We had a great cruise on the December 11, 2017 Antarctica departure of SilverSea Expedition's Cloud. Most every aspect of the cruise exceeded our expectations and our expectations were pretty high! Temperatures hovered around freezing while in Antarctica, though we had some sunny days and went about at times without our large coats / gloves. The ship can travel quite fast, and we crossed the Drake Passage in 36 hours, giving us an extra day in Antarctica! Seas were mild to moderate. Many people wore "the patch" to help with motion sickness, and the ship's reception desk handed out pills for those who needed help. We hoped to see wildlife on this cruise and we saw plenty of birds (including penguins), several seals, and one glorious night a few people up late (10pm to midnight) saw 100-200 whales on a bit of a feeding frenzy. Bird sightings began on the crossing, and bird experts were on hand to fill you in on what you were seeing.
The scenery was spectacular -- both from the ship and on the shore -- and we always enjoyed our time ashore. You see a lot of penguins, and while some passengers seemed bored by the second landing with yet more penguins, I always found them fascinating and entertaining. For those sensitive to smell, I saw several fellow passengers reacting to the penguin guano as we approached our first landfall. Our landing at the Chilean Antarctic Research Base Gonzalez Videla has us tromping through so much penguin guano that all passengers' boots were power washed as we exited the zodiac and before we could step foot in the ship. We love to kayak, and were fortunate to be selected for an afternoon of kayaking; what a great experience led by a passionate and fun team. Our final stop was at Telefon Bay -- the interior of a volcanic caldera. We hiked to the edge of the latest volcanic cone and were surprised to find a small waterfall! For those souls brave enough, this was the stop for the polar plunge. A storm was blowing through the Drake Passage, with forecast of 12+ meter (36+ foot) seas; the ship's Captain held the ship overnight in a protected bay, allowing the worst of the storm to pass and giving us a milder ride back to South America. All the chairs in the dining rooms are cabled to the floor for a reason;-)
Cabin was recently updated and looked new. Furniture is too large for the room and chairs in the sitting area seem out of place. The TV was large and had a great picture but would rotate from bed to sitting area as we hit waves. Walls squeaked on really large waves. We were surprised how much we could hear our neighbor's TV.