Silversea Releases First Destination-Specific Ship

By Staff Writer

Starting in winter 2020, the Silver Origin will be sailing to the Galapagos Islands, home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife and landscapes. The upcoming vessel is Silversea’s first-ever destination-specific ship and has been designed entirely with the exotic islands in mind.

“The natural beauty of the Galapagos Islands makes it one of the world’s best cruise destinations,” says Fernando Delgado, Silversea’s Vice President and General Manager of Canodros C.L. “Silver Origin will enhance Silversea’s award-winning cruise experience here, raising it to an even more incredible level for guests’ enjoyment.”

The 100-passenger, all-suite Silver Origin will provide an immersive experience and facilitate deeper connections between guests and the islands. Travellers will enjoy Ecuadorian culture on board through daily briefings, lectures, videos, and scientific information; authentic local cuisine, prepared by expert Ecuadorian chefs; and various other luxurious enhancements.

Silver Origin’s interior design boasts an understated, Italian-inspired elegance, as well as influence from the Galapagos’ unique natural environment to strengthen guests’ engagement with the destination. The generous public spaces were designed by HBA Miami, while GEM – Design for Cruise Ships, the team behind the interior design of Silver Muse, oversaw the interior design of the ship’s suites.

The new vessel will also offer Basecamp, an innovative lounge where guests can socialise before and after excursions. A notable feature is the large, interactive digital wall that will allow guests to access destination-related content, including pictures, videos, excursion previews and scientific presentations.

Those onboard can also interact with the Expedition Team through educational activities to learn more about the rare wildlife, amazing landscapes and captivating history of the Galapagos Islands, before and after experiencing these attractions first-hand.

With floor-to-ceiling windows for sweeping views of the destination, Silver Origin’s Explorer Lounge will host daily briefings and lectures from the ship’s Expedition Team. The elegant venue additionally offers a large video wall and wide HD screens in different seating areas to optimise guests’ destination experience. Guests can use the space to relax and choose from the complimentary drinks available throughout the ship, including spirits, champagne and a variety of wines.

An Observation Lounge rests at the front of the ship and boasts stunning views of the Galapagos. The neighbouring library additionally adds to the in-depth venture, offering the most extensive destination-focused collection the cruise line has ever had on one ship.

With a choice from eight different suite categories, guests can personalise their trip on board. Every suite harbours a private balcony, while certain suite categories will feature an innovative Horizon Balcony, which can convert to enclose the balcony with a floor-to-ceiling window for added space and better shelter from the elements. In addition, selected suite categories will incorporate an ocean-view bathtub, as well as an ocean-view shower that is accessible from the balcony for guests’ convenience and comfort — a first for Silversea.

Silver Origin’s two dining venues — The Restaurant and The Grill — will dive even deeper into the surrounding Ecuadorian culture, each serving authentic flavours and using local ingredients and regional wines. The restaurants can additionally accommodate all guests at full capacity. The far-reaching views of The Restaurant make for a picturesque dining experience while The Grill includes Silversea’s signature Hot Rocks concept of cooking on oven-heated volcanic rock.

Silver Origin will be one of the most environmentally-friendly cruise ships ever built, due to state-of-the-art technology and solutions designed specifically for sailing the Galapagos Islands. The ship’s dynamic positioning system allows it to automatically maintain position to protect the sea floor, while freshwater purification systems installed in each suite will enable the ship to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic bottles and an advanced Waste Water Treatment System will meet or exceed the strictest regulations in the market.

The groundbreaking vessel will be the only ship in the Galapagos Islands to offer butler service to all suites, in addition to boasting the highest crew-to-guest ratio (1:1.16) and the highest ratio of qualified guides per guest (1:10) in the area.

Silver Galapagos, which will be replaced by Silver Origin, recently garnered the top spot among small ships in four award categories at the 2019 Cruise Critic’s Cruisers’ Choice Awards, including ‘Best Overall Ship,’ ‘Best Shore Excursions,’ and ‘Best Value’ for the second consecutive year.

www.silversea.com

First-Ever Expedition World Cruise On Sale

By Staff Writer

Travellers can now book their spots for Silversea’s Uncharted World Tour 2021. Spanning 107 destinations in 30 countries, the ocean endeavour will set sail on Silversea’s Silver Cloud ship from Ushuaia, Argentina on 30 January 2021, and is the first-ever expedition world cruise. The 167 day-long expedition will cover a total of 39,000 nautical miles and offer a range of immersive travel experiences along the way.

“The Expedition World Cruise 2021 has been specially crafted to unlock the world’s most amazing deep travel experiences for our guests,” said Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s Senior Vice President Expeditions and Destination Experiences.

