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We are 2 couples  -- very experienced cruisers including on luxury lines - who have booked our first Silversea cruise on the Explorer -- Anchorage to Nome

We have cruised Antarctica on Seabourn so we understand expedition cruising but we know really nothing about Silversea.  We are told it is similar to Seabourn.  Is there anything special we need to know about Silversea or anything we need to do precruise (other than get gear) for a voyage on Explorer?  I know the question is somewhat vague but each line has unique features and I find it better to find out pre cruise than when on board.

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Have you found the online page on My Silversea where you can book various things like shore excursions, dining reservations and spa services?

 

Really quite spiffy, and the ability to just do this online yourself is very easy and convenient. Various options open at different times, excursions is 180 days out, and you can make changes after booking. Payment isn't due until you're on board, so there's no reason wait. Some things sell out, when we went in at about 175 days out some tours were already "waitlist only". As you enter things they appear on a very nice grid that shows time in port along with the time-frame for anythings you've booked via SS. Nice. Excursions do have a "cancel by" date, but it's almost immediately before the cruise (2 days?). Restaurant reservations are cancelable on board by just asking.

 

Most of our experience is with Windstar, and you pay when you book and you didn't know the exact tour times until you get your tickets onboard. We had some nasty surprised like "your tour departs at 6:30am, please be in the lounge 15 minutes early". Ouch, if we'd know that we'd have booked somethng else! Also, when the same tour is being run multiple times, you can choose with departure time you want to book. Very nice.

 

While you're on the My Windstar page, take some time to browse through all the pages and if you have any "red" dots open the page and see what's missiong. When all your dots are "green" you're done. Some things are a bit hidden, so open all the links and do some exploring around the page.

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The silver Explorer is a small expedition ship which carries try fe passengers so when you say you've sailed antarctica on Seabourn that means the Quest which is a full 450 passenger cruise ships with far more space, restaurant choices, amenities etc. I hope you're not expecting that on the Explorer. Still this will wove you a very different experience and I believe that's important.

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You can think Silversea and Seabourn are very similar in most cases with their classic ships. You picked the Explorer and it will be very different.  Only thing you may recognize in the service. If you like the much smaller ship but require a few more dining options then you can look at their Cloud and Wind ships. They are about twice as large but with all the amenities like the Seabourn ships.  We will also be on the Explorer later this year from Norway to Canada and enjoy the small ship feel.

 

Almost like river cruising...    

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Thanks for the responses.  We realize it's a small ship -- we like that.

 

My friends have done Linblad several times so they understand "small" expedition ships.  The smallest ship for me so far has been the Paul Gauguin (apart from a river cruise).

 

We do not expect (or care about) restaurant choices.  I have visited the pages describing the facilities on the Explorer so I am familiar with the ship.    If you are on an expedition do you "book" shore excursions?  I would think not unless there is something unique and 'for an extra fee" in a particular port.  Apart from spa treatments, is there anything else to book ahead?

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36 minutes ago, bitob said:

Thanks If you are on an expedition do you "book" shore excursions?  I would think not unless there is something unique and 'for an extra fee" in a particular port.  Apart from spa treatments, is there anything else to book ahead?

No nothing to select on the Explorer, no dining reservations or excursions. You will be asked by the excursion team which zodiac trips you want to take. It could be up to two zodiac excursions per day. You can not show up if you like. Just do the ones you are interested in. If you are two couples just ask the excursion desk to put both couples in the same group. That way you will be called together for trips. 

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21 minutes ago, carefreecruise said:

No nothing to select on the Explorer, no dining reservations or excursions. You will be asked by the excursion team which zodiac trips you want to take. It could be up to two zodiac excursions per day. You can not show up if you like. Just do the ones you are interested in. If you are two couples just ask the excursion desk to put both couples in the same group. That way you will be called together for trips. 

Thanks.  That's what I assumed but it's good to have confirmation.

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The Explorer is very homey and low-key, an atmosphere I missed a bit when on the larger, fancier, Cloud. Staff treat you so well, and you get to know them (or they you, at least) almost immediately. You can either eat in the Restaurant or outside at the Grill (for a la carte lunch or hot rocks dinner). Both are a great option if you like a simpler or quicker meal now and then. The lounge is cozy and usually has a friendly group of regulars. 

 

The only excursions you would have to book are things like helicopter flights that are not included in the trip. But there's no pressure to decide in advance. The daily zodiac trips are a blast, although I understand that landings by zodiac are not possible in some areas of Alaska (maybe all? I don't know). On our trip (Pacific coast of South America), the expedition staff were terrific--very personable, patient, and knowledgeable. You will have a great time!

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