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Sail Date: April 2018
We wanted the "Silversea Experience" in an Expedition cruise to the Galapagos. Silversea did not disappoint...everything from enough zodiacs to accommodate all guests, with no "downtime" waiting for transportation, to ... Read More
We wanted the "Silversea Experience" in an Expedition cruise to the Galapagos. Silversea did not disappoint...everything from enough zodiacs to accommodate all guests, with no "downtime" waiting for transportation, to the professionalism and friendliness of the entire crew was exactly what we were expecting. An added bonus was the wonderful cuisine created and prepared by the Ecuadoran Head Chef. Meals, especially dinners, were a delight with new and varied Ecuadoran dishes to sample each night. One area which could use some "tweaking" would be in the Outdoor Grill...the space is relatively small, with open, non-reservation seating at lunch time, and given its popularity, can be quite crowded and noisey. No such problem at dinner however as dining in the Grill is by reservation only in the evening. Dining in The Restaurant...the main venue for dining at breakfast, lunch and dinner always had ample room to dine graciously...with buffet at breakfast and wait service lunch and dinner. Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I believe other reviewers miss the point in comparing their experience on Silver Galapagos with other cruises. The Galapagos is a closed, tightly regulated market; only ships exclusively dedicated to the Galapagos can operate there. So ... Read More
I believe other reviewers miss the point in comparing their experience on Silver Galapagos with other cruises. The Galapagos is a closed, tightly regulated market; only ships exclusively dedicated to the Galapagos can operate there. So the question is not how Silver Galapagos compares to Silversea or other cruises outside the Galapagos; the question is what is the best way to visit the Galapagos. Unless you want to be on a small boat with a group of 16, the answer is almost certainly Silver Galapagos. You come to the Galapagos to see the animals, plants and landscapes of these unique islands, not to eat, drink and party on a boat. So job one for any company operating there is to get permission to sail the best possible itineraries, and then to attract and retain the best possible expedition leaders and guides. This Silverseas has done. Everything else is secondary. Silver Galapagos carries 100 passengers, the maximum permitted. The ship is the largest and best equipped operating in the islands. The all-Ecuadorian staff (required) makes up in enthusiasm and warmth what they may lack in polish. In terms of true hospitality, they could teach a thing or two to their Silverseas colleagues operating in international waters. The room for improvement lies not with the crew, but with Silversea. They erred in investing too heavily in cosmetic improvements, and insufficiently in the infrastructure of the vessel. In the choppy waters of the Pacific, the stabilizers were "undergoing maintenance," and apparently had been for months. The nicest suite, recently gussied up, was plagued with mechanical problems such as broken doors and non-functing electronics. If Silversea wants to continue to associate its brand with this ship, it needs to invest in the vessel, and also invest in the crew. If they want to retain the best people, Silverseas should strive to be regarded as the best employer in the Galapagos. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Silversea is one class act. All possible categories to review were excellent, so no need to spend time with details. The Captain, his crew and the Expedition team exceeded every expectation that I had for the adventure. Chef Pia ... Read More
Silversea is one class act. All possible categories to review were excellent, so no need to spend time with details. The Captain, his crew and the Expedition team exceeded every expectation that I had for the adventure. Chef Pia astounded us with her resourcefulness and creativity despite food inventory constraints of being at sea for 19 days. All other staff were professional, experienced and personable. Antarctica is a vast, grand, incredibly pristine and quiet place on Earth. It defies all positive adjectives and superlatives. The penguin and seal colonies in South Georgia and the Shetland Islands are beyond belief. You'll never go to a zoo again. Silversea Cruises conspired with Mother Nature to hit this expedition "right out of the park". Before we disembarked, we booked a Silversea Silver Explorer expedition in the Artic. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
General Overall Impression: We were deeply disappointed in the expedition portion of the cruise. We missed 50% of the cruise due to excessive ice in Scoresbysund. Silversea’s answer was to do more in Iceland. We did not pay to ... Read More
General Overall Impression: We were deeply disappointed in the expedition portion of the cruise. We missed 50% of the cruise due to excessive ice in Scoresbysund. Silversea’s answer was to do more in Iceland. We did not pay to visit Iceland – we paid to visit Greenland. For some unknown reason they did go to the southern part of Greenland and made this second half and Iceland tour. I blame the Captain here since he controls where we go. There was no reason we could not have gone south and done other expedition areas. The choice of going to Iceland and doing normal ports Husavik, Akureryi and western Fjords was not expedition sailing but sightseeing. Pre-Cruise Hotel: Hotel was horrible the Radisson Blu Scandinavia. Internet did not work and construction noise throughout our three day stay. Breakfast was mediocre buffet. Some people paid nearly $300 per night, through Silversea, for the privilege of staying at this dive. Transfer to airport. Paid $99 pp for this transfer. No better than taking the Flybussen for $19. We had to drag the luggage around the airport to find the check-in. Silversea’s contracted agents were pretty useless. Flight to Longyearbyen was good - on time and transfer to ship was quick. Svalbard – 4 day cruise. Very interesting though many excursions required you to be in shape and physically fit. Some passenger requested some more less walking friendly tours (ie. Zodiac cruises) but these requests were ignored by the expedition leader. Ship Impression. Having been on the Silver Explorer 18 months ago we knew what to expect. The ship’s decor is VERY tired looking. Rooms are almost all same size (except for the small number of expedition and owner suites). Lounge is very small and fills up for high tea and drinks. Service was excellent. Only comment is that the butlers are glorified housekeepers. Our request for special gin (Henricks) was ignored. Food. Much improved over past expedition cruise. Did not have a bad meal. Previously the buffet lunch was the highlight meal. This cruise the dinner portion is where the chef shined. Chef Pia did a great job. Iceland – what a waste - we were not scheduled to do this we were to do Greenland. • First port Grimsey Island was cancelled due to high waves. • Second stop was a Siglufjord town – where the highlight was the Herring museum. Now come on this is an expedition cruise. Herring museum ..zzzzzz.. • Husavik the whaling capitol of the world. However no whaling but a bus tour to visit the falls and hot springs. Have done this twice before. • Akureyri. Botanical garden tour. ..zzzzzz.. • On the last tour Grundefjord – 75% of the people requested that we return to the ship early – it was so bad as was the guide. Disembarkation: Was quick and the hotel transfer was done effortlessly. Pluses – • Ships Staff – great service. Housekeeping and restaurant staff outstanding • Food – chef Pia did a great job. Never had a bad meal. Minuses- • Ship is tired looking. Needs an interior makeover. • TV never worked – there is no other entertainment. • Internet exceeding slow when working. Some of it is the location but rest is a bandwidth issue. • Wines - thought the red wines could have been of better quality. Mostly all blends (which I hate) • It was not an expedition cruise. I blame the Captain. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
The Explorer is we feel the best of the 3 Silversea Expedition Ships Having said that I think it is important to say that some passengers/guests expect the Expedition Fleet of Silversea to mirror in terms of service and food and ... Read More
The Explorer is we feel the best of the 3 Silversea Expedition Ships Having said that I think it is important to say that some passengers/guests expect the Expedition Fleet of Silversea to mirror in terms of service and food and amenities their main line Fleet. On the Explorer the Crew were brilliant - kind , professional, helpful and attentive. Always remembering your name and invariably your favoured tipple in the bar! The ship has a large range of suite sizes and choices - perhaps unusual for a small expedition ship. If there is any criticism we thought the food could go up a couple of notches and the complimentary wine list needs rewriting. ( when will Silversea get the message on this?) The trip was for us was just outstanding. A little swell on the way across to Antarctica, but then and the rest of our trip we enjoyed brilliant weather and very calm seas. We even had lunch and dinner in deck on at least 4 occasions. What a memory that will always hold Not sure words can be found to sum up the sheer beauty of Antarctica! It was just stunning! If you have half a chance should not be missed as future expedition destination. The Siversea Expedition Team did a magnificent job taking us ashore twice every day whilst we were in Antarctica. Their specialist knowledge of the area just added so much to our day to day activities on shore . We loved too the daily briefings by the Team. All 10 or so of them are true pros and a great ambassadors for Silversea Expeditions. So all in all a trip we wouldn't have missed. A long journey, but a couple of days in Beunos Aries also so worthwhile and enjoyable so do visit if you can. our days in a Finca, well north of BA rounded off a truly special trip. If you have got half a chance do go. It is truly a special place Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
