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49 Silversea Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego) Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise to continue our exploration of the South Atlantic, having already been on a Seabourn Antarctic cruise the year before. We embarked in Ushuaia, Argentina and had been there the year before. This cruise included a ... Read More
We chose this cruise to continue our exploration of the South Atlantic, having already been on a Seabourn Antarctic cruise the year before. We embarked in Ushuaia, Argentina and had been there the year before. This cruise included a flight from Santiago to Ushuaia as part of the total cruise fare. And this is where things became odd. We were awakened at 1:30AM in Santiago, Chile, to join the charter flight to Ushuaia that left at around 6 in the morning. We had initially been told by Silversea's agent that because Silversea had chartered the flight, there would really be no issue with baggage. However, when we received our cruise documents, there was a baggage restriction of 50 pounds, per person. That necessitated considerable reorganization of our luggage situation as we had traveled a long way to get to the cruise and had post-cruise safari plans in Africa. The flight left after some delay and we arrived in Ushuaia only to find that we could not go directly to the ship but had to go onto a lunch somewhat out of town. This disappointed us because we were tired and might have preferred to see some of Ushuaia rather than go riding on a bus out of town to a countryside restaurant. Following the luncheon, we returned to the ship at around 2pm and boarded. Oddly enough, though, for all of the effort expended in getting us to Ushuaia very early, the ship did not depart until around 10pm. We feel this issue might have been better handled so as not to drag people out of bed at an unholy hour. We also felt that had we known of the baggage limitation and the hour of departure in advance, we might have made our own flight arrangements from Sao Paulo, our first stop in South America. Further, once on board, we came to learn that there had been a pre-cruise tour offering to Iguazu Falls. We were disappointed to learn this as we truly would have been interested in seeing the falls, having traveled all the way to South America from East Asia. On board, we elected to purchase an upgrade to the free internet provided to every passenger on the ship. This proved to be nothing but a waste of money and I would warn anyone against it. The charge was some $350.00 and the upgrade proved to be just as slow as the free service. The other negative was that we had confusion with a name on the cruise documents. We contacted Silversea's agent about this and he assured us that proper documents were on the way. The head office never managed to send the documents on time and they were not received until we returned home. One last annoyance was the daily briefing held by the expedition staff. This occurred every evening at 6pm, often after a day of going on 2 excursions. Though attendance was not mandatory, one felt compelled to go as details of the next day's activities were spelled out at that time. Perhaps this could be better managed in future. As for the positives, they are many. The food on board was excellent. Our cabin, though smaller than balcony cabins on Seabourn and Regent, was comfortable and functional. The staff on board were superb, especially our valet and the room steward. We felt that anything we needed or wanted was somehow found promptly appeared. The expeditions were excellent and we certainly appreciated the efforts that the expedition staff went through day in and day out - it is no simple matter bringing people safely ashore in isolated places, through sometimes rough surf. And the scenery on shore was spectacular, to say the least. Though two expeditions were done a day and one might have felt tired, they still were worth every minute and any effort. Shore excursions were fine but perhaps, Silversea might let people know the options available for shore excursions in advance of sailing. Would I recommend a Silversea Expedition? Definitely. But be aware of the issues I highlighted as attention to them could make for an even better experience. We did not travel with children and this type of voyage might better be best for people who are mature enough to grasp the significance of what one is experiencing. Would I go again? Yes! But mindful of the negatives that I mentioned. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We were VERY happy with every part of this cruise and think Silversea went above and beyond. We had a plane delay transiting Miami and Silversea took special care of us in Santiago and again when we got to Ushuaia. I agree with other ... Read More
We were VERY happy with every part of this cruise and think Silversea went above and beyond. We had a plane delay transiting Miami and Silversea took special care of us in Santiago and again when we got to Ushuaia. I agree with other reviewers that the Expedition Staff were OUTSTANDING - even to the point of joining people for dinner to bring their love of Antarctica and share their wealth of knowledge with passengers. I totally disagree with the one reviewer who complained about the dining room staff - we were placed with the same waiter (not necessarily the same one of his tables) every night and the last night when I said "but that is not Oscar's table", the maître d said "it is tonight!" They did everything they could to make our dining experience top notch - from deboning our fish, shelling our lobster, and suggesting what to order. Captain Pontillo got us safely through the Drake Passage both ways, outrunning storms and contributing to a fairly smooth ride. Silversea stepped up and provided a free bus tour of Ushuaia and its National Park when we arrived a day early. I cannot say enough good things about this company, this ship, and their staff. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were going to Antarctica, so it really was all about the expedition. I will say without question, that part of the cruise was exceptional. The Expedition Leader was experienced, engaging, fun and educated. His team was extensive, ... Read More
We were going to Antarctica, so it really was all about the expedition. I will say without question, that part of the cruise was exceptional. The Expedition Leader was experienced, engaging, fun and educated. His team was extensive, young and enthusiastic - exceptionally well educated, anxious to engage and share information and experiences and talented in helping you to get the most out of each expedition. The crew were professional and looked out for your safety and comfort entering and exiting the Zodiacs. The lectures added to the experience and were available on the suite TV for those of us who preferred a nap or a late lunch. We got to see and do everything we had hoped to. The ship was also wonderful. Small at only 250 passengers, it is without shopping malls and cabaret shows, but offered everything needed. Well appointed and nicely decorated - easy to find your way around. The cabin had lots of room. It included a walk-in closet - a necessity for the parka, waterproof pants and many layers. The sofa and 2 armchairs were a bit cramped, but once we organized one at the desk, and the convertible table over the sofa, there was lots of room and still the ability to easily dine in the room. The balcony was a basic space - great for checking the weather, if you had enough layers or watching the passing icebergs. It was not a hospitable outdoor oasis, but given the subzero temps I wasn't planning on lounging there. The disappointment came in the staff and the food. Front desk staff were uninformed and unhelpful. They couldn't follow through on simple requests or connect you to senior staff who might be able to assist. The main dining room was table service with open seating. The host made no attempt to provide a consistent server even if tables were available or a specific area was requested. That meant even those staff working hard to establish relationships and know your preferences were at a disadvantage, and you were constantly explaining sparkling water, red wine, no coffee amongst other things. The food was unfortunately inconsistent - an amazing veal chop followed by inedible shrimp. The special South American buffet dinner included an Argentine BBQ lamb that so overcooked and a whole fish that say drying under a heat lamp. The last lunch was the 'Gala Buffet' that turned out to be everything left in the fridge and pantry. The breakfast buffet was consistently good but the al a carte breakfast was painfully slow - priority was given to cooking made to order eggs for the buffet diners. The specialty restaruants were good - Italian (well not quite authentic) had great flavours, well cooked and well served. La Dame (the Relais & Chateau) restaurant was flawless. At the end of the day, it is about value for money - this was a great cruise and I would not skimp on the expedition side of things, but check other vehicles/accommodations - they may be cheaper. Finally I must comment on the pre/post cruise transfer process. All I can say is it truly is a sh****ow! You stay a night at a hotel in Santiago for them to get you up at 2:30am to board buses to the airport to stand in line for over an hour to check in to a charter flight to wait in the boarding lounge for over 2 hours to get onto a 3 hour flight that provides you an inedible empanada imitation. This happens in reverse to get you back to Santiago - surely doing this every 10 days they could arrange hotel/ship based airline check in and luggage check - a dedicated security line and immigration line (remember it is only $$, and we certainly put out enough of it for the cruise). Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Our cruise onboard the SilverSeas Explorer was spectacular from start to finish. The ship, crew, food, Captain and Expedition staff were all first rate. It is very hard to describe the feeling you get when visiting Antarctica. I was just ... Read More