In Antarctica, guests will witness incredible landscapes and rare wildlife species, while in the South Pacific, they will meet the descendants of the famous Bounty Mutineers on Pitcairn, after spending two days on Easter Island. The journey continues in the French Polynesia, with Bora Bora and Aitutaki’s lagoon, followed by on-water exploration of Australia’s Kimberley region. The stops continue throughout Malaysia’s Borneo, Egypt — including a sail through the iconic Suez Canal — Greece, Albania, Tunisia, Spain, France and the United Kingdom. The lengthy trip concludes with some of Northern Europe’s most remarkable destinations, featuring Iceland, Svalbard and Norway’s North Cape and more.

Silversea’s 70-member expedition team, Artist in Residence Antony Smith and 20-plus guest speakers will join the voyage, offering workshops, lectures and accompanying shore excursions. Guests include Felicity Aston MBE — explorer, scientist, speaker and author; Tim Severin, explorer and gold medalist of the Royal Geographical and Scottish Geographical Societies; and Jo Ruxton, co-founder of the Plastic Oceans Foundation.

A number of exclusive events will additionally enhance the voyage, allowing guests to gain access and insight into the fascinating cultures across various destinations. The cruise will start off with a special bon voyage reception on the rooftop of Palacio Concha, a grand mansion in Chile’s Santiago. Later special occasions include privileged access to Robert Louis Stevenson’s former home in Apia, Samoa Islands, for a private dinner; a night at the illustrious China Club, where guests will enjoy a private dinner on the 52nd floor of Singapore’s Capital Tower and a bespoke banquet on the walkway of London’s most famous landmark, the Tower Bridge. Concluding the world cruise, a Viking farewell will offer an authentic culinary experience in Iceland’s Kjarnaskogur Forest.

Silver Cloud’s two-bedroom owner’s suite costs AU$704,000 per person for the duration of the 167-day voyage while the ship’s vista suites begin at AU$138,000 per person. As part of the voyage’s all-inclusive pricing, world-cruising guests will each receive complimentary expedition gear delivered directly to their suites. The kit will include a commemorative World Cruise Polar exploration parka, a waterproof backpack, and various other items of clothing and accessories.

See here for more details and inclusions.

silversea.com/world-cruise

Silversea Cruises Unveils Immersive Culinary Program

Silversea Immersive Culinary Program SALT

Silversea Cruises has announced a new culinary program to launch in August 2020 that emphasises cuisine that is local and authentic to the regions Silverseas’ ships sail to.

Entitled ‘Sea of Land Taste’ or S.A.L.T., the program will launch alongside Silver Moon, a new all-suite vessel, and has been designed in collaboration with Adam Sachs, a multi award-winning journalist and former editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine. A three-time winner of the prestigious James Beard Journalism Award and the recipient of several travel writing awards, Sachs will use his knowledge of global cuisine to help craft guests’ culinary journeys in his role as director of S.A.L.T.

“My mission in this new role is simply an extension of the approach I’ve always taken as a food and travel writer: to apply an endless curiosity and adventurous appetite to deep-dive explorations of the ingredients, cuisine and rituals of the countries and communities we visit,” Sachs said of his new role. “There’s no better—or more enjoyable—way to engage and understand the world than through the flavours and stories of its food and wine culture and the people and personalities behind it. With our new initiative, the S.A.L.T. project, there will be no better place to explore it all than with Silversea.”

The S.A.L.T. program will be tailored according to the sailed region and will incorporate both ship-based and shoreside enrichments, including market trips, winery visits, dining experiences in regional restaurants and bars, food and wine tastings, special dinners with guest hosts, food lectures, cooking classes as well as demonstrations from local guest chefs and food experts.

A dedicated S.A.L.T. Lab will provide a space for guests to explore culinary cultures from around the world, while a S.A.L.T. restaurant will serve regional cuisine that will adapt according to the sailed destination.

 

www.silversea.com

Silversea’s Silver Muse Sails into Sydney

By Staff Writer

Luxury cruise line, Silversea Cruises’ iconic flagship, Silver Muse, arrived in Sydney on Sunday, 6th January for the first time.

The newest ship in Silversea’s fleet and widely regarded as one of the most luxurious boutique cruise ships in the world, Silver Muse’s sailing into Sydney Harbour on Sunday marked the first time in a decade that Silversea has brought one of its new vessels to Australia.

“Welcoming Silver Muse to Australia and New Zealand is very special and something we have been eagerly anticipating for some time now,” said Adam Armstrong, Managing Director – Australia and New Zealand, Silversea Cruises. “As the newest, most spacious and most luxurious ship to call Australia home this year, her deployment reflects our strong commitment to the local market and we are absolutely delighted that Silver Muse will return again next summer for an expanded season.”

Roberto Martinoli, Chief Executive, and Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea in Monaco, were also in attendance at Sydney Harbour to celebrate the arrival of Silver Muse.

Following her arrival in Darwin on 26th December 2018, guests aboard Silver Muse visited multiple Australian maiden ports of call down the east coast of Australia on the journey towards Sydney, including Cairns, Townsville, the Whitsunday Islands and Brisbane.

