10 Silversea Silver Galapagos Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

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
As a semi-surprise birthday trip my husband 'planned' this trip to the Galapagos Islands since it was a dream trip of mine for many decades. We had cruised with Silversea before so we knew traveling with them would be an added ... Read More
As a semi-surprise birthday trip my husband 'planned' this trip to the Galapagos Islands since it was a dream trip of mine for many decades. We had cruised with Silversea before so we knew traveling with them would be an added bonus! The other guests were delightful and since the ship has only 100 passengers, we got to know most of them! The crew was friendly, knowledgeable and fun, too! The guides are from the Galapagos Islands National Park Guide Service and they rotate around the cruise ships - I don't know how we got all the best guides but we did! :) Knowledgeable and fun. The day trips were always informative and interesting. The animals steal the show and rightfully so! We could go on and on about the sea lions and the boobie birds, other birds, iguanas, other flora and fauna - which vary from island to island. So much to take in! Wonderful trip!!!!! This cruise had no formal nights - which was nice since we had a lot of other items to pack for the expedition cruise. Bonus: We loved having wet suits and snorkeling gear provided for us -- no need to pack that!! (We swam with sea lions and sharks! And saw amazing schools of fish, starfish, rays, etc!!!!!) It is a busy day each day as they try to make the most of your trip and everything is so top notch. We did sit out one activity on one day as there was just too much going on and we needed a bit of a break. With that said - some of the island hikes were way to slow paced. You DO always need to be mindful of your footing - it's just the roughness of the islands - rocks and boulders and such. You need the proper shoes for you own best outcome! (They also provided walking sticks for those who needed them!) But we are used to hiking and moving about more. We DID appreciate they took into account everyone's abilities and I do think that might have been part of the issue. We did enjoy many times, the ability to just stand and enjoy the animals and scenery--that's why we came! The tortoises were show stoppers!!!! Loved seeing them in their natural habitat and at the preserve! The food was great! We loved the local food sourcing!!! The chef made sure there was different offerings and all were tasty! The piano man - Alfred- was fun. The butlers marvelous....great folks all around! Pre-cruise and post-cruise hotels they booked were EXCELLENT!!!!!!!! This was an added bonus - so many times the pre and post cruise parts are nice but these were EXCELLENT, especially our hotel in Guayaquil. We appreciated the half-day room. The amenities were really over the top! If you are wondering if you should go the answer is easy; it's: YES!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 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
It seemed very streamlined for the experiences we wanted. We were able to have everything organized for us & all we had to do was show up! Extremely knowledgeable staff and first class all the way from pre-cruise hotel in Quito to ... Read More
It seemed very streamlined for the experiences we wanted. We were able to have everything organized for us & all we had to do was show up! Extremely knowledgeable staff and first class all the way from pre-cruise hotel in Quito to getting to the lovely cruise ship made it a great experience. The places we visited & expeditions we went on gave a wonderful overview of the Galapagos. We would probably have missed many of the highlights if we tried to do on our own. The small size ship made it much more personal.The very experienced guides really made the difference in it being a far superior experience than we could have even hoped for. The open air grill restaurant was where everyone wanted to be so at lunch there were never enough tables and people tried to go early to get tables but sometimes you just got back from excursions & by the time you got there the tables were all taken up. The alternative was to eat in downstairs restaurant but the outside environment was much more desired. So, only suggestion would be more space in open air grill restaurant. And, perhaps some more outdoor relaxing areas. The one area outside the piano bar with 4 lounge couches was very coveted, also. For the number of passengers there needed to be a little more deck relaxing areas. The indoor areas were plentiful but I think a lot of people on a cruise want to be outside looking at the ocean. Also, the fresh air areas were tainted quite often with smell of paint & varnish. I realize maintenance must be difficult to schedule but when paying for a cruise & hoping for nice fresh ocean air, it is a little disappointing to smell varnish & paint instead of fresh air. Those couple of minor annoyances did not detract enough from the overall phenomenal experience to not want to do it again. It was the best experience ever getting to see the unique wildlife up close & personal & to get to learn so much at same time. The guides were ALL so very knowledgeable & very personable. There were so many amazing things we were privileged to see & experience that we will absolutely recommend this cruise to others and we will want to experience another Silversea cruise in our future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This is a great way to see the Galapagos. As I said to the Silversea rep from whom I bought the cruise, "Where else can you act like you are in your 20's during the day's activities and go back to being 70+ when back at the ... Read More