Our cruise onboard the SilverSeas Explorer was spectacular from start to finish. The ship, crew, food, Captain and Expedition staff were all first rate. It is very hard to describe the feeling you get when visiting Antarctica. I was just in awe of the beauty and power of nature. We arrived independently so I can not speak to the travel arrangements made by SilverSeas. The port of Ushuaia is a working port and does not allow taxis, which we were unaware of but we did make it to the ship! The ship was beautifully maintained. Our suite 503 was kept spotless by our wonderful cabin attendant and butler. The daily "debriefing" and numerous lectures were held in The Exploder's Lounge. The maître d' Julia was incredible. I really believe she had memorized nearly everyone's name by the second day! There was buffet service for breakfast and lunch. Always some special to order at both meals. Plentiful staff to carry your plate. I don't drink but plenty of wine was being poured at lunch and dinner. The wine steward was more then happy to supply us with ice tea. I am a vegetarian and found the food varied and very good. All the staff knew you by your name by day three or four! The Expedition staff was well trained and had many varied areas of expertise.. Led ably by JD, we were placed in four colored groups and rotated our times to go ashore via zodiacs or go for a zodiac ride. Gearing up and heading out was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The weather was amazing and the seas were mainly very calm. Due to the weather, ice and skill of the Captain we sailed across the Antarctic Circle.We attempted to visit the Vernadsky Station but the ice stopped us. We did visit the harbor in Zodiacs. We saw so much wildlife! Penguins, Albatross, whales and seals. The icebergs were incredible and the clouds! I can not say enough about the service onboard SilverSeas. I would not hesitate to take another SilverSeas cruise. We disembarked ourselves at 900 am. SilverSeas provided a shuttle to Ushuaia. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We always wanted to cruise the Antarctic. Traveling below the Antarctic Circle is on my wife's "bucket list". Very few cruises advertised as "Antarctic", even attempt to get close to the Antarctic circle. Ships ... Read More
We always wanted to cruise the Antarctic. Traveling below the Antarctic Circle is on my wife's "bucket list". Very few cruises advertised as "Antarctic", even attempt to get close to the Antarctic circle. Ships with a low ice rating never do. It would not be safe. So based on our research and our good experience on the Silver Galapagos in 2016 we booked a Silver Seas Expedition cruise. We were originally scheduled to travel in January 2018 on the Silver Cloud, but I became ill and was hospitalized just before our scheduled departure and had to cancel. (Fortunately we had full insurance coverage.) We rebooked for this January 2019, which turned out for the best. This was BY FAR the best cruise experience ever. Thanks to the Explorer's 1A ice rating, the skill of the captain, and the unusually good weather we were able to travel further south than any other commercial ship in the last couple of years. (Only one crew member had ever been that far south.) We made multiple wet landings, explored old, abandoned research stations and one active station, got some great wildlife photos and videos on shore and from the Zodiacs. The Expedition leaders, who also piloted the Zodiacs, were very knowledgable and greatly enhanced the experience. We even got to slide down a hill on Antarctic snow and my wife took the "polar plunge" into ocean water very slightly warmed by geo-thermally heated fresh water coming up through the ground and flowing down the beach into the bay. The views, sunsets, and the wild life (penguins, whales, seals, sea lions, and birds) were spectacular. A final note on the expedition leaders. It is hard to imagine a more educated and experienced group. Most had several years of experience and included a PhD in geology, professional ornithologist (PhD), and a Harvard educated marine biologist who was also the first women to ever SCUBA dive below the Antarctic ice pack. All-in-all it was the experience of a life time. WARNING - WARNING - WARNING - as with all expedition cruises to the Antarctic - and the Arctic for that matter - activities and landings are ALWAYS dependent on the weather and ice conditions. We were told the long stretch of great weather we encountered is rare. If your goal is to cross the Antarctic circle read the itinerary VERY carefully to make sure that crossing will be attempted. Again, never guaranteed the ship will make it to the circle because of weather. Also, you will be crossing the Drake passage. Even if you are not susceptible to motion sickness, get the "patch" AND put it on 24 hours before embarkation! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Our travel started out very poorly, with American Airlines execution failures causing us to arrive in Buenos Aires 12 hours late with half our baggage. Bags didn't catch up to us until we returned to Ushuaia after the cruise. It was ... Read More
Our travel started out very poorly, with American Airlines execution failures causing us to arrive in Buenos Aires 12 hours late with half our baggage. Bags didn't catch up to us until we returned to Ushuaia after the cruise. It was all AA's fault,but Silversea really stepped up to make the cruise a roaring success for us. They waited for us at the EZE airport for over an hour while I argued with the baggage people. They also pitched in! We got to our hotel after midnight. I needed to run a bag to another hotel for our Iguazu falls trip at the end of the cruise. The silversea agent got in a cab with me and took me to the other hotel--way beyond the call of duty. Next day we flew to Ushuaia and confirmed we were missing half our luggage. Silversea arranged to take us shopping in Ushuaia to pickup necessary gear to enjoy the cruise. Between our shore purchases, the ship's store, and the laundry on board (gratis due to our luggage issues), we managed just fine. Once my blood pressure got back down to normal, the cruise was exceptional. We had an easy Drake passage--so fast that we were able to add a stop to Fort Point on the second day of the cruise.Captain Eric Saint Plancat was very friendly and pushed to give us the maximum experience. We went past the Antarctic Circle all the way to Stonington Island. We saw 3 kinds of penguins, 5 types of seals, and 100's of Humpback whales. The weather was in the 30's and largely sunny. JD, the expedition leader, was outstanding and really worked to maximize all the passengers experiences. Her staff was very knowledgeable about animals, birds, geology, and history. The ship itself was very nice and well maintained. Silversea likes to call the cabins suites, but in my opinion, they we pretty much cabins. That said, they were clean and very functional. We were in a Vista Suite and the shower didn't have a door--just 6 inches of plexiglass. Poor design which leaded water all over the floor. The butlers and cabin stewards provided excellent service, although there really isn't much for a butler to do on an expedition sailing. The food was very good and all the waitstaff were very friendly and helpful. We drank the included wine and found most of them to be quite drinkable. We've cruised more than 30 times and this was the best yet. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Can not fault the staff and service. Pampered and entertained throughout the trip. We took various combinations of Travacalm (scopolamine) / ondansetron tablets upon sailing from Ushuaia and noticed a number of people wearing ... Read More
Can not fault the staff and service. Pampered and entertained throughout the trip. We took various combinations of Travacalm (scopolamine) / ondansetron tablets upon sailing from Ushuaia and noticed a number of people wearing patches. Some took promethasine which we avoided because it s too sedating. The ship is big enough to cope with the swell so that the Drake passage is tolerable . No one looked unwell albeit a little sedated from the prophylactic meds and the restaurants and cocktail bars were well attended even during our crossings. Daily activities indoor and out . Informative entertaining lectures from enthusiastic research team members. At each destination , which on our expedition was twice daily, the Zodiacs were lowered extremely efficiently and guests were able to disembark within 10 mins of arrival. The days are busy and we found ourselves constantly entertained. The daily activities are planned and published in the ‘chronicle’ delivered to each cabin the night prior. The scheduled is adhered to fairly punctually. There is no time to get bored . The guests are assigned to one of six groups to be rotated to shore. On the first morning , we awaited eagerly for our turn. By the second day, we found ourselves rushing back to our cabins to get ready when our turn was called because we were busy watching others from our Verandah or the deck or enjoying a drink from the Panorama lounge or the pool deck etc. There is a lot wildlife and scenery to marvel at from the boat itself, worthy lectures to attend, cocktails, lovely meals etc so waiting for our turn to disembark was not boring!! An evening at the Grill poolside is a must. The lava stone dinner is a fantastic experience and should not be missed. The main restaurant service and the menus are terrific . From Foie gras and caviar , vegetarian delights, low Fat options, every taste is catered for. The pianist and guitarist Aidan on board were excellent . The parka provided is very warm. Now for little tips We hired boots , waterproof pants and stocks. They were in our cabin on arrival and easy to return upon conclusion of the cruise.There was an opportunity to conveniently exchange parka and equipment which didn’t fit as soon as we sailed. We were thoroughly satisfied with the hired gear . The majority of guest hired equipment too . It’s heavy and bulky to bring as luggage. Supplemental luggage in South America is US$100 a piece. LAN weighs all carry on which must be under 8kgs.The Bogs boot were warm,comfortable and the best option for walking on the snow and rocks . Stocks are a must for walking on snow covered hills . Two types of weatherproof pants are randomly given out for hire .Make sure yours has a zip at the bottom of the leg to allow room to fit over the boot. Mine had a Velcro which I found inconvenient and I wish I d exchanged for a zip . Velcro pants are harder to slide over the boot . We brought ski pants which was unnecessary. Thermal underwear and a supplemental layer of wool/fleece top and bottom is sufficient. Neck warmer/scarf, beany, sunglasses, long wooly socks . Washing machine/dryer freely available on deck 4 so we only needed x2 changes of clothes. The dress at dinner is smart casual. Most guest had travelled through summer temperature in Chile or Argentina en route to the cruise so no one had room to pack extravagant winter outfits . Casual elegance is de rigueur but in view of the harsh wind and temperatures, everyone spent most of the day in the SilverCloud Red Parka. The expedition crew numbers 28 scientist/historians/photographers who man the expedition Zodiacs . They are fun enthousiastic ,affable and entertaining. They narrate the expeditions ashore and mingle with the guests. An expedition crew may offer to join your dinner table. I highly recommend you accept the invitation to hear fascinating stories about their research,interests and experiences on the expeditions (we had an interesting Aussie chap. Stephen Kurtaim). The hotel ,bar and restaurant staff are the also joyful/helpful. We travelled as a family and had Verandah Suites on the 5th deck. I don’t think any suite has a bad view and no side of the ship is better than the other in that respect.Well appointed, comfortable and spacious with lovely Marble bathrooms. Room service is impeccable ( Thank you Maria and Lalit). My only negative comment is that the room carpet looked a bit old . We docked in Ushuaia at midday the day before disembark. Afternoon hikes/excursion were offered by the expedition team in and around town. We chose to independently walk to the historic museum/convict prison. (take Pesos or US$ or a debit card. No credit card accepted at government facilities) The boarding/ disembark process is extremely well orchestrated. Silverseas Staff are present to assist at all times including during bus transfers, flights ,hotel check ins from and to Santiago etc. It s extraordinary support ! The cruise ship and its staff are outstanding... then there s Antarctica itself. Words can’t describe it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I am active travel and a luxury travel fan, but I also look for good value in both. When I went to research this particular itinerary, I compared three of the top brands and for me, Silversea was a hands-down winner. In addition, because I ... Read More