The 596-guest all-suite vessel is targeted at the world’s most discerning travellers, promising absolute levels of comfort, service and quality. On board, guests experience enhanced small-ship intimacy, spacious all suite accommodations, expansive outdoor spaces and the most comprehensive choice of dining options at sea with eight venues, including specialty choices such as Kaiseki and Indochine, plus 24-hour complimentary dining options throughout the ship. All suites also have butler service.

After a brief overnight stay in Sydney, Silver Muse departed the harbour city yesterday for a 14-night cruise to Tasmania and New Zealand, culminating in a maiden visit to Auckland on 19th January 2019. After offering a number of sailings between Australia and New Zealand, Silver Muse will depart for her 74-day Grand Asia Pacific Voyage from Sydney to Tokyo and then commence her maiden season of Alaska cruises. Silver Muse will return to Sydney in 2019/20 and stay for over four months (late November to end of March) – twice the length of the current season.

 

For more information on Silver Muse itineraries and bookings visit silversea.com

Fiji Likuliku Lagoon Resort

Into the Wild on Silversea’s Silver Explorer

Kelly Allen boards Silversea’s Silver Explorer for a voyage of discovery in a pristine marine environment

Fifty-five … no wait, 56!” Lunch doesn’t get any more exciting than this. I’m on the aft deck of Silversea’s Silver Explorer, the sun is shining, I’m enjoying a delicious lunch of steak and prawns, and I’ve just counted 56 humpback whales breaching, tails flapping, and generally having a great time.

Even more impressive, our group has spotted more than 600 marine animals over the past nine days – including whales, porpoises, dolphins and seals – on our memorable expedition voyage from Vancouver to San Francisco.

We are joined on this cruise by two marine experts, Anna and Lucy, from ORCA, one of the United Kingdom’s leading marine conservation charities. ORCA is working in partnership with Silversea to highlight and educate passengers on the amazing life that exists in oceans

around the world.

Our tireless spotters have been out on the deck from sunrise to sunset while at sea each day, carefully monitoring and keeping a tally, and then sharing their findings and knowledge with us through fascinating lectures.

This is the joy of an expedition cruise. No fancy ball gowns or dinner jackets, and no lounging around the pool. The dress code is comfortable all-weather gear by day and smart casual in the evening.

A Suite on board the Silver Explorer

Voted Best Ocean Cruise Line in Luxury Travel Magazine’s Gold List 2018, Silversea is renowned for its high-end luxury cruising, but after talking to many Silversea regulars on this sailing, I’ve discovered they much prefer the more casual and intimate ambience of an expedition cruise – more adventure, less formality and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

While the experience is the main draw of an expedition cruise, Silver Explorer has not forgotten how to spoil its guests with restaurant-quality dining, comfortable accommodations, and polished silver service.

Fresh from a refurbishment in 2017, Silver Explorer is an all-suite affair with room for just 144 fortunate guests and 118 welcoming, intuitive and efficient crew.

Although there are only two dining venues (plus complimentary room service), the culinary choices are sophisticated and delicious; aged Black Angus beef tartar, double clarified oxtail consommé, grilled lobster tail, and fresh strawberry mille-feuille for dessert. There is a wonderful selection of all-inclusive wines as well as chilled sundowner cocktails.

Silversea also includes its onshore excursions, which are often available twice a day when cruising short distances, and the first few days of our voyage are spent in the Puget Sound, hopping between the islands of the San Juan archipelago in Washington State.

We have some extraordinary sightings of bald eagles on Lopez Island and enjoy hiking through evergreen forests with local park rangers as our guides.

Friday Harbor on San Juan Island is a charming, historic and walkable fishing village with friendly locals, quirky bookshops and quaint ‘mom and pop’ cafes – and not a fast-food chain in sight.

Seals at Pier 39 in San Francisco

In Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, we opt for the three-hour kayak tour of beautiful Burrows Bay, where we observe bald eagles swooping down to snatch unsuspecting fish, curious porpoises alongside our craft, harbour seals, and even a coyote hunting by the shoreline.

Our guides, Dan and James, are passionate nature-lovers and happy to share their expertise, along with making sure we are comfortable and safe during the trip.

One of the highlights is our day spent hiking in iconic Mount Rainier National Park. Although it is a little over two hours’ drive from Olympia, where the ship is docked, we travel in comfortable coaches equipped with video screens that keep us entertained. We hike through old growth forest on our way to the Paradise viewing area where we are blessed with a stunning panorama – even if it doesn’t last long – of the snow-capped summit.

Our last stop in Washington is Port Angeles where we enjoy the breathtaking scenery at Lake Crescent before a visit to Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. After a 1.6-kilometre hike through dense forests to Sol Duc Falls, we heads back to the resort for a relaxing soak in hot-spring pools ranging from 37 to 40 degrees celsius.

Crossing into the state of Oregon, a region renowned for its craft beers, we stop in Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River. After sightseeing at picturesque Cannon Beach, we end the day with a beer tasting at the Astoria Brewing Company.

The day we explore Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument happens to be the 38th anniversary of its last eruption, the most deadly and destructive volcanic eruption in US history.

