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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Once in a lifetime Expedition itinerary. Aldabra ... Zodiacs to fabulous beaches ... Drift Snorkeling from the ocean into the Aldabra Lagoon ... Expedition crew is the only thing that kept this from becoming a very bad cruise. ... Read More
Once in a lifetime Expedition itinerary. Aldabra ... Zodiacs to fabulous beaches ... Drift Snorkeling from the ocean into the Aldabra Lagoon ... Expedition crew is the only thing that kept this from becoming a very bad cruise. Stateroom was a bit small but thoughtfully designed and we found ample space for our 4 very big bags with drone equipment and lots of camera gear. Personal Butler from Bangladesh is a joke. He can never be reached and has at least 10 to 15 suites to attend to. He is really just part of Room Service ... or a Stateroom Attendant that is marketed as a butler. We never could reach him directly ... Only way was to go through the front desk. Could not get a haircut or shave on board at the spa. Ship did not have bottled water on board. You were forced to drink the on board water, which had a mineral or odd taste as it is produced using Reverse Osmosis. I complained so they made an exception to me and got bottled water at the next port of call. Dining room attendants would cover up the "Evian" Label for me to make sure that other guests were less likely to notice that I was served bottled water. Executive Chef and staff in the main dining room are TOP CLASS. Silversea Shined here. Food prep was fantastic. People on Deck 7, which was one of the only places to sun bathe (as near the pool on Deck 5 only 5 chairs and people eating around you) .... NO SERVICE ON DECK 7 ... No one to take your drink order ... Have to go yourself to set up a sun lounge chair ... or go down to Deck 5 to get someone to help ... No towels available without going down. Some of the Fillipina Staff on Deck 5 were rude and very resistant to help ... Some were attentive and conscientious. Me: "Would like a cocktail.. what do you like to make?" Them: "Anything you like" ... Me: "What do you suggest?" Bartender: "Tell me what you want I will make it." .. on and on .. and on .. it goes ... Some of the Dumbest bartenders EVER. Certainly this is about 2 stars for service ... Never (except on a formal night) did I see anyone wearing white gloves and coming to offer something to guests on Deck 7. Misleading marketing. Risk of becoming unhygenic ship, in my mind. No plastic liners in trash bags in the staterooms. Toilets need to be flushed multiple times because of the poor quality of the toilet. Showers are good and crew was responsive to requests so this mitigated the risks. Many lectures on plastic use ... ridiculous ... we come to vacation to get away from radical plastic nazis and here they are on a SilverSea cruise with their propaganda and stupidity. I enjoyed nature hikes, but don't enjoy the hysteria about a bird or a leemar or a turtle. Much prefer to listen to the sounds of nature rather than the chatter of a tour guide or a bunch of guests talking about "snowfall" in Boston. The lectures are a good place to listen to the professional naturalists who truly were TOP CLASS. If you see Scotti or Roddy in your SilverSea Travels, you will know how extraordinary some of their staff are. Ships Doc is #1. Brazil food attendent is #1! We had fantastic Main Dining Room table waiter and attendent from Phillipines. This ship is great for expeditions but, in my opinion, the service truly is far from achieving a standard consistent with the Brand SilverSea. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
As an expedition, this was 10/10 - the organization, the shore excursions, the timing and above all, the amazing naturalists onboard could not have been better. We LOVED the Kimberly and rate it in our top 3-5 lifetime wildlife/wilderness ... Read More
As an expedition, this was 10/10 - the organization, the shore excursions, the timing and above all, the amazing naturalists onboard could not have been better. We LOVED the Kimberly and rate it in our top 3-5 lifetime wildlife/wilderness experiences (up there with the Galapagos and African safaris). But, as experienced Crystal/Regent cruisers, the expectations we had for the ship and service on Silverseas were not met - the ship is the perfect size for this itinerary but dated and a bit run down. I understand it's being replaced, but with a ship 2.5x the size - I am not optimistic how that will work in the remote Kimberly, so it may actually be better to go now on a slightly sub-standard ship than wait for the swanky new and TOO BIG one. What was not really "OK" though was the poor wine and food service - so easy to fix - I can only assume the kind, willing staff was either not properly trained or not given enough feedback because it was really not correct. Hotel service was fine. All in all, I'd go again and recommend this cruise, but you need to manage expectations (and really, they should fix what they presumably could fix so very easily....). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Loved the experience of visiting remote areas seldom visited by cruise ships. The locals provided us with unforgettable experiences! Highlight was swimming with whale sharks! Staff was excellent and couldn't be faulted. Any minor ... Read More
Loved the experience of visiting remote areas seldom visited by cruise ships. The locals provided us with unforgettable experiences! Highlight was swimming with whale sharks! Staff was excellent and couldn't be faulted. Any minor issues were dealt with very professionally. Passengers came from all over the world and most of them understood what an expedition cruise is all about. Expedition crew was knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Age group was between 14 and 84 in total we had 96 passengers and 90 crew. This was our 3rd Silver Seas expedition cruise and we have loved them all! The Discoverer might be showing its age but that didn't worry us too much. Chef Pia does a great job producing tasty meals under trying circumstances and with no chance to replenish supplies. We have already booked an expedition cruise for next year as we just love to visit remote natural areas. The excellent guest speakers add to the experience! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I chose this trip for the itinerary, but I overpaid for a worn out ship. The ship rolled a lot in the rough waters. There were no stabilizers. We paid for one of the best cabins but it looked like a Hilton from the nineteen nineties. ... Read More
I chose this trip for the itinerary, but I overpaid for a worn out ship. The ship rolled a lot in the rough waters. There were no stabilizers. We paid for one of the best cabins but it looked like a Hilton from the nineteen nineties. The common areas were also dated and worn with seat cushions with little effective padding left. The ships systems were unreliable: the toilets stopped working on each of the first two nights; the air conditioning was erratic and we were not able to effectively control it with our thermostat; the TV system was also unreliable and would just stop and we had to restart it or get someone to reboot it. Several of the Zodiacs were old and would "caterpillar" at cruising speed. Both Papua and Indonesian New Guinea were spectacular and I would highly recommend the destination if you can find a different ship. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This being our fifth silver sea cruise, we can say without a doubt that.Silver sea cruises are not the high-quality they used to beIn terms of the quality of the ship, the staff and the food. We will not be taking any more Silversea ... Read More
