Deciding to venture to the White Continent is for many travelers the ultimate travel experience. It is also one that is often dreamt about for many years before a final commitment is made. Thoughts of frolicking penguins amid a faraway vast land of stunning endless whiteness, enormous, breaching humpback whales, and lollygagging, mammoth elephant seals, not to mention an ornithological orgy of epic proportions, spurs the imagination while contemplation of courageous journeys of historical eras past whets the appetite of the curious.
With more and more cruise lines sending expedition ships to the region, there are now more choices than ever. For this reason and given the time commitment and distance needed to reach the seventh continent, it’s very important to pick the right cruise line that squarely fits with your needs and desires so you can make the most of your trip-of-a-lifetime journey to Antarctica.
Having recently sailed on Silversea Cruise’s newest ship, the Silver Endeavour, for its inaugural voyage to Antarctica, here are eight reasons why you too will want to cruise there on this luxurious, magnificent ship.
Shorter on Time, Longer on Experience
What has often kept many travelers from visiting Antarctica is the time commitment it takes to get there. One of the most attractive aspects of the Silver Endeavour is that instead of the 36-hour crossing of the notorious Drake Passage from the southernmost tip of South America, which can either be a lake, or alternatively, a virulent shake, most of Endeavour’s voyages utilize the time-saving Antarctica Bridge.
Guests first fly from Santiago, Chile, to the southern city of Punta Arenas, then board a private chartered plane originally built for 100 and reconfigured to carry just 64-passengers to King George Island in the South Shetlands. Passengers then board a zodiac and embark directly onto the Endeavour. Having previously been to Antarctica and sailed the Drake Passage, both when it was a completely flat lake, and again a shake like the inside of a high-speed VitaMix, taking the Antarctica Bridge is, as the saying confirms, “The only way to go.”
Elaborately Luxurious and Lavish
Originally built in 2021 for Crystal Cruise line, Silversea Cruises purchased the ship this past July when Crystal’s assets went into receivership. One of the most expensive cruise ships ever built on a per suite basis, this PC6 Polar Class ship has redefined the art of luxury cruising while able to venture to some of the world’s most remote icy outposts for great adventures.
Throughout the ship Carrara-style marble with gold trim gleams while whimsical turquoise pops with colorful delight. Murano glass and intricate crystal lighting add elegance while vapor fireplaces throughout the ship add warmth and comfort. Carpets in gray, white, and blue are free form, and echo Antarctica’s natural color scheme.
Six-Star Public Areas
On many expedition ships passengers must carry all their outer gear down to embark onto zodiacs. The Endeavour however has a dedicated mudroom with numbered cubbies so guests can leave their waterproof boots and life vests just steps from the marina. Thus, heading out on expeditions is incredibly easy.
Learning about the region and early voyages made by some of Maritime’s most courageous explorers is a pleasure whether by expert lectures – polar historians, marine biologists, naturalists, and ornithologists – in the Observation Lounge with a perfectly prepared Martini, or while in the Study or well-curated Library. As all have floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll likely see wildlife as you simultaneously expand your intellectual horizons.
Suites, Butlers, and Unparalleled Service, Oh My
Happily, the Endeavour is an all-suite ship and are generously sized. Designed in serenely muted tones, it’s tough not to relax as a bottle of champagne on ice awaits guests on arrival. Bathrooms are also large with marble showers and top-notch amenities. A spacious walk-in closet has room for everything, while suites also have a two-person desk, separate vanity area and bar area with a Nespresso machine. A traditional balcony allows for great photo opportunities without having to leave one’s suite.
The Endeavour currently holds 200-passengers in 100 suites with a crew of 200, for a mind-boggling 1:1 guest/crew ratio. With such a ratio, service is vintage Silversea and impeccable. Additionally, like all Silversea ships, dedicated Butlers are assigned to each suite, so whether you want caviar and champagne at midnight while binge watching your favorite show or cappuccinos delivered at 6:30am, your Butler will make it promptly happen.
Food for Thought
Like every ship in Silversea’s fleet, the four-letter word ‘diet’ is verboten. Dining options on the Endeavour abound, whether you head to The Restaurant, the ship’s main open seating venue serving fine continental cuisine, or to Il Terrazino serving fresh Italian fare in keeping with Silversea’s Italian ancestry.
The Grill set in a lovely atrium serves, as the name indicates grilled items. Think juicy burgers and hot dogs, but also fresh salads, sushi, seafood, and vegetarian items. Arts Café has light breakfasts, lunches, all day snacks, and most importantly, a variety of fresh baked cookies and house made Italian ice cream.
La Dame is Silversea’s signature restaurant. An exquisite atmosphere with white-gloved waiters serving fine French cuisine. Whether you choose from the a la carte menu or a six-course wine-paired tasting menu, you’ll forget that you’re in Antarctica altogether until you bear witness to a massive iceberg floating by.
Despite all these choices, you can always opt for room service, available 24-hours a day and promptly served by your butler.
Otium Spa, Salon & Fitness Center
The Roman-inspired Otium Spa which debuted on the Silver Dawn, is Roman-inspired and promotes the original art of comfort. Whether you opt for a body treatment, facial, or other therapeutic treatment, you’ll leave Otium rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready for your next excursion.
The Endeavour’s full-service hair and nail salon for both men and women is light-filled and airy, and also has floor-to-ceiling windows, so when nature engages in a performance, you won’t miss a thing while pampering yourself.
With all the great food onboard, you may wish to make good use of the state-of-the art fitness center. There is a dedicated space for daily classes including yoga, Pilates, stretch, and ab workouts with a fitness instructor. If you prefer solo work outs, there are Technogym treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, free wights, and various machines.
Soul Satisfying Expeditions
The Endeavour has a well-trained expedition team with many years of Antarctic experience. With local knowledge of the environment that follows Silversea’s “safety first” approach to all of its expeditions, I felt comfortable and safe on each excursion. Daily, advance teams went to the landings preparing the best areas for hiking, views, and animal encounters.
Seeing enormous penguin colonies in their natural habitat often engaging in comic behavior is to be savored. They are absurdly cute, and it often seems are nearly as curious about us as we are about them. Often they would stare at us perplexed as if thinking, “Boy are you tall, funny looking red-coated creatures with the biggest feet on planet earth.” When diving for their sustenance, it appears a watery, timed dancing dalliance.
The Endeavour also has 12 kayaks for those guests wishing to see Antarctica from this unique vantage point. Bird lovers will be active discovering the wide variety of birds of the region. Humpbacks are also present feasting on krill while gigantic leopard, elephant, and crabeater seals slither, snore or floppily move their gigantic bodies about. Whatever tickles your fancy, you will take hundreds, if not thousands of photos.
A Transformational Adventure
Traveling to Antarctica is like no other journey you’ll ever take. While you can prepare yourself in advance with the right clothes and reading up on the region, nothing really prepares you for the both the vastness of the region, its remarkable nature, and the smallness of your place in the world.
Travelers to the region must also keep in mind that weather can and often does change in a matter of seconds. Accordingly, expedition plans may change last minute so it’s important to remain flexible to best enjoy all that Antarctica provides the intrepid traveler. When you return home and take joy in the photos and memories of the White Continent, you will also bask in your great decision-making skills that you chose to voyage to Antarctica on Silver Endeavour. Happy Travels!
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Written by Julie L. Kessler
Read more posts by Julie L. Kessler