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Silver Galapagos Finally Made it onboard Nov 9th 2013


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Just got here today and will settle in for a few day before I let loose. For starters the brochure is incorrect in the following: Wifi is not included, it is $30.00 per day or $140.00 per week. This is per device, so only one device can be used per account at one time. Also laundry IS included less pressing. Just to let you know some big discrepancy in advertisements. Working on the full review when the dust settles. Finding out things are much harder for Silversea to operate here than other places. FYI; I started off reading them the riot act and they got with the program and fixed 90% of my requests in three hours. So I am going to temper my review due to the great service. For those interested I will be giving a heads up on things people have bin requested; like wet suites, back packs but will mostly stick to big items of concern.

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Did find out where most of this miss information is coming from. On this voyage of 75 passengers. 35 were booked from the previous owner and Silversea had to honor the bookings. Most on this trip are from one Canada travel agency. Staff is confused if something is free for a Silversea guest or should they be charged for the M/N Galapagos Explorer II. Looks like all these combined bookings of Silverseas all-inclusive and the other previous owners packages will run out by the end of the year. Then Silversea will take full control to convert to seven days only and provide employees a standard way of doing things.

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Oh dear- that wounds dreadful for the staff and not so nice for the guests. Wonder how they could have done that- not like they didn't know the switch was coming long in advance. Although I guess that some people do book out several years.

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Have the first draft missing the disembark and closing. See below.




100 Passenger with a crew of 70, recently wet dock refurbished 2013, ship looks tired and miss kept with rust showing on many parts, broken stair parts, brass parts not shined left to turn green, holes in the ceilings in public areas, falling down light fixtures, flooring coming lose inside hallways and decking missing out on exterior decks. Just basically a tired 1980’s looking ship interior, with some cool looking exhaust stacks, shaped like two small wings on top of the ship. It still displays brass plaques in guest rooms with the “Galapagos Explorer II” name. Rumors onboard are Silversea does not have full control of the ship till after the first of the 2014, getting rid of the three and four day cruises. It’s newly added areas of the spa and workout area look great. Other public areas got new furniture and trimmings. They look dis-jointed compare to the rest of the ageing ship. Workers onboard are welding, sanding, painting and upgrading while cruising. Definitely a work in progress. Some sales brochures and onboard paperwork is miss-printed, so don’t be surprised if things are not what you’re expecting, be calm it all works out in the end. Later on in the cruise you dismiss these first perceptions as the crew and Galapagos islands win you over and you recognize you’re on an expedition type ship. Lecture time is a little different being in meeting rooms with the entire ships guests but shows how small this new community is with providing first class service. This closeness adds comrade and you soon have lots of new friends…



A little relaxed and subdued, You wait at the airport in a waiting room with light refreshments till the buses are ready to drive you down to the dock. A zodiac will take you to the ship and there you will have lunch then go settle in to your room after 1:30 PM. No taking your picture or running your credit card. They handed us our boarding card a day before we even got to the Galapagos. Without the initial picture taking process it makes it a little harder for the crew to recognize you, but they will try.



All the usual amenities: robes, shampoo, conditioner, cotton balls, hand dryers, two pairs of 10x50 binoculars and a keyed safe.(walking sticks are located on deck 3) Some rooms have espresso machines(hard to figure out how to use them though) Heating and cooling is done with a wall hung fan-coil that works well. Rooms do not have irons or ironing boards (ship safety restriction). Cabin upgrades are replaced carpeting, bedding, room entertainment system, drapes and complete re-do of the bathrooms. Other than the bathrooms, rooms look old and out dated, expect them to finish things in the next dry or wet dock.


MONEY êêêê


American dollars are used everywhere in Peru and Ecuador. At the time of this wiring it was a 2.7 exchange rate for Peru and one to one in Ecuador (American dollar in national currency in Ecuador). Note – bills used in Peru need to have no tares or pieces missing. (in good ATM condition)



PRE-CRUISE - Abercrombie and Kent combined with Acorn tours do a great job on meeting you and taking care of all your needs. On the Machu Picchu four day trip, be prepared for a 3:30 AM hotel pick-up in Lima, going to the airport for a flight out to Cusco. On your train ride down the mountain, be careful, train cars rocks back and forth, so moving around the train could be a problem. Keep your eyes peeled for seeing lots of smaller Inca ruins along the way down to Machu Picchu. Staying at the Sanctuary hotel overnight is great way to add extra time in the park and be prepared to keep your patio door open to regulate room temperature (no AC but there are screens on the patio door). Sanctuary hotel rooms are nothing to write home about but; Silversea picking up the tab on breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and drinks, surely makes up for it. In the dining room you will receive with the current chef, sample tasting items and food brought out would get, a one, possibly two Michelin stars. Skip desert, pastry chef needs a lot of work. Be mindful the dry season in Machu Picchu is May through September. Have a poncho or rain gear to keep dry for sudden rain showers in the wet season. Be prepared for it to be very crowded and over commercialized, just let the guide show you around and you will soon forget about the crowds. After a nice buffet lunch, take the train ride up the mountain and a car ride to Cusco, arriving in the late afternoon. Hotel in Cusco “Monasterio” is an old monastery and would have loved to explore the hotel and a very cute town square, but you get in so late in the afternoon and leave the hotel at 5AM. Just not enough time, missing a lot to do there… Note- hotel Monasterio does not have AC, no screens on the windows and no curtains. Hotel in Quito was the Hilton and had excellent accommodations but still no time to explore with a late arrival and a 6AM hotel departure out to the Galapagos. We were the only two people on the Pre-cruise excursion and that didn’t stop Silversea and A&K Tour, from going over the top to make sure everything was meeting your expectations. So many people are helping in every way, you will need a fist full of $10.00 an $20:00 dollar bills for tipping. Speaking of money; the American dollar is king, you will need not carry any local currency and English is spoken everywhere we went.




