Editor’s Note: In Part 1 of this three-part series about Silver Endeavour, we examined "Getting There,” the multi-day process needed for guests to take a Silversea Cruises’ Antarctica Bridge itinerary. Today's Part 2 focuses on changes from the ship's former Crystal Cruises' era, onboard service, our Premium Veranda Suite, dining and shipboard spaces. Look for Part 3—focusing on the expedition experience including Zodiac cruises, wet landings, the Mud Room and exhibition briefings—coming soon..
Unlike early explorers to the South Pole, luxury guests who sail today on Silversea Cruises’ newly introduced Silver Endeavour will enjoy a free-flowing ultra-luxury experience. Luxury Travel Advisor discovered that first-hand during our recent "Antarctica Bridge" voyage on this newly introduced expedition ship.
Yes, guests will have expeditions and plenty of shore adventures on the "White Continent," just as those early explorers did. For instance, they’ll traverse snowy slopes and rugged beaches.They'll gaze at penguins, whales, marine birds and seals. And they'll leave the ship via smaller craft—but not wooden boats with oars as in the past. They'll instead head out by modern, motorized Zodiacs to explore closer to land.
Most notably, after returning to the ultra-luxury Silver Endeavour, they’ll feel safely cocooned and pampered, and enjoy the finest cuisine, accommodations and service. That's certainly a huge improvement from life aboard for sailors centuries ago.
So, in this Part 2 of our three-part series, we'll examine what "modern explorers" will discover about Silver Endeavour. Here's our look at the ship's onboard service, our Premium Veranda Suite, restaurants and some other public spaces.
A New Home
Silversea’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Group, purchased Silver Endeavour, a nearly new PC6 ice-class vessel, in mid-2022 for $275 million. Originally, the ship was built for the former Crystal Cruises, but the vessel sailed only briefly as Crystal Endeavor in late 2021 and early 2022. Capacity-wise, this 20,449-ton expedition vessels carries 200 passengers maximum while sailing in polar waters, a bit more elsewhere.
Luxury Travel Advisor was present at the ship’s keel-laying in Germany several years back and also sailed on a short inaugural season voyage from Miami, FL, to the Bahamas in November 2021. Let's just say we were eager to see this ship in operation under new ownership.
Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s former president and now a Royal Caribbean Group advisor, publicly stated that when the vessel joined the Crystal fleet just two years ago, it was quite luxurious—much more so than Crystal's other two classic ocean ships. He also said that the expedition ship, which has the highest space-to-guest ratio in expedition cruising, fit Silversea's needs perfectly.
So, after taking possession of the ship last fall, Silversea made mostly cosmetic changes, such as changing signage, logos, some wallpaper and artwork. Silversea also updated the livery with its signature two-toned coloring. In addition, minor touches have enhanced the guest experience.
For example, the future cruise consultant’s office desk was installed in front of the Arts Café on the starboard side, opposite reception. We noticed guests dropping in to chat frequently with Alexa, the future cruise consultant on our voyage. This locale lends itself to relaxed conversation, far better than a more formal office approach to future cruise sales. As a result, people were lining up one right after the other—good for the line and positive for their travel advisors back home who will receive commission for the sale.
Other changes? In the ship’s spa, fitness center and beauty salon, the internal glass to the beauty salon (the glass facing toward the corridor and gym) and glass doors behind the relaxation area and pool deck were partially frosted. That's added a bit more intimacy in those spaces. Slight changes also were made to the ship's interior color palette.
As for suites, Silversea changed the numbers and renamed the accommodations in new categories. We couldn't resist looking at our photos of Crystal Endeavor and comparing them with our own suite on Silver Endeavour. They looked quite similar. New suite “touches” include the addition of Silversea's pillow menu in all suite categories and putting espresso machines in the “big suites” (Silver, Grand, Owner’s).
It's important to point out that the line only had a short timeframe to many adjustments prior to the ship going into service. So, Silversea does plan more updates during a spring 2023 drydock.
Guests planning a voyage on Silver Endeavour will choose stay from seven suite categories, all with 24-hour butler service. Spread over four decks, suites range from sophisticated Veranda Suites (Classic, Deluxe, Premium and Superior categories) to the most spacious, sumptuous top suites (Silver, Grand and Owner’s).
