39 Silversea Silver Explorer Antarctica Cruise Reviews

Our travel started out very poorly, with American Airlines execution failures causing us to arrive in Buenos Aires 12 hours late with half our baggage. Bags didn't catch up to us until we returned to Ushuaia after the cruise. It was ... Read More
Our travel started out very poorly, with American Airlines execution failures causing us to arrive in Buenos Aires 12 hours late with half our baggage. Bags didn't catch up to us until we returned to Ushuaia after the cruise. It was all AA's fault,but Silversea really stepped up to make the cruise a roaring success for us. They waited for us at the EZE airport for over an hour while I argued with the baggage people. They also pitched in! We got to our hotel after midnight. I needed to run a bag to another hotel for our Iguazu falls trip at the end of the cruise. The silversea agent got in a cab with me and took me to the other hotel--way beyond the call of duty. Next day we flew to Ushuaia and confirmed we were missing half our luggage. Silversea arranged to take us shopping in Ushuaia to pickup necessary gear to enjoy the cruise. Between our shore purchases, the ship's store, and the laundry on board (gratis due to our luggage issues), we managed just fine. Once my blood pressure got back down to normal, the cruise was exceptional. We had an easy Drake passage--so fast that we were able to add a stop to Fort Point on the second day of the cruise.Captain Eric Saint Plancat was very friendly and pushed to give us the maximum experience. We went past the Antarctic Circle all the way to Stonington Island. We saw 3 kinds of penguins, 5 types of seals, and 100's of Humpback whales. The weather was in the 30's and largely sunny. JD, the expedition leader, was outstanding and really worked to maximize all the passengers experiences. Her staff was very knowledgeable about animals, birds, geology, and history. The ship itself was very nice and well maintained. Silversea likes to call the cabins suites, but in my opinion, they we pretty much cabins. That said, they were clean and very functional. We were in a Vista Suite and the shower didn't have a door--just 6 inches of plexiglass. Poor design which leaded water all over the floor. The butlers and cabin stewards provided excellent service, although there really isn't much for a butler to do on an expedition sailing. The food was very good and all the waitstaff were very friendly and helpful. We drank the included wine and found most of them to be quite drinkable. We've cruised more than 30 times and this was the best yet. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We always wanted to cruise the Antarctic. Traveling below the Antarctic Circle is on my wife's "bucket list". Very few cruises advertised as "Antarctic", even attempt to get close to the Antarctic circle. Ships ... Read More
We always wanted to cruise the Antarctic. Traveling below the Antarctic Circle is on my wife's "bucket list". Very few cruises advertised as "Antarctic", even attempt to get close to the Antarctic circle. Ships with a low ice rating never do. It would not be safe. So based on our research and our good experience on the Silver Galapagos in 2016 we booked a Silver Seas Expedition cruise. We were originally scheduled to travel in January 2018 on the Silver Cloud, but I became ill and was hospitalized just before our scheduled departure and had to cancel. (Fortunately we had full insurance coverage.) We rebooked for this January 2019, which turned out for the best. This was BY FAR the best cruise experience ever. Thanks to the Explorer's 1A ice rating, the skill of the captain, and the unusually good weather we were able to travel further south than any other commercial ship in the last couple of years. (Only one crew member had ever been that far south.) We made multiple wet landings, explored old, abandoned research stations and one active station, got some great wildlife photos and videos on shore and from the Zodiacs. The Expedition leaders, who also piloted the Zodiacs, were very knowledgable and greatly enhanced the experience. We even got to slide down a hill on Antarctic snow and my wife took the "polar plunge" into ocean water very slightly warmed by geo-thermally heated fresh water coming up through the ground and flowing down the beach into the bay. The views, sunsets, and the wild life (penguins, whales, seals, sea lions, and birds) were spectacular. A final note on the expedition leaders. It is hard to imagine a more educated and experienced group. Most had several years of experience and included a PhD in geology, professional ornithologist (PhD), and a Harvard educated marine biologist who was also the first women to ever SCUBA dive below the Antarctic ice pack. All-in-all it was the experience of a life time. WARNING - WARNING - WARNING - as with all expedition cruises to the Antarctic - and the Arctic for that matter - activities and landings are ALWAYS dependent on the weather and ice conditions. We were told the long stretch of great weather we encountered is rare. If your goal is to cross the Antarctic circle read the itinerary VERY carefully to make sure that crossing will be attempted. Again, never guaranteed the ship will make it to the circle because of weather. Also, you will be crossing the Drake passage. Even if you are not susceptible to motion sickness, get the "patch" AND put it on 24 hours before embarkation! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Our cruise onboard the SilverSeas Explorer was spectacular from start to finish. The ship, crew, food, Captain and Expedition staff were all first rate. It is very hard to describe the feeling you get when visiting Antarctica. I was just ... Read More
Our cruise onboard the SilverSeas Explorer was spectacular from start to finish. The ship, crew, food, Captain and Expedition staff were all first rate. It is very hard to describe the feeling you get when visiting Antarctica. I was just in awe of the beauty and power of nature. We arrived independently so I can not speak to the travel arrangements made by SilverSeas. The port of Ushuaia is a working port and does not allow taxis, which we were unaware of but we did make it to the ship! The ship was beautifully maintained. Our suite 503 was kept spotless by our wonderful cabin attendant and butler. The daily "debriefing" and numerous lectures were held in The Exploder's Lounge. The maître d' Julia was incredible. I really believe she had memorized nearly everyone's name by the second day! There was buffet service for breakfast and lunch. Always some special to order at both meals. Plentiful staff to carry your plate. I don't drink but plenty of wine was being poured at lunch and dinner. The wine steward was more then happy to supply us with ice tea. I am a vegetarian and found the food varied and very good. All the staff knew you by your name by day three or four! The Expedition staff was well trained and had many varied areas of expertise.. Led ably by JD, we were placed in four colored groups and rotated our times to go ashore via zodiacs or go for a zodiac ride. Gearing up and heading out was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The weather was amazing and the seas were mainly very calm. Due to the weather, ice and skill of the Captain we sailed across the Antarctic Circle.We attempted to visit the Vernadsky Station but the ice stopped us. We did visit the harbor in Zodiacs. We saw so much wildlife! Penguins, Albatross, whales and seals. The icebergs were incredible and the clouds! I can not say enough about the service onboard SilverSeas. I would not hesitate to take another SilverSeas cruise. We disembarked ourselves at 900 am. SilverSeas provided a shuttle to Ushuaia. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I am active travel and a luxury travel fan, but I also look for good value in both. When I went to research this particular itinerary, I compared three of the top brands and for me, Silversea was a hands-down winner. In addition, because I ... Read More
