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10 Silversea Silver Cloud Expedition Antarctica Cruise Reviews

We were VERY happy with every part of this cruise and think Silversea went above and beyond. We had a plane delay transiting Miami and Silversea took special care of us in Santiago and again when we got to Ushuaia. I agree with other ... Read More
We were VERY happy with every part of this cruise and think Silversea went above and beyond. We had a plane delay transiting Miami and Silversea took special care of us in Santiago and again when we got to Ushuaia. I agree with other reviewers that the Expedition Staff were OUTSTANDING - even to the point of joining people for dinner to bring their love of Antarctica and share their wealth of knowledge with passengers. I totally disagree with the one reviewer who complained about the dining room staff - we were placed with the same waiter (not necessarily the same one of his tables) every night and the last night when I said "but that is not Oscar's table", the maître d said "it is tonight!" They did everything they could to make our dining experience top notch - from deboning our fish, shelling our lobster, and suggesting what to order. Captain Pontillo got us safely through the Drake Passage both ways, outrunning storms and contributing to a fairly smooth ride. Silversea stepped up and provided a free bus tour of Ushuaia and its National Park when we arrived a day early. I cannot say enough good things about this company, this ship, and their staff. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were going to Antarctica, so it really was all about the expedition. I will say without question, that part of the cruise was exceptional. The Expedition Leader was experienced, engaging, fun and educated. His team was extensive, ... Read More
We were going to Antarctica, so it really was all about the expedition. I will say without question, that part of the cruise was exceptional. The Expedition Leader was experienced, engaging, fun and educated. His team was extensive, young and enthusiastic - exceptionally well educated, anxious to engage and share information and experiences and talented in helping you to get the most out of each expedition. The crew were professional and looked out for your safety and comfort entering and exiting the Zodiacs. The lectures added to the experience and were available on the suite TV for those of us who preferred a nap or a late lunch. We got to see and do everything we had hoped to. The ship was also wonderful. Small at only 250 passengers, it is without shopping malls and cabaret shows, but offered everything needed. Well appointed and nicely decorated - easy to find your way around. The cabin had lots of room. It included a walk-in closet - a necessity for the parka, waterproof pants and many layers. The sofa and 2 armchairs were a bit cramped, but once we organized one at the desk, and the convertible table over the sofa, there was lots of room and still the ability to easily dine in the room. The balcony was a basic space - great for checking the weather, if you had enough layers or watching the passing icebergs. It was not a hospitable outdoor oasis, but given the subzero temps I wasn't planning on lounging there. The disappointment came in the staff and the food. Front desk staff were uninformed and unhelpful. They couldn't follow through on simple requests or connect you to senior staff who might be able to assist. The main dining room was table service with open seating. The host made no attempt to provide a consistent server even if tables were available or a specific area was requested. That meant even those staff working hard to establish relationships and know your preferences were at a disadvantage, and you were constantly explaining sparkling water, red wine, no coffee amongst other things. The food was unfortunately inconsistent - an amazing veal chop followed by inedible shrimp. The special South American buffet dinner included an Argentine BBQ lamb that so overcooked and a whole fish that say drying under a heat lamp. The last lunch was the 'Gala Buffet' that turned out to be everything left in the fridge and pantry. The breakfast buffet was consistently good but the al a carte breakfast was painfully slow - priority was given to cooking made to order eggs for the buffet diners. The specialty restaruants were good - Italian (well not quite authentic) had great flavours, well cooked and well served. La Dame (the Relais & Chateau) restaurant was flawless. At the end of the day, it is about value for money - this was a great cruise and I would not skimp on the expedition side of things, but check other vehicles/accommodations - they may be cheaper. Finally I must comment on the pre/post cruise transfer process. All I can say is it truly is a sh****ow! You stay a night at a hotel in Santiago for them to get you up at 2:30am to board buses to the airport to stand in line for over an hour to check in to a charter flight to wait in the boarding lounge for over 2 hours to get onto a 3 hour flight that provides you an inedible empanada imitation. This happens in reverse to get you back to Santiago - surely doing this every 10 days they could arrange hotel/ship based airline check in and luggage check - a dedicated security line and immigration line (remember it is only $$, and we certainly put out enough of it for the cruise). Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We originally booked and paid in full for an inaugural season voyage on the Muse which ended up being cancelled. We were never notified about the cruise being cancelled and because of that we were able to secure a discount on booking this ... Read More
