14 Silversea Silver Galapagos Cruise Reviews

We just returned from the magnificent cruise around the western islands of the Galapagos with Silverseas. The voyage is as amazing and wonderful as most reviews have said here. Actually, we both read a great many of the reviews on this ... Read More
We just returned from the magnificent cruise around the western islands of the Galapagos with Silverseas. The voyage is as amazing and wonderful as most reviews have said here. Actually, we both read a great many of the reviews on this website and we were well prepared for the cruise (and yes, we saw in advance the BBC documentary Islands that Changed the World). Even so, our expectations for the Silver Galapagos were significantly exceeded and we cannot recommend this cruise highly enough. Apart from the islands themselves, a great strength of this cruise is the staff of the Silver Galapagos. All are from Ecuador and many are from the Galapagos themselves (especially the guides). There is an esprit de corps among the staff that is like family, along with a great pride in the islands. It is a real joy to spend time with them for the week. An additional strength, as several review here have said, is the seamless integration for logistics (much of that provided on land by Abercrombie and Kent). From plane to hotel to airline to boat and back, everything works like clockwork. If you have been on many cruises, you know this outcome is an exception, not the rule. The outings are well designed and even better executed. We were never disappointed. Take everything they offer is our advice. We are in our mid-sixties and found everything feasible. When Silverseas says “challenging”, they mean that most of the participants will do well and a handful will lag behind. Yes, it is hot sometimes, especially without cloud cover. And yes, there are currents and waves in the open ocean for kayaking and snorkeling. Take the advice of the staff seriously, but based on that advice go for it. And yes, do bring the clothing suggested by Silverseas for the week. As many have said here, a major weakness onboard is the food. We reject the frequent argument in these reviews that hiring restrictions (only Ecuadorians) accounts for this problem. We ate at the amazing restaurant Zazu in Quito and were blown away by the excellent food there. OK, perhaps the head chef at Zazu is Peruvian, but everyone else there seems Ecuadorian. Also, we acknowledge the problem of provisioning – we started at San Cristobal and it was days before we came close to another port that would allow onboarding fresh food. The first day at lunch, we had grilled octopus that was the best we had ever eaten anywhere in the world. Three days later, the same dish at the Grill was tough and barely edible. The real issue seems to be the chefs and the management at Silverseas that tolerates and enables them. There are two problems. First, the chefs are not worldly or sophisticated. The phrase “Galapagos effect” in economics and business strategy refers to very sheltered agents that are not subject to selection effects outside their narrow home environment. Some of the dishes the head chef makes are amazing (like every one of his ceviches) and some are truly awful (like the salad of tomato, crabmeat, and blue cheese dressing we were served one evening). In any sophisticated environment, the latter dish would be promptly pulled. Silverseas apparently provides minimal feedback and direction for the very promising head chef, and he suffers as a consequence. Second, the chef is way too pleased with traditional Ecuadorian peasant food. May I be clear that the problem is traditional food, not any origin in Ecuador. I am from the Old South in the USA, where vegetables were cooked beyond any nutritional value, where items were fried to a crisp or smothered in gravies, where no spices were ever used, all modernized with the occasional molded Jell-O salad. Ugh. The traditional cazuela we were served onboard the Silver Galapagos was mostly tasteless and uninteresting. In contrast, the modern fish cazuela we had for lunch at Zazu in Quito was wonderful and impressive. As several have said here, Silverseas plays the “expedition card” way too frequently to justify its weak management and execution for food services. The one significant complaint I have for this cruise is apparently a rare problem: the snorkeling masks offered by Silverseas are not that well maintained. The first mask I was given leaked at the sides, though the problem was small enough that I completed the outing with only irritated eyes as an issue. The replacement mask I was given flooded at the mouthpiece and was completely unusable. I found three other guests who suffered the first problem (out of the 24 to 30 guests on three snorkeling outings for me), and only one other guest who suffered the second problem. Fortunately for her, her mouthpiece flooded at the initial outing at a beach; she swam onshore and an English-speaking guide pulled a pebble out of the mouthpiece for her. My mouthpiece flooded in the open ocean, and the driver on the Zodiac spoke not a word of English and had no idea what to do in my case. I later found out that most but not all Zodiacs have replacement masks onboard, so Silverseas expects these problems. However, Silverseas does not inform guests of the replacements and (at least in one case) does not train drivers for replacement. If you do the math, you can see these problems are not frequent. Nonetheless, I would strongly encourage you to bring your own mask – though Silverseas can be a bit prissy over use of your own mask; one guest brought a bright yellow snorkeling mask and was prohibited from using it. Overall this is an impressive and wonderful cruise. A little preparation in advance on your part will add to this awesome experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Ok, I could only give 4 stars...because of the unrefurbished ship. But otherwise, all was perfect. Silversea will get a new ship in 2020, so if having clean, comfortable, but not shiny new accommodations will bother you, wait a year. ... Read More