This being our fifth silver sea cruise, we can say without a doubt that.Silver sea cruises are not the high-quality they used to beIn terms of the quality of the ship, the staff and the food. We will not be taking any more Silversea cruises and will instead move to Seaborn and Crystal yachts. We were so excited to see the cherry blossom‘s bloom in Japan and nature complied and then some. The ports at which we stopped were interesting but the crew new little or nothing about them and the local guides used were very difficult to understand. The food was about what you would get on a lower end Princess or Royal Caribbean type ship. It is no longer fine dining. The wine selection was very poor, even the premium for purchase wines. The quality of the meats were terrible as was the fish. Almost everything on board was frozen. It is a far cry from the Crystal ship and the Seaborn cruises which are top notch. Many of the other guests we met on board felt exactly the same way and none of us booked another cruise with Silversea like we would normally have done in the past.Given the prices for a Silversea cruises are about the same as Crystal and Seaborn, we see no reason to sale any longer with silver see because they seem to have lower their standards and perhaps far looking for a different clientele rather than the luxury customer.Frankly, we all felt taken advantage of because this particular cruise is only available once a year and we paid dearly for it without getting quality service, accommodations or food. The toilets on the ship didn’t flush most of the time and there was little or no outdoor space. The cleanliness of the rooms was also poor. The rooms were very very tiny as were the showers. This is not a ship or cruise line I recommend any longer. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We were expecting an amazing expedition cruise to many new locations for us and Silversea in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Unfortunately the local governments would not allow us to use the Zodiaks in many places which either cancelled ... Read More
We were expecting an amazing expedition cruise to many new locations for us and Silversea in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Unfortunately the local governments would not allow us to use the Zodiaks in many places which either cancelled sites or required us to use local tenders. Silversea had to make many changes throughout the voyage and the first half we ended up on way to many busses for too long and not seeing any nature or great sites. SS recognized that this was not what people expected and refunded 50% of our cruise fare plus $2K per person cruise credit. I felt they really understood are issues and fairly compensated us without having to ask. The second half of the cruise in Cambodia and Vietnam was really fun and overall we had a great time mostly thanks to the wonderful people we met on the cruise. This was our 3rd expedition cruise on Silversea and 5th overall Silversea cruise. Im not sure I would want to go on an expedition cruise in Asia again with all of the beauracracy, especially not the first one to new destinations. We absolutely loved our expedition cruise on SS to Antarctica and Galapagos. The ship itself was our least favorite of the expedition ships. The explorer was much better layed out with more storage in the rooms, a real bar which is missing and the dining room in the explorer with panoramic windows is to die for. I found the food hit or miss on this cruise while every other SS voyage has been outstanding. The service was awesome as usual. I know others on the ship were really disappointed by the issues but we did end up enjoying the cruise even if it was significantly different than expected. We will definitely do another expedition cruise on Silversea but probably not sail on the discoverer again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this expedition cruise because of the unique itinerary and promise of an active experience. We have gone on 15 cruises on various lines. Silversea let us down repeatedly. ITINERARY: Upon arrival, our staterooms had a letter ... Read More
We chose this expedition cruise because of the unique itinerary and promise of an active experience. We have gone on 15 cruises on various lines. Silversea let us down repeatedly. ITINERARY: Upon arrival, our staterooms had a letter saying the entire itinerary was changed saying they didn't know anything until the morning we boarded but later found out this was not the case as crew told us they knew weeks before. Instead, on our 14 day expedition, we had 2 days of zodiac as tenders but not to explore, 0 days canoe, 0 days kayak, 0 days biking and limited hiking. We had frequent, long bus tours instead to dirty, impoverished areas and 1 day to a market that already was closed. Beaches we visited were covered in trash, including floating in the water. ROOMS: Poor air conditioning in many rooms so they moved us to lower decks. Very small with little room for belongings. TV only had movies and no direct TV for live news. Room staff were excellent and could not do enough for us. They were the highlight. BATHROOMS: Only 1 person can be in at a time and even with 1 person on the toilet or grabbing a towel, they would keep hitting the door. No room for toiletries. SHIP: Very tired, old and in desparate need of a dry dock renovation. There were no quiet spaces and the decks had no areas with shade for laying out, only direct sun. FOOD: "Maine lobster" night featured a single, small, entire lobster no bigger than 1 finger. Portions nightly were small and quality below average. EXPEDITION TEAM: Cruise director Louis was very unengaged, unapproachable and unavailable. He kept himself scarce. Since the director sets the tone, all the staff was disengaged with the exception of Susan, who you could tell really loved her job. The rest of the team was unenthusiastic to the extent that some were sleeping while on tours with us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Chose this cruise for the expeditions it promised but it did not fulfill it's promise. We did not get Zodiac trip to Bond island, did not get canoe trips, shore excursions and snorkeling was awful, etc. Local boat to floating island ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the expeditions it promised but it did not fulfill it's promise. We did not get Zodiac trip to Bond island, did not get canoe trips, shore excursions and snorkeling was awful, etc. Local boat to floating island had very poor visibility, we never got to do canoeing around Bond island and did not get to the caves. We never got to the park and the snorkeling water visibility was less than 2 feet. Only acceptable part of this cruise was seeing the orangutans. Trip to Tjong A Fie Mansion was disastrous as I got separated from the main group and nobody knew where our bus was. We never got to Mekong Delta and ended up arriving at Ho Chi Minh City one day earlier. We went to a beach that had nowhere to sit and definitely had no swimming or snorkeling. Over al it was a terrrible trip. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
There are really no words to sum up how amazing this was. We have done a few cruises since and every time we say “well it’s not Silverseas”. The proof is in the details, we felt like royalty on every shore excursion. The service is ... Read More