During our voyage, we stayed in No. 630, a Premium Veranda Suite, which spans 300 or so square feet of interior space and a 50-square-foot veranda). It can accommodate up to three guests. Opening the door to our suite, we discovered a handy drying closet adjacent to the door. So, if guests have a wet parka, slacks or knit hat that's wet, this is the place to easily store and dry them.
Split Bathroom Configuration
Also near the door is the suite's split bathroom configuration. One door opens to a small bathroom with a tiny sink and toilet. A separate door leads into a marble bathroom with a large vanity, elongated sink (with two faucets on either end) and a large walk-in-shower. Guests enjoy Bulgari bathroom amenities.
In addition, there is a locked sliding door between the two bathroom areas. Obviously, if two or three people are staying in the suite, the flexibility of the split spaces is good to have. We asked our cabin steward to open the locked sliding door between the two bathroom spaces to create one larger bathroom. He called engineering to come do that. Presto, it was done and the bathroom felt just right for our needs.
Adjacent to the bathroom is a walk-in closet with bars for hanging clothing, plus two Etro robes and slippers for guest use. Here, guests will find multiple drawers, shelves, a hair dryer, laundry bags, a personal safe and more.
Bedroom and Living Space
Strolling into the bedroom area, guests will find a king-sized bed (convertible to two twins), two nightstands with reading lights, and a large credenza across the room with multiple interior shelves. A nearby taller cabinet has more storage.
For privacy, a curtain can be pulled between the bedroom and living room area. We found that living area quite comfortable for relaxation and working during our voyage. A decent-sized couch, which can comfortably seat two people, is convertible to a single bed.
We particularly liked the height-adjustable glass table. When we arrived on embarkation day, a bottle of champagne awaited us there, as well.
The living area also has two chairs, which can both be comfortably positioned at the long desk area at the same time (if two people want to work remotely, for example). Alternatively, one chair can be pulled adjacent to the couch to create a nice living room seating area. Or, both chairs can be pulled to the adjustable table, allowing dining four four (with two people on the couch).
The super large desk area had a wonderful array of plugs for various types of voltage/devices.
Great Work Space and Starlink
Many travelers now have jobs that allow them to work remotely. So, they can be looking at ice and snow at the end of the Earth and still work. From our experience on many days working at our suite's desk, the ship is a good spot for "road warriors."
Of course, voyage routes and other conditions can impact connectivity, and there are no guarantees. But on our voyage, most of the time, the ship's Starlink WiFi worked quite well for us. Only once early in the cruise did we have difficulty connecting. (Keep in mind that we're uploading many photos into editorial content systems, and one simply isn’t able to do that on all ships. We did not upload any videos, though. But from our end, Starlink gets a thumbs up in terms of improvement over past ocean connectivity options.)
Rounding out the spaces within our Premium Suite was a nice private veranda with two chairs and a small table. Yes, the weather was cool outside so we didn't spend much time sitting outside. But it was handy to have a balcony when humpback whales were spotted near the ship. It was easy access for heading outside to snap photos. .
Plus, it was certainly magical to wake up in the morning and see this view (as shown in the photo below).
Beverages, Entertainment and More
The suite's mini-refrigerator is nicely stocked prior to the guest's arrival with sodas, beer or another favorite drink pre-requested. Upon arrival, we requested the house Sauvignon Blanc, which our butler brought to the suite and chilled in the mini-fridge. Silversea also provides several refillable water containers in the suites, and they were replenished as needed by the butler. Guests too can refill them at spots around the ship.
Above the desk is a 55-inch flat-screen HDTV with a multi-faceted entertainment system. That system offers a large selection of complimentary movies, TV shows, documentaries and more. For instance, we enjoyed the video feed from the Explorer Lounge at times, as well as various exterior camera views of Antarctica from different angles.
Other perks of this suite included a full-length mirror, sheer drapes and black-out drapes (important in polar region voyages as there's lots of light even late at night and in the early morning hours). We particularly appreciated having an electronic "Do Not Disturb" switch, much easier than fiddling with a paper hang tag.
Overall, our suite was spacious, luxurious, comfortable and just what we needed after returning from one of the day's expeditionary adventures. In addition, our butler delivered hot and cold canapes to the suite every afternoon.
