General Expedition Information & Landing Reports
CLOTHING REQUIRED OTHER THAN ZODIAC ATTIRE: Most of the time, it was very casual however on the welcome aboard night a few people dressed up a little. Everyone over-packed because none of us knew what to expect. It was basically casual dress for dinner, with blue jeans being quite acceptable at night.
During the day, we all just wore tracksuits or very casual clothing. We seemed to spend a lot of time in the zodiacs or up on deck with the red parkas that were supplied by the ship, so nobody paid much attention to what we were wearing anyway. I bought a new coat, lined and warm, and never put it on. I brought way too many fleece tops and heavy sweaters, since I thought it would be cold on the ship. It was not; it was actually very warm and well insulated. In fact, people wore short sleeves and t-shirts during the day while on the ship; just normal everyday wear, short and long-sleeved shirts for men and twin sets or light sweaters for women is all you need. Just bring one or two warm fleece tops for going in the zodiacs. I also brought hiking boots, which was a mistake because I never put them on. You have to wear the provided rubber boots because of the zodiac landings. A pair of tennis shoes or comfortable shoes for walking around the ship during the day and one pair of shoes for evenings is all you need. For more details, see our detailed report of – What to Wear.
TEMPERATURE: Every trip will be different. For our Arctic and Antarctica sailings we experienced snow, wind, rain, sunshine, and absolute calm. The temperature hovered around 35 to 45 degrees most of the time. It was cold on the zodiacs but once ashore it was usually fine. In fact, we were so bundled up that we often were overdressed and found ourselves peeling off the the layers underneath our parkas once onshore.
DAYS AT SEA: The expedition ships do a fantastic job of filling the days at sea with activities. Each day they have lectures, all of which are really interesting. The lecturers are top notch and provide a wonderful combination of expertise and people skills.
NATURALISTS: The cruise will have Naturalists and an Expedition Leader. The credentials of these people were really quite amazing. On every landing, they were there to greet you, and would show you where to go and answer any and all questions about the animals and surroundings. By the time you leave, you feel like they will be your friends forever and the knowledge you gain is very insightful and interesting.
THE WILDLIFE I ENCOUNTERED: ARCTIC - The polar bears are an amazing sight and are the main event. Closely followed by the huge Walrus. Of course there are whales and other sea life and thousands of birds. ANTARCTICA - The penguins (thousands of them) are absolutely delightful and not at all afraid of humans.
ZODIAC LANDINGS: Loading in and out of the zodiacs is not too difficult and the staff is wonderful at helping you in and out. After a few landings it gets much easier. Each cruise will be different depending on the weather and where the ship schedules the landings. There are multiple landing sites and the Captain and Expedition Leader will change the schedule constantly to ensure that you get the best possible conditions and landings.
MOTION DISCOMFORT: The patches for motion sickness have improved recently and seem to work well for those who need them. You can purchase wristbands, which work on pressure points and then there no drugs for this method of relief. If you were to be too uncomfortable, the ship always has appropriate medication at the front reception desk. You may also consider using the patch or anti-seasickness drugs. Ginger tablets also help with motion sickness. I suggest you take some medications with you and have it in your cabin if you think you may need it.
CRUISE TICKETS: Your final cruise documents will be full of information regarding your expedition cruise. Please read these instructions carefully and call your Keene Luxury Travel Consultant if you have any questions. Be sure to tag all the bags with the luggage tags provided by Silversea. If you have booked air through the cruise line, a Silversea representative will meet you at the gate upon arrival.
THE FLIGHTS: Unknown at this time as the itinerary is not even set but anywhere that is difficult to get in and out of they will have a charter flight from a major airport.
AIRLINE SEATING: Due to consistent problems with lost seats and frequent flyer numbers by the airlines, neither Silversea nor Keene Luxury Travel will handle seat assignments for your flights or entry of frequent flyer numbers into your airline record. The computer may generate some seat assignments automatically. This does not mean they are the best seats available on the plane. When you get your airline schedule, please call the airline directly and handle this detail personally. Airlines often change flight numbers without notifying passengers and as a result, frequent flyer numbers and seat assignments do not always make the transfer. If it is important to you where you sit and that you get credit for your miles, call this in initially and re-confirm a few days before departure to make sure your seats and frequent flyer number is in the system. Also, check your boarding pass for your frequent flyer number upon check-in.
BAGGAGE LIMITATIONS: This can vary each year. Please DO NOT overpack. With the self service and regular laundry available, simply plan on washing and wearing the same casual outfits during the trip.
EMAIL AND CALLING HOME: E-mail and internet is available on the Silver Explorer. There are computers in the ship library and wifi hot spots in the library area and in all cabins. Packages are available and the more time you buy the less expensive the internet time. In 2012, it was approximately $250 for 1000 minutes or $85 for 250 minutes. Speed was moderate, not slow but not lightening speed either. Phone time is very expensive.
PERSONAL NOTE: I really had to drag my husband, Ken, on the first Antarctica trip. So the first time he came along simply to please me. However, for our return trip, I think he was even more excited about the prospect of going back than I was. He was especially enthusiastic about the Arctic after his Antarctica experience. It is truly a unique experience, and it is not just a cruise. The beauty of nature is overwhelming. I hope you decide to take an Arctic trip and see the magnificient polar bears or visit the penguins of Antarctica. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
REPEAT PASSENGERS: My image of the Antarctica or Arctic trip was that it would be a once in a lifetime experience and once you have done this trip, that you would not need to go back. However, it is surprising how many people were repeaters. Since the weather can change the mood and look of this region, each trip will be a completely different experience. One of my favorite days was cloudy, overcast and misty; it seems to be well-suited the environment.
REWARDS PROGRAM: KLT Rewards is a program that saves you hundreds of dollars on your cruise. We will send you a check with your final cruise documents for the amount applicable to your cruise. This amount will be noted on your Keene Travel invoice.
BOOKING YOUR EXPEDITION: Please do not procrastinate if you want to book the 2017 cruise as the Adventurer and Explorer Suites for the 2016 voyage sold out quickly.