15 Silversea Silver Galapagos Family Cruise Reviews

My family of 4 (including my Wife, 10yo Son, 8yo Daughter) were on the Silver Galapagos the end of August. It's important to note that this is an "expedition" and not a "cruise". Everything was excellent. Also, ... Read More
My family of 4 (including my Wife, 10yo Son, 8yo Daughter) were on the Silver Galapagos the end of August. It's important to note that this is an "expedition" and not a "cruise". Everything was excellent. Also, while the up front cost is higher than other ships, once you realize what’s included (just about everything) and the level of service and luxury it is actually a very good value. First, a big thanks to Sean Swedman, at Silverseas, who handled every single detail of the trip with perfection and patience. There were a lot of moving parts and Silverseas was flawless in ensuring a smooth trip. They are with you from the moment you get off the plane until the moment you board. It's really amazing. While the ship is aging (a new one is coming in 2020) it was still luxurious and very well maintained. Cabins were nice sized with plenty of storage and very comfortable. The staff was truly outstanding. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, went out of their way to do provide incredible service. The naturalist, butlers, expedition leader, dining room staff, zodiac drivers, etc., were always smiling and always there to help. Our cabin was cleaned at least 3 times a day. All this service and luxury made the actual reason for the trip, the magical Galapagos, even better because it was just so easy. Two excursions and usually a snorkel every day. The landscape, animal and bird viewing were stunning. We got up close to just about everything. Many times, the birds, iguanas, tortoises and sea lions were resting on the trails so we had to walk around them. There were just a few children in the ship but my kids loved it and they staff went out of their way to engage with them. Many evenings a naturalist joined us for dinner at the request of my Son and spent an hour or two answer an endless stream of questions. Walks range from easy to somewhat challenging but there are always options. Food was excellent at every meal. A lot of seafood choices and if you wanted something different all you had to do was ask. We did a few times and every single time the answer was yes. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just completed an extraordinary trip 8 person family trip with our grown children and their loved ones. Trip was to celebrate my wife's 70th birthday with the family, but the Galapagos and Silversea provided the perfect backdrop. Many ... Read More
Just completed an extraordinary trip 8 person family trip with our grown children and their loved ones. Trip was to celebrate my wife's 70th birthday with the family, but the Galapagos and Silversea provided the perfect backdrop. Many of the other reviews have mentioned the magnificence of the islands and the fauna and flora. I'll only add that words can not adequately express what one will experience either in the water or on the land. We have lived and traveled in many countries, but never have we experienced the wonders of snorkeling up close (sometimes inches away)with sea lions, manta rays, sharks, galapagos penguins, sea turtles, and more all within the same ecosystem. Bottom line-the western Galapagos is everything and more than you've read. The ship itself is dated, but certainly very acceptable for a Silversea cruise.In fairness the new Silversea Galapagos ship arrives in 2020. Rooms were very good, but somewhat short on storage space. We loved the location of our room # 345 as it was central to the meeting room, exit to the Zodiaks, dining room. The crew from wait staff to expedition were fabulous. The young chef (Andrea) was amazing in the preparation of her lunch and dinner menus-fish lovers will marvel at what can be prepared. The expedition crew/guides were extremely engaging and knowledgeable, and I'd be surprised if there was a better group of guides in the Galapagos. Finally a note of caution on the activities in general. This is not a sit back and relax cruise. If you are not on a hike (sometimes quite challenging), then you're in the water snorkeling. In other words one is very active during the day, and after dinner did you rarely see anyone on deck after 10pm because people were in bed and exhausted. If mobility is a concern, then I would carefully consider if this is the right trip. This trip will always have a very special memories for my family. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
A bucket list type trip for sure! The Galapagos islands were truly mesmerizing. They were remote, unspoiled, filled with animals (many endemic to Galapagos) and the scenery was over the top. We chose Silver Seas as it had great ... Read More
A bucket list type trip for sure! The Galapagos islands were truly mesmerizing. They were remote, unspoiled, filled with animals (many endemic to Galapagos) and the scenery was over the top. We chose Silver Seas as it had great ratings and we wanted a slightly larger ship with very experienced naturalists. While the ship holds about 100 people, I think we only had about 85 on board and it never felt crowded. Silver Seas has this down pat! From the moment you arrive at the airport, it is well organized and orchestrated. You never felt rushed or like you were part of a herd. Each experience was personalized and the staff and crew were very polite, respectful and helpful. Each day, you wake up early and head out for excursions. Most days, there were options to choose from. Each excursion started in a zodiac and you headed out to explore an island, snorkel, kayak or visit a small town. Each zodiac had a guide who lead you through the excursion and ensured each guest got the most out of it. The animals are a highlight of the whole trip. They are not afraid of people and you get a very up close (but not too close) experience with sea lions, birds, iguanas, fish