Silversea's Prince Albert II

| July 6, 2009

This small expedition vessel offers all the luxury and charm of Silversea, but in more exotic -- and challenging -- settings.

When it comes to luxury cruise lines, Silversea is one of the first to consider. Last year, the line added the first expedition ship, Prince Albert II, to its fleet of four small, opulent cruise vessels. Prince Albert II is even smaller than its fleetmates, but it offers all the luxury that the Silversea brand implies. With open seating dining and capacious staterooms, she is a gem of deluxe cruising.

All Silversea ships also offer exceptional shore excursions known for perfection in planning to the final detail. But Prince Albert II takes a different approach, focusing on much more rugged and challenging shoreside adventures. Prince Albert II can be so different that some Silversea regulars may be surprised.

We hope this article will help to prepare you for the Prince Albert II difference. With proper planning, Prince Albert II will fulfill all of your expectations. But to experience the quality you expect from Silversea, you must be aware of the fundamentally different approach of shore tours on Prince Albert II. Heed our advice below and you will have a true adventure.

Expedition Ship vs. Luxury Cruise Ship Prince Albert II can surprise you not just on the first day, but on each day of the cruise. "This is an expedition ship," we were reminded several times by our expedition leader. An expedition is governed by the whims of nature, which never behaves predictably. To experience the beauty of the Arctic, for example, you might have to overcome some challenges before nature reveals its most precious secrets.

There is no shore excursion department on the PA II because the entire cruise is presented like one long tour. All shore expeditions are included in the price (and so are beverages and gratuities, as on other Silversea ships). The expedition team comprises experienced naturalists and scientists, each capable of giving detailed lectures in his area of expertise -- e.g., marine mammals, sociology, botany or geology.

click on pictures below for larger images:

Prince Albert Anchored at North Cape Norway   A typical skiff expedition   The Expedition Team

The goal of the expedition team leader is to bring guests as close to nature as possible, but in these untouched parts of the world, planning a daily strategy to accomplish this is a science unto itself -- always aided by a dose of good luck. Wildlife never operates on a regular schedule.

Your expedition leader will work behind the scenes on the phone, fax and Internet daily, checking with other ships for recent sightings of whales and lining up "bear guides" to carry rifles in case a polar bear gets too friendly. Planning and precaution by the expedition team can make the difference between a good and bad experience for you, especially in extreme locations like the polar regions where Prince Albert II sails.

Note: If you are booked on Prince Albert II in a polar region we want to prepare you for extreme climate conditions. In cold climates be sure to bring waterproof gloves and pants to fit over your regular pants. They also fit over the rubber boots you must wear on ALL polar outings - whether the expedition team designates the tour as a "wet" or "dry landing" or no landing at all.

They will give you rubber boots onboard as long as you wear a regular sized shoe. If you have an unusual sized foot you must buy a pair of Wellington or similar cold weather, waterproof rubber boots and bring them with you.

Always wear your waterproof clothes on all expeditionary tours conducted on the zodiacs when in cold weather. More details are in the article in the following pages.

Continue Article >> Getting Yourself Ready for Prince Albert II (Part 2)

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