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50 Silversea Antarctica Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
Day 1 After a very long journey from Cyprus (Europe) we arrived at BA EZE international airport. We may have been unlucky, but the queues for passport control were very long, one hour to get through (eye and fingerprint recognition). ... Read More
Day 1 After a very long journey from Cyprus (Europe) we arrived at BA EZE international airport. We may have been unlucky, but the queues for passport control were very long, one hour to get through (eye and fingerprint recognition). We collected our luggage then waited one more hour to get through customs control, every bag is screened, not what you need after a long journey. Thankfully once through we were greeted by our pre booked English speaking taxi guy. (can supply details if needed) We had booked a very nice Hotel near to the domestic airport where we fly from in the morning only 15 minutes from the airport, don't even think of staying near to EZE airport the traffic is so bad. The hotel is called the Fierro Hotel in Palmero, very clean, comfortable, welcome glass of wine on arrival, safe area to stay, reasonably priced. We have an early breakfast, taxi ordered, plane leave for Ushuaia 08.00hrs. Will report further. Day 2 After a pleasant evening in BA at a really nice steak house we retired to a warm and comfortable bed. Early start 05.30 with a continental style breakfast served in the room left the hotel for a 15 minute drive to AEP domestic airport in a pre booked local taxi, cost, 71 pesos, £9 or 15 US dollars. On arrival, met by Silversea rep before check in who gave us our boarding passes with pre allocated seating, no upgrades allowed, no queues, simple check in procedure for luggage with LAN (Local airline) for our onward flight to Ushuaia, the baggage was not weighed, no restriction on hand luggage. A Silversea rep travels on the plane with you. The airport has plenty of places to eat and drink, a few shops open to browse. The plane was a modern Airbus A320, departed 30 mins late at 08.55 hrs, seating was comfortable but economy (coach) is never that good for leg room, we were lucky and had three seats for two. Food on board is very odd!! After 50minutes they serve coffee/tea/soft drinks, no wine or spirits on board, there is beer. They offer a light snack comprising three packets of biscuits (cookies) 15 minutes later same again, except this time you are offered a packet of crisps/chips. After 3hrs 10 mins we landed in Ushuaia not the 3hrs 50 as posted, nice surprise there. Nice modern airport, after collecting our bags from the carrousel we took them outside and left them with SS, we boarded a very nice coach. When the coach was almost full a tour guide announced that we were going to a restaurant for lunch 20 mins away, she gave a good history lesson on the way. Stopped at a very nice place for lunch, three course meal, BB lamb for a main course, lasted about an hour. From there we drove into the town and had just less than 1 hour to walk around the shops before boarding the ship. At last on board!!! Day 3 A warm welcome as usual from all the staff, nice parker coat awaits in our room. We are on deck 3 so will report later on that. First thing was the mandatory lifeboat drill, sailed away 18.30hrs, then 18.45 meet and greet from the crew. Very rough seas and a large swell from 22.00hrs to last at least 12 hours!! Tablets on hand. Our first evening on the explorer: The crew and experts introduced themselves 122, crew, including 12 experts, 118 passengers on this voyage. After a pleasant meal we retired early, the "storm" was just starting! Dress code was very casual indeed, some guys were in jeans, no tie or jacket ladies were also in casual attire. At about 23.000hrs fierce winds began to rock the ship, it got worse through the night with up to 25-30 feet swell, it was as bad as predicted, not much sleep at all with the bed and other items in the room rolling around including us!! We have confined ourselves to the room for the day, it is rather difficult moving around the ship. Day 4 We are in suite 304 so maybe we feel it more, but at the time of writing this some 17hrs later it's still the same. A word of caution here, if you are not a good sailor this cruise may not be for you, not for the faint hearted so far, not many people around for the three expert lectures today. At 1500hrs today they announced that if anyone wants to borrow rubber boots they are welcome, so they must have a good stock, they called guests by deck number, all were complete in 45 mins. Just managed room service, let's hope it stays down! Now 18.00hrs and we are staying in the room, good documentaries to watch on TV and movies. As you know speaking about food and drink is very subjective. We are quite easy to please, so unless the food is dire I won't discuss on this forum. Six of us eat last evening one guy liked a fuller red wine, the sommelier was more than happy to change it. Day 5 In answer to a question on the forum: One of the senior crew members was asked about the damage to the ship? When the wave hit the ship enough water came on the bridge up to their knees! Of course the ship was temporarily disabled but at no time were the passengers or crew in any danger. The water seeped right through the ship causing damage, I guess we were lucky we sailed! There is a full account already posted on the thread. So, after 32 hours we finally emerge from our suite like to Polar bears coming out of hibernation! We must have looked like two ghosts walking for breakfast. We have only sailed three times before in calmer waters so you seasoned sailors out there must take all this in your stride? As for me I am certainly not looking forward to the return journey across the Drake Passage. For your information the sailing time is approx 62hrs from leaving BA to docking in the Antarctic. We have 24hrs before we set anchor we just spotted our first Iceberg (cool) I have spoken with other guests who are accommodated on decks 4 and 5, they too are experiencing sickness, they can feel the "roll" of the ship and they are also uncomfortable, I have no doubt they are better off than deck three however. At 10.00hrs we attended the mandatory Zodiac briefing which lasted 1 hour; it included how to behave while on land. The weather has tempered somewhat, slightly better swell but still some roll. Just had a first sighting of fin whales, fantastic! The captain slowed down and changed course so we can all get a better view and a photo opportunity. Day 6 It s 0500hrs on Sunday 3rd February, we finally arrive in the Antarctic!! We are in the South Shetland Islands. This morning the team plan to stay in a well known area for whales, the sea is flat and calm, perfect conditions apparently. The last job of last evening was to take any gear/clothing which had been previously used to be checked and cleaned using a hoover, if you have any new clothing you don't need to have it checked, each suite is allocated two spaces in the mud room to leave your boots on your return. The guests are already allocated a number for their Zodiac, there are 4 Zodiacs. No more than 100 people are allowed on shore at any one time. The temperature is zero, snow flurries; it doesn't take long to spot hump back whales, killer whales and minke whales. The scenery is just stunning, icebergs sailing by, snow capped mountains. One of the highlights was two hump back whales who came within 15feet of the ship, side by side, what a stunning sight to see! Already this trip has exceeded our expectations. Forget the long journey, the rocky passage through the Drake Passage, so far so good! Just off for a leisurely breakfast before the action continues. It's now 10am we are travelling down Neumaya channel and the Peltia channel, very few ships travel down here because it is so narrow, only half a mile wide or less in parts. Again beautiful scenery as we go through small ice fields, snow covered glaciers either side, our first sight of penguins, lion seals, and plenty of wild birds. The final viewing today was to travel through the lemair straits. This afternoon we have a Zodiac cruise at 14.00hrs, looking forward to that. After a very pleasant lunch, here we are all the thermal gear on, waterproofs Etc for our Zodiac expedition. We boarded the Zodiac at 14.30hrs; the trip was to last 90 minutes. There are 30 guests per team (4 teams per ship) We were Zodiac 1, we then split into 4 groups of 8 per Zodiac, the four groups then went out together. Our first encounter were hump back whales, there were 4 within metres of the Zodiac. We then visited a small island where there were colonies of Adeli penguins; we stayed in the Zodiac and viewed from a distance we also saw fur and lion seals. Overall a great experience, the warm weather gear we brought passed its test. Before we knew it we were back aboard the Explorer for a nice hot cup of tea. At 18.15 we will attend a de brief and recap. Day 7 A very special day awaits us today. I hope I am not spoiling this for future passengers? This forum has given me so much useful information it's about time I repaid the advice. As part of this expedition we are here to celebrate my partner's birthday, I cannot say which birthday for fear of serious injury or worse!!! We also celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary today so all in all something to look forward to. We set sail at 18.00hrs last evening for our current location Detaille Island, South of