We learn how volcanos are monitored, watch rare footage of the actual explosion, and listen to fascinating stories from a park ranger who is working there that day. It’s a powerful reminder of nature’s strength.

For me, the best is saved for last: Eureka, California, home to iconic Redwood National Park. Welcoming townspeople greets us at the dock with live music, craft beer, cider, deep fried oysters, and handmade chocolate before we head out to see the giant redwoods.

"...I must admit to feeling a twinge of emotion as we approach these primordial trees, some standing more than 100 metres tall and up to 2000 years old..."

I must admit to feeling a twinge of emotion as we approach these primordial trees, some standing more than 100 metres tall and up to 2,000 years old. Unfortunately, due to extensive logging, 95 per cent of the old-growth redwoods have been cut down and now are mostly found only in protected parks.

Wandering around the Old Town of Eureka, with its Victorian-era heritage, we explore antique shops, pubs, cafés and California’s oldest zoo.

On our last morning, as we sail under the fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge, sipping coffee delivered on a silver tray by our butler, Aditya, I reflect on our nine-day journey.

From whales to volcanos to giant redwoods, we witness some of the Pacific Rim’s most incredible scenery. And thanks to the talented crew – including marine biologists, geologists, anthropologists and archaeologists – I learn so much and reignite a flame of desire to explore more of the world’s last great wilderness preserves.

Mount St Helens National Monument

Conservationists from ORCA will travel on board Silversea’s new Silver Muse from Tokyo to Seward, departing May 12, 2019, and from Seward to Vancouver, departing May 27, 2019.

For more information and fares on all Silversea cruises, contact 1300 306 872, visit silversea.com or see your cruise specialist travel agent.

Silversea Silver Explorer

The Changing Face of Expedition Cruising

By David McGonigal

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”

The words of 19th century travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson certainly have a romantic edge, but he was riding a donkey. When it comes to expedition cruising, the journey is as hopeful as it is inspiring, and arriving in wonderful places aboard remarkable ships is all part of the service.

Until 1966 expedition cruising didn’t really exist. In that year Lars-Eric Lindblad led the first tourist trip to Antarctica on an Argentinean naval vessel. In 1969 he launched his own vessel, the Lindblad Explorer, to explore the world’s wildest places. However, luxury on board wasn’t a vital part of the concept. The real luxury was that you were able to visit those remote parts of the world at all. While that’s still partly true, there’s a new era in expedition cruising that combines comfort and experience.

Expedition cruises visit many parts of the world including the Galapagos, the Amazon, Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Kimberley coast. But the core area remains the polar regions.

Until 1990 the number of tourists to Antarctica was tiny – a mere few hundred each year. Then the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet empire collapsed. The ice-strengthened ships of the Russian fleet found themselves underfunded and many were leased to take tourists (mainly from the United States but also Australia, the UK, Germany and Canada) to the poles, helping fund their scientifc programs for the rest of the year. It was the beginning of the polar travel boom.

Today, the second stage of expedition cruising has arrived. As many of the Russian expedition ships reached the end of their working lives, or came up against new clean-fuel requirements, they were retired. Meanwhile, travellers were demanding more comfort and expeditions with a butler service became a reality.

A popular destination of choice is the Galapagos Islands (and rightfully so), yet many of the regular expedition cruise operators don’t travel there. That’s because the Ecuadorean authorities restrict Galapagos cruising to local vessels. Standards vary widely, so if you’re looking for luxury, go with one of the established international cruise lines with vessels based in the region.

Quark Expeditions

One vessel still reflects the luxury of simply being able to do it: Quark’s nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory, can take you through the ice to the North Pole. The ship is comfortable, not luxurious, and the 14-day voyage costs from US$28,713 (about A$39,400) for a twin cabin up to US$43,154 (about A$59,200) for an Arktika Suite.

quarkexpeditions.com/au

 

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Among the most highly rated cruise ships in the world, according to the authoritative Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships guide, is the Hanseatic, one of the two expedition ships of Hapag-Lloyd. The line’s older expedition ship, the Bremen, is rated four-stars. Hapag-Lloyd is a distinctly German operation, from the quality of its finish to the attention to detail. Also distinctly German is the organisation of local cruisers, meaning the ships are often booked out more than a year in advance. Hapag-Lloyd expedition ships operate mainly in the Arctic and Antarctic with some cruises in more temperate zones.

hl-cruises.com

 

National Geographic Expeditions

Many Australians discovered expedition cruising aboard Orion, our own luxury cruise ship, which spent much of its operation around Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast and into exotic Papua New Guinea. The vessel is now the National Geographic Orion and forms part of the Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic partnership.