There are really no words to sum up how amazing this was. We have done a few cruises since and every time we say “well it’s not Silverseas”. The proof is in the details, we felt like royalty on every shore excursion. The service is beyond 5* our Butler was so gracious,If you are fortunate enough to book a SS expedition cruise you are in for an incredible experience.there is no going back! We went because I really wanted to experience the andaman and Nicobar islands, we made several landings all exsquiste, our land trip in Myanmar was unique, had more locals taking photos of us than them, I felt like Christopher Columbus.. overall the best cruise we have ever done The food was fantastic,the wine even better, it’s pushing me for a negative and the only thing I can come up with is that I really wanted a silverseas baseball hat! They don’t sell them so we were advised to try and talk a crew member out of one... no luck,! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose it for the Maldives and Kerala, India on the itinerary. We didn’t see enough of the Maldives and we were dropped off at an island with lots of plastic and trash after having the permission for another island revoked. We ... Read More
We chose it for the Maldives and Kerala, India on the itinerary. We didn’t see enough of the Maldives and we were dropped off at an island with lots of plastic and trash after having the permission for another island revoked. We understand those things can happen but a good option would be nice for plan B. We were frequently late to destinations and rushed around to get back and sail to the next place. Many passengers felt like a three hour boat tour on the canals was too long with a long drive each way to get there. The general consensus was that lunch at the Gallery Cafe in Cochin was pretty bad. One of the islands took a 55 minute zodiac ride each way and the water was murky so not great for snorkeling. There wasn’t hardly any free time to wander so people felt way too restricted and regimented. There could have been some interesting talks on the history of Kerala and Galle considering there were two historians on board. The expedition Crew seem to be very knowledgable but didn’t have as many opportunities to speak when there was plenty of time at sea. The spa services were very good! The crew on board was excellent and did a fantastic job. Dinner was very good, lunch could be better. We have been on the ship several times but decided to cancel the trip booked in August after a lackluster experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We wanted to see the Maldives and Indian Ocean islands, thought we would snorkel every day in beautiful water. ( Water was beautiful) However this did not happen, excursions were not planned well, so we spent most of our days on an ... Read More
We wanted to see the Maldives and Indian Ocean islands, thought we would snorkel every day in beautiful water. ( Water was beautiful) However this did not happen, excursions were not planned well, so we spent most of our days on an old ship with little amenities! we got to snorkel 2 times, for 45 minutes. Nothing for the other 9 days. Food and service was good. We had OBC to spend, but there was nothing in gift shop to buy ! The fitness center is a cubicle, they offered massages in an empty guest room, only 5 people could use pool at any one time, only 10 lounges for 90 plus guests. Total experience was very poor when supposed to be 5 Star Luxury cruise and we were charged a 5 Star price. Even though we bought our air and transfers from Silver Sea, they did not make arrangements for us to be picked up from the hotel to get to the ship. We (and 12 other couples ) had to transport our own luggage in the pouring rain onto and off the public pier and public ferry to get to where the ship was picking us up. Never have we been treated like this. There was no apology or reason given for our poor service, our tour leader just said, "he was having a bad day!" Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Decided to go on this very exciting sounding expedition cruise. It offered places that had not been visited before (that was part of the problem) opportunities to swim and snorkel and visit remote islands and some interesting Indian ... Read More
Decided to go on this very exciting sounding expedition cruise. It offered places that had not been visited before (that was part of the problem) opportunities to swim and snorkel and visit remote islands and some interesting Indian ports. This was a round trip from Male to Colombo. However before the cruise had even started the route was changed, so instead of a round trip we zigzagged the Arabian Sea three times each at around a five hundred mile sailing between places that were quite close. The explanation was due to India not allowing entry into their territorial waters. The changes did have a huge impact on the quality time we were due to be on remote islands. Anyway as we had no choice we had to go along with the changes. Silversea were very cagey about the route change and offered no real explanation. When arriving in Male there was no one to meet us. NowMale is a very small and somewhat messy airport. After waiting for a Silversea rep to arrive, a helpful airport greeter phoned someone and told us that a rep would arrive soon. We waited for four hours for this to happen. After a bit of a rush we were taken to a boat with our luggage. The boat was difficult to get into because there were no ramps etc and no one to help you jump down the concrete quay side into the rocky boat. Taken to another quayside, hauled ourselves off the boat and waited about an hour before a Zodiac arrived to take us out to the Discoverer. Not an easy embarkation. On board safely and had lunch. Cabin really good. A little small but OK. First night we met the expedition team and had a good dinner to get ready for our first day at sea and the Maldives for swimming and snorkelling. Good morning then back to the ship. The next day was visiting a Maldivian inhabited island. After that the changes started to take place with a 500 mile+ trip across the sea to Cochi. On arrival in Cochi we were introduced to the very burocratic Indian Immigrantion Service. Wasted a lot of time going through this and with lots of Indian officials on board. Had two days in Cochi which was interesting and enjoyed a typical Indian banquet complete with local dancing.after this it was off to Beypore. Taken to a boat yard and a coir factory. Whilst in Cochi and Beypore there were lots of very long coach trips. Some of which were taken at very busy times of the days, thus making us late for certain activities. No free time to shop etc. Some interesting little streets with bazaars that would have been nice to visit and spend a few rupees. Not so. Not on the itinerary.Then back on board ship for another 500mile+ trip across the sea to Lakshadweep Islands. More immigration to go through. Whilst at the islands we had very long Zodiac rides to shore, and the Zodiac drivers were not the most considerate people. It appeared that they all wanted to outdo each other which led to very fast and bumpy and uncomfortable rides. If you were at the front your spine crunch so much that it would have been possible that you finished the holiday a few inches shorter due to a crunched spine. After that another 500mile+ ride across the sea to Vilanjam. This being the last of the 500mile+ journeys across the sea because of the original changes to the itinerary where we had to go to Cochi first in place of Minicoy. All because of Indian Immigrants, or so we were told. Another coach trip to a wooden palace. Again no time to explore the shops . Then another long trip to Galle. Not a particularly interesting place, where we had an awful supposedly high tea at the Rampart hotel. In fact it was a