the Arctic Circle, we anchored at about 04.30hrs. The weather is still zero degrees, cloudy with some snow. Our first actual landing on Terra firmer in the Antarctic!!! In 1956 a British expedition team landed here to carry out research, they built a large hut for accommodation. In 1959 the weather was so bad that the supply ship could not reach the team. Without supplies it was impossible to stay, the team had a small window of opportunity to leave immediately with what they could carry; as such they left the base as it stands today complete with personal belongings, artefacts, everything. They walked/skied over 25 miles to reach the rescue ship. We reached the base on the Zodiac where we met a UK Antarctic Heritage trust team of three who are currently spending 4/6 weeks maintaining the base, called Base W. Our passports have all been stamped with the Antarctica stamp how cool is that!! You can also send postcards from there. (You supply your own post cards, you buy the stamps there) What an experience visiting a place that was abandoned in 1959. All the food is still there, clothing equipment, newspapers, books; it's like stepping back in time. After 90 minutes we are now back on the Explorer about to enjoy lunch. What a lovely surprise in our room, the crew had decorated the room with balloons and decorations, a really nice touch, and of course a bottle of nice cool champagne. Someone on the forum has asked for the Captains name, he is Captain Alexander Golubev, a very experienced captain in this neck of the woods with over 80 voyages in this region. Unfortunately there are no visits at all to the bridge because of the incident with the Costa Concordia, shame really! After a fantastic morning (it just gets better) the Captain decided to take the ship further south than the vessel has ever gone before. We met with pack ice but, undeterred he sailed through no problem! Lots of lion seals basking on the ice, great photo opportunities. It's a birthday celebration in the MDR this evening, the crew will sing happy birthday and that will be a fitting end to another great day on the Explorer. Day 8 We sailed overnight from Detaille Island to our current position Petermann Island. Here we hope to see Adelie and Gentoo penguins, Blue eyed-shags, and South Polar skewers. After a short trip in the Zodiac we landed on the island we were met by as many penguins as the eye could see. You could however "smell" the Guano (penguin poop) well before we landed! We spent 90 minutes wandering the island at our leisure, once again fascinating history from the experts. I have to say at this stage the crew and experts really make this expedition what it is, very friendly smiling faces whatever the conditions. Back on board before lunch, more eating and drinking. This afternoon we sail to Port Lockroy & Dorian Bay. Port Lockroy is a natural harbour located on the Western side of Wiencke Island in the Palmer Archipelago, discovered in 1903 it was mainly used as a whaling station. In 1944 the British established a base on Goudier Island (we Brits get everywhere!). It is an early example of a scientific research station. Another very interesting day, again lots to see, lots of nesting chicks, the highlight was a lion seal when it came so close to the Zodiac you could almost touch it! Called at Port Lockroy which is half museum and half souvenir shop, t shirts, polo shirts, key rings, anything with penguins on and the name of the base station. They take dollars, Euros, sterling or credit cards, your last chance to post cards to your loved ones. They may take between 2-10 weeks to arrive however. Day 9 This morning our expedition is to Cuverville Island where there is a large Gentoo Penguin rookery. On arrival at the beach you could see lots of whale bones scattered around, jaw bones, ribs Etc. Before our departure, the expedition leader announced over the tannoy that if anyone was interested you could hike to the top of the dome on the Island some 280mtrs high, covered in thick snow and rocks. Note: This climb takes 45-50 minutes and is certainly not for the infirm or those not used to exercise. It is a steep climb but mapped out all the way by the experts. Fifty brave souls made the climb, one behind the other we looked like Edmund Hilary climbing Everest! (Slight exaggeration there) Once we reached the peak the views as you can imagine were stunning. Half way up most people discarded their hats, gloves, and some outer clothing. Walking poles proved very useful for this climb. The hike back down is much easier, in fact the highlight is when you get to a point about a quarter of the way from the bottom you have an option to Toboggan on your rear end all the way down, it takes about 10 seconds and is great fun. We are now certainly in to the routine of Life jackets off, Jackets on, boots on boots off, hats on hats off. The temperature today is a balmy +2 degrees. Not sure you ever get used to the Guano smell; there is a lot of it around! For those not partaking in the hike you can still visit the Island and wander at your leisure. This afternoon the ship visits Neko harbour, good for beautiful glaciers, there are guided walks on offer. We decided to sit this one out in favour of a relaxing hot tub on the top deck drinking a nice glass of champagne!! We could see the intrepid explorers climbing to the top of the island and we drank a toast to them. Some people just don't know when to stop having fun!! Yet another announcement of a hump back whale close to the ship. This evening is a welcome get together for returning Venetian Guests, last evening the First timers to Silversea had their party. Day10 This is our last day in the Antarctic aboard the Explorer before we set sail this evening back through the Drake Passage. We landed this morning at Hannah Point on the South coast of Livingston Island. We hope to see Southern Elephant Seals, Macaroni penguins, Chinstrap Penguins, Southern giant Petrels and Antarctic fur seals. For those who enjoy some brisk exercise, the team offered a walk to fossil beach on the other side of the bay. It is a moderate walk with a few slight inclines and slippery rocks; it is approx 4km return or a 1.5 to 2hr walk. The highlight of this tour was 40-50 male juvenile Elephant seals who basking on the beach, they come ashore to lose their coats. When fully grown they are called beach masters, they grow up to 5 metres in length, can weigh 5 tons, and live to 50yrs of age, they have no natural predators. When in the sea they can go to 1500 metres and stay under water for up to 2 hours. Once again, we saw plenty of different penguin colonies and large sea birds, fantastic morning. This afternoon the ship moved to Whalers Bay Deception Island, which you may have heard of? It is located in the South Shetland Islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. The most recent volcano eruptions were in 1967 and 1969 which caused serious damage to the scientific stations there. The only current research stations are run by the Argentinean Army and Spain. It is a sad place given the history of the place due to whaling, all the old huts and equipment is still there I hope never to be used ever again. This Island is where if you are foolish enough you can partake in the famous polar plunge, anyone brave enough to jump into the icy waters is allowed to do so. It would be a shame to come all this way and not do it, and yes we did it!!! Even after one minute you cannot feel your legs, great fun though. Well that's it folks, now that I have bored the pants off you, our trip of a lifetime is almost over. We have the two day Drake Passage to look forward to (not) then a day in BA before our homeward trip. I would like to place on record our thanks to the crew and experts of the Explorer. They really make it an adventure never to be forgotten. I only have one small observation, Silversea still nickel and dime you for using the internet irrespective of how many times you sailed with them. Please feel free to ask any questions about the ship or the trip, I will be more than pleased to try and answer them. We can honestly say it has been well worth the money, effort and time to get here, one of the world's great untouched places to visit. Good luck to all who have booked for future cruises; you WILL have a fantastic time. Bon voyage: Mr and Mrs Fudge, aka Bev and Steve..... We are 14 hrs into our crossing of the Drake Passage, still not for the passenger who suffers from motion sickness!! 