Ok, I could only give 4 stars...because of the unrefurbished ship. But otherwise, all was perfect. Silversea will get a new ship in 2020, so if having clean, comfortable, but not shiny new accommodations will bother you, wait a year. You will not be disappointed with the organization of the expeditions and the care taken to ensure safety. Plus, the food is excellent even though the Galapgos has significant restrictions on food import (true for all cruises there). The Grill Restaurant was particularly fun at lunch with a keyboardist providing upbeat music. Overall, I'm glad we went when we did as the ship was just fine and really didn't detract from the main event of seeing the islands. The stay in Quito was a bonus. We self-guided ourselves through the old city and then took a taxi to Cafe Mosaico for the views and refreshments. The hotel provided was good. The day room in Guayaquil was excellent. Unfortunately we had a downpour and couldn't enjoy the city. Still, silversea made sure we were more then comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We selected this trip with expectations of seeing wildlife that we'd never seen before and weren't disappointed. The 8 naturalists aboard were all top notch and provided excellent commentary on each of the shore excursions. The ... Read More
We selected this trip with expectations of seeing wildlife that we'd never seen before and weren't disappointed. The 8 naturalists aboard were all top notch and provided excellent commentary on each of the shore excursions. The excursion logistics were handled smoothly and efficiently. The 100-passenger limit and very limited public space on the ship lets you know there won't be a lot going on in the evenings, but the lone musician was versatile and accomplished from sonatas on the piano in the afternoon to macarena during lunch at the grill. It is an excursion cruise not a regular cruise. We had not counted on the number of young children on board. The parents apparently thought because they were on vacation it was someone else's responsibility to supervise their kids, who ran wild all over the small ship. One afternoon during happy hour a group of the children commandeered the bar lounge for a birthday party. We couldn't even find solace for drink and conversation outside because they ran rampant squealing and shrieking and bouncing balloons outside along the rails. While the food was generally very good -- a high concentration of excellent shrimp, octopus, calamari, and various fish presented in a number of differernt ways as well as local Ecuadorian dishes -- the wines were disappointing, especially given the high quality of wines now available from nearby Argentina and Chile. Little thought appeared to be given to pairing a particular wine with the food, and the quality was lacking overall. Some of the waiters' knowledge of the wines offered extended to no more than white or red. No one on the wait staff identified himself (an all male crew) as a sommelier. One night's feature of Italian wines was the only bright spot. The wait staff during lunch at the grill was consistently short-handed and unable to deal with the number of guests. All the wait staff, however, demonstrated an eagerness to please. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We started this trip in Guayaquil where a Silversea representative waited for us at the airport and took us to Oro Verde Hotel (very good, very close to the city main attraction (malecon)) a day before the embarkation. From Guayaquil we ... Read More
We started this trip in Guayaquil where a Silversea representative waited for us at the airport and took us to Oro Verde Hotel (very good, very close to the city main attraction (malecon)) a day before the embarkation. From Guayaquil we flew with Latam to San Cristobal (1h and 25min). As a lot of flights arrived at same time, immigration took almost one hour. From airport was a 5 minutes bus ride to the pier where we got the zodiac to the ship with our carry-on. Soon after our luggage arrived at our cabin which was a veranda suite. We loved that we got it as we spend a lot of time in the Veranda while sailing from one spot to other as well as we could dry our clothes and shoes easily. There are plenty of open air space in the ship that you can rest between meals and landings. There are also in-door space like piano bar and library should you want to be in the air conditioning. July is the dry season and temperature was really good. Food was great at all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We had breakfast every day at the Restaurant as well as dinner except for one evening that we tried the Grill where we had all our lunches. Lunch was superb at the Grill, but dinner at the lava rock was a disappointing, we never got back. Some disappointing issues: shower has half door which makes bathroom wet everywhere. Bathroom is really small. Disembarkation was not very good. In the night before some items from our cabin were changed to the new guest to come in the following day, which confused us. On Saturday morning we had to leave our cabin at 7:30, but transfer to the airport was at 9:30, so we stayed at the piano bar for 2 hours waiting. Silversea provided exhibition of some films during this period, but in the end, the toilets were miserable with a 100 guests using it during 2 hours. We were transferred to the airport and our flight was schedule for about 1 PM. A long waiting time. I noticed that guests from Celebrity had a meal waiting for them at the airport. Great trip! We loved it and strongly recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Our interest in the galapagos habitat was the first priority; staff was excellent; guides were superior Silversea was very organized and on top of everything. They were very responsive to our every question and request all in all a ... Read More