My family and I have been on many cruises and had reasonable expectations for the Silver Galapagos given the many negative reviews. The air conditioning on the ship did not work well most nights. We were informed by the staff that this ... Read More
My family and I have been on many cruises and had reasonable expectations for the Silver Galapagos given the many negative reviews. The air conditioning on the ship did not work well most nights. We were informed by the staff that this is an expedition cruise and such should be expected. The food was terrible by any standards. The accomidations were as expected, but again, we had low expectations. The public rooms smelled of mildew and mold. Having been to the Galapagos three times now, I can say with confidence that this cruise is highly over priced given our experience. Other operators offered better service, food and accommodations for about 60% of the cost. On the positive side, the naturalists were very knowledgeable and friendly. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
We went with Celebrity Expeditions to the Galapagos about 8 years ago and thought that experience could not be topped. We were wrong. I did extensive research on all the different Antarctic cruises. Most cost the same, all have zodiacs ... Read More
We went with Celebrity Expeditions to the Galapagos about 8 years ago and thought that experience could not be topped. We were wrong. I did extensive research on all the different Antarctic cruises. Most cost the same, all have zodiacs with naturalists, all have food included. None have alcohol included and the luxury experience you get with Silversea. The ship is a smaller icebreaker but lovely cabins and dining room. It did look a little ready for refurbishment in some places but overall was very nice. But the biggest thing of all is the Antarctic. We were extremely lucky on our Drake passages, they were calm and uneventful. We had a mid-ship cabin on the third floor which was very stable. Our window was very large but there were excellent shades to cover so that us light sensitive sleepers could rest. The bathroom was large, had a tub and was mostly done in marble. I was shocked. We got a fantastic table at the rear of the ship and had amazing views. The maître d'hôtel, Anna was very gracious. The chef was wonderful and often came to the dining room to be sure we enjoyed our food (which was divine). We usually stopped at two ports per day. Most were shore landings but there were a few zodiac cruises. Everything was outstanding. We were very lucky to have fantastic weather and saw an amazing array of animals. Other people got tired of the penguins but I think they are crazy. Mid-January was a perfect time to go as most of the penguins and birds were just hatching chicks. We actually got to see a penguin chick hatching from an egg! It was funny to watch them squabble over tiny rocks and slide across the ice. Then they would jump in the water and be the picture of speed and grace. We saw lots of seals, orcas and seabirds. We saw many whales (humpbacks, minke) and were very lucky that our captain stopped the boat for an hour so we could watch a group play. The best naturalist was a young man named Travis from South Africa. He would make noise on the bottom of the zodiac to get the interest of the whales. We saw them come very close and one time they even followed the zodiac. I wished we had known we could invite the staff for dinner with us, we would have loved to get to know some of them more. They are meticulous about making sure you don't take any unwanted seeds or plants from the mainland. It was just very professional and the trip of a lifetime. We included it with another 2 1/2 weeks of hiking in Patagonia and the whole experience was Nirvana. You have to go. Just do it. It's expensive but worth every penny. I was worried people might be pretentious but the staff were wonderful and most of the people were nice. Don't wait until you are so old you can't move around much. It seemed like some people just wanted to 'tick off' their final continent which I think is a waste. It is truly a gorgeous destination with so much to offer. Go, Go, Go!!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We selected the Explorer for our Classic Antarctica cruise, a bit apprehensively, as our only previous SS experience was a disappointing cruise on the Shadow. Still, we were looking for that sweet spot of comfort, education and adventure ... Read More
We selected the Explorer for our Classic Antarctica cruise, a bit apprehensively, as our only previous SS experience was a disappointing cruise on the Shadow. Still, we were looking for that sweet spot of comfort, education and adventure and the Explorer delivered. ITINERARY This was the standard "Classic Antarctica" itinerary common for the shorter trips. That said, there can be no assumption about what will and will not be seen as all of the ships in Antarctica are subject to weather and ice conditions. The ice rating of the Explorer allows the ship more flexibility and that is a real consideration in this area. What impressed us most was the clear objective of the captain and expedition staff to show us as much as possible and we were able to do a few special things like cruise through the Lemaire Channel, which was breathtakingly beautiful. There was variety in our landings - usually two a day - with zodiac tours, Port Lockroy and several stops for penguins/birds. Bad weather forced us to leave Antarctica a day early, which was a decision made for safety and seemingly understood by all. As a result, we spent an extra day in Ushuaia. SS put together a tour of the beautiful national park but, because of heavy rain, it was more like a sort of tedious bus trip. Overall, we were very satisfied that we had a good overview of Antarctica. Of course, it was short and, time permitting, it would have been nice to go to South Georgia and similar ports, but it was sufficient. SHIP CONDITION This is not a new ship, and it is a bit frayed around the edges. However, it was kept very clean and that is our priority. For an expedition ship, we found the ship very comfortable. FELLOW PASSENGERS There were 107 people on board: 45 were from China and the rest was a mix from all over the world - for sure, UK, US, Netherlands, Russia, NZ, Australia, Ireland, Germany, among others. Large groups can change the dynamics of a sailing and one group of 26 was challenging at times. My suggestion is that the staff, right upfront, makes it clear that there is a rotation of zodiac groups and that people are NOT permitted to go other than at the appointed time. Overall, however, it was a pleasant group of travel companions. FOOD/BEVERAGE We were very impressed with how hard the chef, Pia, and her staff worked to make the meals interesting and provide numerous options given the limitations of the kitchen and supplies. The food was superior to ours on the Shadow, which wasn't expected. The dining room was very friendly and Anna was masterful at making people feel comfortable and seating them as they wished....it was no problem to dine alone or with others. We can't comment on the wine, but the beverage staff was terrific in all venues of the ship. In addition, the wait staff was fantastic. CHARTER The charter days were tedious. We arrived at the domestic airport two hours before the flight, as requested, and our boarding passes for the LAN charter were already printed. There didn't seem to be much opportunity to make seating requests. There didn't seem to be much concern about the weight limits on the way down, but there were some hassles with carry on weight for some people on the way back from Ushuaia. The flight down was approx. 