One company that has long been breaking the ice between expedition and luxury is Silversea Expeditions, and the latest addition to their fleet, Silver Cloud, ups the bar significantly. This little vessel has done good service in Silversea's classic fleet for many years. A significant two month refurbishment was completed in November 2017, with an investment of over $40 million, transforming the ship into Silversea Expeditions' newest ice-class expedition vessel.
Expedition equipment starts off with 16 zodiacs in addition to 10 kayaks to bring guests close up to the action. Each voyage is led by a team of 20 expedition experts in non-polar regions and 22 in polar regions to enhance the whole experience, with daily presentations and lectures in the state-of-the-art theatre, which are also streamed to your suite. At the Photo Studio, guests can master the art of digital photography, enjoying master classes, a dedicated photo manager and an editing suite.
Palumbo Shipyards in Malta, which completed the refurbishment, implemented a series of technical enhancements including extensive steel reinforcement to give the ship the strength and manoeuvrability required for expedition cruising. The bulbous bow was replaced with a reinforced ice-class bulb to allow for navigation of polar waters; new sonars have been installed for underwater detection; and new windows resistant to the polar chill have been installed to ensure comfortable temperatures.
With a new guest capacity of 254 (200 in polar regions), Silver Cloud will offer comfort, space and luxury on board, alongside the exciting experiences ashore. Spacious suites, 80% with veranda, five dining options, broad teak decks, comfortable lounges, a spa, swimming pool and well equipped gym ensure that guests will enjoy a no-compromise expedition experience on board this very special little ship.
The inaugural season takes place in Antarctica with a range of itineraries - book early to get the date and accommodation you choose, as these voyages sell fast. The 2018/19 and 2019/20 Antarctica seasons are also open for sale.
More adventure follows as Silver Cloud cruises the southern Atlantic to Cape Town, for in-depth exploration along Africa's west coast. We can put the flags out to welcome her to Tower Bridge in London at the start of her northern season - fascinating Celtic cruises to Ireland and the Scottish Isles are followed by the Arctic, visiting the breathtakingly beautiful islands of the Svalbard archipelago, in combination with the spectacular coast of Norway. She then sets course westwards via Iceland to Greenland, Newfoundland and Disko Bay. Following the Fall colours, a southbound journey takes her via the Caribbean and Central America to South America's west coast ready for a return to Antarctica.
With so much included, expedition cruising comes at a price, and of course with a limited passenger capacity in Antarctica, the fares increase even further. With this in mind, one bargain voyage particularly caught our eye, a 25-night journey departing 30th October 2019, which hugs the South American coastline all the way from Lima to Buenos Aires. Early booking fares start from just £6,840 (under £275 per person per day), including all meals, drinks, gratuities, trips ashore, lectures, and exploration. Well worth planning ahead!