I am active travel and a luxury travel fan, but I also look for good value in both. When I went to research this particular itinerary, I compared three of the top brands and for me, Silversea was a hands-down winner. In addition, because I booked early, I was bumped to Business Class on my flights - nice. I also blog about my travel experiences as a hobby, so if you'd like to see a more photos and a comprehensive review of this ship and its services , go to the Cruise Critic boards/forums under a similar title and you can read more about why I think this cruise line, this ship, and particular itinerary is top-notch. The Rooms: I loved the all-suites concept. I had a View Suite with a large window on the 3rd floor and it was close to 200SF. I was impressed by the decor, the luxury details in the bathroom (rain shower head with great water pressure, bath sheets, nice robes), as well as the pre-stocked mini-fridge The Service: this is where Silversea crushed it. Pretty much every staff member knew me by name by the 3rd day and I can't say enough about how awesome it was to have a butler and 24 hr room service The Food: from my research, many of the top cruise lines are doing menu item/ non-buffet for dinner meals. So this in itself was not what set them apart. But the fact that I can't remember ever repeating a dish in 17 days does. From fresh fish to lamb and even king crab and chateaubriand one night, lets just say.... I gained 7 pounds on this trip and I'm kind of a health nut. The excursions: IMO, if are going to haul yourself all the way that far south, do the longer trip and go to South Georgia and the Falklands - incredible! The guides were excellent and I felt like I had earned a degree in 'Penguin' by the end, due to all the great education they offered. You can see more photos and read more our excursions in the forum under similar title. Value: overall, when I compared price for what I got, room size and airfare incentives, Silversea still came in 2nd (of the 3 I looked at) in cost but gave me everything I expected and so much more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see this part of the world. A better name would have been Patagonia and Chilean Fjords. Antarctica was not really covered. Ushuaia was a loveley port, but the ship did not provide an overnight or ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see this part of the world. A better name would have been Patagonia and Chilean Fjords. Antarctica was not really covered. Ushuaia was a loveley port, but the ship did not provide an overnight or even an option to discover Antarctica. Luckily I decided to stay an extra day and forgo the charter flight from BA on the same day. Silversea provided an excellent lunch and a great checkin option in Ushuaia and I had no problem joining the ship there. Embarkation was quick and efficient. My cabin was a Vista Suite and I had much space and lots of storage. The bathroom was good, except for the smell of urine....they changed my room within a few days of embarkation... a little late but it seemed to have been a known problem. The ship is lovely for a purpose-built ship and the staff was excellent. Initially, they did not exceed expectations, but during the course of the cruise I came to the realization that they were excellent, if not low key, and came to appreciate the service. I had no real complaints. Hilman and Elisa did a wonderful job of caring for me. Reception exceeded expectations, handling everything from any issues to room service, Maria stands out and Carlos was also excellent. Dining staff were wonderful ... Robert and his team are so professional and fun.... bar staff.... thank you Shannah Kay et al for your attention every day with a smile! The Expedition Team were amazing....Luke was superb at keeping everything on time and everyone in the know. While some who had been on expeditions before thought this was "Expedition Lite", I didn't have much frame of reference and thought things were good. I could have used a little more "action" but overall was happy with what I learned ... or DIDN'T learn ... sorry Luke.... about flora and fauna .... that's what google is for! LOL Chef Ross tried hard but the food choices didn't provide a lot of "local" stuff even though it was snow crab season. Everything was tasty and we spent a few nights braving the environs upstairs in the Grill! I am not a "sheeple" tour person and some stuff was a little too much herding about for me. Loved the recap nightly and info next day. Captain Piers was approachable, fun, present and informative always. After hundreds of cruises, it was amazing to see a Captain so inclusive and approachable. And interesting, LOL The public rooms are spacious and accommodating. Dining rooms are lovely. Room service always whenever, wherever and attention to detail on every level exceeding expectations.... including martini service in laundrette and morning green smoothie service following me wherever I went to get away from it! Thank you Zoran! What a team. Ports were interesting....saw amazing things. Attention to time on deck looking for things to see .... excellent. I can make my own fun wherever I go....but I was really happy to have been looked after so well from a personal standpoint and was appreciative for the Captains constant attention to advise us of everything! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The date indicated on the form for this review states it is a 14 night Antartica cruise. In fact it was the Patagonia and Chilean Fjord Cruise. This was on an expedition ship and advertised as an expedition cruise. WE have been on two ... Read More
The date indicated on the form for this review states it is a 14 night Antartica cruise. In fact it was the Patagonia and Chilean Fjord Cruise. This was on an expedition ship and advertised as an expedition cruise. WE have been on two previous Silversea expedition cruises (Galapagos an Sub Antarctic islands of New Zealand) and two Linblad expedition cruises (Alaska and Arctic). This cruise was not by any stretch of the imagination an expedition cruise. During the fourteen days we were out on zodiacs only three times (not counting transport into a couple of ports) for any kind of wildlife or nature (glaciers) viewing . In fairness we did a great deal of cruising through the fjords and saw wonderful scenery which could only have been seen from a ship. This however was true on the other expedition cruises as well. What was missing here was getting out into nature on the zodiacs to view animals and birds or on land hikes. Instead when we were not cruising we were dumped at uninteresting ports and taken on buses to see "made up" activities (e.g. sheep shearing, so called "rodeos", and made up local dance exhibitions-all tourist ready) or dumped into a nondescript town in the rain and told the bus would pick us up in an hour-our only option was to go to a local bar to get out of the rain. The bus trips were all conducted by local guides who clearly didn't know the difference between an expedition cruise and any other tourists however they may have arrived. While a couple of ship expedition team members were on the buses they largely acted as "keepers' not as guides. The one bus trip which was justified was to Torres del Paine. While the park was a bit of a disappointment it was justified to go there given the fact we were nearby and it is well known. Otherwise the bus trips, the activities and destinations were insufferable. There were certainly others on the ship that were as frustrated as were we and I assume there were some that were happy to be dumped on buses. While the trip description disclosed some of the bus trips it did not do so in sufficient detail to commuicate the frequency or uselessness of them. As on of the naturilist said -this was more like a "traditional cruise" than an expedition cruise. I assume the itinerary is developed at the head office where is easy to sub out to local guide companies and the on board naturalist had no ability to modify the schedule. Most of them were very talented and it was a complete waste that we were only able to avail ourselves of their knowledge during presentations and not out in nature. We will be very skeptical of future SIlversea cruise descriptions of so called "expedition cruises " in the future. It is just unfortunate that Linblad doesn't have a more extensive itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Chose the cruise to see Patagonia, the Chilean fjords and the flora and fauna associated with that area. We did not sign up for extended bus tours with local guides to go see antique cars, sheep shearing, local dancing or to be dumped in ... Read More
Chose the cruise to see Patagonia, the Chilean fjords and the flora and fauna associated with that area. We did not sign up for extended bus tours with local guides to go see antique cars, sheep shearing, local dancing or to be dumped in a town in the pouring rain. This was simply a repositioning of the ship with a lot of filler that was very uninteresting. Would definitely not recommend this cruise. The expedition guides, when they got the chance, were knowledgeable, interesting and personable. Unfortunately, they got little opportunity to share their expertise because of the itinerary. Lunch was the best meal. At dinner the main course, especially the fish, was often overcooked. Staff was very sensitive to my gluten allergy but they could have had a better quality of gluten free bread. Service in the suite and in the bar and dining room was generally excellent. People considering this trip should be aware of the excessive amount of rain at this time of year which seriously impedes visibility. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We originally booked and paid in full for an inaugural season voyage on the Muse which ended up being cancelled. We were never notified about the cruise being cancelled and because of that we were able to secure a discount on booking this ... Read More