Our interest in the galapagos habitat was the first priority; staff was excellent; guides were superior Silversea was very organized and on top of everything. They were very responsive to our every question and request all in all a unique, special and great experience food was satisfactory; with everything included the shipboard experience was easy highly recommended we were extremely satisfied with all aspects of the cruise you must be prepared to be very active most of the time; due to closeness to the equator be prepared for early morning and late afternoon activities snorkeling was more strenous than expected but very gratifyng; staff was very supportive to help with acclimating to the snorkeling experience hikes were often in an arid environment and mangroves can have many insects so you must be prepared the zodiac experience was very well supervised with safety in mind at all times viewing wildlife from the zodiacs was a rewarding part of the trip we were glad we experienced the galapagos which is a very special place Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We had a great time on our cruise. The guides were exceptional - we saw an incredible amount of wildlife and learned so much about the animals and birds. We saw mating rituals, chicks - everything. This is a very active cruise and the ... Read More
We had a great time on our cruise. The guides were exceptional - we saw an incredible amount of wildlife and learned so much about the animals and birds. We saw mating rituals, chicks - everything. This is a very active cruise and the twice daily hikes involved lots of climbing rock "steps" and travel over uneven rocks and lava fields - expect early mornings and long afternoons. Our cabin butler was excellent - our refrigerator was always stocked the way we requested. Lunch on the grill was our favorite meal and always featured fresh grilled fish and a tasty Ecuadorian dish. Yes, the ship is a little tired, but everything was fine and in good working order. I understand that the ship is going to dry dock in September for refurbishing. I would have given this cruise 5 stars except for the sub-par domestic air service between Quito and the Islands. It was our understanding that the air service was a charter for Silversea; however, that was not the case and we stopped in Guayaquil both ways and picked up/dropped off passengers. Our LATAM flight to Baltra was delayed for over 2 hours, but at least the airport in Quito is modern and air-conditioned. The LATAM flight back from San Cristobal was far worse. We arrived at the airport around 8:30 a.m. for an 11:15 flight that didn't actually depart until around 4:00. Unfortunately the San Cristobal airport IS NOT air-conditioned, doesn't have fans or wi-fi, and food is limited. We were stranded there for so long that Silversea actually brought sandwiches and drinks from the ship so we could have lunch. We never received a consistent explanation for the delays. If we had known we would be there for 7 hours, we would have walked into town which would have been preferable to doing nothing. Luckily the ship guides stayed with us the entire time and did their best to keep us informed as to what was going on. When we finally got on the plane, my husband and I were seated in middle seats in different rows - unbelievable! It was a miserable ending to our otherwise fabulous trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We had a full day in Quito prior to our flight to Baltra, and we wished we had added another day or two to explore the city. The Silversea agents were all very friendly, organized, and thorough, and we enjoyed the city tour that was ... Read More
We had a full day in Quito prior to our flight to Baltra, and we wished we had added another day or two to explore the city. The Silversea agents were all very friendly, organized, and thorough, and we enjoyed the city tour that was included in our itinerary. The cruise itself was excellent. The food was delicious and it was fun to try the daily specials of Ecuadorian specialties. And the all-inclusive nature of this cruise made it simple -- no bar tabs, no tips, no shore excursions to pay for. We loved that! Most of the naturalists onboard, who led the shore excursions, were very knowledgeable and seemed to enjoy explaining what we were seeing. There were just a couple who didn't seem quite as experienced. The reason I didn't give this cruise an excellent rating: Our only complaint about this cruise was the Silversea air travel department, which was abominable. They provided us an acceptable air itinerary several months prior to the cruise, and then changed it a month later (to a much worse schedule) without even notifying us -- I only found out when I logged into my airline account to look at seat assignments. When our travel agent tried to discuss it with them, they simply refused to do anything and insisted that we would have to PAY to change it back. I tried emailing their customer service, as well as the president of the company, and never received a response. If you take a Silversea cruise, don't let them book your travel! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Our cruise was the "Western Itinerary" (Voyage 8618). Let me start by praising the expedition team and their leader. We rated them a "10" in every respect. Very knowledgeable, friendly, and patient. The variety of ... Read More