4 hours. Upon arrival, we were driven to lunch at a restaurant and were there for two hours. Following that, we were driven to the ship, with several stops along the way, all designed to kill time. It was a very long day.... On the return, we were put on buses at 9 AM and driven about 150 yards to a parking lot in Ushuaia where we had "free time" for two hours. Then a two hour wait at the airport followed by the 4 hours flight back to Buenos Aires' domestic airport. At rush hour, the drive to the International airport can take well over an hour, so be sure to leave enough time for a connecting flight. EXPEDITION STAFF The staff on board was sensational - all specialists in various topics and excited to share their interests with the passengers. There were many lectures which could be watched in the theater or on TV in the room. As an aside, the sight lines for the theater are terrible. Everyone is on the same level, so a few tall people upfront (isn't that always the way?) can block half the screen. There are also poles scattered around the room. The expedition staff spent a lot of time with passengers and added greatly to the experience. CABINS The cabins were surprisingly comfortable for an expedition ship. I know that many people don't spend time in their rooms, but I was happy to have a larger space for the long days on the Drake Passage. There are 4 butlers for the ship, so they are very busy, but we found ours to be delightful and responsive. The room was kept in good order and any minor issues were addressed quickly. ATTIRE This is a very casual cruise. There were only two "casually elegant" nights on the ship and maybe a bit more than half of the men wore jackets on those evenings. Otherwise, it is mostly sweaters and slacks for all meals. Sneakers are fine for walking around the ship. Some people had Uggs. Again, casual footwear and definitely rubber soles. We rented boots from the ship and were very happy with them. The red parka provided to all guests was perfect - warm and waterproof. Sizes could be changed for either, which was on the questions I had before we got on board. For landings, we followed the guidelines suggested - two layers and waterproof pants/parka. A gaiter is a must. We had two sets of clothing for landings and that was plenty. There is a self service laundry on the ship as well as laundry service by the staff, so don't overpack. NITS We were not impressed with the documents provided by Silversea. There was not a lot of detail in some areas and we had to call them for a few kind of obvious questions. We also missed the "leave behind" information for our family. Finally, the booklet and and separate paper regarding the charter had different weight limits listed, something many of our fellow passengers noted. This is an important detail and the correct limit should be clear. On departure day, we were told that no changes to our bill could be made after 8 AM. Our bill arrived in our room in the middle of the night and had an error of a few hundred dollars. At 6:15 AM we were told that the person with authority to change the bill could not be found. It took until 7:30 to get this sorted out. While it may not be a big deal, it seems obvious that, with such a small window for corrections, the person responsible should be available on departure morning. OVERALL We were delighted with our choice of the Explorer for our trip. The crew was professional and caring and there was a surprising degree of comfort given the locale.   Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
The Silver Galapagos takes 100 guests and was not full either week of our b2b cruise. Guests fly from either Quito or Guayaquil (Ecuador) on a LAN flight to Baltra, Galapagos which is a five minute coach ride to the tiny pier where zodiacs ... Read More
The Silver Galapagos takes 100 guests and was not full either week of our b2b cruise. Guests fly from either Quito or Guayaquil (Ecuador) on a LAN flight to Baltra, Galapagos which is a five minute coach ride to the tiny pier where zodiacs arrive to take you to the anchored ship in the bay. The officers and crew are by law Ecuadorian and the Naturalists are from the Galapagos, most of them live there so there knowledge is extensive. The cabins compare well to the ships in the main Silversea fleet and were renovated in September 2014. We were on deck 3 which is convenient for the Explorer Lounge (lecture theatre) from where all trips depart. The Main Dining Room is on deck 2, the bar on 4 and the open air grill deck 5. There is a tiny spa, gym and jacuzzi fore on deck 6. Our cabin had a large double bed, a sofa which converts to a bed if needed, a large desk with four electrical plugs, three wardrobes and plenty of drawers for clothes. There is a small fridge which is stocked with whatever you want. The shower room is tiny; about 6 foot by 3 foot and has a half width glass screen which makes keeping the water in the shower a challenge. There is one basin and lots of shelves and a washing line in the shower cubicle. Cabin 340 has three square windows and there is a walkway outside so when the crew are moving forward to the zodiac and kayak storage area curtains need closing. Passengers do not tend to use the walkway much. The food was generally excellent with plentiful fresh fish, lobster most days, excellent meat and a highlight for us was the ceviche (cold soup) at the deck grill at lunch time. We also ate at the grill some evenings when hot rocks are used and you cook your own meat or fish which are served with a baked potato and grilled vegetables. We were not so happy with the breakfast offerings which did not change day to day. Individual orders were taken for eggs and omelettes but the buffet was unexciting and the pastries poor. The bread baked on board was good. The crew are learning fast but often the language barrier led to poor service. We usually received what we wanted but sometimes it took a couple of times of asking. Silversea are working hard to sort this out and a long time Hotel Director has been on board for the past few months to improve staff training. Ecuadorian law only allows staff to be on board for a limited time (6 weeks I believe) before they have a short break. It is a very different system to other ships in the Silversea fleet and one management are adapting to. Generally the ship was a happy one but there is room for improvement. Zodiacs are used for every departure from the ship whether to visit the islands, snorkel, kayak or just go on a zodiac tour. The zodiac drivers and Naturalists made us feel very secure when getting on an off and safety is a priority. The visits were very interesting and we saw all we had hope to and more. Full wetsuits, flippers and snorkel masks are available on board and well organised aft on deck 3. The sights when snorkelling were amazing. We saw turtles, sealions, penguins and myriads of fish at very close quarters and to top it all a white tipped reef shark cruised by 12 feet below us one morning. There is a debrief and information session at 7 pm each evening which is very useful to attend. Disembarkation is by zodiac at 0930 and the flight back to Guayaquil and Quito leaves at about 1 pm. The luggage is taken from outside your cabin at 6 am and you do not need to see it again until your arrival in Ecuador which certainly makes life easy. We would recommend Silver Galapagos to anyone interested in visiting this extraordinary part of the World. It is a very active cruise with three or four included activities every day so a reasonable level of fitness is needed. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
Was worried when I saw that only half (or so) of cruisers liked Silver Galapagos. Then after sailing I realized that's because this ship is not for everyone. Those who have sailed with Silversea need to recognize this is not a typical ... Read More
Was worried when I saw that only half (or so) of cruisers liked Silver Galapagos. Then after sailing I realized that's because this ship is not for everyone. Those who have sailed with Silversea need to recognize this is not a typical SilverSea cruise. Its an expedition in every sense of the word. The expedition guides were amazing. They were patient with their guests and answered all our questions. They moved the groups along and ensured everyone was taken care of. They gently reminded people to remain within the trails and not get too close to the wildlife. This is a very active cruise - but they tell you the night before exactly what to expect for the following day so you can choose your adventure appropriately. The hikes can be very difficult to very easy - you choose. We took advantage of the more strenuous hikes on several occasions and really enjoyed them. They offered kayaking twice and we enjoyed it. Snorkeling was offered almost everyday - both from the beach and from a zodiac for deep water. Do the zodiac! You can read lots online about the Galapagos - so I won't go into too much detail. I'll focus on the cruise portion. The ship was beautiful. They really did a nice job with the renovations. Everything looked new and really couldn't find anything that looked worn. Our cabin (508) was a balcony and it was really nice. Our first thought was it was small - but as the week went on we changed out minds. It was plenty big. Especially as you are so busy you don't spend much time in your cabin. The bathroom had marble counters. There was no separate tub and bath but the shower was large enough with a glass wall. Amenities are 'eco-friendly' - sorry no Bulgari or Ferragamo. Cabin serviced twice a day. Our Butler was the best we've ever had (Alvaro). He made sure we had everything we needed. One night when I was not feeling well, he brought me soup without being asked. Food on the ship was good - not great. They are limited as to what they can get on the ship due to Ecuadorian regulations. Sounds like a scapegoat - but its true. That being said - local seafood was really, really great. Lobster or large prawns everyday at lunch. Dining room was very nice. Service was great. Not a very ornate menu - but always a choice of 3-4 starters and 3-4 mains. Desserts were a letdown. We ate at the the grill for dinner twice. Same experience as other Silversea cruises. For lunch each day we enjoyed the grill outdoors. Small buffet with salad and soup, order main course from a menu (great lobster & shrimp), and a dessert buffet. They offered a fresh ceviche each day. It was amazing. The only thing we can fault here is the pizza. It was the same everyday. It was good but the hawaiian pizza looked amazing like the cheese pizza each day. A lot has been said in previous reviews about the staff and their english skills. We found no issues at all. They did everything they could for you. If they didn't understand something, they would stick with it until they figured it out. The Ecuadorians are friendly people. They engaged in conversation. They ensured you had plenty to eat and drink. You can't expect the same level of service as on other Silversea ships where SS can hire from around the globe. There is a smaller hiring pool for this ship as they all need to be Ecuadorian - but again - could not find any fault with the staff on the ship. After being on the ship for about 2 hours, they referred to us by name and used our names throughout the cruise. They knew where we liked to sit, what we liked to drink, and what we ate the previous day. They were very engaged. If you are going to the Galapagos - this is the ONLY way to do it. We saw other boats and forms of accommodation. Nothing even comes close. Heard from folks who went on the Celebrity ship and they enjoyed it - but by all descriptions - not even close to the SilverSea experience. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