Others in the National Geographic fleet are National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion. Together, this fleet covers the polar regions, Patagonia, South America, Europe, the UK, Alaska, Central America and beyond. National Geographic Endeavour II and National Geographic Islander operate in the Galapagos Islands. Their most recently launched vessel, National Geographic Quest, tours Alaska and Costa Rica. National Geographic Venture is currently being constructed and set to launch October of 2018. These vessels all boast the unique selling point of having National Geographic photographers on board, which means plenty of expert advice.

au.expeditions.com

 

True North Adventure Cruises

Australia’s Kimberley does have an excellent vessel with a wealth of experience in these waters. True North, the only vessel in the True North Adventure Cruises (formerly North Star Cruises) fleet, is best known for carrying its own helicopter on board, opening up even more exploring options. Besides the Kimberley, True North also offers regular voyages in West Papua and Papua New Guinea as well as occasional cruises around the Australian coastline.

truenorth.com.au

 

Silversea

Silversea has four expedition vessels. The Silver Cloud was extensively refurbished and ice-strengthened last year, and in November will head to destinations such as Chile, Antarctica, and Argentina, carrying up to 260 passengers. As her name implies, the 100-passenger Silver Galapagos offers a series of seven-day voyages around the Galapagos Islands. The ice-strengthened 130-passenger Silver Explorer is a familiar sight in Antarctica and the Arctic, but turns up in Easter Island and Tahiti too. The 120-passenger Silver Discoverer includes the Kimberley in its largely Pacific schedule that extends from Kamchatka to Guadalcanal.

silversea.com

 

Ponant

French line Ponant is certainly visible in the Australian market these days. Indeed, Ponant can be found everywhere from the poles to Borneo and the Amazon. With four expedition ships, each accommodating about 260 guests, and characteristic French air, Ponant is rapidly gaining a strong Australian following. Ponant ships can be found in Alaska and Russia as well as the Arctic, Antarctica, throughout the Pacific and in Latin America.

au.ponant.com

Q&A with Silversea Managing Director Amber Wilson

What is the Silversea difference?
Firstly, we are proud that Silversea is recognised as the gold standard in luxury cruising both for its cosmopolitan lifestyle on-board and the global portfolio of itineraries to all seven continents. Silversea is one of the most all-inclusive cruise lines and our guests enjoy the ease, convenience and value of our comprehensive cruise fares.
There are many factors that set us apart from our competitors, but it all starts with the warm hospitality and highly personalised service that we provide. With a staff-to-guest ratio that is virtually one to one, from the moment our guests step aboard, they find an uncompromising commitment to service excellence. As a brand our mission is to unlock new territories and invite our guests to go deeper in their travel experience. Silversea guests are interested in more than just visiting destinations. They want to be able to take the time to fully immerse themselves in local cultures. Our bespoke shore programmes offer up-close, highly immersive experiences in the destinations our guests visit, including after-hours and private access to select iconic sites.

What are some of the most memorable on-board experiences guests can have?
All guests are pampered on-board a Silversea vessel, which is the only cruise line in the world to provide a butler in every suite, in every category. From toiletries and personalised stationery, to a bar stocked with the guests’ favourite wines and spirits, everyone receives the finest comforts in luxury cruise accommodation. On select voyages, Silversea guests can experience a unique cooking school concept, L’École des Chefs by Relais & Châteaux; a broad curriculum of tantalising culinary events has been designed exclusively for Silversea. These cruises include cooking demonstrations, intimate cooking and lunching events, on-board cooking classes, cooking competitions and knife skills workshops.
Silversea has teamed up with The Peninsula Hotels, a range of award-winning luxury hotels, to create The Asian Collection. This hand-picked selection of Asian voyages is enhanced by a unique programme created in partnership with the prestigious hotel group. Aboard and on shore, a team of historians, local specialists and renowned Peninsula Chefs will share their expertise in a number of exclusive events to enrich our client’s experience in Asia.

Can you tell us about the health and wellness offerings on-board some of Silversea’s ships?
Silversea Expeditions offers a series of Wellness Expedition voyages specifically designed to improve our guests’ well-being. In addition to travelling to some of the most remote and unexplored places in the world, we provide a complete on-board programme of yoga and stretching classes, spa treatments and healthy daily menus supported by our Wellness partner, Technogym.
On-board Silver Discoverer we combine remarkable expedition voyages with the thrill of exploration and a holistic approach to rejuvenation. By day, guests will journey to destinations off the beaten path in South East Asia, encountering magnificent landscapes, fascinating new cultures and unique wildlife. Once back aboard Silver Discoverer, the ship becomes a sanctuary for mind, body and spirit with programmes including water aerobics, pilates, stretch and tone, and gym sessions.
Silversea also offers a holistic approach to wellness integrating bespoke fitness and spa programmes combined with lectures and nutritional plans personalised for guests. On-board, health and fitness experts, a yoga instructor, and a nutrition consultant, provide an experience like no other.