This is a great way to see the Galapagos. As I said to the Silversea rep from whom I bought the cruise, "Where else can you act like you are in your 20's during the day's activities and go back to being 70+ when back at the ship?". Caution, however: You do have to be willing to be physically taxed. Getting on to and off the ship is not for disabled, crippled or otherwise challenged individuals, because the very nature of having to get into and out of Zodiacs, which are small bobbly vessels. Staff make doing this as safe and easy as possible, but they are what they are. We were well taken care of, mostly personally, and always well from the time we got out of baggage claim in Guayaquil until the moment we passed through security on our way home. Silversea reps were all uniformly friendly, helpful and efficient. The ship's crew and hotel staff, and the guiding staff as well, were all highly professional and certainly more than willing to go the extra step to making everyone welcome, cared for, happy - and safe - the whole time. The itinerary and daily expedition parts of the cruise were extremely well planned and executed. There was something interesting and new at virtually every stop and several of the guides (Martin, Ernesto, Marco) are absolutely first class. They are intelligent, impart information without fluff or padding, know their stuff thoroughly and guide extremely well. (They also have a pretty good handle on herding cats without letting frustrations show.) On stops, passengers are broken down into Zodiac/guide groups of 14-14 and we always tried to make sure we were with one of these three. (Our experience with one or two of the other guides was indifferent, suggesting they have a bit to learn yet.) Food and drink service was uniformly good, often superior to excellent. Staff get to know you quickly, what you drink and how you like to be treated. And they do so with warmth and aplomb. A few are clearly still learning their trade and sometimes a bit hesitant or flustered, but all are willing and rapidly becoming able. Food also was very good. The breakfast spread is varied, plenteous and more than enough to satisfy anyone's tastes and appetite. Ditto for lunch on the patio and dinner in the dining room, with menus changing daily. You also have the option of reserving a place in The Grill for dinner in the evening, where the menu is a bit more limited, but beautifully served in a great outdoor atmosphere. Roberto, our waiter there was super: Knowledgeable, efficient, always friendly and extremely personable. What else can I say? If I had know that there were two different itineraries, I would have booked for two cruises back to back (i.e., two weeks). It is that good an experience. This is the best way to see the Galapagos for people who like to do things and are also old enough to want to enjoy the experience without hardship or dealing with third-world "adventure" when the day is done. Age doesn't necessarily matter: It is, however, for people who are reasonably fit and adventuresome. If you are relatively young and really fit, you will have a tremendous time snorkelling and kayaking. [One night I had a bit of a stomach upset, and this was mentioned on other days by one or two other people we met. I don't know whether this was just my older body reacting to the desalinated water supply aboard. But it was nowhere near enough to slow me down the next day.] Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Pluses: - Well organized and executed excursions which fortunately led to lifetime memories such as snorkeling in the midst of a penguin feeding frenzy, watching a dozen wild dolphins leap in unison several times ahead of the ship, ... Read More
Pluses: - Well organized and executed excursions which fortunately led to lifetime memories such as snorkeling in the midst of a penguin feeding frenzy, watching a dozen wild dolphins leap in unison several times ahead of the ship, swimming with sea lions and manta rays, standing inches from three foot long iguanas, and other priceless interactions with unafraid animals. - quality of meals was quite good, especially dinners which were five course meals with innovative and subtle takes on South American fusion and more conventional dishes. Lunch at the Grill, a beautiful outside terrace, featured grilled lobster and fresh fish and excellent salad bar, Ecuadorian soups and stews, and top quality desserts - naturalist guides and service generally, from the butlers to waiters to massage