All land excursions, kayaks, glass bottom boat rides and snorkeling are included. At the beginning of the week you will check out your wetsuits (come long and short legged versions in all sizes) fins and mask. Lots of areas on the islands you are climbing or walking on irregular lava rocks and will need to be limber and agile. Walks are sometimes long in distance but the walking is very slow. Some hikes have alternate short and long versions for you to select. Most days have a morning and afternoon excursion and you can slow it down if things are moving too fast for you by selecting a shorter route or skipping one altogether. Islands have a wet season (Dec-May) and a dry season. Terrain will become a lot greener during the wet season. By ”wet season” it does not mean lots of rain but fog and drizzle. Some months are better for bird hatching and mating; wetter months are greener with lots of bugs, so pick you poison (so to speak). Your guides are all locally grown and have backgrounds in biology with university degrees. They are full of valuable information and make-up most of the days pleasurable experiences. So, stay close to the guides and you will get the most out of it and learn a plethora of new information. Photography Notes (most animals will only be between 6’ to 12’ away from you other than some birds, which could be up to 150 yards away. Most all will be posing nice and still. Bring underwater camera, UV and polarizing filters if you got them)



Two bottles of distilled sprits (what you would find in a normal bar but selection limited due to this small ship size) or house wines, will be delivered to your room at no cost with all soft drinks and or mixes



No traditional suits with tails in this part of the world, letting them dress casual during the day and black vest during the evening. They are eager to please and really trying hard to make your stay as comfortable as possible. They were still in training and confused about included items at the time of this writing. (we think the problem might be that there are many guests onboard that booked with the old ship long ago that everything was an extra charge. Silversea needs to deal with this till early 2014)




The job gets done but not to the standards of detail and deep cleaning one would expect on high end hotels. Cleaning in done sloppily and sporadic even requiring the butlers to make beds but hopefully things will get better when they are trained better.



A charge of $30.00 per day, per device or $140.00 per week. What you do is log on from your device and create an account charging your room, click on the appropriate browser you normally use and fill in the blanks. When you want to use WIFI on a different device you will need to log off and re-log on to the different device. Only other way is to create a separate account tied to your cabin number. I know this differs from the printed publication but that’s what is was on Nov 9th, 2013. WIFI has dead spots in public areas.




A fancy new flat screen and spiffy Sony controllers are installed for movies, TV, music, HBO, photos, alarm clock, internet and Sports. System can be setup in many languages. Looks great but the only thing working at this time is movies on demand. They do have lots of movies and newly released items to choose from. (About 80 of them)



All the laundry is included (at least in our room) at no charge (Pressing is not included). Items left out by 9:00 AM will be done the same day and delivered to your cabin and hung-up in the afternoon, around 6PM. No self-service laundry facilities are on this ship.



CASINO (none) SALON – Very nice facility with no long reservations needed. WORKOUT ROOM – fairly large and with nice equipment but shore excursion will give you ample exercises. STORE - Only a small cabinet behind the reception desk that will have bug spray, sun screen, shaver and just a few other items.


None, other than your lecture persons and employees trying to adapt to the new owners.


Everything is scaled down but done nicely other than breakfast. Breakfast is similar to a downtown hotel with a few shaper dishes with bacon and sausage, pancakes, scrambled eggs, cold cuts and an omelet station. Dinners have a rotating menu in the main dining room and lots of seasonal specials on Patio deck. Patio deck has hot rock grilling, something new for Silversea. You cook your own protein the way you like it with a very nice selections of fish and meats.


Best thing is ALL food is fresh, nothing is frozen. Quality is a little better than what you would expect being so restrictive in this park. We were told all food must be local other than some items approved by Ecuadorian government. Beef is not graded in this part of the world and must come from the Galapagos, so don’t be surprised if the meet is a little chewy. If anyone has a food allergy they will go out of their way to eliminate any cross contaminations and prepare something special.


Ecuadorians make up most of the crew that served the previous ships owners. They are trying to figure out the new standards. They will go way out of their way to help you and attempt to get your every need. Consistently asking if there is anything they can do for you.

Edited by carefreecruise
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Thanks for the great info. Sounds like the ship could have used a few more weeks of dry dock- you don't paint a very pretty picture there. Well- we still have nearly 3 months so maybe they will have finished their upgrading by then. You are have a nice time though?

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Thank you Carefreecruiser. In your first post you mentioned requests that needed attention. Would you mind sharing.



I hate doing this but this is what happen: got into the room and did and inspection. Found black mold in the AC vents and grill. A lot of brass trim pieces tarnished green. Couch very dusty. Furniture with bad stains and chair pedestals that looked like they were never cleaned, ever! Showed the butler, did not unpack, stepped out of the room and within three hours they did a deep cleaning of the room and it was expectable to move in. They apologized for doing just quick surface cleaning to turn over the rooms and have never run into someone that inspects the room prior to occupancy. They even ask each morning if something needs more deep cleaning while we are out on excursions. We at this point must have the cleanest room onboard.

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