I am active travel and a luxury travel fan, but I also look for good value in both. When I went to research this particular itinerary, I compared three of the top brands and for me, Silversea was a hands-down winner. In addition, because I booked early, I was bumped to Business Class on my flights - nice. I also blog about my travel experiences as a hobby, so if you'd like to see a more photos and a comprehensive review of this ship and its services , go to the Cruise Critic boards/forums under a similar title and you can read more about why I think this cruise line, this ship, and particular itinerary is top-notch. The Rooms: I loved the all-suites concept. I had a View Suite with a large window on the 3rd floor and it was close to 200SF. I was impressed by the decor, the luxury details in the bathroom (rain shower head with great water pressure, bath sheets, nice robes), as well as the pre-stocked mini-fridge The Service: this is where Silversea crushed it. Pretty much every staff member knew me by name by the 3rd day and I can't say enough about how awesome it was to have a butler and 24 hr room service The Food: from my research, many of the top cruise lines are doing menu item/ non-buffet for dinner meals. So this in itself was not what set them apart. But the fact that I can't remember ever repeating a dish in 17 days does. From fresh fish to lamb and even king crab and chateaubriand one night, lets just say.... I gained 7 pounds on this trip and I'm kind of a health nut. The excursions: IMO, if are going to haul yourself all the way that far south, do the longer trip and go to South Georgia and the Falklands - incredible! The guides were excellent and I felt like I had earned a degree in 'Penguin' by the end, due to all the great education they offered. You can see more photos and read more our excursions in the forum under similar title. Value: overall, when I compared price for what I got, room size and airfare incentives, Silversea still came in 2nd (of the 3 I looked at) in cost but gave me everything I expected and so much more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see this part of the world. A better name would have been Patagonia and Chilean Fjords. Antarctica was not really covered. Ushuaia was a loveley port, but the ship did not provide an overnight or ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see this part of the world. A better name would have been Patagonia and Chilean Fjords. Antarctica was not really covered. Ushuaia was a loveley port, but the ship did not provide an overnight or even an option to discover Antarctica. Luckily I decided to stay an extra day and forgo the charter flight from BA on the same day. Silversea provided an excellent lunch and a great checkin option in Ushuaia and I had no problem joining the ship there. Embarkation was quick and efficient. My cabin was a Vista Suite and I had much space and lots of storage. The bathroom was good, except for the smell of urine....they changed my room within a few days of embarkation... a little late but it seemed to have been a known problem. The ship is lovely for a purpose-built ship and the staff was excellent. Initially, they did not exceed expectations, but during the course of the cruise I came to the realization that they were excellent, if not low key, and came to appreciate the service. I had no real complaints. Hilman and Elisa did a wonderful job of caring for me. Reception exceeded expectations, handling everything from any issues to room service, Maria stands out and Carlos was also excellent. Dining staff were wonderful ... Robert and his team are so professional and fun.... bar staff.... thank you Shannah Kay et al for your attention every day with a smile! The Expedition Team were amazing....Luke was superb at keeping everything on time and everyone in the know. While some who had been on expeditions before thought this was "Expedition Lite", I didn't have much frame of reference and thought things were good. I could have used a little more "action" but overall was happy with what I learned ... or DIDN'T learn ... sorry Luke.... about flora and fauna .... that's what google is for! LOL Chef Ross tried hard but the food choices didn't provide a lot of "local" stuff even though it was snow crab season. Everything was tasty and we spent a few nights braving the environs upstairs in the Grill! I am not a "sheeple" tour person and some stuff was a little too much herding about for me. Loved the recap nightly and info next day. Captain Piers was approachable, fun, present and informative always. After hundreds of cruises, it was amazing to see a Captain so inclusive and approachable. And interesting, LOL The public rooms are spacious and accommodating. Dining rooms are lovely. Room service always whenever, wherever and attention to detail on every level exceeding expectations.... including martini service in laundrette and morning green smoothie service following me wherever I went to get away from it! Thank you Zoran! What a team. Ports were interesting....saw amazing things. Attention to time on deck looking for things to see .... excellent. I can make my own fun wherever I go....but I was really happy to have been looked after so well from a personal standpoint and was appreciative for the Captains constant attention to advise us of everything! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Overall, it was a great cruise. Silversea did very well with the cruise portion of our trip. Expedition leaders were excellent, ship staff very attentive, food was great and service was terrific. Two big disappointments: we had 3 hours of ... Read More
Overall, it was a great cruise. Silversea did very well with the cruise portion of our trip. Expedition leaders were excellent, ship staff very attentive, food was great and service was terrific. Two big disappointments: we had 3 hours of dead time in Ushusia our first day with the tour. They should have arranged to take us into town. and on our return to Usushia, we had nearly 3 hours in the town - however, it was sunday morning and no museums were open and very few shops and cafes. We also had to pay for the city tour in Buenos Aires. Other tour companies we've traveled with have paid for that excurision. The biggest disappointment was the number of young children on our tour. We had about 10 children under the age of 16. Many were left to run free on the ship with no parental supervision. and the even the very young ones took the zodiac cruises in very rough seas. The ship staff should have stepped in and advised the parents to control their children. It was a complete distraction from what should have been a peaceful trip. Sadly, I won't use Silversea again because of these challenges. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The sights, both from the ship and on shore, were absolutely spectacular. The natives - Penguins - were very friendly and would approach us without any fear. I took over 800 pictures (I'm glad we are not shooting with film any ... Read More
The sights, both from the ship and on shore, were absolutely spectacular. The natives - Penguins - were very friendly and would approach us without any fear. I took over 800 pictures (I'm glad we are not shooting with film any more), one new friend took over 1,200 pictures. It is almost impossible to describe the scenery and the surroundings in pictures and/or words - you have to see it to truly appreciate it. The ship is one of the nicest we have been on. The cabin (317) was perfectly sized for us. The housekeeping was fantastic (Thanks, Elisa!). The room service (my wife wanted breakfast in bed every day) was perfect (Thanks, Hilman). The service in the dining room was excellent and the food was very good. One of the most amazing things about the service staff was that they knew our name within 24 hours after meeting us - even the guy would made the toast at breakfast called me by name the first day! The tour staff was very knowledgeable about the native plant (there are only two plant native to Antarctica - Thanks, HP) and animal species that we encountered. This was a trip of a lifetime and possibly one worth considering for a repeat. I had some issues with the office personnel (not on the ship) which I will resolve separately. If you are thinking about it, get off of you --- and book it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
A cruise aboard a luxury ship is a first. Everything went fine and beyond all expectations. Two things that we have appreciated especially was the quality of the conference room and accompanying services during the outstanding ... Read More
A cruise aboard a luxury ship is a first. Everything went fine and beyond all expectations. Two things that we have appreciated especially was the quality of the conference room and accompanying services during the outstanding presentations and daily wrap-ups and the room service available for food at night (since we don’t drink alcohol or wine at all, we really appreciate being able to dine quietly at night [butler service being perfect]). The buffet style for breakfast and lunch was also very good. One more thing that was well managed was the mandatory fire and evacuation exercises at the beginning of the cruise. The instructions given to reach the muster station were clear and the training in how to put on our life saving jackets correctly were comprehensive. Altogether, you seem to take our safety seriously. We choosed this cruise because of its expedition features. We made 7 interesting visits in Antarctica despite some harsh weather. The expedition team was beyond dreams for the scientific people that we are. Some employees directly in contact with us were outstanding: Antidya (Butler), Robert Lamond (Head, Dining room), Maria Ladron (Head Receptionist) and above all Luke Kenny (Expedition leader) and all his crew of qualified scientists that made the expeditions and conferences of the highest quality level and way beyond our expectations. Of course, the captain Maggi Ettlin merits all our respect for her countenance and resolute decision making process. However, we must notice that the decision taken to strand the crew at Port Lockroy because of the risk to damage the zodiacs while retrieving them inside the boat (at least, we were told it was the rationale) costed us one day of exploration. Two little flaws: Communication with the passengers while eight members of the expedition team were stranded on Port Lockroy was poor. The captain or someone in charge should have reassured us and explained more clearly what was going on. When we arrived at Buenos Aires airport coming from Ushuaia on the 25th, the transit was not comfortable. We felt rushed by your attendant to cover the distance that we had to walk within the airport while carrying our luggage. Moreover, the bus picking point was quite far. So the ride was not comfortable, especially for our cruise fellow older companions. You can be assured that we really have enjoyed our cruise and we thank you for your constant efforts to make us comfortable during this trip. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was our first Silversea cruise. We were a little nervous about the dress code as it seemed a little crazy to be on an "expedition" cruise and have to go to dinner in a jacket for the men. Fortunately they were not strict - ... Read More
