TravelPulse On Board: Silver Discoverer Review
Photo courtesy of Silversea Expeditions. All other photos by Jason Leppert.
At a Glance
By the Numbers
Take a Bow (What to Like)
Pain in the Aft (What to Dislike)
There’s no question: the Silver Discoverer is small, but that is exactly what you want in an expedition vessel for easy access into tight corners of the world. After all, this ship visits some of the most remote regions ever from Alaska’s Aleutian Islands to Australia’s Kimberley Coast. The bulk of the space onboard is primarily occupied by the guest suites and a handful of public spaces: the main dining room, casual buffet restaurant, briefing room lounge, small spa and salon, fitness center and outdoor pool and grill.
The decor is handsome throughout with royal blues, natural blonde woods and traditional nautical flourishes, all accented by large expedition photographs taken on previous Silversea voyages. There is no forward facing observation lounge, but the outdoor aft terrace in warmer climates is a nice place to enjoy passing scenery from. Also, there are two small open decks in front of the bridge accessible for wildlife viewing. One caveat: the ship’s size does mean it can easily start to roll, pitch and yaw dramatically at times.
Where the ship goes might be more rugged, but the accommodations are every bit as plush inside as they are on Silversea’s larger vessels. All of the cabins are dubbed suites, but really only those on Deck 6 qualify as such, including a singular Medallion Suite (with veranda), eight Veranda Suites and four Vista Suites (with windows). The remaining View Suites and Explorer Suites are more akin to standard cruise ship cabins in size, but they are a little wider.
All of the bathrooms are about the same small size but feature showers with a nice fixed glass enclosure and no pesky curtains encroaching inwards. The elegant brown marbles and choice of premium bath products are consistent with the rest of the fleet. Also across the board, bedding is super comfortable, and the seating area with a couch, chair and table are wonderful for taking meals in your room. Plus, butler service in every suite is luxury at its finest.
As to be expected, onboard activities on a ship of this size are next to nil. The daily program consists mostly of dining hours, scheduled briefings explaining the next day’s excursions and several lectures presented by the wonderful expedition team in The Explorer Lounge. Topics, relevant to the cruise at hand, range from all forms of earth sciences to wildlife and history. The recently expanded library selection has bookworms covered. Only when a sailing was delayed by a couple of days due to inclement weather did karaoke and towel animal making demonstrations make the cut.
Of course, onboard activities are seldom needed as the adventures had off the ship are appropriately the main focus. A fleet of pontoon boats whisks guests from a marina platform off the stern for any number of exploratory cruises and shore landings. The ship anchors more often than it docks at port, but occasional bus tours from the ship are also on the agenda. Altogether, there’s no better way to get closer to nature’s wonders and feel like you’re experiencing a National Geographic special first hand than on here. It’s truly special, and best of all, all expedition activities are included in the cruise fare.
Remarkably from a ship of this size, the dining onboard is phenomenal. Selections aren’t as extensive as on other ships. There are no specialty restaurants, for instance, but the dining rooms are plenty special all on their own. Classic and regional cuisine is full of bold flavor, and courses are creatively plated. Breakfasts and lunches are available buffet style, and grill offerings are also available midday around the pool. Save for the most premium, all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary.
Only dinners are served in the main dining room, and multiple courses are presented with full service. Alternatively, the grill offers a “hot rock” al fresco dining experience where guests get to cook their own meats on a volcanic surface. Thanks to the fantastic butlers, room service is also available throughout the day, and even the full dinner menu can be privately served course by course if you so choose.
Just as there is very little in the way of activities onboard, entertainment is also understandably sparse. Among the lectures, an occasional documentary film may be screened, and even a session of the playful liars club pops up on sailings. Otherwise, on-demand content is available in guest suites on the flat panel televisions featuring a moderate selection of free movies, television shows and music channels.
The luxury component of Silversea Expeditions definitely shines brightest by way of its high level of service. With nearly one crew member to every guest, friendly servers and butlers attend to your personal needs with the utmost dedication. They remember and call you by your name and quickly get to know your preferences to customize everything to your liking. And the expedition team itself is second to none complete with experts in their fields of study that are always approachable and helpful at making the most of your luxury adventure.
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