12-16 ft swell, just about comfortable. Someone asked if Claudia Holgate is on board (Climatologist and birder) yes she is, a wealth of knowledge as are all the Expedition team. Another question was, how is the food and drink? As I said earlier, we are easily pleased. The breakfast is buffet style; plenty of choice, eggs cooked fresh how you like them. For us lunch is the best meal. Again buffet style with lots of choice, at least two choices of fish, three choices of meat, plenty of fresh fruit and salad, great choice of desserts. At 4pm, you can have fresh sandwiches, tea, coffee, and freshly baked scones with cream, yum yum! Dinner is what it is, a la cart, a choice of 4 smaller portions, from appetizers to the main course. As for the wines: Again, personal choice, if one is not to your palate the Sommelier changes it without question. Entertainment: The experts give regular talks on their particular subject, otherwise it's a guy on a piano, and no dancing girls here I'm afraid. If you are not an expert at taking photos fear not, the team put together a video of the trip plus a CD with 500 photos, you can purchase for 150 US dollars. Tonight is a casual/elegant night, the third of the trip, a chance for Mrs Fudge to dress up; we are invited to the Captains table, should we really eat with the staff??? (Only joking there) We enjoyed a very nice evening with the Captain; the difference between this cruise and other Silversea cruises is that you are encouraged to mix with other guests. You can of course choose to dine alone, but I must admit with such a small passenger list you soon get to know most of the guests. The service has once again been outstanding; we were called by our names by most of the crew. The rest of the crossing of the Drake Passage was thankfully uneventful, not smooth, but by no means as bad as our first crossing!! The journey back was only 48hrs as opposed to 62 hrs getting to the Antarctica. We generally relaxed on board attending several lectures and had an opportunity to watch the Video produced by the Expedition team, it was 1hr long, very informative and good quality. For those who have never sailed with SS before your bags have to be packed and outside your room by 23.30hrs the night before embarkation. On the day of departure you enjoy a leisurely breakfast leaving the vessel at 08.45, after a very short bus ride to the end of the pier you have about 1hr 50 mins to explore the town, a good opportunity for last minute shopping! At 10.50 am you board the bus to the airport, it's only a 10 minute ride. At the airport you go to the check in desk, again a simple check in procedure. By the way, after leaving your bags outside your room you don't see them until landing at BA. We were only in the airport 90 minutes before we took off 5 mins early heading for BA. Landed at the domestic airport, 8 mins early at 15.52 very simple getting out. Now in a very nice Hotel not far from EZE airport ready for the long flight home tomorrow. We had a nice surprise on the flight back to BA, they served a larger snack, a cheese and ham sandwich, cheese biscuits, a cake, AND a choice of red or white wine. Be guarded at Ushuaia airport, like most airports food and drink is quite expensive, people were buying sandwiches thinking we only had cookies on the plane. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We travelled as one of 4 couples - of the eight of us, we were the only Silversea/cruising novices. Turns out many of the passengers were returning guests, and/or planned to book again on the Silver Explorer for future expeditions. We ... Read More
We travelled as one of 4 couples - of the eight of us, we were the only Silversea/cruising novices. Turns out many of the passengers were returning guests, and/or planned to book again on the Silver Explorer for future expeditions. We had expected to be the youngest passengers (we are in our 30's) but there were several families with children, and numerous passengers of our own age. Our cabin was on the 3rd deck, so I believe it was relatively stable. Nevertheless I am sensitive to motion and was quite seasick, despite enjoying "Drake Lake". Rather than eat up at the restaurant, my butler was frequently able to arrange for me to have whatever dish I wanted served in my cabin. A much appreciated benefit of the butler service! Indeed, the 8 of us enjoyed almost all the food that was served. Given that we were 12 days at sea without fresh provisions, the range and quality of the food was excellent. I have special dietary requirements and these were catered for without apparent difficulty. For someone who was predominantly confined to the cabin, I found it fairly comfortable. All the ship's staff were very friendly and welcoming, while the expedition staff were outstanding - many had a long association with the Silver Explorer and their enthusiasm for the ship and the destination was infectious. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
It was my second cruise with Silversea but my very first time experiencing an expedition voyage. I must say it has been the best trip of my lifeDestination: extraordinaryCrew staff: incredibleCaptain: extremely friendly and very ... Read More
It was my second cruise with Silversea but my very first time experiencing an expedition voyage. I must say it has been the best trip of my lifeDestination: extraordinaryCrew staff: incredibleCaptain: extremely friendly and very professionalExpedition staff: I was not expecting such a well trained team. Out of ordinary!!Food: I couldn't ask more considering that we were in such a remote area of the worldBoat: old but very well maintaned. spotlessStateroom:  Veranda Suite: great view from french balcony. spotless. marble bathroom. luxury bedding, binoculars, refrigerator with all inclusive beverage, too tiny closet (even if my butler was very capable in fiiting in there all my cloths) Butler: very useful. always anticipating my needsweather: sunny almost everydayDrake Passage: quite calm but still a lot of people got seasick. Bracelets are very usefulsince day 1 litteraly all crew members remembered my name...impressive can't wait to my next expedition cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We traveled back-to-back cruises, Antarctica and the Chilean fjords, on the Silver Explorer in February/March 2012. The brilliant expedition team; marine biologist, geologists, ornithologist, botanist, historian were available to answer ... Read More
We traveled back-to-back cruises, Antarctica and the Chilean fjords, on the Silver Explorer in February/March 2012. The brilliant expedition team; marine biologist, geologists, ornithologist, botanist, historian were available to answer questions almost 24/7. They doubled as our zodiac drivers, accompanying us on all landings and excursions. Lectures every sea day from these professionals added enormously to our understanding and enjoyment. Silver Explorer has an open bridge, officers and crew happy to explain what's happening. Zodiac expeditions were well organised, generally two a day while in Antarctica. Because only 100 pasengers are allowed to land at one time, 60 would land while others did a zodiac cruise. We had plenty of time onshore, the area you can explore is limited, usually by inaccessible cliffs of ice and some environmentally sensitive area declared out of bounds. Landings catered for all fitness levels with long, quite challenging, hikes for the very fit, short, not so steep walks for the almost fit and short gentle strolls on flat ground for the less active. Several passengers and crew took the option of the "polar plunge," a dash into the calm but near freezing waters of Deception Island. All landings and excursions are included in the fare as are all drinks. Your cabin bar will be stocked with the drinks you ask for. All cabins are outside, very comfortable with decent sized bathrooms. Some cabins have balconies. Stewards and butlers attend to your every wish. We were very happy with our cabin mid-ships on deck 3, especially when the seas were rough. There is a guest laundry, washing machine and dryer, on board. Washing dries very quickly in bathrooms. Silversea provide very warm parkas and backpacks and have rubber boots left behind by former passengers available for loan. We found plenty of delicious choices from the breakfast and lunch buffets, hot dishes were always hot. I particularly enjoyed the lunchtime casseroles. The dinner menu offered three choices for each course; if the choices don't suit you can order "off menu". Dinner service wasn't swift but we enjoyed chatting to our new friends. The officers and crew were very friendly and attentive. Ratio of crew to passengers is about 1:1. There is a small gym, well patronized on sea days. There is no "big cruise ship" style entertainment. A pianist, a well-stocked library both of which we appreciated and movies to watch on cabin TV, which we were too well occupied to use. There are no formal nights, two or three dinners where we tried to dress more smartly, especially when invited to the table of the captain or other officers. Certainly our style of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I want to first state the expedition quality of this cruise was fantastic. The scientists onboard, lectures, zodiac tours and landings were beyond wonderful. The cabin was equal to any onboard Holland America or a Viking or Avalon river ... Read More
I want to first state the expedition quality of this cruise was fantastic. The scientists onboard, lectures, zodiac tours and landings were beyond wonderful. The cabin was equal to any onboard Holland America or a Viking or Avalon river cruise. The cabin did not compete with Celebrity suites. However, the breakfast and lunch buffet were always cold. This was true even if you went to the dinning room immediately upon opening. Room service also suffered from cold food. Eggs ordered off the menu were brought to the table over done or under cooked. Tapas served in the Observation Lounge were still frozen. I just didn't understand the lack of quality food on a cruise that was this costly. Coffee was hit or miss. Some lattes were right on and then the next might be undrinkable. Wine included with meals was pleasant. Dinner selections on the menu were difficult to interpret. Sometimes the items were lost in translation. We did find that there was a "secret" menu. If you gave 24 hours advance notice, you could get an Indian dinner or lamb chops, lobster and other entries. The risotto was poorly executed anytime it was on the menu. I also had a difficult time wrapping my head around a Silversea practice of auctioning off the chart from the cruise (signed by the staff) for thousands of dollars. When we asked where the money goes to we were told it goes towards clothing, entertainment and shore excursions for the crew. When fellow passengers asked "which" crew, the expedition leader did not give a clear answer. On our cruise, a record was set and a gentleman paid $11,500 for the chart. This guy had won the auction on the Arctic and wanted to have the Antarctic "side by side". Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This was a trip we had been planning for some time and our expectations were very high. the transfer flight to Ushaia was fine and boarding was a quick as possible onsidering all the passengers arrived at once. Our Expedition Suite was ... Read More