This was our first Silversea cruise. We were a little nervous about the dress code as it seemed a little crazy to be on an "expedition" cruise and have to go to dinner in a jacket for the men. Fortunately they were not strict - not that we went in shorts or anything. We wore dress pants and dress shirts. The service and staff was excellent. The expeditions were wonderful (why wouldn't they be, this is Antarctica). The guides were very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The presentations were also good. The ship had been in dry dock as of recent so the interior was very nice and up to date. The food was very good and eating outside at Hot Rocks (especially in Antarctica) was quite the experience. We are actually considering going on another expedition cruise with Silversea in the near future as we really enjoyed our time and experience on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I wanted to make sure i was on the best possible ship for comfort food and experience. From meeting at the airport and flight to Ushiuia to the short sightseeing to the wonderful lunch in a fabulous hotel above the town to the smooth ... Read More
I wanted to make sure i was on the best possible ship for comfort food and experience. From meeting at the airport and flight to Ushiuia to the short sightseeing to the wonderful lunch in a fabulous hotel above the town to the smooth transition to Explorer.nothing was missing. muck room was small but worked Fabulous and stylish jacket and puffer given on first day. Food continued to be good though not fantastic always there was something to satisfy. as soon as the zodiac transfers started I realised how well run this ship is we had at least 5 people getting us on the zodiac and 4 at the arrival end to help get us off. always someones hand to help especially for a novice snow walker. always a smiling face even when we were late to the zodiac to get on from the muck room because we forgot one piece of layering/gloves or camera. the wait staff were exceptional addressing us by name from the first night-amazing!! our ever smiling cabin man and butler always there to help and keep the cabin spotless. lots of rough weather on way to and from sandwich islands and across Drake.but to be expected being at the end of the world. I could not fault the well run cruise and wonder if the other ships doing Antarctica are as well run. Disembarcation was smooth and transfer to airport easy cabin 410 Vista suite Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
As retired Biologists, we wanted an extensive Antarctica cruise that catered to our interests in wildlife and wilderness habitats. We also wanted an science-oriented trip shared with adults. We were not disappointed! This cruise was ... Read More
As retired Biologists, we wanted an extensive Antarctica cruise that catered to our interests in wildlife and wilderness habitats. We also wanted an science-oriented trip shared with adults. We were not disappointed! This cruise was billed as 'The Grand Southern Expedition'. There were 110 guests and 118 crew. In Antarctica regulations limit the number of tourists ashore to 100, so we never had to wait long for zodiac trips. The guests were divided into 4-groups for off-ship excursions. These included guided beach walks, overland hikes, and zodiac cruises along shores too rough to land on. We covered 4,200 nautical miles around the Scotia Sea, including 18-zodiac excursions, and the seldom visited South Sandwich Islands. The Silver Explorer is a venerable expedition cruise ship with an accomplished and professional crew. It is tastefully decorated and has been recently upgraded and modernized. We were impressed by the quality of the expedition staff, who are experts in their right, but very approachable to guests. While not ashore and on sea days, staff presented informative, high-quality lectures on wildlife, fisheries, oceanography, geology, and history of the region. Captain Maggie and Expedition Leader Stefan were first rate. They made every effort to maintain the advertised itinerary and position the ship close to shore, even resorting to zodiac hydrographic surveys in anchorages where soundings were minimal. In Antarctica, weather and ice dominate. At all times, we felt our safety was priority. We were pleased that most of our shipmates had a mutual share of love of nature and adventure. A voyage of this breadth is not for those who desire a quick, and/or cheap Antarctica touch. We chose our suite on the middle-3rd deck, starboard side to minimize the 'motion-of-the-ocean'. As experienced sailors, we are not prone to seasickness. Many guests resorted to various mal-de-mer remedies, but few complained. The 2-day Drake Passage lived up to its reputation. The Silver Explorer has a lively but solid motion. Silversea expedition cruises are all-inclusive with no tipping and no additional charges for drinks, room service, etc. Quality outdoor gear was furnished and boots are available for rent. We brought our own rubber boots, which are better to hike in than ship fare. The quality and choice of food and drink is very good and the service is impeccable. We appreciated our butler stocked the mini-fridge with our favorite wine and served breakfast in our suite each morning. Silversea seems to treat their employees well and have a high retention rate. It is not unusual to reacquaint with staff from former cruises, and they all make a point to greet you by name. This is our second Silversea expedition cruise...it won't be the last. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise because it was an "Expedition" cruise to the Antarctic, including stops in the Falklands and South Georgia before reaching over to the Antarctic Peninsula. Everyone knows that expedition cruise might be a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was an "Expedition" cruise to the Antarctic, including stops in the Falklands and South Georgia before reaching over to the Antarctic Peninsula. Everyone knows that expedition cruise might be a little rugged, both at sea and in the landings. You don't book an expedition cruise unless you're prepared for some discomfort, including rough sea passages -- that's the price you pay to travel on a smaller boat and to get to unusual and glorious landings. The first two legs were terrific, and both the landings and the expedition team -- Apex Expeditions -- could not have been better. All landings except one were "wet" -- how could they be otherwise? -- and resources and capabilities that the Apex team provided were superb. They are stars. But the cautiousness of the captain and, presumably, the Silversea line, started to show itself as we left S Georgia for the Peninsula. There were strong-ish winds to the south west, so the ship proceeded due west to let the storm pass, then south Elephant Island. That tack meant a loss of some six or so hours, and so no chance of seeing the Shackleton site on Elephant -- we arrived at the SW part of the island for a late landing instead, then headed off to Antarctica.... We were scheduled for four full days on the Peninsula, but got an abbreviated two and half days instead. Strong winds were projected to come across the Drake Passage -- as they regularly do! -- and the captain (and Silversea?) were presumably worried about discomfort to the passengers. We were prepared! Everyone knew the Drake could be tricky, we were already 2 weeks out at sea, and everyone had their medications underway. Instead of providing the publicized expedition trip, the ship proceeded back nearly two days early "out of precaution," which meant we did not get to (for example) Paradise Bay or the Lemaire Channel even though they were almost next door. Instead we had a very sorry early morning hour at Deception and a last landing on the Shetlands before hurrying back across the Drake and arriving a day and half early in Ushuaia. We were told that other ships also decided to head back early, but that wasn't what I saw. Instead, I saw the Ponant Soleal arrive in Ushuaia in the glorious evening sun on time and unscathed and will a lot of happy passengers whose experiences on the Peninsula were much fuller then ours. Many people, including us, had paid several tens of thousands of dollars and carved out three weeks time for a unique experience. We did not get it. Never again an "expedition" cruise with Silversea for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Why this cruise? Bucket list item, been many other places, last continent to visit, friends going, too! It was a great trip blessed with incredible weather - both crossings of the Drake Passage were fairly easy - a little roll ... Read More
