Preparing for an expedition voyage, Silversea-style

The thing I love most about setting off on a cruise is that you never know exactly what will happen.  What will the ship be like? What will the ports be like? Will I get good photos? Will it rain? Will it be sunny? It’s all part of the fun of embarking on a new ship and new itinerary for the first time – and this Saturday, I am fortunate enough to be able to step aboard a ship I’ve dreamed of sailing since I first heard about her: Silversea’s luxurious expedition vessel, Silver Explorer.

We join Silversea's Silver Explorer in Portsmouth, England for our most adventurous voyage yet! Photo courtesy of Silversea

For the next 11 days, I’ll be reporting live from the petit Silver Explorer as she winds her way on a journey from Portsmouth, England to Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland. It’s our most adventurous Live Voyage Report to-date, and I can’t wait to take you all with me.

Why has Silver Explorer, which was known as Prince Albert II until 2008, always fascinated me? Because she combines the adventurous spirit of a true expedition ship with all the luxurious amenities that Silversea is known for.

Silver Explorer embodies the perfect blend of "elegant exploration." Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises

She’s not just relegated to polar waters, either: Silver Explorer operates a whole host of itineraries, from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean and yes, Baltic and Northern Europe itineraries like the one I’m about to join. And even if you’ve been to these areas before, chances are you’ve never been there like this.

Take, for example, Rathlin Island, one of the most fascinating ports of call on our itinerary. Located just 10 kilometers offshore from Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, Rathlin Island has a burgeoning population of just over 100 inhabitants – meaning that when Silver Explorer drops anchor here, their population effectively doubles.

Remote Rathlin Island: a modern day adventure in and of itself. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

But the appeal of Rathlin Island is enormous. Aside from being a place that many visitors to Northern Ireland simply won’t see, Rathlin Island has seen its fair share of history. One of the first commercial telegraphy links was established here in 1898 by employees of the Marconi Company, and Richard Branson ditched into the sea just off the island in 1987 after a record-breaking flight from the United States in a hot air balloon. It’s a Ken Follett novel come to life.

To set off on an expedition voyage to truly some of the most truly fascinating ports of call in England, Ireland and Scotland is amazing enough, but to be able to do so aboard the Silver Explorer is a real dream come true for me. The full itinerary, both here and onboard:

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Just 354 feet in length, Silver Explorer carries just 132 guests on adventurous expeditions around the world. But there are plenty of expedition ships sailing to remote parts of the world; what sets Silver Explorer apart is that she offers everything her luxurious fleetmates do. Every stateroom and suite aboard her comes with dedicated and highly personalized butler service, whose attention to detail is legendary. Leave your sunglasses out, and you’ll find a Silversea-monogramed cleaning cloth put on them.  Shoes scuffed? No problem – your butler will take care of them, often without asking.

Robert Falcon Scott could only have dreamed of taking his meals in a room as elegant as Silver Explorer's Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Just like on the line’s larger luxury cruise ships, you won’t find charges for gratuities, beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks, or even bottled water while onboard – a wonderfully relaxing feature. Sure, you could argue you’ve already paid for it, but that’s not the point; the entire purpose is to create an onboard atmosphere that is as relaxing as it is enjoyable.

Silversea even takes its all-inclusive nature one step further aboard Silver Explorer, developing a programme of complimentary experiences ashore which  are as extensive as they are varied. Thanks to the ship’s low passenger count, these excursions can be changed and amended on the fly; ensuring guests are always treated to the best possible experience.

Shore landings and up-close sightseeing is possible thanks to Silver Explorer's onboard Zodiac rafts. Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Some experiences that I’m looking forward to: seeing 600 mute swans being fed en-masse in Lyme Regis; sipping champagne at the Royal Naval Academy in Dartmouth; touring Ireland’s world-famous Ring of Kerry; visiting the beautiful city of Waterford, Ireland; driving through the Connemara countryside to Kylemore Abbey; visiting the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim; exploring sea caves by Zodiac in Staffa, Scotland, and so much more.

Its eleven days that promise to hold a wealth of exploration, adventure and education ashore, and eleven blissful days spent aboard Silversea’s Silver Explorer: the five-star ship with an adventurous heart.

Our journey begins now!

Silver Explorer (seen in her Prince Albert II livery) is our home away from home for 11 days. Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Our Live Voyage Report from aboard Silversea’s adventurous Silver Explorer is just getting started! Tune in tomorrow as we embark our expedition vessel in the seaside town of Portsmouth, England, bound for nearly two weeks of adventurous (and luxurious) exploration!


4 Responses to Silver Explorer Live Voyage Report – Day 0

  1. Ken says:

    Bon voyage Aaron, hope you have a great trip. Will be following along.

  2. Kim says:

    Have an Awsome trip!

  3. Nicholas Sabalos says:

    Bon Voyage! Virtual bags packed here….and ready to follow along! ENJOY!!!!

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