and so much more. The ship itself was very nice. Rooms were spacious (for a cruise ship) and well appointed. Your personal butler ensured you had everything you needed and was quick to respond to any special request. Every time we left the room, they came in and cleaned and straightened it up. The ship wasn't new but well kept up. There was only one restaurant and the Grill on board. We had breakfast at the restaurant buffet each morning and chose to have lunch in the Grill on the deck of floor 5. We alternated between the Grill and main restaurant for dinner. The food was very good in both. I do think they could expand the Grill dinner menu beyond on the hot rocks as it was fun the first night and then got a little old. The restaurant food was all excellent and what I would expect at a fine dining establishment. Our fellow travelers were generally 40-60'ish years old and liked a very active vacation. There is little time to rest during the week. You could choose to skip excursions but then why go on this trip? It was action packed and crazy busy but exactly what we expected. There was only 1 child on our trip and about 10 teenagers who seemed to really enjoy it. Most people were part of bigger (6-12 people) groups which included families, siblings, multi generational, friends, etc. One word of warning which Silver Seas is clear about - this is not a trip for anyone that is mobility challenged. The ship isn't set up for it and the excursions all require you to go up and down steep steps on a rocking ship to the zodiac and often disembark in to the ocean and walk ashore to hike on a rugged trail. There is no entertainment on the ship other than a small piano bar for pre-dinner cocktails while watching the sunset. Most people were in their cabins by 10pm resting up for another big day of excursions. Overall, this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip although we may go back again one day and see the Western part of the archipelago. Also, we chose March as the seas were warmer for snorkeling although the air temperature was very warm too. It is the rainy season, but we didn't see even a drop of rainy and it was sunny each day. Can't recommend this trip on the Silver Galapagos highly enough! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
If you're looking for the lounging around cruise where you're just laying out by the pool and stuffing your face with quantity and not quality...this is not the cruise! This one is definitely an Expedition Type where there are ... Read More
If you're looking for the lounging around cruise where you're just laying out by the pool and stuffing your face with quantity and not quality...this is not the cruise! This one is definitely an Expedition Type where there are several hiking and nature walks around several islands. At times, you feel as though you're seeing the same stuff...."You've seen one booby...you've seen them all"! However, overall the educational experience as well as seeing animals SO CLOSE in the nature is simply amazing! Like the animals are not even afraid of humans - Definitely like you're visiting THEIR home. Although rather expensive, SilverSea does an excellent job for the value. Food quality was very good with all the premium liquor on board too - nice touch! Transportation and shuttles both arriving and departing were excellent and well organized. Great experience for our 10yr old that I'm sure he will never forget! Great personalized service and excellent cruise staff members. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We started this trip in Guayaquil where a Silversea representative waited for us at the airport and took us to Oro Verde Hotel (very good, very close to the city main attraction (malecon)) a day before the embarkation. From Guayaquil we ... Read More
We started this trip in Guayaquil where a Silversea representative waited for us at the airport and took us to Oro Verde Hotel (very good, very close to the city main attraction (malecon)) a day before the embarkation. From Guayaquil we flew with Latam to San Cristobal (1h and 25min). As a lot of flights arrived at same time, immigration took almost one hour. From airport was a 5 minutes bus ride to the pier where we got the zodiac to the ship with our carry-on. Soon after our luggage arrived at our cabin which was a veranda suite. We loved that we got it as we spend a lot of time in the Veranda while sailing from one spot to other as well as we could dry our clothes and shoes easily. There are plenty of open air space in the ship that you can rest between meals and landings. There are also in-door space like piano bar and library should you want to be in the air conditioning. July is the dry season and temperature was really good. Food was great at all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We had breakfast every day at the Restaurant as well as dinner except for one evening that we tried the Grill where we had all our lunches. Lunch was superb at the Grill, but dinner at the lava rock was a disappointing, we never got back. Some disappointing issues: shower has half door which makes bathroom wet everywhere. Bathroom is really small. Disembarkation was not very good. In the night before some items from our cabin were changed to the new guest to come in the following day, which confused us. On Saturday morning we had to leave our cabin at 7:30, but transfer to the airport was at 9:30, so we stayed at the piano bar for 2 hours waiting. Silversea provided exhibition of some films during this period, but in the end, the toilets were miserable with a 100 guests using it during 2 hours. We were transferred to the airport and our flight was schedule for about 1 PM. A long waiting time. I noticed that guests from Celebrity had a meal waiting for them at the airport. Great trip! We loved it and strongly recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We spent a few days in Quito before the cruise. Quito was a great city. Lots to explore and see and eat! There was a bit of an issue with embarkation, but that didn't matter because that was the first chance we got to see the ... Read More
