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My husband and I were on the Silversea Explorer for the December 22, 2015 to January 3, 2016 trip to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. We flew in a few days early to Buenos Aires to just in case there were any issues with our flights because we didn’t want to take any chances to miss a trip of a lifetime. We took a taxi from the international airport to our hotel and then our hotel to the domestic airport. We arrived around 6am to the domestic airport and it was crazy busy. The regular check in line was super long and we actually stood in it with our luggage to check for about 45 minutes until we finally noticed a Silversea representative, who saved us from the terrible line. Then there was another really long line once we got to security. We had a charter flight arranged by Silversea. Unfortunately, our charter flight to Ushuaia pre-cruise was 1.5 hours late departing Buenos Aries. Once in Ushuaia, we collected our luggage and handed it to a Silversea rep who took it to the ship, while we were loaded onto buses and taken on a tour and to lunch at a restaurant near the national park. Lunch was ok, nothing special. There was salad, rolls, lamb, and dessert. After lunch, they took us right to the ship. On board, we were greeted with servers wearing tails, white gloves, and handing us champagne. It’s not really our style, but that’s how Silversea rolls, so we went with it. Being that it was an expedition trip to Antarctica, their little attempts at luxury and providing a fancy atmosphere seemed odd and a little out of place. Our luggage was already waiting in our room and we had time to unpack and sort out our boot and jacket situation before the lifeboat drill. Our rental boots had been delivered to the wrong room and one of our jackets wasn’t the right size, but these issues were resolved within the first hour of being onboard. The lifeboat drill was partially in the theater and partially outside. Unfortunately the weather was windy with an icy cold rain when we had to go outside and many of the passengers seemed upset that they had to be outside. Oh well, that just part of the drill and seriously, this is an expedition trip…you’re going to encounter getting wet and some unpleasant weather. The days where we had landings either at the Falklands or Antarctica were well planned. However, sea days were dull. Where were the activities? Trivia? Anything? There were a couple lectures each day, which were ok, but some topics were just plain boring. Here was a typical sea day: get up, go to breakfast, nap, lecture, nap, lunch, nap, nap, lecture, nap, get a snack, nap, lecture, dinner, & go to bed. The Falkland Islands were nice to visit and if you’re considering a trip to Antarctica you might as well go to the Falkands too. On our first morning landing we saw thousands of rockhopper penguins and albatross. In the afternoon of day one, we saw more of the same. The weather was very windy, but temps in the 40s/50sF. Stanley (the major city in the Falkands) was a worthless stop in our opinion for an expedition cruise with no wildlife to see and was pretty much just an opportunity for a little bit of shopping. Next, we crossed the Drake Passage. It was a relatively clam crossing. Maybe only 20% of the passengers were sea sick. We wore the patches, but found the side effects to be so terrible, we took them off early and we were fine. We crossed the Drake in a day and a half and arrived early to the Antarctic Peninsula. The focus of the captain and expedition staff was definitely to show you as much as they possibly could. We even got out in the zodiacs to see some penguins, seals, and icebergs on that bonus afternoon of Antarctica since we arrived early. The next few days of traveling around the Antarctic Peninsula were outstanding in terms of weather and wildlife viewing! The scenery is indescribable because of the sheer greatness and vastness. It doesn’t even compare to anything we’ve seen anywhere else in the world. Yes, we literally saw millions of penguins and chicks. Mid to late December is perfect chick viewing as well as better weather than if you go earlier on or later in the season. There were some places that we visited that had half a million penguins at that one location. Most locations we visited had more than 100,000 penguins, so there will be no shortage for you to see. The only way you wouldn't see them is if you have terrible weather and are unable to land anywhere, but you would still likely be able to see them swimming and with binoculars or your camera on shore. We saw everything from penguins sitting on eggs, to chicks that were just a day or two old, to chicks that were all the way up to about four weeks old. While in Antarctica we saw chinstrap penguins, adelie penguins, gentoo penguins, and one lone macaroni penguin, as well as a variety of other birds, seals, and whales. The expedition staff was very knowledgeable. We knew we were having an extraordinary trip in terms of weather and wildlife based on how excited the staff was and how often they were taking photos themselves. The weather was clear for the most part with snowflakes every once in a while, at times windy, but not as windy was it was in the Falkands and temps in the 30s/40sF. Being an expedition trip, you go to shore in zodiac boats and there is a lot of hiking. If you don’t like being outdoors or are not in very good shape, this isn’t the trip for you. Also, waterproof pants, jackets, and boots are a must have for this trip because there is splash from the zodiac and getting in and out of them as well as any rain or snow you might encounter. There were several times where we would get out of the zodiac boat into water that was half way up our calves. We rented boots that we picked up on the ship, which were Bog brand. They had a limited amount of boots that people could borrow onboard, but no guarantee of size. Silversea provided us with parkas, which we could take home after the cruise. The ship itself is in good condition and we were glad that it had an A1 ice rating the evening we got temporarily stuck in some ice! I’m glad I had done my research before booking this trip. The food was a big disappointment. We were expecting a quality of food like what we had on other luxury cruises, but it wasn’t anything close to that. It was edible and it was ok, but we were glad when the trip was over not to have to eat any more of it. Breakfast and lunch were a buffet and dinner was a menu. There was also a grill, which had hamburgers and hotdogs…none of which I would actually identify as such…one bite of those and we were both done, yuck. The breakfast buffet was the same everyday: boring. You could order other items off a menu, we tried pancakes and French toast multiple times and every time they came out cold and tasteless. Lunch actually offered the biggest variety of food and it changed every day, which we liked. Dinner was a very limited menu. The presentation of the food was lovely, unfortunately the taste and quality just wasn’t there. The dress code in the dining room had some cruisers worked up. Pretty much people wore whatever they wanted and the staff allowed that. We brought dress clothes, but after we saw the majority of other passengers just wearing jeans and sweaters every night at dinner, so did we. There were a lot of families onboard because of the Christmas and New Years holidays, so I’m wondering if that is why they were more flexible with dress code than stated in the Silversea information we received prior to the trip. The Drake Passage was relatively calm crossing back to Argentina as well. We were going into the wind, which made for some interesting rocking, but nothing too bad. Again, it was more sea days with little to nothing to do onboard. They did have a selection of in room movies that you could watch and you could also watch the lectures from your stateroom, so that was nice, but we would have liked to have had more options of activities to do. On the way home, we disembarked the ship right around 8:30am. Silversea took us on busses from the ship for a tour of the town (which was just driving us down a couple of streets and then parking in a parking lot for 3 hours) because it was so early and on a Sunday, nothing was open, so many people walked around and looked at unopen shops for a little bit and then just sat on the busses. After our 3 hours in the parking lot, they finally drove us to the airport. Airport check in was quick, but it was just our cruise group checking in for a charter at a special counter. Our charter flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires was an hour late. This caused major problems with us trying to get from the domestic airport to the international airport in Buenos Aires. We had the transfer through Silversea and had to push that representative at the airport to move everyone along quickly and get the bus loaded, as well as to get her to agree to drop us off first at the international airport. Luckily it was a Sunday and traffic was light, but it still took nearly an hour from the domestic airport to the international airport in Buenos Aires. We made it to our flight with about 30 minutes to spare before boarding.