We have just returned from Voyage 8440 and although the Expedition Staff on and off the Silver Galapagos were 10 out of 10, we amongst many of the guests were appalled with the quality of the food and service. The breakfast buffet was of a ... Read More
We have just returned from Voyage 8440 and although the Expedition Staff on and off the Silver Galapagos were 10 out of 10, we amongst many of the guests were appalled with the quality of the food and service. The breakfast buffet was of a very poor quality and variety. Twice I ordered eggs at breakfast and they simply were not delivered, every day the sausages, bacon and scrambled eggs on the buffet were cold, now I don't mean warm or tepid I mean stone cold. At dinner on 3 days running there was no sorbet and on two full days no vanilla ice cream. The head chef stopped by our table and I asked what the problem was with the sorbet and the ice cream and he told us that they had run out and did not have the machinery to produce them - this is frankly absurd, and pathetic for a 'head' chef. The food at dinner was most nights over cooked. On one night I order my steak rare, the first one was well done, so I asked for it as I ordered, so the waiter kindly replaced it with another one also well done, the third one was possibly medium and I frankly just accepted it and didn't bother eating it. The waiters served the rather ordinary wine haphazardly, topping up a half glass of red wine with a totally different wine for example, regularly. The layout and decor of the restaurant is very dull, repressive and refectory like. The piano lounge is just a mess, the lighting is turgid and the furniture and decor smacks of the 1970's. This ambiance, service and food was not what we were expecting from our previous trips on the Silver Explorer. Great expedition, but 3* hotel service. All in all Silversea let is down. On the positive side we came home without putting any weight on. This was not a Silversea as we had come to know it. All the trips to the Galapagos follow the same itinerary, with the same qualified guides, so why we paid a significant premium for substandard service with Silversea is in hindsight extremely disappointing. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our first expedition cruise and our first cruise with Silverseas. We have previously cruised with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Star Clippers. Our favourite (before this one) was the one with Star Clippers. Now ... Read More
This was our first expedition cruise and our first cruise with Silverseas. We have previously cruised with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Star Clippers. Our favourite (before this one) was the one with Star Clippers. Now it's a close run thing!! We have also enjoyed catamaran cruises on 5 -cabin catamarans with Tradewinds, so we do have a tendency to prefer the smaller ship experience. This cruise exceeded my expectations in most aspects. Embarkation was easy and exactly as described. We were met at the airport and taken by coach to the dock where we were issued with life-jackets and taken by zodiacs to the ship. There were minimal delays to this process as there were 4 zodiacs in total and each held about 16 passengers. On boarding the ship, we were greeted with a glass of sparkling wine/champagne and accompanied to our cabins. The cabin (514) was a veranda suite. Silversea call all their cabins 'suites' but in truth, they are much the same size as most other cruise ships we have been on. The exception was the Star Clipper where the cabin was definitely smaller. The Silver Galapagos cabin was possibly a bit wider at the point where the sofa was, and we both agreed that the cabin was the nicest that we had had, but I think it's a bit cheeky calling it a 'suite'. The cabin was extremely well equipped with backpacks and water bottles for both of us to use on the cruise and to keep afterwards, and a pair of binoculars to use on the cruise. The fridge was filled with beers and soft drinks and there were snacks on the side. These were replenished as and when they were used. Our first choice would have been one of the terraced suites (505 and 506) but these were both taken. With hindsight we were pleased about that. The terrace at the front of these is accessible to everyone and we went down and sat on it a couple of times when our balcony was shaded and a bit cool. I think that it was mainly the people in 505 and 506 that used the terrace and it WAS very nicely furnished, but I wouldn't have liked the idea that people could sit right outside my cabin, and in fact, it did seem to always be a bit too windy on that spot. We also considered the deluxe veranda suites as these weren't selling at a huge premium when we booked. I think they did have very slightly bigger balconies but we had the advantage of being on a higher deck with easy access to the front terrace and the grill bar, so we actually decided that we were very happy with our decision to stick with the standard veranda suite. If I was booking again and had the choice of ANY cabin, I'd opt for any of the veranda suites on the same side as we were. I liked our side of the ship because we often seemed to be looking at the sunsets but I don't know if the ship always ends up in the same spots. Maybe we were just lucky!! I LOVED having a balcony and we actually used it more than I thought we would on this trip - especially in the gap between excursions (usually between about 12 and 3.30 when the ship was moving) and then again when we came back from the 2nd excursion and just before the evening briefing and dinner. The food on the ship was very good, and better than I expected after reading about the inferior quality of meats in the Galapagos. Breakfast was a standard buffet, typical of what you would find in a large hotel. We usually ate lunch on the grill deck where there was a soup and salad buffet and a choice of various dishes cooked to order. There was ALWAYS lobster on the menu there and people seemed to love it though I'm not a big lobster fan. We did eat lunch once in the restaurant on Deck 2 and found that to also be very good with a wider choice than upstairs and it was again buffet style. We always ate dinner in the restaurant and never had a bad meal. Portions were not large but there were plenty of courses if you wished to have them and lots of people did! Apparently the stone grill on deck was quite fun but we didn't try it as we found it a bit cold on deck in the evenings. But we spoke to people who did and they said that the food was great. Possibly the worst thing about the ship was the service in the dining room and in the cabins. The staff were very friendly but really still need to get up to speed with providing the standard of service that people seem to expect on Silverseas. This didn't particularly bother us but there were often mistakes made. On the one and only time when we ordered room service, we asked for afternoon tea on our balcony. They serve afternoon tea in the piano bar and this consists of little sandwiches, pastries and cakes. Our tray arrived with a pot of hot water, 2 cups and a tea-bag!! Not even milk or sugar!! When I was disappointed the steward went off and came back with 2 sandwiches so I went down to the piano bar and got it myself! But if the dining staff were not up to scratch, the naturalist guides more than made up for them! They were excellent! We had been a bit concerned about going on one of the bigger ships in the Galapagos but we needn't have worried. Each guide is not allowed to take more than 16 people but Silverseas employ about 8 guides and we didn't ever go in a group with more than about 12 people. All of them seemed to be well qualified and were very knowledgeable and we didn't ever hear any complaints about any of them. In fact, we learned that one of the guides had even worked on a David Attenborough tv production. Our favourite was Juan Carlos who had been guiding for almost 40 years! The ship's crew also seemed to be very efficient and very friendly and helpful. On each day, there would be 2 stops and at each stop there was usually a choice of activity. Activities included nature treks, snorkeling, kayaking, glass bottom boat rides or zodiac excursions. On 3 of the stops there were minibuses to take people to, for example, the tortoise breeding centre. On 2 of the stops there were opportunities to do some shopping in the towns on San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. My husband's only complaint about the activities was they were not energetic enough! He is a bit of a fitness fanatic and he felt that he didn't get enough exercise on this holiday. It is true that they tended to exaggerate how strenuous the treks would be. In reality they were a bit of a dawdle as there is obviously a lot of stopping to look at things. There was only one fairly energetic hike but even that did not go far and was much shorter than they originally said. I guess they have to anticipate that some people will be a lot slower than on our particular cruise! We did enjoy the kayaking but that was only offered twice and was over-subscribed