Silversea’s Prince Albert II in Arctic waters.
Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises

On Wednesday, we told you about the diverse voyages to Antarctica that are operated by Silversea‘s Prince Albert II.  Today, we take an in-depth look at the ship itself to discover just how much this little vessel has to offer.

At 354 feet long, 52 feet wide, and a draft of 14 feet, Prince Albert II is the ideal expedition ship: small enough to maneuver into rare, obscure ports but large enough to offer all the amenities of a much larger vessel.  Built in 1989 as Delphin Clipper, she was completely overhauled when Silversea acquired her in 2008 to bring her up to the line’s standards.  As a result, her interiors are modern and completely in-line with her larger fleetmates.

For polar cruising, Prince Albert II has a Lloyds Register Ice Class Rating of 1A.  What does that mean?  In order to be given an Ice Class Rating, a ship’s hull must be strengthened and made thicker.  Scantlings  – essentially the ribcage of a ship – must be added, as well as protection for propulsion systems and rudders against damage from ice.  Additional watertight bulkheads are required, and advanced heating systems for fuel, ballast, and fresh water tanks can also be added. 

Technical speak aside, it means Silversea has put the same time and energy into ensuring your safety as they have into ensuring your comfort.

 Prince Albert II – Owner’s Suite.
Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Speaking of which, you may never want to leave your floating expedition home-away-from home. On Prince Albert II, every stateroom is an ocean-view stateroom or better.  There’s not a lot of point to securing a stateroom you can’t see out of when you journey to some of the most picturesque regions on Earth.

The Restaurant: serving world-class cuisine 
from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises 

Meals are served in The Restaurant, aft on Deck 4.  With its dark cherry woods and golden accents, it can be difficult to imagine some of the most remote locations in the wold lie just outside the expansive bay windows.  After dining on cuisine created for the line by Relais & Châteaux, why not venture up the spiral staircase to the Panorama Lounge, located just one deck above, for an after-dinner drink?

See what the Officers see from the Observation Lounge.
Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises.
There’s also a spa, a forward-facing observation lounge, two whirlpools (yes, they get used!), a full theatre, dedicated shops, a fitness centre, and a Silversea hallmark, the Connoisseur’s Corner.  You don’t have to enjoy cigars to take in this fine public room; an assortment of cognacs are also served here, and make for an enjoyable way to unwind after a long day of exploration. 

While Prince Albert II may be an expedition vessel, all the trademarks guests have come to expect from Silversea are included.   Each stateroom has its own butler who can assist in packing and unpacking luggage and handle any queries you may have throughout the voyage.  Beverages – from bottled water to soda to some of the finest wines, spirits and ales – are offered complimentary.  Gratuities are also included in your fare.  Open-seating dining and a relaxed dress code ensure your voyage unfolds as you’d want it to.  And WiFi access and cellular telephone coverage are provided throughout the ship, allowing you to stay in touch with “the real world” – but only if you want to.

The Grand Suite.  Note the complimentary binoculars 
on the table in the background.
Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises 
There are ten types of stateroom categories aboard Prince Albert II – the smallest measuring a generous 175 square feet, the size of an average balcony stateroom on most mainstream cruise lines.  Each room is as unique as the passengers who stay in them: some offer porthole or picture-view windows, and a few even include a French Veranda.    
 A Veranda Suite, featuring a french balcony.
Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises
The largest suites measure a whopping 675 square feet – enormous by full-sized cruise ship standards, gargantuan in terms of expedition ships.  They include all the expected amenities, such as a walk-in wardrobe and marble bath with separate shower.  Also included are a couple of innovative extras: passengers booking Owners or Grand Suites are entitled to four complimentary hours of internet access and two hours of worldwide phone use per voyage segment.
The Internet Café & Library have a cozy, nautical feel.
Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises

In keeping with the true expedition theme, Prince Albert II offers an ‘open-bridge’ policy that allows guests to visit the navigation bridge throughout the voyage to observe the crew as they skillfully pilot the ship; a privilege that is highly valued by expedition passengers but quite rare these days. 

While the vessel is supremely suited to exploring the harsh polar regions, Silversea Expeditions also offers a wide variety of warm-weather destinations, such as South America and the west coast of Africa.  Voyages to the UK, around Iceland, Norway, Peru, the Caribbean – the possibilities are endless.

Intrigued?  It’s hard not to be.  Many of the regions visited by Prince Albert II, particularly the polar ones, are ever changing.  It’s hard to say how long they will remain in their current, almost myth-like state.

All the more reason to not put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

For more information on Prince Albert II, and for full itineraries, pricing and information, head over to Silversea’s Silversea Expeditions page.  Be sure to check out the virtual tours of the staterooms and public rooms.

Still looking for more?  Why not read the excellent cruise review of Prince Albert II over on Bart de Boer’s ShipParade site. 


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