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  • Writer's pictureParadoxTravel

Silversea Cruise Line – My Experience

Updated: Jan 24

A luxury travel review of the Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands itinerary

Antarctica - Neko Harbor

As an active travel lover, I don’t typically consider myself a cruise person. But in order to explore a polar region, there is really no getting around it. So what you will read here refers to only my third cruise ever, in my 25-year travel history. Why? Well, it’s partly due to my love of independent travel and Do-It-Yourself planning. But I also admittedly prefer crowded places in small doses. Regardless, I have simply found most enjoyment from driving, hiking, cycling or some other type of activity-focused trip. But surprisingly, this polar experience with Silversea Cruises made me realize that I can stay active while using a ship as a home base and it had me reconsider what cruising has to offer, especially in remote area exploration.

I was surprised to discover how much cruising has evolved over the years. No longer do they carry the stigma of being only for the inactive, overfed, over-the-rail amateur photographers of the world. I’ve discovered there are cruises for all ages and demographics, with fleets varying in size from gigantic, 5000+ passengers behemoths to smaller riverboats with less than 100 rooms. There are now even active travel cruises that incorporate cycling, hiking and kayaking on their excursion lists.

So with all of this in mind, and being the service-oriented business owner and value-conscious travel planner that I am, I went about researching three of the top cruise lines that offered the itinerary that matched my interest - Antarctica, plus the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. I decided to select Silversea and below is a description of my experience on the ship named Silver Explorer. I hope it is of value to travelers considering exploration of this area, as I myself had a difficult times finding reviews of substance about this brand or location. And I hope I make it clear why I feel that Silversea Cruises offer incredible value and service for a unique travel adventure that does not come without thoughtful investment.

NOTE: I paid for this cruise entirely on my own and was offered no incentive for this review.

This is simply my experience and information I wish to pass on, to make it that much easier for readers looking to travel to this area.

Getting there

airplane wing at sunset

Most southern polar cruises begin in Ushuaia, Argentina, known as the ‘End of the World’ for its remote location. For most travelers, this will require international entry into the country via Santiago or Buenos Aires, followed by a charter flight arranged by your selected cruise line.

My Silversea package included all transportation between airports, as well as an overnight stay at a four star hotel in Buenos Aires upon arrival into the country. The next morning, we were on a 10am charter flight to Ushuaia. Travelers may also choose to meet the cruise in Ushuaia, bypassing the private transport, in order to meet their individual travel plans. However, if you do this, you are responsible for getting to the boat on time, as it will leave, with or without you onboard. So plan wisely and include leeway for flight delays or weather interference.

UPDATE - Currently, Silvesea has streamlined their itinerary by adding a charter flight from a non-commercial airport hanger in Santiago, that flies directly to/from Puerto Williams. This is included as part of your package along with the pre/post hotel stay.

Where to Stay in Ushuaia

harbor with boats and mountains
Ushuaia, Argentina - Olivia Peak and the 5 Brothers

For my experience, an overnight stay prior to the charter flight to Ushuaia was included in my offer. I wasn’t planning any other travel before or after this polar expedition, so this suited my needs. The selected hotel was the Park Tower Hotel Buenos Aires, about a forty-five minute transport from the international airport. The hotel was nice, the rooms were large, and it was conveniently located to a local city park - perfect for a walk after a long international flight. The staff did make a great effort to personalize my service, including a one-on-one sit down check-in with every guest. Although I appreciated the attentive nature of this service, it did take a lot of time. I simply wanted to get to my room and decompress. But if you are not tired or in a hurry, it’s a nice feature. I asked travelers who bypassed the charter and got themselves to Ushuaia, where they stayed. And although there are several options at lower price points in town, these two luxury hotels were most frequently mentioned:

Arakur – This beautiful Virtuoso property sits on a high viewpoint within the Cerro Alarken Natural Reserve, and is just minutes from downtown Ushuaia

Los Cauquenes – This Travelers Choice hotel sits on the banks of the Beagle Channel ad offers a tailored experience that includes a spa as well as some adventure tourism experiences.

