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Sail Date: March 2019
A bucket list type trip for sure! The Galapagos islands were truly mesmerizing. They were remote, unspoiled, filled with animals (many endemic to Galapagos) and the scenery was over the top. We chose Silver Seas as it had great ... Read More
A bucket list type trip for sure! The Galapagos islands were truly mesmerizing. They were remote, unspoiled, filled with animals (many endemic to Galapagos) and the scenery was over the top. We chose Silver Seas as it had great ratings and we wanted a slightly larger ship with very experienced naturalists. While the ship holds about 100 people, I think we only had about 85 on board and it never felt crowded. Silver Seas has this down pat! From the moment you arrive at the airport, it is well organized and orchestrated. You never felt rushed or like you were part of a herd. Each experience was personalized and the staff and crew were very polite, respectful and helpful. Each day, you wake up early and head out for excursions. Most days, there were options to choose from. Each excursion started in a zodiac and you headed out to explore an island, snorkel, kayak or visit a small town. Each zodiac had a guide who lead you through the excursion and ensured each guest got the most out of it. The animals are a highlight of the whole trip. They are not afraid of people and you get a very up close (but not too close) experience with sea lions, birds, iguanas, fish and so much more. The ship itself was very nice. Rooms were spacious (for a cruise ship) and well appointed. Your personal butler ensured you had everything you needed and was quick to respond to any special request. Every time we left the room, they came in and cleaned and straightened it up. The ship wasn't new but well kept up. There was only one restaurant and the Grill on board. We had breakfast at the restaurant buffet each morning and chose to have lunch in the Grill on the deck of floor 5. We alternated between the Grill and main restaurant for dinner. The food was very good in both. I do think they could expand the Grill dinner menu beyond on the hot rocks as it was fun the first night and then got a little old. The restaurant food was all excellent and what I would expect at a fine dining establishment. Our fellow travelers were generally 40-60'ish years old and liked a very active vacation. There is little time to rest during the week. You could choose to skip excursions but then why go on this trip? It was action packed and crazy busy but exactly what we expected. There was only 1 child on our trip and about 10 teenagers who seemed to really enjoy it. Most people were part of bigger (6-12 people) groups which included families, siblings, multi generational, friends, etc. One word of warning which Silver Seas is clear about - this is not a trip for anyone that is mobility challenged. The ship isn't set up for it and the excursions all require you to go up and down steep steps on a rocking ship to the zodiac and often disembark in to the ocean and walk ashore to hike on a rugged trail. There is no entertainment on the ship other than a small piano bar for pre-dinner cocktails while watching the sunset. Most people were in their cabins by 10pm resting up for another big day of excursions. Overall, this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip although we may go back again one day and see the Western part of the archipelago. Also, we chose March as the seas were warmer for snorkeling although the air temperature was very warm too. It is the rainy season, but we didn't see even a drop of rainy and it was sunny each day. Can't recommend this trip on the Silver Galapagos highly enough! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
On this cruise, Celebrity got the formula exactly right. Great ports, great food, great accommodations, excellent service and spectacular entertainment! What more could you ask for! This was by far the best cruise we’ve ever taken. ... Read More
On this cruise, Celebrity got the formula exactly right. Great ports, great food, great accommodations, excellent service and spectacular entertainment! What more could you ask for! This was by far the best cruise we’ve ever taken. We’ve sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity in the past and although each cruise has it’s positive and negative points, we’ve found Celebrity to be the best. CHECK IN: We read all the negative reviews about check in and were concerned. There was no need to be. Celebrity was extremely well organized on this cruise and check-in was a breeze. We received email confirmations about staggered check in times. Each deck was assigned a specific check in time, starting from the top deck downward, and the lines moved quickly. DINING: Overall, meals on board were of good quality. Concierge Class were given a delicious lunch in the main dining room on embarkation day. Although we were aware of this, we were not given the time of the lunch until we had checked in. Saved us from braving the masses at the Oceanview Cafe on embarkation day. We avoided eating at Oceanview mainly for that reason. We chose instead to eat all our meals (including breakfast) in either the main dining room or the specialty restaurants. The Main dining room offered a good variety of choices and service was also good. We tried all the specialty restaurants and the quality, menu choices and service were all superb. They were well worth the additional cost. ENTERTAINMENT: Again, don’t believe all the negative reviews you’ve read. On this particular Celebrity ship, entertainment was superb. The shows each night in the theatre were spectacular. The best we’ve ever experienced on any cruise. The cruise director Giuseppe was young, energetic and had a great sense of humor. His ability to engage the crowd, as well as make things fun and light hearted, are unmatched. He was by far the best cruise director we’ve had on any cruise we’ve taken. EXCURSIONS: Overall, the choice and quality of excursions were disappointing and pricing steep. Better communication, directions and signage would be helpful. CLEANLINESS: Overall good, but could use some improvement. Tables in common areas were obviously not wiped down regularly. Rings and stains from drinks and food were still visible. In addition, young Captain Leo was the most visible and personable of all the Captains on past cruises we’ve taken. It was really nice to see him and the rest of his team engaging and interacting with other passengers. All in all, it was a wonderful cruise and we would definitely recommend and sail with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
