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Silver Explorer Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
81 Reviews

Lots of Birds, Sun & Polar Bears if You are Lucky

Silver Explorer Cruise Review by giffenk

20 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jul 2016
  • Destination: the Arctic
  • Cabin Type: Medallion Suite

Loved the ship & the cruise. We had previously done an Antarctic cruise on the same ship and the Arctic cruise held a few surprises for us. But it was all great.

The land excursions in the Arctic are VERY short. Sometimes as short as a few hundred meters. We quickly learned that the reason was the potential for a Polar Bear attack. If it is foggy, then the zodiacs will not land since the bear guards can not see far enough to verify there are no polar bears. If they see a polar bear, then the zodiacs will not land. Instead you get to cruise about in the zodiac watching the polar bear. Okay!

As in the Antarctic, the passengers are split into 4 zodiac groups. The zodiacs can hold 2 groups at a time with rotating staggered boarding times. So some days you get to sleep in (and then be rushed to get to dinner).

We were lucky enough to see multiple polar bears. 2 with fresh kills. Our first bear encounter occurred shortly after our group land excursion was complete (we were sipping champagne on the top deck and getting ready to think about ordering lunch when the bear was reported). The 2 groups onshore were quickly evacuated to the zodiacs and spent the last half of their time slot watching a polar bear walk along the shore. They were brought back to the boat and our group reboarded the zodiacs to spend over an hour following the bear down the coast. The zodiac expedition crew radioed back to the ship to tell them that we would be very late returning and to delay lunch. Awesome. But not common.

We started up north in Longyearbyen and ended in Tromso. This meant we had a lot of lectures at the end of the trip (during at sea days) telling us what we had already seen. Maybe we should have started at the south?

Our week started out with the first excursion delayed and almost cancelled due to weather. We had fog & horizontal sleet / rain. Not nice. We then lucked out for the rest of the week with lots of sunshine. We only had 1 day cancelled due to weather conditions. You should normally expect at least 2 to 3 days (or more) cancelled due to weather.

The unexpected great weather also meant we could eat lunch on the deck 5 times (sunshine, champagne, blankets & winter coats!) and we also did the Hot Rocks dinner on the rear deck 2 of the 3 nights it was offered.

This trip we were upstairs which is really midships (our friend was down below on 4 and much closer to the front). This cabin included a few extras like free laundry (which i used several times) free wifi (i think the whole boat had it?) and daily canapes service (which we consumed with a bottle of champagne). We had a balcony which was great for checking the weather of looking around, but it was too cold to actually sit out there very long.

The cabin was standard silver sea. No issues. A little worn around the edges but perfectly fine for people that were wearing waterproof clothes and lots of underwear.

We enjoyed this as much as our Antarctic trip. But you need to remember this is an expedition cruise. The weather is often bad to terrible. This will affect your trip.

After the Polar Bears & Walrus the highlight was the birds on Bear Island. My hat still needs a little more cleaning.


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Cabin Review

Medallion Suite
Cabin ME 702

This trip we were upstairs which is really midships (our friend was down below on 4 and much closer to the front). This cabin included a few extras like free laundry (which i used several times) free wifi (i think the whole boat had it?) and daily canapes service (which we consumed with a bottle of champagne). We had a balcony which was great for checking the weather of looking around, but it was too cold to actually sit out there very long.

The cabin was standard silver sea. No issues. A little worn around the edges but perfectly fine for people that were wearing waterproof clothes and lots of underwear.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Svalbard museum

Small, but interesting. Many exhibits in Norwegian only.

View All 3 Svalbard museum Reviews
Tromso

We stayed an extra day in Tromso after the cruise. Easy to walk about.


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giffenk
2 Reviews Written
25 Helpful Votes
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