The Ship - The Silver Explorer

Antarctica with Silvesea Cruise ship

For this itinerary, I traveled on the Silver Explorer. With a guest capacity of 144, and a crew to guest ratio nearing 1:1, this size ship felt like a small community. The ship was recently updated in 2017. This was most evident in the stylish, contemporary finish of all of the suites. The ship design included a beautiful panoramic lounge where I could relax and unwind in a sophisticated setting while enjoying tea or a cocktail, and keeping an eye out for whale or albatross. In addition, there is a library lounge at the front of the ship, stocked with books, comfortable chairs and surrounded by more exceptional views. Aside from my suite, this was my favorite place to enjoy peace and quiet. Although the ship is designed for relative small capacity, it's efficient layout manage to include a spa, a small gym, a beauty salon, laundry room and a large assembly lounge for group education. There were two hut tubs for soaking on the back of our ship. But these were only open as weather permitted and when we were docked (to prevent water sloshing around on the deck).

How to stay active

South Shetland Island , Antarctica Photo: Jen Stover - Paradox Travel   Read complete review of this cruise at

Let's talk about this up front, as it was one of my concerns. This wasn't a problem for me on excursion days, as the Silversea guides planned several great hikes. But the first day on the ship, I eagerly went in search of the gym and had high hopes of fitting in a daily routine. The onboard gym was equipped with treadmills and stepping machines, as well as free weights and yoga mats.

However I quickly learned that my balance for coordinated activities rapidly declined when a ship this size was rocking on high seas.

So on days that we were not hiking on land, I did crunches, yoga stretches and lunges in my room and I committed to walking laps outside on the 5th floor deck, happily using the rails as support. I quickly learned a route that included a set of steps at the rear of the ship and after 10-15 laps, I felt a little better about having dessert every night at dinner.

NOTE - if you are a gym lover, the best time to use it is when it is anchored or docked.

The guest rooms

One of the more evident Silversea advantages is the fact that all of the rooms are suites. On the Silver Explorer, this included an ensuite bathroom with rain shower head and a small sitting area within the room. Suites range from cozy 167’ square foot (sf) porthole window suites to opulent 728 sf suites with separate living areas and private balconies.

room with bed and lamp
View Suite on Silversea Explorer Photo: Paradox Travel

The room I experienced was a View Suite. At close to 200sf, it felt like a large, very comfortable, luxury King bed hotel room.

TIP #1 – I had booked a lower category suite. But by not selecting a specific room number I was actually upgraded the View Suite as the less expensive rooms, which were fewer in number, were filled.

TIP #2 – Deck 3 mid-ship, was relatively, the most ‘stable’ area of the ship. In case you are prone to seasickness, the lower and more central the room is, the less roll and sway you will feel. Larger suites were on decks 4, 5 and 6. This may be a trade-off worth considering.

The bed in my room was King size (two doubles combined) with a large square window, complete with blackout curtains (as it never really gets dark in this area in Dec/Jan). I loved that I had ample storage between the closet with its hanging racks and the drawers. There were also two bedside tables that had extra drawers for accessories as well.

Within the room, I loved the little amenity details like binoculars for guest use and adapters for my USA appliances, as well as the standard items that I find compulsory for a luxury experience: nice bed linens, large bath sheets, soft robes and slippers. There was also a stocked mini-fridge, glassware and a waiting bottle of champagne on ice upon arrival. Brilliant.

NOTE - if you arrange it ahead of time, you can get your fridge stocked with anything you desire, including specific brand beer, wine, or alcohol. My husband doesn't drink, so I requested alcohol-free beers and they provided it! They even had a case set aside for him in the lounge bars with his name on it! Now, that's service.

The bathroom was small (it is still a cruise ship) but I was impressed that the shower was complete with rain shower head, a rapid supply of hot water and great pressure! There was plenty of cabinet space for personal toiletries and I enjoyed the hair and skin product that was provided.

Perks and amenities

bow of cruise ship and water

Since we are on the subject, let me share with you some of the other amenities that stood out. There is a small boutique and spa onboard, so I took advantage of a 30-minute massage on my birthday and really enjoyed it.

If you are worried about your packing limit, keep in mind that there is a small, included laundry room (with detergent) that all guests may access.