We originally booked and paid in full for an inaugural season voyage on the Muse which ended up being cancelled. We were never notified about the cruise being cancelled and because of that we were able to secure a discount on booking this cruise. We decided to book the 10 day Antarctica cruise on the newly renovated Cloud to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We booked and paid for the cruise in June, 2017. The summer season for the 10 day Ushuaia to Ushuaia cruises runs for three months, from December to February. We were on the last 10 day cruise of the season. One thing I noticed is that as the cruise date approached the fares kept going up so I would recommend booking early for the best pricing. Silversea also often runs a 10% discount for paying in full which we also took advantage of. Our cruise was fully booked with just under 200 passengers. Passengers were a diverse group. We met people from all over the US, Australia, England, China, Africa, Dubai and other countries. Crew numbers over 200. Silversea also offered a business class air package which we thought was well worth it. For $2,950 per person It included the roundtrip air, an overnight at a hotel in Santiago, Chile, and a charter flight to and from Santiago to Ushuaia with all transfers. We left Los Angeles on February 16 and flew to Houston for our connecting flight to Santiago. We arrived in Santiago on February 17 and were met by Silversea representatives at the airport. We were transported to the San Cristobal Tower Hotel in Santiago. We were told that we had to be in the lobby at 4:15 am the following morning for the bus ride back to the airport for our charter flight to Ushuaia. There were strict reminders about luggage weight and carryon bags but nothing was checked or enforced. We got to the airport and departed at 1 PM. The flight is around 4 hours. When we landed we were taken in a bus to a lovely hotel in Ushuaia up in the hills where they served us a buffet lunch. We departed the hotel a few hours later to the port in Ushuaia where we boarded the ship. Eventually we had the muster drill, finally embarked and were on our way to the Drake Passage. We were very fortunate to have a very smooth crossing, which wasn’t the case on our return. More on that later. We were in a balcony cabin on deck 5. We originally booked a cabin on deck 4 (no balcony) but were upgraded. I was glad we had a balcony as there were times that I stepped out on the balcony to take photos. When whales were sited just off the ship, it was announced on the loud speaker and we would run out to the end of deck 5 where they opened it for passengers to take photos. Both humpbacks and orcas were sited. It was very exciting to see them play alongside the boat and they were huge! When we first went in our cabin we found our pre-ordered parkas on the bed, two backpacks, and two insulated flasks. We brought our own boots and trekking poles but the majority of the passengers rented them. Boots are labeled with tags showing your cabin number. The boots are kept in a special room on shelves by suite number. Each time you return to the ship you go through a process to clean your boots from penguin poop. There is a machine that is sort of a “car wash” for your boots. There was a mandatory zodiac briefing and kayak briefing for those who wanted to kayak. There was a lottery for the kayaks. We signed up and were selected but on the day we were supposed to go my husband did not feel well so we did not do it. Those that did it said it was really great. Every evening we received the daily Chronicle in our cabin which would outline the activities for the following day. Every passenger is assigned to a color group which is listed on the back of your room key. We were in the black group. The group times rotated so that you were not always the first one or last one off the ship on the zodiacs. There were two times each day to go out on the zodiacs. Each time you went out it was for around 1 1/2 hours. At 7 am there was an announcement in our cabins letting us know where we were going. There were certain landings we were supposed to go to, and occasionally the conditions were such that they decided to go someplace else. This makes each voyage unique. We had very good conditions at all the stops and weather varied between 32 and 35 degrees. We were not cold because we were well prepared. For clothing, we had the base layer, second layer, the provided parka, wool socks, the boots, gloves, gaiter, and hat. Trekking poles were useful on some of the landings. From the Captain’s Log: Ushuaia to Aitcho Aitcho to Yankee Harbour Yankee Harbour to Mikkelsen Harbour Mikkelsen Harbour to Charlotte Bay Charlotte to Danco Island Danco Island to Gonzales Videla Station Gonzales Videla Station to Cuverville Island Cuverville Island via Lemaire Channel to Borgen Bay Borgen Bay to Whaler’s Bay Whaler’s Bay to Half Moon Island Half Moon Island to Ushuaia Total Nautical Miles: 1919 Nautical MIles We saw lots and lots of penguins. There were Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins. We also encountered many humpback whales and even orcas. There were lots of fur seals as well as leopard and weddell seals. There were many varieties of birds unique to Antarctica. The glaciers and icebergs were spectacular. We witnessed some glacier calving. Being at the end of the season we were very fortunate to see the whales. The expedition staff, led by Kara Weller were outstanding. We attended many lectures on the ship. There are marine biologists, birders, scientists, photographers, geologists, historians, and more. The ship has a first class photo studio where you could attend clinics and print photos on board. At the end of the trip you have the option of purchasing a video with music, which highlighted the voyage. Included are several hundred photos. We of course purchased it. When we visited Deception Island there was an opportunity to do the Polar Plunge. The site of a former volcano there is steam at the water’s edge which heats the water somewhat, but it is still very, very cold. I didn’t do it but was surprised that so many did! Ship dining: The Restaurant (main dining room) for breakfast, lunch and dinner, La Terrazza for breakfast, lunch and dinner (reservations required for dinner), The Grill (Hot Rocks) for lunch and dinner (reservations required for dinner), La Dame for dinner ($60 per person and reservations required). There is a daily tea time in La Terrazza. We thought the food overall was very good, but not the very best we have had on other cruises. We had dinner at La Dame for our anniversary. The crew are outstanding. From our butler Dorothy (yes we had a female butler), to all the restaurant wait staff, cabin steward, etc., all are very friendly and many call you by name. Special kudos to Scott and Allan in La Terrazza….but really, all the crew are fantastic! Our conditions on the way back through the Drake Passage were not the same as the way down. We encountered rough seas and 20 foot waves. This was a more normal Drake Passage we were told. Most of the passengers were well prepared with either the patch or medications, but the Chinese group were not and many of the them were sick. We arrived in Ushuaia one day early on the return. We were told that every cruise does this, so to be sure that the ship is back in time for the next voyage. This gave us the opportunity to get off the ship and walk around Ushuaia the day before debarkation. On the day of debarkation we were told to be off the ship by 8:20 am. A bus was there waiting for us. We got on the bus and were driven to a parking lot in Ushuaia where we were told that we would be for a few hours before driving to the airport. We were told we could walk around Ushuaia or stay on the bus. Everyone was somewhat angry about this. We eventually made our way to the airport in Ushuaia. There was a further wait for our flight which did not depart until 1 pm. Arriving in Santiago we had to wait until almost midnight for our next flight which was to Houston. We had a short stopover in Houston. From the time we disembarked the ship and until we landed at LAX was 31 hours! This was the worst part of the trip….the flight times out of South America are really awful and the airports are also miserable and disorganized. There were long lines for immigration and customs in both directions. In summation I would describe this cruise as a “trip of a lifetime”. It truly was a magical surreal experience and a very special way to celebrate our anniversary. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We would consider taking another expedition cruise with Silversea, perhaps to the Arctic or Galapagos. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Overall, it was a great cruise. Silversea did very well with the cruise portion of our trip. Expedition leaders were excellent, ship staff very attentive, food was great and service was terrific. Two big disappointments: we had 3 hours of ... Read More
Overall, it was a great cruise. Silversea did very well with the cruise portion of our trip. Expedition leaders were excellent, ship staff very attentive, food was great and service was terrific. Two big disappointments: we had 3 hours of dead time in Ushusia our first day with the tour. They should have arranged to take us into town. and on our return to Usushia, we had nearly 3 hours in the town - however, it was sunday morning and no museums were open and very few shops and cafes. We also had to pay for the city tour in Buenos Aires. Other tour companies we've traveled with have paid for that excurision. The biggest disappointment was the number of young children on our tour. We had about 10 children under the age of 16. Many were left to run free on the ship with no parental supervision. and the even the very young ones took the zodiac cruises in very rough seas. The ship staff should have stepped in and advised the parents to control their children. It was a complete distraction from what should have been a peaceful trip. Sadly, I won't use Silversea again because of these challenges. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The sights, both from the ship and on shore, were absolutely spectacular. The natives - Penguins - were very friendly and would approach us without any fear. I took over 800 pictures (I'm glad we are not shooting with film any ... Read More