This was a trip we had been planning for some time and our expectations were very high. the transfer flight to Ushaia was fine and boarding was a quick as possible onsidering all the passengers arrived at once. Our Expedition Suite was lovely and spacious and iimmaculate. On this expedition we had a dream run, not only because of the weather which was fantastic, but the crew and the expedition team who were superb. Robin the expedition leader ran the expedition side of the ship extaordinarily well. He and his team ensured we saw everything possible, cared for our well being on land and in the zodiacs and there was always someone from the team around us imparting information on the wild life, flora and the geology of the region. We really cannot praise them enough, they ensured we saw and did more than we ever anticipated - thanks for getting us onto Elephant Island, quite a feat. We saw everything from blue whales down to the tiny seal pups and thousands of penguins, it was just amazing. The ships crew coped so well with the weird hours we ate at some days, very early risings and were instantly ensuring we were happy, warm and fed. Our Cabin crew Rom and Ith were the best we have ever had in our long relationship with cruising. Perhaps the only grizzle we could have was with the dining room. the breakfast buffet was often cold and there seem to be a shortage of wait staff who were not well run by the Maitre D. They were willing and charming but somewhat over worked. The perfect culmination of the trip was the showing of the trip video on our last night. Richard Sidey the photographer had done a brilliant job and was treated to a standing ovation, it seems everyone bought a copy. As this trip was so very special it is impossible to really tell anyone how good it was, but the video shows it all and the photography is outstanding. My advice to potential Antarctic cruisers - if you do nothing else in your life do this cruise which includes the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula, it is truly wondrous. do it with Silver Explorer, they do it so very well. This expedition exceeded our expectations totally and we look on it as probably the most special experience of our lives. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Antarctica is a very special place. We very much wanted to go, but as someone who does not cruise we were a little ?? about having to take a cruise to do it. Note: there are other options, but they are extraordinarily expensive, one ... Read More
Antarctica is a very special place. We very much wanted to go, but as someone who does not cruise we were a little ?? about having to take a cruise to do it. Note: there are other options, but they are extraordinarily expensive, one lives in tents and there is no wildlife to speak of. Anyway, I cannot give any kind of comparisons to other ships, so I will just give you our view from that perspective. Pros: The expedition staff was incredible and I cannot imagine a better run expedition with more qualified staff. The landings, the side trips, the zodiac cruises - just AWESOME!! I must include the personalities of the expedition crew really added to the fun. In some ways it was a little like camp and these were the camp counselors... way more serious and professional, but since us guest are such noobs - well we have to be shown the ropes, and they did a terrific job of breaking us in. The ship - We felt the size was about right, and due to the nature of the trip we decided to spend the extra cash to get one of the larger suites. Ours was the Expedition suite mid ship on the 4th deck. It was really nice and we enjoyed the extra space. I sort of wish I had spent a little more for the Silver Suite since one can open the doors and get fresh air. The food was quite good, not the best in the world, but heck - were provisioned for 10 days Once. Our butler was very nice and all the little things were done to make us comfortable. Heck, the staff even help "dig in" so we could get the Super Bowl live on the ship. I am quite sure we were one of, if not the only ship to get the game. The staff even put out chips, burger and dogs(and they are all European and still made it work). Cons: Parts of the ship are getting a little tired, namely the Observation Lounge - to me it seemed like a complete waste of space - renovate it and put a bar up there - after 10 days we got tired of the same "go to" lounge. Fitness center is way too small - the people who take this trip are a generally active group and a decent fitness center is needed. All in all - go to Antarctica - spend the extra coin to go on a nice ship like the Explorer and enjoy an unbelievable experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I feel compelled to write a review although it is now 2 1/2 years since we went on the ship. I am amazed at some of the poor reviews the ship has received. If you go on an expedition cruise on a small expedition ship you cannot expect the ... Read More
I feel compelled to write a review although it is now 2 1/2 years since we went on the ship. I am amazed at some of the poor reviews the ship has received. If you go on an expedition cruise on a small expedition ship you cannot expect the type of facilities you would find on a larger ship. A lack of wild life, poor weather, limited iternet access, lack of fresh food towards the end of a long trip and other equally trite complaints are outwith the control of the cruise line. Passengers need to read the information available about their trip, their ship, its facilities and what they can expect before they book. Neither Silversea nor any other cruise line can guarantee sightings of wild birds and animals. Internet access when far from the usual modes of communication is inevitably patchy. Lack of television is the same although why one would want to sit in a cabin watching TV while on an adventure ship is beyond my comprehension. We had the most wonderful 18 day trip, the crew were marvelous, the naturalists highly knwowledgeable, the zodiac expeditions were wonderfully organised, the lectures and evening round ups on what we had seen and what we would do the next day were first rate. The penguines, seals and birdlife were amazing. We saw whales and dolphins. We were never bored even though we had several runs of "sea days". The food was good to excellent, yes there was a declining offering in respect of fresh fruit and some supplies but what can you expect after two or more weeks at sea. There was a good choice at mealtimes, the wines were first rate and if the white or red being offered at any mealtime was not to your taste then the Maitre d' would offer you something you did like. Free seating at dinner meant we met a lot of people from all parts of the world sometimes sharing tables for numbers varying from 4 to 8 and only rarely seeking the seclusion of a table for 2. We loved our trip so much we have booked to go back to sail on the Ushaia to Cape Town trip next March so we can enjoy a return to the Falklands and South Georgia and then go on to Tristan da Cunha. The prospect of this trip in the early spring is something lovely to savour and look forward to through the winter months. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Antarctica is a once in a lifetime experience. Having read the critiques preceding ours we expected much more from Prince Albert II. Yes, Antarctica is breathtaking, a natural wonder affordable only to a minuscule percentage of the ... Read More
