5 Silversea Silver Explorer Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

We took the 14-cruise, which started with a charter flight from Oslo to Longyearben, and included Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland. Although we received numerous extreme warnings from Silversea about how luggage limitations would be ... Read More
We took the 14-cruise, which started with a charter flight from Oslo to Longyearben, and included Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland. Although we received numerous extreme warnings from Silversea about how luggage limitations would be strictly enforced on the charter flight to Longyearben, none of the warnings turned out to be true. We were told that under no circumstances could we have more than one piece, 50 pounds maximum, of checked luggage, plus one hand luggage of 11 pounds. In fact, SAS said they would be happy to check two pieces of luggage per person, and they showed no concern over the weight of our checked or hand luggage. SAS also said that Silversea pre-assigned all seats on the plane and had instructed them not to change anyone's seats. Despite the fact that the aircraft was only about half full, we were assigned middle seats in the next to last row. We had a veranda suite category room, so our French doors opened onto a tiny balcony. This was especially important because we had views--including of a polar bear that appeared directly under our balcony, that could not easily be accessed unless you could step outside the cabin. The cruise was pretty good, but overall we had mixed results. We had been on the same ship to Antarctica, which is a much more exciting destination with far more to see. The biggest drawbacks of this cruise: it is about four days too long, so that several days include uninteresting things to see on the shore (remains of cabins or mining; entire excursions to see moss and tiny flowers) or consist of sailing around the shoreline; there is surprisingly little wildlife around--animals are extremely scarce (a single seal or whale brings dozens of people on deck), although we were lucky enough to see one polar bear VERY close up in Greenland, and a couple others in Svalbard at a distance; the expedition staff does not do a good job of describing the shore excursions accurately in advance--they sometimes neglect to mention the zillions of mosquitoes or the strenuous hiking that may be involved; it is difficult to rest because loudspeaker announcements are frequently being made and the room speakers can not be turned off. The ship's extremely expensive internet rarely worked (even when my personal phone would get cellular reception), especially in the extreme north, and for mysterious reasons, the TV satellite usually would not either, even in port. The plus side: the scenery is spectacular, with gorgeous sea ice and icebergs; most of the Zodiac rides are beautiful; the crew is extremely nice, helpful and hardworking; there is a reasonably good variety in and quality to the food and lots of fresh fruit (even exotic fruits); the ship and cabins are pleasant and well maintained. The lectures, library and movies are fine. The fitness center is very small and often crowded. There are good free laundry facilities. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
It is one of the most boring cruise I have been on. Program is poorly executed and pre and post cruise program and schedule waste a lot of time for nothing. Charter flight to Longbyen is inconvenient for both embarkation and ... Read More
It is one of the most boring cruise I have been on. Program is poorly executed and pre and post cruise program and schedule waste a lot of time for nothing. Charter flight to Longbyen is inconvenient for both embarkation and disembarkation. Food quality is very average. More like a 3-4 star quality than a 6 stars ship. There is not even ham for breakfast unless you specially ordered. All meals are quite poor in both cooking style and food quality. A few dinners are up to par. No choice of restaurant except a BBQ outdoor small setup is available with reservations for dinner - extremely limited choice of dishes - just salad & steaks. Out of 7 days, we saw 1 polar bear, 1 group of walrus and a birds enclave. Most of the days are wandering on the sea and 2 days to some Tundra islands with nothing to see. No seals, reindeers at all. The ship is very small and smells like a medical clinic all the time on many floors. The staff on the ship are very attentive. Water pressure in bathrooms are superb. There are no TV, no internet (98% of the time so do not buy their package), no DVD player in your room, almost no entertainment AT ALL except about 20 movies to select which are again, poorly chosen. There are not even TV shows on the selection menu. They did not tell you ahead of time so you are bored to death on the ship. The "gymn" has 2 treadmills and that is it. There are almost next to zero activities on the boat except a few "lectures" of 1 hour long that is not that interesting either. I will not advise anyone to go on this ship especially not for the money paid. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Cruised on the Silverseas Explorer leaving Longyearbyen Norway 25 June 2012 and finishing in Tromso Norway on 5 July 2012. I greatly enjoyed the "expedition" aspect of this cruise and the itinerary covering hard to reach ... Read More