The dryer is not that powerful, so jeans and heavy sweatshirts may need to complete drying on a hanger your room. But it was a nice feature I took advantage of halfway thru my voyage. There is also a paid laundry service as well. Repeat Silversea guests often get this included or with ship credit. (contact me here or use this link to get a copy of What to Pack for your Antarctic cruise)

There is a large-screen television in each suite with an impressive collection of movies, as well as live news stations from around the world. This is also where you can see the daily itinerary, the dining menu and your spending account, in case you make additional purchases. I also appreciated that there was a meter showing Internet usage and the strength of the signal, at any given time.

Staying connected

South Georgia King Penguin colony

Internet availability is of prime concern for many travelers these days. So rest assured, minus a few ‘dead spots’, you can stay connected for almost the entire cruise – even as far south as Antarctica. I was pleasantly surprised that I was even able to receive phone calls through the ship's own satellite network on my birthday, that were as clear as if the person was speaking to me from right next door.

TIP – there are a few items to pay attention to as soon as you get on board:

1) Turn your phones cellular roaming off to avoid excessive charges.

2) Even though you can connect through the ships Wi-Fi, be mindful of the messages from your carrier service as you enter the Falklands and South Georgia, as you may still be charged up to $3 a minute for any phone calls.

3) In addition, even when in the middle of nowhere, the ship's own satellite network is operational, so you may get charged for calls. Your best bet is to talk to your carrier before you leave. Read more Tips about Using Your Phone on a Cruise ship here.

Overall, the basic Internet that was included was more than adequate for email and texts. And it was typically pretty fast, depending on time of day and usage by other guests.

Be aware that the included Internet access is for one device at a time. So I had to sign off my phone to use my laptop and vice versa. This was not a problem as I was traveling solo. However, you may need to confirm if the one-device usage is per person or per room. If you do need to add a device, on our ship it was listed as $30 or $50 for one or two extra devices. High-speed access comes at the hefty additional price of $29/ day. But honestly, I don’t think you will need it.

TIP - I found that early mornings or during the dinner hours to have the lowest usage and fastest service.


One of my favorite perks! Similar to many polar cruises, a booking with Silversea includes a down-lined, water-resistant parka, as well as a backpack.

Woman in red parka with down
My 'uniform' most days
bed with red jacket folded on end

My parka was red and fit me well (contact me here or use this form for more info on How to Pack for this trip). The inside down layer was actually a separate jacket, which was a nice stand-alone option on warmer days. I liked that the Silversea logo was small and the overall design of the jacket is one that I can wear skiing and not look like part of the safety patrol or a walking billboard for the brand.

TIP - The parkas are unisex and sized to accommodate layers. So the sizes run big. Women: Unless you are large busted or consider yourself heavy, a small will fit you. I am 5'9 145 pounds and a size small was perfect.

The Service

ice and cruise ship

This is Silverseas claim to fame and they did not disappoint. Each suite has butler service as well as twice a day maid service. This is is typically not a travel essential for me. But the fact (as I will outline later) that this was an added service for no extra cost, definitely is one that defines the Silversea brand.

My butler was cheerful, responsive and could pretty much come up with anything I wanted. Cheese tray and a bottle of wine? You got it. Fresh popped popcorn for a stay-in movie night?

But of course!

I also loved that the butlers were attentive to guests needs even when outside the room. A fellow guest had his jacket brought to him while dining outside. Not because he asked for it, but because another butler simply noticed he was chilly and went to his room to get it for him. I came back from one of my excursions, damp, tired and ready to unwind, and there was my butler waiting to take my life jacket and backpack. I spent my birthday on board but hadn’t mentioned it when I booked the trip. However, one of the staff overheard me mention it to another guest and on my special day, not only was I showered with ‘Happy Birthdays’ from practically ALL the staff, but also I found balloons, a special dessert with candles and personal cards from both my room attendant and butler.

TIP – if you do have a special occasion to celebrate, let them know! They want to make you feel special, so give them reason to do it.

