Silver Galapagos Cruise Review by f100
- Sail Date: May 2015
- Destination: Galapagos
So I guess it is fair to say that Silversea has found the right track in the Galapagos.
This ship and this cruise should not be compared to the mainline Silversea ships; this is an expedition cruise, the destination is the prime object, the ship just a place to sleep and eat.
Most of the negative comments seem to be from people who cruised mainline Silversea before and therefore had an expectation level that never could be met on this cruise in any case.
Now, although I have never cruised Silversea before and having read all the (negative) reviews, I boarded the ship open minded and I must say that the experience exceeded my expectations in all aspects.
The ship was renovated late 2014 and looks fresh and up to date, certainly not brand new, but well fitted for this cruise. Fresh carpets, very comfortable beds, functional but nice furniture. Our balcony cabin 512 was roomy and light, wouldn't call it a suite, but that's just marketing. Air conditioning worked well, we actually had to adjust the temperature setting upwards on order not to freeze. Our cabin included a free internet plan for 1200 minutes per person and I must say that the speed was very reasonable given the remote location. Bathroom, just the standard cruise ship size and functionality.
About the food, lots has been written already, here's the short version: breakfast is a standard hotel like buffet. Lunch available on the open deck or in the main restaurant, which we chose as a nice place to cool down a bit after the morning activities. A buffet for the starters/soup/desert and three main dishes from the menu, not fancy but hearty meals to get you going again for the afternoon activities.
Dinner, available again on the open top deck or in the main restaurant, had it in the main restaurant most times. Extensive menu with several choices for starters/mains/deserts, every meal was very good, some excellent, mainly the seafood dishes, quality of meat was good to great. Chef Marco stopped by a few times and explained his logistics nightmares and heavily regulated supply chain; we thought he and his team did an excellent job considering all these restrictions.
Excursions: excellent guides, wonderful hikes, snorkel tours, kayak trips, zodiac rides; this is why you came to the Galapagos, don't sleep in and miss anything!
The real highlights: the staff! What a great crew, sweet, chatty, service minded. Our great butler Alvaro, who would do anything to make us happy, our wonderful waiters Charly and David, all the excellent guides, cruise director/expedition leader Yvonne who created a great atmosphere at the nightly briefings, everybody made sure we had a wonderful week on the ship and we felt sad saying goodbye on the last morning.
Any negatives? Oh, if you look closely you will find things to complain about, especially if your expectation is Silversea mainline... We went into this experience open minded and were very happy, in fact one of our best vacations ever!
To summarize: read the introduction letter in your cruise documents carefully to find out what the settings and challenges are for this cruise, as explained by the Silversea executive. This should create the right mindset on how the judge the product so you will have a wonderful, upscale Galapagos experience.
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