therapist and piano bar musician, were uniformly friendly and highly competent. Likeable and knowledgeable. Israel was an excellent expedition leader and a couple of the naturalists, Ernesto and Juan Carlos, each had decades of guide experience. Minuses: - our veranda suite was too cold, and it wasn’t until repeated tries and five days into the seven day cruise that the engineer was able to fix the air conditioning - the lunch ended at 130 but the dinner didn’t start until 730 pm. Very sparse food other than a bare bones room service menu was available until dinner, which meant many were tired and hungry at the end of long days. And the late dinner meant going to bed too soon (excursions began as early as 7 am) - given that water temperature was in the mid to high 60s F, the cruise should have provided full wetsuits, not shorty wetsuits, to all customers. We brought our own full wetsuits (3 mm and 5 mm thickness) and were so glad we did as the four snorkeling trips would have been miserable without that. Overall, my wife and I rated the cruise a solid A, with A plus for the animal sightings, A for the personnel, A for the food, and B plus for the accommodations and dinner time problems noted. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Well, it was an expedition cruise, not a floating buffet. We stayed for 2 weeks and enjoyed every moment (except the air transfers). The emphasis is on the wildlife tours via zodiacs (similar to the SilverSea Arctic & Antarctic ... Read More
Well, it was an expedition cruise, not a floating buffet. We stayed for 2 weeks and enjoyed every moment (except the air transfers). The emphasis is on the wildlife tours via zodiacs (similar to the SilverSea Arctic & Antarctic trips). Be ready to get dirty, sweaty, wet, cold and tired. The boat was divided into 2 groups and the first group generally set out by 7:30am. We were generally all back on the boat by noon and the afternoon trip was generally around 3pm. So there was time for a nap. The snorkeling was very cold (60-70F) and viz was generally less than 30 feet. But underwater we saw way too many sea turtles and just enough sea lions. Only 1 VERY fast penguin. If you have your own wetsuit and mask bring them. The full foot fins were fine. The zodiac landings are tightly controlled by the park service and very regimented. Please stay on the path. We started to get tired of hearing the guides yelling at stupid tourists to stay on the path. The paths are well marked. You can see everything from the paths. There is no need to leave the paths. You WILL have to contend with wildlife obstructing the paths. Please stay on the paths. We loved the food, although I heard a few complaints from people that hated sea food. Half the menu was seafood. Breakfast was a buffet that had enough selection for a person to go about 4 days without a repeat and they changed one or two things each day: example: orange juice every day along with a different second juice each day (guava, pineapple, blackberry,...). Egg station with omelettes made to order and the topping selection gradually changed each day. We always ate lunch on the outside grill. There was a chalkboard with a pasta, a pizza and 2 seafood choices that all changed daily, although I think there were repeats during the week as I had grilled prawns and grilled lobster a handful of times. There was also an Ecuadorian ceviche of the day along with a soup of the day and a special chefs station Ecuadorian dish (salted snapper, crackling pig, ...). They also provided a house made spicy hot sauce - Yum. But do not despair, if you hate real food we also noticed some cheese burgers being delivered. For supper we did a mix of the restaurant and the hot rocks grill. Like other Silversea ships the restaurant menu is different every day. The hot rocks grill menu was always the same: filet mignon, strip loin, prawns (except on wed, thur, fri they had Ecuadorian steak & prawns which is the same steak & prawns excepted they were marinated ahead of time). They provided blanket wraps for those who felt cold. If you like your protein rare, then go to the grill. In the restaurant they would only take an order for medium or well done steak (although after begging for rare, my medium steak was rare-ish). At the grill your steak and prawns are sizzling raw as they arrive. You can choose how well to cook them. The restaurant (& grill) features a different pair of wine (1 white & 1 red) each day but you can ignore this and ask for any wine on-board. The wines were all Chilean or Argentinian. The sparkling wine was Chilean with a premium wine being available in room on request. The sparkling wine from the bar was cheap and cheerful. The pisco sours were very good. After a few days the bar staff anticipated your orders. The air transfers to and from the boat sucked. I felt like cattle. This is consistent with our experience in the Antarctic and Arctic. A weak link in the experience. On our flight to the boast the lady seated beside me (I was was separated from my partner) complained that she was not sitting in first class as she was willing to pay. I pointed out that the majority of the plane was most likely willing. On our next trip we plan to go early and stay late at the port in order to avoid the cattle experience. The boat had outdoor viewing areas at the bow on decks 4 & 5. The smoking area was deck 4 stern outside the lounge. The grill area on deck 5 was about 2/3 covered. The one (surprise) difference from our other trips was the lack of self serve laundry facilities. So be prepared to pay or wash your stinky socks in your sink... Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Since many friends have taken these cruises other places, we decided to trust their opinion. We were not disappointed. Everything was extremely well organized. There were quite a few naturalists who were very specialized especially ... Read More