Cruised on the Silverseas Explorer leaving Longyearbyen Norway 25 June 2012 and finishing in Tromso Norway on 5 July 2012. I greatly enjoyed the "expedition" aspect of this cruise and the itinerary covering hard to reach territory in the Arctic. We flew from the US to Oslo Norway and spent 2 nights at the Radisson Park Inn in downtown Oslo to deal with jet lag. Park Inn excellent location and good value. Silverseas provided charter flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen. Finding the check-in for the charter was confusing and chaotic--would like to see more guidance from Silverseas at the start. Charter flight itself was excellent. Upon arrival at Longyearbyen there was more confusion as to luggage and transportation. Once again, I would expect more service. But everything changed once we boarded our ship. The service onboard was excellent. The crew and staff were superb from top to bottom. The ship was well maintained. I liked the small size. Our cabin was roomy, especially the bathroom. The veranda rooms were sold out, but we were very satisfied with our picture window--it was large, not too high, and close to the water. TV service was sporadic. Internet was seldom available--understandable due to the itinerary north of the Arctic circle. If you must be in contact with the office or family, bring a satellite phone. Dining was first class. Tea served in the bar each afternoon, and coffee drinks available in the bar throughout the day. 24 hour a day room service included, and the butler did a great job keeping our room stocked with our beverage choices. Highlight of trip was expedition experience. Guides gave great presentations onboard. Zodiac trips to see bears, walrus, birds, glaciers, etc, were fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Pros's: Well kept ship, Some very experienced expedition leaders; Klaus (knew his birds and loved sharing his knowledge, worked around the clock to spot wildlife), Peter (experienced and knew his stuff), Claudia and Chris (he spotted ... Read More
Pros's: Well kept ship, Some very experienced expedition leaders; Klaus (knew his birds and loved sharing his knowledge, worked around the clock to spot wildlife), Peter (experienced and knew his stuff), Claudia and Chris (he spotted the second group of bears on day two). Food was very good, the included wine was alright (needed to pay to upgrade for better bottle). Saw bears on the second day! Wildlife seen was: walrus, seals, whales, dolphins and loads of birds. Rooms small but well appointed, staff kept rooms up well. Folks on ship were very diverse, broken apart into the German speaking and English speaking groups. Dinning room very well run. Con's: Workout room cramped to say the least, no room to stretch out which I find really important. No entertainment except a karaoke like piano player, no night life. Staff complained if you stayed past 11:30. Spent two days at the end looking for wildlife, they missed their big opportunity in the morning. We looked out the window and saw 1,000's, yes 1,000's of seals and sailed right by them. By the time we got up and out of our room we did not see anything the rest of the day. Where you find bear food, ie the seals, it is usually the best place to find bears! The required hotel used in Oslo for pre departure was down right awful, dirty and noisy. Morning of the departure was unorganized, folks pushing to get onto the buses. One of the worst scenes was when we arrived in Longyearbyen and we were taken into the town and told for look around for two hours dragging our hand luggage about while they got the ship ready. Staff really should have told us about the museum in Logyearbyen and set up a staging area, hard way to start a lux cruise. The last day on the ship was really a day for the staff to get the ship ready for the turnaround. We were taken on a tour of Tromso (skip it if you go on this ship), tour included a stop at a lake to look at birds, the Tromso botanical gardens, the Arctic Catherdal and the Museum in Tromso - ho hum. Crusise started out so well and ended with a thud, we should have ended after 7 days and if would of ended on a better high. I was told by many on the boat that the antarctic cruise was far more interesting. Dinning room cramped, difficult to get tables for 8 or more. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Never having been to the Arctic, taken an expedition cruise of any kind, or sailed with Silversea, this was a true voyage of firsts for us. The experience was incredible and I can assure you it will not be our last expedition cruise or ... Read More