With the increasing popularity of luxury cruising what is Silversea doing to innovate in the industry?
It is a new era for Silversea, we face the most ambitious fleet and product portfolio expansion in the history of the company. In 2018 alone Silversea has added 178 ports of call to its routes, often ports which are not accessible by larger cruise lines. Silversea is committed to innovation. As part of our fleet-wide refurbishment programme, worth 170 million dollars, we have made several announcements recently including:
Silver Cloud, the ship which launched the Silversea fleet in 1994 is currently in dry dock, undergoing an extensive refurbishment to be transformed into an expedition ship, complete with a strengthened ice-class hull for navigating polar waters. Silver Cloud will make her inaugural voyage in November 2017 with an exciting itinerary for 2018.
Silver Wind and Silver Whisper will both undergo a refurbishment in December 2017. The two ships will take inspiration from Silver Muse, Silversea’s most recent flagship vessel launched in April 2017.
– Silversea has just announced plans for its first ever ship lengthening, transforming Silver Spirt in early 2018 at the Palermo shipyard of Fincantieri in Italy. Silver Spirit’s inaugural sailing is scheduled for 6 May 2018 from Rome to Barcelona.
– A brand new ship, Silver Moon has just been announced for 2020, the sister ship to Silver Muse, which was delivered in April 2017. The new build will expand Silversea’s fleet to 10 ships and will significantly raise the bar in the ultra-luxury segment with a wealth of enhancements to the on-board experience, while satisfying the uncompromising requirements for comfort, service, and quality of the world’s most discerning travellers.
– In December 2018, Silver Muse will arrive into Australian waters for the very first time via a 16-day voyage from Bali to Sydney, arriving into Cairns on 30 December, and then Sydney on 6 January.

You’ve recently teamed up with famous travel photographer Steve McCurry, can you share what this partnership will entail?
Silversea’s partnership with Steve McCurry is a global creative initiative that will chronicle Silversea’s extensive fleet and portfolio expansion designed to take guests to some of the world’s most intriguing and remote destinations. Steve McCurry has the ability to capture the authentic beauty of the world, and express it with passion and clarity through his artistry and storytelling. The partnership aligns perfectly with Silversea’s immersive experiences, intimate vessels and unforgettable destinations. There is a regular schedule of destinations that will be unlocked by Steve, allowing our guests to view his beautiful photography from the variety of destinations he travels to with Silversea. We are thrilled to be capturing the emotion and inspiration of global travel through Steve’s lens.

Which destinations has Silversea recently added to their itineraries. Are there plans for more additions?

Silversea is constantly adding new destinations to our itineraries offering guests a variety of choices and in 2018 alone has added 178 ports of call to its routes, often ports which are not accessible by larger cruise lines. Northern Europe and the Mediterranean are some of our most popular voyages, and for 2018 we have added 73 new ports to these destinations alone.
Silver Spirit will return to Northern Europe and the Baltic for the first time since 2009, taking in the new ports of Borgholm (Sweden), Kemi (Finland), and Sundsvall (Sweden) for the very first time. In the Mediterranean, on-board Silver Wind, guests will have the opportunity to discover brand new destinations for Silversea. Calling into the ports of Almeria (Spain) and La Savina (Spain) for the very first time. Silversea will revisit Antibes (France), for the first time since 2013.

When putting together a new itinerary how do you decide on which ports you will dock in?
The small size of our ships means that we can sail into ports not accessible by other cruise lines, often adding unique and desirable destinations to our itineraries which are not accessible by any other means. Our intimate, ultra-luxury ships can sail up narrow waterways into the heart of a city, or tie up right at the pier while others must anchor off shore.
Our destination experts are continually scouting for new destinations that are suitable for our clientele to ensure we continue to create new travel experiences for our guests.
Our expedition itineraries are personally researched in advance and the programmes are curated by our team of experts to continue to unlock new territories such as the inaugural visit to Bangladesh in 2017.

How do you ensure that your expedition cruises deliver on the luxuries guests expect from the Silversea brand?
At Silversea Expeditions we are committed to providing the highest levels of comfort and service, whilst visiting incredible destinations as part of our unique itineraries. When travelling on-board a Silversea Expedition ship, guests can enjoy an all-inclusive lifestyle and the highest crew to guest ratio in expedition cruising.
On-board, guests can also experience sumptuous cuisine, the personalised service of a butler, and a generous selection of shipboard amenities including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, and at least one free hour of Wi-Fi per guest, per day.
In true Silversea Expeditions style, guests will be enriched by an on-board programme of destination lectures, photo presentations and daily recaps. Exploratory Zodiac® excursions and interactive walks ashore, led by experts in their field — marine biologists, ornithologists, geologists, botanists, historians, and anthropologists, are complimentary.
Silversea believes that, although the cruise line offers the highest levels of elegance and comfort at sea, it’s the unique and compelling experiences and vast number of ports visited that really deliver ‘ultimate luxury’ at sea. With itineraries spanning across the globe, our expedition cruises transport guests to exciting and breathtaking destinations including the Arctic, Russian Far East, Galapagos Islands, South America and Australia and New Zealand.

