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Scoop: Twenty years ago, in 1994, the Italian Lefebvre family launched this cruise line that serves the ultraluxury market. For its upscale cruises throughout the world, the company operates a fleet of five small, intimate vessels offering large-ship amenities and two small expedition ships. Given the seven boats' compact sizes (the smallest carries just 100 passengers; the largest, 540), they can visit more exotic ports off the beaten path, further enhancing the Silversea experience. Cruise fans have taken note: The readers of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure have voted it the best small-ship cruise line multiple times.
What's new: In June 2012, the company bought Canodros S.A., the Ecuadorian tourism company that operates in the Galápagos Islands, and its upmarket expedition ship, Galápagos Explorer II. Silversea did a major refurbishment of the 50-suite vessel, renamed it the Silver Galapagos, and just recently launched seven-day luxury cruises in this rich marine preserve in the Pacific off Ecuador's western coast.
Deal: 5 percent discount on cruise rates, a $200 shipboard credit, and other perks, such as a dinner invitation at a senior officer's table.