Never having been to the Arctic, taken an expedition cruise of any kind, or sailed with Silversea, this was a true voyage of firsts for us. The experience was incredible and I can assure you it will not be our last expedition cruise or sailing we take with Silversea. Pre-Cruise: Independent - 2 nights in Oslo at the Thon Panorama. A great location and nice hotel we found on an internet special. Based on our brief stay, Oslo is a wonderful city and we plan to return. We took a 7.5 hour all-day land and water tour that showed us as much as possible in the short time we had. On day 3 we flew to Longyearbyen and overnighted at the Radisson Blu hotel. It bills itself as the northernmost full service hotel in the world and was comfortable and convenient. The cruise: Embarkation was a snap (complete with Champagne) and we were our stateroom in perhaps 15 minutes or so. It is such a small ship, our luggage beat us there - a first! The stated boarding time is 3:00 PM but we met some people from Virginia that actually boarded at 12:30. Like the Crew and Expedition Staff, the passenger list was literally from all over he world - Germany, Austria, Italy, England, Scotland, the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia (just to name the ones I know). This fact helped to make this cruise very different (and very enjoyable) than others we have taken. No matter where our fellow passengers came from, they were all here for the scenery, history, and above all, the wildlife. That singleness of purpose made the cruise even more fantastic. The daily Voyage Journals posted on the Silversea site tell a far more detailed story of what we saw and did than what I can relate. I will tell you, however, that we saw 10 Polar Bears (our #1 goal and I think that is true for perhaps all the passengers), visited 2 Walrus haul-outs, saw different types of seals, viewed reindeer (even at the Longyearbyen airport!), and saw a wide variety of birds (a special delight for the many birdwatchers on-board). We visited historic sites, did some ice cruising, visited glacier faces, etc. We have been to Alaska 3 times, but this was the best! Stateroom: This was the lowest category (Adventurer Class) and was excellent. The design and storage was more than adequate and the bath very well designed with a tub/shower combination. The only suggestion will pass along is that blackout curtains are needed, We had 24 hour daylight and I hadto lower the portholde covers (did not dog them down) and used the decorative pillows to block the light (about 85%-90% effective). Two nice pairs of binoculars were supplied for our use. Food: It ranged from very good to outstanding. The buffets in the morning and at lunch were varied and delicious. Dinner was multi-course with a wide variety of options. Desserts were a little hit-and-miss, but we did not come on the cruise to eat. Nice house wines were offered with lunch and dinner. We always had a choice of a table for two or a larger shared table. Only once did we opt for the table for 2 and that was on an evening when we wanted to turn in early. The conversation was always interesting, but we were tired that night. Service: The crew learned your name quickly and it made for much more personalized experience. We are not very formal so what I will call relaxed Continental service was very enjoyable. Stateroom service was excellent. Entertainment: Except for a keyboardist who payed background music, the organized entertainment was minimal - daily tea, puzzles, conversation, reading, and a good variety on in-room movies on demand (no charge). The main daily activity was the recap of the day and briefing for the next day. There were also daily lectures before and between the twice daily Zodiac excursions on history, wildlife, glacier formation, etc. In addition there were four evenings when a cocktail party was hosted - the Captain's Welcome Party, the First Timer's Party, the Venetian Society party, and the Captain's Farewell. There was also a get together the last night to see professional photographer's day-by-day video of the cruise set to music. It was not inexpensive ($150), but given our experiences and the things we saw, I think it was an absolute bargain. In addition, he supplied a disc with perhaps 100 photos per day that he took. He received a standing ovation because his work was so fantastic. I would be surprised if anyone filed to purchase a copy. Disembarkation was as easy as Embarkation. Our transfer took us into Longyearbyen where we visited the Arctic Museum, did some shopping, and grabbed a quick bite to eat. Then it was on to the airport and back to Oslo by way of Tromso. Post-Cruise: We spent the night we left the ship at the Radisson Blu/Oslo airport(a short walk of perhaps 100 yards from the terminal). The next day we flew to Copenhagen for a few night at the Copenhagen Marriott. It is very well located (an easy walk from the central train station). Tivoli is across the street from the station and the Marriott has a water taxi stop outside. The hotel is very comfortable, convenient and definitely recommended. Final Word: When they talk about the trip of a lifetime, this is the type of thing they are talking about. If you can - go! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Silver Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.0
Dining 5.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 2.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.1
Enrichment 5.0 4.2
Service 5.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 5.0 3.9

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