so difficult to get a place. To be fair to Silverseas, when they saw this they immediately organised another opportunity, but we would have liked even more of this. The nature treks were excellent and obviously the main focus of the cruise. However, I have to say that by the time we had got to the end of the week, we had seen enough boobies, marine iguanas and sea-lions!! Another example of the staff responding to our individual needs was when we stopped at San Cristobal, the advertised activity was a minibus visit to the tortoise breeding centre. I had already visited one of these as we spent a week in the islands before the cruise, so I asked if there would be much point in going on this excursion. The guide I spoke to advised that it probably wouldn't. However, she immediately suggested that we could join another couple on a trip to the Interpretation Centre. They were organising that for the other couple because they were on a back-to-back and would also have been repeating the visit. We were most impressed with this. Disembarkation was as efficient as embarkation. Bags had to be packed by 6 am and they were then taken to the airport and even checked in for us. We left the ship at around 9.30 for a 12.45 flight. We were issued with our boarding passes at the airport and then given use of a special VIP lounge where there were free refreshments. Really most impressive! To summarise, I think that Silverseas have done a great job with their cruise offering in the Galapagos. I would highly recommend them and would definitely consider more of their expeditions. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
My husband enjoyed our amazing vacation on the expedition ship, Silver Galapagos. This was not a relaxing luxury vacation and we knew this when we planned our adventure. Adventure is the key experience we were seeking and an adventure was ... Read More
My husband enjoyed our amazing vacation on the expedition ship, Silver Galapagos. This was not a relaxing luxury vacation and we knew this when we planned our adventure. Adventure is the key experience we were seeking and an adventure was what we got. The ship was beautiful and the staff was very accommodating. Requests were met with the response "it would be my pleasure." and the request was granted promptly. I experienced no issue with communication. The crew spoke English much better than I speak Spanish. Each evening the expedition staff would conduct a briefing of the next days itinerary that included a thorough explanation and pictures of the trails we could hike and the wild life we would see. Most days an easy and a strenuous hike would be offered as well as deep water or beach snorkeling and kayaking. Snorkeling equipment included wet suites. Every day we saw a wide variety of birds, fish, amphibians as well as insects. The variety was amazing. We saw, tortoise, land and sea iguanas, sea lions,a huge variety of birds including the Blue/Red Footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Darwin's finches, mocking birds and the huge Waved Albatross. A memory I will never forget is snorkeling above a hammer head shark....Priceless!!! The expedition team kept us all safe and ensured that we did not violate rules that protect the fragile environment and wildlife. The cruise director Israel and Brad the naturalists insured that all guests were well informed and educated about all the Galapagos has to offer. They were very knowledgeable, personable and enthusiastic. All scheduled activities were punctual, organized and safe. The zodiac captains were well trained and skilled in maneuvering the boats with the currents and rocks as challenges in navigation. We visited two sights a day and by 7PM we could not keep our eyes opened but did not miss a delicious meals. I went to bed after dinner and my husband enjoyed listening and playing the piano with the piano player. The food was delicious, fresh and ample. Drinks are complimentary and there was a large selection. I enjoyed the passion fruit margarita. The ship was clean and our cabin was well maintained. The air-conditioner worked great. My husband likes it cold so I needed an extra blanket. The ship is now in dry dock for a face lift so I will not spend time on the cosmetics of the ship. I recommend this cruise to anyone wanting a true adventure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
I read all of the reviews of this ship and i just don´t understand why the reviews aren´t higher than they are. The exhibition team was just fabulous. They were knowledgeable, patient, and really knew their stuff and made it fun, ... Read More
I read all of the reviews of this ship and i just don´t understand why the reviews aren´t higher than they are. The exhibition team was just fabulous. They were knowledgeable, patient, and really knew their stuff and made it fun, answering all questions along the way. There were lectures the day before so you knew what to expect and could choose the excursión level that suited you. All excursions are included in the Price, as is tip and liquor. Although we were with several different guides, I felt that each knew my name after the first day. All staff members made a huge effort to know each person´s name. Before the cruise, I filled out information about myself. When i arrived, there was a note in my cabin that the maitre di, Ramón, wanted to meet with me to discuss my dietary restrictions. I was so impressed. I do not like seafood and he came up to me at every buffet to let me know which ítems had seafood and when my chicken was on the grill, he made sure it wasn´t near any seafood. He was so attentive and accommodating. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Visiting the Galapagos was at the top of my bucket list, and this cruise was a dream come true. We got a chance to see all the wildlife we'd hoped for, plus more. The onboard naturalists did an excellent job of letting us know what to ... Read More
Visiting the Galapagos was at the top of my bucket list, and this cruise was a dream come true. We got a chance to see all the wildlife we'd hoped for, plus more. The onboard naturalists did an excellent job of letting us know what to expect and guiding us on our shore expeditions. The all-Ecuadorian staff provided gracious hospitality, especially Ramon, the maitre d' who seemed to be everywhere, making sure everyone had an excellent dining experience. The ship was small enough so that the staff all knew our names and preferences. I expected an older crowd, but there were a lot of young families on this cruise. To fully enjoy a voyage like this one, you must be fit; all shore excursions and even embarkation/disembarkation were by Zodiac. Landings ashore were sometimes in water or on rocky coastline. The Zodiac crew and expedition team did a great job of ensuring everyone's safety, despite some rough seas one day. The days were filled with activities, so there wasn't much time to enjoy onboard amenities like the gym and hot tub. We usually had hikes in the morning and afternoon, as well as optional snorkeling and kayaking. We visited three different turtle reserves and two small island towns. We also had several excellent lectures to enrich our experience. Silversea provided snorkeling gear, wet suits, and even binoculars! I understand that because of our location, the food was not the usual fare of Silversea. But we had the opportunity to try lots of local cuisine and South American wines, as well as excellent seafood. Lobster was on the menu every day, both at lunch and dinner! Overall, we had a fantastic experience, and I recommend it highly. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
Wow, I disagree with a lot of the review below. We had a spectacular time and thought the service was first rate. The waiters were very responsive and polite - super professional. Juanito, one of our room stewards, made wonderful ... Read More
Wow, I disagree with a lot of the review below. We had a spectacular time and thought the service was first rate. The waiters were very responsive and polite - super professional. Juanito, one of our room stewards, made wonderful "towel animals" for us every day. Our room was kept tidy (even our clothes were folded for us) and clean. Every member of the staff was great and went above and beyond. We've traveled on Silversea once before, and the service on Silver Galapagos was as good as on Silver Spirit. We were surprised at how much we enjoyed the food, given the terrible prior reviews. We enjoyed our meals - plenty of selection and very good quality. If you're looking for Michelin-rated dining, then don't go to the Galapagos. But we thought the food was really good. The pastry chef made delicious cookies and crème caramel, along with other great desserts. We didn't care that much about what liquors were available, but I do see what the prior reviewer means. This is an expensive trip and one might have expected upgraded liquors. But it didn't impact us. I was happy with Bailey's Irish Cream and vodka with cranberry juice. The expeditions were all outstanding and every single guide was an expert. It was incredible - they knew every flower, bird, animal, and tree. There were no questions left unanswered. And we swam with turtles and sea lions. It was magical. Incidentally, the staff was excellent when it came to ensuring everyone's safety. Absolutely excellent! We were on many of Fernando's tours, and he was fantastic (as was Jorge, Xavier, and all the rest). Ivan's photography was great. It's true that the ship could use a face lift. That's the one part that is not up to Silversea's standards, especially considering the price. But our room was still lovely (although if you look closely, you can definitely tell that it's seen better days - paint peeling, terrace balcony not varnished, etc.). But I have no qualms about recommending this trip. It was fantastic, and Silversea has clearly been working very hard to fix most of the prior problems. We had such a good time, we didn't want to come home. Ok, I do admit that Silversea really needs to do something about the elevator situation. There was one small elevator that was operated by a hamster running around in a wheel. I don't deny that there were times when I was so tired I would have liked to use an elevator rather than climb 4 flights of stairs. Despite the elevator, it was a wonderful trip and I highly recommend it. Incidentally, we were supposed to go on Celebrity's Galapagos trip last year, but it was cancelled due to Lobster-gate. When Celebrity cancelled a week before our trip, we scrambled to book another trip and ended up on Silver Spirit in the Mediterranean. It was so awesome that we ultimately booked Silver Galapagos instead of Celebrity for our Galapagos trip. For anyone thinking about going on the Celebrity trip, please note that Celebrity, as compensation, sent us coupons for 25% off any Celebrity cruise. Five weeks later, they rescinded the coupons and sent us new coupons for 25% off ONLY the Galapagos trip. That trip was booked so far out and was totally booked during any times we could go, that the coupons were rendered useless (and had a 2 year time limit). We're done with Celebrity (not because they cancelled, but because of the way they handled the aftermath), and Silversea is the beneficiary of our future cruises. In fairness to Celebrity, however, a friend went on Celebrity in February and had a wonderful time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
We sailed out of Baltra on the Silver Galapagos for the 7 night Western Itinerary on May 31 to June 7. Our hotel stay at the Marriott prior to the cruise was great, transfers and flights from Quito went smoothly. Silverseas staff was ... Read More
We sailed out of Baltra on the Silver Galapagos for the 7 night Western Itinerary on May 31 to June 7. Our hotel stay at the Marriott prior to the cruise was great, transfers and flights from Quito went smoothly. Silverseas staff was gracious and efficient in handling our luggage and getting us where we needed to be. The Silver Galapagos is an older ship that has been partially updated by Silverseas. There are parts of the ship that retain some of the charm of older boats ( glossy wood paneling, varnished decks and mirrored dressing tables) and other areas that have been refurbished (bathrooms, dining area, jacuzzi and spa) but the pipes are old (hence the banging and clanging behind our walls when the jacuzzi on the deck above was heating up) and the shower took half an hour to drain after use. Bed was very comfortable, with lovely high quality linens, and there is plenty of storage in the cabin. Our cabin, #506, was just inside from a large deck with sofas at the bow of the boat, and surprisingly no one else used it but us and our friends. One night we sat out there and watched the most spectacular display of stars that we had ever seen. The butler service that Silversea promises was spotty and unreliable in our cabin. We hardly saw the room staff, and they did not respond to phone calls when we wanted to order some drinks or food. It seemed that they had lots of other duties on board, as we would see them around the ship and dining area. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day and fresh towels were abundant, but we rarely saw them in person. Our friends on deck 4 had a better experience, and when one of them was sick for a couple of days ( not sure what he ate) the butler was solicitous and brought the patient tea and toast. Food in the dining room was quite good, nicely presented and with great variety at lunch and dinner. Breakfast was buffet style, plentiful, fresh, and pretty much the same every day. The evening dining service was unreliable, with language issues being part of the problem, and obvious inexperience on the part of the wait staff. That said, the staff was always friendly and welcoming, and were clearly working very hard. We felt that they just hadn't been doing this very long and needed more training around anticipating the needs of the diners and knowing how to provide good service. The South American wines that were served each night were quite good, and we never felt the need to ask for a full wine list. Cocktails could also be ordered at dinner. We were disappointed that there was no ice cream for the entire cruise. Not sure what happened but it seemed that there was a delivery problem. Loved the Galapagos lobster! In general the hotel aspects of the cruise were fair to good, but inconsistent. We felt that better supervision was needed in both the cabins and the dining room. This was our first Silversea cruise, so we have nothing to compare it to but other cruise lines, but we understand that they take pride in their service. I don't think this was up to par. That said, we were very pleased with the Naturalist guides, boat staff and all the excursions out to the islands. The guides were all incredibly knowledgeable, many of them with advanced degrees in marine biology and environmental studies, and on top of that they were personable, warm and engaging. We went in small groups, and never felt crowded on our walks about the area. In fact we rarely saw people from other boats, which led us to believe that the itinerary is carefully planned for providing the guests with the best possible experience. Snorkeling trips were fantastic, but not enough of them. Deep water snorkeling was challenging, as the waters are rough, but for us it was some of the best ever. Seeing a 15 foot whale shark emerge just below us was a thrill of a lifetime. Disembarkation was unremarkable. It's never fun to leave a ship after a great week of vacation with friends. There's always a lot of waiting around, and you could tell that the staff was focused on getting ready for the new guests, but that's always the way on a cruise ship. Transfers to the airport were smooth, and Silversea staff was there to assist us right up to departure back to the mainland. The love and respect that the local guides have for the islands is obvious, and one could not help but feel the same way after seeing the amazing wildlife, plants and sea creatures that are living in peace and harmony on the islands. This is a place in the world that everyone should see! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
Overall, our Galapagos vacation was unforgettable - definitely a "MUST DO" experience. My review focuses on Silversea's claim to offer an ultra-luxury version of the Galapagos on its "new" ship, the Silver. The ... Read More
Overall, our Galapagos vacation was unforgettable - definitely a "MUST DO" experience. My review focuses on Silversea's claim to offer an ultra-luxury version of the Galapagos on its "new" ship, the Silver. The Silver welcomes you to your cabin with an apology letter. This emphasizes that Silversea usually employs Filipinos, but is required by the Galapagos National Park to hire only Ecuadorians. Does Silversea believe Ecuadoreans are inferior to Filipinos? In order to provide its expected level of service, couldn't Silversea pay higher wages for an Ecuadorean crew that's better experienced and fluent in English? The Silver’s service staff was friendly and tried very hard, but only a few were capable of delivering the promised excellence. The letter also explained that they're prohibited from importing certain fruits and meats into the Galapagos. Fine, but that's not an excuse for the mediocre quality fruit, nor the (sometimes) frozen seafood we were served. Otherwise, the food was very good, and we enjoyed having a choice between the lively outdoor grill and the calm, cool restaurant. I don't usually don't like buffets, but the restaurant lunches were excellent. The ship itself has been very well re-designed. Common areas are comfortable and inviting. Cabins are spacious (but only by Galapagos standards), although the A/C was sometimes insufficient, and suites are poorly configured for an expedition cruise (lots of closet space, but not enough shelves). Our itinerary was extremely well planned: excursions early in the morning and later in the afternoon, with free time in between. Naturalist guides are trained by the Galapagos National park, so they’re excellent whether your cruise is luxurious or basic. They’re also limited by law to 16 guests per guide, so Silversea doesn’t offer anything special when it comes to staffing excursions. As I stated in the beginning, we loved our trip to the Galapagos. I believe my review of Silversea might have been more positive, except for our disappointing last experience. Silversea did a flawless job at arrival, with transfers, hotels, tricky Galapagos customs and baggage. But on disembarkation, they completely dropped the ball. We were evicted from our staterooms at 7:30 am to prepare for incoming passengers. Silversea’s original itinerary promised a morning departure for the mainland, but instead we had to wait in the sweltering Baltra airport for a 1 pm flight. Then Siversea charged us for transfers and a day hotel room in Guayaqil, where we ended up having less down-time than in Baltra. Where was the attention to detail that had enticed me to book this (my first) Silversea cruise? While I will always treasure this Galapagos experience, I'm not sure that I can recommend paying a premium for the somewhat flawed luxury of Silversea. To Silversea: please stop apologizing, and fix the bugs. If you can’t deliver on your promised level of quality here, why should passengers trust you on trips elsewhere?   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