buffet of almost inedible cakes and big sandwiches. No time here for shopping. Back to the ship and off to Colombo where we disembarked. Had a whole day here due to flights etc. It was Sri Lanka ‘s Independence Day celebrations. Again no opportunities to shop. However it was a good opportunity to see the very very long Independence parade. This must be the first holiday ever taken when I did not spend a rupee. No time allowed. This is the first time that Silversea has done this cruise and I guess it will be the last. We were all used as an experiment and no one from Silversea had any experience or knowledge of most of the places on the itinerary. It was a case of suck it and see, resulting in a lot of wasted time, the so called planning was done on the hoof and in a bit of a rush. From what information I gleaned from the crew it was due to London, not having done their homework and really thoroughly investigating the places we were supposed to visit in the original itinerary and the rules of Indian Immigration. So the passengers had to endure three extra very long sea journeys. The captain and his crew were not happy about this either. This was not a slick Silversea Cruise. Lots of hanging around, total lack of ability for the team leader to plan due to lack of thorough planning and investigations by the people who dream up the cruise routes. The Discoverer is due to be decommissioned early 2019 and it will be replaced with a larger ship. The whole point of the smaller ships is that those who use them love the expedition type cruise. Almost no one on board enjoyed big ship cruises . So this might be the end of the road with my relationship with Silversea and small ship cruises. Others expressed this as well. The meals on board were excellent. Small but very tasteful dishes. The crew were all very helpful and did all they could to please the client. Hot Rocks is always a good evening as was the special Blue Moon evening meal on deck. The video of the cruise is very expensive #100us. It all depends on the expertise of the photographer. There were no views of activities on board, lots of views of local people. Did buy it but it is a very expensive reminder of the cruise . Silversea please do not discard your small ships. Many people love them and the places they visit Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
This was my second expedition cruise with Silver Seas; the first having been on the Prince Albert II in Svalbard. Therefore I had high expectations, most of which were met. I agree with other reviewers that the ship is old and needs to ... Read More
This was my second expedition cruise with Silver Seas; the first having been on the Prince Albert II in Svalbard. Therefore I had high expectations, most of which were met. I agree with other reviewers that the ship is old and needs to be replaced. There is only so much cosmetic refurbishing that can be done. That said, the rooms were small, but very clean and comfortable. The public areas had also been refurbished. The food was excellent and up to Silverseas standards. The dinner portions were small enough so that you could eat all four courses if desired. Wait staff were excellent and identified me by name soon after we commenced our voyage. My maid and butler were both charming. The maid kept my room looking "together" throughout the voyage. I was pleased to have the butler service so I could have a meal in my room, which I did several times since I returned to the ship after very hot and humid weather excursions and didn't feel like eating in the dining room. I only did "hot rocks" once, but it was a lot of fun and had no problem whatsoever in reserving this. The bar/kitchen near the pool was too small and the wait staff did a super job in trying to cope with inadequate space. Overall I thought the staff was excellent and we had some very interesting lectures, although not the quantity that I experienced on the Arctic cruise. The first lecture was generally at 9:15AM, which was a bit early, esp. on days at sea. Unfortunately, a cyclone off the coast of Madagascar affected our time at Aldabra Atoll. The crew should be commended for being able to land us for a late afternoon walk to the ranger station; at least we were able to see a large number of the Aldabra giant tortoise. Due to the weather, we could not do the lagoon tour or any snorkeling/diving the next day. Most of the coral in the Maldives had been bleached out due to an El Nino in 2016. However, we did see a lot of beautifully colored fish. Snorkelling in the Seychelles was not good due to weather complications. Great great shore excursions in Zanzibar and Victoria. Poor scheduling though because we landed in both on Sundays! Thank you to Jamie again for fixing my mask and getting to my "taxi" on shore in Dar es Salaam. I'm not sure who was at fault for this but there was NO information for pre or post-embarkation/disembarkation or hotels given to me prior to the cruise. I made my own arrangements in Colombo and used the ship's way-overpriced $89 ride from the port in Dar to my centrally-located hotel, which I arranged on my own. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The expedition team on this cruise apparently did not do a site visit or any planning. The itinerary changed once before the trip and four times during the trip - always because of 'the Indonesian government'. As someone who ... Read More
The expedition team on this cruise apparently did not do a site visit or any planning. The itinerary changed once before the trip and four times during the trip - always because of 'the Indonesian government'. As someone who planned humanitarian service travel for groups of 40+ for almost two decades, these issues can almost always be sorted before departure. One itinerary change was because they did not know when it would be high tide in Kumai - something ultimately knowable, and not in control of the Indonesian government. Besides the inconvenience of constant itinerary changes, the team did not plan for participant safety. A group of seniors was asked to high straight up a mountain (6.6 miles round trip) in 95 degree heat and 99% humidity. No alternative travel up the mountain was planned except that provided by locals trying to make a buck, transporting folks in rickety iron 'carts' pulled by three guys with ropes. But the most serious offense was transported guests in open river houseboats across open sea with no lifevests - and no way to disembark to the dock. There were no expedition team members on board, just locals. We were asked first to jump six feet off the railing to the dock & when we refused that option, we were asked to climb up 5-6 feet of a slick rock outcropping in the dark - being pulled by the arms by locals. All while the ship's crew looked on. It is a miracle no one was hurt. In addition to the danger, our stateroom was filthy upon our arrival - sheets had not even been changed - but we didn't discover that till we got in them to go to sleep. Food was marginal. Itinerary changes resulted in three days on rocky seas with nothing to do - No TV, no internet, no entertainment to speak of except slapped together power points from the 'expedition team'. Though seeing the orangutans was fun, the rest of the experience was just not acceptable. We've been on four other Silversea cruises without complaint, only praise. So the cruise line really needs to fix the multiple fails on this journey to salvage reputation. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Zegrahm Expeditions owns no ships of its own, so they typically charter a suitable ship from another company. This review is of the Zegrahm Expeditions July 6-20, 2017 "Wild Alaska" expedition aboard the Silverseas ship Silver ... Read More