After our cruise on Silver Endeavour, we’d easily describe the service as “simply superb.” The crew-to-guest ratio is approximately 1-to-1. Everywhere we looked crew members were prolific—in restaurants, lounges and expedition spaces. They were proactive in their service approach. For example, they'd ask: Can I help you, ma’am? Is there anything else you need? Would you like me to bring you something else from the buffet? Any laundry you’d like me to take today? How is everything in the suite? How are things aboard? Is there anything I can help you with.
We found some familiar crew faces and new ones, too. Many of the “newbies” seemed thrilled to be aboard, some coming not from other cruise lines but instead from the hospitality industry. The onboard crew on our cruise, despite hailing from dozens of different countries, worked well together. We departed and hope to see them again on a future trip.
While we realize crew have contracts and move on and off vessels, most of the crew members we encountered will be on for several months yet. So, it's worth mentioning these stand-outs if clients are sailing soon:
- Cessy, the entertainment hostess who delivers a hefty dose of infectious enthusiasm
- Sergei, the excellent pianist from Ukraine who dives into both his piano playing and singing with passion
- Tony, a new-to-Silversea face from Croatia who has never worked on a cruise ship but brings a strong hospitality background and instantly clicks with guests dining in the Pool Grill
- Amela at the Future Cruise Desk who approaches her job as a friend of the guest, not a hard-sell retailer
- Susan at reception who proactively assists guests in getting connected and answering a slew of questions with a smile
- Plus, all servers in the ship's restaurants, and our butler and cabin steward, too
On the dining side, when we visit a restaurant on an ultra-luxury ship, we often nicely inquire (never demand) of the server or manager as to whether the chef might possibly prepare a special dish we love on another night (not the same night, of course). Our intent is to determine if a luxury cruise line can truly customize the guest's dining experience and how well that’s performed.
So, one night, we asked if on a future night the chef might prepare an entrée of Penang Curry. Sure enough, the following night we sat down at our table in The Restaurant, and a server came to the table eyeballing his hand-held tablet. He told us that he could see that we desired an entrée of Penang Curry and asked if we’d like it this particular evening. We said “yes,” it was delivered within 10 minutes and cooked/spiced to perfection.
We have sailed many times on Silversea, and always the service is very good. That said, we felt Silver Endeavour's service was the best we've ever had on this line.
Public Spaces – Deck 5
To get a good sense of the ship, Barbara Muckermann, the line’s new president and CEO, recently made a video that’s now showing on YouTube. You can watch below:
Walking through Silver Endeavour, we often "lost" the perspective that it's a small expedition ship. Instead, it seemed larger inside than what one might think.
Reception and Arts Cafe
In terms of public spaces, Deck 5 is a hub of the ship in many ways. First, here’s where you’ll find the reception area, future cruise desk, and several comfortable couches and seating areas. Most notably, adjacent to reception is the line’s popular Arts Café (open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
The Arts Cafe offers a food buffet area, plenty of tables and chairs, and views of the icy landscapes outside. A full bar is nearby. So, the cafe is the "go-to" spot on the ship for a quick bite and beverage.
Given the cool weather in which the ship operates, it was nice to see hot soup offered on this buffet. Plus, guests can choose from wraps, sandwiches, salad items, breads, pastries and more. We loved grabbing a small cheese plate or the savory empanadas. Servers circulated throughout the space asking guests if they’d like a drink.
Beauty, Spa and Boutique
Also on Deck 5, but in the opposite direction, are the ship’s beauty salon, barber shop, fitness center and boutique We thought the boutique to be quite spacious considering the ship’s size. Fittingly, the boutique offers both penguin stuffed animals and 18K Hubert penguin pendants for sale, along with clothing, gifts and a range of other goods.
The fitness center offerd the latest exercise equipment and machines. At that center, the ship's dedicated fitness instructor Carolina also leads morning stretching and pure form yoga classes.
Across the corridor is the Otium Spa, Silversea's new Roman-style-indulgence concept first introduced on Silver Dawn last year. Among the popular treatments that guests enjoyed during our cruise was the “Modern Alchemy Facial,” which revives skin with concentrated doses of antioxidants, Vitamin E, and Niacinamide.
