Built in 1989, Silver Explorer has been in operation for nearly 30 years, during which time she has established herself as as one of the world’s leading expedition-orientated cruise ships.
As one of the UK’s top-selling agents for Silversea Expeditions, we’re often asked a variety of questions by our clients about Silver Explorer eager to find out more about her facilities, the onboard environment and how she compares to the other ships in the Silversea fleet.
Below we have compiled several of the most frequently asked questions our Voyage Consultants have received over the past 18 months.
How does the experience on Silver Explorer differ from the ship’s in Silversea’s classic fleet?
Silversea’s ‘classic’ fleet offers what many consider to be the ultimate, luxury small-ship experience. Throughout the line’s history, ships such as Silver Wind, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit have become famous for their onboard luxuries and an environment geared towards enjoying the ship’s excellent facilities, dining options and atmosphere.
Silver Explorer, however, is a purpose-built expedition ship and therefore the experience is focused on adventure and exploration in remote, off-the-beaten-path destinations. It’s not an eye-catching ship and won’t turn many heads as it enters a busy port but that was never the intention. It’s remit is to provide a safe, comfortable passage through waters that other ships are simply unable to cross. Despite this – and because Silver Explorer is a Silversea ship – there is an element of luxury onboard, and this is particularly evident when you compare Explorer to other expedition ships that offer a similar schedule of voyages.
In an operational sense, one of the biggest contrasts is that on Silver Explorer you will experience a more fluid approach to the day-to-day schedule, especially where stops in ports of call are concerned. This allows the captain more flexibility and he will at times deviate from the pre-planned route in order to take advantage of nearby wildlife sightings, interesting landmarks and the opportunity to see breathtaking landscapes when they’re at their most beautiful. From a more practical standpoint, the captain will also change the routing of cruise to allow for changeable weather conditions, particularly in regions where it can prove disruptive, such as the Arctic or Antarctica.
Another difference to the classic cruise experience offered by Silversea is the presence of an Expedition Team. Comprised of naturalists, wildlife experts, photography gurus and historians, the team which accompanies Silver Explorer on every voyage are considered experts in their field and will be on-hand throughout to share knowledge, answer questions and make the experience all-together more immersive.
What’s a typical day like on Silver Explorer?
A typical day on Silver Explorer generally starts around 7am, with a wake up call followed by a buffet breakfast. Once breakfast is concluded, the Expedition Team will start the day’s programme of excursions and activities. Should there be over 100 guests onboard (which there will be if Silver Explorer is running at full capacity), guests may be split into two groups. The first of these will go out on a landing ashore, while the second will have the opportunity to explore some of the local scenery in a Zodiac.
Once everyone is back onboard, guests will enjoy a buffet lunch before getting ready for the afternoon. At this point, the two groups will swap activities in order to ensure everyone gets the most out of the day’s adventures. Alternatively, if the avenues for exploration were maximised during the morning sessions, the ship may sail towards another part of the region for a different set of excursions and landings. After the afternoon activities are finished, it’s a case of getting back on board and getting ready for pre-dinner drinks, followed by a fantastic meal in the ship’s main dining room. In true Silversea style, the cuisine and service on Silver Explorer are second-to-none and provide a real highlight on any expedition.
Following dinner, guests will then convene in the lounge for a debrief of the days activities led by the Expedition Team. Here, the team will give talks about what they have seen during the day, noting any particular observations and then conclude with a Q&A session before inviting the guests to share their experiences. As the day draws to a close, guests can enjoy the rest of the evening at their leisure. The lounge is popular for a late night drink, with music often provided courtesy of Explorer’s onboard pianist. Most of the guests will then head to bed – ready to do it all again at 7am the next morning!
Is Silver Explorer a good choice for solo travellers?
Silver Explorer is a great choice for solo travellers. Silversea, across both their expedition fleet and their classic cruise fleet, have single supplement deals as low as 25%, which is among the best in the entire cruise industry. Due to the fact these single offers are so good, you will find there will often be a number of solo travellers onboard Silver Explorer, all of whom will share a common interest in travel, adventure and discovery. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the size of Silver Explorer also lends itself well to the single cruise market. As I mentioned earlier, with capacity of just 130 guests, those travelling alone will easily get to know everyone onboard – particularly their fellow solo travellers.
What I should I pack for a Silver Explorer cruise?
The items you will need to pack for a Silver Explorer cruise depend largely on the region you are going to be visiting. However, as cruises in Antarctica and the Arctic make up the majority of Explorer’s inventory, I would suggest you definitely make room for the following in your suitcase:
For obvious reasons, a good camera is a must. After all, the photographs you take on your expedition cruise may well be the only visual representation you have of your experience. I’d also recommend that you familiarise yourself with the basic functions so you can make the most of the photography opportunities presented to you. In addition to this, make sure you stock up on extra memory cards and batteries just in case.
Along similar lines, you should also invest in decent pair of binoculars. While some of the models towards the top-end of the market might look expensive, you really won’t regret the outlay once your cruise is underway. The main reason for this is that not all wildlife sightings occur in close proximity to the ship, so a good pair of binoculars will really help you to see so much more.
You’ll also want to pack a waterproof bag as this will keep your camera and other belongings nice and dry during Zodiac trips or wet landings ashore.
In terms of clothing, you will find layering your clothes an effective way of keeping the heat in. You will need to pack waterproof gloves and trousers as these will be required almost daily, as well as some hardy shoes with good grips.
Finally, one thing you might not think to take on a polar regions cruise – but you will be glad you did – is a pair of sunglasses. They are absolutely essentially in the Polar Regions as they help counteract the reflection of the sun against the snow – which can really mess up your vision if you’re not prepared.
Don’t forget – you will receive a complimentary water-bottle and back-pack when you board Silver Explorer and if you’re cruising the Arctic or Antarctica, you will also get a weather-proof jacket.
When’s the best time to book a Silver Explorer cruise?
Generally speaking, there is no hard and fast rule regarding the best time to book a Silver Explorer cruise. If you’re interested in booking but are waiting for a discounted fare or special offer, then you might be disappointed; Silver Explorer’s fares are very rarely reduced and remain pretty static right up until the cruise departs, full or not. However, from time to time, Silversea will occasionally include a selection of Silver Explorer itineraries in one of their sales, which means you can take advantage of voyages including flights or complimentary onboard spending money.
Finally, please bear in mind that Silver Explorer is an extremely popular product, not just with experienced cruisers but also with discerning travellers who see the ship as the best way of reaching the most remote parts of the world. As such, many sailing will cruise at full capacity while others – such as those that visit Easter Island in the Pacific – can be sold-out up to 18 months before departure.
Do you have any questions about Silver Explorer you would like us to answer? If so, simply let us know in the comments below!