The Prince Albert II reigns as the best expedition ship afloat. Despite her name, she - no ship can be male - is the Queen of expedition vessels. This isn't surprising as the Prince Albert II is the latest vessel added to the Silversea fleet and she provides her passengers with unrivaled Silversea excellence in an expedition setting.
The ship, the refurbished World Dicoverer II holding 132 passengers, features extremely well designed, comfortable staterooms plus bathrooms stocked with terry cloth robes and Bulgari toiletries. The restaurant, outdoor grill and room service provide superb food. Finest of all, is the uncompromising Silversea service - with each and every courteous and charming staff member addressing passengers by name within 48 hours, remembering their beverage (all are free) or stateroom preferences, and fulfilling every passenger's desire within minutes - often before they asked. All this, even with a no tipping policy.
The officers were equally gracious and Captain Roche made it his mission to welcome all passengers by mingling with them every day and generously giving each of them his time and attention. In essence, the services aboard the Prince Albert II were unsurpassed although she did lack one amenity, a manicurist - but then, who is expected to want a manicure while on expedition.
The itinerary from Acapulco to Santiago was not the most exciting from a cultural or sociological viewpoint because most ports were located in the Peruvian and Chilean desert areas. However there were excellent opportunities to visit some extraordinary archaeological sites and to study a multitude of marine birds and mammals. As with most expeditions, almost all excursions were conducted by zodiac - and it must be noted that no ABS on any vessel were better trained and skillful in assisting passengers in and out of the zodiacs with utmost safety.
There was one weakness - but it can be attributed to Silversea's first time venture into expedition travel. This was the lack of personal, hands-on research into each and every port by the expedition leaders. While a variety of superior excursions were offered, visits to some very interesting areas and events were overlooked. Fortunately, these could still be enjoyed by passengers who struck out on their own - although a local guide or on-board lecture would have greatly enhanced their experience. With regard to the lectures, briefings and debriefings - otherwise known as expedition entertainment - almost all were well presented and enlightening.
As always, with Silversea, embarkation and disembarkation was beautifully managed, along with transportation and baggage handling to and from hotels and airports. In summary, the Prince Albert II raises the bar for expedition vessels and Silversea has successfully met the highest of expectations in merging adventure with luxury travel.