Zegrahm Expeditions owns no ships of its own, so they typically charter a suitable ship from another company. This review is of the Zegrahm Expeditions July 6-20, 2017 "Wild Alaska" expedition aboard the Silverseas ship Silver Discoverer. The dozen or so naturalists on the trip were all contracted with Zegrahm, but the ship and the rest of the ship's staff were all Silversea employees. Most of this review will address the Silverseas part of the partnership, but later I'll touch on the Zegrahm part as well. The Silver Discoverer is a small, (120 pax), intimate and comfortable, but old (1989) ship. The crew and staff were excellent, service was mostly very good, and dining - especially dinner - was superb . . . just what you would expect on a Silverseas cruise. But the ship is getting a little long in the tooth. The cabins are clean and well-maintained, but they are modest in size - and the bathroom is downright tiny and cramped. Closets and drawer space are barely sufficient. Among the dated features is that the bed sits too low to slide a big suitcase underneath, so we had to store it in the corner of an already small cabin. Most cabins have windows or port holes, but not balconies. The Silver Discoverer is not nearly as stable as newer ships. We were often rockin' and rollin' a lot. My wife and I have been on two dozen small-ship cruises, and this is the first time she has needed to wear a patch. The common areas on board are adequate. The deck 5 lounge is bright and roomy with good viewing out the sides of the ship. It opens onto the pool deck, (the small pool was not open for business), with more excellent viewing. The main lounge on deck 4, however, is very tight for lectures, receptions, etc. Very difficult for the wait staff to take orders and serve beverages. Dinners, as mentioned above, were excellent . . . nice variety and selection, well prepared and presented, with some very good wines included with the meal. Dinner service was typically very, very good. We (in our traveling group of six) usually found ourselves at the same table each evening, so we usually had the same servers. We grew especially fond of Shawn, Marianne, Phillipe and Melvin, who also got to know us quite well and brought humor and charm to the dining experience. Dinner is also available on the pool deck - weather permitting. When you are cruising the Bering Sea, the weather is usually not conducive to alfresco dining, but we gave it a shot one evening and had a great time and a great meal. We were well bundled up and cooked our own food on "hot rocks". With calmer seas and warmer temperatures, we would have done this more often. Lunch was also available on the pool deck and proved to be a very popular option in spite of the weather. Burgers, dogs and excellent fish sandwiches were the normal fare for lunch. Breakfast and lunch were often difficult. The quality and variety of the food was good, but the buffet area was very small, extremely congested and inefficient. Lines were often long and passengers had to compete with staff trying to replenish the buffet. Food was often displayed illogically. For example, salad toppings (bacon, peppers, mushrooms, croutons, etc.) were the first items on the buffet, then, further in, you came to a lettuce bowl. So if you wanted a salad of lettuce covered with toppings, you had to backtrack the line and trip over the guests behind you. Most of the chafing dishes were small and had to be restocked often, further exacerbating the congestion. For some reason, the worst service on the cruise was at breakfast . . . even getting a cup of tea or coffee was often a challenge. The only entertainment on board was Florandy at the piano, (who was very talented at playing and singing a wide variety of familiar songs, and quite personable, too), and one night of karaoke. Here, the Zegrahm half of the partnership came into play, and the Zegrahm experience was mostly very positive. The Zegrahm naturalists were terrific. They were well educated (many PhD's) in a variety of fields such as geology, botany, marine biology, ornithology, history, etc., but they were also very personable and friendly, and brought much life and enthusiasm into what we were seeing. They all were also capable and safe Zodiac drivers, an important factor when most every day you're making a couple of wet landings in often choppy water. The itinerary took us from Nome, up to the Arctic Circle, to Provideniya, Russia, back down through the Bering Sea and up the Aleutian Islands and Katmai Peninsula to Seward. We saw several small, mostly struggling villages - including one long-abandoned Norwegian cod fishing village. We walked the often-barren tundra, which, in July, was alive with flowers. Mostly, however, we saw wildlife. We saw, up close and personal, birds galore; (including the elusive McCay's Bunting, which is found only on St. Lawrence Island); Orcas and Humpbacks cavorting in the frigid waters; seals, seal lions and sea otters; a gray wolf wandering the shoreline; and, of course, lots of brown bears. The wildlife is the primary reason we signed on to this cruise, and we weren't disappointed. There were, alas, a few things which I did NOT like about Zegrahm. I booked this (very expensive) excursion over a year in advance. The trip began with a group dinner at the Anchorage Marriott on July 6th, and we boarded the Silver Discoverer in Nome on July 7th. It wasn't until sometime in March that we learned that we were responsible for booking and paying for our own, July 7th, flight from Anchorage to Nome. In the scheme of things, this $200pp cost is pretty insignificant, but it sure felt like nickel and diming on what was promoted as an all-inclusive trip. They should have charged $200 more for the entire excursion and included the flight. You gotta have boots to navigate all the wet landings. I was on an Antarctic expedition cruise with Ponant in December 2016. We needed boots there as well, but Ponant had a large inventory of boots on board, and we each were fitted and supplied with boots for the duration of the journey. But with Zegrahm, you had to bring your boots with you. They had a vendor from whom you could buy or rent boots, but you had to pack them in your luggage and schlep them back home with you. It's tough packing for a two-three week trip as it is; two pair of boots take up a lot of room - and weight - in your luggage. I much preferred the Ponant approach. I've taken two expedition cruises in the last year, Zegrahm and Ponant. (I wrote a Cruise Critic review of my Antarctica cruise on Ponant's Le Soleal.) Both were memorable, fun and exciting, and I'm happy with each experience. Zegrahm does a great job and seems to have a very loyal base of repeat travelers, (some of our fellow passengers had traveled with Zegrahm a dozen or more times in the past). But for my next expedition cruise, I will probably lean toward Ponant. The ship is newer, more comfortable and in some ways more convenient (i.e. boots), and overall it seems to be a better value for the money. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We went on the Explorer last year in May 2016 to Scotland and Norway and was the first time with Silver sea. We have traveled Seabourn and was happy, but friends had mentioned to try Silversea. There were 2 days at sea due to canceling ... Read More