Our cruise was the "Western Itinerary" (Voyage 8618). Let me start by praising the expedition team and their leader. We rated them a "10" in every respect. Very knowledgeable, friendly, and patient. The variety of shore excursions could not have been better. Previous reviewers mention problems communicating with the Ecuadorean crew. This was not our experience at all. I told them upon boarding that I could not eat cilantro. It did not appear that the dining staff made any effort to accommodate me, although they were able to point out which dishes on the menu contained cilantro. Some of the stews looked delicious - I wish I had been offered a cilantro-free serving of the lamb stew. Frankly, I only have one real complaint about the ship: on arrival, a handout in our cabin advised us of the internet fees (steep). We decided to do without. However, on day 5, some of the other passengers we met told us they were getting the internet for free! I asked at reception and was told that since we were in a deluxe veranda cabin (420), we were entitled to free internet for the entire cruise! Thanks a lot for not telling us on day 1! Also, one pre-cruise note. On the night prior to the cruise, Silversea includes a late afternoon 2-hour tour of Quito. We wanted to spend a day touring outside of Quito so, before leaving home, I used the contact form on Silversea's website to ask what time we had to be back at the hotel for this tour. No reply. Two weeks later, I asked again, using their contact form. Again, no reply. I posted a note on social media. This time, Silversea replied with a phone number for me to call. I called, a computer answered and put me on hold. After a long wait, I hung up. We had to book a half-day tour due to the uncertainty of returning to the hotel in time for the Silversea tour. In hindsight (things always look better there), we should have booked a full-day tour and just skipped the Silversea offering entirely. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I believe other reviewers miss the point in comparing their experience on Silver Galapagos with other cruises. The Galapagos is a closed, tightly regulated market; only ships exclusively dedicated to the Galapagos can operate there. So ... Read More
I believe other reviewers miss the point in comparing their experience on Silver Galapagos with other cruises. The Galapagos is a closed, tightly regulated market; only ships exclusively dedicated to the Galapagos can operate there. So the question is not how Silver Galapagos compares to Silversea or other cruises outside the Galapagos; the question is what is the best way to visit the Galapagos. Unless you want to be on a small boat with a group of 16, the answer is almost certainly Silver Galapagos. You come to the Galapagos to see the animals, plants and landscapes of these unique islands, not to eat, drink and party on a boat. So job one for any company operating there is to get permission to sail the best possible itineraries, and then to attract and retain the best possible expedition leaders and guides. This Silverseas has done. Everything else is secondary. Silver Galapagos carries 100 passengers, the maximum permitted. The ship is the largest and best equipped operating in the islands. The all-Ecuadorian staff (required) makes up in enthusiasm and warmth what they may lack in polish. In terms of true hospitality, they could teach a thing or two to their Silverseas colleagues operating in international waters. The room for improvement lies not with the crew, but with Silversea. They erred in investing too heavily in cosmetic improvements, and insufficiently in the infrastructure of the vessel. In the choppy waters of the Pacific, the stabilizers were "undergoing maintenance," and apparently had been for months. The nicest suite, recently gussied up, was plagued with mechanical problems such as broken doors and non-functing electronics. If Silversea wants to continue to associate its brand with this ship, it needs to invest in the vessel, and also invest in the crew. If they want to retain the best people, Silverseas should strive to be regarded as the best employer in the Galapagos. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
First of all this was an "Expedition" cruise on a 100 passenger ship, the Silversea Galapagos. So I understand that the cruise can't be like what you would experience on a medium-to-large sized all-inclusive cruise ship. ... Read More
First of all this was an "Expedition" cruise on a 100 passenger ship, the Silversea Galapagos. So I understand that the cruise can't be like what you would experience on a medium-to-large sized all-inclusive cruise ship. Silversea advertises itself as the most all-inclusive luxury cruise line, but you have to hold the Galapagos out as a bit of an exception. OK, having said that... The Galapagos Islands are a great place for an expedition trip. The cruise itinerary was great, and there were about three activities a day, including hiking on an island, taking a close look at the cliffs along shore from a zodiac, snorkeling, kayaking. The ship provides all the gear for snorkeling, it has numerous 2-person kayaks and a few single person kayaks, and it carries 6 zodiacs. We had numerous wildlife sightings every day. Some of the volcanic islands have about the most unusual terrain I think I've ever seen. All activities were led by licensed Galapagos naturalists so you always know what you are looking at. So it's an active cruise and I have to say, if you are at least mobile without any problems getting around, you should enjoy it. If you don't get around so well, this may not be for you, it's not a trip where you just lounge around on the ship all day. The ship has some age on it. I guess it was refurbished