Why this cruise? Bucket list item, been many other places, last continent to visit, friends going, too! It was a great trip blessed with incredible weather - both crossings of the Drake Passage were fairly easy - a little roll southbound and some occassional moderate pitch on the return. Check-in was fast & easy, luggage waiting for us in our cabin. Our cabin was spacious with plenty of storage with easy access to shore gear. Even the bathroom was roomy and well appointed. The window was huge and what a view! Nice lighting with a mini light option on each nightstand (with the full bedside lamps). The gentle movement of the ship reminded us that we were at sea. Nice! Public space aboard was plentiful and varied, both indoor and outside. Plenty of locations for a little quiet time alone if one wished. Well stocked library, games and puzzles. The dining room was large enough to accommodate all at one sitting if needed. It had a romantic 'period' feel to it with rich wood paneling and nice lighting with windows around three sides - a real plus with such breathtaking scenery everywhere all the time. The shore excursion staff was knowledgeable and effective in enhancing our time ashore. I believe the leader was surprised (and I hope, a bit embarrassed) at his gross underestimation of my 'shipmates' enthusiasm and endurance. The young whippersnapper! Fun times! Service in the dining room was, in a very few instances, inexplicably slow. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We'd been on a National Geographic expedition cruise to Alaska with our family this summer. Though we enjoyed that a great deal, we wanted to try another cruise line just for the experience. This was a cruise to Antarctica. Silversea ... Read More
We'd been on a National Geographic expedition cruise to Alaska with our family this summer. Though we enjoyed that a great deal, we wanted to try another cruise line just for the experience. This was a cruise to Antarctica. Silversea came highly recommended, and, as this was to be a trip with just the two of us, we decided to REALLY splurge and take the Silver Explorer, another expedition ship. It was a great choice all around. All the pre-trip arrangements were well done, including the Buenos Aires hotel (The Park Tower) and the charter flight to Ushuaia. The welcome aboard was very efficient, indeed, and our cabin (500) just right for us. We liked the size of the ship and met many fellow travelers from different areas of the world, some of whom we expect to keep in touch with well into the future. Food was very good, the only downside being weight gain! The Naturalists on board were, on average, an even higher calibre than those on the National Geographic cruise: knowledgeable, experienced, interesting and humorous. Loved all of the lectures. The only real complaint we had was the requirement, after each of our zodiac landings and hikes, to meticulously clean our boots so as not to transfer foreign matter from one place to another. We have no complaint with the requirement, but it is simply out of character with an all-inclusive super-luxury cruise with personal butlers and champagne flowing everywhere to have the passengers doing this. The little mud room in which to do this was super-cramped. It was the one thing all the passengers felt was out of place and, though we conjured up a few reasons why this was imposed upon all 140 passengers (ensuring ecology awareness being the tops), we all agreed it should be re-thought. But that's it. We hope to take Silversea again. The entire crew was incredibly professional and polite."Entertainment" is rated "3" below to be fair-there is no entertainment (save the very good lectures) and a piano player, who was fine. N one takes an expedition cruise for entertainment, but rather for enrichment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Silversea is one class act. All possible categories to review were excellent, so no need to spend time with details. The Captain, his crew and the Expedition team exceeded every expectation that I had for the adventure. Chef Pia ... Read More
Silversea is one class act. All possible categories to review were excellent, so no need to spend time with details. The Captain, his crew and the Expedition team exceeded every expectation that I had for the adventure. Chef Pia astounded us with her resourcefulness and creativity despite food inventory constraints of being at sea for 19 days. All other staff were professional, experienced and personable. Antarctica is a vast, grand, incredibly pristine and quiet place on Earth. It defies all positive adjectives and superlatives. The penguin and seal colonies in South Georgia and the Shetland Islands are beyond belief. You'll never go to a zoo again. Silversea Cruises conspired with Mother Nature to hit this expedition "right out of the park". Before we disembarked, we booked a Silversea Silver Explorer expedition in the Artic. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We are experienced cruisers (over 600 nights most of these on Regent) but this was our first experience on an Expedition cruise. It was amazing and surreal seeing all the beauty and wildlife Antarctica offers. We quickly fell in love ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers (over 600 nights most of these on Regent) but this was our first experience on an Expedition cruise. It was amazing and surreal seeing all the beauty and wildlife Antarctica offers. We quickly fell in love with the Silver Explorer. It's easy to find your way around and the crew was outstanding. The Expedition staff was always available and helpful. They were excellent and very very knowledgeable in their fields of expertise. The briefings were well attended and very informative. Our favorite landings were in South Georgia. I would 100% recommend going to South Georgia even if it means delaying your trip an extra year to save money for the extra cost. It is positively worth the additional time and expense and a MUST see. The heavy red parkas are provided by Silversea and we also used their "loaner" rubber boots as did most others. Our fellow passengers were well traveled and friendly. With open seating, it's easy to make new friends. There are also lots of tables for two if you prefer. We were fortunate to have relatively calm seas crossing the Drake passage with only one afternoon of excessive high swells. This had been one of my biggest concerns but luckily it never was as bad as I feared. Without hesitation, I highly recommend this cruise on the Silver Explorer....just make sure it includes South Georgia. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My husband and I were on the Silversea Explorer for the December 22, 2015 to January 3, 2016 trip to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. We flew in a few days early to Buenos Aires to just in case there were any issues with our ... Read More
My husband and I were on the Silversea Explorer for the December 22, 2015 to January 3, 2016 trip to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. We flew in a few days early to Buenos Aires to just in case there were any issues with our flights because we didn’t want to take any chances to miss a trip of a lifetime. We took a taxi from the international airport to our hotel and then our hotel to the domestic airport. We arrived around 6am to the domestic airport and it was crazy busy. The regular check in line was super long and we actually stood in it with our luggage to check for about 45 minutes until we finally noticed a Silversea representative, who saved us from the terrible line. Then there was another really long line once we got to security. We had a charter flight arranged by Silversea. Unfortunately, our charter flight to Ushuaia pre-cruise was 1.5 hours late departing Buenos Aries. Once in Ushuaia, we collected our luggage and handed it to a Silversea rep who took it to the ship, while we were loaded onto buses and taken on a tour and to lunch at a restaurant near the national park. Lunch was ok, nothing special. There was salad, rolls, lamb, and dessert. After lunch, they took us right to the ship. On board, we were greeted with servers wearing tails, white gloves, and handing us champagne. It’s not really our style, but that’s how Silversea rolls, so we went with it. Being that it was an expedition trip to Antarctica, their little attempts at luxury and providing a fancy atmosphere seemed odd and a little out of place. Our luggage was already waiting in our room and we had time to unpack and sort out our boot and jacket