We spent a few days in Quito before the cruise. Quito was a great city. Lots to explore and see and eat! There was a bit of an issue with embarkation, but that didn't matter because that was the first chance we got to see the tortoise! That was an incredible experience; being able to see those giant animals. Once we got on the ship the staff was super friendly. The food on the ship was outstanding. There were a lot of Ecuadorian dishes such as the local fish which tasted great! The chefs created wonderful dishes for every single meal of the day. The room was nice. It was nice that the tv had so many movie selections. The shower was alright, it had half a door, so the floor got pretty wet sometimes. I liked how it had a separate shower head; makes it easier to wash long hair. There could have been another mirror in the room. When the bathroom was being occupied there was no other mirror in the room to get ready. Lots of good closet space. The service was absolutely outstanding. Whatever you needed, no matter what time of day, someone was always available to help. We had gotten room service one morning and had it brought up to the piano bar. The waiters were outstanding. Whenever I would request a specialty drink, they would make it and it tasted delicious! The activities that were planned were great. I really liked how it was an early start to the day and then you had time to relax in the afternoon and then another activity in the late afternoon. I thought the planning for that was great. It was nice to have options, hard/long walk or easy/short walk and snorkeling off the beach/deep sea snorkeling. I traveled with my parents and they agreed that it was one of the best trips we ever took together. We are currently planning our next Silver Seas cruise! This was everyone's first expedition cruise and we really enjoyed it. There's no other way to see the islands, and we enjoyed every excursion! The disembarkation was good, we were told to be out of our rooms at 7am, but didn't really leave the ship until 7:45. At one night the ship was really rocky, but I guess that's expected when you sail across the ocean. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our family had been talking about going to the Galapagos for years and we had identified Silversea as a great option to make it a reality. The ship was well maintained and comfortable, the food excellent, the view magnificent and last ... Read More
Our family had been talking about going to the Galapagos for years and we had identified Silversea as a great option to make it a reality. The ship was well maintained and comfortable, the food excellent, the view magnificent and last but far from least, the staff was wonderful. I think that the fact the staff is all local, brings and incredible richness to the experience. All were kind, professional, competent or beyond (which was not my experience of all restaurant and hotel staff in Quito and Guayaquil). They are excellent windows into this magnificent place - from the naturalists to the waiters. Every night at 7pm, we had a meeting during which we were clearly briefed about the plans for the next day, in order to properly prepare and be dressed adequately. There was a lot to do and I went to most excursions. The one to the beach with thousands of Iguanas, was my favorite. Snorkling was also fantastic and the equipment very adequate, though I would suggest to everyone to bring a long-sleeve swim shirt to put under the wet-suit, as the sun is so strong that no amount of water-proof sunscreen will be enough. Also, day uniform is really long-sleeve shirt and ling pants with a good hat. At night, though to my surprise, it was warm and so I could have used having 2-3 nice summer dresses, which I did not think to bring. But above all, this trip was really chicken soup for the soul. I am not a calm and contemplative person by nature, but the surroundings really made me happy to just sit and contemplate and be in the moment... no past, no future just there and happy... that is priceless. If I had to improve on something, would be to offer more than 1 Jacuzzi, located in the shade, not in direct sun and with pool-temperature water. The Jacuzzi was unbearably hot and being in the direct sunlight, made it impossible to be used at length. Also the wine could have been slightly better at times. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We recently sailed on the 12/30/17 voyage on Silver Galapagos. Our itinerary started in Baltra and ended in San Cristobal. What an amazing trip we had! This was our first Silversea experience and third cruise. I will never again go on a ... Read More
We recently sailed on the 12/30/17 voyage on Silver Galapagos. Our itinerary started in Baltra and ended in San Cristobal. What an amazing trip we had! This was our first Silversea experience and third cruise. I will never again go on a mega-ship and we are already trying to figure out how we can sail on Silversea again. This is absolutely the best way to see the Galapagos. We were a multi-generational family traveling together... my 72 yr old father, husband and myself (mid 40's) and two teen daughters ages 14 and 16. I was worried that the ship would be a mostly older crowd but I was very surprised with how young the group was. They said the Christmas and New Years sailings often have younger guests and this was definitely true. Out of the 100 guests, I would say 25 of them were under the age of 20 yrs old. There were many families with multi-generations like ourselves that were traveling together. If you are even considering this ship with parents, grandparents, kids, this is the place to do it! So much to do for everyone of all ages. We really got to know almost all the guests and became great friends at the end of the week. I will try to review as much information as possible because if you are like I was, I was scouring the internet