As a scientist and biologist, I wanted to explore the Galapagos Islands for myself to witness the uniqueness of species that motivated Charles Darwin to advance his factual theories on evolution and natural selection. The National ... Read More
As a scientist and biologist, I wanted to explore the Galapagos Islands for myself to witness the uniqueness of species that motivated Charles Darwin to advance his factual theories on evolution and natural selection. The National Geographic team aboard the Endeavor II gave us an exceptionally motivating expedition of the most unique location on our planet. The experience was enhanced by the warm, friendly, motivated and well-informed staff, especially the expedition leader, Carlos, who was also a comedian. There was no shortage of excellent Ecuadorian food and snacks and drinks. There was even time for early morning stretching on the observation deck and a work out in the gym. One of the most exciting experiences on board was meeting so many new people for the first time. The Lounge and Dining Room were large and cozy enough to make this possible. The frequent visits by zodiacs to the different islands highlighting the unique species was breathtaking to say the least. I've never seen so many beautiful creatures in my life. There's no doubt that I will do this expedition again, soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Why this cruise: to see another side of the world and Machu Picchu with friends. The bad (as it will be shorter): old ship, limited local wine choices, some menu items disappearing quickly, obsolete disco bar in one of the top location ... Read More
Why this cruise: to see another side of the world and Machu Picchu with friends. The bad (as it will be shorter): old ship, limited local wine choices, some menu items disappearing quickly, obsolete disco bar in one of the top location of the ship, senior staff absent. The good: service staff was outstanding, creative and competent. Restaurant staff (Capri) were a lot of fun and Maitre D were outstanding. Cabin service staff were top notch and prove their efficiencies when needed (30 minutes turn around time to get my jacket pressed... my fault). The cruise itinerary met expectations. Port destinations offered were as good as what could be seen. The evening shows were quite good in general, while one was weak. The conferences were very interesting and informative as port destination recommendations (for walkers). Onboarding and outboarding was flawless (my only bad experience was with Budget Rent a Car... no fault of Princess cruise here. I will never rent a car with them again). We took the Machu Picchu land tour option. It was perfect from start to the end (guides, hotel, transfers, staff, destination, food). This tour is on the top end of all tours I have ever done. To keep it simple, if you want to visit South America with Princess, you must include the Machu Picchu tour on your way back. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Wanted to see S America, a Gold Member and travel with 4 other couples 5th cruise! NCL this was the worst cruise, our toilet would not flush on demand, button pushed nothing ... middle of night it flushed reported numerous times! ... Read More
Wanted to see S America, a Gold Member and travel with 4 other couples 5th cruise! NCL this was the worst cruise, our toilet would not flush on demand, button pushed nothing ... middle of night it flushed reported numerous times! Restroom stall doors held on with electrical wire ties(casino men's room). Mens room at The Windjammer had a hole in the wall covered by cardboard and duct tape. Every other NCL cruise we have been on while in port they cleaned the windows not on the Sun! Water spots on most of our pictures. The windows were either dirty or there were numerous window fogged from loss of vacuum! We made reservations for ten in different resteraunts and many times they sitted us at different tables when there were large settings available and were not used while we were there! Shame on NCL! We are looking to cruise Australia and New Zealand later this year and we( all 5 couples) are not sure we will chose NCL this time! One bright spot was Freddie the Bartender at the Champayne Bar! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The cruise exceeded my expectations in every way. The high point was the 4 days in the Antarctic. I will never forget the joy of watching an iceberg float by with penguins on it - with one every once in a while waving to you, or so it ... Read More