HINT - there are several other 'surprise' experiences that Silversea provided, which I won't give away in this review. It was more fun not expecting it! Let me just say, they went above and beyond to make the guest experience memorable.

woman looking out window at snowy landscape

One of the perks that I believe is unique to Silversea Cruises is the room service. I loved this. Given that I am a fairly healthy-minded eater and this trip had several days at sea where my activity would be limited, I doubted my self-discipline with the amount and variety of fantastic food that this cruise line provides. For this reason (and because I am slow to wake up and converse before at least two cups of coffee) ,I chose to eat breakfast in my room each morning. Just as in a hotel, a card was simply filled out the night before with selections and delivery time preference. There is also a 24-hour room service menu. This came in handy when we had very early hikes that had me back at the ship, hungry, but before the restaurant opened for lunch. And when I appreciated this feature the most, were the evenings I opted to stay in for dinner and watch a movie. I am quite social but also have a side of my personality that can get overwhelmed with a lot of noise or conversation. I really enjoyed all the guests who I met and dined with. They were all so welcoming with so many diverse backgrounds and interesting travel experiences to share. But on ‘at sea’ days, I enjoyed several nights with no makeup, in my yoga pants, simple dining in the comfort of my room, with a sort of ‘picnic’ spread out on my bed. I could see this as being a romantic option as well, for couples traveling together.

TIP – the 24-hour room service menu is very good but limited in selection. However, during dinner hours, you can order off the same 3-4 course menu offered in the dining room. Simply go to menu on the television and order through your butler.

Dining and drinks

steak dinner with bakes potato
Hot Rock dining outside at the Grill

On the Silver Explorer, there was one main dining room. Most dinners began at 7:30pm and lasted several hours. I was really impressed at the menu offerings given the amount of days we were at sea, the number of kitchen staff preparing it, and the guest count. Each evening was 3-4 course menu with selections that varied nightly. I don’t recall there being any repeated dishes! The nightly menus included everything from fresh grilled fish to rack of lamb and chateaubriand. There was also typically one vegetarian option, but from other guest input, this is one area that more selection would be appreciated. I loved dining on at The Grill on the back deck of the Silver Explorer. Here I could enjoy casual fare with a glass of wine as I watched the scenery go by. Or in the evening, by reservation,

...I could even do my own 'hot rock' cooking, a fun interactive food experience, complete with bib. Even wearing a jacket and beanie, with a blanket supplied by the staff on my lap, it was surreal to think that I was having such a fabulous meal like this, in the middle of the ocean! I pinched myself several times.

people of cruise ship deck looking at iceberg
Photo credit: Fiona Hanks

The lounge on our ship served as a nice place to relax and watch the world go by. The bar was fully stocked with a selection of higher brand labels and although there was always a daily featured drink, you can order any cocktail at any time and they will make it for you. On the Silver Explorer, they had a piano player and high tea every afternoon at 4pm. Nice.

A selected wine was featured every night at dinner. However, if there was one from a previous night that I preferred or I was interested in a different varietal, I simply had to ask and they opened it for me. There is a ‘premium’ wine list available as well, for purchase. It was not extensive, but the bottles they offered were surprisingly in line with what I would typically pay in the USA. For example, since I celebrated my birthday on the ship, as well as New Years, I ordered two special bottles of champagne – Dom Perignon ($150 USD) and then a Louis Roederer ($70 USD).

Special events

table setting with silver hat and glassware
New Years Eve on Silversea Explorer

Since my itinerary fell over both Christmas and New Years Eve, we had two additional evenings for celebration. Despite not all passengers celebrating Christmas in the same manner, there were nice decorations and special dining menus for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, on New Years, they went the extra step of converting the lounge into a dance venue for those willing to stay up for the official midnight transition. Silversea cruises typically also included a Captain’s Welcome cocktail party as well as a Farewell dinner. Both were designated online as ‘semi formal’ in dress. Although jackets were suggested for men in my pre-cruise documentation, roughly half of the men onboard actually complied, choosing the more packable option of a sweater and tie. Ladies, I simply brought a pair of black dress-slacks with two interchangeable blouses and some nice jewelry. If you’d like more recommendations for What to Pack for this itinerary, contact me here or use this form )