Since many friends have taken these cruises other places, we decided to trust their opinion. We were not disappointed. Everything was extremely well organized. There were quite a few naturalists who were very specialized especially a gentleman named Martin. He was extremely knowledgeable about birds and foliage. The food on the ship was excellent and very accommodating. I would suggest a bimini on the Grill deck so that more folks could be undercover. The cabins were adequate for two. I would suggest more accessibility to clothes drying without laundry facilities. When we had to rinse our clothing there wasn't;t a place for drying. It was not a strenuous trip but one would have to be in good shape to hike 2 hours and not mind getting up and about at 6:30 AM. The heat would build and hiking started early for that reason. I would go again but I feel that we have seen everything offered since it was so well designed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This is a Silversea "Expeditions" cruise, so a smaller ship and not quite the same level of luxury as the bigger Silversea ships. But a fabulous cruise with two "ports" most days, one early morning for 3 hours or so, ... Read More
This is a Silversea "Expeditions" cruise, so a smaller ship and not quite the same level of luxury as the bigger Silversea ships. But a fabulous cruise with two "ports" most days, one early morning for 3 hours or so, then beck on the ship for lunch while they sail for a second port for the afternoon adventure. No actual ports; every island is reached by Zodiac. So 12 stops on the Galapagos North Central itinerary ranging from the newer, more primitive, mostly lava islands in the northwest to the more developed, almost tropical islands in the southeast. You get up close and personal with everything: blue-and red-footed boobies, albatross, tortoises, sea lions (everywhere!), hawks, pelicans, iguanas, lizards, crabs, owls, etc. We checked off 51 different birds, animals, and fish on the sheets they provided. Best of all was that May was mating season for all the birds and we watched mating elaborate rituals from literally a few feet away. Lots of great snorkeling and kayaking if you were so inclined. All equipment provided. Open seating lunch and dinner had 3 or 4 choices in the main dining room and 5 or 6 more at the outside grill. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is a cruise with two very contrasting levels of experience. Firstly (on the plus side) the organisation of the wildlife watching daily tours is excellent, led by a first rate team of guides / naturalists who keep you fully informed ... Read More
This is a cruise with two very contrasting levels of experience. Firstly (on the plus side) the organisation of the wildlife watching daily tours is excellent, led by a first rate team of guides / naturalists who keep you fully informed and efficiently man the zodiac boats that take you ashore. They sensibly split snorkelers from non-snorkelers and this part of the experience has been thought through very well and could not be bettered. But, on the minus side, the food falls far short of what you would expect from comparable 6 star lines such as Seabourn and Regent. Although they pre-warn you that it is an ‘expedition ship’ and that it won’t have the full range of comforts etc of other Silversea vessels, nothing prepares you for canteen style deserts that are completely inedible, a poor quality airport style breakfast with greasy eggs ; basic bread rolls that most supermarkets would not dare to offer their customers. Cabins are OK but the whole ship has a ’tired’ feel about it and does not appear particularly clean in some areas. Whatever ingredients are being used there is no excuse for the limited cooking and presentation skills on offer; corners are cut everywhere with the food with (for example) tasteless “sub sandwiches” turning up on the lunch menu as one of the options. Dinner is better as you can cook your own seafood / steak on hot lava stones at the table in the grill room on deck, but it’s the overall cruise experience that you are left with (given the premium prices being charged) that makes you think Silversea are overplaying the ‘expedition ship’ card. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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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