We went on the Explorer last year in May 2016 to Scotland and Norway and was the first time with Silver sea. We have traveled Seabourn and was happy, but friends had mentioned to try Silversea. There were 2 days at sea due to canceling beach party in Timor Indonesia saying the country would not allow cruise ships there any longer. Then we arrived in Dawrin docked a day early, so 3 days lost. They tried to get a couple tours on land at the end. One a city drive and the other a wildlife park/aquarium tour. Food fair, but r redundant. The rooms were worn and outdated. Lots of crickets in our cabin and balcony. They said they probable hitched a ride back in Darwin. Yikes! The cabin attendants were top notch. Most of the waiter staff were good, but seemed frustrated at times. Less luxury and more of a working ship for exploration tours. Price was 30K for Veranda Suite....and not worth that to see a few rock carvings and the hikes were very hot and humid. Be in good shape and hold the bladder for 2-3 hours. Rod river cruise had a bathroom on the boat. It was a fun tour and the zodiacs getting you wet under the waterfalls were the best 2 things out of 11 days. Kind of boring. Should have been more activities. No bathroom provisions on most the tours. No photographer as he had visa issue and there was not a cruise coordinator to help with other trips. Reception was overworked. Piano player was excellent. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
WOW! There is no other way to start this review. We booked the 11 day expedition from Bali to Broome with some concerns having read the limited number of reviews available on Silver Discoverer. We checked in with Silversea and staff ... Read More
WOW! There is no other way to start this review. We booked the 11 day expedition from Bali to Broome with some concerns having read the limited number of reviews available on Silver Discoverer. We checked in with Silversea and staff reassured us that the vessel had recently undergone further work to address the issues raised (in late 2016 and early 2017). Should we have been worried? It’s Silversea? Our simple answer is a resounding “No”! As soon as we embarked on an overcast day in Bali we were greeted by a crew of enthusiastic and professional staff who worked very hard to make sure that this was trip that none of the 94 passengers would forget in a hurry. (The amazing scenery worked hard too and more on that later). The two restaurants were excellent. The main restaurant provided eleven days of high quality and varied menus, some days starting the breakfast service at 5am to enable an early get away by the Zodiacs. The four course dinners were always accompanied by excellent wines many of which were new those of us Australia. The pool grill provided excellent energy food and a great evening hot rock experience. The fresh past prepared by Daniela everyday was excellent. The high quality service continued into the bar either by the pool during the heat of the day or in the lounge into the late evening. The expedition itself was from start to finish superb. Led brilliantly by Brad Siviour and the expedition team of experienced and well qualified experts we explored the Lower Sundas islands, survived the 1.5 hour coach drive to Kivu, came face to face with Komodo dragons, snorkeled at Pink Beach, danced on Savu, sailed through a storm as we approached Australia, sailed the mighty Ord River, flew over the Purnululu National Park home to the Bungle Bungles and Argyle Diamond mine, marveled at the amazing and very full King George falls, saw ancient and recent rock art, sat in the cockpit of a WW2 DC53, explored the Hunter River mangroves, cruised over and into Montgomery Reef and went through half of the horizontal waterfalls. Every day was carefully planned by the Captain Taillard and Brad, taking into account tides, weather and other variables. Each evening we were all briefed about the next day, what we would do and when over cocktails. On our return the next day we all shared tales of our adventures over champagne and cocktails around the pool. Good friendships have been made as a result which made the whole voyage even more enjoyable. Nothing that good happens without serious planning and the input of people who know their destination very, very well. The combined experience of the Captain, senior crew and expedition team made sure that we all saw the best of what the Indonesian archipelago and the remote Kimberley coast had to offer. Coupled with the big wet season, the Kimberley delivered an adventure that few of the 94 passengers will forget for many years. Nothing is ever perfect and if it was there would be no room for improvement. However the few points that we could raise have been passed onto Silversea and we would expect them to respond positively. When asked for constructive feedback mid cruise they worked hard to address the issues be they in the restaurant, rooms or during the expedition trips. For example a point that there was no way to refresh the stainless steel water bottles they provide during one long shore visit (they do not provide water in plastic bottles which is a huge plus). The next shore visit a large water cooler was provided for everybody to keep hydrated, a clear demonstration that Silversea listens and acts. We all disembarked in Broome and felt privileged to have visited both the Indonesian islands and the amazing and remote Kimberley coast. The thankyous and good byes were heartfelt and sincere from both sides. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Having travelled with Silversea before, I decided to try an expedition ship - I was a little daunted before I travelled but after talking in depth with my cruise advisor, I was a little more relaxed. I was so surprised at how incredible ... Read More
Having travelled with Silversea before, I decided to try an expedition ship - I was a little daunted before I travelled but after talking in depth with my cruise advisor, I was a little more relaxed. I was so surprised at how incredible the whole experience was. I stayed in Phuket pre-cruise and met with a friend from a previous cruise. The flights were excellent, the service by Silversea to the hotels and ship were excellent and the cruise was magnificent. The staff were amazing - they couldn't do enough to assist us. That includes restaurant, butler and bar staff who all knew our names and were just lovely. They also had great senses of humour and put up with all our idiosyncrasies. The food was generally of a high standard and I had no complaints. Our amazing restaurant waitress, Catherine was a firm favourite so I always ate dinner at one of her tables where we were assisted by Darwin, the Sommelier who was most informative and actually found me a lovely red that I actually liked, which is no mean feat. Caroline was also on hand to assist. My butler, Ivy was superb and couldn't do enough to help me. The expedition team as well as the fitness team were amazing and not only did they inform us, look after us and find amazing destinations but they also advised on future trips and gave us insight to experiences that they had had. James the photographer took a superb DVD that we could purchase at the end of the trip - it was worth every penny I spent. The experiences in Thailand and Indonesia were phenomenal from seeing Oran-utangs in the wild to cultural dancing, the Simelue islands that had never been visited before by a cruise ship, where the people were so friendly and welcoming, to the Nias Islands where we watched the initiation ceremony of young men jumping over high walls with bare feet and landing onto stone - crazy but incredible. The different buildings and villages were also superb - to be honest the experiences were too many to describe, but we also visited Anak Krakatoa - mind blowing as well as a wonderful day on Kura Kura for some relaxation and snorkelling. Riding the zodiacs was fantastic. Basically, I can wax lyrical for ever but if you haven't done it, get out there and do it. My cabin was amazing. Do not listen to negatives as the positives totally outweigh the positives as there are no negatives. Silversea are fantastic. Go cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2017