We originally booked and paid in full for an inaugural season voyage on the Muse which ended up being cancelled. We were never notified about the cruise being cancelled and because of that we were able to secure a discount on booking this cruise. We decided to book the 10 day Antarctica cruise on the newly renovated Cloud to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We booked and paid for the cruise in June, 2017. The summer season for the 10 day Ushuaia to Ushuaia cruises runs for three months, from December to February. We were on the last 10 day cruise of the season. One thing I noticed is that as the cruise date approached the fares kept going up so I would recommend booking early for the best pricing. Silversea also often runs a 10% discount for paying in full which we also took advantage of. Our cruise was fully booked with just under 200 passengers. Passengers were a diverse group. We met people from all over the US, Australia, England, China, Africa, Dubai and other countries. Crew numbers over 200. Silversea also offered a business class air package which we thought was well worth it. For $2,950 per person It included the roundtrip air, an overnight at a hotel in Santiago, Chile, and a charter flight to and from Santiago to Ushuaia with all transfers. We left Los Angeles on February 16 and flew to Houston for our connecting flight to Santiago. We arrived in Santiago on February 17 and were met by Silversea representatives at the airport. We were transported to the San Cristobal Tower Hotel in Santiago. We were told that we had to be in the lobby at 4:15 am the following morning for the bus ride back to the airport for our charter flight to Ushuaia. There were strict reminders about luggage weight and carryon bags but nothing was checked or enforced. We got to the airport and departed at 1 PM. The flight is around 4 hours. When we landed we were taken in a bus to a lovely hotel in Ushuaia up in the hills where they served us a buffet lunch. We departed the hotel a few hours later to the port in Ushuaia where we boarded the ship. Eventually we had the muster drill, finally embarked and were on our way to the Drake Passage. We were very fortunate to have a very smooth crossing, which wasn’t the case on our return. More on that later. We were in a balcony cabin on deck 5. We originally booked a cabin on deck 4 (no balcony) but were upgraded. I was glad we had a balcony as there were times that I stepped out on the balcony to take photos. When whales were sited just off the ship, it was announced on the loud speaker and we would run out to the end of deck 5 where they opened it for passengers to take photos. Both humpbacks and orcas were sited. It was very exciting to see them play alongside the boat and they were huge! When we first went in our cabin we found our pre-ordered parkas on the bed, two backpacks, and two insulated flasks. We brought our own boots and trekking poles but the majority of the passengers rented them. Boots are labeled with tags showing your cabin number. The boots are kept in a special room on shelves by suite number. Each time you return to the ship you go through a process to clean your boots from penguin poop. There is a machine that is sort of a “car wash” for your boots. There was a mandatory zodiac briefing and kayak briefing for those who wanted to kayak. There was a lottery for the kayaks. We signed up and were selected but on the day we were supposed to go my husband did not feel well so we did not do it. Those that did it said it was really great. Every evening we received the daily Chronicle in our cabin which would outline the activities for the following day. Every passenger is assigned to a color group which is listed on the back of your room key. We were in the black group. The group times rotated so that you were not always the first one or last one off the ship on the zodiacs. There were two times each day to go out on the zodiacs. Each time you went out it was for around 1 1/2 hours. At 7 am there was an announcement in our cabins letting us know where we were going. There were certain landings we were supposed to go to, and occasionally the conditions were such that they decided to go someplace else. This makes each voyage unique. We had very good conditions at all the stops and weather varied between 32 and 35 degrees. We were not cold because we were well prepared. For clothing, we had the base layer, second layer, the provided parka, wool socks, the boots, gloves, gaiter, and hat. Trekking poles were useful on some of the landings. From the Captain’s Log: Ushuaia to Aitcho Aitcho to Yankee Harbour Yankee Harbour to Mikkelsen Harbour Mikkelsen Harbour to Charlotte Bay Charlotte to Danco Island Danco Island to Gonzales Videla Station Gonzales Videla Station to Cuverville Island Cuverville Island via Lemaire Channel to Borgen Bay Borgen Bay to Whaler’s Bay Whaler’s Bay to Half Moon Island Half Moon Island to Ushuaia Total Nautical Miles: 1919 Nautical MIles We saw lots and lots of penguins. There were Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins. We also encountered many humpback whales and even orcas. There were lots of fur seals as well as leopard and weddell seals. There were many varieties of birds unique to Antarctica. The glaciers and icebergs were spectacular. We witnessed some glacier calving. Being at the end of the season we were very fortunate to see the whales. The expedition staff, led by Kara Weller were outstanding. We attended many lectures on the ship. There are marine biologists, birders, scientists, photographers, geologists, historians, and more. The ship has a first class photo studio where you could attend clinics and print photos on board. At the end of the trip you have the option of purchasing a video with music, which highlighted the voyage. Included are several hundred photos. We of course purchased it. When we visited Deception Island there was an opportunity to do the Polar Plunge. The site of a former volcano there is steam at the water’s edge which heats the water somewhat, but it is still very, very cold. I didn’t do it but was surprised that so many did! Ship dining: The Restaurant (main dining room) for breakfast, lunch and dinner, La Terrazza for breakfast, lunch and dinner (reservations required for dinner), The Grill (Hot Rocks) for lunch and dinner (reservations required for dinner), La Dame for dinner ($60 per person and reservations required). There is a daily tea time in La