What are some of the new expedition cruise itineraries on the horizon?
We have just announced our 2019 itineraries, which feature a rich diversity of itineraries, spanning the globe from Alaska and the South Pacific to the Galapagos Islands and the Russian Far East. A particular highlight is a 25-day expedition aboard Silver Explorer, departing on 10 August from Nome, Alaska, on one of the world’s great journeys, exploring the wonders of the Russian Arctic. Sailing to Tromso, Norway, just 130 intrepid guests will enjoy the rare privilege of exploring a legendary region of remarkable seascapes, intriguing wildlife and fascinating cultures.
During Silversea’s first crossing of the Northeast passage, guests will retrace the voyages of famous explorers like Nordenskiöld, Nansen, DeLong and Amundsen and take in highlights such as the protected nature area and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wrangel Island (Chukotka), the uninhabited Medvezhyi Islands and Hooker Island, Franz Josef Land, (Russia).

What do you identify as the emerging trends in expedition cruising?
As the number of cruise passengers continues to rise, so too does the demand for new and interesting itineraries. Travellers are increasingly looking to experience something truly unique and to fully immerse themselves in each destinations they visit, going deeper on land. As seasoned luxury travellers, Silversea guests want to discover the least accessible corners of our planet and we actively seek out experiential, small group excursions that offer up-close, highly immersive and authentic experiences to excite our intrepid travellers.
Drawing on Silversea’s own exceptional itinerary expertise and global knowledge, we recently announced the 2018 Couture Collection, an industry-first exclusive series of ocean and land adventures, which are custom-designed for the world’s most discerning travellers. With prices ranging from A$18,500 to A$105,000 per guest the Couture Collection is an inspired portfolio of nine pre- and post-cruise luxury land programmes of five to 11 days, offering authentic and immersive travel experiences in the most remote and untouched regions on Earth. Silversea’s experienced architects have custom-crafted each element of the 2018 Couture Collection down to the smallest detail. The pre- and post-cruise Couture Collection includes exclusive experiences, ranging from a private helicopter service in Mongolia to a vintage rail journey in India, and Gulfstream jet charters in and out of Antarctica.

Amber Wilson

Silversea Launches New Couture Collection for 2018

Guests travelling aboard Silversea cruises worldwide can now add on a series of land programs, pre- and post-cruise, ranging in length from five to 11 days. The nine experiences available in 2018 include jet charters to and from Antarctica, hot air balloon rides across the Namibian desert and vintage rail journey rides in India. Limited to small groups only, the programs include most meals, beverages and exclusive culinary events. Accommodation is provided at luxury boutique hotels, lodges and tented camps. 

Rates range from A$18,000 per person (for a five-day journey through Tibet) to to A$105,000 per person for the full 11-day Antarctica experience, which includes a visit to the South Pole. 

For more information visit silverseacouture.com.

The Changing Face of Expedition Cruising

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”

The words of 19th century travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson certainly have a romantic edge, but he was riding a donkey. When it comes to expedition cruising, the journey is as hopeful as it is inspiring, and arriving in wonderful places aboard remarkable ships is all part of the service.

Until 1966 expedition cruising didn’t really exist. In that year Lars-Eric Lindblad led the first tourist trip to Antarctica on an Argentinean naval vessel. In 1969 he launched his own vessel, the Lindblad Explorer, to explore the world’s wildest places. However, luxury on board wasn’t a vital part of the concept. The real luxury was that you were able to visit those remote parts of the world at all. While that’s still partly true, there’s a new era in expedition cruising that combines comfort and experience.

Expedition cruises visit many parts of the world including the Galapagos, the Amazon, Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Kimberley coast. But the core area remains the polar regions.

Until 1990 the number of tourists to Antarctica was tiny – a mere few hundred each year.  Thn the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet empire collapsed. The ice-strengthened ships of the Russian fleet found themselves underfunded and many were leased to take tourists (mainly from the United States but also Australia, the UK, Germany and Canada) to the poles, helping fund their scientifc programs for the rest of the year. It was the beginning of the polar travel boom.

Today the second stage of expedition cruising has arrived. As many of the Russian expedition ships reached the end of their working lives, or came up against new clean-fuel requirements, they were retired. Meanwhile, travellers were demanding more comfort and expeditions with a butler service became a reality.

A popular destination of choice is the Galapagos Islands (and rightfully so), yet many of the regular expedition cruise operators don’t travel there. That’s because the Ecuadorean authorities restrict Galapagos cruising to local vessels. Standards vary widely, so if you’re looking for luxury, go with one of the established international cruise lines with vessels based in the region.