The cruise exceeded my expectations in every way. The high point was the 4 days in the Antarctic. I will never forget the joy of watching an iceberg float by with penguins on it - with one every once in a while waving to you, or so it appears. Than you watch some of them dive off and go porpoising across the waters. Later on, an iceberg goes by and they are jumping on. A little further an iceberg goes by with a solitary penguin on it. Your camera is your best friend at this point to help capture this unbelievable spectacle and all the Antarctic beauty ever present around you. And as if that wasn't enough there were the frequent whale spouts, some so close you could hear them, followed by their majestic arch and gigantic tail appearing as they take a deep dive. Than there was, for me, the beauty of the many variety of antarctic birds that followed the ship. One, the wandering albatross has the largest wing span of any bird, up to 10 feet (over 3 meters). The ever changing sea state, ocean color and sun angle made each soaring maneuver another art piece I had to capture. And haven't even mentioned the icebergs - a prime attraction to say the least. As for the ship, it has been maintained in excellent shape. You couldn't ask for a better crew. Very friendly and as one who can testify to their around the clock effort to keep the ship clean, I was often up at all hours to photograph the sun set at midnight or a sun rise at 3:00 AM. My wife and I had a balcony suite, room 7038, port side on deck 7. Perfect in location and size. We had no problem with motion sickness for the moderate sea states we were in. As I have learned from previous cruses, food can be a problematic. If something is too good, I have a hard time passing it up. I would give the food on this cruise a Goldilocks rating - just right. Except perhaps their soups, which I had to try every night, they were so good. The entertainment was all very well done, particularly the dance routines. My wife and I enjoyed dancing to The Ocean Quartet, whenever the sea state permitted. A cruise setting I will always remember is listening to the Adagio violinist and pianist play. Their music made you slow down and take in the moment. I am so thankful they had a CD, Duo Dolce, of their music for sale in the ship's store. Holland American also has to be given a lot of credit for the holiday decoration they had throughout the Zaandam. I knew it was going to be good when I saw 4 pallets of fresh poinsettias waiting to be loaded at San Antonio. Two shore excisions that were exceptional and you should not miss are, first the Volunteer Point King Penguin Rookery when dock at Stanley/Falkland Is/Islas Malvinas. We opted for the ship's excursion package here as this port requires a rather long tender, about 30 minutes, and a jeep ride to Volunteer Point is such you need to get on the first tenders. The Land Rover ride was half the enjoyment and truly a great King penguin experience. The second excursion was a city and tango show in Buenos Aires. We used LIZ ANDREA (liz2arg@yahoo.com. We were a small group and that gives you more flexibility. Liz is a native of the city so she really knows its story and tells it very well. Great command of English and she has very engaging dialog. Not like some recording or scripted speech. Her stories at the cemetery show she is very knowledgeable and passionate about the history like no other. She arranged a Tango show for us that was top notch. What a perfect way to end our cruise. We also used her for our trip to the airport and for a tour day ending at the airport for our flight out that evening. Very responsible guide and driver. You couldn't do better. Would I do it again - in a heart beat. Would I recommend it to a friend - already have. Truly a once in a life time experience for us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
As a semi-surprise birthday trip my husband 'planned' this trip to the Galapagos Islands since it was a dream trip of mine for many decades. We had cruised with Silversea before so we knew traveling with them would be an added ... Read More
As a semi-surprise birthday trip my husband 'planned' this trip to the Galapagos Islands since it was a dream trip of mine for many decades. We had cruised with Silversea before so we knew traveling with them would be an added bonus! The other guests were delightful and since the ship has only 100 passengers, we got to know most of them! The crew was friendly, knowledgeable and fun, too! The guides are from the Galapagos Islands National Park Guide Service and they rotate around the cruise ships - I don't know how we got all the best guides but we did! :) Knowledgeable and fun. The day trips were always informative and interesting. The animals steal the show and rightfully so! We could go on and on about the sea lions and the boobie birds, other birds, iguanas, other flora and fauna - which vary from island to island. So much to take in! Wonderful trip!!!!! This cruise had no formal nights - which was nice since we had a lot of other items to pack for the expedition cruise. Bonus: We loved having wet suits and snorkeling gear provided for us -- no need to pack that!! (We swam with sea lions and sharks! And saw amazing schools of fish, starfish, rays, etc!!!!!) It is a busy day each day as they try to make the most of your trip and everything is so top notch. We did sit out one activity on one day as there was just too much going on and we needed a bit of a break. With that said - some of the island hikes were way to slow paced. You DO always need to be mindful of your footing - it's just the roughness of the islands - rocks and boulders and such. You need the proper shoes for you own best outcome! (They also provided walking sticks for those who needed them!) But we are used to hiking and moving about more. We DID appreciate they took into account everyone's abilities and I do think that might have been part of the issue. We did enjoy many times, the ability to just stand and enjoy the animals and scenery--that's why we came! The tortoises were show stoppers!!!! Loved seeing them in their natural habitat and at the preserve! The food was great! We loved the local food sourcing!!! The chef made sure there was different offerings and all were tasty! The piano man - Alfred- was fun. The butlers marvelous....great folks all around! Pre-cruise and post-cruise hotels they booked were EXCELLENT!!!!!!!! This was an added bonus - so many times the pre and post cruise parts are nice but these were EXCELLENT, especially our hotel in Guayaquil. We appreciated the half-day room. The amenities were really over the top! If you are wondering if you should go the answer is easy; it's: YES!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We started this trip in Guayaquil where a Silversea representative waited for us at the airport and took us to Oro Verde Hotel (very good, very close to the city main attraction (malecon)) a day before the embarkation. From Guayaquil we ... Read More