Antarctica is a once in a lifetime experience. Having read the critiques preceding ours we expected much more from Prince Albert II. Yes, Antarctica is breathtaking, a natural wonder affordable only to a minuscule percentage of the world's population but this natural wander is free. What you pay for is getting there + the guidance & explanations. Our disappointment was immediate. Having boarded a very tired looking ship with stained carpets, we entered our suite to find our own carpet stained, a plate of semi rotten fresh fruits, stained bed covering, old bathtub with 2 dirty towels. We could not believe the poor condition of our cabin, even our window had salt stains obscuring the view.When we mentioned these shortcomings to the Hotel Mgr. Martin, his arrogant & condescending comment was that "this is an expedition ship and expected... you did not do your homework". Having paid $20,000 for 10 days accommodations we certainly expected more. My reply was that there's no excuse for the dirty bathtub, rotten fruits and since the ship was in port, windows should be cleaned. Although following our complaint, the room steward did the best he could I can honestly state that if I was to rate Prince Albert II as a hotel, giving it 2** would be generous.Regarding the "gourmet cuisine" offered on board I can only say it was hit or miss. Food was mostly good but far from superb. Selection of desserts was very limited and on several days the cakes were bad and almost uneatable. Having a sweet tooth, I appreciated the upshot that here's a cruise that I will not gain weight on. On the plus side, the guides & lectures were excellent as were all landings. We lucked into some great weather and managed 2 outings/day. The gifted Parka provided by PA II, is warm; a secondary warm jacket is not required but do make sure you order it at least 1 week prior to departure as they may not have your size on board. Boots were plentiful and I certainly don't recommend you purchase your own unless you have special needs. Lack of entertainment (piano man only) was not a significant factor since we were tired from the daily expeditions. Informative lectures filled in voids. Lack of entertainment will be relevant if weather does not permit landings.Finally the 2 day Drake passage crossing (both directions) had many passengers succumbing to sea sickness so be prepared even if you've been on rough seas. This ship is only 30,000 tonsIf I am to do Antarctica again, I would choose National Geographic's Explorer expedition ship. You certainly get more value for your money. Other passengers felt the same way. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We have realized the thrill of visiting Antarctica, our 7th continent, and thanks to the weather, new friends we made on the sailing, the professional crew, and the extraordinary service we received each day, we doubt this cruise will ever ... Read More
We have realized the thrill of visiting Antarctica, our 7th continent, and thanks to the weather, new friends we made on the sailing, the professional crew, and the extraordinary service we received each day, we doubt this cruise will ever be topped. Silversea required us to purchase their charter air package and although it had a few rough spots (check-in at the Buenos Aires domestic airport and a long wait for baggage once we returned to Buenos Aires) we understand why they did it the way they did and we really can´t complain. We were taken to a ski lodge 25 km from Ushuaia for lunch on the 8th and the lamb BBQ was pretty good. We boarded the vessel around 2pm and our luggage was waiting for us in our suite (all cabin categories are called suites). The welcome we received at the ship really started the cruise on a positive note. The suite was roomy and a bottle of champagne was waiting for us. The sail away was nice and the trip down the Beagle was uneventful. Apparently it was a bit rough the previous day but the initial stage of the transit of the Drake Passage was pretty smooth. It got a bit bumpy after 11pm and it stayed that way throughout most of the 9th. We made good speed across the Drake on the 10th and actually arrived early enough in the South Shetland Islands to take a bonus excursion at Half Moon Island where we visited a chinstrap penguin colony. The 11th began a stretch of weather that can only be described as extremely rare for the region. We actually had 14 landing or Zodiac cruising events when only 12 had been planned so we were very fortunate. Sunny days with temperatures hovering at 0°C were the standard for the next 6 days. We crossed the Antarctic Sound and had a morning excursion at Brown Bluff where we visited gentoo and adelie penguin colonies. We saw a few chicks and some hauled out seals and then hiked about 1.2km up a glacier to see some great views of the ship and bergy bits in the Sound. The afternoon brought a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline of Kinnes Cove where we saw more penguin rookeries, seals, and a pod of some 12 to 15 Orcas. The 12th tooks us on a transit of Gerlache Strait to Paradise Bay and we saw humpback whales and majestic scenery. We had a Zodiac tour at Skontorp Cove and saw the magnificent ice sculptures floating there. We saw some Antarctic Shag bird nest areas and listened to the snap, crackle, and pop of the melting brash ice in the water around us. In the afternoon we stopped at Base Brown for a climb up a hill to a point some 80 meters above the water. We slid down the hill in a snow chute made by our expedition team, it was great fun! Some of the heartier passengers made multiple trips down the chute. The wind picked up to 60 kts and we sailed in a blizzard during the night. On the 12th we tried to sail through the Lemaire Channel but it was blocked by considerable ice. We shifted to Plan B and took a Zodiac tour of Hidden Bay which was breathtaking for us Antarctic rookies as well as our seasoned expedition team. A planned second landing was cancelled by a massive amount of new snow from the night before so we stayed on the ship and enjoyed each others company. ¨Glorious¨ does not do justice to the 14th and the excitement of the crew was evident at every turn. We visited a Chilean Navy base in Dorian Bay, made a bonus stop in Danco Bay where we climbed another hill and did another slide to the bottom,and stopped at Cuverville Island. At all 3 points we had the pleasure of watching gentoo and adelie penguin antics between their mating/nesting areas and the sea. Some were trekking well over 100 yards from the shoreline to their communities. We always gave them the right of way and they had absolutely no fear of us. We observed the 5 meter rule but many of them did not! The nest building ritual was fun to watch as males brought pebbles to the nests from the coastline or from the nest next door. The actual penguin mating routine looked to be quite difficult and required good balance. Everything penguin related was very amusing! We did see some penguin nest raiding by skua birds but understand that is part of the lifecycle of wildlife here. The 15th was a carbon copy of the previous day weather-wise. We visited the Port Lockroy station, mailed some postcards, viewed more gentoo´s and shags, and did some shopping at the store. We took another Zodiac ride and spotted a humpback whale. We enjoyed lunch on the aft deck of Prince Albert. During the night it snowed again. On the 16th we arrived at Whaler´s Bay on Deception Island and enjoyed a 1.0 km hike to a great viewpoint above the bay. That afternoon we stopped at Telefon Bay for a longer 3+km hike to a point overlooking the old whaling operation. Many opted for the ¨Polar Plunge¨ and everyone had a grand time either participating or simply watching. As we departed the South Shetland Islands for Ushuaia the wind picked up (50+ knots) and the Drake became a bit grumpy again and the swells hit around 10 meters. King Neptune kindly eased up on us for the rest of the Drake crossing on the 17th and 18th and we arrived back in Ushuaia in time to take a stroll around town after dinner. Prince Albert II has a very professional and friendly crew. Every one of them knew all of our 128 names by the start of the 3rd day onboard. The dining room team led by Ali and Andrea was so kind and always ready to accommodate every request. They managed to to give us a variety of dining partners while at the same time allowed us to sit with new friends. Norbert the head chef is so gifted and goes out of his way to make each meal offering special. He even took requests! The cooks do a phenomenal job every day. The food servers were friendly and their recommendations were spot on. They often carried our meals to our table. The breakfasts and lunches were served buffet style and the variety of food was always more than one can imagine. Dinners were characterized by numerous choices cooked to perfection. Desserts, especially at lunchtime were always tasty and different. The chocolate mint ¨zero-zero¨ ice cream was our favorite. The drink servers quickly learned our personal preferences and were ready to take good care of us until the wee hours. Perry on the keyboard has an incredible repertoire of music and never overpowers the room as he plays. Our suite butler, Jim, and attendant, I Gede, were largely invisible but our suite was always well supplied and immaculate. They always had a welcoming smile to go along with their desire to provide anything we wanted or needed. The immensely experienced and hard working team of nearly a dozen experts, skilfully directed by our Expedition Leader Conrad, was absolutely top-notch. Their knowledge of all things Antarctica including history, politics, birds, seals, penguins, whales, geology, geography, marine biology, and climatology was mind boggling. Their lectures were well organized and presented in an entertaining manner. Their Zodiac driving skills were commendable as they kept us thrilled and safe at all times. Our photographer, Kristine, did a fabulous job recording our journey and her DVD of the cruise is a work of art! We dined with members of the expedition team on several occasions and their conversation added a lot to our understanding of Antarctica. Hotel Manager Martin Blanar runs a tight ship and also has a marvelous staff who go out of their way to attend to every need. We had the pleasure of dining one night with Martin and he is a true gentleman. Captain Peter Stahlberg leads an experienced bridge team that gave us no concerns throughout the voyage. The Captain is clearly a great leader who is loved by his crew. After this amazing adventure it is small wonder that so many of us booked another expedition with Silversea while we were onboard. I doubt anyone can provide the high degree of service and overall outstanding expedition experience as we received onboard Prince Albert II. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Prince Albert II Review Ushuaia - Antarctic Peninsula - South Georgia - Falkland Islands 16-day Cruise March 8 to 26, 2010 Background This was our second cruise ever - the first one was a 4-night/3-day expedition cruise through the ... Read More