Falkland Islands and Antarcica on the Silversea Explorer

Silver Explorer Cruise Review by lithlith

32 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2015
  • Destination: Antarctica
My husband and I were on the Silversea Explorer for the December 22, 2015 to January 3, 2016 trip to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica.

We flew in a few days early to Buenos Aires to just in case there were any issues with our flights because we didn’t want to take any chances to miss a trip of a lifetime. We took a taxi from the international airport to our hotel and then our hotel to the domestic airport. We arrived around 6am to the domestic airport and it was crazy busy. The regular check in line was super long and we actually stood in it with our luggage to check for about 45 minutes until we finally noticed a Silversea representative, who saved us from the terrible line. Then there was another really long line once we got to security. We had a charter flight arranged by Silversea. Unfortunately, our charter flight to Ushuaia pre-cruise was 1.5 hours late departing Buenos Aries.

Once in Ushuaia, we collected our luggage and handed it to a Silversea rep who took it to the ship, while we were loaded onto buses and taken on a tour and to lunch at a restaurant near the national park. Lunch was ok, nothing special. There was salad, rolls, lamb, and dessert. After lunch, they took us right to the ship.

On board, we were greeted with servers wearing tails, white gloves, and handing us champagne. It’s not really our style, but that’s how Silversea rolls, so we went with it. Being that it was an expedition trip to Antarctica, their little attempts at luxury and providing a fancy atmosphere seemed odd and a little out of place. Our luggage was already waiting in our room and we had time to unpack and sort out our boot and jacket situation before the lifeboat drill. Our rental boots had been delivered to the wrong room and one of our jackets wasn’t the right size, but these issues were resolved within the first hour of being onboard.

The lifeboat drill was partially in the theater and partially outside. Unfortunately the weather was windy with an icy cold rain when we had to go outside and many of the passengers seemed upset that they had to be outside. Oh well, that just part of the drill and seriously, this is an expedition trip…you’re going to encounter getting wet and some unpleasant weather.

The days where we had landings either at the Falklands or Antarctica were well planned. However, sea days were dull. Where were the activities? Trivia? Anything? There were a couple lectures each day, which were ok, but some topics were just plain boring. Here was a typical sea day: get up, go to breakfast, nap, lecture, nap, lunch, nap, nap, lecture, nap, get a snack, nap, lecture, dinner, & go to bed.

The Falkland Islands were nice to visit and if you’re considering a trip to Antarctica you might as well go to the Falkands too. On our first morning landing we saw thousands of rockhopper penguins and albatross. In the afternoon of day one, we saw more of the same. The weather was very windy, but temps in the 40s/50sF. Stanley (the major city in the Falkands) was a worthless stop in our opinion for an expedition cruise with no wildlife to see and was pretty much just an opportunity for a little bit of shopping.