Indoor, Two-Level Pool Space
Fully aft on Deck 5 is the glass-enclosed, two-level Pool and Pool Grill area. Amid dramatic pillars that extend to the glass roof, guests sit in climate-controlled comfort at tables and chairs bordering a centrally positioned interior pool. The contrast between the outside world and this interior space seems almost surreal.
We loved heading out from the ship for a morning Zodiac expedition to spot wildlife and view rugged, glacial terrain. But as soon as we were back on board the ship, we headed right for the Pool Grill.
Dining here is casual, yet savory. The buffet offered hot dishes such as beef strips, chicken stir fry, veggies, potatoes and much more. Dishes offered vary from day to day. Some items, such as cooked-to-order burgers, are ordered from a menu. The buffet puts out a good spread of salads, vegetables, fruits, nuts, cheese plates and desserts.
The Pool Grill’s sommelier circulates from table to table, taking drink orders and serving white and red wines. Service on our voyage was excellent with plenty of crew members.
Yet, this is the ship's pool area, too. So, guests sit adjacent to a decently sized interior pool. Plus, a hot tub is nicely nestled in a corner adjacent to an expanse of glass. Guests can enjoy a warm dip and superb scenic views.
Sometimes the pool is covered with a solid floor that people can walk directly across. At other times, when the pool is open for swimming, stanchions with ropes surround it so guests don't forget that it's no longer a solid floor. Early in our cruise, before the stanchions were up, one guest walked right into the pool (and didn't plan that, obviously).
Additional Pool Grill table seating is also available on the second level, providing great views to both the interior space and outside. The Pool Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Deck 5 is also home to the ship’s Medical Center, behind the Arts Café and bar area.
Public Spaces – Deck 4
Another Silver Endeavour public deck that offers both enrichment and dining is Deck 4. Situated aft is the spacious Explorer Lounge (formerly known to advisors as the Crystal Cove space). It’s a lovely space with a large stage that has three large LED Screens, a large dance floor and many small seating areas with couches, chairs and small tables.
Guests first arrive here on boarding day for “A Taste of Things to Come,” the ship’s welcome reception with hors d'oeuvres and champagne. That’s followed by introduction of the ship’s key personnel, expedition team and a briefing.
Explorer Lounge's full-service bar is open from 6 p.m. until late in the evening. Featured cocktails include such drinks as “White Nile Spritz” and “Forgotten World.”
After a few nights, guests congregate here nightly greeting new friends with whom they've shared daytime expeditions with a sense of camaraderie. Servers circulate in the evening with light bites and take drink orders at the tables.
Most notably, this venue hosts many expedition-related activities, which we’ll detail more in Part 3 of this series. But, generally, those are afternoon enrichment lectures and a nightly “Recap” by the expedition leader, who discusses highlights of the day and what’s planned the next day. Large photos or videos are projected on Explorer Lounge’s three large LED screens. Let's just say any "penguin photos" were very popular with guests.
On our cruise, Explorer Lounge also hosted a meet-and-greet for the “Silversea Passengers Facebook Group,” a solo traveler meet-up, and more. This lounge is also the spot for night-time entertainment, along with the Deck 9 Observation Lounge.
Typically, the entertainment on the ship includes music and singing by several musicians. You won't find full-scale production shows. On our cruise, the musical entertainment was provided by pianist/singer Sergei (as previously cited), and/or Jaime, a talented solo guitarist. The crew also gets into the entertainment at times, as they did caroling for guests during our Christmas cruise's holiday program.
Throughout the cruise, though, guests will find other types of entertainment. For example, Sergei and entertainment hostess Yessy put on a few programs that combined music with fun activities or games. During “Miracle Lyrical,” for example, guests in the Explorer Lounge found out just how well (or not) they knew song lyrics. Other activities for guests might include an indoor table-tennis tournament, line dancing, team trivia, solo travel get-togethers, and spa, beauty and fitness seminars. During our holiday cruise, the line also offered a younger cruiser's cupcake decorating activity.
During its tenure with Crystal, this ship had a large casino in the space directly behind Explorer Lounge. Silversea removed that casino prior to beginning service with the ship. Look for plans for that space to be announced in a few months when the ship enters drydock this spring for additional updates.
