver Spirit’s Grand Inaugural Voyage. There is a sense of excitement, a kind of buzz whenever travelling on a ship during its inaugural season. I like to say it’s similar to that feeling and rush you get when you’re behind the wheel of a brand new car. Everywhere you go and whatever you see feels exciting and fresh. This feeling will be especially strong on Silver Spirit. They are going to be the first travellers to "test-drive" and experience an amazing luxury vessel, a ship unlike any other around today.
Most importantly, what will make this voyage truly unforgettable will be the fellowship of Venetian Society members from around the world. Grand Inaugural Voyage continues to attract many Venetian Society members who have travelled with Silversea throughout the past 15 years. It's going to be family reunion of sorts onboard. The voyage is also attracting a number of first-timers to Silversea. These guests will feel instantly at home as they are welcomed into the Silversea family.