Next, we crossed the Drake Passage. It was a relatively clam crossing. Maybe only 20% of the passengers were sea sick. We wore the patches, but found the side effects to be so terrible, we took them off early and we were fine. We crossed the Drake in a day and a half and arrived early to the Antarctic Peninsula. The focus of the captain and expedition staff was definitely to show you as much as they possibly could. We even got out in the zodiacs to see some penguins, seals, and icebergs on that bonus afternoon of Antarctica since we arrived early.

The next few days of traveling around the Antarctic Peninsula were outstanding in terms of weather and wildlife viewing! The scenery is indescribable because of the sheer greatness and vastness. It doesn’t even compare to anything we’ve seen anywhere else in the world. Yes, we literally saw millions of penguins and chicks. Mid to late December is perfect chick viewing as well as better weather than if you go earlier on or later in the season. There were some places that we visited that had half a million penguins at that one location. Most locations we visited had more than 100,000 penguins, so there will be no shortage for you to see. The only way you wouldn't see them is if you have terrible weather and are unable to land anywhere, but you would still likely be able to see them swimming and with binoculars or your camera on shore. We saw everything from penguins sitting on eggs, to chicks that were just a day or two old, to chicks that were all the way up to about four weeks old.

While in Antarctica we saw chinstrap penguins, adelie penguins, gentoo penguins, and one lone macaroni penguin, as well as a variety of other birds, seals, and whales. The expedition staff was very knowledgeable. We knew we were having an extraordinary trip in terms of weather and wildlife based on how excited the staff was and how often they were taking photos themselves. The weather was clear for the most part with snowflakes every once in a while, at times windy, but not as windy was it was in the Falkands and temps in the 30s/40sF.

Being an expedition trip, you go to shore in zodiac boats and there is a lot of hiking. If you don’t like being outdoors or are not in very good shape, this isn’t the trip for you. Also, waterproof pants, jackets, and boots are a must have for this trip because there is splash from the zodiac and getting in and out of them as well as any rain or snow you might encounter. There were several times where we would get out of the zodiac boat into water that was half way up our calves. We rented boots that we picked up on the ship, which were Bog brand. They had a limited amount of boots that people could borrow onboard, but no guarantee of size. Silversea provided us with parkas, which we could take home after the cruise. The ship itself is in good condition and we were glad that it had an A1 ice rating the evening we got temporarily stuck in some ice! I’m glad I had done my research before booking this trip.

The food was a big disappointment. We were expecting a quality of food like what we had on other luxury cruises, but it wasn’t anything close to that. It was edible and it was ok, but we were glad when the trip was over not to have to eat any more of it. Breakfast and lunch were a buffet and dinner was a menu. There was also a grill, which had hamburgers and hotdogs…none of which I would actually identify as such…one bite of those and we were both done, yuck. The breakfast buffet was the same everyday: boring. You could order other items off a menu, we tried pancakes and French toast multiple times and every time they came out cold and tasteless. Lunch actually offered the biggest variety of food and it changed every day, which we liked. Dinner was a very limited menu. The presentation of the food was lovely, unfortunately the taste and quality just wasn’t there. The dress code in the dining room had some cruisers worked up. Pretty much people wore whatever they wanted and the staff allowed that. We brought dress clothes, but after we saw the majority of other passengers just wearing jeans and sweaters every night at dinner, so did we. There were a lot of families onboard because of the Christmas and New Years holidays, so I’m wondering if that is why they were more flexible with dress code than stated in the Silversea information we received prior to the trip.

The Drake Passage was relatively calm crossing back to Argentina as well. We were going into the wind, which made for some interesting rocking, but nothing too bad. Again, it was more sea days with little to nothing to do onboard. They did have a selection of in room movies that you could watch and you could also watch the lectures from your stateroom, so that was nice, but we would have liked to have had more options of activities to do.

On the way home, we disembarked the ship right around 8:30am. Silversea took us on busses from the ship for a tour of the town (which was just driving us down a couple of streets and then parking in a parking lot for 3 hours) because it was so early and on a Sunday, nothing was open, so many people walked around and looked at unopen shops for a little bit and then just sat on the busses. After our 3 hours in the parking lot, they finally drove us to the airport. Airport check in was quick, but it was just our cruise group checking in for a charter at a special counter. Our charter flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires was an hour late. This caused major problems with us trying to get from the domestic airport to the international airport in Buenos Aires. We had the transfer through Silversea and had to push that representative at the airport to move everyone along quickly and get the bus loaded, as well as to get her to agree to drop us off first at the international airport. Luckily it was a Sunday and traffic was light, but it still took nearly an hour from the domestic airport to the international airport in Buenos Aires. We made it to our flight with about 30 minutes to spare before boarding.
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