The Cruise Line Managing Director, Jos Dewing, travelled to Singapore for the christening of Silversea’s latest addition to the fleet, the 5,218-tonne Silver Discoverer.
In April, 2014, Silver Discoverer, the third expedition ship from ultra-luxury pioneer Silversea Cruises will set sail on its maiden voyage to Western Australia and the Northern Territory. I’m going to try and avoid the marketing speak and the classical superlatives you would expect to find associated with the launch of a new ‘luxury Expedition’ ship here and instead focus on the passionate feedback and insight given to me by the people that actually plan and lead these cruises, the expedition team, headed by Director of Expedition Cruising for the line, Conrad Combink.
“Our passengers are not tourists, they are travellers” said Conrad as he outlined the expedition programme to those of us fortunate enough to have been invited to the christening in Singapore. His presentation, which was held in the Discoverer Lounge on-board the ship was passionate and honest and did more service to the product than is possible in any travel brochure.
Silversea Expeditions brings the signature luxury hotel experience that guests of this iconic line have enjoyed since the early nineties to the ‘new’ demands of the modern traveller. Whereas the cruise industry by its very focus on larger ships has succeeded in making the world a much smaller place in recent years, Silver Discoverer alongside her intrepid sisters are now unlocking new destinations for travel by sea and re-establishing the fact that the world is a very big and very diverse place. It’s a very hard task for a traditional cruise line’s planning department to find new destinations for its loyal passengers to visit, Silversea Expeditions will visit 167 ‘new’ destinations next year alone!
As a ship and hotel experience, I fell in love with Silver Discoverer. My suite was exceptionally well equipped, the whole ship having just benefited from a $6million refurbishment. Bvlgari toiletries, rain shower, well stocked mini-bar, flat screen TV and on-demand film service as standard, with some suites also featuring private teak verandas. The buffet lunch was exceptional, an extraordinary selection of seafood (mainly crab and lobster) and beautifully prepared hot dishes. And the evening meal was without doubt the best I have had at sea. Six courses including a sumptuous pasta made with sliced truffle and caviar and a beautifully cooked Maine lobster tail and mash. Desert was served outside by the pool grill and accompanied by locally inspired cocktails, expertly shaken of course. As you would expect with Silversea, nothing was too much trouble, nothing was missed, nothing compares…
During the day I spoke to Captain Luksa Plecas, Master of Silver Discoverer who was clearly extremely proud of the ship and spoke with great passion about the forthcoming inaugural programme. I was also fortunate enough to speak to Expedition Leader Mick Fogg (No relation to Phileas but better travelled) who will be pivotal in delivering the Kimberley programme. Kimberley as a region is largely inaccessible and extremely remote but offers some of the most breath-taking landscapes and history of anywhere on the planet. Mick originally qualified as a Marine Biologist and clearly has an impressive blend of academic knowledge, practical experience and pure passion for everything the Kimberley has to offer. He also provided great insight into what a Silver Discoverer guest can expect from a typical day in the Kimberley. There will be 18 Mile zodiac tours through croc invested wetlands, inclusive flights over Bungle Bungle, nature walks and hikes, bird watching and the exploration of local art. But the famous Silversea hotel staff will never be far behind, the zodiacs have comfortable, even reclining, seats and if you don’t make it to shore on a given day, you can watch the de-brief and lecture in the privacy of your own suite on the IPad provided. They really have got this whole approach to travel covered.
After the Kimberley Silver Discoverer continues to the Russian Far East and this is another destination that deserves some narrative. Conrad was hugely passionate and excited about the place but I had never really heard of it. If you travel by sea north of Japan following the coast of Eastern Asia you come to the Sea of Okhotsk, penned by marketing as a “Land of Fire & Ice”, described by Conrad as the most diverse travel experience imaginable. This is confidently classed by the experts that have created these itineraries as ‘true expedition’. Meeting the indigenous people in their remote villages, dining on Walrus (optional) on black lava beaches, following in the wake of Vitus Bering and coming face to face with the Kamchatka Brown Bear. The bird and wildlife watching, nature walks and hikes and natural scenery and culture on offer here, combined with the meticulous planning, deliver an experience that truly defines the very notion of expedition and the true Raison d’être of Silver Discoverer.
But let’s not forget that you are on holiday too. Expect to visit some of the most inaccessible, diverse and memorable places on the planet, expect to wow your friends and family with extraordinary photos and experiences to share on your return, but don’t be surprised too if you tender to a remote and uninhabited desert island in the South Pacific and enjoy a beach barbeque expertly laid on by the Silversea Hotel team in signature style. You could snorkel, scuba, explore on one of the ships glass bottom boats or simply put your feet up, enjoy a glass of chilled champagne and gaze out upon unspoilt cobalt seas. This is Silversea, the choice is yours.
One of my favourite quotes of all time comes from Christopher McCandless, “The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
I can’t think of a better way to summarise the Silversea Expeditions‘ offering and being able to get there is signature style and comfort, that can’t be a bad thing either. And if I were in their marketing department my new tagline would be simple. “Silversea Expeditions: Making the world a larger place!”
Silver Discoverer itineraries 2014 / 2015
Silver Discoverer also visits New Zealand & the Sub-Antarctic, Micronesia, Melanesia & Polynesia and Southeast Asia in 2014/15 and is already developing another ground-breaking programme for 2016.
Silver Discoverer accommodates 120 guests in 62 ocean-view suites and availability remain for her inaugural 2014 programme from £6650pp inclusive of shore excursions.
There are also some exceptional opportunities still remaining in 2014 to experience this new ship and her programme, with some options listed below.
The Russian Far East: 14th June 2014 (18 days) – Otaru roundtrip, fares from £9450pp Click here
The Russian Far East: 2nd July 2014 (18 days) – Otaru to Seward, fares from £9450pp Click here
The Russian Far East: 31st July 2014 (14 days) – Nome roundtrip, fares from £7350pp Click here
The Russian Far East: 14th August 2014 (17 days) – Nome to Otaru, fares from £8950pp Click here
Australasia: 3rd November 2014 (18 days) – Cairns to Auckland, fares from £8550pp Click here
New Zealand: 22nd November 2014 (14 days) – Auckland to Dunedin, fares from £6650pp Click here
New Zealand: 6th December 2014 (16 days) – Dunedin roundtrip, fares from £7550pp Click here
New Zealand: 22nd December 2014 (16 days) – Dunedin roundtrip, fares from £9650pp Click here