Terrazza. We thought the food overall was very good, but not the very best we have had on other cruises. We had dinner at La Dame for our anniversary. The crew are outstanding. From our butler Dorothy (yes we had a female butler), to all the restaurant wait staff, cabin steward, etc., all are very friendly and many call you by name. Special kudos to Scott and Allan in La Terrazza….but really, all the crew are fantastic! Our conditions on the way back through the Drake Passage were not the same as the way down. We encountered rough seas and 20 foot waves. This was a more normal Drake Passage we were told. Most of the passengers were well prepared with either the patch or medications, but the Chinese group were not and many of the them were sick. We arrived in Ushuaia one day early on the return. We were told that every cruise does this, so to be sure that the ship is back in time for the next voyage. This gave us the opportunity to get off the ship and walk around Ushuaia the day before debarkation. On the day of debarkation we were told to be off the ship by 8:20 am. A bus was there waiting for us. We got on the bus and were driven to a parking lot in Ushuaia where we were told that we would be for a few hours before driving to the airport. We were told we could walk around Ushuaia or stay on the bus. Everyone was somewhat angry about this. We eventually made our way to the airport in Ushuaia. There was a further wait for our flight which did not depart until 1 pm. Arriving in Santiago we had to wait until almost midnight for our next flight which was to Houston. We had a short stopover in Houston. From the time we disembarked the ship and until we landed at LAX was 31 hours! This was the worst part of the trip….the flight times out of South America are really awful and the airports are also miserable and disorganized. There were long lines for immigration and customs in both directions. In summation I would describe this cruise as a “trip of a lifetime”. It truly was a magical surreal experience and a very special way to celebrate our anniversary. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We would consider taking another expedition cruise with Silversea, perhaps to the Arctic or Galapagos. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose Silver Sea's trip to Antarctica on the Silver Cloud, as we researched the various ways to go see Antarctica, and even the more austere trips will cost around $10,000 per person with nowhere near the beautiful accommodations, ... Read More
We chose Silver Sea's trip to Antarctica on the Silver Cloud, as we researched the various ways to go see Antarctica, and even the more austere trips will cost around $10,000 per person with nowhere near the beautiful accommodations, expertise of the expedition team, or the ability to go safely ashore nearly every day. We cannot recommend this cruise more highly, and fear we have now set a very high bar of expectation as this has been our one and only cruise! We contacted Silver Seas directly for the cruise and used their agent for all of our booking and travel, including flights, hotel before the trip, transfers, etc. Had a perfect experience with all detail managed well. We laughed at the airport management because it felt like we could not go ten feet without seeing somebody holding a Silver Sea sign, smiling and telling us where to go next. Most welcome. The ship has just been renovated as an ice rated ship, and she is beautiful and felt very safe and secure. For sure we got to experience the shake of the Drake and even moreso during a windstorm in Bransfield Strait, but the captain and crew were excellent navigators, and the ship's crew in the restaurants and rooms just took the swells in stride with relaxing smiles, so we did too. But anti-nausea patches HIGHLY recommended across the passages...which are just gorgeous to cross...the birds and sea life and the sea itself are just remarkable and incomparable, really. We had daily intercom greetings in the morning, and boarded Zodiak rafts according to assigned group once or twice daily for excursions onto land or around the water and icebergs. Plus daily lectures about the history, wildlife, geography of the area. We cannot say enough about the excellent expedition team - about 22 members of the team from all over the world, and highly knowledgeable and excellent presenters in the auditorium and during excursions. We travelled with two of our grown children, and just loved being able to meet daily for meals, cocktail hour, cards, and even an evening of scotch and cigars in a little lounge provided for such an evening. Both piano players played every night in different venues and they know all songs and sing beautifully. Best possible evening entertainment, in our book. Our room was wonderful - highly recommend the terrace - and the butler team amazing. We felt overly pampered. If you are considering a trip to Antarctica, bravo, and absolutely do it! We recommend the Silverseas Silver Cloud cruise without reservation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We have travelled with Silversea several times (and with other cruise lines) and on Silver Cloud about 10 years ago when it was a regular luxury cruise ship. The only other Silversea Expeditions we have done was in the Galapagos which we ... Read More
