We recently returned from a Silversea Expedition cruise on board the Silver Explorer from Callao (Lima) to Fuerte Amador (Panama City) with stops in Ecuador, Columbia & Costa Rica.
Having taken a few expedition small ship cruises, I was very interested in the Silversea product. It was excellent! This expedition ship was built in 1989 and purchased by Silversea in 2008. It underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation and emerged as the Prince Albert II in June 2008. It was renamed Silver Explorer in 2011. Although an older vessel it is well maintained. We upgraded to a Veranda Suite – 206 SF with a French balcony – well worth the upgrade.
Passengers were intrepid travelers and most had cruised with Silversea before. All shore excursions were included in the all-inclusive price. The staff, well-educated and highly trained, comprised of scientists, geologists, biologists, naturalists, historians, and ornithologists. Lectures were quite good onboard and during nature hikes.
The ship carries eight inflatable Zodiacs and most of our stops required a wet landing. The wildlife on this itinerary was somewhat limited – several species of birds were found in Peru and Ecuador – similar to the Galapagos.
Kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking (soft & strenuous) were options on almost all stops. The food was quite good and dinner was served in the main dining room or up in the grill under the stars using “Hot Rocks” which was fun. There was at least one vegetarian option every evening. The ship was easy to navigate with two whirlpools, a fitness center, small spa, and salon. The staterooms range in size from 175 to 275 SF many with portholes or windows, a sitting area, twin or queen beds, a writing desk and a flat-screen TV. Every suite has a personal butler.
Items we really enjoyed:
- Guides and naturalists
- Personal butler
- Cleanliness of the ship
- Size of the fitness center
- Staff was exceptional – everyone knew our names and preferences by the 2nd day
Our pre-cruise stay at Belmond Miraflores Park in Lima was excellent and we enjoyed a 3-hour Bohemian Bike Tour the morning of the sailing in Lima with Jose which I would highly recommend.