maybe three years ago. It is comfortable, but it's still showing its age in places. The cabins actually were a little bigger than what we've seen on other larger cruise ships. Breakfast and lunch were adequate, supper tried to be upscale and came just a little short in my opinion, but it still was pretty good. Service - both dining room and the cabin service - was mostly good but a little spotty. Our cabin steward only made towel animals for us two nights of the seven. We had other passengers telling about the towel animals they found in their cabins, when we didn't have any in our cabin that night. Some passengers said they found glasses of iced tea waiting for them in their cabins when they returned from a tour, and we never had anything like that. Big picture - the service was OK, but we've had better on NCL and Carnival. The service did not live up to the expectation that I got from the Silversea marketing hype. Overall value - this was an expensive trip. However, we found that going with Silversea was in fact one of the least expensive of the choices among all the tour operators you find in the Galapagos, and Silversea does all the work of organizing your trip, doing all the transfers and connections, and so forth. That combination - better price for the Galapagos and all inclusive planning for you - made our decision to go with Silversea. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We just came back from the Galapagos Islands on Silver Galapagos and had a great time! The ship was perfect for this expedition though some suites did experience AC problems. The staff was very attentive. We were travelling with ... Read More
We just came back from the Galapagos Islands on Silver Galapagos and had a great time! The ship was perfect for this expedition though some suites did experience AC problems. The staff was very attentive. We were travelling with someone who is totally Gluten free and they made sure she was accommodated with quality meals. If you are going on this cruise looking for the amenities of a Silver Sea ocean vessel you very well could be disappointed. This ship is small and has no casino, shop or large scale entertainment. It is dedicated to seeing and being educated on what the islands have to offer. Here are some tips if you should choose this ship. Bring lots of changes of casual clothes. We changed our clothes 2-3 times a day. You have an excursion in the morning and again in the afternoon. It is extremely humid and your clothes will be damp. Clothes take forever to dry so bring a large plastic zip bag to store clothes you have worn so they do not smell of mildew. Bring a hat, bug spray and sun screen. The ship provides backpacks, binoculars and a water bottle for everyone. Don't wear water shoes that have lots of openings. It is rocky and sandy and your feet won't be happy. Bring at least 2 bathing suits. Bring gym shoes or really good walking shoes. Have plenty of sd cards for your camera because you will need them and they are really hard to find. There is basically no shopping available except in one port. Don't worry about how you look.........everyone looks just as bad. The ship says no shorts for dinner but if they are tasteful they are fine. This is not a restful cruise. You are up and moving off ship by 7:30 am. Some of the terrain is really rocky and you travel by zodiac everywhere you go. So, if you are looking for a cruise you will always remember but won't be totally pampered this is for you!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
EMBARKATION: best one we have ever experienced. Checked in with group. Person at Quito with luggage marked for Silversea. We did not have to deal withh our luggage again until it arrived at our cabins. Fantastic people and very organized ... Read More
EMBARKATION: best one we have ever experienced. Checked in with group. Person at Quito with luggage marked for Silversea. We did not have to deal withh our luggage again until it arrived at our cabins. Fantastic people and very organized at the airport. When we arrived in Baltra they had a awaiting area for us with juice and a couple of light snacks. Within 10 minutes the zodiacs came and transported us to the ship.. I give them an A+ In this category. CABINS: As has been reported before, the cabins are dark wood - no pictures or decoration. Layout of storage could be better, as drawer spaces are limited. Our first cabin was clean but had an odd closet set up in one of the closet. There is not much room to store luggage as the bed is on a platform. Our butler finally moved the couch and put our luggage behind it. Before that it was sitting in front of the couch. In some cabins that is not possible due to the room configuration. However, there is plenty of space to move around. The cabin was very serviceable until we started. When the ship rolled we began to have constant rattles and creaks that lasted all night. We ended up moving to another a cabin that was available after an attempt was made to correct the problem. Thank goodness for that. Natalia was excellent to work with in trying to resolve the issue and checked after to make sure everything was okay. Her service was excellent. FOOD & BEVERAGE: I know this is a very subjective subject. First I will state a fact or two.. The bars do not have a number of labels that my DH and I would expect from a luxury line. Our first night I requested an Irish Whiskey - don't have it. Next I asked for Glenlivet scotch - same answer. So I settled for a Manhattan. And they made it with Jack Daniels- only whiskey they had. Not my preference, but I survived. Others commented on the limited bar, so I am not alone. Shouldn't a luxury line have a better stocked bar? The main DR serves all 3 meals and is only option for breakfast ,unless you