The sights, both from the ship and on shore, were absolutely spectacular. The natives - Penguins - were very friendly and would approach us without any fear. I took over 800 pictures (I'm glad we are not shooting with film any more), one new friend took over 1,200 pictures. It is almost impossible to describe the scenery and the surroundings in pictures and/or words - you have to see it to truly appreciate it. The ship is one of the nicest we have been on. The cabin (317) was perfectly sized for us. The housekeeping was fantastic (Thanks, Elisa!). The room service (my wife wanted breakfast in bed every day) was perfect (Thanks, Hilman). The service in the dining room was excellent and the food was very good. One of the most amazing things about the service staff was that they knew our name within 24 hours after meeting us - even the guy would made the toast at breakfast called me by name the first day! The tour staff was very knowledgeable about the native plant (there are only two plant native to Antarctica - Thanks, HP) and animal species that we encountered. This was a trip of a lifetime and possibly one worth considering for a repeat. I had some issues with the office personnel (not on the ship) which I will resolve separately. If you are thinking about it, get off of you --- and book it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was our first Silversea cruise. We were a little nervous about the dress code as it seemed a little crazy to be on an "expedition" cruise and have to go to dinner in a jacket for the men. Fortunately they were not strict - ... Read More
This was our first Silversea cruise. We were a little nervous about the dress code as it seemed a little crazy to be on an "expedition" cruise and have to go to dinner in a jacket for the men. Fortunately they were not strict - not that we went in shorts or anything. We wore dress pants and dress shirts. The service and staff was excellent. The expeditions were wonderful (why wouldn't they be, this is Antarctica). The guides were very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The presentations were also good. The ship had been in dry dock as of recent so the interior was very nice and up to date. The food was very good and eating outside at Hot Rocks (especially in Antarctica) was quite the experience. We are actually considering going on another expedition cruise with Silversea in the near future as we really enjoyed our time and experience on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
A cruise aboard a luxury ship is a first. Everything went fine and beyond all expectations. Two things that we have appreciated especially was the quality of the conference room and accompanying services during the outstanding ... Read More
A cruise aboard a luxury ship is a first. Everything went fine and beyond all expectations. Two things that we have appreciated especially was the quality of the conference room and accompanying services during the outstanding presentations and daily wrap-ups and the room service available for food at night (since we don’t drink alcohol or wine at all, we really appreciate being able to dine quietly at night [butler service being perfect]). The buffet style for breakfast and lunch was also very good. One more thing that was well managed was the mandatory fire and evacuation exercises at the beginning of the cruise. The instructions given to reach the muster station were clear and the training in how to put on our life saving jackets correctly were comprehensive. Altogether, you seem to take our safety seriously. We choosed this cruise because of its expedition features. We made 7 interesting visits in Antarctica despite some harsh weather. The expedition team was beyond dreams for the scientific people that we are. Some employees directly in contact with us were outstanding: Antidya (Butler), Robert Lamond (Head, Dining room), Maria Ladron (Head Receptionist) and above all Luke Kenny (Expedition leader) and all his crew of qualified scientists that made the expeditions and conferences of the highest quality level and way beyond our expectations. Of course, the captain Maggi Ettlin merits all our respect for her countenance and resolute decision making process. However, we must notice that the decision taken to strand the crew at Port Lockroy because of the risk to damage the zodiacs while retrieving them inside the boat (at least, we were told it was the rationale) costed us one day of exploration. Two little flaws: Communication with the passengers while eight members of the expedition team were stranded on Port Lockroy was poor. The captain or someone in charge should have reassured us and explained more clearly what was going on. When we arrived at Buenos Aires airport coming from Ushuaia on the 25th, the transit was not comfortable. We felt rushed by your attendant to cover the distance that we had to walk within the airport while carrying our luggage. Moreover, the bus picking point was quite far. So the ride was not comfortable, especially for our cruise fellow older companions. You can be assured that we really have enjoyed our cruise and we thank you for your constant efforts to make us comfortable during this trip. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose Silver Sea's trip to Antarctica on the Silver Cloud, as we researched the various ways to go see Antarctica, and even the more austere trips will cost around $10,000 per person with nowhere near the beautiful accommodations, ... Read More
We chose Silver Sea's trip to Antarctica on the Silver Cloud, as we researched the various ways to go see Antarctica, and even the more austere trips will cost around $10,000 per person with nowhere near the beautiful accommodations, expertise of the expedition team, or the ability to go safely ashore nearly every day. We cannot recommend this cruise more highly, and fear we have now set a very high bar of expectation as this has been our one and only cruise! We contacted Silver Seas directly for the cruise and used their agent for all of our booking and travel, including flights, hotel before the trip, transfers, etc. Had a perfect experience with all detail managed well. We laughed at the airport management because it felt like we could not go ten feet without seeing somebody holding a Silver Sea sign, smiling and telling us where to go next. Most welcome. The ship has just been renovated as an ice rated ship, and she is beautiful and felt very safe and secure. For sure we got to experience the shake of the Drake and even moreso during a windstorm in Bransfield Strait, but the captain and crew were excellent navigators, and the ship's crew in the restaurants and rooms just took the swells in stride with relaxing smiles, so we did too. But anti-nausea patches HIGHLY recommended across the passages...which are just gorgeous to cross...the birds and sea life and the sea itself are just remarkable and incomparable, really. We had daily intercom greetings in the morning, and boarded Zodiak rafts according to assigned group once or twice daily for excursions onto land or around the water and icebergs. Plus daily lectures about the history, wildlife, geography of the area. We cannot say enough about the excellent expedition team - about 22 members of the team from all over the world, and highly knowledgeable and excellent presenters in the auditorium and during excursions. We travelled with two of our grown children, and just loved being able to meet daily for meals, cocktail hour, cards, and even an evening of scotch and cigars in a little lounge provided for such an evening. Both piano players played every night in different venues and they know all songs and sing beautifully. Best possible evening entertainment, in our book. Our room was wonderful - highly recommend the terrace - and the butler team amazing. We felt overly pampered. If you are considering a trip to Antarctica, bravo, and absolutely do it! We recommend the Silverseas Silver Cloud cruise without reservation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
As retired Biologists, we wanted an extensive Antarctica cruise that catered to our interests in wildlife and wilderness habitats. We also wanted an science-oriented trip shared with adults. We were not disappointed! This cruise was ... Read More
As retired Biologists, we wanted an extensive Antarctica cruise that catered to our interests in wildlife and wilderness habitats. We also wanted an science-oriented trip shared with adults. We were not disappointed! This cruise was billed as 'The Grand Southern Expedition'. There were 110 guests and 118 crew. In Antarctica regulations limit the number of tourists ashore to 100, so we never had to wait long for zodiac trips. The guests were divided into 4-groups for off-ship excursions. These included guided beach walks, overland hikes, and zodiac cruises along shores too rough to land on. We covered 4,200 nautical miles around the Scotia Sea, including 18-zodiac excursions, and the seldom visited South Sandwich Islands. The Silver Explorer is a venerable expedition cruise ship with an accomplished and professional crew. It is tastefully decorated and has been recently upgraded and modernized. We were impressed by the quality of the expedition staff, who are experts in their right, but very approachable to guests. While not ashore and on sea days, staff presented informative, high-quality lectures on wildlife, fisheries, oceanography, geology, and history of the region. Captain Maggie and Expedition Leader Stefan were first rate. They made every effort to maintain the advertised itinerary and position the ship close to shore, even resorting to zodiac hydrographic surveys in anchorages where soundings were minimal. In Antarctica, weather and ice dominate. At all times, we felt our safety was priority. We were pleased that most of our shipmates had a mutual share of love of nature and adventure. A voyage of this breadth is not for those who desire a quick, and/or cheap Antarctica touch. We chose our suite on the middle-3rd deck, starboard side to minimize the 'motion-of-the-ocean'. As experienced sailors, we are not prone to seasickness. Many guests resorted to various mal-de-mer remedies, but few complained. The 2-day Drake Passage lived up to its reputation. The Silver Explorer has a lively but solid motion. Silversea expedition cruises are all-inclusive with no tipping and no additional charges for drinks, room service, etc. Quality outdoor gear was furnished and boots are available for rent. We brought our own rubber boots, which are better to hike in than ship fare. The quality and choice of food and drink is very good and the service is impeccable. We appreciated our butler stocked the mini-fridge with our favorite wine and served breakfast in our suite each morning. Silversea seems to treat their employees well and have a high retention rate. It is not unusual to reacquaint with staff from former cruises, and they all make a point to greet you by name. This is our second Silversea expedition cruise...it won't be the last. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I wanted to make sure i was on the best possible ship for comfort food and experience. From meeting at the airport and flight to Ushiuia to the short sightseeing to the wonderful lunch in a fabulous hotel above the town to the smooth ... Read More
