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Silver Explorer Ship Review


Built in 1989 as World Discoverer II of now-defunct Society Expeditions, this 6,072-ton, 132-guest vessel was acquired by Silversea in 2007 and put through a multi-million-dollar renovation and upgrade before emerging in 2008 as the luxurious Prince Albert II. Silversea changed her name to Silver Explorer in April 2011.

Welcome aboard Silver Explorer. Receptionists Nina and Andrea represent the hub of the ship, handling everything from room service to your on-board account.

A real expedition ship with a Lloyd’s Register 1A ice-rated hull, Silver Explorer is also a first-class luxury vessel offering all the finesse and good taste for which Silversea is known. Sailing Antarctic expeditions November through March and Arctic expeditions June through August, with a series of repositioning legs through Central/South America and Europe/Africa in between, the vessel is the top choice for those who wish to visit geographic extremes without sacrificing one iota of comfort.

Located forward on deck six, The Observation Lounge is an ideal place to have morning coffee (or an espresso) or to read a book in the afternoon. A popular, quiet, spot on Silver Explorer.

Like all real expedition vessels, Silver Explorer is outfitted to give its passengers an up-close view into the world outside. Zodiac landing boats are employed to ferry passengers ashore and take them out for closer views of wildlife and geographic features, and all such off-vessel trips are accompanied by members of the typically six-person expedition team, comprised of naturalists, geologists, biologists, historians, ornithologists, and the like. Team members also present numerous onboard lectures, along with a daily evening debrief and preview of the next day’s activities. Cabins are outfitted with binoculars for nature- and wildlife viewing from on board, and there’s a high-powered telescope in the Observation Lounge if you need to focus in closer.

A stroll along deck five.

Lectures and other onboard activities (which might include slideshows and other destination-specific activities, or completely unrelated ones like cooking demos, wine tastings, afternoon teas, dancing, etc.) are presented in three public rooms: the Observation Lounge on Deck 6, which provides great views forward over the bow; the Panorama Lounge on Deck 5, with views over the stern; and the Theatre, which provides no views at all save what’s on stage.

The Library/Internet Cafe features computer terminals (WiFi is available shipwide for those who have their own portable device), a printer and a good selection of books.

Other public rooms include a library/Internet center stocked with books on the ship’s destinations; the woody, inviting Connoisseur’s Corner for relaxing with a cognac and/or cigar; and a changing room where you can doff your boots and expedition togs and slip into something more comfortable. The Bridge is also a de-facto public room, open for visits and chats with the captain and crew.

For physical culture, Silver Explorer has several options: a tiny, cabin-size fitness center on Deck 4, stocked with a treadmill, bike, elliptical trainer, weight machine, and dumbbells; a single treatment room for massages and other spa treatments; sauna and steam rooms; a tiny beauty salon; and two on-deck hot tubs.

250 minutes of internet access goes for $85. Other packages are available.

All three meals are served on fine china in the ship’s elegant, window-rimmed dining room, The Restaurant. Breakfasts and lunch are buffet-style, though you can also order from a waiter if you choose.

The Restaurant, during lunch.

Dinner, as aboard Silversea’s more traditional cruise ships, is a sumptuous feast with multiple courses served by skilled waitstaff. Menus feature signature dishes created for Silversea by the chefs of Relais & Châteaux; complementary wine flows freely; and expedition team members dine with passengers, providing a nice kick to the dinner conversation.

Silver Explorer features a broad beer selection, pictured here in the Panorama Lounge.

Other dining options include a continental breakfast in the Observation Lounge; lunch at the outdoor grill; and room service, which gives you the option of having a full lunch or dinner served course-by-course in your stateroom (during Restaurant hours) or ordering off the regular room-service menu.

Accommodations on Silver Explorer range from the smallish, 154- to 163-square-foot Adventurer Class staterooms (with two portholes for views) to the 675-square-foot Grand Suites, the latter with forward-facing views, a teak veranda, separate bedroom and living room, and marble bathroom. The vast majority of staterooms aboard are View, Vista, and Veranda staterooms, all virtually identical at 230 square feet, with the only difference being the presence or absence of a private balcony. All accommodations on board come with butler service, a bar setup stocked with your preferences, wifi access, European bath amenities, fine linens and down duvets, and a choice of nine types of pillows.

Recap & Briefing in the Theater. Because of the expedition focus, there’s little, if any, in the way of Broadway-style entertainment. The day is capped off before dinner at the daily recap (summing up the current day) and a look ahead during the daily briefing. The sessions tend to be educational and entertaining.

Silver Explorer features two Jacuzzis on the Pool Deck.

Two levels of deck for sunbathers. There’s also a walk-around promenade for those who prefer to exercise outside.

There’s no competition for deck chairs for those who want to enjoy the sun.

Silver Explorer features a sauna and steamroom.

Spa treatments, and salon services, are available on Silver Explorer.

Just like on its big sisters, Silver Explorer offers afternoon tea in the Panorama Lounge.

Smallish, but well-equipped, the Fitiness Center on Silver Explorer.

Silver Explorer’s boutique offers a broad selection of goods, from logo wear to various sundries.

Silver Explorer’s bridge is nearly always open for visitors.

On the bridge, Captain Alexander Golubev, master of m/s Silver Explorer

Brandy and a good cigar? The Humidor is situated next to the Panorama Lounge.

A comfortable retreat for cigar aficionados, The Humidor.

Situated aft with windows all around, The Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

As on other Silversea vessels, wine (and other beverages) are offered on a complimentary basis on Silver Explorer.

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