Can not fault the staff and service.
Pampered and entertained throughout the trip.
We took various combinations of Travacalm (scopolamine) / ondansetron tablets upon sailing from Ushuaia and noticed a number of people wearing patches. Some took promethasine which we avoided because it s too sedating. The ship is big enough to cope with the swell so that the Drake passage is tolerable . No one looked unwell albeit a little sedated from the prophylactic meds and the restaurants and cocktail bars were well attended even during our crossings.
Daily activities indoor and out . Informative entertaining lectures from enthusiastic research team members. At each destination , which on our expedition was twice daily, the Zodiacs were lowered extremely efficiently and guests were able to disembark within 10 mins of arrival. The days are busy and we found ourselves constantly entertained. The daily activities are planned and published in the ‘chronicle’ delivered to each cabin the night prior. The scheduled is adhered to fairly punctually. There is no time to get bored .
The guests are assigned to one of six groups to be rotated to shore. On the first morning , we awaited eagerly for our turn. By the second day, we found ourselves rushing back to our cabins to get ready when our turn was called because we were busy watching others from our Verandah or the deck or enjoying a drink from the Panorama lounge or the pool deck etc. There is a lot wildlife and scenery to marvel at from the boat itself, worthy lectures to attend, cocktails, lovely meals etc so waiting for our turn to disembark was not boring!!
An evening at the Grill poolside is a must. The lava stone dinner is a fantastic experience and should not be missed. The main restaurant service and the menus are terrific . From Foie gras and caviar , vegetarian delights, low Fat options, every taste is catered for.
The pianist and guitarist Aidan on board were excellent .
The parka provided is very warm.
Now for little tips
We hired boots , waterproof pants and stocks. They were in our cabin on arrival and easy to return upon conclusion of the cruise.There was an opportunity to conveniently exchange parka and equipment which didn’t fit as soon as we sailed. We were thoroughly satisfied with the hired gear . The majority of guest hired equipment too . It’s heavy and bulky to bring as luggage. Supplemental luggage in South America is US$100 a piece. LAN weighs all carry on which must be under 8kgs.The Bogs boot were warm,comfortable and the best option for walking on the snow and rocks . Stocks are a must for walking on snow covered hills . Two types of weatherproof pants are randomly given out for hire .Make sure yours has a zip at the bottom of the leg to allow room to fit over the boot. Mine had a Velcro which I found inconvenient and I wish I d exchanged for a zip . Velcro pants are harder to slide over the boot .
We brought ski pants which was unnecessary. Thermal underwear and a supplemental layer of wool/fleece top and bottom is sufficient. Neck warmer/scarf, beany, sunglasses, long wooly socks . Washing machine/dryer freely available on deck 4 so we only needed x2 changes of clothes. The dress at dinner is smart casual. Most guest had travelled through summer temperature in Chile or Argentina en route to the cruise so no one had room to pack extravagant winter outfits . Casual elegance is de rigueur but in view of the harsh wind and temperatures, everyone spent most of the day in the SilverCloud Red Parka.
The expedition crew numbers 28 scientist/historians/photographers who man the expedition Zodiacs . They are fun enthousiastic ,affable and entertaining. They narrate the expeditions ashore and mingle with the guests. An expedition crew may offer to join your dinner table. I highly recommend you accept the invitation to hear fascinating stories about their research,interests and experiences on the expeditions (we had an interesting Aussie chap. Stephen Kurtaim). The hotel ,bar and restaurant staff are the also joyful/helpful.
We travelled as a family and had Verandah Suites on the 5th deck. I don’t think any suite has a bad view and no side of the ship is better than the other in that respect.Well appointed, comfortable and spacious with lovely Marble bathrooms. Room service is impeccable ( Thank you Maria and Lalit). My only negative comment is that the room carpet looked a bit old .
We docked in Ushuaia at midday the day before disembark. Afternoon hikes/excursion were offered by the expedition team in and around town. We chose to independently walk to the historic museum/convict prison. (take Pesos or US$ or a debit card. No credit card accepted at government facilities)
The boarding/ disembark process is extremely well orchestrated. Silverseas Staff are present to assist at all times including during bus transfers, flights ,hotel check ins from and to Santiago etc. It s extraordinary support !
The cruise ship and its staff are outstanding... then there s Antarctica itself. Words can’t describe it.