One of our Cruise Experts, Mandy, recently enjoyed a short trip around the Spanish coast on Silversea Expeditions’ Silver Explorer – read her thoughts and see her pictures below:
I boarded the Silversea Explorer in Tenerife after a comfortable coach transfer along with my fellow cruisers, hosted by Paulette and Ewen Buchanan Calder, who met us at the airport.
My first impressions when I saw Silver Explorer were that she was a lot smaller than I had initially expected – especially as she was dwarfed by Holland America’s Ryndam which was docked close by. However, once we had been welcomed onboard by the warm and friendly Silversea staff my apprehensions soon disappeared and it wasn’t long before I was escorted, along with my room-mate for the trip, to my View Suite on Deck 3.
After a short while settling into our new surroundings our butler for the cruise, Catalino, came in and introduced himself before giving us an overview of our suite and the ship’s emergency procedure. Following this, all the passengers were gathered in the Silver Explorer’s theatre for a full safety briefing. This was extremely thorough and you can tell that Silversea put a lot of thought into getting the various bits of important information across.
Next up, the ship’s expedition experts who took turns in giving us informative (and sometimes humorous) introductions to their specialist field. Amongst them included an ornithologist, a geologist, a botanist and a historian – and that’s not to mention Explorer’s crew, each of who were destination/expedition experts in their own right.
Throughout our voyage, Silversea’s team were always on hand to answer questions, impart knowledge and give some pretty in-depth perspectives of what we had seen throughout the day and what we had coming up. The level of knowledge that was accompanying us became particularly handy during the shore excursions and they really served to enhance our experience both on and off the ship.
The excursions offered by Silversea Expeditions were varied but also of a relatively slow pace so that they could cater for all age groups. As you would expect, Silversea Expeditions’ excursions are largely dependent on the destination but there is much to enjoy, such as visiting penguin colonies in Antarctica and trekking in the Amazon rainforest.
The accommodation onboard Silver Explorer differs from deck to deck; from port-hole suites in the Adventurer Suites to the extremely luxurious Grand and Owners Suites. I was lucky enough to be shown around the ship on our last morning in Funchal by Fabian the Hotel Director. The Silver, Grand, and Owner suites have all had a recent refit so look much smarter, with the darker wood furniture replaced with a lighter, more modern, wood and design. Our View Suite was starting to look a little tired around the window area and the blind had frayed quite considerably. The crew advised things like this are replaced regularly after a season as the ship understandably gets quite a bashing on its expedition sailings.
Those accustomed to Silversea’s high standard of service will certainly not find any fault with that offered on the Silver Explorer – so dedicated are they that they are given just 36 hours to learn each clients name so that they can address them on greeting.
Perhaps the only downside to the trip concerned the food. The presentation was eye-catching but I did feel some of the dishes lacked a little flavour and was perhaps a little bland for my tastes. One of the nights there was a Spanish theme night which consisted of all the waiters wearing a variety of Spanish hats and head dresses, but sadly the food had no Spanish theme at all and I found this rather odd as I was quite looking forward to sampling some Spanish delicacies!
During the cruise, Paulette had arranged for the crew to give us some zodiac training. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to use them on our short trip but similarly to the emergency brief, the training was thorough and certainly reassuring for any guests who might have been previously anxious about boarding them.
I should probably point out now that I am not the best sailor (even in Mediterranean waters!) but I feel that those interested in sailing on Silver Explorer should be aware that many of its destinations might encounter challenging waters, especially if you’re thinking about a voyage toAntarctica where certain areas of the Southern Ocean are notoriously ropey. However, having said that, a mild bit of sea-sickness wasn’t enough to spoil my sailing and it’s an experience that I would recommend, especially for those who are really interested in exploring interesting destinations in far greater depth than a cruise holiday would normally allow.
If you’d like to speak to Mandy about her trip on Silver Explorer, please leave any questions you might have in the comments below or alternatively give her a call on 0800 008 6677.