After a week on the Silver Galapagos I’ve hours to spend travelling so might as well write a review. Overall the visit to the Galapagos was fantastic and most of the Silverseas Experience was also very good. So let’s start with the ... Read More
After a week on the Silver Galapagos I’ve hours to spend travelling so might as well write a review. Overall the visit to the Galapagos was fantastic and most of the Silverseas Experience was also very good. So let’s start with the not so good which has mainly been the last couple of days of the cruise. Friday’s tour on land seemed designed to suit the needs of the crew to get us off the ship for as long as possible. We were off the ship at 8am to visit the tortoises and that could easily have been completed and back on board for lunch, instead we were supplied the worst meal of the week at a local restaurant and were not given the option to return to the ship until 4pm (although they eventually grudgling agreed to do so at 2.30). Now we’re on Saturday, so its out of your cabin by 7.30a.m sit around on the ship until 9.30pm for the short bus journey to the airport to wait another nearly 3 hours for the flight. Surely something could have been organised to make good use of this 5 hours of time while still in the Galapagos? We booked the mainland/Galapagos flights through Silverseas and also a day room at a Guayaquil hotel for today. However, they didn't notify us until yesterday that the flight times had changed so we arrived in Guayaquil only just over 4 hours before our home flight, so there was no point in transferring to the day room (that we have paid for!) and we have instead stayed at the airport Anyway, back to the beginning of the week Arrivals in to Quito Airport, on to the hotel and then back to the airport (5.30am start) were all well organised. In between we enjoyed a fantastic full day tour of Quito/Equator organised by the Silverseas local agent(booked at the hotel on arrival). A beautiful city and well worth a stop-over. On arrival to Baltra airport the move to the Silver Galapagos was short and quick and at the harbour we got to see the first Sea Lions. Lunch was served as soon as we arrived on board. In the afternoon there was a welcome lecture with introductions to all the Naturalists and other crew members. This was combined with the safety procedures, which did make it a bit of an over long session. Activities Every day was an early start with 8 am disembarkations considered a luxury lie in. Some days there was a gap after lunch for those who needed a nap but on others it was a busy morning and afternoon. The activities were Zodiac(inflatable tours), kayaking, beach and deep sea snorkelling and walks. On some days we did all of them! What we saw on land and in the water was amazing and what makes the cost of this holiday experience worthwhile. Up close, Iguanas, Tortoises, Turtles, Sealions, Sharks and so many different birds and fish. We even got to see an Orca from just a few metres away. Food The food on board was very good most of the time. The service was often slow and glasses including water stood empty even after asking for a refill. For wine drinkers there was a good selection of South American wines and for the beer drinkers there was at least a red and black alternative to the bland lager. There was an extensive range of cocktails etc. The outside Grill restaurant served an excellent range of mainly fish/prawns/lobster at lunch and could accommodate about half of the passengers so across the week we got there early enough on several days to eat there. In the evening is was necessary to book, which we did but by the third time the unchanging “hot rocks” menu while good was becoming a bit repetitive. The main restaurant provided an excellent wide ranging buffet breakfast. The buffet lunch was also good. Dinner menus had many courses and much variety through the week. Occasionally the food was overcooked. The Ship, Cabins and Service The Silver Galapagos has a good number of public spaces inside and outside and surprisingly good unlimited wifi access for $140 for the week. (Unlikely the unusably slow access at Baltra airport) We were in a deluxe verandah cabin which was big enough with a small seating area and we took the tip from other reviewers to put a case at the bottom of each wardrobe. The air conditioning was good enough providing that we kept the curtains closed. The shower was good, even if much of the water ended up on the floor! There was a large flat screen TV which we never switched on as we were too busy or too tired! We also never used the spa or fitness centre for the same reasons. The cabin service was OK but was often in response to requests rather than being pre-empted. Silver Galapagos still has room for improvements but I would recommend this trip as an excellent way to experience the Galapagos Islands.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
Just returned from a week in the Galapogas and we think it was probably 4 or 5 days to long. We are pretty seasoned travelers with about 200 cruises under our belts and a number of land trips also. This destination was on our bucket list ... Read More
Just returned from a week in the Galapogas and we think it was probably 4 or 5 days to long. We are pretty seasoned travelers with about 200 cruises under our belts and a number of land trips also. This destination was on our bucket list because we had heard from other travelers it was a must now that we gone it's not for us because there isn't much to do or see that is exceptional and day after day is pretty repetitive . Different birds, turtles,iguanas, sea lions and less than stellar snorkeling On to our accommodations, Silver Sea new Silver Galapogas, what a disappointment . On arrival from a zodiac a patched and dented hull, railings not varnished,18 steps to climb on and off daily. The carpet was a poor choice of color gray beige, looked dirty always room not. Bad. But bathroom floor buckling. Food poor, lunch up in the grill the best to offer, service. Not up to their standard, food and silverware taken away and next course but no silverware with it. No premium liquor, no non alcoholic beer. Lack of communication . Was served root beer for non alcoholic., asked for hot tea water and was given cold bottle water, asked for tomatoes on my salad and was given potatoes on a salad. Coffee in suite almost always cold even when we wrote HOT coffee. Friends of ours had a distressing problem when snorkeling and we're treated Nonchalant about it. I could go on an on but I would not recommend Silver Galapogas if you are going.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
I am writing this as we pull into the harbor at Baltra, after a glorious week traveling 435 miles around the Galapagos aboard Silver Galapagos. We came to the Galapagos to see pristine beaches and exotic wildlife, to snorkel and kayak, to ... Read More
I am writing this as we pull into the harbor at Baltra, after a glorious week traveling 435 miles around the Galapagos aboard Silver Galapagos. We came to the Galapagos to see pristine beaches and exotic wildlife, to snorkel and kayak, to soak up the sun, to dine outside in warm breezes, and to have guides and crew who knew what they were doing, who kept us safe and who were uncommonly nice. We also came for a curated itinerary that would expose us to the best of the Galapagos, and give us a taste of history and science along the way. We got what we came for! Silversea gave us a wonderful week. The expedition staff, especially its leader Danny, was truly top notch. Their skill made all the difference. It is hard to imagine a higher degree of luxury or personal service onboard or on shore, especially given where we were. Yes, the ship is old and the facilities limited compared to cruise ships, but this is an expedition ship that allows travel into remote coves and adjacent to isolated beaches. An upcoming dry dock holds promise that the physical plant will improve. But compared to the expedition ships we viewed in a couple of harbors along the way, this is far and away the most luxurious option. In terms of personal service -- which truly determines the degree of luxury -- it was the best we have had on a cruise anywhere. Each of us celebrated birthdays onboard, and our butler and cabin attendants made them very special indeed. The spa professional was the sweetest AND most capable masseuse, pedicurist, etc. The maitre d' took care of us like he worked only for us, especially in ensuring vegetarian options. He even allowed us to use the restaurant menu at the outdoor grill for dinner, which provided greater choice. For meals, the quality of the ingredients was always good, with unlimited native lobster, prawns and exotic fruits. You don't go on an expedition ship for soufflés and cherries jubilee; we ate plenty, and we ate well. We opted for the top category suite, and because of the small size of the ship, it turned out to be the smallest cabin (much less smallest suite) we every have had on any ship. No matter. It was efficiently laid out. The bed was very comfortable. And the bathroom was fine. So we had a week of adventures, were cared for beautifully, slept well and ate well. Can't ask for much more from a cruise. I recommend the Silver Galapagos enthusiastically. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Our 6th journey on Silversea and although we expected an 'expedition' type vacation, we were disappointed with the quality of the ship and the service. We did expect more from this stellar company. The 25 year old vessel badly ... Read More
