Antarctica is a destination that attracts explorers, soul searchers…those brave enough to face the unknown. Visiting the White Continent used to require guests to forget comfort and embrace ruggedness—expedition ships aren’t exactly known for providing guests with the finer things in life. But in recent years, new luxury vessels, including Silversea’s just-launched Silver Endeavour, have made it possible for intrepid travelers to enjoy a comfortable retreat while exploring a destination that pushes your limits. The Endeavour, built originally for Crystal Cruises at an estimated cost of almost $2 million per berth, is the most expensive expedition vessel ever constructed. Silversea purchased the ship in 2022, and I was able to join its inaugural sailing.
For its Antarctic voyages, Silversea has exclusively partnered with Antarctic Airways to take guests from Punta Arenas, Chile, to King George Island, skipping the infamous (read: nauseating) Drake Passage for nearly all departures. While there can be a few bumps in passage, the flight is pleasant, with middle seats intentionally unused to provide guests with maximum space and comfort. And for any itineraries that do include the Drake Passage, Silversea is the only cruise line allowed to operate out of Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in Santiago. Rather than arriving to the destination to see other cruise ships and heaps of travelers, you get a taste of local life and get to view the beautiful Endeavour vessel without any distractions.
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The work that went into ensuring it is the best in its class of expedition cruises was no small task. Engineers focused on sustainability, and implemented measures to reduce energy consumption. She has incredibly advanced waste systems and internal combustion engines. Silver Endeavour also has a dynamic positioning system that allows the team to position the ship without anchor, meaning they can get closer to areas that would typically be too difficult to reach. She also has unprecedented maneuvering capabilities, and is classified as Polar Class PC6, which essentially means that she can travel through first tier ice easily, exploring unchartered territories—something that many other ships would be forced to retreat from.
But the engineers weren’t the only ones making sure Silver Endeavour is in a league of its own. The interiors showcase a sense of sophistication—muted grays with pops of gold and white— unprecedented for Antarctic exploration.
The 540-foot, all-suite ship carries 200 passengers, with cabins dispersed among eight decks. Each suite is exterior-facing with a balcony, and has extremely comfortable bedding, a living space, and a closet for storing expedition gear, along with butler service. Entry-level Deluxe Suites start at a generous 304 square-feet. For families and groups traveling together, it’s possible for adjoining suites to be connected, sharing one entry hallway that can be locked off.
Silver Endeavour has a spa (complete with a sauna and steam room), beauty salon (for manicures, pedicures, blowouts, etc.) a gym with daily Pilates and yoga classes, multiple lounges, including an “Explorer’s Lounge” for lectures and daily briefings, four restaurants, a pool and an outdoor running track—for those bold enough to run outside in the Antarctic chill.
The ship has a 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio and an exceptional, top-of-the-line expedition team for all excursions. In fact, Silver Endeavour now offers the highest Zodiac-to-guest ratio in expedition cruising, which means no one must miss out on the day’s offerings. Unlike other ships where passengers have to rush to sign up for activities, guests are placed into small groups with slotted times to take zodiacs out to the landing sites. The only activity you sign up for is kayaking, though they do their best to accommodate those who want the experience at least once during the journey.
The ship’s four restaurants showcase an array of cuisines, ranging from the casual Arts Café for lattes and pastries to La Dame’s six-course tasting menus. There are multiple spaces for drinks as well, ideal for unwinding after a day amongst the penguins and icy landscapes.
Overall, the new Silver Endeavour is the perfect fit for those who do not want to forego luxury for adventure. Now, it is possible to experience one of the wildest places on earth, but with a cozy, comfortable space to retreat to at the end of each day on board.
Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning your trip to Antarctica.