In the opposite direction, moving forward on Deck 4, guests will find several dining venues. Good to know: Silver Endeavour carries just 200 guests in polar zones, yet it has total restaurant seating for 300. So, guests will have good opportunities to try the different venues.
That said, we'd suggest making dining reservations for the specialty experiences immediately upon arrival; just pull up the in-suite entertainment system to sign up.
On the port side of Deck 4 is Silversea’s signature fine-dining specialty restaurant, La Dame. It's in the same spot where Crystal operated its specialty Asian sushi restaurant. That former eatery was constructed with an open galley, which Silversea has retained.
We dined at La Dame one night and found the cuisine to be top-notch. Guests can order a la carte or just select the full Decouverte et Degustation menu. The latter starts out with caviar and condiments.
Then, on our dining night, the flow of cuisine continued with medallion salad, seared scallops and marinated King Crab timbale; champagne sorbet; a choice of two entrees—filet of grassfed Limousin beef, Café de Paris butter or souffle a la Pistache; and, finally, petit fours.
Dining at La Dame carries a cover charge. We found the house wines excellent, but if guests can complete their culinary degustation with an optional pairing of five selected premium wines from the line’s Connoisseur’s Wine Cellar.
Connoisseur’s Club & La Terrazzino
Moving forward on Deck 4 from Explorer Lounge, guests will come to the small Connoisseur’s Corner, the smoker’s lounge that's open all day. During bar opening hours on the ship, guests can order beverages by telephone request.
Another specialty restaurant is La Terrazzino, which means “little terrace,” and spans more than 1,000 square feet. With seating for 36 guests, it’s just outside The Restaurant.
At La Terrazzino, guests can expect authentic Italian cuisine including superb pasta. Worth noting? Even before one orders anything, a robust “starter” is automatically presented to all diners, comprising bread, meats, cheeses and olive oil. It's quite the culinary showpiece, and tasty, too.
A bit about La Terrazzino's locale, though: Configuration-wise, it’s split in the middle by a walking corridor used by folks heading to dinner in The Restaurant, a bit further down the corridor. So, La Terrazzino’s tables are in two spots. Some seating is in a semi-enclosed room (three solid walls plus one open wall adjacent to that walking space). Sporting an attractive octopus wall decoration, that dining area is well-defined and nice for a dinner outing.
On the other side of the walking path are rows of tables, as well. A tip? When making a reservation for a romantic dinner, we’d suggest asking in advance for a table by the window. We were seated instead at a table immediately adjacent to the corridor pathway, which was a bit "public" in that respect.
Silver Endeavour's main dining room, The Restaurant, is spacious, attractive and exudes an ultra-luxury feel. Each time we and others dined there we remarked how much we felt that way. We particularly liked the ceiling decor. A big plus, too, is that guests were spread out throughout the venue. We never felt crowded here.
The Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with no reservations needed. At dinner, there’s a Chef’s Dinner Recommendation menu as well as a head sommelier’s recommendation for premium wines.
So what's on the menu? One night, we ordered from the a la carte menu. Appetizers that night included a choice of Black Angus and artichoke carpaccio or vegetable pithivier. Intermediates were red onion and orange salad or corn chowder. Entrée options included roasted striploin of beef, lamb curry with fragrant Basmati rice, home-made fresh asparagus ravioli, or what we ordered—a tasty seafood stew of prawns, mussels, scallops and lobster with garlic bread. That dish is highly recommended.
Tasty desserts were available, too, although at that point, we surely didn't need one.
Other Public Spaces
Another popular public venue onboard Silver Endeavour is the Observation Lounge on Deck 9. Guests enjoy 270-degree views. We enjoyed this space for post-dinner cocktails and live music. It's also a great conversational spot; we met new friends from China, New York and elsewhere. Guests also like this space for its afternoon tea presentation.
In addition, Silver Endeavour has a fabulous, multi-faceted Library with a zillion books and many unique features. We'll talk about that more in Part 3 of this series next week, as part of our coverage of the ship's expedition product.
Overall, though, in looking at our Premium Veranda Suite, the ship's onboard service, the lovely public venues and the dining presentations, we'd have to say this expedition ship looks fresh and fabulous. Simply put, this ship appears to have found the perfect home with ultra-luxury Silversea.