We started this trip in Guayaquil where a Silversea representative waited for us at the airport and took us to Oro Verde Hotel (very good, very close to the city main attraction (malecon)) a day before the embarkation. From Guayaquil we flew with Latam to San Cristobal (1h and 25min). As a lot of flights arrived at same time, immigration took almost one hour. From airport was a 5 minutes bus ride to the pier where we got the zodiac to the ship with our carry-on. Soon after our luggage arrived at our cabin which was a veranda suite. We loved that we got it as we spend a lot of time in the Veranda while sailing from one spot to other as well as we could dry our clothes and shoes easily. There are plenty of open air space in the ship that you can rest between meals and landings. There are also in-door space like piano bar and library should you want to be in the air conditioning. July is the dry season and temperature was really good. Food was great at all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We had breakfast every day at the Restaurant as well as dinner except for one evening that we tried the Grill where we had all our lunches. Lunch was superb at the Grill, but dinner at the lava rock was a disappointing, we never got back. Some disappointing issues: shower has half door which makes bathroom wet everywhere. Bathroom is really small. Disembarkation was not very good. In the night before some items from our cabin were changed to the new guest to come in the following day, which confused us. On Saturday morning we had to leave our cabin at 7:30, but transfer to the airport was at 9:30, so we stayed at the piano bar for 2 hours waiting. Silversea provided exhibition of some films during this period, but in the end, the toilets were miserable with a 100 guests using it during 2 hours. We were transferred to the airport and our flight was schedule for about 1 PM. A long waiting time. I noticed that guests from Celebrity had a meal waiting for them at the airport. Great trip! We loved it and strongly recommend it! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
It seemed very streamlined for the experiences we wanted. We were able to have everything organized for us & all we had to do was show up! Extremely knowledgeable staff and first class all the way from pre-cruise hotel in Quito to ... Read More
It seemed very streamlined for the experiences we wanted. We were able to have everything organized for us & all we had to do was show up! Extremely knowledgeable staff and first class all the way from pre-cruise hotel in Quito to getting to the lovely cruise ship made it a great experience. The places we visited & expeditions we went on gave a wonderful overview of the Galapagos. We would probably have missed many of the highlights if we tried to do on our own. The small size ship made it much more personal.The very experienced guides really made the difference in it being a far superior experience than we could have even hoped for. The open air grill restaurant was where everyone wanted to be so at lunch there were never enough tables and people tried to go early to get tables but sometimes you just got back from excursions & by the time you got there the tables were all taken up. The alternative was to eat in downstairs restaurant but the outside environment was much more desired. So, only suggestion would be more space in open air grill restaurant. And, perhaps some more outdoor relaxing areas. The one area outside the piano bar with 4 lounge couches was very coveted, also. For the number of passengers there needed to be a little more deck relaxing areas. The indoor areas were plentiful but I think a lot of people on a cruise want to be outside looking at the ocean. Also, the fresh air areas were tainted quite often with smell of paint & varnish. I realize maintenance must be difficult to schedule but when paying for a cruise & hoping for nice fresh ocean air, it is a little disappointing to smell varnish & paint instead of fresh air. Those couple of minor annoyances did not detract enough from the overall phenomenal experience to not want to do it again. It was the best experience ever getting to see the unique wildlife up close & personal & to get to learn so much at same time. The guides were ALL so very knowledgeable & very personable. There were so many amazing things we were privileged to see & experience that we will absolutely recommend this cruise to others and we will want to experience another Silversea cruise in our future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Brilliant and well organised activities every day. Getting on and off the zodiacs was a lot of fun but after a few days it was really easy. The Naturalists were fantastic,full of entertainment and fun as well as facts and ... Read More
Brilliant and well organised activities every day. Getting on and off the zodiacs was a lot of fun but after a few days it was really easy. The Naturalists were fantastic,full of entertainment and fun as well as facts and information. The ship was good and with only 42 other guests we managed to talk to everyone else on board. Cabin was spacious enough and had everything we needed. It was well serviced each day and we never had to ask for anything at all. Food was first rate.Lots of choices and always fresh and excellent quality.We were vegetarians and we were accommodated and well looked after. The staff were truly great.They could not do enough for you.They managed to get to know your name quickly and anticipated your requirements too. All ship staff were pleasant and happy to help with any requirement. We walked.we swam,we hiked,we snorkelled and we took lots and lots of photographs each day. I would wholeheartedly recommend this cruise to any nature lover. Special word of praise for Dora ,the group leader,she made everything sing. Read Less

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