Prince Albert II Review Ushuaia - Antarctic Peninsula - South Georgia - Falkland Islands 16-day Cruise March 8 to 26, 2010 Background This was our second cruise ever - the first one was a 4-night/3-day expedition cruise through the Chilean fiords. We planned the Antarctic cruise for two years. We were looking for the same expedition experience with the same level of comfort and organization of our first cruise. Pre-embarkation We bought the full package with flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and back, as no other option was offered. The flights were on the same days of embarkation and disembarkation. Also comprised in the package was a lunch in Ushuaia on the embarkation day, supposedly a typical Patagonic lamb barbecue. We rated that lunch bellow the rest of the cruise standards. In the aftermath, we would rather have flown on our own account to Ushuaia one or two days before embarkation - that would have allowed us to have the full scent of that beautiful city and its several tour options. Embarkation itself was easy and convenient, as well as the butler's attention/guidance and the welcome cocktail. Our luggage was transferred directly from the plane to the cabin. Silversea pampered us with a bottle of champagne and a box of Godiva chocolate. The Cabin We stayed in the Expedition Suite on deck three, which is much advisable for rough seas - cabins in lower, more central locations will feel less effect of the swell. Our suite was spacious - separate sitting room, bedroom, closet and bathroom (with douche and tub). There was plenty of space for our gear. Both sitting room and bedroom were equipped with flat screen TV sets where we could opt to follow the itinerary (with a lot of navigation and weather data), attend lectures or choose from a quite broad selection of films and documentaries, free of charge. Although available, we didn't watch the open channels. The sitting room was equipped with a sofa-bed, two arm chairs and desk for comfortable reading and computer browsing. Two windows allowed seeing all the scenery while being washed by the waves. The Ship Most of the ship's activities are performed in the fourth to the sixth decks. We were frequent visitors of the Library (fifth deck) - where the Internet cafe is located - and the Panorama Lounge, for the good selection of books in both areas. Internet and mobile phone were usable during the entire cruise, with reasonable rates for the Internet. The Fitness Center has four pieces of equipment, enough for the average guest profile. Some well-fitted guests used the tread mill even in rough sea days, while we only ventured on the bicycle. External areas are quite limited: one front deck in the fifth deck linked by outside corridors to the Outdoor Grill in the back, where two whirlpools are installed. In the back of the sixth deck there is a Viewing Deck. Only when cruising through calm fiord or channel waters the Captain opened the frontal viewing deck at the forth deck. Therefore, viewing areas could get pretty crowded sometimes - especially where whales and orcas were spotted. The whirlpools were filled and heated in some shaky seas, but no guest took the chance - it turned out the most of the hot water ended up in the ocean or on the open decks/stairs. Even in calm water few passenger used the whirlpools but it is an excellent experience after a full-day walk in Port Stanley, and a weird one with Antarctic snow flakes dissolving in the steam. In the whole trip only 8 passengers used it. Decoration was elegant in all areas, including cabins. Internal temperature is uniformly 20o.C. The Boutique offered the customary clothing and drugstore items, along with some souvenirs and some, say, unexpected items like watches and jewelry - we would be surprised if we ever see a guest buying one of those. On the other hand, products more connected the expedition experience - maps, documentary DVDs, books, etc. - were unavailable. We are map lovers and had to buy our South Georgia and Falklands maps on those islands, and Peninsula maps in Ushuaia. Food and Drink The Restaurant (forth deck) can handle all guests at the same time. The Chef did an excellent job with the menu, offering a varied selection of dishes at every meal. The carte des vins was quite correct. Breakfast and lunch are served on a buffet style. Dinner is a four course meal à la carte. All meals are open sitting which is very nice to get in touch with different guests each time. Morning bullion and afternoon tea were served in the bar, but didn't taste these intermediary meals, as it is not our habit. Also in the Bar we had evening rendezvous with our fellow guests, with piano and karaoke. Launderette On the fourth deck there is a free guest laundry with two washing and two drying machines. It was very busy on sea days. Beauty Salon and Spa The Salon is located next door to the launderette. The Spa (sauna and massage room) is on the fifth deck. In comparison to the Launderette, those areas were quite inactive. Susana tried the nail polishing and Marcus tried the massage. Dress Code Most of the dinners were dressed casual, only on two were casual elegant - but even then with a broad range of variation. We did enjoy this relaxed code, much in accordance with the whole expedition idea. Weather allowing, we spent several hours on the outside decks, switching occasionally to the inside lounges to recoup with coffee. Therefore, the usual clothes layering and delayering was quite in order - My husband preferred his own lighter tropical windproof jacket instead of the heavier Silversea parka for this purpose, and for the longer, warmer walks in South Georgia and Falklands. The Itinerary Our route included Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falklands islands during 16 days. We think it is a short period for the proposed itinerary because we spent 8 days at sea, therefore, activities were quite compressed in the remaining 8 days. For a more reasonable sea-to-land ratio, we think 20- to 22-days cruises should be preferred. When we first planned our trip, we thought just 10-12 days in Antarctica would be good enough. Availability made we opt for the longer itinerary. Obviously, Antarctic Peninsula is the top experience, and would deserve 1 or 2 more days at least. But South Georgia is as spectacular as the White Continent and should not be missed, if possible. Figure out someone laying a piece of the Alps in the middle of the ocean to imagine the landscape. Add to that hundreds of thousands penguins, elegant albatrosses, beautiful mountain trekking and a bit of history. Fellow Passengers We were traveled with a well diversified passengers group. About 25% were US, but Aussies were not far behind. Europe was mostly represented by English and German people; Latin America by us, Brazilians, and an Argentinean couple. The vast majority aged above 35, only 2 bellow the 30s, but sky is the limit in the upper part of the age range. Most people are well-experienced travelers with lot of stories to tell - a guaranty of good conversation. The Crew Here is one of the strong features of Prince Albert II. All personnel are very gentle and attentive - almost everyone remembered our names. The Captain and his team made the best to smooth our sailing. Indeed, he inverted the original itinerary (which was supposed to begin in the Falklands and end in Antarctica) to avoid the several weather systems that crossed our path. The Expedition Team is well organized and quite knowledgeable of their respective fields: we had a historian, a botanist, an ornithologist, 2 naturalists, a geologist and a photographer - all led by 3 expedition leaders. They presented very informative lectures during sea days. In the Restaurant, service was impeccable even in rough seas. The Hotel team provided every request we made. The crew was so good that, although gratuities were included in the price, many passengers handed extra tips. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
DW and I had done 19 previous cruises to the usual places (Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska, etc) and recently visited Iceland and Greenland on a Transatlantic cruise. The scenery was fantastic and got us thinking about visiting ... Read More