situation before the lifeboat drill. Our rental boots had been delivered to the wrong room and one of our jackets wasn’t the right size, but these issues were resolved within the first hour of being onboard. The lifeboat drill was partially in the theater and partially outside. Unfortunately the weather was windy with an icy cold rain when we had to go outside and many of the passengers seemed upset that they had to be outside. Oh well, that just part of the drill and seriously, this is an expedition trip…you’re going to encounter getting wet and some unpleasant weather. The days where we had landings either at the Falklands or Antarctica were well planned. However, sea days were dull. Where were the activities? Trivia? Anything? There were a couple lectures each day, which were ok, but some topics were just plain boring. Here was a typical sea day: get up, go to breakfast, nap, lecture, nap, lunch, nap, nap, lecture, nap, get a snack, nap, lecture, dinner, & go to bed. The Falkland Islands were nice to visit and if you’re considering a trip to Antarctica you might as well go to the Falkands too. On our first morning landing we saw thousands of rockhopper penguins and albatross. In the afternoon of day one, we saw more of the same. The weather was very windy, but temps in the 40s/50sF. Stanley (the major city in the Falkands) was a worthless stop in our opinion for an expedition cruise with no wildlife to see and was pretty much just an opportunity for a little bit of shopping. Next, we crossed the Drake Passage. It was a relatively clam crossing. Maybe only 20% of the passengers were sea sick. We wore the patches, but found the side effects to be so terrible, we took them off early and we were fine. We crossed the Drake in a day and a half and arrived early to the Antarctic Peninsula. The focus of the captain and expedition staff was definitely to show you as much as they possibly could. We even got out in the zodiacs to see some penguins, seals, and icebergs on that bonus afternoon of Antarctica since we arrived early. The next few days of traveling around the Antarctic Peninsula were outstanding in terms of weather and wildlife viewing! The scenery is indescribable because of the sheer greatness and vastness. It doesn’t even compare to anything we’ve seen anywhere else in the world. Yes, we literally saw millions of penguins and chicks. Mid to late December is perfect chick viewing as well as better weather than if you go earlier on or later in the season. There were some places that we visited that had half a million penguins at that one location. Most locations we visited had more than 100,000 penguins, so there will be no shortage for you to see. The only way you wouldn't see them is if you have terrible weather and are unable to land anywhere, but you would still likely be able to see them swimming and with binoculars or your camera on shore. We saw everything from penguins sitting on eggs, to chicks that were just a day or two old, to chicks that were all the way up to about four weeks old. While in Antarctica we saw chinstrap penguins, adelie penguins, gentoo penguins, and one lone macaroni penguin, as well as a variety of other birds, seals, and whales. The expedition staff was very knowledgeable. We knew we were having an extraordinary trip in terms of weather and wildlife based on how excited the staff was and how often they were taking photos themselves. The weather was clear for the most part with snowflakes every once in a while, at times windy, but not as windy was it was in the Falkands and temps in the 30s/40sF. Being an expedition trip, you go to shore in zodiac boats and there is a lot of hiking. If you don’t like being outdoors or are not in very good shape, this isn’t the trip for you. Also, waterproof pants, jackets, and boots are a must have for this trip because there is splash from the zodiac and getting in and out of them as well as any rain or snow you might encounter. There were several times where we would get out of the zodiac boat into water that was half way up our calves. We rented boots that we picked up on the ship, which were Bog brand. They had a limited amount of boots that people could borrow onboard, but no guarantee of size. Silversea provided us with parkas, which we could take home after the cruise. The ship itself is in good condition and we were glad that it had an A1 ice rating the evening we got temporarily stuck in some ice! I’m glad I had done my research before booking this trip. The food was a big disappointment. We were expecting a quality of food like what we had on other luxury cruises, but it wasn’t anything close to that. It was edible and it was ok, but we were glad when the trip was over not to have to eat any more of it. Breakfast and lunch were a buffet and dinner was a menu. There was also a grill, which had hamburgers and hotdogs…none of which I would actually identify as such…one bite of those and we were both done, yuck. The breakfast buffet was the same everyday: boring. You could order other items off a menu, we tried pancakes and French toast multiple times and every time they came out cold and tasteless. Lunch actually offered the biggest variety of food and it changed every day, which we liked. Dinner was a very limited menu. The presentation of the food was lovely, unfortunately the taste and quality just wasn’t there. The dress code in the dining room had some cruisers worked up. Pretty much people wore whatever they wanted and the staff allowed that. We brought dress clothes, but after we saw the majority of other passengers just wearing jeans and sweaters every night at dinner, so did we. There were a lot of families onboard because of the Christmas and New Years holidays, so I’m wondering if that is why they were more flexible with dress code than stated in the Silversea information we received prior to the trip. The Drake Passage was relatively calm crossing back to Argentina as well. We were going into the wind, which made for some interesting rocking, but nothing too bad. Again, it was more sea days with little to nothing to do onboard. They did have a selection of in room movies that you could watch and you could also watch the lectures from your stateroom, so that was nice, but we would have liked to have had more options of activities to do. On the way home, we disembarked the ship right around 8:30am. Silversea took us on busses from the ship for a tour of the town (which was just driving us down a couple of streets and then parking in a parking lot for 3 hours) because it was so early and on a Sunday, nothing was open, so many people walked around and looked at unopen shops for a little bit and then just sat on the busses. After our 3 hours in the parking lot, they finally drove us to the airport. Airport check in was quick, but it was just our cruise group checking in for a charter at a special counter. Our charter flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires was an hour late. This caused major problems with us trying to get from the domestic airport to the international airport in Buenos Aires. We had the transfer through Silversea and had to push that representative at the airport to move everyone along quickly and get the bus loaded, as well as to get her to agree to drop us off first at the international airport. Luckily it was a Sunday and traffic was light, but it still took nearly an hour from the domestic airport to the international airport in Buenos Aires. We made it to our flight with about 30 minutes to spare before boarding. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Where to begin...We have gone on 10 Cruises with Silverseas and have always been satisfied..but this was totally different. If you are not the explorer / outdoors type of person then maybe you should not do this cruise. Here is my ... Read More