do room service( which is risky) It is buffet style for breakfast and lunch and sit down for dinner. Breakfast is the same everyday and you can order eggs any way you want. Dinner menu has 4 entrees in the evening. Always fish and vegetarian plus a meat and usually a pasta or similar. Sometimes not cooked, and sometimes overlooked. On 5th floor is the Grill (outside) that serves lunch with rotating menu and dinner with hot rocks cooking at your table. However, the dinner menu does not change, nor do the vegetables served with your entree. We enjoyed going up for lunch. As far as bread is concerned, in both venues there are only 2 bread choices, dark or white rolls for lunch and dinner; I should consider this a positive since it eliminates calories I don't need! At breakfast there were a number of bread options. We found the food in the main dining room very inconsistent. SERVICE: This is the area where Silversea really falls down. I know there are strict requirements as to hiring and length of service for staff. From talking to some senior staff, they are constantly dealing with turnover and language barriers. However, considering Silversea promotes themselves as luxury and prices the product accordingly, something needs to be done. We had calibrated our expectations based on previous reviews. I did not calibrate mine low enough, as I had expected some of the earlier problems from last year to have been corrected. When our "butler" introduced himself he told us it was his first day on the job; it became very evident. We asked for ice and a wash cloth (We learned they do NOT put washcloths in the bathroom unless you ask. That is not the markings of a luxury cruise line!) That evening we still did not have either and had to ask again. We continued to get a wash cloth, but had to ask for ice every day.. This was repeated when we moved to our new cabin. Our mini bar did not get restocked, and in fact, things would dissappear from it! We had to ask if we wanted a beverage replaced. Another example, and illustrative of the language issue: In the dining room I asked to order a drink and received a deer in the headlights look. I said a cocktail and got a more perplexed look so I made a drinking motion and got a nod. Then I asked for a Chivas Regal, which is what I had in the 4th floor lounge. The gentleman repeated what I said and left the table. He then disappeared and never returned! After what was over 5 minutes another waiter approached our table and we made a request for drinks, with a similar look and he disappeared to the back to talk to someone. After at least another 5 minutes the 4 of us were fustrated and just left and went up to The Grill to eat. I could list other examples, but I think the point is made. We also had issues with orders not being delivered, i.e. salads and the the entree coming. All the staff was very friendly and you could tell they were trying and I am sure just as frustrated as we were. EXCURSIONS: Outstanding! The Zodiac pilots were great and very concerned about our safety and helpful in getting us on and off. The naturalists are outstanding and have a broad backgrounds. We were fortunate to experience a number of them. They each brought their own unique way of sharing the islands and love of nature. They enrich what you are seeing. Words and even pictures can't do the Gallapagos justice. There was a morning excursion and an afternoon one each day. If there was an area that was very rugged, there was usually a less rugged alternate excursion for those who could not do a lot of big boulder climbing. Unfortunately, I could not snorkel, but those who did (often both morning and afternoon) had a fantastic time. Everything was well planned and we were briefed at 7pm every day as to what to expect the next day. ENTERTAINMENT: Except for a piano player in the lounge, there really isn't any (well, some passengers were pretty entertaining). But, after such a busy day I wasn't ready to stay up for a late show! OVERALL: I rate the Galapagos Islands a 10. We did the eastern and northern islands and have talked about going back some day to experience the western islands. We can't speak highly enough of the excursions staff and the naturalists. Where signficant improve is needed is with Silversea. If they want to charge for and advertise this as a luxury experience, then it needs to be. Yes, drydock can take care of cosmetic issues with cabins, carpets etc., but those are minor compared to service issues. We do not regret taking the trip as the memories we have of the islands overshadow any problems we had. But, we do feel for the cost, Silversea needs to find a way to fix the service issue or lower the cost and not advertise this particular cruise as luxury. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We have just returned from the Silver Galapagos North Central itinerary. Here is our review: Overall experience: The overall experience of these islands was outstanding! Definitely one of our top 5 trips. It is a rare experience to visit ... Read More