for any information I could find on this cruise and Galapagos in general. Transfers: We flew 4 days early to spend time in Quito and it's surroundings. Glad we did this. We were able to see the city and also make a few excursions. There's tons to do in Quito and beyond if you have the time. We stayed at the JW Marriott all 4 nights. It was a very nice, large hotel, no complaints whatsoever. Breakfast was included which was appreciated. They also have a nice fitness area and gorgeous pool. A Silversea rep was at the airport to take us to the hotel and again at the hotel on the day of embarkation, to take us back to the airport. Once at the airport, it was a LAN flight for all guests. We touched down in Guayaguil for 30 mins to refuel and then onto Baltra. Altogether, the flight was around 2-2.5 hrs. Transfers were just fine, don't let the other reviews scare you. By the way, on LAN, you have to press the Call button to request anything to eat or drink and you do have to pay for it. Just a heads up on that. On the way home, we flew from San Cristobal to Guayaguil where we had a day room at Hotel Oros Verde. This was a 5 star hotel, wish we could've stayed the night here but only used the room for a nap and shower before our midnight flight back to Miami. As you can imagine, that was no fun at all. Embarkation: Once we were through customs (quick process), we were loaded onto buses to take us to a pier and then onto zodiacs from there to the boat. We were quickly shown to our cabins, it was a very easy process. From there, we were able to enjoy lunch while we waited for our luggage to be delivered. It was all very easy. Cabin: We had Explorer Suites on the second floor, Suites 248 and 250. The rooms were very nice and I felt quite large, especially considering our kids were in their own cabin (unlike other cruises we've done where we are crammed into one suite). They aren't overly luxurious but very well appointed. The bathroom had a nice rainfall shower. TV had tons of movies and even live TV if you have time for that. Mini bar was fully stocked and was always replenished by the butler. Although I was fine with this category of cabin, I felt being on the Deck 2 was quite loud. You could hear much of the ships mechanics and this did disturb our sleep almost nightly, especially, when ship was anchoring. I'm not sure what all the noises were but it was loud. Also, it would be nice to have a balcony if just for the sake of drying all your wet things. Our bathing suits never dried, neither did our water shoes. If you can afford it, I would upgrade to something nicer. This did not detract from our cruise experience as we are not fussy people but just want to put the information out there. Ship: The ship was beautifully appointed. They just had a dry dock in Sept 2017 so everything was refreshed and looked new. The piano bar is a nice spot to hang out in the afternoon or before dinner and play some cards with the family or your new friends. There is a nice fitness center which I only used once. I never used the spa but I heard from other guests that their massage was wonderful. I do wish they had more outdoor sun loungers. There's only a few sun beds to relax... on Deck 6 by the jacuzzi and on deck 4 outside of the piano lounge. These were almost always full. Since we didn't have a balcony we would often seek out these sun beds in the afternoon but rarely had luck in scoring one. Restaurants: There are two restaurants to eat at for both lunch and dinner: The Grill and The Restaurant (yes, that is the creative name they gave it). We would always eat lunch at the Grill which was outside so you could enjoy the lovely sea breeze and views. The piano player also would entertain here every lunch. Mostly we would eat dinner at the Restaurant which was fine dining and 5 courses. A couple of nights we ate al fresco at the Grill. In the evening, this has a different menu and features meat served to you raw that you cook on a hot stone. It's pretty cool and the kids loved it. Seafood was also served here as well. It gets a little cool, so bring a sweater but they do provide blankets as well. Quality of food at both restaurants is excellent. We only heard other people saying the same thing. There's tons of variety and I never felt it got competitive. If you like alcohol, you will also be happy on this ship! The bartenders were amazing and served the best drinks. They had quite an extensive cocktail menu that we enjoyed sampling from. They also had great coffee/tea service available 24 hours in the piano lounge. You will not be wanting for anything. I think I gained 5 pounds but it was so worth it. Entertainment: The only real form of entertainment is the piano player in the piano bar every evening. He was amazing and he would get out a microphone and keyboard if you ask and you can do Karaoke. We did this several nights and we had a blast. We celebrated New Years Eve on the ship and Silverseas put on a great party! The piano lounge was decorated with party hats, noisemakers, confetti, balloons, etc. Drinks were flowing all night and of course, a champagne toast at midnight. As tired as we were, we never thought we would make it to midnight. Some people went to bed but quite a few people stayed up and it was quite the party! So much fun. Excursions: As you now know, this is an Expedition Cruise which = BUSY. There is not much time for downtime. I was worried about my teenagers and the early morning excursions. This was a little brutal on them but they survived just fine. Just know that you can be flexible and not go on every single excursion offered. Every night at 7pm, everyone convenes in the Explorer room for a rundown on the next day's itinerary and offerings. There are things to pick and choose from. For instance, you can choose to go on a nature hike or a zodiac tour of the coastline. Or you could sign up for kayaking or deep sea snorkeling. Every day is different but most days, the first excursion was at 7:30am. They gave us a reprieve on New Years