The Cruise Line’s Managing Director Robin Maclear recently returned from celebrating 10 years of Silversea Expeditions on Silver Cloud…
I recently spent two days aboard Silversea Expeditions’ newly-renovated Silver Cloud. The occasion, which was attended by many old friends and clients, was to mark Silversea’s 10 year anniversary as the pioneers of luxury expedition cruising.
We cruised from London’s Tower Pier bound for Dublin, exactly ten years after the first Silversea Expeditions ship, Prince Albert II (renamed Silversea Explorer in 2011) set off on her first voyage to Svalbard. During our time onboard, we had ample time to share stories and bask in the glory of one of modern cruising greatest success stories.
The launch of Silversea Expeditions in 2008 was met with scepticism from several quarters, many of whom believed adventure-style cruising to be the preserve of rugged research vessels and gnarled sea dogs. However, Silversea’s Chairman, Manfredi Lefebvre, had a vision; one which would see Silversea eventually crowned as the market leader for expedition voyages aboard all-inclusive, luxury small ships.
Fast forward to the present day and few could argue with the realisation of Lefebvre’s ambition. Silversea now boast four highly-acclaimed ships and operate year round in destinations as far flung as Antarctica, the Russian Far East and, aboard Silver Discoverer, the Western Coast of Australia. One only has to look at the number of other luxury cruise lines now expanding into the adventure cruise market to ascertain who’s leading and who’s following.
From a personal perspective, I find little attraction in the new glitzy yachts with helicopter pads and submersibles. I am much more enamoured with storied vessels that exude grace and charm – and Silver Cloud has both in abundance. Now resplendent with Silversea Expeditions’ customary dark blue, ice-breaking hull, Silver Cloud could be considered the best advertisement for those longing for six-star adventures on the high seas.
The decor onboard is fantastic. The use of soft furnishings, chrome hardware and wooden panelling reminds you that she is every inch a ‘luxury’ ship, while the suites are spacious and comfortable (my Silversea Suite was over 500 sq.ft!) and in true Silversea style, the dining options available are simply mouth-watering.
Everywhere you look there seems to be an effortless blend of modern elegance and nods to the the kings of exploration. For example, choose any wall in the public areas and you’ll see an array of fascinating black and white photos, many of which document the triumphs of heroic explorers and adventures. These pointed reminders of the past serve a purpose and and the contrast demonstrates that Silversea not only know where the expedition market is heading, but also – and perhaps more importantly – where it’s come from.
Over the course of the two days, I was lucky enough to meet many inspiring people. Among those was Alistair Macleod from the Royal Geographical Society who spoke about the organisation’s involvement with Silversea and brought along several extraordinary artifacts from the society for us to admire. Just as captivating was Felicity Aston, an English explorer and former climate scientist who achieved the quite remarkable feat of skiing across Antarctica in just 59 days – a truly inspiring story.
Now safely returned home, I have had ample time to reflect on my experience. It has left me in no doubt that expedition cruising really is the new frontier in travel – and that there are few operators doing it better than Silversea Expeditions.
Interested in Silversea Expeditions? Take a look at the video below: