When contemplating a cruise to the Antarctic, it is vital to think carefully about your personal priorities. Do you want a luxurious voyage, or are you in search of a wildlife adventure? Is it the quality of the lecturers and naturalists, or that of the food and wine that is of primary importance?
Having been a frequent passenger on Silversea ships, I can attest to the high levels of service that they provide. The appointments are more luxurious than those on Lindblad, and butler service is included. A culinary partnership with Relais & Châteaux ensures on-board cuisine of a high standard. Journeys to the Antarctic are on the Silver Explorer, a purpose-built expedition ship — originally called the Prince Albert II and last refurbished in 2014 — that accommodates 130 passengers. Its ice rating of 1A is not quite as high as that of the Lindblad ships. A team of 11 experts accompanies the expedition, which includes naturalists, anthropologists, geologists and historians. A fleet of Zodiacs takes passengers on land excursions, which are accompanied by the expedition staff. Antarctica itineraries are scheduled from November 2016 to early March 8, 2017 (the final journey lasts 22 days and ends in Cape Town). The other cruises are 10 or 18 days. In late 2017, Silversea’s newest expedition ship, the Silver Cloud Expedition, will begin making trips to Antarctica. This ship was originally the Silver Cloud and will be repurposed as an ice-class ship and reconfigured to accommodate 260 passengers, down from 296, with just 200 passengers on Antarctic journeys so that the ship can visit restricted-access sites (limited to ships with 200 or fewer passengers).
Veranda Suite for 10-day trip, $32,970 for two; Veranda Suite for 18-day trip, $52,410 for two. Tel. 888-978-4070.