Day and started at 8:30am but a lot of people chose to sleep in that day. After the first excursion, you come back for the boat and sometimes there's a second excursion around 10:30am. Lunch is after that and usually, there's a couple hours after lunch that you can take a nap, read a book, or just relax until a third excursion around 3:30 or 4pm. Again, you can pick and choose what you want to do. I think we only skipped one morning and one afternoon excursion. We were pretty full-on but I heard many other guests choose to skip much more than that. It's totally up to you. One thing about the activity level, yes this is a busy ship but I would say you are NOT expending much energy. For instance, most of the nature hikes were LONG but SLOOOWW. We would go 2 miles but it would take us 2.5 hours to do this. That's because the Naturalist Guides would stop every 10 feet to explain something about a bird or animal. It's all interesting but after a while, there's only so much you can learn about birds. One day, they offered a speed hike and tons of people including my family jumped on that because we were actually able to get in a little exercise and not go at the pace of a snail. I think older folks may like this slow pace but it seemed to drive younger folks a little nuts. I'm not complaining as I still enjoyed the entire experience but I'm just putting it out there for you to be aware. Every day, they offer a snorkeling activity of some kind. Please, always snorkel if you have the chance!!! We always had the best time and saw the most amazing things under water. The water is COLD! Be ware of this. Shortie wetsuit, mask and fins are provided. You will want to wear the wetsuit every time, it does help. I would always wear my long sleeved rashguard underneath and that helped too. No need to bring your own wetsuit, mask/snorkel. I read others did this but it's one more thing to pack. A few times, I would almost chicken out to snorkel because of the cold, but once I jumped in, it wasn't so bad. It was really worth it. By the end of the day, no matter what you choose to do, you will be exhausted. We would still head to the piano lounge after dinner for drinks and karaoke but we would try to be in bed by 10:30pm. I think we were the exception as most people would go to bed around 9pm. Staff/Service: We had the best service by everyone on board. You get to know the staff members and they anticipate your needs/requests. Service in all the restaurants and bar were excellent. Our butler was the best! Our daughter celebrated her 16th birthday onboard. We asked if he could do something special for her so as a surprise, when we got back from our morning excursion, her cabin was decorated with balloons galore, confetti, and a delicious cake. She absolutely loved it and it truly made her birthday special. There are around 6-8 Naturalist Guides that live onboard and take you on excursions... these folks were all wonderfully knowledgeable and patient. You could tell their passion for the Galapagos is genuine. What to pack: If you are like me, you cannot figure out what to pack! I am here to help you, folks. Keep in mind, I sailed in December which is the start of the warm season but it was in no way "hot". If the sun is out (we only had full sun for probably 3 days, other days were cloudy), it can be warm and shorts and t-shirt are good for daytime walks. If it's a cloudy day, light capris/pants would suffice with a t-shirt. Bring a light long sleeve just in case but it really was very temperate at around 78 degrees every day. Rain coat is necessary. We had two days where we encountered a little rain. On boat, have a light jacket for eating lunch or dinner at the the outdoor Grill. Also, it gets cool in the evenings so again, long pants or sweater are appropriate. You do not need to bring anything fancy. Sundresses, skirts for the ladies or even pants/blouse. Men, pants and button down dress shirt. No sport coat needed. My teens wore jeans the two nights we ate at the outdoor Grill but jeans are not allowed in the Restaurant. I brought 3 pairs of shoes (so proud of myself): water shoes (Keens), athletic shoes, and sandals for evening. For water shoes, any kind of water shoe is fine. I read you needed closed toed but that's not really necessary. The only time you wear water shoes is for wet landings, and honestly, you can even go barefoot. My kids would do this several times. My keens were fine (honestly, I'm not a fan as rocks get inside them) but the rest of my family had water-type sneakers bought on Amazon for $19. Hiking shoes are not necessary!! Remember, how I mentioned a 2 mile hike took around 2.5 hours? Yup, hiking shoes not needed for that. Most of the trails are a little rocky but flat. Sometimes, you have to climb a bit to get to the flat trail but hiking shoes would be overkill. My kids wore their Nike sneakers and I had my Merrill running shoes. Pack two bathing suits as one will be wet (ours were always wet). Rashguards come in handy to keep you warm and protect from sun. My husband and I each bought those wide-brimmed dorky hats with the chin strap ($8.99 on Amazon) and I was glad to have it. We wore baseball hats sometimes, but those big hats on more sun exposed days. We didn't even go through one full bottle of sunscreen so I don't know what we did wrong. We didn't get burned either but still, be careful with that sun. Another thing I just remembered, backpacks and water bottles are given to you for you to use throughout the cruise as well as bring home with you. Most everyone used these on their daily excursions. Photography/Videography: One thing to know is that there is an onboard Photographer/Videographer. Ours was Jorge and he was amazing! He would be out on every excursion, photographing wildlife and also people. At the end of the cruise, you get to see the video he's put together and you would be nuts not to buy it. At $150 it wasn't cheap but there was no way, we were passing it up. It's so professionally done, it's like watching a National Geographic documentary but you are the star. Absolutely, amazing quality and much better than any photos you will take (at least I'm speaking for my own photography skills). Overall, although this was an incredibly expensive trip for us, it was truly once in a lifetime and so worth every penny. I cannot stop thinking about it since our return home. I'm sure we will be reminiscing for years to come about our amazing Galapagos adventure and dreaming about when we can return to Silverseas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise because the reviews of the guides and excursions were excellent, and we were not disappointed. This cruise was an expedition rather than a luxury cruise, but Silversea did a great job of making us all feel pampered. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the reviews of the guides and excursions were excellent, and we were not disappointed. This cruise was an expedition rather than a luxury cruise, but Silversea did a great job of making us all feel pampered. The ship is not new, because Ecuador does not allow new ships and controls their itineraries. However, Silversea performed beyond our expectations. The experience was seamless. They met us at the airport in Quito, and brought us to the J W Marriott for 2 nights, which was modern and lovely. They picked us up on time to fly from Quito to Baltra, with our tickets in hand. Every step of the way, Silversea was organized and professional. The ship has capacity for only 100 guests, which is the limit allowed by Ecuador, and was fully booked. The other passengers were extremely congenial, and we feel that by the end of the week, we knew everyone. Of course, the highlight of the cruise was the excursions. They often scheduled at least three per day, including hikes, snorkeling, and beaches, all of which were reached by zodiacs with about 10-12 passengers. The guides are highly trained, knowledgeable, and personable. In addition to the excursions, they had an educational program every afternoon, and every evening at 7 pm was a talk previewing the next day's schedule. Every day was fun filled and exciting. We saw all the birds and other wildlife that we were hoping to see. Some of the hikes were quite strenuous on very rocky slopes, and you have to wear appropriate shoes and be in decent shape to do them. The entertainment consisted of a piano player in the afternoon and evenings, but everyone was always so tired from the day's activities that it seemed perfect. Many activities started at 7 am, so it was generally an early night for most. That said, we did manage to have some fun with karaoke and dancing. The food was not as gourmet as regular cruise ships, as again, there were restrictions on what the ship could bring on board, but we ate well and the wine was delicious, and the chef did a great job with Ecuadorian specialties, especially ceviche. As you can tell, we had a fabulous week, and highly recommend it. Just be prepared to come back home tired from too much fun! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My husband I had been looking for a Silversea cruise to South Africa or the Galapagos during the periods when I have a break from my work as a high school administrator. The Galapagos trip fit perfectly, and we booked it in the fall of ... Read More
My husband I had been looking for a Silversea cruise to South Africa or the Galapagos during the periods when I have a break from my work as a high school administrator. The Galapagos trip fit perfectly, and we booked it in the fall of 2016 for the April 1-8 cruise in 2017. Everything that Silversea handled was fabulous, in terms of logistics as well as the actual onboard experiences. The staff were so attentive, and the naturalist guides were top-notch. The ship was attractive and our suite was spacious and comfortable. The food was wonderful and the small size of the passengers made it easy to dine when and where - and with whom - we wanted. We made friends that I know we will stay in touch with and see again. The activities were excellent, especially the snorkeling and kayaking options. The Islands and waters are pristine and beautiful beyond belief. I would recommend this for anyone who has Galapagos on their "bucket list," and those who don't; it is a magical place for adults and children. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
After carefully considering all options for visiting the Galapagos, including reading some of the not-so-stellar reviews of this cruise, I decided to give Silversea a try. I took my mom in July 2016 as a retirement gift. I must say that ... Read More
After carefully considering all options for visiting the Galapagos, including reading some of the not-so-stellar reviews of this cruise, I decided to give Silversea a try. I took my mom in July 2016 as a retirement gift. I must say that overall, we absolutely loved it! To reiterate, as many reviewers have commented, this is an expedition cruise. We’ve never sailed with Silversea before, so can’t compare to the level of service on their non-expedition cruises. That being said, the staff goes above and beyond to make you feel special, address any and all concerns and ensure you have a great time. For us, the service far exceeded our expectations. Most people don’t bother to even try and understand the logistics and planning that goes on behind the scenes to make these cruises a possibility. There are human beings working around the clock to make sure that all guests are properly taken care off. The expedition team carefully coordinates all excursions (hikes, zodiac tours, snorkeling, kayaking, etc.). From the moment we arrived in Quito, the transfers, hotel, optional tours and baggage handling were all seamless. The flight to Galapagos, after a brief stop in Guayaquil was smooth. After landing and clearing immigrations, we were quickly taken to a nearby pier to be transferred to the Silversea Galapagos via zodiac. After boarding, everyone we encountered was gracious, smiling and