Five Things to Know About Silversea Cruises' Silver Explorer Cruise Ship
World's Best 2016 Award Rank: #9 Small Ocean Ship
Best for: High-end cruisers who love adventure and luxury
Sails: Africa, Alaska, Antarctica, the Arctic, the British Isles, Central America, Hawaii, Mexico, New England & Canada, Northern Europe, the Pacific Coast, the Panama Canal, South America, the South Pacific
At a Glance: A Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2016 winner, placing ninth in the Small Ocean Ship category. Think of a voyage on this ice-class ship, last refurbished in 2009, as glamping on the high seas: The hull has been strengthened to navigate through polar ice floes, excursions happen via Zodiac, and its spacious suites come with butler service.
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If You Want a Big Cabin, This is the Ship For You
Passengers on expedition ships often live in tight quarters. Not on Silver Explorer, which has the largest average size suite of any expedition ship. While standard staterooms with portholes start at a standard-ish 157 square feet, the 618-square-foot Grand Suites have full-size living rooms and verandas, while the Owner’s Suites are a massive 728 square feet, including a huge teak balcony. (Both of the latter come with an Illy Espresso Machine, so you can get your caffeine fix first thing.) Other perks include flat-screen TVs, Pratesi linens, a pillow menu, and butler service for every cabin.
Choose Between Two Restaurants
Dinner at The Restaurant, Silver Explorer’s main dining room, is a white-tablecloth-and-fine-china, multicourse affair. The menu offers a mix of traditional cruise fare and regional dishes—think beef Wellington and roasted Chilean sea bass, and on sea days, dishes from La Collection du Monde—created by Relais & Chateaux’s grand chefs—also make an appearance. When the weather isn’t too frightful and you feel like dinner outdoors, make a reservation at The Grill. At lunch, you’ll find a buffet, but at night, the space is dedicated to Silversea’s signature hot-rocks dining in which guests cook up their own meal on a hot volcanic rock at their table.
The Excursions Are Epic
Whether you’re headed to the Arctic, Antarctica, or somewhere in between, the best thing about traveling on this ship will be the excursions, which generally happen in the morning and the afternoon. Most of them involve a trip on one of the ship’s Zodiacs and all are led by knowledgeable guides ranging from naturalists to marine biologists. Don’t worry about packing your gear: snorkels, wet suits, and even a backpack, water bottle, and parka (if you’re heading to the poles) are provided.
There Are Plenty of Places to Relax
When guests aren’t out communing with whales or penguins, they’re on the ship, resting up for the next excursion. That might mean taking in a lecture in the Theater, checking out the view in the Observation Lounge, listening to piano music in the Panorama Lounge, sipping cognac in the Connoisseur’s Corner, or hitting the books in the library. Sore after a hike? Sign up for massage and a wrap in the spa and follow it up with some time in the steam room or sauna.
Everything Is Included
No need to agonize over which excursions—or cocktails—to splurge on, since every trip ashore and many wines and liquors are wrapped into the cruise rate. Also complimentary: unlimited WiFi and gratuities.