DW and I had done 19 previous cruises to the usual places (Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska, etc) and recently visited Iceland and Greenland on a Transatlantic cruise. The scenery was fantastic and got us thinking about visiting Antarctica. We like hiking and wildlife viewing, but also like coming home to a nice hotel or cruise ship where we can have a great meal and a clean place to sleep - we're not into tents or camping. We also were looking to check off continents #6 and #7, and this itinerary gave us the chance to see Buenos Aires & Ushuaia, as well as a chance to step on the continent of Antarctica. We knew that a larger non-expedition ship that only does a drive-by would not satisfy us. Booking was easy; there were a few cabins still available in July so we plunked down some extra to get a larger suite, as well as business class airfare. For long flights, it's worth it, IMO. We used Silversea's air program which gave us a very nice itinerary; from Albany NY to Buenos Aires with one stop in Atlanta. Using Silversea's air program was handy when our first flight from Albany to Atlanta was delayed 6 hours due to mechanical difficulties; I called our TA while waiting in the (long) line at the airport and she got us switched to a new itinerary through JFK within a few minutes. We arrived in BA around 11 AM and were met by a SS rep just outside of customs. Luckily, it was a national holiday so there was minimal traffic on the way to the hotel and we were there just after noon. Check-in was quite efficient and we were in our room for a shower and change of clothes by 12:30, ready to go exploring. I've used other cruise lines hotel packages and they don't guarantee room availability for early check-in; SS does and that was a really nice perk after a long night of flying. Buenos Aires was OK and we did some fun things there, but that's not really the topic of the review. The hotel (Park Tower BA) is a Starwood Preferred Group property and quite luxurious; breakfast was included and we really enjoyed the hotel. 2 days later, we had to be ready to catch the bus to the airport at 5AM so we could get to our charter flight to Ushuaia. The charter flight was probably the least organized/smooth aspect of the whole cruise, but not bad by any means. We arrived at the airport at 5:30 or so for a 7:00 flight, but it got delayed until some time after 8:00 so we all sat around for quite some time not knowing what was going on. The flight down was OK; coach class on LAN. Ushuaia airport is tiny and from there we got on buses and went for a scenic drive, then lunch. After that, we went for a bit more sightseeing before driving to the pier to embark. Embarkation was lightning fast and the cabins were ready when we got there. The ship itself is small but our suite was quite nice; the size is larger than a Penthouse suite on Oceania but smaller than the Owner's suite. Decoration was comparable to or nicer than what we've had on Oceania or Princess. Amenities and toiletries were Bulgari; the suite felt very luxurious. We had a bottle of champagne waiting for us but with all the wine and drinks included, it was almost impossible to find time to drink it! Also, we had a nice box of Godiva truffles waiting for us as well... The ship layout isn't very complicated - the back stairs connect the dining room (Deck 4) and the Panorama Lounge (Deck 5), and the front stairs lead to the theater and the Observation Lounge (both Deck 6). Cabins are on 3, 4, and 5 mostly mid-ship; there are a few suites on 7. There's also a neat spiral staircase in the dining room that leads directly to the Panorama lounge - so you don't need to walk as far for your after-dinner drink. Not much entertainment, but enough - if you're here to see Antarctica then that isn't really a problem. Nights in the Panorama lounge there was a piano player, and we got to do some dancing, relaxing, talking to other passengers and staff, and every few nights they had Karaoke (ugh)... I can't say enough about the level of service that we encountered - hands down the best we've seen. By day 2 most of the staff knew our names and our drink preferences. When we appeared in the Panorama lounge after lunch the bartender would bring our double espressos as soon as he saw us. The bar staff were attentive and would get you whatever wine you desired. The dining room staff were excellent as well. Food quality was probably a touch better than Oceania - which IMO is a real compliment. I wasn't expecting such good food on an expedition ship, and we were quite surprised. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet-style which initially worried me - some bad experiences on the buffet line with other cruise lines... But the buffets were uniformly excellent, and the variety quite good. Dinners were traditional sit-down style with usually 3 appetizer choices, 3 soup/salad choices, and 4 entrees including a vegetable option. Suffice it to say we never had a bad dish the whole time. Seating was open for all meals, with some tables for 2 and some larger tables. We often joined other couples at tables for 6-8. The neat thing about that is that the expedition staff would come in and eat with us at these larger tables - so it was a great chance to talk to them informally about a wide variety of topics. The expedition staff were uniformly fabulous. Conrad was expedition leader, and from him on down they were all personable, knowledgeable, and friendly. In addition to Conrad there were 2 asst. leaders, a historian, a mountain guide from Patagonia, and 4 other naturalists. We learned so much from them, and really enjoyed their company. They lectured once or twice a day on various interesting topics, and gave ad hoc small presentations during the nightly recap meetings. We got through the dreaded Drake Passage with time to spare and attempted a bonus landing at Penguin Island the night before our first "scheduled" landing. Ice conditions and weather precluded making this landing, so we were disappointed but eager to land the next day. We were divided up into 4 groups and 2 would land at one time. Group 1&2 landed first, then 3&4. For the next landing, Groups 2&3 landed first, then Groups 4&1, and so forth. So we all had a chance to land first (early morning - ugh) vs. later on in the day. The process of gearing up for landing took some learning... Traffic flow to and from the mudroom is tricky with everyone milling around the relatively small reception area. It might make sense for them to have us gather elsewhere, and then take us to the mudroom to change into boots in smaller groups. But that's only a minor issue. Zodiac rides were fun, and occasionally you'd get splashed. We kept our cameras in Ziploc bags and/or under our parkas and they were fine. Landings were "wet" with a few steps in the water before reaching land. The crew were pros at getting us into and out of the boats with minimal difficulty. We made our first landing at Brown Bluff, on the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula, so this was our big moment to claim #7. After savoring that for all of 2 seconds, we were engrossed by the innumerable penguins milling about withing 20 feet of the landing site. Gentoos and Adelies nesting in huge numbers, swimming, waddling around - I'm sure they got Kodachrome poisoning from all the pictures being taken. Saw a skua stealing an egg which was a downer though. Had a nice hike up the hill to a panoramic view of huge tabular icebergs floating in the Antarctic sound... Lovely day. After that we went to Deception island - which is a ring-shaped island with a lagoon in the center - think Santorini with snow and ice. Made two landings there - one at an old whaling station; the decrepit buildings in the harsh volcanic landscape were very picturesque. Some of us took the opportunity to make a "Polar Plunge" in the bracingly cold water... The first few inches were volcanically heated, but after that it took your breath away. We were rewarded by a few chinstrap penguins on the beach. Later we landed on another part of the island and hiked to the volcanic crater from the 1970 eruption. On the way back there was a crabeater seal hauled out on the beach, and more chinstraps. Next day we went to Paradise Harbour further down the peninsula to visit Gonzalez Videla - a Chilean base which is smack in the middle of a huge Gentoo rookery. Guano everywhere! We tucked our rain pants into our rubber boots and were glad we did... But rewarded by great views of nests, eggs, and penguins all over the place. No chicks yet; a bit early in the season. After a brief stop in their small gift shop (T-shirts and landing "certificates") we pulled up anchor and moved to a different spot in Paradise harbor for Zodiac cruising among the icebergs. We were rewarded by seeing several Weddel seals out on the icebergs, as well as nesting Antarctic Shags, Petrels, and Skuas. Next day we went to Arthur Harbor for a visit to the US Palmer base and Torgensen Island. The island is small and had a big Adelie rookery. Lots of eggs, but still no chicks. We caught a glimpse of a leopard seal lurking about off shore, but had a great view of a large group of elephant seals lounging about on an adjacent island. They are noisy and rambunctious - great views of them flopping about, half-fighting half-playing with each other. Palmer base is larger than Gonzalez Videla - we got a tour of their facilities, gift shop, and Antarctic aquarium. It is still a bit early for the summer "crowd" (about 150 at peak occupancy) so not much science to see. After the tour we had hot chocolate and brownies, and talked informally to some of the staff. Lastly, as an added bonus we were able to squeeze in a short visit to historic Port Lockroy, where we could buy postcards and mail them to folks back home with authentic "British Antarctic Territory" stamps. More Gentoo penguins, guano, and skuas here as well as interesting rooms left as they were in the 1950s when the buildings were last used as a working British base. After a long day, we were glad that the next day was easier - we did scenic cruising through the Lemaire channel in the morning. The skies were overcast so we couldn't see the tops of the mountains but it was neat cruising through brash ice and occasionally maneuvering around larger bergs. The weather started getting blustery with snow flurries but we decided