Where to begin...We have gone on 10 Cruises with Silverseas and have always been satisfied..but this was totally different. If you are not the explorer / outdoors type of person then maybe you should not do this cruise. Here is my blow-by-blow account: The charter from Buenos Aires was a ridiculous ordeal. So we are on a high-end cruise and they have all passengers on a required charter that is in a crappy coach style, 3 across airplane with some of the most vile excuse for food ever. Most of us could not remember the last time we had flown coach so what makes them think that this is acceptable?! Why not spend a little more and have a premium experience to start the trip?! (But they ended it badly also, as i will describe when i explain the disembakiing issues.) When we arrived in Ushuaia we sere taken to a nice restaurant where we had the best meal that we would have for the next 12 days. Then we were taken to the ship where the check in was reasonably simple and efficient like it always is and should be with Silverseas. The safety drill was conducted partially in the cold and wet but that cannot be avoided so I will not complain as it is necessary i guess per maritime law. The excursions and the zodiac crew were very knowledgeable and did their job well and were friendly, only complaint was that they drove faster at times than they really had to. The crossing of the Drake passage was not too bad but it was extremely boring and there are very limited activities on board. that is where they really should improve like maybe having a cruise director or at least movies or some form of entertainment or trvia pursuit or something to do. they do have some lectures but?! Boring! Dining: Breakfast and lunch were always buffets and really not so good. Dinner was much better. Attire: So here is one of our major issues! Along with all of the cold weather gear that we had to pack we were told that the dress code was usually Smart Casual and so we packed accordingly. Well here is what others were wearing: pajamas for breakfast, ballcaps and jeans with tee shirts for dinner and worse. OK if that was the dress code i could live with it but please don't have me pack for smart casual and allow everyone to dress in dumb scummy. Another problem was that the excursions were more strenuous than advertised. Moderate walk on the Falklands translates to almost heart attack inducing hike. Disembarking: It never is fun when the trip is over as they are always ready to hustle you off and get the new group on but this was insane. They take you off in a bus and then you are left in a parking lot for hours. Next we were driven to the airport very slowly in a round about manner. The airport was a mess. There was a long line with one person checking everyone through. Then the plane was late and apparently it always is. Now the main source of income for this crappy place are these cruise passengers so you would think that they could figure out how to handle this 3 month ordeal. Short version is that the scenery was great. The staff is good.The food and attire issues need to be addressed as do the charter and the disembarking issues. For an expensive premium experience Silverseas can do a whole lot better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We sailed from Ushuaia to Cape Town via Falklands, South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha. The ship was less than half full, probably because there are many sea days and it is basically a re-positioning cruise but with such a difference. ... Read More
We sailed from Ushuaia to Cape Town via Falklands, South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha. The ship was less than half full, probably because there are many sea days and it is basically a re-positioning cruise but with such a difference. The sea days were so worth while for the amazing sights and experiences we had. First the ship - yes she is a little tired but spotlessly clean and well cared for given the fact she is an expedition ship and spends much of her time in a pretty hostile environment. The cabins (state rooms) are variable in size but even the small ones are well appointed with comfortable beds, choice of pillows and small but perfectly formed bathrooms with lovely toiletries. The expedition staff were just wonderful, so knowledgeable and informative sharing that knowledge in the most entertaining and user friendly manner. Every sea day offered a couple of lectures on topical subjects and usually a trivia quiz with afternoon tea. OK so no all singing/all dancing entertainment but gently amusing and a great way to while away the days. The days we did landings were full on. We had three days on Falklands, four on South Georgia, one on Tristan da Cunha and one on Nightingale Island. We had pretty good weather but one or two rough days when the logistics of getting us on shore were really quite challenging but the expedition staff ensured it was achieved safely and happily for all concerned. We saw so much wildlife, whales, seals, penguins, penguins, penguins, dolphins and so many different birds. We were able to visit Tristan da Cunha which is a very tough landing for expeditions due to the very limited landing facilities so it has to be a zodiac arrival which so far out in the South Atlantic can be very difficult due to the rough seas and we were apparently the first [expedition] ship to get its passengers on to land for just about a year. The restaurant and food were well up to standard with the management of the restaurant, under Anna's ovesight, first rate with such attentive dining room attendants. Our butler, Romeo, was a gem. He looked after us so well, I wish I could have brought him home. The transfer from Buenos Aires is a bit tedious but no worse than that and it is part of the build up to a great adventure. My advice to anyone considering a trip to the South Atlantic is go, go now and go on Silver Explorer. Read all about it so you know what to expect and there is nothing to disappoint you and your expectations can be realised and then visit the wonderful islands of Falklands, South Georgia and whereever else (including Antartica) Silversea can offer you - an elegant gentle lifestyle on board and on shore exciting adventures which it would be hard to surpass. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The Explorer is we feel the best of the 3 Silversea Expedition Ships Having said that I think it is important to say that some passengers/guests expect the Expedition Fleet of Silversea to mirror in terms of service and food and ... Read More
The Explorer is we feel the best of the 3 Silversea Expedition Ships Having said that I think it is important to say that some passengers/guests expect the Expedition Fleet of Silversea to mirror in terms of service and food and amenities their main line Fleet. On the Explorer the Crew were brilliant - kind , professional, helpful and attentive. Always remembering your name and invariably your favoured tipple in the bar! The ship has a large range of suite sizes and choices - perhaps unusual for a small expedition ship. If there is any criticism we thought the food could go up a couple of notches and the complimentary wine list needs rewriting. ( when will Silversea get the message on this?) The trip was for us was just outstanding. A little swell on the way across to Antarctica, but then and the rest of our trip we enjoyed brilliant weather and very calm seas. We even had lunch and dinner in deck on at least 4 occasions. What a memory that will always hold Not sure words can be found to sum up the sheer beauty of Antarctica! It was just stunning! If you have half a chance should not be missed as future expedition destination. The Siversea Expedition Team did a magnificent job taking us ashore twice every day whilst we were in Antarctica. Their specialist knowledge of the area just added so much to our day to day activities on shore . We loved too the daily briefings by the Team. All 10 or so of them are true pros and a great ambassadors for Silversea Expeditions. So all in all a trip we wouldn't have missed. A long journey, but a couple of days in Beunos Aries also so worthwhile and enjoyable so do visit if you can. our days in a Finca, well north of BA rounded off a truly special trip. If you have got half a chance do go. It is truly a special place Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We went with Celebrity Expeditions to the Galapagos about 8 years ago and thought that experience could not be topped. We were wrong. I did extensive research on all the different Antarctic cruises. Most cost the same, all have zodiacs ... Read More
We went with Celebrity Expeditions to the Galapagos about 8 years ago and thought that experience could not be topped. We were wrong. I did extensive research on all the different Antarctic cruises. Most cost the same, all have zodiacs with naturalists, all have food included. None have alcohol included and the luxury experience you get with Silversea. The ship is a smaller icebreaker but lovely cabins and dining room. It did look a little ready for refurbishment in some places but overall was very nice. But the biggest thing of all is the Antarctic. We were extremely lucky on our Drake passages, they were calm and uneventful. We had a mid-ship cabin on the third floor which was very stable. Our window was very large but there were excellent shades to cover so that us light sensitive sleepers could rest. The bathroom was large, had a tub and was mostly done in marble. I was shocked. We got a fantastic table at the rear of the ship and had amazing views. The maître d'hôtel, Anna was very gracious. The chef was wonderful and often came to the dining room to be sure we enjoyed our food (which was divine). We usually stopped at two ports per day. Most were shore landings but there were a few zodiac cruises. Everything was outstanding. We were very lucky to have fantastic weather and saw an amazing array of animals. Other people got tired of the penguins but I think they are crazy. Mid-January was a perfect time to go as most of the penguins and birds were just hatching chicks. We actually got to see a penguin chick hatching from an egg! It was funny to watch them squabble over tiny rocks and slide across the ice. Then they would jump in the water and be the picture of speed and grace. We saw lots of seals, orcas and seabirds. We saw many whales (humpbacks, minke) and were very lucky that our captain stopped the boat for an hour so we could watch a group play. The best naturalist was a young man named Travis from South Africa. He would make noise on the bottom of the zodiac to get the interest of the whales. We saw them come very close and one time they even followed the zodiac. I wished we had known we could invite the staff for dinner with us, we would have loved to get to know some of them more. They are meticulous about making sure you don't take any unwanted seeds or plants from the mainland. It was just very professional and the trip of a lifetime. We included it with another 2 1/2 weeks of hiking in Patagonia and the whole experience was Nirvana. You have to go. Just do it. It's expensive but worth every penny. I was worried people might be pretentious but the staff were wonderful and most of the people were nice. Don't wait until you are so old you can't move around much. It seemed like some people just wanted to 'tick off' their final continent which I think is a waste. It is truly a gorgeous destination with so much to offer. Go, Go, Go!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We selected the Explorer for our Classic Antarctica cruise, a bit apprehensively, as our only previous SS experience was a disappointing cruise on the Shadow. Still, we were looking for that sweet spot of comfort, education and adventure ... Read More
