Here’s a poser for you – when is a world cruise not a world cruise? The answer is simple if you’re Silversea Cruises. You make it a World Expedition.
Seriously, that’s what Silversea will be doing in 2021 when they branch out into a whole new cruise ethos with their chic little adventurer Silver Cloud.
It will officially be called their Uncharted World Tour, an astonishing 167-day voyage from the southernmost tip of South America to one of the most northerly outposts of Europe, and it will chart a completely different course from anything else in the realm of global voyages.
Typically, a world cruise sails through the more exotic regions in the early months of the year to take advantage of the best weather through the Pacific and Indian Oceans, taking in the likes of south-east Asia and Suez at their least sweltering. It sticks to the tried-and-trusted route prescribed by decades of experience in this area, and, while it features some wonderful ports of call, it rarely ventures into waters that could be described as testing.
That mould will be well and truly broken in 2021 when Silversea embarks on this ultra-extensive voyage of discovery that departs Ushuaia in Argentina on January 30 and culminates more than five months later at Tromso in Norway, having taken the cruise road less travelled for more than 30,000 nautical miles.
It will visit 30 countries and 107 ports of call, and it takes in such exotic destinations as Antarctica and the Chilean fjords; remote Vanuatu and fabled Pitcairn Island; the fabulous Kimberley coast of Australia and Papua New Guinea; Sumatra and Sri Lanka; Muscat and Luxor; Albania and Tunisia in the Mediterranean; the Hebrides and Iceland; and the Svalbard island region of Norway.
Adding to the excitement on what is being billed as a “highly experiential expedition,” will be a series of all-inclusive, hands-on, immersive shore excursions, as well as a specially-assembled lecture team. The outstanding experts will include inspirational adventurer Felicity Aston – a recipient of the Polar Medal and the only woman to date to cross Antarctica alone – and Tim Severin, a renowned explorer who has retraced the storied journeys of Sindbad, Jason and the Argonauts, Ulysses and Genghis Khan, among others.
Other highlights will include a private dinner on London Tower Bridge’s walkway, an exclusive Viking feast in Kjarnaskogur Forest in Iceland, and a number of bespoke events at other ports of call. Silversea’s senior vice president of Expedition and Destinations Experiences, Conrad Combrink, will also feature as an Expedition Leader on at least one sector of the cruise.
Booking for the Silversea World Expedition opens next month and, while the two-bedroom owners’ Suite on Silver Cloud will cost close to $1million for the full voyage, other prices are more modest, including on 10 smaller sectors varying from 12 to 22 days.
Company CEO Roberto Martinoli insisted: “Building on our already remarkable World Cruise offering, Silversea will become the first cruise line to launch an Expedition World Cruise in 2021. This momentous voyage is the result of 10 years of experience and industry-leading knowledge – qualities that enable us to unlock remarkable travel experiences for our guests and which have contributed to our reputation as the industry leader.”
While there may not be a lot of takers for the entire 167-day journey, it does serve to underline – yet again – the growth of expedition cruising. Only last month, we highlighted how Silversea has expanded and developed its adventurous side (see this blog from January), and now they have raised the bar yet again with this epic undertaking.
It is also worth underscoring that, only 10 years ago, this kind of high-quality expeditioning just didn’t exist, as the deluxe end of the market tended to shun these more esoteric routes while the true expedition vessels of that era just didn’t have the ability to provide a five-star experience.
Now it has been taken to a whole new level that is arguably yet another string to cruising’s modern, multi-faceted bow, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the likes of Ponant, Crystal and Hurtigruten do something similar in future.
Perhaps even more striking is the fact Silversea will actually operate TWO full World Cruises in 2021, as this expedition-style voyage will run at the same time as a more traditional – albeit ultra-deluxe – version offered by sister ship Silver Whisper, which will sail a 150-day voyage from Fort Lauderdale to New York departing on January 7.
Under the banner of ‘The Connoisseur’s Way To Discover The World,’ it also provides nine different sectors that can be sampled instead of the full voyage, including a 15-day Singapore to Mumbai cruise and an epic 18-day segment from Auckland to Bali that takes in nearly half of Australia.
And, while these extensive sea-going extravaganzas may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the fact that there are more of them than ever before suggests there is most definitely a growing appetite for what used to be called line voyages, with more sea days than the average two or three-week sailing.
There are now 13 cruise lines offering world voyages these days and another six who, like Silversea, have more than one ship ear-marked for their long-distance travels. They’re not all in ultra-luxe territory either, with the likes of Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Princess and MSC Cruises all devoting sizeable resources to the task.
So, when your significant other suggests you try “something different” for your next cruise, you might just point them to this article – and the chance to sample a genuine ocean-going curiosity that is more popular than ever before. In fact, you might just want to get on board before it becomes the norm!
Have you ever taken a World Cruise and does this kind of voyage appeal to you? Give us your thoughts in the Comments section below.