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Cruise Ship Information

Silver Explorer is an expedition ship currently operated by ultra-luxury cruise line, Silversea Cruises. Her small size makes her perfect for exploring regions including: Norway, South Pacific and Antarctica.

Atmosphere on board

Silver Explorer, a purpose-rebuilt expedition ship, makes it possible for the first time to say "polar bears and penguins" in the same sentence as "cuisine by Relais & Chateaux, cigar and cognac lounge, and 675-square-foot suites."

Built in 1989 as the World Discoverer II, Silver Explorer was acquired by Silversea from now-defunct Society Expeditions in 2007, and given a multi-million-dollar refit at the Fincantieri Shipyards in Trieste, Italy. An ice-class vessel with the highest rating, Lloyds Register 1A, Silver Explorer goes beyond what most people would consider an expedition ship. It is more like an exclusive floating country club with 132 passengers (tops), who occupy the largest accommodations on average of any expedition ship and who are regularly spoiled with touches like chocolate-covered strawberries and chilled Champagne served from a "Zodiac bar" during polar bears-sighting excursions. (The ship is equipped with eight Zodiacs.)

Silver Explorer could be said to have two "faces." The first is a daytime expeditionary one, when passengers go on Zodiac excursions, walks and hikes; participate in whale- and other wildlife-watching; take in lectures about the destination, its flora, fauna, ecology and geology; and attend briefings and previews of the next day's program.

The other "face" is the evening one, when passengers stow away the complimentary parkas and backpacks (provided for them to keep), boots and other gear, and don chic leisure wear. The ambience becomes that of a luxury yacht, where the staff knows your name and welcomes you to a musical cocktail hour with tapas in one of the lounges, and you do not have to sign for beverages at the bars and restaurant.

While the yacht-like "face" includes cruise ship amenities such as an observation lounge, spa facilities and the Connoisseur's Corner cigar and cognac lounge, voyages on Silver Explorer are definitely expeditions -- not cruises. You will not find karaoke and deck games here, but you will come away with detailed knowledge of the region you are visiting.

On an expedition, flexibility is the name of the game, particularly in the polar regions, as ice and other weather conditions may affect the course of the itinerary. Since schedules can vary from announced times, it is important to be ready to get into Zodiacs on short notice when wildlife sightings and weather conditions dictate changes. In the Arctic, when the first polar bear is sighted an announcement is made -- even if it is 2:30 a.m. People throw their parkas over their nightclothes and come out on deck to the viewing areas located aft on Decks 5, 6 and 7 and forward on Deck 5.

Silversea sends out packing recommendations so passengers can prepare for their expeditions in the polar regions. The list includes such items as waterproof pants, boots and gloves, and thermal underwear. Passengers may encounter chilly situations like being sprayed with water during Zodiac rides and having to make wet landings (Zodiac landings in shallow water). Heed the recommendations to the letter to get the most out of your expedition. Each participant is provided with a complimentary parka and backpack, and there is a selection of boots to borrow onboard, but be advised that they may not have all sizes.

Family with Kids/Teens

While the Silver Explorer permits children onboard, there aren't any specific facilities or programs for children or teenagers.

Past Passenger Programs

Silver Explorer offers an Internet cafe, or you can use your own laptop or tablet to access the Internet via shipwide Wi-Fi. In either case, you must buy a package of minutes. You can get 100 minutes of online access for $45, 250 minutes for $85 and 1,000 minutes for $250. There's also a well-stocked library filled with DVD's, books and newspapers.

The Card Room on Deck 6 provides a great meeting place for bridge players. The shore concierge desk and passenger relations manager are also based on Deck 6.

The duty-free boutique on Deck 5 offers a nice selection of perfumes, as well as designer handbags, sportswear, costume jewelry and incidentals like memory cards for cameras and suntan lotion. For those in the market for real baubles, the H. Stern boutique offers a mesmerizing selection of diamonds and gold, including many modern pieces.

There's a self-serve Laundromat on Deck 4. The medical center on Deck 3 has regular hours, plus an onboard doctor is available at any time for emergencies.

Fitness And Spa

Silver Explorer has a sizable saltwater pool (large enough for laps) and two hot tubs on Deck 8. The deck space is more than ample for sun-lovers. On sea days, there's usually a rousing game or two of pool volleyball. Just above the pool deck on Deck 9 are a walking track and a small gym housing elliptical machines, treadmills, free weights and yoga mats. The gym provides terrific views. A variety of fitness classes is offered daily. You can also try your hand at paddle tennis, or practice putting at the onboard green.