We selected the Explorer for our Classic Antarctica cruise, a bit apprehensively, as our only previous SS experience was a disappointing cruise on the Shadow. Still, we were looking for that sweet spot of comfort, education and adventure and the Explorer delivered. ITINERARY This was the standard "Classic Antarctica" itinerary common for the shorter trips. That said, there can be no assumption about what will and will not be seen as all of the ships in Antarctica are subject to weather and ice conditions. The ice rating of the Explorer allows the ship more flexibility and that is a real consideration in this area. What impressed us most was the clear objective of the captain and expedition staff to show us as much as possible and we were able to do a few special things like cruise through the Lemaire Channel, which was breathtakingly beautiful. There was variety in our landings - usually two a day - with zodiac tours, Port Lockroy and several stops for penguins/birds. Bad weather forced us to leave Antarctica a day early, which was a decision made for safety and seemingly understood by all. As a result, we spent an extra day in Ushuaia. SS put together a tour of the beautiful national park but, because of heavy rain, it was more like a sort of tedious bus trip. Overall, we were very satisfied that we had a good overview of Antarctica. Of course, it was short and, time permitting, it would have been nice to go to South Georgia and similar ports, but it was sufficient. SHIP CONDITION This is not a new ship, and it is a bit frayed around the edges. However, it was kept very clean and that is our priority. For an expedition ship, we found the ship very comfortable. FELLOW PASSENGERS There were 107 people on board: 45 were from China and the rest was a mix from all over the world - for sure, UK, US, Netherlands, Russia, NZ, Australia, Ireland, Germany, among others. Large groups can change the dynamics of a sailing and one group of 26 was challenging at times. My suggestion is that the staff, right upfront, makes it clear that there is a rotation of zodiac groups and that people are NOT permitted to go other than at the appointed time. Overall, however, it was a pleasant group of travel companions. FOOD/BEVERAGE We were very impressed with how hard the chef, Pia, and her staff worked to make the meals interesting and provide numerous options given the limitations of the kitchen and supplies. The food was superior to ours on the Shadow, which wasn't expected. The dining room was very friendly and Anna was masterful at making people feel comfortable and seating them as they wished....it was no problem to dine alone or with others. We can't comment on the wine, but the beverage staff was terrific in all venues of the ship. In addition, the wait staff was fantastic. CHARTER The charter days were tedious. We arrived at the domestic airport two hours before the flight, as requested, and our boarding passes for the LAN charter were already printed. There didn't seem to be much opportunity to make seating requests. There didn't seem to be much concern about the weight limits on the way down, but there were some hassles with carry on weight for some people on the way back from Ushuaia. The flight down was approx. 4 hours. Upon arrival, we were driven to lunch at a restaurant and were there for two hours. Following that, we were driven to the ship, with several stops along the way, all designed to kill time. It was a very long day.... On the return, we were put on buses at 9 AM and driven about 150 yards to a parking lot in Ushuaia where we had "free time" for two hours. Then a two hour wait at the airport followed by the 4 hours flight back to Buenos Aires' domestic airport. At rush hour, the drive to the International airport can take well over an hour, so be sure to leave enough time for a connecting flight. EXPEDITION STAFF The staff on board was sensational - all specialists in various topics and excited to share their interests with the passengers. There were many lectures which could be watched in the theater or on TV in the room. As an aside, the sight lines for the theater are terrible. Everyone is on the same level, so a few tall people upfront (isn't that always the way?) can block half the screen. There are also poles scattered around the room. The expedition staff spent a lot of time with passengers and added greatly to the experience. CABINS The cabins were surprisingly comfortable for an expedition ship. I know that many people don't spend time in their rooms, but I was happy to have a larger space for the long days on the Drake Passage. There are 4 butlers for the ship, so they are very busy, but we found ours to be delightful and responsive. The room was kept in good order and any minor issues were addressed quickly. ATTIRE This is a very casual cruise. There were only two "casually elegant" nights on the ship and maybe a bit more than half of the men wore jackets on those evenings. Otherwise, it is mostly sweaters and slacks for all meals. Sneakers are fine for walking around the ship. Some people had Uggs. Again, casual footwear and definitely rubber soles. We rented boots from the ship and were very happy with them. The red parka provided to all guests was perfect - warm and waterproof. Sizes could be changed for either, which was on the questions I had before we got on board. For landings, we followed the guidelines suggested - two layers and waterproof pants/parka. A gaiter is a must. We had two sets of clothing for landings and that was plenty. There is a self service laundry on the ship as well as laundry service by the staff, so don't overpack. NITS We were not impressed with the documents provided by Silversea. There was not a lot of detail in some areas and we had to call them for a few kind of obvious questions. We also missed the "leave behind" information for our family. Finally, the booklet and and separate paper regarding the charter had different weight limits listed, something many of our fellow passengers noted. This is an important detail and the correct limit should be clear. On departure day, we were told that no changes to our bill could be made after 8 AM. Our bill arrived in our room in the middle of the night and had an error of a few hundred dollars. At 6:15 AM we were told that the person with authority to change the bill could not be found. It took until 7:30 to get this sorted out. While it may not be a big deal, it seems obvious that, with such a small window for corrections, the person responsible should be available on departure morning. OVERALL We were delighted with our choice of the Explorer for our trip. The crew was professional and caring and there was a surprising degree of comfort given the locale.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I’ll start this review so that readers have an understanding of my background: late 30s couple, travel 3 months of the year, and have done over 100 cruises in my lifetime. I can enjoy the finer things in life as well as an outdoor BBQ in ... Read More