We have just returned from the Silver Galapagos North Central itinerary. Here is our review: Overall experience: The overall experience of these islands was outstanding! Definitely one of our top 5 trips. It is a rare experience to visit islands where the wildlife is completely unafraid and even inquisitive of you as you embark onto their land. I am not really a cruise person either (I don't like to feel "stuck" or "cooped up"), but I don't see how we could have done this trip any other way. It was very convenient to be on a ship as we visited two islands per day most days. The naturalists are very knowledgeable. We saw all kinds of wildlife closer than I ever thought we could get to them. We could have touched them, but of course that is not allowed. We saw giant tortoises, sealions, iguanas, lizards, boobies, frigates, finches, mocking birds, a penguin, sea turtles, sharks, rays, ..all kinds of fish. The SIlver Galapagos: Atmosphere: The ship is older and definitely needs some repairs, but still has a luxurious flare. We have not been on many cruise lines so I am not able to compare except to Oceania Regatta. The rooms/suites were definitely suites...big and spacious for a ship with vanity, lots of counter space, sofa, flat screen tv. The bathroom was bigger than what we've experienced with a big enough shower...twice as big as Oceania. All this space and we had a basic room. However, I heard some people complaining about their room...that it was smaller than they were expecting after being on Silver Spirit. They were in an upgraded room as well. The décor is contemporary and clean. There is no pool, just a hot tub, but you will have no time for swimming except at the destination sites. The spa is very small and so is the fitness centre. Naturalists: The naturalists, for the most part are very friendly and knowledgeable. We really enjoyed Xavier Suarez and Carlos Gonzales. Xavier was a good story teller and very entertaining, which is very refreshing after 5 days of trekking and early morning wake up calls. We also really enjoyed Carlos. He is very easy going and knowledgeable as well. We did not feel rushed at any of the sites we saw with him and felt that he made sure we got the most out of the island visit. Gaby Espinoza was very organized and made sure we were aware of the itinerary and plans for the day. She gave us 15 minutes notice before each excursion which was enough time to throw on some clothes, shoes and hat after your afternoon nap. Food: The staff/chef here tried their very best. They went out of their way to get you what you wanted. They were very good about my dietary restrictions and made special dishes for me each meal. The Maitre D' Marcos made sure to talk to me before we sailed about the meals and where to find food I could eat. Marcos the chef, was always aware of my restrictions and went out of his way to accommodate me. After being on Oceania Regatta, it is hard for me to review the food. It was very basic compared to Oceania, but you could get lobster every day if you wanted to at the grill upstairs which is outdoors. I really enjoyed sitting upstairs, but the food downstairs at "The Restaurant" was a lot better and with more variety. The grill menu never changed. This is something I would want them to fix for next time. We need variety in the menu. Also dinner is not til late 7:30pm but you can get room service if you are hungry before that. The menu is limited but the butler, Natalia will go out of her way to get you what you want. Service: Service on the ship could be better. Although, the staff really tries their very best. They just need the training in order to get to that luxury 5 star level. You can tell at dinner that they really want to make you happy, but not sure how to do that. Natalia the butler is very good. She is fast, professional and goes above and beyond the call of duty. The cons: Ok, so I was expecting luxury service as we have travelled with A&K before and my itinerary said that this was the company to be handling our transfers. When we arrived at the Quito airport, there was no one holding a sign with our names. Luckily, I had spotted a lady with a silversea tag on her bag and I followed her to the group. When we got to the group, the agent said "Are you with us?" I said "yes" ..already getting aggravated as we had a very long trip and I was tired and hungry (not a good combination). She said, "you're supposed to be on the flight 2 hours later"....I said "no, we're here now"...."she said well, I have you down here......." I cut her off and said "It doesn't matter what the mistake is, I'm here now and I'm ready to go to the hotel. I'm very tired". She said I would have to wait two hours for the next group. I said, "Absolutely not. I am not waiting. Put me in a cab and send me to the hotel" She said she couldn't do that. My husband told me to calm down. I think I was about to explode and maybe she saw it in my face...she said ok, let me see what I can do....20 min later, she found another guide and sent us on our way. The problem was resolved in a reasonable amount of time, but could have been handled better. Getting through customs and waiting in the airport was a big mess. We were used to being whisked through the gates and customs and being guided every step of the way with A&K, but our guide a the airport, Antonio was nowhere to be seen. If I had questions, there would have been no one to ask because the gate agents did not speak English, and sadly, I do not speak Spanish. I had gone online and preordered a therapeutic pillow and a double down around medium pillow for my cervical issues. When I got to the room, they weren't there. Natalia got them right away. But, for 5 star luxury, I think it should have been there when I got to the room. We got two twin beds, Natalia had to come in again and push the beds together to make it a king. There was a half empty bottle of diet coke in my fridge...that is disgusting...that tells me the fridge was not cleaned out before we got there. The room was muggy and hot when we arrived. The air should have been turned on and the room cooled down to a comfortable temperature before boarding. The chocolates delivered to the room as turn down service were old..they had a white film over them. I love seafood, but stopped eating fish at the grill upstairs because I ordered sole one day and it did not look very appetizing...it was brown around the edges and tasted like it was in the freezer for years. It was very fishy. I sent it back. I was afraid to eat fish after that. But downstairs at the restaurant, the fish was very fresh. The Maitre D' had almond milk ready for me at all the bars ...I ordered a cappuccino with almond milk every day....I think 50% of the time it was actually almond milk. It tasted like cow's milk half of the time. Despite all these negatives, I would still use Silversea for the Galapagos as the ship was very comfortable and I think that in time, the staff will improve. Silversea is a good brand of cruise line and I'm sure they will fix these minor issues on board the silver Galapagos.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