The ship developed a serious electrical failure on the second day in Reunion Island. We were advised that it was unsafe to remain on board - and bussed off to local hotels for the night. The next day we were told that the ship was still ... Read More
The ship developed a serious electrical failure on the second day in Reunion Island. We were advised that it was unsafe to remain on board - and bussed off to local hotels for the night. The next day we were told that the ship was still unable to sail and we would be spending a second night in Reunion hotels. Not a good start to our first experience of Silverseas explorer travel. At a briefing chaired by the Captain and Expedition Leader, it was suggested by one of the guests that maybe the ship was showing signs of age and maintenance parts were not readily available. There had been similar breakdowns recorded in 2014. Finally, we set sail after a two-day delay. This, however, had major implications to the original itinerary. We missed two full days in Madagascar – instead visiting briefly two destinations where we spent hours instead of whole days. Notwithstanding all the problems at the start of the cruise, it must be said that the staff on Discoverer were outstanding. The bar staff were particularly impressive, but I wish I could say the same for the food. No doubt the restrictions of a small galley mean you cannot compare the food to the offering on other Silverseas ships. Whilst all the trappings of ‘fine dining’ were there, I found the food only average in its appeal. Why waste the precious outside dining area around the pool (The Grill) with ‘hot rocks’ in such high temperatures night after night? Also, the lunches here were very poor – burgers and chips – and not very nice either. The Expedition Staff were very knowledgeable and were very helpful. Malcolm Turner, the birder and all-rounder was especially entertaining. Personally, I wouldn’t book a cruise on Discoverer again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Mahe - Seychelles expedition cruise The ship developed a significant electrical fault in Reunion. Not happy! All pax were transferred to hotels - the capt advising the ship was under repair. We spent yet another day away from the ... Read More
Mahe - Seychelles expedition cruise The ship developed a significant electrical fault in Reunion. Not happy! All pax were transferred to hotels - the capt advising the ship was under repair. We spent yet another day away from the ship - two full days of the itinerary were lost. Eventually weset sail with a modified itinerary. Unfortunately we will never know what we missed out on in Madagascar that destination being the main attraction for this cruise. One wonders if the age and condition of Discoverer requires more frequent maintenance. Despite the disappointment and shaky start the service crew were very attentive, especially the bar staff. The Butler was a true gentlemen and was always around to help. The interior of the ship was adequate since new floor coverings and furniture was provided in October 2016. The cabins were ok, but showing signs of wear and tear, not that it bothered us. The food - as expected on an expedition ship - doesn't really rate 'fine dining' but was always well presented. Wines were acceptable and alternatives available if the wine being served didn't suit. We never went short. I wish the aft deck was better suited to alfresco dining - the lunch options never changed - the burgers were awful. The 'hot rocks' in the evenings soon lost their appeal - silversea would be well advised to offer an option, perhaps from the MDR menu. Ending positively - the expedition crew, especially the Leader, were well organised and very informative. All lectures were 45m which was just about right. Hats off to Nikki the Expedition Leader for keeping her head above the water when the chips were down. Finally - the $2,000 credit towards a future Silversea cruise will not be enough to entice us back from Seabourn. I rated this cruise 7/10. The staff 9/10. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We choose the the cruise because of the destination, Madagascar and it's lemurs. We had booked 2 previous cruises on the Discoverer. The first was for the inaugural cruise after purchase/refurbishing of the ship in 2014, to Indonesia, ... Read More
We choose the the cruise because of the destination, Madagascar and it's lemurs. We had booked 2 previous cruises on the Discoverer. The first was for the inaugural cruise after purchase/refurbishing of the ship in 2014, to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It was cancelled shortly before sailing as the ship was not ready. Strike one. We rebooked a similar cruise for 3 months later. There were many problems with the ship and staff knowledge of the itinerary. Strike two. To their credit, SilverSea did give financial compensation in both situations. An expedition on the Explorer in the summer of 2016 was picture perfect. The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth as silk. The ship looked the same with the exception of the old breakfast/lunch area had been nicely converted to a public lounge and the suite bathrooms had been remodeled. The expedition staff was outstanding and performed well. The cabin staff was excellent and the wait staff was above average. The food, however, was not up to SilverSea standards, despite having the same head chef that we had on the Explorer 7 months earlier. The wine selections were spot on. Now for the other side of the coin. Just after our return from our excursion at our first port, we were informed the power was out for the whole ship. After a couple of hours, they announced that we would all be bused to hotels for the night. Fair enough, stuff happens.The next morning we were all bused for a hastily arranged excursion. Upon returning to the ship, we were informed that a second night in a hotel was necessary. We finally sailed the next day after lunch. We had missed 2 days of ports in Madagascar, our primary reason for selecting the cruise. Throughout the cruise there were continuing problems with the plumbing in our cabin and several other cabins of our friends. The air conditioning in the cabins seemed to over preform at times and under preform at others, with no adjustment to the dial. The air conditioning in the restaurant and lounge could not handle the load when the rooms were moderately full. The expedition staff had to be reminded that they needed to have alternative activities for the large number of passengers that did not snorkel or dive on the last four days in the Seychelles. This is not a ship or itinerary for children. Teens maybe. We will sail with SilverSea again, but never again on the Discoverer. Strike three! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The cruise was excellent, not many passengers and plenty of room to move around, if it were full though I expect it would have been harder to enjoy. The staff could not be faulted, 10 out of 10. The food though was just average, ... Read More