 

The expedition crew

Quark Expeditions

One vessel still reflects the luxury of simply being able to do it: Quark’s nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory, can take you through the ice to the North Pole. The ship is comfortable, not luxurious, and the 14-day voyage costs from US$40,000 (about A$53,333) for a twin cabin up to US$60,000 (about A$80,000) for a suite. quarkexpeditions.com/au

 

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Among the most highly rated cruise ships in the world, according to the authoritative Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships guide, is the Hanseatic, one of the two expedition ships of Hapag-Lloyd. The line’s older expedition ship, the Bremen, is rated four-stars. Hapag-Lloyd is a distinctly German operation, from the quality of its finish to the attention to detail. Also distinctly German is the organisation of local cruisers, meaning the ships are often booked out more than a year in advance. Hapag-Lloyd expedition ships operate mainly in the Arctic and Antarctic with some cruises in more temperate zones. hl-cruises.com

 

National Geographic Expeditions

Many Australians discovered expedition cruising aboard Orion, our own luxury cruise ship, which spent much of its operation around Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast and into exotic Papua New Guinea. The vessel is now the National Geographic Orion and forms part of the Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic partnership.

Others in the National Geographic fleet are National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion. Together, this fleet covers the polar regions, Patagonia, South America, Europe, the UK, Alaska, Central America and beyond. National Geographic Endeavour II and National Geographic Islander operate in the Galapagos Islands. Two new vessels are being constructed: National Geographic Quest (expected to be in Alaska by mid-year) and National Geographic Venture (due to launch in 2018). These vessels all boast the unique selling point of having National Geographic photographers on board, which means plenty of expert advice. au.expeditions.com

 

True North Adventure Cruises

Australia’s Kimberley does have an excellent vessel with a wealth of experience in these waters. True North, the only vessel in the True North Adventure Cruises (formerly North Star Cruises) fleet, is best known for carrying its own helicopter on board, opening up even more exploring options. Besides the Kimberley, True North also offers regular voyages in West Papua and Papua New Guinea as well as occasional cruises around the Australian coastline. truenorth.com.au

 

Silversea

Silversea has three expedition vessels and a fourth on the way. As her name implies, the 100-passenger Silver Galapagos offers a series of seven-day voyages around the Galapagos Islands. The ice-strengthened 130-passenger Silver Explorer is a familiar sight in Antarctica and the Arctic, but turns up in Easter Island and Tahiti too. The 120-passenger Silver Discoverer includes the Kimberley in its largely Pacific schedule that extends from Kamchatka to Guadalcanal. In November the extensively refurbished and ice-strengthened Silver Cloud will be heading to Antarctica for the season with just 200 passengers (though it will carry up to 260 else- where). Then, after some voyages in Europe, she will be in Spitsbergen before returning to Antarctica. silversea.com

 

Ponant

French line Ponant is certainly visible in the Australian market these days. Indeed, Ponant can be found everywhere from the poles to Borneo and the Amazon. With four expedition ships, each accommodating about 260 guests, and characteristic French air, Ponant is rapidly gaining a strong Australian following. Ponant ships can be found in Alaska and Russia as well as the Arctic, Antarctica, throughout the Pacific and in Latin America. au.ponant.com

Penguin sighting

On the horizon

The trend in expedition cruising has shifted from providing acceptable accommodation in exotic places to excellent service everywhere. Stand by for what’s next.

At least 12 new expedition ship builds have been ordered in the past 12 months. Two of these have been for Hapag-Lloyd, three for Crystal Cruises and four for Ponant. Last year, Crystal Cruises announced it will launch “the world’s first purpose-built polar class megayacht” to sail in August 2018. This will be the 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor and it will be as functional as it is beautiful.

The Crystal Endeavor will offer extreme adventures by air, sea and land with a complete range of toys not commonly found on today’s megayachts, including two helicopters and two landing pads for flightseeing expeditions, as well as two seven-person submarines, eight electric amphibious zodiacs, jet skis, wave runners, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkelling and scuba equipment, recompression chamber, dive support tender and a multi-person ATV. The Crystal Endeavor will also be equipped with SEABOBs – the world’s most technically advanced and powerful underwater scooter – that allow you to move gracefully underwater. crystalcruises.com

While Scenic is mainly known for luxury river cruises, it will be launching the very futuristic Scenic Eclipse in August 2018. It will operate at both ends of the earth as well as the Mediterranean and the Americas. A retractable glass roof and helicopters will ensure the 228 guests (restricted to 200 in Antarctica) make the most of their surrounds. scenic.com.au

 

Silversea Announces Launch of Silver Muse

Luxury cruise line Silversea is set to debut their new flagship luxury small-ship, Silver Muse in April. The ninth and smallest ship in the Silversea fleet will host just 596 guests meaning a higher space-to-guest ratio than ever before. The ship boasts the fleets’ highest number of large all-suite accommodation options, almost all with a private veranda. Features include a personal butler service, Pratesi bed linen, Bvlgari bath amenities and a walk-in wardrobe. Guests can choose from eight dining destinations including seafood and grill, Asian fusion, French and Italian cuisine.

On board facilities include a pool deck, fitness centre and spa to a Connoisseur’s Corner stocked with Cognac and evening shows in L’Opera theatre. Departing from Monte Carlo, Silver Muse’s inaugural season will be spent cruising the Mediterranean, its combined itineraries visiting a total off 52 UNESCO Wold Heritage sites.

silversea.com