Taking the wraps off our next adventurous Live Voyage Report!

In 2013, Silversea expands their expedition product with a full-time ship dedicated to sailing the Galapagos Islands: the aptly-named Silver Galapagos. Photo courtesy of Silversea.

Silversea’s Silver Galapagos set sail on her maiden expedition voyage on September 28, 2013. Photo courtesy of Silversea.

Ultra-luxury line Silversea may best be known for their fleet of sleek, intimate vessels that offer voyages to discerning travelers looking to explore nearly every corner of the globe. But they’re quickly gaining a well-deserved reputation for something else: luxury expedition cruising.

On September 28, Silversea christened their second ultra-luxury expedition ship, the 100-guest Silver Galapagos. The former Renaissance III and Galapagos Explorer II was christened by Costanza Lefebvre d’Ovidio, daughter of Silversea chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio in a traditional ceremony that was attended by local dignitaries and company executives. Santiago Dunn, vice president of Silversea, Ecuador, was also on-hand, as was Conrad Combrink, the line’s director of expedition cruises.

Silver Explorer at anchor off Dartmouth, England. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Silver Explorer at anchor off Dartmouth, England. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Combrink has been a driving force for Silversea’s Expeditions arm since they acquired their Silver Explorer in 2008, which was then-named Prince Albert II. While Silver Explorer routinely sails Antarctica during the winter months and the high Arctic in the summer, Silver Galapagos will be deployed exclusively in the Galapagos Islands, operating a series of alternating Northern and Western itineraries.

Silver Galapagos underwent a massive refit prior to entering service with Silversea. Pictured here is the ship's Main Lounge. Photo courtesy of Silversea.

Silver Galapagos underwent a massive refit prior to entering service with Silversea. Pictured here is the ship’s Main Lounge. Photo courtesy of Silversea.

Before setting sail for Silversea, the Silver Galapagos underwent an extensive stem-to-stern refurbishment. All public areas and guest suites have been completely refreshed with new upholstery, carpeting, curtains and wall treatments, and signature Silversea touches – like custom mattresses and Pratesi bed linens – have been added throughout. The line also spent a good deal of time and money outfitting the ship with full Wi-Fi access and adding a new complimentary service that streams movies and live television news to guests’ portable wireless devices.

And we’ll get to show the Silver Galapagos to you first-hand in just a few short weeks!

Beginning November 1, 2013, join us as we travel to Quito, Ecuador before flying to the island of Baltra to embark Silver Galapagos on her Western Itinerary, Voyage 8306. The full itinerary, both here and onboard:

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One of the reasons I am so excited to experience Silver Galapagos first-hand is that I have enjoyed Silversea’s expedition product before, on an amazing journey through the British Isles aboard Silver Explorer. That might not be the first destination that pops into mind when you think of expedition cruising, but Silversea turned it into a first-class adventure with calls on remote places like Staffa, Scotland and Tresco in the Isles of Scilly. I even managed to go hunting for dinosaur fossils on the beach at Lyme Regis – a day made even more special as we were the first cruise ship to ever call on the English seaside town.

The zodiacs are lowered and prepped for our 7:30AM departure from the Silver Explorer to the uninhabited island of Staffa. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

The zodiacs are lowered and prepped for our 7:30AM departure from the Silver Explorer to the uninhabited island of Staffa on my 2012 expedition. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

I am thoroughly fascinated by the explorers of days gone by. But let’s face it: I like nice things. I’d have made a miserable Ernest Shackleton because I like my Bvlgari toiletries and my Pratesi linens after a long day of adventuring. But the time I spent onboard Silver Explorer convinced me that Silversea’s Expeditions product is the closest thing you can get to being a modern-day explorer without sacrificing any creature comforts.

Now, Silversea is going to apply that same level of adventure to the Galapagos Islands.

One very cool port on my Western Galapagos itinerary is Post Office Bay, where travelers have been leaving letters for pickup by the next ship since the 18th century. Guests can also chose to snorkel at the center of the submerged crater at Devil’s Crown, or explore the abundant wildlife at Bahia Elizabeth.

The new outdoor hot tub aboard Silver Galapagos. Photo courtesy of Silversea.

The new outdoor hot tub aboard Silver Galapagos. Photo courtesy of Silversea.