The cruise was excellent, not many passengers and plenty of room to move around, if it were full though I expect it would have been harder to enjoy. The staff could not be faulted, 10 out of 10. The food though was just average, but a lot of effort was put into beach and deck dining, a bar was also made available on every remote landing where time permitted. For the price charged the standard of food was not up to the standard expected of Silverseas. The ship however, though new to Silverseas is greatly in need of an upgrade, which we were told would happen in October, so if you go before then , be forewarned and temper your expectations. The remote places visited were very interesting and the locals put on an outstanding welcome for us. The authorities in Indonesia however gave the ship a very hard time at three different locations, which left everyone feeling very unseasy, crew and passengers alike. You don't expect this in the modern world. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise as we had wanted to explore the Kimberley and this one offered great accommodation too - all around my birthday. The ship itself is rather tired and the water system needs a total overhaul as the water is an unpleasant ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had wanted to explore the Kimberley and this one offered great accommodation too - all around my birthday. The ship itself is rather tired and the water system needs a total overhaul as the water is an unpleasant yellow colour - rather off-putting but totally harmless! The only other hitch was the lack of outside seating on the shade - 106 passengers were competing for about 10 seats - the best ones being on the smoking deck - not good for the non-smokers. However, having said that the cruise was amazing - the staff were cheerful and extremely willing to grant one's every wish. The excursions/tours were amazing - every one was a unique experience for us both. The expedition staff were the most generous and knowledgeable people you could wish to meet. They made every trip out a feast of learning and an adventure. Malcolm Turner was always a highlight with his informative but humorous lecturers. The dining room was always willing to accommodate our preference for a table for two. The wait staff remembered us and our wine tastes avery evening, going out of their way to please us all. The Kimberley is a wild and exciting place with everything from Montgomery Reef and the Horizontal Falls to the Bungle Bungles and croc-infested rivers. We were lucky to be there when the tides had a variation of 10 metres - spectacular natural wonders of this area. Everywhere you looked there were birds, crocodile, jellyfish, dugongs - amazing rock formations, Aboriginal art - never short of something phenomenal to see - we would go again in a heartbeat! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Overall, very good cruise - very different from any others and would definitely go again. Embarkation was slow, suitcases took ages to come and in no particular cabin order. Cabin is reviewed below - not sure extra money for balcony is ... Read More
Overall, very good cruise - very different from any others and would definitely go again. Embarkation was slow, suitcases took ages to come and in no particular cabin order. Cabin is reviewed below - not sure extra money for balcony is worth it. Ship is ok; ceilings very low, problem with toilets (see cabin review), very hot, top deck 7 was wasted space - no shade at all. Area round pool was too sunny - lack of shade a big issue. Pool small but fine for a cooling dip - some guests jumped in fully clothed when coming back from trips. The lounge was poorly seated - sit to right or middle for talks. Dining - breakfast slightly shambolic due to many guests asking for specially cooked items, but good selection. Lunch - good; one day there was an exceptional ratatouille: I raved about it so much they made me a portion on the final night's dinner. Dinner choices not vast but well presented. Fabulous sommelier knew her wines! very good selection and happy to bring other varieties/bottles for us to try. No entertainment other than a pianist. No room for dancing. Daily lectures very informative and interesting. We went to the spa and it wasn't busy and massages were great. Activities - where to start! Every day we were out on the Zodiacs exploring. So wonderful. Each boat took a max of either 8 or 12 plus a member of expedition staff. Two extra trips offered: many guests took the $70 fast boat through the Horizontal Falls. We didn't and I'm sorry about that. It was described as not for those with a bad back but those who went on it said it was fine. We did do the helicopter trip to the Mitchell Falls - over $500, and it was absolutely amazing! There was an included choice of a flight over the Bungle Bungles or a River Ord cruise. We did the flight. very good, but try to sit on the pilot's side. Those who took the cruise said it was marvellous. Trip to Jaco Island was a highlight. Expedition staff were exceptional. Ship staff very, very good. Can't fault anyone. I did have to consult the doctor for a problem with my eye and he was efficient. bar staff lovely. We saw crocodiles, turtles, eagles, millions of birds, dolphins, sea snakes and a whale! Plus lots of other beasties. Don't go if you are not prepared to get wet, jump on boats, hang on tight, laugh when kissed by a waterfall and mix well with the other guests! There were 89 guests on our voyage (instead of usual 120). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We've sailed on the Silver Explorer and were quite happy. When a cruise was offered to Macquarie Island, we figured this would be all good. It was ANYTHING BUT. Service, food, and cabin all great. Everything else was a disaster. ... Read More
We've sailed on the Silver Explorer and were quite happy. When a cruise was offered to Macquarie Island, we figured this would be all good. It was ANYTHING BUT. Service, food, and cabin all great. Everything else was a disaster. 1. this ship is NOT outfitted to travel to this sort of location, in spite of what Silverseas might say (having that confirmed later by 2 independent captains who are familiar with this vessel). It cannot handle rough seas which, of course, is what you get in this part of the world. 2. The captain and expedition leader both continued to give out extremely sketchy information, other than saying they were "trying to get to Macquarie Island". We never got there, instead spending an inordinate amount of time in Milford Sound, TWO visits to Stewart Island and another location where "daytrippers" go. Poorly managed, no communication of any real value, and this was the most EXPENSIVE trip we've ever taken that simply went to places we could have gone to on something far less expensive. 3. They actually tried to tell us that the other ship that made it to Macquarie Island (same time as we were to go there) endangered their passengers. We watched the Macquarie Island webcam .... they were all off onshore having a ball!!!!! 4. The ship itself is poorly laid out in the area of public rooms. The only real "lounge" is actually the theatre/lecture room so there really isn't anywhere to sit and chat with other passengers. The seating was uncomfortable as well. As we floated around in what the passengers called "The Magical Mystery Tour", most stayed in their cabins or sat on sofas opposite the lifts. We couldn't wait to get off! 5. We wrote to Silverseas and we received what we felt was a very cool answer and no apologies, etc. Read Less
Silver Discoverer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.3
Dining 5.0 3.8
Entertainment N/A 2.4
Public Rooms 4.0 3.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 2.7
Family 2.0 2.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.0
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.1
Rates 5.0 N/A

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