We have travelled with Silversea several times (and with other cruise lines) and on Silver Cloud about 10 years ago when it was a regular luxury cruise ship. The only other Silversea Expeditions we have done was in the Galapagos which we also really enjoyed and is an interesting comparison. In both cases the cruise was excellent as were the crew and in particular the expedition guides. I would say that the Galapagos guides were more experienced and knowledgable but in fairness it’s early days for Silver Cloud in the Antarctic. Once across the Drake Passage most days involved 2 trips ashore in different locations and the transfers by Zodiac, 8 passengers at a time, was handled really well. Another reviewer has done an excellent, detailed, and very positive analysis and I agree with pretty much everything he says. I think turning Silver Cloud into an expedition ship is a clever and hopefully successful move. It used to carry just under 300 passengers, it now carries 200. The space per passenger and the range of facilities are exceptional. With the addition of the expedition staff the passengers crew ratio is very close to 1:1. There is a choice of 4 restaurants and a full spa. Other than a pianist and vocalist there is no entertainment but they put on a number of lectures and previews of the places to be visited. Repurposing Silver Cloud worked for us as we felt there were no compromises in the on board experience. Whereas we would urge people to go on Silver Galapagos there is no comparison between the ships. That said we happily accepted the Galapagos compromises and one plus, we found the on-board commerarderie better in the Galapagos. Space doesn’t give you everything! No special events or themes in the restaurants and no formal nights thankfully. There were two slightly uprated nights where gentlemen generally wore jackets but mostly no ties and the ladies went a short way up the glitzyness scale. The Panorama lounge was the main daytime public space and along with the bar worked well, and always room! The Observation Lounge on the top deck is very under-utilised. It suffers from being at the other end of the ship to all the other public areas and restaurants, and from access involving a short dash across an open deck. It’s a lovely space. Don’t know what the answer is. What was the theatre is pretty much as before and now called he Explorer Lounge and is primarily the venue for the lectures so is inevitably under utilised. The ship has been refurbished to a high standard and despite being now quite old has the modern attribute of all cabins/suites, except the small number on deck 4, having a full balcony. As you will have gathered we were delighted with the whole experience. While we are still able bodied we now look for something different to complement the resort type ships and we have definitely found that in the “new” Silver Cloud Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Overall 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 ... Read More
Overall 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;-) I've included below a day-by-day review of where we visited; this changes with every cruise based on weather conditions and agreements with other cruise ships; it may give future cruisers an idea of where they may visit. On the ship, food was generally good, service was excellent, and our cabin met expectations. The ship has just undergone significant work, and some renovations were still underway (particularly to the "Tor's Observation Lounge"). Our cabin steward and our butler were spectacular. We did organize a small party in our cabin on the last night in Antarctica and the butler sorted everything with a smile. Would we sail on SilverSeas again? Absolutely. Would we re-visit Antarctica? We would no re-do this cruise again; we think we'd be disappointed in a return journey as our experience was that good. We would consider Antarctica again if it was a different and compelling promised experience. Now for some specifics...we had several questions ahead of the cruise that included clothing and charter logistics; hopefully this review will help others who are considering or are booked to sail the Cloud to Antarctica. Details We Wish We Would Have Known 1) Clothes to Pack 2) Meeting Up With The Charter 3) Embarkation and Debarkation Days 4) Daily Excursions -- Rotating Passengers to Shore 5) Kayaking 6) How Bad are Drake Passage Seas 7) What's the Video/Image Release For 1) Clothes to Pack. We struggled with how much clothes to bring -- both for the adventures ashore and for life on board the ship. Would the ship be kept so warm we wish we had short sleeve shirts and shorts? What do people really wear to dinner (and, are jeans allowed in the dining room)? What are the clothing layers required and how many of each type of layer did we need to bring? Should we purchase with the travel partner for delivery on board or bring the clothing with us? Should we rent or buy? The ship was kept on the cooler side, so we were fine to walk around in long sleeve shirts and long pants by day/night. If we went on deck, we needed at least a jacket and at times we needed our parkas. Jeans were advertised as not allowed in the dining rooms, and I even called the SilverSea office to confirm this policy before we left for the cruise. I did see a few people wearing jeans. For 2 nights on this 10 night itinerary the attire was "Casually Elegant" -- with men requested to wear jackets (no tie required); the remaining nights were casual. For the excursions, we always wore a base layer and a mid layer; these were covered by our outer layer of waterproof ski pants and the SilverSea parka. The mid layer was a fleece pullover for the top and a pair of windproof cycling fleece thermals; the cycling thermals were warm and did the job though maybe could have been more breathable -- they seemed to collect our sweat. We wore a thick pair of socks inside our rented boots. One of us had lambswool insoles for the boots. We also wore waterproof gloves, a neck gaiter, and a hat (that covered our ears). We brought along hand and foot warmers though abandoned those after about a day because we were otherwise plenty warm. We had two sets of base layer and we washed those mid-way through the cruise. We rented the boots and brought everything else with us. Those who rented waterproof pants seemed happy, as did those who purchased items and had them just delivered to the ship. The Expedition Staff did request to inspect all garments passengers planned to wear ashore to ensure that no foreign objects were transported to Antarctica; any new garments were exempt. 