I wanted to make sure i was on the best possible ship for comfort food and experience. From meeting at the airport and flight to Ushiuia to the short sightseeing to the wonderful lunch in a fabulous hotel above the town to the smooth transition to Explorer.nothing was missing. muck room was small but worked Fabulous and stylish jacket and puffer given on first day. Food continued to be good though not fantastic always there was something to satisfy. as soon as the zodiac transfers started I realised how well run this ship is we had at least 5 people getting us on the zodiac and 4 at the arrival end to help get us off. always someones hand to help especially for a novice snow walker. always a smiling face even when we were late to the zodiac to get on from the muck room because we forgot one piece of layering/gloves or camera. the wait staff were exceptional addressing us by name from the first night-amazing!! our ever smiling cabin man and butler always there to help and keep the cabin spotless. lots of rough weather on way to and from sandwich islands and across Drake.but to be expected being at the end of the world. I could not fault the well run cruise and wonder if the other ships doing Antarctica are as well run. Disembarcation was smooth and transfer to airport easy cabin 410 Vista suite Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We have travelled with Silversea several times (and with other cruise lines) and on Silver Cloud about 10 years ago when it was a regular luxury cruise ship. The only other Silversea Expeditions we have done was in the Galapagos which we ... Read More
We have travelled with Silversea several times (and with other cruise lines) and on Silver Cloud about 10 years ago when it was a regular luxury cruise ship. The only other Silversea Expeditions we have done was in the Galapagos which we also really enjoyed and is an interesting comparison. In both cases the cruise was excellent as were the crew and in particular the expedition guides. I would say that the Galapagos guides were more experienced and knowledgable but in fairness it’s early days for Silver Cloud in the Antarctic. Once across the Drake Passage most days involved 2 trips ashore in different locations and the transfers by Zodiac, 8 passengers at a time, was handled really well. Another reviewer has done an excellent, detailed, and very positive analysis and I agree with pretty much everything he says. I think turning Silver Cloud into an expedition ship is a clever and hopefully successful move. It used to carry just under 300 passengers, it now carries 200. The space per passenger and the range of facilities are exceptional. With the addition of the expedition staff the passengers crew ratio is very close to 1:1. There is a choice of 4 restaurants and a full spa. Other than a pianist and vocalist there is no entertainment but they put on a number of lectures and previews of the places to be visited. Repurposing Silver Cloud worked for us as we felt there were no compromises in the on board experience. Whereas we would urge people to go on Silver Galapagos there is no comparison between the ships. That said we happily accepted the Galapagos compromises and one plus, we found the on-board commerarderie better in the Galapagos. Space doesn’t give you everything! No special events or themes in the restaurants and no formal nights thankfully. There were two slightly uprated nights where gentlemen generally wore jackets but mostly no ties and the ladies went a short way up the glitzyness scale. The Panorama lounge was the main daytime public space and along with the bar worked well, and always room! The Observation Lounge on the top deck is very under-utilised. It suffers from being at the other end of the ship to all the other public areas and restaurants, and from access involving a short dash across an open deck. It’s a lovely space. Don’t know what the answer is. What was the theatre is pretty much as before and now called he Explorer Lounge and is primarily the venue for the lectures so is inevitably under utilised. The ship has been refurbished to a high standard and despite being now quite old has the modern attribute of all cabins/suites, except the small number on deck 4, having a full balcony. As you will have gathered we were delighted with the whole experience. While we are still able bodied we now look for something different to complement the resort type ships and we have definitely found that in the “new” Silver Cloud Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise because it was an "Expedition" cruise to the Antarctic, including stops in the Falklands and South Georgia before reaching over to the Antarctic Peninsula. Everyone knows that expedition cruise might be a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was an "Expedition" cruise to the Antarctic, including stops in the Falklands and South Georgia before reaching over to the Antarctic Peninsula. Everyone knows that expedition cruise might be a little rugged, both at sea and in the landings. You don't book an expedition cruise unless you're prepared for some discomfort, including rough sea passages -- that's the price you pay to travel on a smaller boat and to get to unusual and glorious landings. The first two legs were terrific, and both the landings and the expedition team -- Apex Expeditions -- could not have been better. All landings except one were "wet" -- how could they be otherwise? -- and resources and capabilities that the Apex team provided were superb. They are stars. But the cautiousness of the captain and, presumably, the Silversea line, started to show itself as we left S Georgia for the Peninsula. There were strong-ish winds to the south west, so the ship proceeded due west to let the storm pass, then south Elephant Island. That tack meant a loss of some six or so hours, and so no chance of seeing the Shackleton site on Elephant -- we arrived at the SW part of the island for a late landing instead, then headed off to Antarctica.... We were scheduled for four full days on the Peninsula, but got an abbreviated two and half days instead. Strong winds were projected to come across the Drake Passage -- as they regularly do! -- and the captain (and Silversea?) were presumably worried about discomfort to the passengers. We were prepared! Everyone knew the Drake could be tricky, we were already 2 weeks out at sea, and everyone had their medications underway. Instead of providing the publicized expedition trip, the ship proceeded back nearly two days early "out of precaution," which meant we did not get to (for example) Paradise Bay or the Lemaire Channel even though they were almost next door. Instead we had a very sorry early morning hour at Deception and a last landing on the Shetlands before hurrying back across the Drake and arriving a day and half early in Ushuaia. We were told that other ships also decided to head back early, but that wasn't what I saw. Instead, I saw the Ponant Soleal arrive in Ushuaia in the glorious evening sun on time and unscathed and will a lot of happy passengers whose experiences on the Peninsula were much fuller then ours. Many people, including us, had paid several tens of thousands of dollars and carved out three weeks time for a unique experience. We did not get it. Never again an "expedition" cruise with Silversea for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Overall We had a great cruise on the December 11, 2017 Antarctica departure of SilverSea Expedition's Cloud. Most every aspect of the cruise exceeded our expectations and our expectations were pretty high! Temperatures hovered ... Read More
Overall We had a great cruise on the December 11, 2017 Antarctica departure of SilverSea Expedition's Cloud. Most every aspect of the cruise exceeded our expectations and our expectations were pretty high! Temperatures hovered around freezing while in Antarctica, though we had some sunny days and went about at times without our large coats / gloves. The ship can travel quite fast, and we crossed the Drake Passage in 36 hours, giving us an extra day in Antarctica! Seas were mild to moderate. Many people wore "the patch" to help with motion sickness, and the ship's reception desk handed out pills for those who needed help. We hoped to see wildlife on this cruise and we saw plenty of birds (including penguins), several seals, and one glorious night a few people up late (10pm to midnight) saw 100-200 whales on a bit of a feeding frenzy. Bird sightings began on the crossing, and bird experts were on hand to fill you in on what you were seeing. The scenery was spectacular -- both from the ship and on the shore -- and we always enjoyed our time ashore. You see a lot of penguins, and while some passengers seemed bored by the second landing with yet more penguins, I always found them fascinating and entertaining. For those sensitive to smell, I saw several fellow passengers reacting to the penguin guano as we approached our first landfall. Our landing at the Chilean Antarctic Research Base Gonzalez Videla has us tromping through so much penguin guano that all passengers' boots were power washed as we exited the zodiac and before we could step foot in the ship. We love to kayak, and were fortunate to be selected for an afternoon of kayaking; what a great experience led by a passionate and fun team. Our final stop was at Telefon Bay -- the interior of a volcanic caldera. We hiked to the edge of the latest volcanic cone and were surprised to find a small waterfall! For those souls brave enough, this was the stop for the polar plunge. A storm was blowing through the Drake Passage, with forecast of 12+ meter (36+ foot) seas; the ship's Captain held the ship overnight in a protected bay, allowing the worst of the storm to pass and giving us a milder ride back to South America. All the chairs in the dining rooms are cabled to the floor for a reason;-) I've included below a day-by-day review of where we visited; this changes with every cruise based on weather conditions and agreements with other cruise ships; it may give future cruisers an idea of where they may visit. On the ship, food was generally good, service was excellent, and our cabin met expectations. The ship has just undergone significant work, and some renovations were still underway (particularly to the "Tor's Observation Lounge"). Our cabin steward and our butler were spectacular. We did