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Review: Silver Endeavour

The new happiest place on earth must surely be onboard Silver Endeavour when exploring Antarctica, where joy and adrenalin flood the air and the buzz centers on penguins, ice floes and pampering.
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What is the line? 


Name of ship? 

Silver Endeavour

Passenger occupancy?



Antarctica Bridge 

Start out with the big picture—what is this cruise line known for? 

One of the most posh, inclusive cruise lines, Silversea makes its statement with tux-clad white-gloved butler service for all passengers, spacious all-suite accommodations, numerous shore excursions, wine and spirits, caviar and gratuities folded into fees. Door-to-door bookings include home-airport private transfers, airport-ship transfers and economy airfare. On expedition ships, passengers also receive in-country air and hotel nights, as needed.

Beyond included amenities, what makes Silversea compelling is its itineraries. Classic ships traverse most of the world. Expedition vessels ply polar waters and far-flung locales.

Cruisers lean 55+, particularly on ocean liners. While they’re mostly American, many are international, with the United Kingdom well-represented. Most Silversea voyagers are traveled sophisticates who savor the finest in life. They’re friendly, not showy, leaving the fanciest clothes and big jewels at home. 

On expedition ships with adventuresome activities (particularly during holidays and summertime), passengers skew younger. Think 30s-to-50s. They’re friendly, well-traveled and pumped for adventure. On my Antarctic sail during the festive season, cruisers included many first-timers from as far away as Shanghai, Rome and Mexico. I met many Californians and Floridians among U.S. travelers.

Tell us about the ship in general 

The 200-passenger ultra-luxe Silver Endeavour made its Silversea debut in November 2022. The PC6 polar ice-class rated vessel was built for Crystal Cruises, and sailed briefly in 2021 before the line’s demise. Reportedly, its cost was nearly double any new-build expedition ship prior. (Crystal Cruises, acquired by Abercrombie & Kent, returns its two ocean liners to sea later this summer.)

Silver Endeavour transports expedition luxury to loftier new heights, substantially raising every bar. With a one-to-one passenger-crew ratio, cruisers experience near-intuitive service, from butlers and servers to bartenders, who quickly learn guest names and preferences. 

The megabucks that went into this vessel are obvious. The ship is elegant, possessing just enough glam without glitz. So much – from chandeliers and furnishings to carpeting – subtly evokes sea movement. Expect lots of round and curved lines, warm neutrals and edgy three-dimensional art. Every element looks bespoke.

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls bring nature indoors, whether you’re dining, sipping martinis in a lounge, listening to lectures or unwinding in-suite. Suites begin at a roomy 357 square feet, and to me, are the most comfortable and best designed of all Silversea ships (and I’ve sailed them all). The pillow menu, welcoming champagne and complimentary personalized bar up the coddling quotient.

Two whirlpools – one indoors with a 270-degree view, and one outside – are more enthralling juxtaposed against Antarctica’s icy snowy backdrop. The indoor heated pool is also knockout; it’s located in the two-story solarium and surrounded on three sides by sweeping floor-to-ceiling views. The pool’s hidden by flooring that rolls back to reveal the swimming space when the solarium Grill is closed. 

Who is onboard? 

On my Antarctic sail, our group of primarily American strangers – mostly couples and families - quickly became a tribe. We shared a palpable excitement for this adrenalin-charged adventure. I met several couples in their 30s from Europe and 20-something suite-sharing software engineer pals from Singapore. Single travelers quickly met other solo cruisers (Silversea always makes that easy), and spent most of the nine days onboard together. 

The majority of cruisers were in their 50s and active. Hiking snowy hills, the polar plunge and kayaking were popular pursuits. Many of us would fist-bump and sip celebratory champagne post-outings. By the end of our sail, I felt genuinely saddened to leave several new friends, like an Opus One-sipping Shanghai coder and a big-hearted Romanian dog-rescuer. Several of us formed a WhatsApp chat, sharing penguin and whale pics.

Passengers kept evening attire low-key. While jeans aren’t permitted in dining rooms for dinner, no crew member frowned at the few wearing them. 

Describe the cabins 

Cruising as much as I do, I find cabin design flaws nearly shout challenges. Not on Silver Endeavour. These cabins – every one a true suite (some ships call cabins suites yet they’re too small or lack amenities to truly qualify) – are the most passenger-friendly of any Silversea  vessel. 

The smallest suite, a Veranda (my accommodation) offers 357 square feet. Most suites are this size; location impacts pricing. Larger suites include the popular 534-square-foot Silver Suite with a separate bedroom; 1,668-square-foot Grand Suite, with a private bow location, oversized balcony, small second bedroom and six-seat dining table; and the 1,867-square-foot Owner’s Suite, with the largest onboard balcony, spacious living room, jetted bathtub with scenic views and large walk-in closet. All suites feature espresso-makers, custom bars and nibbles like truffled cashew nuts. 

Storage space is genius; despite all the clothes (from expedition to more stylish shipboard apparel) my husband and I brought, we never used every drawer. Wall-mounted outlets and USB-C ports are everywhere, including bedside. Bedside lighting controls feature many levels. There’s also a desk and separate vanity table. 

The bathroom’s large sink has faucets on both ends so two travelers can use it simultaneously. The large marble shower (with both rain and handheld shower heads) includes a wide bench. A separate water closet houses the toilet and an extra sink – a luxury for duos. When my husband pulled the thick curtain separating the living area from the king bed, he binged on James Bond movies while I caught up on Zs. 

Tell us about the crew 

The crew was so enthusiastic. In Antarctica they don’t get out much, and of course, can’t let loose ashore. Yet they were as pumped as passengers spotting ice floes or humpbacks and orcas swimming by our ship. Their joy only added to ours. A few crew members told me that they considered shipmates family. Such contentment came across and upped mine.

Butlers are the most formal crew members but they put us at ease with easy smiles. Servers and staff in La Dame (an extra-fee restaurant) also abide by formality, but that style suits a fancy dining extravaganza. In the casual Grill, servers deliver personality with plates. Even behind-the-scenes crew members like engineers smiled and greeted us in passing.

What food and drink options are available on board? 

Let’s start with indulgence; Silver Endeavour offers complimentary Ars Italica Osetra caviar, anytime, anywhere. It quickly became a pre-dinner ritual as we dressed for dinner, delivered with bubbly by our butler. Dining in-suite is offered around the clock, with its own menu.

Other than La Dame ($60 per person fee), all dining venues are complimentary. Reserve La Dame as far ahead as possible. However, scoring reservations onboard is possible; some cruisers book multiple dinners and cancel. La Dame emphasizes extravagant ingredients with a modern French flair. Dishes, such as wild mushroom parfait with cassis pearls, and Dover sole with champagne beurre blanc and caviar, prove excellent. 

Sommeliers pour the same complimentary wines as in other restaurants; splurge on a premium list bottle to suit such fare. The premium list features fine wines from many regions, like Australia’s 2018 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series, and Italy’s Super Tuscans such as 2014 Frescobaldi Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia l’Essenza. 

Mornings are quiet in the Restaurant, as many cruisers prefer butlers bringing morning meals in-suite as they prepare for outings. At lunchtime, passengers frequent the casual Grill, tucking into salads, burgers and such. The Restaurant’s buzziest come dinnertime; cruisers love window tables to gape at views (it never gets dark during Antarctica summers). Menus are high-end—you’ll see plenty of lobster, primo beef and caviar—but they also roam the globe.

House wines include labels like 2020 Adulation, a California cabernet sauvignon. These are quaffing wines; same as on all luxury lines. If you don’t like the bottles poured that evening, request another and the sommelier happily obliges. I splurged occasionally on premium wines, but was mostly content with house offerings.

The Arts Café, far smaller than on classic ships, is a self-serve area rear of reception; choices include sandwiches, afternoon scones and sweet treats like brownies.

Reservations are needed for the Grill come dinnertime (when a guitar-playing singer performed), and for the charming Italian Il Terrazzino. You can usually score spontaneous bookings onboard, although it’s wise to book ahead.

Besides La Dame, Il Terrazzino won my heart (and stomach). I loved the charcuterie board; I devoured pillowy focaccia spread with roasted garlic, excellent prosciutto and salumi and aged Parmesan chunks. House-made pastas, like pappardelle with braised duck, were consistently delicious. 

Lounge bartenders play with cocktails. A hot drink, aptly dubbed Polar Plunge, features Calvados, all-spice, honey and fresh lemon - perfect for warming up after going ashore. Silversea’s winning take on a French 75, The Wanderer, blends Grey Goose, maraschino, vermouth, lemon, honey and champagne.

Is there a spa on board and is it worth visiting? 

Otium, Silversea’s newest spa concept unveiled on Silver Dawn, celebrates pampering as much as wellness. Silver Endeavour offers numerous massages and facials, among treatments. Post-massage, my husband fell asleep on our bed before I could ask if he liked it. I had a 100-minute Golden Radiance Facial while my hands basked in warming mitts. This facial involved many steps, including masks, oxygen bursts and light therapy. I swear my skin looks better today, nearly a month later. 

Activities and entertainment 

Passengers swim laps in the heated indoor pool, soak in indoor and outdoor whirlpools, work out in the sizable TechnoGym-equipped gym, take Pilates, yoga and other classes. Most show for pre-dinner expedition updates. I was so intrigued by lectures on Ernest Shackleton and whales, I took slide show pics and notes.

 How was the experience for families? 

Silver Endeavour is typical Silversea; children are rarely seen onboard. If sailing, they lean older and well-behaved. As my cruise was during festive season, some pre-teens and teenagers were onboard and mannered. 

Where did it sail and how were the excursions? Did anything stand out? 

Antarctica is red-hot and now teeming with ships, although you rarely see other vessels. Luxury competition includes Ponant ships, Scenic Eclipse I and II, and Seabourn Venture.

My nine-day Antarctica Bridge cruise flew over the potentially rough Drake Passage waters rather than sailing through it. The journey began with a flight to Santiago and a hotel overnight. The next day, we flew a charter to Punta Arenas, Chile for another overnight. The following day, a two-hour flight on a chartered aircraft landed on King George Island in the South Shetlands. From there, we boarded a Zodiac to join the ship. The return to Santiago was quicker, only involving one hotel overnight.

Are there any stand out sustainability or green initiatives about this cruise?

Silver Endeavour uses dynamic, anchor-free positioning to hover over delicate ecosystems.

Anything we missed 

The expedition team was the icing on the polar cake. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic, they worked with ever-changing weather conditions and provided safe Zodiac rides and landings where we trekked amidst sometimes 1000s of penguins.

Our expedition leader exuded passion, working from early morning until night. I saw her on nearly every landing, lending reassurance and a strong arm to those needing assistance debarking Zodiacs. By cruise end, she and her team made us feel like we, too, are stewards of the region – an unforgettable goal. 

Finally, give a sentence or two on why the cruise is worth booking.

If fearful over getting seasick crossing the notorious Drake Passage, book an Antarctica Bridge cruise where you fly directly to Antarctica. Although, I’d pretty much go anywhere exploratory on Silver Endeavour; it’s just that welcoming a vessel.

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