2) Meeting Up With The Charter. We booked our cruise as soon as the itinerary was advertised; charter flights were not even offered. About 6 months before the cruise date, our agent informed us that SilverSea was offering us transport on the charter between Santiago and Ushuaia; we accepted the gracious offer. Logistics were sketchy -- we had a letter that said we were on the charter and we had a flight number. That's about it. No confirmation number, and no record locator code. We were told there would be someone at the airport with a sign or other SilverSea identification. For those people who also stayed at the arranged Santiago hotel, the promise was to drop off your luggage at the hotel and not see it again until Ushuaia. Here's how it worked...there were several check-in desks for the charter. You could spot those only by looking for LATAM check-in counters that showed the charter flight number. These were not so easy to spot. There were a few cruise agents trying to help; they had a small nametag to identify them and were also difficult to spot. Check-in was a minimum of 2 hours before the flight, and the airport was quite busy at 5am. We stayed at the only hotel on the airport grounds, the Holiday Inn, so that we minimized travel time. We'd been to Santiago before so didn't expect to sight see. While we could get up at 4:30am and be at the airport for 5:00am, those who stayed at the Sheraton (the SilverSea arranged hotel) had a very early wake-up and I believe they had to be in the lobby at 3:30am. Apparently it was very disorganized, some guests were charged for their rooms (though they had already paid via SilverSea), and promised food / drink was difficult to find. Once we found the check-in counters at the airport all charter passengers had to check in their luggage at the counter. Even those who stayed at the SilverSea hotel had to manage their bags between the bus and the airport check-in counter. People with the same last name were generally assigned adjacent airplane seats; otherwise, you just got assigned a seat. There were empty rows on the flight, so parties could request re-seating. The flight was all Economy Class, and we were served a sandwich and a beverage on the three hour flight. On arrival in Ushuaia, we had to first clear immigration (took over one hour for those of us at the back of the flight), collect our bags, and clear customs. As you exit the jet-way and await immigration, those folks waiting on the left are passengers who have just finished their cruise -- they're taking the charter back to Santiago. After Customs, SilverSea took the luggage and transported it to the ship. Passengers were put onto buses, taken on a short tour of the city, and brought to a nice hotel on the hillside above the city for lunch. The buses each had a different assigned departure time from the hotel in order to pace passenger boarding. If believe our bus finally made it to the ship at about 4:15pm; we were one of the last buses. 3) Embarkation and Debarkation Days. We received our room keys while at the Ushuaia hotel having lunch. We only had to take a quick photo and have our credit cards swiped once we arrived at the ship. Our parka and any items we ordered / rented were waiting for us on our bed in our cabin. I presume that guests who did not arrive on the charter were able to get onto the ship much earlier than those of us who had a tour / lunch before arriving at the ship. On debarkation day, we had to be off the ship at 8:30am; luggage was collected the night before and we didn't see your luggage again until we landed in Santiago. It was a bit odd travelling with checked luggage and no luggage tag. The airport check-in counter didn't open until 9am. It was a very slow and painful drive to the airport from the ship. The airport is nice but small. A kiosk opened at about 11:00am in the international passenger waiting area for anyone who needed something to eat or drink before they departed. The flight departed a few minutes later than planned and arrived into Santiago on time. While on the flight, fill out the Customs Declaration! The flight crew gave incorrect instructions to transiting passengers. EVERYONE on the charter flight had to collect their luggage in Santiago and go through immigration and customs; if they were then departing for another country, they had to re-check their luggage in the airport lobby, get their boarding passes, and then go back through immigration to exit Chile. Many folks failed to fill out this paperwork on the flight and they were not allowed to go through customs until they had completed the form. We did see a couple arrive in Ushuaia on the charter flight to start their cruise and they were rejected by Immigration; they joined us on the flight back to Santiago and missed their cruise. We presume they didn't have the correct visa for Argentina. What a shame for them, and even more so that they were allowed to fly to Argentina and then had to immediately return to Chile. 4) Daily Excursions / Rotating Passengers to Shore. Passengers each have a colored sticker on the back of their cabin key that designates an excursion group. Only 100 passengers are allowed ashore at one time, so the ships 200 passengers are divided into 4 groups of 50, and those groups are shuttled by schedule. A typical morning excursion would see a schedule like: 8:00am disembarkation for group Green; 8:15am disembarkation for group Brown. These groups are generally ashore for about 1:15-1:30, with the last group returned to the ship by 10:00am. At 10:00am disembarkation occurs for group Red, and 10:15am for group Black. Everyone is back by 12:00. Exit and return to the ship have several process steps: scan out (showing you've departed); collect and put on your boots; wait in the line for a zodiac; travel to shore and get a short brief on the location/wildlife/return time; drop off your life-jacket; tour around; pick up your life-jacket; was off your boots in the surf/board a zodiac; get off at the ship, brush / wash off your boots in the wet area, sanitize the boots, return the boots to their storage area/put on your shoes; and scan back in. 5) Kayaking -- where conditions allow, 10 passengers at any one location are allowed to kayak as a managed group. Any passengers who are interested in kayaking had to attend a scheduled briefing near the start of the cruise. Those who complete the briefing entered into a lottery for kayak spots. We were selected for kayak group 5 or so, and were able to Kayak on about the 3rd day in Antarctica. You must be able to lift yourself from a zodiac into the kayak, and then back to the zodiac when done. SilverSea provide all equipment, including a dry suit and a kayak skirt. The equipment is all fantastic stuff and was plenty warm. The kayak team is crazy good -- so passionate and fun loving. It was really magical to kayak through swimming penguins, be eye to eye with wildlife on icebergs, and (oh were we fortunate) see whales up close. 