Antarctica travel: Inside Silversea’s newest cruise ship for polar expedition voyages

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cruise operator silver sea recently launched its newest ship, already touting it as the most luxurious expedition ship to hit the open seas yet. And based on the ship’s design, the most impressive amenity is one that has become increasingly valuable since the start of the pandemic: space.

The ship, measuring 540 feet (164.4 meters) in length, features what Silversea says is the highest space-to-guest ratio on expedition cruise ships, a roughly one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio, and a higher zodiac-to-guest ratio (one to 12.5).

But from a client perspective, the abundance of space is most evident in both the private and public spaces, with balconies off all suites and 300 seats available in the dining rooms, while the ship as a whole will only host approximately 200 guests. per trip.

The Arts Café, a staple on many Silversea ships, on Silver Endeavour.

Courtesy of Silversea

Silversea’s third new ship christened in 10 months, the silver effort she is the 11th ship in the Silver-class fleet and the 64th overall in the entire Silversea fleet. Jason Liberty, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, principal owner of three cruise brands spanning the spectrum of cruise passengers from pure vacations to ultra-luxury expeditions: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises. Royal Caribbean Group also owns half of a joint venture that operates TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. In a prepared video, Liberty reflected on the silver effortSilversea’s launch further expands into the luxury market, explaining that the ship’s design reflects a commitment to providing luxurious vacations to its guests, but in a responsible manner.

Il Terrazzino, which specializes in Italian cuisine, is open for lunch and dinner.

Courtesy of Silversea

Silversea currently holds 21% of the luxury cruise market share and expects it to grow to 34% by 2027. And historically, 82% of Silversea sales reflect strategic pricing, while only 18% are tactical .

“The strategic price review has been successful. We are a luxury goods company and we will never find ourselves in a position to cut prices at the last minute,” Silversea commercial director Barbara Muckermann said during a news conference, noting that “the last thing you want to do is move the pricing conversation” as you want the conversation to focus on the experience.

Passengers can browse an extensive library of fiction and nonfiction in the library and lounge.

Courtesy of Silversea

The luxury experience can start from the first step, as Silversea says it is the only luxury cruise operator to offer an all-inclusive door-to-door package, starting with a private chauffeur service to the airport, escorted until your return. . home. But the company is opening up to more value-conscious consumers with the addition of an all-inclusive port-to-port option, allowing customers to make their own decisions about not only airport transfers, but also giving them more flexibility to book your own airfare. with loyalty points or through vacation packages.

Passengers must remove their Silversea-provided boots in the mud room, not only to keep the ship clean, but also to protect items from contamination in Antarctica.

Courtesy of Silversea

The Silver Endeavor was built to PC6 polar class specifications, which means the ship can comfortably push and sail through, say, a meter of first-year ice, whereas many ships would have to turn around in those kinds of conditions. It also allows Silversea to plan different itineraries that were not previously feasible.

The ship is equipped for polar exploration with the latest navigation technology, including a remote gimbal camera system that can capture high-quality images from up to five kilometers (3.1 miles) away. The Monaco-based cruise company has partnered with Antarctic Airways, which just celebrated its 42nd anniversary, to fly passengers from the meeting point in Santiago de Chile to where the ship docks near the southernmost point of Patagonia. Together, the companies expect to fly more than 200 roundtrip flights over the course of the summer season in the southern hemisphere.

A closer look at a Veranda Suite.

Courtesy of Silversea

Silversea has also made special arrangements for its charter flights with Antarctic Airways. For starters, Antarctic Airways signed a contract stipulating that Silversea is its only partner cruise line. And each charter flight linked to a Silversea itinerary will be purchased and exclusive only to passengers on Silversea ships. Also, while the British Aerospace (BAE) 146-200 aircraft seats between 80 and 90 passengers, Silversea will ensure that no one reserves a middle seat. The reason for this is twofold. The most obvious to customers will be that it makes the flight (nearly four hours from Santiago to Puerto Williams) more comfortable with everyone in an aisle or window seat.

But more critically, the smaller airports in Patagonia, especially Puerto Williams, have higher payload limits on their runways. This means that the airline must strictly enforce weight limits for both passengers and their luggage. Therefore, by leaving the middle seats open and reducing the number of passengers to around 60 instead of 80, passengers are more comfortable and can pack more luggage if necessary, which could be considerable given how heavy and cumbersome it is. is winter clothing and equipment can be.

Interior of the bathroom of one of the Grand Suites.

Courtesy of Silversea

Given the duration of the midday flight, lunch is served on board. And perhaps most uniquely, all the food is home-cooked and served by local businesses in Santiago and Punta Arenas, Chile, as Conrad Combrink, senior vice president of expeditions, destinations and itinerary management at Silversea, stressed, is an example of Silversea’s commitment . to partner with local communities.

“The message here is that we are really looking at the journey to and from the ship,” Combrink said. “Celebrate small steps. I know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are making a lot of progress in that vision of the authentic experience that we want to offer, with luxury.”

Inside the full-service beauty salon.

Courtesy of Silversea

Silversea is particularly investing in the community of Puerto Williams, Chile. The city is often referred to as “El Fin del Mundo” (“The End of the World”) due to its location as the southernmost city not only in South America but in the entire world, making it the best port for expedition cruises bound for Antarctica.

Puerto Williams has been at the center of a geographical and philosophical search for the right port of departure, according to Silversea executives. This has only been possible thanks to the support of the Chilean government and local municipalities. “There is no better place than this to start this journey,” said Muckermann.

The gym is open 24/7 and group yoga and fitness classes are offered daily.

Courtesy of Silversea

Earlier this month, Silversea recently announced that it will sponsor a physical education program for disabled children in the remote Chilean city, which has only about 3,000 inhabitants, many of whom have ties to the Chilean navy or the cruise industry given its location. from the region near Cape Horn. (Cape Horn). Silversea donated mobility kits to the primary school and four Zodiac boats to Escuela Náutica Cedena in Puerto Williams, a non-profit organization dedicated to training and educating children and youth in water sports, a first step towards learning the skills basic skills necessary for a career in the shipping industry.

The relaxation area of ​​the Otium Spa.

Courtesy of Silversea

With the release of silver effort, Silversea now offers luxury cruises to all seven continents with itineraries through the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Galapagos and both polar regions. Silversea is also working on the launch of two new ultra-luxury Nova-class ships: the silver nova Y silver lightning. GEM Design, the design firm behind the Silver Nova, boasts that the New starin particular, it will be one of the greenest ships ever built when it sets sail next year as the industry’s first multi-hybrid cruise ship, and will be the first cruise ship to use fuel cells to provide 100% power while in port.

The Otium Spa sauna, a good place to warm up after a shore excursion.

Courtesy of Silversea

Next year, Silver Endeavor has 27 voyages planned for the 2024-2025 season, traveling to more than 125 remote destinations not only in Antarctica but also in the Arctic, the British Isles and Iceland.

“As the world faces new and increasingly complicated problems, exploration has never been more vital than it is today,” said Felicity Aston, MBE and sponsor of the silver effort. A climate scientist, polar explorer and expedition leader, Aston is the only woman in the world to have skied alone in Antarctica. “The silver effort it will allow more people to become explorers and return home with that important new perspective.”

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