The excursions

people hiking towards water
South Georgia Island

Over the 17 days of this itinerary, I believe we spent 6.5 total days at sea traveling to each destination, and 10.5 days exploring on land or by zodiac. Overall, we managed to complete 17 excursions! Most days, we would complete two - early morning and late afternoon - traveling between the two over lunch. I liked the schedule, as I was able to sneak in a nap after getting up before 6am for a few of the longer hikes. There were typically two types of experiences offered, one of which allowed more fit and active guests to burn off some energy and hike to some incredible views. But even the beach-landing location offered some exquisite wildlife encounters for those who preferred a less physically demanding option. Zodiac cruising, albeit chilly some days, was one of my favorite experiences. By this method, we were able to quietly come upon sleeping seals and observe rock-living colonies up close as well as get some incredibly surreal photos of the icebergs floating in the cove.

I was impressed by the locations we experienced with Silversea. They really know this area well and rewarded us with unique experiences that several other cruise lines bypassed.

And their timing was always terrific. It seemed most days as if we were the only guests out there, enjoying a sort of privately guided polar experience. I don’t remember seeing any other ships at all until the ninth or tenth day.

zodiac boat in icy waters

A reality check regarding weather

I have to say up front that my group was told repeatedly how fortunate we were with the weather. The fact that there were so many clear, blue-sky days is highly unusual, even for the time of year that we went. Of all the planned excursions, there was only ONE that we had to bypass due to rough seas. Even our return over the notorious Drakes Passage was unusually calm. Luck? Timing? I’m not sure. But when you look at my photos, realize that you may not have the same weather karma that we did.

iceberg in Antarctica
Antarctica cruising on a bluebird day

It helps also to understand that the reason you won’t see definitive excursion locations listed on your itinerary ahead of time is that weather can override all plans. Although cruise lines and individual ships book certain spots 6 to 8 months in advance, there is no way to predict the weather or how choppy the water will be for landings, more than 24 hours ahead of time. So there is a chance, that plans may change if the ship arrives and conditions are not safe enough to get passengers to/from the shore safely. It’s just part of the reality of traveling in this part of the world, no matter which cruise line you select. There is no guarantee on weather and how that will impact your experience. It’s just a chance you have to take.

The staff

man talking outdoors to group of people with red jackets
Getting a lesson from a Silversea guide who was also a South Georgia historian

This is where I feel that Silversea Cruises hit it out of the ballpark. Not only is there close to a 1:1 staff to guest ratio, but

...I had never experienced so many strangers learning my name so quickly. Wait staff and butlers who were not even assigned to my room, recognized me and greeted me by name within two to three days.

My photograph was taken when I first boarded the ship. This was simply used at the reception desk and dining room, to help with facial recognition. But that didn’t explain how so many staff from the guide assistants that helped me in and out of the zodiacs, to the wait staff and butlers that were not even assigned to my room, recognized me and greeted me by name within two to three days. A small gesture perhaps, but one that impressed me and personalized my experience, despite the fact that I was only one of ~125 guests. I loved that they remembered the cocktail or wine choice I made the previous day and asked if I’d like the same tonight. There was always hot tea waiting as we returned from cold outings and I loved that small requests I made one time in room service was repeated without reminders thereafter. To me, those are examples of real service.

Ernest Shackletons' grave site, Grytviken South Georgia
Ernest Shackletons' grave site, Grytviken South Georgia

I also felt the guides as a whole, were excellent. Although they came from several different countries and backgrounds, they all contributed to our education on the areas wildlife, history and environment. Lectures on birdlife, whales, and penguin types were frequently offered. And on excursions, it was obvious that guest safety, enjoyment and well-being was a prime objective.

As a bonus, given that several of our stops retraced the infamous footsteps of Ernest Shackleton and Frank Hurley, we were fortunate to have a guest lecturer on our ship, with expertise on the subject, who provided some terrific in-depth history.

The guides were a daily part of our lives both onboard and on shore, pointing out wildlife, answering obscure questions and most importantly enjoying the experience right along with us.