For those who prefer pampering to pumping iron, the Spa at Silversea is a sight for sore muscles. There are a full hair salon, including nail services, and nine treatment rooms to fulfill your every rejuvenating fantasy. You may want to try a warm stone or Swedish massage, reflexology or an anti-aging facial. Each changing room has a sauna and steam bath.

Food & Dining

Dining on Silver Explorer is heavenly, with numerous options depending on your mood and cravings. The high-quality food is one reason cruisers choose Silversea over other lines.

The Restaurant is the main dining venue on Silver Explorer. Friendly, attentive waiters serve delicious multi-course gourmet meals with a Mediterranean influence. There's a standard menu that's always available, along with a lengthy list of daily chef's specials. All three meals are served a la carte. Dinner reservations aren't required; passengers may simply arrive any time between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

La Terrazza is a smaller a la carte restaurant that features scrumptious Italian cuisine in the tradition of Slow Food. The dinner menu of delights -- Pecorino pie, handmade tagliatelle, veal, tiramisu and panna cotta -- changes every three days. Each of the four courses is paired with the perfect Italian wine. This specialty restaurant (no extra cost) is a must for at least one night, but many cruisers find themselves there several times, given the intimate, quality dining experience. Reservations are required, as the capacity is limited to 50 people. La Terrazza also serves buffet breakfast and buffet lunch. You don't need reservations for these meals, and there is never a wait for a table since people come at different times.

The experience is even more exclusive at La Champagne, the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea. Only 20 diners per night can enjoy an exquisite six-course meal. There's a $30 surcharge per person, plus the cost of any upgrades in the wine selections. You must reserve ahead of time.

In 2012, the Pool Bar and Grill was expanded and transformed into The Grill, which offers passengers the chance to cook their own steak and seafood on heated volcanic rocks at their table. Some passengers enjoy the novel experience of cooking their own meal, while others would prefer to leave the work to Silversea's excellent chefs.

Room service is not to be missed. Many of the main courses served in the restaurant are also featured on the room service menu, so choosing to spend the night in your cabin doesn't mean you need to forego the gourmet experience. Dinners are served in courses -- the waiters ask when you'd like them to come back -- and they're divine on starry, balmy nights in the privacy of your balcony. For other times of the day, or a midnight snack, the usual array of burgers, salads and appetizers is available. Room service breakfast is also a standout, and it's a great alternative when you want to spend a little more time in your cabin getting ready for a port call.


The gamut of usual shipboard activities is offered during the day, from lectures and language lessons to dance classes and bridge. The most popular pastime is the daily trivia competition.

Evening entertainment features "The Artists of Silversea," a troupe of three female and three male singers/entertainers who perform everything from Beatles hits to opera. The quality of the entertainers is fairly high for a ship of this size, and the cruise director also performs along with the group. The multi-tiered Venetian Lounge provides a pleasant setting for these evening shows or movies with unobstructed views.

The most popular spot is The Bar, a bustling art deco saloon, where folks meet and mingle easily before and after dinner. The barkeep will call you by name and remember what you drink after one visit. On many evenings, the Silver Explorer Quartet performs there; it's a great place to dance.

The pretty, well-designed and user-friendly Panorama Lounge is a great place for just sipping drinks, listening to music or simply sitting and watching the sea go by. At night, a pianist plays and sings there.

There's also a tiny casino that gets good table action, but not too much slot play.

The highlights of Silver Explorer's shore excursions are the knowledgeable guides the cruise line contracts. Excursions run the gamut from half-day city orientations to cooking classes and winery outings. A Silver Explorer staff member accompanies every shore excursion to make sure everything is running smoothly.

The shore concierge conducts briefings on ports a day or two before docking, going over the excursions provided by the line and how passengers can tour on their own. At each port, a local expert comes aboard just after docking and can provide maps, restaurant recommendations and information on taxis.

Fellow Passengers

Silverseas' generally 40-and-older passengers are well-traveled and sophisticated. The ships attract an international clientele, with the majority being American and European


Included in your fare, though additional services provided by a butler or concierge may deserve extra consideration at your discretion.

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