6) How Bad Are Drake Passage Seas -- they can be bad. Check out passageweather.com for an idea of wave height during your crossing. For us, it was relatively calm on the way over though many passengers were sick. Many passengers wore "the patch" and seemed to avoid sickness on the way to Antarctica. The way back was rougher. I believe we had 4-5 meter (12-15 foot) seas. The photos and videos make the sea look rather calm (no white caps). In reality, the ship would rise and fall, sometimes suddenly, with these large waves. Many folks were sick, even some who wore the patch. Reception did have plenty of motion sickness pills, and folks who took them said they helped. While I generally don't get sick, I did feel the movement on this cruise. I didn't get sick and I didn't take any medication; I'm very fortunate. 7) What's the Video/Image Release Form. At the beginning of the cruise you're asked to sign a release so that any photos or video of you can be used by SilverSea. Maybe I wasn't paying full attention, but I don't think I fully understood that a video of the cruise would be made AND SOLD TO PASSENGERS who wanted to pay about $150 for a copy. I did sign over the video/image release. I was disappointed that this all inclusive cruise didn't include the video as part of the package; had I realized this at the start, I would not have released my image for use by SilverSea. Other Items of Interest. Dining quality and variety was as expected. I heard other passengers with a spectrum of views, from loving the food to very disappointed in the food. We ate one night at the Italian restaurant; I was most disappointed that my fish fillet had at least 25 bones in it. The waiter rushed over and tried to remove all of the bones. The experience didn't make me want to return. The poolside "hot rocks" dinner restaurant was surprising good. My one disappointment in the meals was dessert; nothing seemed extraordinary. The main dining room was our go-to spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tor's Observation Lounge, at the top and front of the ship, was very cold and under-utilized. Work was still underway to complete the renovation of that area. There was no service in the lounge though it would have been nice to have coffee/tea service. Maybe that's planned for the future. Wildlife Viewing. We did see much wildlife, even from the ship. I was most surprised that the ship did not announce major wildlife sightings. For example, one night (10pm-midnight) a few of us, including some expedition staff, watched as 100-200 whales were on a feeding frenzy. Everywhere we looked, we could see whale spouts with fins/tails following. It was an incredible sight. There was no announcement made. Maybe it was because of the time. Expedition Staff. They were generally fantastic. One or two seemed more interested in speaking with each other than in engaging with passengers. Some experts did a great job translating their knowledge into useful stories for us passengers (example, Fritz with his bird info); others provided technical info (glacier size) that included formulas interesting to a scientist but much less interesting to someone wanting to learn the basics. In summary, this was a fantastic cruise that exceeded expectations. SilverSea did an outstanding overall job. I'm attaching an image of our stops in Antarctica. In text form, here's where we visited: Day 0 (extra day as we arrived early): Morning -- Aitcho Island: Chinstrap penguins, Gentoo penguins, whale bones, other birds. Afternoon -- Yankee Harbor, though this was a substitute for a planned stop that weather didn't permit us visiting. Day 1: Morning -- Brown Bluff: Adelie and Gentoo penguins. Afternoon -- cruising through Antarctic Sound and seeing fabulous large tabular icebergs. Day 2: Morning -- Mikkelson Harbor: Gentoo penguins, Argentine refuge hut, and whaling remains. Afternoon -- Cierva Cove -- zodiac cruise in search of wildlife. Day 3: Morning -- Danco Island: Gentoo Penguin colony and frequently visited by snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls, and blue-eyed shags. Afternoon: Cruising the Gerlache Straight, looking for passing wildlife. Day 4: Morning -- Nekko Harbor: breathtaking beauty surround you here. Stunning. Gentoo penguins, kelp gulls, skuas, and seals. Afternoon -- Gonzalez Videla Base, Paradise Bay: Gentoo penguins nest around the Chilean research base. Day 5: Morning -- Halfmoon Island: short uphill climb over a cobble beach to reach a colony of chinstrap penguins. Afternoon -- Telefon Bay: hike 1 KM up to the edge of a crater for some spectacular views. Polar Plunge for those who want to swim. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise and company because of (1) It's a place we have wanted to visit for many years and (2) we had sailed with Silversea before on Silver Whisper 2016 in the Baltic. Of course there was the problem of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise and company because of (1) It's a place we have wanted to visit for many years and (2) we had sailed with Silversea before on Silver Whisper 2016 in the Baltic. Of course there was the problem of the ship's fuel pump breaking down and the curtailment/cancellation of her first voyage after her USD40m refit. Problems can happen to anyone at anytime. Silver Cloud had steamed all the way from Malta to the South Atlantic before her fuel pump problem - and we understand a few other cabin problems. But that is in the past and having just returned from her other 'first' Antarctic cruise we both felt we had received more than 'just' value for money. Our stateroom (622) was large and comfortable - with the now almost obligatory balcony. Handy for taking some photographs from, but not the ideal place to sit when the average temperature is only between -1C and +1C. Our room attendant (Joshua) kept the room smart, clean and tidy. Only quibble would be that the laundry didn't keep pace with the facecloth supply. Not a major problem as do have our own! We ate mainly in the main Dining Room and mostly had a table with a great view outside. Each time we had the same waiter (Renaldo) who couldn't do enough to keep us happy and well fed. Three nights we ate in La Terrazza - the Italian themed restaurant and the food and service there were second to non. We found all the staff there to be friendly and welcoming (especially Francesco who is from Portugal though and not Italy!). Breakfast was in L Terrazza as was our Lunch option. The self service buffets were excellent in choice and quality. Though sometimes the service got a bit too 'fussy' - I can carry a plate from the buffet to a table some, oh lets say 2mtrs away. Though it became a game for me to see if I could get to the table before being 'interrupted' by one of the many attentive waiters. They mostly won though! Being an all inclusive voyage the bars were comfortable to sit in and have a Cosmo (or four...) watching the sea outside the bar - though we had to keep opening the blinds as the ever attentive Marta kept them closed - no doubt some official reason or other. Shore excursions were by zodiac to beaches to visit Penguins - lots and lots ... and lots of Penguins. Cute and adorable they maybe but the smell... I don't know how David Attenborough stands it. Remember what goes in the Penguin (Krill) also has to come out! If you want an expedition to the Antarctic then Silver Cloud (Expedition) is THE ship to travel on. She is small enough to get into the remotest places and large enough to be a stable platform in bad sea conditions. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Silver Cloud provides a perfect combination of all-inclusive luxury and expedition cruising in Antarctica. The ship was stylishly refurbished in 2017 and offers all you expect of Silversea’s restaurant, bar and lounge facilities, though ... Read More
Silver Cloud provides a perfect combination of all-inclusive luxury and expedition cruising in Antarctica. The ship was stylishly refurbished in 2017 and offers all you expect of Silversea’s restaurant, bar and lounge facilities, though suites are not quite as large as on the line’s bigger vessels. Life doesn’t get better than fine dining with a view of icebergs and snow-covered mountains. The previous cruise was cancelled due to technical problems (I hope you all make it someday). So our ten night cruise was effectively the maiden voyage to Antarctica, but you wouldn’t have known - we were looked after superbly by everyone from the knowledgeable expedition team to restaurant and room staff who, like the guests, came from all over the world. In fact we booked a cruise to Greenland while on board. With 200 passengers, Silver Cloud is more comfortable and faster through the Drake Passage than smaller ships, while larger ones can still only land 100 people at any one time. The Captain wisely decided to spend the first and last nights in port in Ushuaia to avoid bad weather, but our speed meant that we still had the scheduled five days in Antarctica. From the ship we were lucky to spot hump-backed whales and a pod of orca, while on land we visited (and smelled) several penguin colonies and a derelict whaling station; most walking was easy but climbing through snow was a bit trickier. The scenery is breath-taking. Guests were divided into four groups, usually with two landings or a landing and zodiac cruise each day. Zodiac embarkation could be a little slow due to sea conditions and the few other negatives were trivial. There was a shortage of facecloths and we preferred the espresso to the regular coffee; the internet worked throughout the cruise, albeit sluggishly. Silversea offered charter flights from/to Santiago, Chile, but we made our own way to Ushuaia and stayed in the excellent Los Cauquenes hotel. Finally, some travel tips: The summer temperature in Antarctica hovers around freezing point but the wind-chill is substantial and you can get drenched by sea spray in the zodiacs. The South Shetland Islands were mild and drizzly the first day; it can feel warm in the sun too. Silversea’s clothing advice is reasonable: one or two base layers, a middle layer (eg fleece), wind/waterproof pants and ski gloves, and the supplied parka. For longer Zodiac cruises you can add a woollen sweater, jogging bottoms and fingerless mitts. Wear spare glasses on excursions or use goggles that fit over glasses. Waterproof insulated boots are essential for wet landings; get the Bogs rental boots one size larger than your normal shoe size to allow for thick socks. Boots and parkas can both be exchanged on board if you order the wrong size. Wet hats and gloves can be dried with a hairdryer or in the laundrette. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I had sailed on the same ship from Beijing to Hong Kong 20 years ago. And we sailed on the Silver Shadow from Vancouver to Alaska to San Francisco. Silversea fares include specialty coffees, standard alcohol, and tips. On their ... Read More