welcoming, despite spending the last few hours running around to get the ship ready for us. And so an amazing week began. Keep in mind, again, that is an expedition tour. If you want to see as much as possible, plan on waking at 6-6:30 each morning for a departure by zodiac around 7:30-8. Return to the ship for lunch (The Grill was amazing, but get there just before noon to secure a table). After lunch, a video or nap, and then another stop in the afternoon. Dinner is available at The Grill (reservation required, and often windy, but worth it) or downstairs in the main dining room (also no complaints). Our Butler, Danny, was especially wonderful. He went above and beyond to make us feel special. He brought us cake and sparking wine to celebrate my mom’s retirement, and set up a laser light show in our cabin! He asked us our preferences for the complimentary mini-bar and made sure it was always stocked. Waiters were all fantastic (although one in particular had some difficulty in understand English, especially compared to the others). Fernando especially comes to mind as being terrific. Keep in mind the butlers and wait staff rotate several weeks on and off, as do the naturalist guides. I could write a short novel about our travels, but overall I would definitely recommend this cruise. If you are realistic in your expectations of visiting a protected national park (with all the rules and regulations), you will be pleasantly surprised by the warm, knowledgeable and always enthusiastic service you will experience during your week in one of the most incredible places in the world! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I read the previous reviews with a sinking feeling in my stomach. To have a 50% overall good rating on a cruise that is certainly not cheap made me anxious. However, now that I've returned from that cruise I have to say that some ... Read More
I read the previous reviews with a sinking feeling in my stomach. To have a 50% overall good rating on a cruise that is certainly not cheap made me anxious. However, now that I've returned from that cruise I have to say that some people would complain about paying taxes on their megamillion dollar lotto win. Yes, maybe all the staff didn't speak perfect English. Yes, there wasn't much to do at night. We had over 20 children (out of 98 passengers) on board, and that isn't counting the college age crowd. This is not a ship ideally suited to children, yet the staff went out of their way to entertain and educate. Food for the most part was delicious, staff always had a smile, naturalists were incredible. The stateroom isn't like those on the luxury Silverseas lines, but it's a very small ship. This is a one-of-a-kind vacation and I would encourage anyone to go. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Looking at all the previous reviews it looks like there is an upward movement in ratings for this cruise. Reading the 2014 ones I have to disagree on a lot of things mentioned and looking through the 2015 ones I have to agree on most of ... Read More
Looking at all the previous reviews it looks like there is an upward movement in ratings for this cruise. Reading the 2014 ones I have to disagree on a lot of things mentioned and looking through the 2015 ones I have to agree on most of them. So I guess it is fair to say that Silversea has found the right track in the Galapagos. This ship and this cruise should not be compared to the mainline Silversea ships; this is an expedition cruise, the destination is the prime object, the ship just a place to sleep and eat. Most of the negative comments seem to be from people who cruised mainline Silversea before and therefore had an expectation level that never could be met on this cruise in any case. Now, although I have never cruised Silversea before and having read all the (negative) reviews, I boarded the ship open minded and I must say that the experience exceeded my expectations in all aspects. The ship was renovated late 2014 and looks fresh and up to date, certainly not brand new, but well fitted for this cruise. Fresh carpets, very comfortable beds, functional but nice furniture. Our balcony cabin 512 was roomy and light, wouldn't call it a suite, but that's just marketing. Air conditioning worked well, we actually had to adjust the temperature setting upwards on order not to freeze. Our cabin included a free internet plan for 1200 minutes per person and I must say that the speed was very reasonable given the remote location. Bathroom, just the standard cruise ship size and functionality. About the food, lots has been written already, here's the short version: breakfast is a standard hotel like buffet. Lunch available on the open deck or in the main restaurant, which we chose as a nice place to cool down a bit after the morning activities. A buffet for the starters/soup/desert and three main dishes from the menu, not fancy but hearty meals to get you going again for the afternoon activities. Dinner, available again on the open top deck or in the main restaurant, had it in the main restaurant most times. Extensive menu with several choices for starters/mains/deserts, every meal was very good, some excellent, mainly the seafood dishes, quality of meat was good to great. Chef Marco stopped by a few times and explained his logistics nightmares and heavily regulated supply chain; we thought he and his team did an excellent job considering all these restrictions. Excursions: excellent guides, wonderful hikes, snorkel tours, kayak trips, zodiac rides; this is why you came to the Galapagos, don't sleep in and miss anything! The real highlights: the staff! What a great crew, sweet, chatty, service minded. Our great butler Alvaro, who would do anything to make us happy, our wonderful waiters Charly and David, all the excellent guides, cruise director/expedition leader Yvonne who created a great atmosphere at the nightly briefings, everybody made sure we had a wonderful week on the ship and we felt sad saying goodbye on the last morning. Any negatives? Oh, if you look closely you will find things to complain about, especially if your expectation is Silversea mainline... We went into this experience open minded and were very happy, in fact one of our best vacations ever! To summarize: read the introduction letter in your cruise documents carefully to find out what the settings and challenges are for this cruise, as explained by the Silversea executive. This should create the right mindset on how the judge the product so you will have a wonderful, upscale Galapagos experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My family and I have been on more than a dozen cruises, two of which were expedition cruises. My husband and I have been to the Galapogos twice and wanted to share the experience with our teenage girls. We could not have been more ... Read More