I’ll start this review so that readers have an understanding of my background: late 30s couple, travel 3 months of the year, and have done over 100 cruises in my lifetime. I can enjoy the finer things in life as well as an outdoor BBQ in Texas that’s a dive. This was our second Silver Seas Cruise and I think if you are spending the kind of money we just did ($30k for the two of us for Antarctica) you expect things to reflect that cost, when they don’t, there is a disconnect. We had a "French balcony" room which essentially is the higher end of the rooms, only 20 on the ship. Here are some highlights of my thoughts on this cruise: 1) The ship looks like its 25 plus years old, it has aged and I was shocked to find out it was built in 2008 2) The stateroom beds are horrific, imagine sleeping with a crease down the center in two small beds, and invest in a mattress top. The closet space was far too small for cruises like this where you have winter clothes and the TV had 4 channels, yes 4. Fox News, BBC, a French news station, and CNN. Really? 4 channels on a cruise ship with no entertainment, no casino, nothing to do? 3) The food was HORRENDOUS. We have sailed NCL, RCCL, Celebrity, and yes even Carnival has more variety than this ship. I get it, you are in Antarctica, but that’s no excuse for the lack of variety or quality of food. Dinner menu every night was "a steak that really wasn’t a steak, but cuts of a strip in a sauce, lamb, fish filets like the ones you could find on Golden Corral Buffet, and a vegetarian menu. That’s it. And believe me plenty of other passengers were not happy with this. For the money they charge it is a DISGRACE. Even the ice cream was bad. 4) The most annoying part of the cruise was the expedition team leader, this woman found it necessary to come on the loud speakers at 6am, YES 6am and 7 am on numerous days where the first landing or excursion wasn’t for 2 hours. She would come on and let you know that breakfast was being served and remind you that the first expedition would be in 90 minutes. I am sorry, but they had briefings each and every night to let you know this and on top of that it would come the night before in your daily itinerary. Getting woken up at 6am by someone on a loud speaker you couldn’t turn off right above your bed was downright ignorant. The ships staff was amazing with details and service, but it doesn’t make up for the issues above. I would NOT recommend booking with this at all, it doesn’t live up to the Silver Seas name.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was my third cruise on a Silversea ship, and the second on the Explorer. The itinerary was fabulous, and the expedition staff was utterly superb; many of them were PhDs. There were frequent lectures, and many of the lecturers were at ... Read More
This was my third cruise on a Silversea ship, and the second on the Explorer. The itinerary was fabulous, and the expedition staff was utterly superb; many of them were PhDs. There were frequent lectures, and many of the lecturers were at a college or university level. The Explorer is a smaller ship, and the amenities are certainly not at the level one would expect on a larger ship. That having been said, the cabins were completely adequate, and a couple of issues with my cabin were resolved quickly. The dining room was a highlight, from the superb staff captained by dining room manager Anna (a superstar in every respect) to excellent food and a delightful staff. The only complaint was that dining in the evening sometimes ran a little long because people loved to talk! Most impressive was the attention the expedition staff paid to getting passengers on and off the ship, which in almost every case was via zodiac. The zodiac operation was smooth, highly professional, and the expedition staff and ship staff who worked with the zodiacs could not have been more professional. Land tours were fantastic, and expedition staff made exceptional efforts seeing that everyone got around to see as much as possible. It was obvious that the staff enjoyed their jobs and were enthusiastic about doing them well. Antarctica is a challenging trip under the best of circumstances, but Silversea is to be commended for making this a particularly outstanding trip. Visiting one of the most remote parts of the world in luxury is a real treat! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Transfers seemed well organized and someone was always there to answer questions should you have any. It was a smooth process from us flying into Quito to embarkation. Cabins were not redone (I believe bathrooms were). Quite tired, and ... Read More
Transfers seemed well organized and someone was always there to answer questions should you have any. It was a smooth process from us flying into Quito to embarkation. Cabins were not redone (I believe bathrooms were). Quite tired, and honestly, embarrassing for Silversea. That's really my biggest complaint - I mean honestly, 80s shiny wood paneling?? Butler/room steward - rooms were cleaned regularly (although for example they didn't check in the middle of the day if someone wanted their room cleaned - they stuck to morning cleaning / evening turn down – including chocolates on the pillow of course). They bring things when you ask them to, but don't necessarily anticipate your needs. E.g., the fridge had a Coke and Coke Light in it to begin with. We drank the Coke Light, but it was not replaced until we specifically requested more of it. On the other hand, one morning we were planning to grab a quick breakfast right before going on a tour, but we didn't realize that breakfast was finished already, and our butler was able to scramble and bring us some breakfast items that weren't actually on the room service menu. They were very good at refilling our water every time they came in. Food - breakfast was a basic buffet with an omelette station. Lunch - buffet in the main dining room, which we only tried once, and a la carte at the Grill - largely grilled seafood that was fantastic (lobster, sea bass, prawns, etc etc) plus limited pasta/hot dog fare, a ceviche of the day, a couple desserts, ice cream. Dinner: hot rock grilling at the Grill (we tried this once, just not our thing, plus my fish had some bones left in it) and a la carte in the restaurant which was overall not bad. It's not what I would call gourmet, and I would not expect much quality wise from meat due to Ecuadorian restrictions, but most of what we ate was really quite tasty. Food presentation was clearly being elevated. Service in restaurants/bars - we certainly did not experience 3+ hour dinners that some people were previously mentioning. Food came out quickly. You can tell the waiters are still learning but they are doing pretty well all things considering. Occasionally they would get confused but you can just ask again and they would figure it out. Bar/alcohol - wine selection was all South American - all drinkable. Liquor selection in the bars was better than what we heard from previous posters. We were able to order basic cocktails such as negronis / cosmopolitans, and I saw them bring out back up bottles of liquors when they ran out. Public rooms – so there’s 2 restaurants, a piano bar, the common area where you gather before tours/for the lectures, library, and spa/fitness/Jacuzzi area. Some common areas were redone, but nothing to write home about. Spa/fitness/Jacuzzi – we didn’t really use, no time really. Piano bar – the bar is fine, but the pianist didn’t play very often… During lunch he would be at the Grill and the waiters would actually occasionally sing, which would be highly amusing, but during the piano bar hours we heard him play maybe 10% of the time? Most of the time he was just sitting at the piano doing nothing. Library is small, but not bad for selection – don’t expect to sit there and read though, it’s tiny with 2 seats. Lectures – we had maybe 3 or 4 lectures scheduled after lunches. We had a Silversea guest lecturer (I am blanking on her name, but she is Australian and a marine biologist potentially, and from what I understand a regular fixture on Silver Explorer) who was quite good. Enrichment/tours – what we were there for!! Guides were great, each with a different style, and there was always a lot going on, be it snorkeling, hikes, zodiac tours, etc. If you are in decent shape you will get the most out of this. Not much relaxation time if you want to do everything – though of course nothing is mandatory. We thought the itinerary worked quite well in terms of its flow – there was always something interesting/exciting coming up next. Odds & ends – There was a videographer on board and we purchased the video (about a 30 min video plus some high res pictures) which cost maybe $160ish, and in our opinion that was worth it. Laundry on board worked well. Wifi was decent speed considering it’s satellite. Shoes: we brought flip flops, strappy water sandals (not closed toe), hiking shoes and a pair of decent dinner/walking in town shoes and in my opinion that was sufficient. You do get 2 backpacks (not waterproof, but I don't think you need anything beyond that. If you think it's going to be too splashy you just put them down at your feet in the Zodiac) and 2 metal water bottles per couple. We threw them out after we were done, but they were certainly sufficient for the trip. OVERALL: staff needs to continue training, though it would appear they have come a long way, and they need to redo the cabins, but food/service is good, you feel safe, and guides/animals are of course fantastic. I can’t comment on value proposition vs the Celebrity ship although clearly Celebrity’s staterooms are nicer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Silver Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.1
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 4.2
Enrichment 5.0 4.2
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 5.0 3.9

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