Intimate - yet luxurious - dining will be provided in The Restaurant on Deck 2. Photo courtesy of Silversea.

Intimate – yet luxurious – dining will be provided in The Restaurant on Deck 2. Photo courtesy of Silversea.

The wildlife is a huge feature of these Galapagos itineraries. Many animals can only be found in this part of the world, and these helped inspire Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution.

Silversea also equips their Expeditions with reusable water bottles for use ashore and in staterooms. Plastic bottled water is never seen. What’s more, every Galapagos itinerary includes a visit to the Charles Darwin Foundation so that guests can become better acquainted with some of the unique conservation issues facing these islands today, and about the importance of protecting them for future generations to enjoy.

This past Saturday, Silver Galapagos set out on her second-ever voyage for Silversea. I can’t wait for voyage number six – and the opportunity to take you all with me, here, on From the Deck Chair.

Silver Explorer at anchor off the uninhabited island of Staffa, Scotland. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report from onboard Silversea’s Silver Galapagos will begin on November 1, 2013 from Quito, Ecuador!


9 Responses to Silversea’s Silver Galapagos Sets Sail

  1. Michelle says:

    Sailing June 14th. We really want to know more about the voyage and especially the ship to make sure it is worth the cost. It seems like many things keep changing, and amenities are disappearing. Please include lots of photos of the cabin and details about the food. We would like to know more before we commit and pay the balance. Thank you so much and safe travels!

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      Thanks Michelle! I will absolutely report on everything I can. Part of the issue in the Galapagos is that ships sailing there are bound by some of the most stringent regulations in the world. The crew must be Ecuadorian. The food must be Ecuadorian. Passenger capacities are limited to 100, and ships cannot visit the same ports twice in a 14-day timespan – hence the West and North alternating itineraries. I think Silversea will do a great job (they usually do), but I do suspect there may be some growing pains with this itinerary that are par for the course. Stay tuned!

  2. ENoyes says:

    I have clients who just returned from sailing on the Silver Galapagos and found it to be very dissappointing. The ship was worn and not renovated as described, the food was average at best, and the service terribly lacking due to insuffient training. I just returned from an expedition sailing on the Silver Explorer and it was wonderful….every bit as nice as “regular” Silversea cruises I have taken. I would love to hear what others have experienced on these first sailings of the Silver Galapagos.

    • frenchtwist says:

      Silversea was dissapointing, Food not up to par for Silversea, no variety, and ship worn and tired. As far as quality not up to the standard of Silversea,,,,POOR Breakfast, Wine ONE KIND red or white,,,,,And no selectin at bar for premium spirits. POOR I would think it needs to get better before SILVERSEA could call it a luxury ship…….Nothingk one would expect of a ship that advertises in such a way……And for the $$$$ Definitely not a good choice,,,not now anyway….Hopefully it will get better…..

      • Aaron Saunders says:

        I’m really sorry to hear that; thanks so much for passing your comments along. I know there are a lot of restrictions in the region that they have to operate under that are dictated by the local government, particularly with regards to alcohol. I hope it will get better, too. How was the Galapagos as a destination?

  3. DKep says:

    I too am very anxious to hear your feedback, we just booked 2 cabins today for a March sailing, full payment is due in a week and now I’m getting cold feet after reading the comment above and another horrible review I found elsewhere. I know there are growing pains to be expected and we’re not traveling for more than 3 months, but I’m still very concerned, it’s obviously a very pricey cruise!

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      Unfortunately, I was unable to sail aboard Silver Galapagos due to an illness. I am trying to get back onboard, but this may take some times. I think it’s reasonable to expect some growing pains, but I am certain Silversea will get any issues sorted. There are a number of regulations in Ecuador that must be abided by, and unfortunately, these can sometimes be vague and/or misleading. Makes operating conditions challenging! But – I have never heard a bad word spoken about the region.

  4. Jim says:

    Do you still plan to take this cruise? We are booked for early April, 2015 and hoping for some better reviews.

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      Hi Jim – I will be sailing Silver Galapagos this October, and I’ll have a full Live Voyage Report running from October 4 to October 11, 2014. Silver Galapagos will have just emerged from a month-long refurbishment, and I am looking forward to seeing what the changes are. Hope you’ll follow along!

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