Our 6th journey on Silversea and although we expected an 'expedition' type vacation, we were disappointed with the quality of the ship and the service. We did expect more from this stellar company. The 25 year old vessel badly needs to go into dry dock for a good overhaul. Throughout the voyage washrooms were unavailable and locked in public areas, with a smell emanating from them, air conditioning was almost non-existent, particularly in the restaurant, and the furnishings were worn and tired and in disrepair. Our cabin, a veranda suite was comfortable, although there was no space provided for our bags. I traveled with my husband and we only brought one suitcase each, but no room for them under the bed. It took 6 days to get a light bulb replaced and the emergency light did not go on when there was a brief power failure. The food was very poor. We understand that getting fresh food in Ecuador is difficult, although bananas, a staple there, were also very tired. I can find fresher at home. The restaurant where we were advised to wear 5 star resort clothing, no jeans, was hot and uncomfortable, and the food often inedible and certainly uninspired. The other eating venue outside had to be booked by reservation, although Silversea stresses that their ships are open seating. There were unused tables, but I believe there just wasn't enough staff to service this area, nor the 'hot rock' grills to go around. The reason we went on this cruse was to visit the Galapagos in comfort. The expedition staff led by Danny was first rate. The various trips we took were excellent and enjoyable. The enthusiastic guides like Xavier and Tommy were a delight. The wildlife and scenery incredible. We met many wonderful passengers who also were disappointed in the ship, service, and food and they expressed that this was their first and last Silversea voyage. We have trusted the brand over the many years we have been traveling with them, but no longer. We paid top dollar for what we had expected to be at the very least an excellent, well run ship in good repair with delicious food. We did not get this. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
This was my third cruise on a Silversea ship, and the second on the Explorer. The itinerary was fabulous, and the expedition staff was utterly superb; many of them were PhDs. There were frequent lectures, and many of the lecturers were at ... Read More
This was my third cruise on a Silversea ship, and the second on the Explorer. The itinerary was fabulous, and the expedition staff was utterly superb; many of them were PhDs. There were frequent lectures, and many of the lecturers were at a college or university level. The Explorer is a smaller ship, and the amenities are certainly not at the level one would expect on a larger ship. That having been said, the cabins were completely adequate, and a couple of issues with my cabin were resolved quickly. The dining room was a highlight, from the superb staff captained by dining room manager Anna (a superstar in every respect) to excellent food and a delightful staff. The only complaint was that dining in the evening sometimes ran a little long because people loved to talk! Most impressive was the attention the expedition staff paid to getting passengers on and off the ship, which in almost every case was via zodiac. The zodiac operation was smooth, highly professional, and the expedition staff and ship staff who worked with the zodiacs could not have been more professional. Land tours were fantastic, and expedition staff made exceptional efforts seeing that everyone got around to see as much as possible. It was obvious that the staff enjoyed their jobs and were enthusiastic about doing them well. Antarctica is a challenging trip under the best of circumstances, but Silversea is to be commended for making this a particularly outstanding trip. Visiting one of the most remote parts of the world in luxury is a real treat! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
The Silver Galapagos is a sad old vessel fit only for low budget travellers or the breakers. Neither it nor the service and quality on it lived up to any of Silversea’s descriptions. To avoid serious disappointment do not consider ... Read More
The Silver Galapagos is a sad old vessel fit only for low budget travellers or the breakers. Neither it nor the service and quality on it lived up to any of Silversea’s descriptions. To avoid serious disappointment do not consider sailing on it. If you are now contractually committed to sailing you must put the Company on notice that unless you receive the level of accommodation and on board service that is so outrageously over hyped in its sales literature you will be seeking a substantial cash refund. Our sailing did not have a full complement of guests. What it would be like with 100 passengers does not bear thinking about. As others have mentioned the suites were really only cabins with nowhere to put the cases. The shower cubicle was a tight fit, towels and flimsy robe got damp just for being in there for the duration a shower. Toiletries were sparse not even a shower cap. As these are normally provided everywhere now my wife cuts down on packing by no loading up the case with these any more. After asking one shower cap was provided for the duration. The balcony was very narrow. I acknowledge it was a comparatively small ship but very little thought had gone into the supposed overhaul of this ship and the minimum necessary done.. The Vista windows in other cabins we went in were something of a misnomer as they were three narrow windows of less than half length. Worse still curtains had to be kept closed in these at all times as the walkway went round them and people congregated. Again as others have mentioned the butler was really just a steward and no unpacking or packing was carried out or offered and we saw little of him on the first day. I am sure he was busy but it was not the service that was promised “on a ship that brought luxury to the Galapagos” at last. Forgive the pun but the waiting staff were all at sea and, for the most part, appeared not to have had any training. The main restaurant is long and narrow and the food inconsistent. Fine wines were promised but if one asked for them they were very begrudgingly given and then only the tiniest amount not even a standard 125ml.. Some of the higher Silversea staff admitted they knew they needed to do much more and they were still in a development phase – not acceptable when are paying the full dollar for a luxury trip. In case you are unaware all the itineraries and expeditions are organised and delivered by the GI National Park guides. That means whatever boat you go on your experience in this respect will be much the same. As seeing the Galapagos Islands and their wildlife is the reason for going on this trip you might as well save your money and disappointment and go on a less expensive, but probably better run established ship. I am happy to pay for comfort, quality and good service but if I am not going to get it, why bother. I just feel ripped off by totally misleading advertising. Perhaps with time they might get their act together but the ship will still be a very old ship and the makeover of the cabins could have been so much better. Browse the web, there is a good range out there. You can certainly do better than the Silver Galapagos. In the Galapagos this is a large ship. As a consequence there is quite a lot of queuing to get on the zodiacs on both the outward and return journeys.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2013
The good part: The Galapagos expedition team was superb w excellent lectures and informative land tours. They were extremely solicitous of everyone and enthusiastic. Wildlife was amazing. There are multiple expeditions each day w varying ... Read More
The good part: The Galapagos expedition team was superb w excellent lectures and informative land tours. They were extremely solicitous of everyone and enthusiastic. Wildlife was amazing. There are multiple expeditions each day w varying levels of intensity. I learned to appreciate the very early start of the land tours given the heat of mid-day at the equator. Also good: Silversea was amazing w the travel connections and transfers to various hotels, transportation modes, and airports. They saved us hours of time and never failed to show up as promised. We were truly impressed and pleased. The not so good: I found the food bland and unappetizing after just three days. With only one port stop, there was no opportunity to escape the routine until the next to last day when we had a wonderful onshore meal. The bad: There are only limited times for meals w the evening meal in both the main dining room and the grill not served until 7:30. That was really late for us, given that we were burning the calories w all the activities. Unfortunately, the grill dining is somewhat formal in that they do dish out bar food (burgers, taco, pizza) until 7:30. Can't understand why the grill can't open at 5:30. The embarrassing: Silversea should be ashamed of putting to sea w a ship in this shape. While I found the decor okay (some have called it outdated), the air conditioning was universally bad in the cabins w everyone complaining. If you happened to be in a cabin turned toward the sun, there was no way to be comfortable. My wife thought to bring two small travel fans that lets us survive. I would never consider a Silversea cruise because of this experience. My recommendation: Don't take this cruise. I heard that the ship is due to undergo drydock repairs soon and so you might consider it then. There are other cruise ships in the area and you might try them. But go to the Galapagos. By all means, take the Machu Picchu post-cruise package. Read Less
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