After a week on the Silver Galapagos I’ve hours to spend travelling so might as well write a review. Overall the visit to the Galapagos was fantastic and most of the Silverseas Experience was also very good. So let’s start with the ... Read More
After a week on the Silver Galapagos I’ve hours to spend travelling so might as well write a review. Overall the visit to the Galapagos was fantastic and most of the Silverseas Experience was also very good. So let’s start with the not so good which has mainly been the last couple of days of the cruise. Friday’s tour on land seemed designed to suit the needs of the crew to get us off the ship for as long as possible. We were off the ship at 8am to visit the tortoises and that could easily have been completed and back on board for lunch, instead we were supplied the worst meal of the week at a local restaurant and were not given the option to return to the ship until 4pm (although they eventually grudgling agreed to do so at 2.30). Now we’re on Saturday, so its out of your cabin by 7.30a.m sit around on the ship until 9.30pm for the short bus journey to the airport to wait another nearly 3 hours for the flight. Surely something could have been organised to make good use of this 5 hours of time while still in the Galapagos? We booked the mainland/Galapagos flights through Silverseas and also a day room at a Guayaquil hotel for today. However, they didn't notify us until yesterday that the flight times had changed so we arrived in Guayaquil only just over 4 hours before our home flight, so there was no point in transferring to the day room (that we have paid for!) and we have instead stayed at the airport Anyway, back to the beginning of the week Arrivals in to Quito Airport, on to the hotel and then back to the airport (5.30am start) were all well organised. In between we enjoyed a fantastic full day tour of Quito/Equator organised by the Silverseas local agent(booked at the hotel on arrival). A beautiful city and well worth a stop-over. On arrival to Baltra airport the move to the Silver Galapagos was short and quick and at the harbour we got to see the first Sea Lions. Lunch was served as soon as we arrived on board. In the afternoon there was a welcome lecture with introductions to all the Naturalists and other crew members. This was combined with the safety procedures, which did make it a bit of an over long session. Activities Every day was an early start with 8 am disembarkations considered a luxury lie in. Some days there was a gap after lunch for those who needed a nap but on others it was a busy morning and afternoon. The activities were Zodiac(inflatable tours), kayaking, beach and deep sea snorkelling and walks. On some days we did all of them! What we saw on land and in the water was amazing and what makes the cost of this holiday experience worthwhile. Up close, Iguanas, Tortoises, Turtles, Sealions, Sharks and so many different birds and fish. We even got to see an Orca from just a few metres away. Food The food on board was very good most of the time. The service was often slow and glasses including water stood empty even after asking for a refill. For wine drinkers there was a good selection of South American wines and for the beer drinkers there was at least a red and black alternative to the bland lager. There was an extensive range of cocktails etc. The outside Grill restaurant served an excellent range of mainly fish/prawns/lobster at lunch and could accommodate about half of the passengers so across the week we got there early enough on several days to eat there. In the evening is was necessary to book, which we did but by the third time the unchanging “hot rocks” menu while good was becoming a bit repetitive. The main restaurant provided an excellent wide ranging buffet breakfast. The buffet lunch was also good. Dinner menus had many courses and much variety through the week. Occasionally the food was overcooked. The Ship, Cabins and Service The Silver Galapagos has a good number of public spaces inside and outside and surprisingly good unlimited wifi access for $140 for the week. (Unlikely the unusably slow access at Baltra airport) We were in a deluxe verandah cabin which was big enough with a small seating area and we took the tip from other reviewers to put a case at the bottom of each wardrobe. The air conditioning was good enough providing that we kept the curtains closed. The shower was good, even if much of the water ended up on the floor! There was a large flat screen TV which we never switched on as we were too busy or too tired! We also never used the spa or fitness centre for the same reasons. The cabin service was OK but was often in response to requests rather than being pre-empted. Silver Galapagos still has room for improvements but I would recommend this trip as an excellent way to experience the Galapagos Islands.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Silver Galapagos Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 3.0 4.0
Shore Excursions 5.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 5.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3

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