Biosecurity – come prepared and please..don’t whine

 penguins in front of glacier
South Georgia Island - a wildlife paradise

If traveling to South Georgia is on your Antarctic itinerary, there is only one area that some guests may feel a bit ‘inconvenienced’ but do need to take some responsibility – Bio-security. South Georgia is wonderland. And it remains, to this day, one of the few places on earth that is almost as pristine as it was one hundred years ago. And this is not accidental. It's because organizations like the South Georgia Heritage Trust in tandem with responsible cruise lines like Silversea go to great lengths to make sure that no organic material or soil gets transferred on or off the island or from one location or another, even within the island. This includes, penguin or seal guano, grasses, and plant spores of any kind. This ensures protection not only from invasive foreign species but minimizes the environment impact we make as visitors. So what this meant for our group, was every time a guest got on and off the ship, and every time a guest left a landing sight, they had to take steps to ensure that packs, jackets, boots, rain pants, trekking pole and tripod tips were free of any contaminants.

For some items, this was easily taken care of in the ships mud/boot room with a scrub brush and a water hose. However, the critical nature and seriousness of this protection also means that even the tiny grooves of your boot treads had to sometimes be picked clean of debris with tweezers or the end of a paper clip. All of my personal gear was inspected prior to our arrival to South Georgia and on one of the days, local authorities were even on board inspecting boot bottoms and hems of the pants as we readied to leave the ship for that’s days excursion. If a guest didn’t pass? They were not allowed to disembark. I tell you this, not to dissuade you. But to show you that

....environmental preservation, admirably, is taken seriously by Silversea.

Once you see South Georgia in all its glory, I think you will appreciate these efforts and understand how your part plays such an important role. So don’t think of it as inconvenience. Think of it as a way you can act as a steward for one of the most incredible places on earth.

TIP – contact me here or use this form to get more information about What to Pack for this trip, including tips that will make passing biosecurity that much easier.

iceberg and blue sky

Areas for future growth

It was hard for me to find much that Silversea could do differently to enhance my personal experience. For me, the cruise met and surpassed pretty much all of my expectations. However, one factor made this easier for me – I speak English. Granted, more of the world is learning this language and there is probably some statistic out there that shows that English is the predominant language spoken by those who travel to Polar regions. But in my opinion, if a brand considers itself to be a top-contending international brand, then a willingness to serve all international clients seems almost obligatory. On my itinerary, there were six or eight guests who did not speak any English whatsoever. And as remote of a location as polar regions are, with the level of safety and biosecurity information that is needed to convey to all guests, I feel that any guest who pays for a room, deserves to have key information communicated to them in their language of choice. Understandably, on a ship of this small size, it’s not feasible to have a live interpreter for every language that is represented on board. But at minimal, for safety and biosecurity details, as well as the conveyance of expected behaviors on land, this could perhaps be easily remedied with a pre-recorded tape or lecture program that a foreign language speaking guest could access. It was troubling for me to watch guests get too close to animals, make mistakes with biosecurity and wander around confused at times, simply because of the language barrier.

penguins on an iceberg
Antarctica - a floating penguin party barge


I was happy to see the use of refillable glass water bottles in the rooms, metal water bottles provided for excursions and minimal use of plastic straws in the lounge or restaurant. I also appreciated Silversea’s cooperation and support of the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the dedication of the guides to educate guests on topics such as wildlife respect and global warming impacts. I liked that very little food seemed to be wasted and menu items not selected from the previous nights dinner was often creatively used in a dish the next day at lunch. The menus also included fish and meat from Argentina as well as local fish markets.

However, one item that caught my attention was the unusually large amount of paper that was used, especially for information that was already in digital form. Each day, guests were provided a detailed printed itinerary of the next day’s outings, as well as printed morning news from their home country. This plentiful information was an appreciated feature. However this same information was also available on the television on a separate dedicated channel. To me, it felt a bit redundant, as well as somewhat wasteful. I believe I received at least three to four pieces of printed material each day that ended up in the wastebasket by evening. I asked if the paper was recycled and told it was burned – a necessary option on a small ship in the middle of the ocean. I gave it some thought and wonder if in part, there was an assumption that some guests who perhaps were more familiar with information displayed on paper, would prefer this option over digital display. But I wonder if perhaps this could be another question asked online pre-cruise, along with all the other preference inquiries.