to try landing on Petermann island anyway - a bit of a scramble over wet rock but manageable. Once there, we finally saw our first Adelie penguin chick! We also hiked up to the saddle to look south, as this was the southernmost point of our expedition - about 65 degrees, 10 minutes south - only 70 some miles to the Antarctic circle - so close, but not for this trip. We turned north to make one more stop in the South Shetlands - the Aitcho island group. We had a special treat at this stop - in addition to tons of Gentoos and Chinstraps, there was one lonely King penguin hanging out at the rookeries looking for - what, we didn't know. But it was quite unexpected, as they breed much further south. Great photo ops - green hillsides with moss, the larger King next to the smaller penguins, a leopard seal lazing on the distant beach, more elephant seals, another skua attack... We climbed a snowy hill and slid down on our parkas. Wonderfully picturesque and great nature shots. After that it was time to brave the Drake - first night was a bit rough but we still made good time and got into the Beagle channel early Sunday morning. Leisurely cruising by mountains, Magellanic penguin rookeries (that made 5 species seen this trip), and a massive colony of terns. We arrived in Ushuaia by dinnertime so had some time to explore that evening - the town isn't much but it has beautiful scenery and great sunsets. Disembarkation was smooth the next morning - we had a leisurely breakfast and disembarked just before 9AM. It was a short hop on the bus off the pier to the town; from there we had until 11:30 to spend as we liked. Again, the town isn't much and the other problem with this was that nothing is really open until 10:00 AM. So we wandered, took some pictures, looked at overpriced souvenirs, and finally sat on a park bench overlooking the Beagle Channel watching a tall ship go by and catching some sunshine. From there, we went to the Ushuaia airport and back to BA. Had to transfer between the airports which was a 75 minute ride in rush-hour traffic, but we figured it was either rest on the bus, or sit in the airport so no problem spending extra time on the bus. From BA, an overnight flight back home and that's about all. I have to say this was the best cruise out of 20 that we've now taken in terms of food, service, pampering, and organization. Silversea seemed to go out of their way to make you comfortable and happy the whole time - from the moment we were met in the airport to the time they dropped us off. DW and I have found our new "Favorite Cruise Line" and booked a trip to the Arctic with them for August 2011. It can't come soon enough! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Silversea Prince Albert II My wife and I sailed on the Silversea Prince Albert II to Antarctica December 11 to December 21st 2008. This was the trip of a lifetime for us. My wife and I are both in our mid 50's and have been on ... Read More
Silversea Prince Albert II My wife and I sailed on the Silversea Prince Albert II to Antarctica December 11 to December 21st 2008. This was the trip of a lifetime for us. My wife and I are both in our mid 50's and have been on several cruises, this was the first time on a Silver Sea vessel, I can assure you that it will not be the last. About a year ago we decided to go on an exploration cruise to the Antarctic (I have always wanted to go there) My sister is a travel agent, and she investigated a number of options and learned about the Silversea Prince Albert II, and based on the Silversea reputation we booked the Antarctic exploration cruise on the Prince Albert II. WE WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED. Rather than detail our Antarctic Voyage on the Prince Albert II, I will refer you to the Silver Sea Voyage journal at http://www.silversea.com/silversea.aspx?id=1447&page_type=journal&page_id=princealbertII voyage 7823, I will list each area of interest. CRUISE LINE Silversea Cruise line is outstanding, the pre cruise documents were beautifully packaged and presented, the transfers from B A, Argentina ie: the charter flight to and from B A, Argentina to Ushuaia were flawless. We especially liked the all inclusive concept, with all of the food, beverages, and tips included in the cost of the voyage. SHIP The Prince Albert II is an ice capable ship so she can go where others fear to tread. The accommodations, cabins, public rooms, and decks are very comfortable and well appointed by any standards, and unheard of by expedition standards. Note: unlike some of the other expedition ships that we saw while in port the Prince Albert II has plenty of exterior deck for the guests to enjoy. THE FOOD The food and beverages were outstanding, the dining room staff and kitchen staff made every meal memorable. THE CREW The ships officers and crew exuded confidence, while sailing in the very challenging environment of Antarctica. It was obvious that they made safety a priority and did everything possible to accommodate our many Zodiac / Antarctic Landings. The open bridge policy allowed many of us to become familiar with the ships operations. The ships officers often joined the guests for meals and lectures given by the expedition staff. THE EXPEDITION STAFF The expedition staff worked tirelessly to provide the guests with meaningful lectures and briefings about the Antarctic environment that we were visiting. The expedition staff planned and organized and executed our Antarctic excursions flawlessly, sometimes accommodating as many as two or three landings a day, depending on the weather conditions. NOTE: When on an expedition ship, particularly in the Arctic / Antarctic environment, flexibility is the name of the game. Be prepared to have the daily planned schedule change according to exploration opportunities and changing weather conditions. GENERAL COMMENTS This was the trip of a lifetime. We enjoyed the company of all of the other guests on board. We were very fortunate to experience the hospitality and professionalism of the Prince Albert II staff and crew on a Voyage of a lifetime to the Antarctic. We would like to thank everyone that we shared this voyage of a lifetime with including the Prince Albert II Staff, and the other Guests that we shared this experience with. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
The Prince Albert II reigns as the best expedition ship afloat. Despite her name, she - no ship can be male - is the Queen of expedition vessels. This isn't surprising as the Prince Albert II is the latest vessel added to the ... Read More
The Prince Albert II reigns as the best expedition ship afloat. Despite her name, she - no ship can be male - is the Queen of expedition vessels. This isn't surprising as the Prince Albert II is the latest vessel added to the Silversea fleet and she provides her passengers with unrivaled Silversea excellence in an expedition setting. The ship, the refurbished World Dicoverer II holding 132 passengers, features extremely well designed, comfortable staterooms plus bathrooms stocked with terry cloth robes and Bulgari toiletries. The restaurant, outdoor grill and room service provide superb food. Finest of all, is the uncompromising Silversea service - with each and every courteous and charming staff member addressing passengers by name within 48 hours, remembering their beverage (all are free) or stateroom preferences, and fulfilling every passenger's desire within minutes - often before they asked. All this, even with a no tipping policy. The officers were equally gracious and Captain Roche made it his mission to welcome all passengers by mingling with them every day and generously giving each of them his time and attention. In essence, the services aboard the Prince Albert II were unsurpassed although she did lack one amenity, a manicurist - but then, who is expected to want a manicure while on expedition. The itinerary from Acapulco to Santiago was not the most exciting from a cultural or sociological viewpoint because most ports were located in the Peruvian and Chilean desert areas. However there were excellent opportunities to visit some extraordinary archaeological sites and to study a multitude of marine birds and mammals. As with most expeditions, almost all excursions were conducted by zodiac - and it must be noted that no ABS on any vessel were better trained and skillful in assisting passengers in and out of the zodiacs with utmost safety. There was one weakness - but it can be attributed to Silversea's first time venture into expedition travel. This was the lack of personal, hands-on research into each and every port by the expedition leaders. While a variety of superior excursions were offered, visits to some very interesting areas and events were overlooked. Fortunately, these could still be enjoyed by passengers who struck out on their own - although a local guide or on-board lecture would have greatly enhanced their experience. With regard to the lectures, briefings and debriefings - otherwise known as expedition entertainment - almost all were well presented and enlightening. As always, with Silversea, embarkation and disembarkation was beautifully managed, along with transportation and baggage handling to and from hotels and airports. In summary, the Prince Albert II raises the bar for expedition vessels and Silversea has successfully met the highest of expectations in merging adventure with luxury travel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
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