My family and I have been on more than a dozen cruises, two of which were expedition cruises. My husband and I have been to the Galapogos twice and wanted to share the experience with our teenage girls. We could not have been more disappointed with the amenities, the accommodations, the food or the service. Despite the best efforts by the staff and crew, the daily activities were totally disorganized. Pick-ups and drops were very often late and activities were overbooked. Also, the air-airconditioning system is turned off at night leaving our room in the mid 80s. This is something that I read from other reviews and specifically asked our representative at Silversea about. We were told that this was a onetime mechanical issue. We learned from the staff onboard that this is a new cost saving measure and is directed by HQ. In any event, we were very uncomfortable at night. The only real positive is that the naturalists were great, but it should be noted that they are not Silversea employees. Rather they work for the park service in the Galapagos. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Wow, I disagree with a lot of the review below. We had a spectacular time and thought the service was first rate. The waiters were very responsive and polite - super professional. Juanito, one of our room stewards, made wonderful ... Read More
Wow, I disagree with a lot of the review below. We had a spectacular time and thought the service was first rate. The waiters were very responsive and polite - super professional. Juanito, one of our room stewards, made wonderful "towel animals" for us every day. Our room was kept tidy (even our clothes were folded for us) and clean. Every member of the staff was great and went above and beyond. We've traveled on Silversea once before, and the service on Silver Galapagos was as good as on Silver Spirit. We were surprised at how much we enjoyed the food, given the terrible prior reviews. We enjoyed our meals - plenty of selection and very good quality. If you're looking for Michelin-rated dining, then don't go to the Galapagos. But we thought the food was really good. The pastry chef made delicious cookies and crème caramel, along with other great desserts. We didn't care that much about what liquors were available, but I do see what the prior reviewer means. This is an expensive trip and one might have expected upgraded liquors. But it didn't impact us. I was happy with Bailey's Irish Cream and vodka with cranberry juice. The expeditions were all outstanding and every single guide was an expert. It was incredible - they knew every flower, bird, animal, and tree. There were no questions left unanswered. And we swam with turtles and sea lions. It was magical. Incidentally, the staff was excellent when it came to ensuring everyone's safety. Absolutely excellent! We were on many of Fernando's tours, and he was fantastic (as was Jorge, Xavier, and all the rest). Ivan's photography was great. It's true that the ship could use a face lift. That's the one part that is not up to Silversea's standards, especially considering the price. But our room was still lovely (although if you look closely, you can definitely tell that it's seen better days - paint peeling, terrace balcony not varnished, etc.). But I have no qualms about recommending this trip. It was fantastic, and Silversea has clearly been working very hard to fix most of the prior problems. We had such a good time, we didn't want to come home. Ok, I do admit that Silversea really needs to do something about the elevator situation. There was one small elevator that was operated by a hamster running around in a wheel. I don't deny that there were times when I was so tired I would have liked to use an elevator rather than climb 4 flights of stairs. Despite the elevator, it was a wonderful trip and I highly recommend it. Incidentally, we were supposed to go on Celebrity's Galapagos trip last year, but it was cancelled due to Lobster-gate. When Celebrity cancelled a week before our trip, we scrambled to book another trip and ended up on Silver Spirit in the Mediterranean. It was so awesome that we ultimately booked Silver Galapagos instead of Celebrity for our Galapagos trip. For anyone thinking about going on the Celebrity trip, please note that Celebrity, as compensation, sent us coupons for 25% off any Celebrity cruise. Five weeks later, they rescinded the coupons and sent us new coupons for 25% off ONLY the Galapagos trip. That trip was booked so far out and was totally booked during any times we could go, that the coupons were rendered useless (and had a 2 year time limit). We're done with Celebrity (not because they cancelled, but because of the way they handled the aftermath), and Silversea is the beneficiary of our future cruises. In fairness to Celebrity, however, a friend went on Celebrity in February and had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Silver Galapagos Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 3.0 4.0
Shore Excursions 5.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 5.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3

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