And finally, in the bathroom, I would love to see the supply of wonderful hair and skin products converted from small plastic containers to the use of larger, refillable, glass, pump-bottles on the shower wall or on the sink. Even with high-end product brands, I’d think this would also be a cost savings to for the cruise line. This is a small suggestion. But one I decided to mention as Silversea is so receptive to input and committed to client satisfaction that I feel fairly confident that future guests will see this change in the near future.

iceberg in Antarctica
Photo: Jen Stover, Paradox Travel

Cost comparison and early booking incentives

No matter which cruise line you choose, travel to this area of the world is expensive and a definitely ranks as a travel investment. My research included three cruise lines who offered the itinerary I had interest in: National Geographic, Silversea and Quark. There are other cruise lines that run polar itineraries. Options seem to increase each year as more brands enter the competition for travel in this area of the world. But after some research on itineraries, I had narrowed it down to these three cruise lines. All three brands offer expertise in safety, environmental awareness and no doubt have excellent guides. But I was surprised that when I looked closely at the costs for similar sized rooms with each of these three companies, that the price variance was only $2-3k in either direction. Silversea was second highest of the three in cost. In addition, Silversea was the only cruise line of the three, at the time of my booking, that included alcohol and gratuities in their overall price.

The Bottom line - you can find a few cruise lines that advertise or offer prices less than $15k per person to go to Antarctica. But this is only if you are willing to share a triple room, with a porthole window. And you need to look closely at what’s included for that price. Often the quoted price does not include your international airfare. In addition, if you want to see the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia as well as Antarctica, you are not going find many options for less than $20k per person. Remember, this is a 3-week trip to a remote region of the world. So if you are a solo traveler who wants to room alone, or a couple traveling as a pair, and you hope to have a room at least 160 sf in size with an actual window, this is probably your starting price point. So there you go. If Antarctica is on your bucket list, you need to save your pennies.

seals on beach with mountain backdrop
Elephant Seal pups play-fighting

Personally, for the cost of airfare, and for the effort and the time needed to get down to Ushuaia, I’d recommend seeing all three destinations.

Even aside from the practicality of it, in my opinion seeing South Georgia is equal in uniqueness and jaw-dropping beauty as seeing Antarctica, because it truly is one of the most unique places on earth. So back to that shocking price point – be prepared to pay at least $20k USD total for the cruise plus airfare. And if you are a luxury lover, the price can go as high as $30k per person. If you are choking on this number, I ask you consider a few things before you abandon this bucket-list dream:

  • How unique this part of the world is. And how few people come here.

  • How far south you are going and the specialty nature of the trip, including the required safety and expertise of the captain and crew/guides to travel to these far regions

  • How much do you typically pay for one week of travel? Now multiply that by three weeks. Now add my first two points above.

  • Think of all that is included, food, excursion, tips and alcohol (for Silversea), your charter flight to/from Ushuaia, transport between airports, your overnight hotel before your charter flight and sometimes even your international airfare (if you book early)

  • Is there is a price worth paying for a small group experience? 120 guests versus 3000?

penguins on snow

The Takeaway

For me, Silversea was the obvious choice. For a price that fell only slightly between the two other top reviewed cruise brands, I got a similarly size suite, with more personal service options, luxury amenities, 3 to 4 course menu dining, tips and alcohol included and upgraded business class airfare for early booking. Done.

However, If the food and service level is not critical for you, and you don’t mind sharing a room with two other guests, you can find cruises doing this same trip, before airfare, for about $12k USD.

If you are traveling as a couple with higher-level food and service criteria, or as two friends who want their own room, you are now in the $18-22k USD per person range for passage, before airfare.

So there it is. My goal in this review was to share why I think Silversea is the best value out there for the cost of traveling to this remote area of the world. But my definition of value is more than just price per square foot of privacy. Value to me also includes service, attention to detail, food quality, and comfort. And for me, Silversea ticked every box, as well as few more I hadn't even thought of. Thank you.

Happy Travels!

woman with black hat in snow
Paradox Travel - gratefully at your service

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