organize a small party in our cabin on the last night in Antarctica and the butler sorted everything with a smile. Would we sail on SilverSeas again? Absolutely. Would we re-visit Antarctica? We would no re-do this cruise again; we think we'd be disappointed in a return journey as our experience was that good. We would consider Antarctica again if it was a different and compelling promised experience. Now for some specifics...we had several questions ahead of the cruise that included clothing and charter logistics; hopefully this review will help others who are considering or are booked to sail the Cloud to Antarctica. Details We Wish We Would Have Known 1) Clothes to Pack 2) Meeting Up With The Charter 3) Embarkation and Debarkation Days 4) Daily Excursions -- Rotating Passengers to Shore 5) Kayaking 6) How Bad are Drake Passage Seas 7) What's the Video/Image Release For 1) Clothes to Pack. We struggled with how much clothes to bring -- both for the adventures ashore and for life on board the ship. Would the ship be kept so warm we wish we had short sleeve shirts and shorts? What do people really wear to dinner (and, are jeans allowed in the dining room)? What are the clothing layers required and how many of each type of layer did we need to bring? Should we purchase with the travel partner for delivery on board or bring the clothing with us? Should we rent or buy? The ship was kept on the cooler side, so we were fine to walk around in long sleeve shirts and long pants by day/night. If we went on deck, we needed at least a jacket and at times we needed our parkas. Jeans were advertised as not allowed in the dining rooms, and I even called the SilverSea office to confirm this policy before we left for the cruise. I did see a few people wearing jeans. For 2 nights on this 10 night itinerary the attire was "Casually Elegant" -- with men requested to wear jackets (no tie required); the remaining nights were casual. For the excursions, we always wore a base layer and a mid layer; these were covered by our outer layer of waterproof ski pants and the SilverSea parka. The mid layer was a fleece pullover for the top and a pair of windproof cycling fleece thermals; the cycling thermals were warm and did the job though maybe could have been more breathable -- they seemed to collect our sweat. We wore a thick pair of socks inside our rented boots. One of us had lambswool insoles for the boots. We also wore waterproof gloves, a neck gaiter, and a hat (that covered our ears). We brought along hand and foot warmers though abandoned those after about a day because we were otherwise plenty warm. We had two sets of base layer and we washed those mid-way through the cruise. We rented the boots and brought everything else with us. Those who rented waterproof pants seemed happy, as did those who purchased items and had them just delivered to the ship. The Expedition Staff did request to inspect all garments passengers planned to wear ashore to ensure that no foreign objects were transported to Antarctica; any new garments were exempt. 2) Meeting Up With The Charter. We booked our cruise as soon as the itinerary was advertised; charter flights were not even offered. About 6 months before the cruise date, our agent informed us that SilverSea was offering us transport on the charter between Santiago and Ushuaia; we accepted the gracious offer. Logistics were sketchy -- we had a letter that said we were on the charter and we had a flight number. That's about it. No confirmation number, and no record locator code. We were told there would be someone at the airport with a sign or other SilverSea identification. For those people who also stayed at the arranged Santiago hotel, the promise was to drop off your luggage at the hotel and not see it again until Ushuaia. Here's how it worked...there were several check-in desks for the charter. You could spot those only by looking for LATAM check-in counters that showed the charter flight number. These were not so easy to spot. There were a few cruise agents trying to help; they had a small nametag to identify them and were also difficult to spot. Check-in was a minimum of 2 hours before the flight, and the airport was quite busy at 5am. We stayed at the only hotel on the airport grounds, the Holiday Inn, so that we minimized travel time. We'd been to Santiago before so didn't expect to sight see. While we could get up at 4:30am and be at the airport for 5:00am, those who stayed at the Sheraton (the SilverSea arranged hotel) had a very early wake-up and I believe they had to be in the lobby at 3:30am. Apparently it was very disorganized, some guests were charged for their rooms (though they had already paid via SilverSea), and promised food / drink was difficult to find. Once we found the check-in counters at the airport all charter passengers had to check in their luggage at the counter. Even those who stayed at the SilverSea hotel had to manage their bags between the bus and the airport check-in counter. People with the same last name were generally assigned adjacent airplane seats; otherwise, you just got assigned a seat. There were empty rows on the flight, so parties could request re-seating. The flight was all Economy Class, and we were served a sandwich and a beverage on the three hour flight. On arrival in Ushuaia, we had to first clear immigration (took over one hour for those of us at the back of the flight), collect our bags, and clear customs. As you exit the jet-way and await immigration, those folks waiting on the left are passengers who have just finished their cruise -- they're taking the charter back to Santiago. After Customs, SilverSea took the luggage and transported it to the ship. Passengers were put onto buses, taken on a short tour of the city, and brought to a nice hotel on the hillside above the city for lunch. The buses each had a different assigned departure time from the hotel in order to pace passenger boarding. If believe our bus finally made it to the ship at about 4:15pm; we were one of the last buses. 3) Embarkation and Debarkation Days. We received our room keys while at the Ushuaia hotel having lunch. We only had to take a quick photo and have our credit cards swiped once we arrived at the ship. Our parka and any items we ordered / rented were waiting for us on our bed in our cabin. I presume that guests who did not arrive on the charter were able to get onto the ship much earlier than those of us who had a tour / lunch before arriving at the ship. On debarkation day, we had to be off the ship at 8:30am; luggage was collected the night before and we didn't see your luggage again until we landed in Santiago. It was a bit odd travelling with checked luggage and no luggage tag. The airport check-in counter didn't open until 9am. It was a very slow and painful drive to the airport from the ship. The airport is nice but small. A kiosk opened at about 11:00am in the international passenger waiting area for anyone who needed something to eat or drink before they departed. The flight departed a few minutes later than planned and arrived into Santiago on time. While on the flight, fill out the Customs Declaration! The flight crew gave incorrect instructions to transiting passengers. EVERYONE on the charter flight had to collect their luggage in Santiago and go through immigration and customs; if they were then departing for another country, they had to re-check their luggage in the airport lobby, get their boarding passes, and then go back through immigration to exit Chile. Many folks failed to fill out this paperwork on the flight and they were not allowed to go through customs until they had completed the form. We did see a couple arrive in Ushuaia on the charter flight to start their cruise and they were rejected by Immigration; they joined us on the flight back to Santiago and missed their cruise. We presume they didn't have the correct visa for Argentina. What a shame for them, and even more so that they were allowed to fly to Argentina and then had to immediately return to Chile. 4) Daily Excursions / Rotating Passengers to Shore. Passengers each have a colored sticker on the back of their cabin key that designates an excursion group. Only 100 passengers are allowed ashore at one time, so the ships 200 passengers are divided into 4 groups of 50, and those groups are shuttled by schedule. A typical morning excursion would see a schedule like: 8:00am disembarkation for group Green; 8:15am disembarkation for group Brown. These groups are generally ashore for about 1:15-1:30, with the last group returned to the ship by 10:00am. At 10:00am disembarkation occurs for group Red, and 10:15am for group Black. Everyone is back by 12:00. Exit and return to the ship have several process steps: scan out (showing you've departed); collect and put on your boots; wait in the line for a zodiac; travel to shore and get a short brief on the location/wildlife/return time; drop off your life-jacket; tour around; pick up your life-jacket; was off your boots in the surf/board a zodiac; get off at the ship, brush / wash off your boots in the wet area, sanitize the boots, return the boots to their storage area/put on your shoes; and scan back in. 5) Kayaking -- where conditions allow, 10 passengers at any one location are allowed to kayak as a managed group. Any passengers who are interested in kayaking had to attend a scheduled briefing near the start of the cruise. Those who complete the briefing entered into a lottery for kayak spots. We were selected for kayak group 5 or so, and were able to Kayak on about the 3rd day in Antarctica. You must be able to lift yourself from a zodiac into the kayak, and then back to the zodiac when done. SilverSea provide all equipment, including a dry suit and a kayak skirt. The equipment is all fantastic stuff and was plenty warm. The kayak team is crazy good -- so passionate and fun loving. It was really magical to kayak through swimming penguins, be eye to eye with wildlife on icebergs, and (oh were we fortunate) see whales up close. 6) How Bad Are Drake Passage Seas -- they can be bad. Check out passageweather.com for an idea of wave height during your crossing. For us, it was relatively calm on the way over though many passengers were sick. Many passengers wore "the patch" and seemed to avoid sickness on the way to Antarctica. The way back was rougher. I believe we had 4-5 meter (12-15 foot) seas. The photos and videos make the sea look rather calm (no white caps). In reality, the ship would rise and fall, sometimes suddenly, with these large waves. Many folks were sick, even some who wore the patch. Reception did have plenty of motion sickness pills, and folks who took them said they helped. While I generally don't get sick, I did feel the movement on this cruise. I didn't get sick and I didn't take any medication; I'm very fortunate. 