I had sailed on the same ship from Beijing to Hong Kong 20 years ago. And we sailed on the Silver Shadow from Vancouver to Alaska to San Francisco. Silversea fares include specialty coffees, standard alcohol, and tips. On their expedition ships - it includes off shore excursions - and some include a rt flight to the port of Ushuaia; and parkas suitable for Antarctica, backpacks, and water bottles. So when I read that the Silver Cloud was being refitted into an expedition ice class ship - it was a no brainer and I booked far in advanced to assure us a midship cabin without a verandah on its maiden voyage to Antarctica via the Falklands. The owner of the company came on board and wished us well. Quite impressive. Because the ship goes to Antarctica it takes a maximum of only 200 passengers plus crew. The ship used to take over 300 on luxury cruises. A huge plus for us who avoid ships that can carry over 400 passengers plus crew. We also prefer the understated tasteful decor to the glitz and gild of other luxury cruise lines. My two complaints of the ship: 1) Need more self service washing machines. 2) The ventilation system did not work properly- the cigar room filled with smoke and I could smell cigar smoke in the public stair well. It's hopefully fixed by now. Our cabin was on the same floor as the self-service laundry that was available. We had most of our breakfasts as room service - as we were watching our weight and avoided the buffet. Dining: The soy cappuccinos were perfect. Illy coffee. Cuisine slanted towards the European palate - not too much sugar or fat. Flavours were not "in your face." A buffet breakfast and lunch available in The Terrazza. The buffet was never messy and always replenished with fresh food. In fact, on The Silver Shadow - the first breakfast buffet had as much fresh fruit as the last one 10 days later. Did not try the breakfast in the Main Dining Room. We enjoyed the afternoon tea. Homemade pasta everyday. Meats and cheeses from Italy and France. We tried the small French restaurant, La Dame that costs an extra $60 pp. It was nice for one evening. The Grill - enjoyed grilling our seafood and meat on a hot lava rock for dinner - reservations recommended. The Main Dining room did not need reservations - there was always an option to sit with the expedition crew and other guests there. Portions were perfect - not huge. Some ordered two main courses with no problems. Wine list was fine. They do offer a wine list at an extra reasonable cost. With 5 dining options - we never tired of the food. The only complaint I have with the food - is that I wish they stocked better yogurt. Argentina has beautiful buffalo milk yogurt and regular yogurt. Entertainment and Activities: Due to weather delays - we were impressed with the last minute shows they brought on board: In Buenos Aires Tango Show for 30 minutes was perfect. As well as a Gaucho show in Puerta Madryn, Northern Patagonia - when we docked an extra night. We did not attend any lectures by expedition staff but there was a good selection. We did not use the gym as we were on holiday. When the ship remained in port unexpectantly - daytime excursions were added at the last minute: whale watching and town tours. There are choices of off shore excursions for all fitness levels . I enjoyed the short hike and looking at fossils in Northern Patagonia. DRESSCODE Surfed the internet and blogs for any hints as Silversea failed in this area. The Ship to Shore traveller - which supplies the complimentary parkas - provide a good list on what to pack for the expeditions and everyday wear. Evening dress code was more difficult to decipher. So this is what I learned from our experience: At the Expedition level - dress code is smart casual. Definitely no jeans for evening dining. My husband wore chinos. Some men ate in La Dame without a jacket. Tie is not needed. I only packed one cocktail dress. Women - do not pack heels - not appropriate on any expedition cruise. There were some guests in polar fleeces - as packing for warmth is essential and I did not see any guests being refused a table due to dress code in the Main dining room. Service was excellent - never told "no." Always so helpful. The one complaint I have is the photography room. Photography tutorials cost extra. That is one room that I found no need for. And yet it took up a lot of space on the ship. I wish that there were computer terminals we could use for internet access instead - as we don't travel with laptops. Fortunately I had an iPhone. But would have preferred a terminal. From the brochure it looked like they would have some available in the library - but we discovered on board that it was not the case. It was a great disappointment. The Souvenir shop was adequate. I wish I could comment on the Zodiacs - but our expedition cruise was cancelled due to the ship. (Maybe we would have then used the photography expertise.) We were on the maiden expedition cruise that did not make it to the Falklands or Antarctica - and only sailed as far as Puerta Madryn. So instead of 16 days on the ship - it was only 7. And since that experience - we will only cruise with Silversea. Yes - only Silversea. They handled the cancellation way beyond all of our expectations. And that speaks the loudest for any review of a cruise company. How does a company look after you when something major like that happens? (And it's a bucket list trip.) Within 24 hours of being told to place our luggage outside our rooms for disembarkation - they shifted around 200 passengers from Puerta Madryn on to flights to Buenos Aires and into 4 - 5 star hotels there and booked on flights to our starting points. In our case: the South Island of New Zealand. They reimbursed us for the amounts promised - including a per diem while in transit - within two weeks of being back home. The saddest part was saying good-bye to the other passengers whom we would have enjoyed zooming with in zodiacs. And I can honestly say that we really enjoyed them. The biggest difference between luxury and expedition cruises is that the expedition passengers have signed up for adventure. Women were comfortable to not wear make up. We have rebooked another cruise on the Silver Cloud Expedition. And I'm sure we will sign up for many more. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Silver Cloud Expedition Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.3
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 2.0 3.6
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.9
Service 5.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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