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3 Silversea Antarctica Cruise Reviews

I chose this cruise because I wanted to see this part of the world. A better name would have been Patagonia and Chilean Fjords. Antarctica was not really covered. Ushuaia was a loveley port, but the ship did not provide an overnight or ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see this part of the world. A better name would have been Patagonia and Chilean Fjords. Antarctica was not really covered. Ushuaia was a loveley port, but the ship did not provide an overnight or even an option to discover Antarctica. Luckily I decided to stay an extra day and forgo the charter flight from BA on the same day. Silversea provided an excellent lunch and a great checkin option in Ushuaia and I had no problem joining the ship there. Embarkation was quick and efficient. My cabin was a Vista Suite and I had much space and lots of storage. The bathroom was good, except for the smell of urine....they changed my room within a few days of embarkation... a little late but it seemed to have been a known problem. The ship is lovely for a purpose-built ship and the staff was excellent. Initially, they did not exceed expectations, but during the course of the cruise I came to the realization that they were excellent, if not low key, and came to appreciate the service. I had no real complaints. Hilman and Elisa did a wonderful job of caring for me. Reception exceeded expectations, handling everything from any issues to room service, Maria stands out and Carlos was also excellent. Dining staff were wonderful ... Robert and his team are so professional and fun.... bar staff.... thank you Shannah Kay et al for your attention every day with a smile! The Expedition Team were amazing....Luke was superb at keeping everything on time and everyone in the know. While some who had been on expeditions before thought this was "Expedition Lite", I didn't have much frame of reference and thought things were good. I could have used a little more "action" but overall was happy with what I learned ... or DIDN'T learn ... sorry Luke.... about flora and fauna .... that's what google is for! LOL Chef Ross tried hard but the food choices didn't provide a lot of "local" stuff even though it was snow crab season. Everything was tasty and we spent a few nights braving the environs upstairs in the Grill! I am not a "sheeple" tour person and some stuff was a little too much herding about for me. Loved the recap nightly and info next day. Captain Piers was approachable, fun, present and informative always. After hundreds of cruises, it was amazing to see a Captain so inclusive and approachable. And interesting, LOL The public rooms are spacious and accommodating. Dining rooms are lovely. Room service always whenever, wherever and attention to detail on every level exceeding expectations.... including martini service in laundrette and morning green smoothie service following me wherever I went to get away from it! Thank you Zoran! What a team. Ports were interesting....saw amazing things. Attention to time on deck looking for things to see .... excellent. I can make my own fun wherever I go....but I was really happy to have been looked after so well from a personal standpoint and was appreciative for the Captains constant attention to advise us of everything! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
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
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
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