7) What's the Video/Image Release Form. At the beginning of the cruise you're asked to sign a release so that any photos or video of you can be used by SilverSea. Maybe I wasn't paying full attention, but I don't think I fully understood that a video of the cruise would be made AND SOLD TO PASSENGERS who wanted to pay about $150 for a copy. I did sign over the video/image release. I was disappointed that this all inclusive cruise didn't include the video as part of the package; had I realized this at the start, I would not have released my image for use by SilverSea. Other Items of Interest. Dining quality and variety was as expected. I heard other passengers with a spectrum of views, from loving the food to very disappointed in the food. We ate one night at the Italian restaurant; I was most disappointed that my fish fillet had at least 25 bones in it. The waiter rushed over and tried to remove all of the bones. The experience didn't make me want to return. The poolside "hot rocks" dinner restaurant was surprising good. My one disappointment in the meals was dessert; nothing seemed extraordinary. The main dining room was our go-to spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tor's Observation Lounge, at the top and front of the ship, was very cold and under-utilized. Work was still underway to complete the renovation of that area. There was no service in the lounge though it would have been nice to have coffee/tea service. Maybe that's planned for the future. Wildlife Viewing. We did see much wildlife, even from the ship. I was most surprised that the ship did not announce major wildlife sightings. For example, one night (10pm-midnight) a few of us, including some expedition staff, watched as 100-200 whales were on a feeding frenzy. Everywhere we looked, we could see whale spouts with fins/tails following. It was an incredible sight. There was no announcement made. Maybe it was because of the time. Expedition Staff. They were generally fantastic. One or two seemed more interested in speaking with each other than in engaging with passengers. Some experts did a great job translating their knowledge into useful stories for us passengers (example, Fritz with his bird info); others provided technical info (glacier size) that included formulas interesting to a scientist but much less interesting to someone wanting to learn the basics. In summary, this was a fantastic cruise that exceeded expectations. SilverSea did an outstanding overall job. I'm attaching an image of our stops in Antarctica. In text form, here's where we visited: Day 0 (extra day as we arrived early): Morning -- Aitcho Island: Chinstrap penguins, Gentoo penguins, whale bones, other birds. Afternoon -- Yankee Harbor, though this was a substitute for a planned stop that weather didn't permit us visiting. Day 1: Morning -- Brown Bluff: Adelie and Gentoo penguins. Afternoon -- cruising through Antarctic Sound and seeing fabulous large tabular icebergs. Day 2: Morning -- Mikkelson Harbor: Gentoo penguins, Argentine refuge hut, and whaling remains. Afternoon -- Cierva Cove -- zodiac cruise in search of wildlife. Day 3: Morning -- Danco Island: Gentoo Penguin colony and frequently visited by snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls, and blue-eyed shags. Afternoon: Cruising the Gerlache Straight, looking for passing wildlife. Day 4: Morning -- Nekko Harbor: breathtaking beauty surround you here. Stunning. Gentoo penguins, kelp gulls, skuas, and seals. Afternoon -- Gonzalez Videla Base, Paradise Bay: Gentoo penguins nest around the Chilean research base. Day 5: Morning -- Halfmoon Island: short uphill climb over a cobble beach to reach a colony of chinstrap penguins. Afternoon -- Telefon Bay: hike 1 KM up to the edge of a crater for some spectacular views. Polar Plunge for those who want to swim. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Why this cruise? Bucket list item, been many other places, last continent to visit, friends going, too! It was a great trip blessed with incredible weather - both crossings of the Drake Passage were fairly easy - a little roll ... Read More
Why this cruise? Bucket list item, been many other places, last continent to visit, friends going, too! It was a great trip blessed with incredible weather - both crossings of the Drake Passage were fairly easy - a little roll southbound and some occassional moderate pitch on the return. Check-in was fast & easy, luggage waiting for us in our cabin. Our cabin was spacious with plenty of storage with easy access to shore gear. Even the bathroom was roomy and well appointed. The window was huge and what a view! Nice lighting with a mini light option on each nightstand (with the full bedside lamps). The gentle movement of the ship reminded us that we were at sea. Nice! Public space aboard was plentiful and varied, both indoor and outside. Plenty of locations for a little quiet time alone if one wished. Well stocked library, games and puzzles. The dining room was large enough to accommodate all at one sitting if needed. It had a romantic 'period' feel to it with rich wood paneling and nice lighting with windows around three sides - a real plus with such breathtaking scenery everywhere all the time. The shore excursion staff was knowledgeable and effective in enhancing our time ashore. I believe the leader was surprised (and I hope, a bit embarrassed) at his gross underestimation of my 'shipmates' enthusiasm and endurance. The young whippersnapper! Fun times! Service in the dining room was, in a very few instances, inexplicably slow. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We'd been on a National Geographic expedition cruise to Alaska with our family this summer. Though we enjoyed that a great deal, we wanted to try another cruise line just for the experience. This was a cruise to Antarctica. Silversea ... Read More
We'd been on a National Geographic expedition cruise to Alaska with our family this summer. Though we enjoyed that a great deal, we wanted to try another cruise line just for the experience. This was a cruise to Antarctica. Silversea came highly recommended, and, as this was to be a trip with just the two of us, we decided to REALLY splurge and take the Silver Explorer, another expedition ship. It was a great choice all around. All the pre-trip arrangements were well done, including the Buenos Aires hotel (The Park Tower) and the charter flight to Ushuaia. The welcome aboard was very efficient, indeed, and our cabin (500) just right for us. We liked the size of the ship and met many fellow travelers from different areas of the world, some of whom we expect to keep in touch with well into the future. Food was very good, the only downside being weight gain! The Naturalists on board were, on average, an even higher calibre than those on the National Geographic cruise: knowledgeable, experienced, interesting and humorous. Loved all of the lectures. The only real complaint we had was the requirement, after each of our zodiac landings and hikes, to meticulously clean our boots so as not to transfer foreign matter from one place to another. We have no complaint with the requirement, but it is simply out of character with an all-inclusive super-luxury cruise with personal butlers and champagne flowing everywhere to have the passengers doing this. The little mud room in which to do this was super-cramped. It was the one thing all the passengers felt was out of place and, though we conjured up a few reasons why this was imposed upon all 140 passengers (ensuring ecology awareness being the tops), we all agreed it should be re-thought. But that's it. We hope to take Silversea again. The entire crew was incredibly professional and polite."Entertainment" is rated "3" below to be fair-there is no entertainment (save the very good lectures) and a piano player, who was fine. N one takes an expedition cruise for entertainment, but rather for enrichment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise and company because of (1) It's a place we have wanted to visit for many years and (2) we had sailed with Silversea before on Silver Whisper 2016 in the Baltic. Of course there was the problem of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise and company because of (1) It's a place we have wanted to visit for many years and (2) we had sailed with Silversea before on Silver Whisper 2016 in the Baltic. Of course there was the problem of the ship's fuel pump breaking down and the curtailment/cancellation of her first voyage after her USD40m refit. Problems can happen to anyone at anytime. Silver Cloud had steamed all the way from Malta to the South Atlantic before her fuel pump problem - and we understand a few other cabin problems. But that is in the past and having just returned from her other 'first' Antarctic cruise we both felt we had received more than 'just' value for money. Our stateroom (622) was large and comfortable - with the now almost obligatory balcony. Handy for taking some photographs from, but not the ideal place to sit when the average temperature is only between -1C and +1C. Our room attendant (Joshua) kept the room smart, clean and tidy. Only quibble would be that the laundry didn't keep pace with the facecloth supply. Not a major problem as do have our own! We ate mainly in the main Dining Room and mostly had a table with a great view outside. Each time we had the same waiter (Renaldo) who couldn't do enough to keep us happy and well fed. Three nights we ate in La Terrazza - the Italian themed restaurant and the food and service there were second to non. We found all the staff there to be friendly and welcoming (especially Francesco who is from Portugal though and not Italy!). Breakfast was in L Terrazza as was our Lunch option. The self service buffets were excellent in choice and quality. Though sometimes the service got a bit too 'fussy' - I can carry a plate from the buffet to a table some, oh lets say 2mtrs away. Though it became a game for me to see if I could get to the table before being 'interrupted' by one of the many attentive waiters. They mostly won though! Being an all inclusive voyage the bars were comfortable to sit in and have a Cosmo (or four...) watching the sea outside the bar - though we had to keep opening the blinds as the ever attentive Marta kept them closed - no doubt some official reason or other. Shore excursions were by zodiac to beaches to visit Penguins - lots and lots ... and lots of Penguins. Cute and adorable they maybe but the smell... I don't know how David Attenborough stands it. Remember what goes in the Penguin (Krill) also has to come out! If you want an expedition to the Antarctic then Silver Cloud (Expedition) is THE ship to travel on. She is small enough to get into the remotest places and large enough to be a stable platform in bad sea conditions. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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