Silver Explorer – Silversea Cruises -Expedition Cruise – Japan
We boarded the Silver Explorer, and expedition ship with Silversea Cruises, in Kobe, Japan for a 9 day cruise to various ports in Japan and ending in South Korea. On this particular cruise, we were fortunate to be the Virtuoso Hosts. As the Virtuoso Hosts, we were there to ensure the enjoyment of the guests that had booked this cruise through Virtuoso Travel Agents from anywhere around the world.
Our ports of call included:
- Kobe, Japan (Embark)
- Okayama, Japan
- Takamatsu, Japan
- Miyajima, Japan
- Hiroshima, Japan
- Hagi, Japan
- Sakaiminato, Japan
- Kanazawa, Japan
- Sokcho, South Korea
- Busan, South Korea (Disembark)
As an expedition ship, the Silver Explorer is smaller than the rest of the ships belonging to Silversea Cruises. Is this size allows for it to gain entry into ports that larger ships are unable to reach. It also means that there are less passengers, with a capacity of 144 guests and 118 crew. On our cruise there were 120 guests that essentially gave us a 1 to 1 ratio for guests and crew.
As an expedition ship, Silver Explorer, is designed to provide guests with more of an exploration type cruise, meaning that the focus for the cruise is on the destinations and not the life aboard the ship as is the case with the larger luxury ships. On our cruise we had biologists, geologists, and historians that would provide detailed backgrounds on the significance of the port we would be visiting the next day, as well as recaps in the late afternoon on what we experienced on our excursions. The excursions for Silver Explorer are all included in the cruise fare, as are all of the meals and drinks.
In addition to these experts, we also had a Japanese guide on board for the entire cruise who not only provided translation services when needed, but assisted the crew and passengers on the cultural aspects of the different areas we would be visiting and managed the Japanese guides that accompanied us at each port.
As Virtuoso Hosts, we are not considered members of the crew, but as passengers, so we stayed in a regular cabin assigned to us by Virtuoso. We stayed in the View Suite, which was 18 square meters. The layout of our cabin is below. As this was an expedition cruise, we spent very little time in our cabin and it was spacious enough for the two of us with 2 pieces of large luggage an 2 carry-on bags that all fit nicely under the bed.
There are higher categories, such as Vista Suite, Veranda Suite, Medallion Suite, Silver Suite, Grand Suite, and the Owner’s Suite (which is 67 square meters and the floor plan is pictured below).
Upon arriving in our cabin, we were greeted by our butler who would be attending to us for the duration of the cruise. He showed us around our cabin and answered any questions that we had.
We were also provided with a welcome bottle of champagne and a personalized note welcoming us aboard.
Our Queen size bed was very comfortable an adorned with the style of pillows that we had selected during our online registration prior to leaving for the cruise.
Although Silver Explorer is a smaller ship and can get into many ports, there are times that a Zodiac is used to ferry passengers to the shore. In such cases, a special life jacket is required (pictured below).
We were also each provided with our own Silversea backpacks that are water resistant, the crew was very careful to point out that they are not waterproof, just resistant and that care should be taken when carrying and electronics or cameras in the bags when water is involved in the excursion.
We were also provided with individual water bottles to use during the excursions. Both the backpack and the water bottles were ours to keep after the cruise.
There was a small desk in our cabin, but large enough for a laptop and to do any work while aboard the ship. WiFi was also included on the ship and you could also choose to pay for faster internet should you require it. We had brought along a WiFi Router that we rented prior to the cruise and it provided great internet access while in port.
To the left of the desk, there was a small min-bar that was complimentary and re-stocked daily.
There was amble closet space for our clothes which we had unpacked from our luggage, with the luggage then stored under the bed. There was also a safe for our valuables.
The bathroom, while small, was clean and efficient. Although the shower are was a little challenging as there was only a partial barrier for the shower and water would tend to get on the floor in the bathroom. There was no tub in our category, but the higher categories did have them.
The amenities in the bathroom were Bulgari.
As required for all cruise ships, once we were settled in our cabin we were then required to participate in the evacuation drill exercise. An announcement was made ship wide for all passengers to report to the Explorer Lounge where we were shown how to wear our life jackets and the procedures for evacuation were explained.
The Restaurant, used for both breakfast and dinner was a large open area at the back of Deck 4. Upon arrival at the Restaurant, you were greeted by the hostess who would seat you upon your preference at a private table, a larger table to mingle with fellow passengers, or with your larger group.
Next to the Restaurant on Deck 4 is a small Fitness facility.
Also on Deck 4 there is a laundry room, equipped with washers and dryers as well as complimentary detergent. Next tot he laundry room is a beauty salon (not pictured).
On Deck 5 is the Panorama Lounge where you can enjoy talking with other passengers over your choice of beverage, enjoy the on-board pianist, or join afternoon tea.
Also on Deck 5, there is the office of the Cruise Consultant where you can ask about and also book future cruises. Adjacent to this office is the shipboard shop.
At the back of Deck 6 you will find the Grill Restaurant where you can enjoy lunch in the afternoon, relax in one of the two Jacuzzi’s, or simply take in the sites as you cruise.
On Deck 7, there is the Viewing Deck that overlooks the Grill and provides an elevated view from the top of the Silver Explorer.
On Deck 6, there is the Explorer Lounge. It is here that we spent most of our time while on board Silver Explorer. We would have daily briefings on the destination we would be visiting the next day including historical and geographical significance of the area, what to expect in terms of weather and a breakdown of the excursions scheduled for that day. We would also have a recap of the day we just concluded and the experts aboard the ship would answer any questions that the passengers had from the current day or about tomorrows adventure.
Other areas of the ship not included in this summary included the Medical Facilities (with an on-board doctor), Tors Observation Library on Deck 6 across from the Explorer Lounge (here you could have an early morning coffee and pastries or relax indoors with large observation windows).
For the complete deck plans for Silver Explorer, please click here.
The cruise experience aboard Silver Explorer, in essence, can be described as toned down luxury. Again, and expedition ship is all about the destination and not the ship itself. The staff and crew are amazing and definitely have a passion for showcasing the ports of call while still ensuring that the passengers are well taken care of a treated with the upmost in excellent customer service.
All of the Virtuoso passengers on-board were provided with a $150 USD shipboard credit, a welcome reception and Virtuoso Hosts (us) that provided any information and assistance that they required to ensure a wonderful cruise.
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