As you know, Silversea has converted me from being a skeptic to being a happy endorser. There have been lots of positive changes from huge improvements in their ships, the amazing number of new ships (and offloading of a few really old ones), improved customer service, even better onboard service and, of course, elevated cuisine. (As one Silversea executive recently said to me with a smile, “Eric, it is better to be on your good side“, to which I replied, “It’s better for me too!“)
In fact, recently I have had a number of clients who were very loyal to another cruise line try out Silversea…including its expedition product…and have come back extremely pleased and even quickly rebooked! Some even said before they left, “What could I possibly use a butler for” and returned with, “I loved my butler”.
As I mentioned in my July 18, 2022 article, Silversea’s Silver Endeavour – Elevating Silversea’s Luxury Expedition Options! one of my concerns about the Silversea Expedition program was its fleet being somewhat limited to old vessels, converted cruise ship vessels, and, the wonderful Silver Origin (which only operates in The Galapagos). With Silversea’s purchase of the Silver Endeavour, offloading of the old ships, and seeing how well the Silver Cloud and Silver Wind perform, my concerns have been pretty much alleviated as to the hardware.
But I still had one concern: Was Silversea providing a true expedition experience or what I call “expedition lite”? In my years of friendship with Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s SVP of Expeditions, Destination Management, etc. I never thought anything I said was upsetting…until that!
Conrad insists that Silversea provides an amazing true expedition experience. And with that – combined with my now endorsing Silversea overall – I will be experiencing the Silver Endeavour this September on a unique and very interesting expedition. Conrad is going to “show me” that a true expedition experience is what is delivered (and he might even be onboard for all or part of this expedition.)
But before I get into that, I want to talk about the Silver Endeavour and some of the upgrades and modifications that Silversea has made to her after her inaugural Antarctica season just after she was purchased.
The most notable, and I think remarkably sensible, alteration is the off-loading of the submarine and helicopters. From an operational and cost-efficiency point of view, these are high cost-high maintenance items that have very tight operational windows due to weather, seas, restricted areas, etc., don’t really have the guest satisfaction levels one might expect, and require expensive additional costs for the guests. Add to that the concerns over the environmental impact of helicopters – which I have written about – removing them not only eliminates issues, it frees up space onboard the ship.
The Deck 8 space that had been dedicated to the helicopters, has been converted into two new Master Suites with 270-degree views, as well as four Signature Suites with verandas. In addition, there are four more Classic Suites on Deck 5 with the relocation of the Medical Center. Guest capacity has increased slightly from 200 to 220.
(The casino has also been removed so more crew/expedition team accommodations could be installed. Other modifications were made to some of the public spaces so that they align better with the Silversea experience offered across the fleet.)
So with that, when is this expedition, and where the heck does this expedition go? It departs Reykjavik on September 21, 2023, and arrives in New York City on October 7, 2023.
I have great difficulty in understanding why Arctic expeditions are not as popular as Antarctica ones or, frankly, the more standard cruises through the Norwegian fjords. The scenery is breathtaking, the Inuit people and culture are both fascinating and charming, the wildlife (while not as dense as Antarctica) is enthralling, the weather is moderate with a good bit of sun, and the experience is truly unique.
Silversea provides a one-night hotel stay prior to the departure from Iceland at the luxury (for Iceland) Reykjavik Edition Hotel, which is centrally located. However, departing from Iceland gives you an opportunity to have a pre-expedition exploration of one of the most beautiful and interesting places on Earth. I have been to Iceland three times (four by the time of this expedition) and I can’t wait to go back.
Eastern Greenland has so much to offer. In addition to visits to some local communities and incredibly beautiful hikes, the wildlife ranges from polar bears, musk ox, reindeer, arctic foxes, seals, whales, and my favorite: walruses.
Heading down the Canadian Coast, you have the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful, untouched, areas along the east coast of North America and visit with communities that have carved out small fishing villages that are centuries old. Possibly enjoying some amazing fresh seafood! Our travels eventually meet up with more robust forests – hopefully at the peak of Leaf Season – and more developed, but still small, communities with a bit of a tourist focus and histories of the rich and famous summering there.
After transiting the Cape Cod Canal, the expedition ends in New York City; an incredible contrast to the remote and raw natural beauty of the past 17 days. But there ain’t no place like in the world! (And I just might visit my family while I am there.)
If you would like to join me on this expedition, prices start at $13,950 per person for Port-to-Port pricing in a Classic Veranda. Of course, I will provide you with some added amenities!
Check out Next: A Guide to Luxury Cruises