Silver Galapagos Cruise Ship Review | By Ngaire Keene Hutyra
The Silver Galapagos – Reviewed by Ngaire Keene from the 11/5/16 sailing - Sailing on the Western Itinerary
I was not expecting such a delightful ship. Super comfortable and great public space. Each of the Silversea expedition ships have their own personality, with positives and negatives. The Silver Explorer has been my favorite expedition ship but I think now the Silver Galapagos has taken first place. The décor everywhere is very pleasing the refurbishment of this ship has been done extremely well.
The Piano Bar - My favorite area on this ship. The Piano Bar is spacious with ample seating. Intimate tables for four up to two large areas that can seat 12 people comfortably. Outside is a nice sheltered deck area with tables and chairs and some chaise lounges. The perfect place to wind down after the day’s activities. There is a lower expectation with expedition ships for drinks and service and with only a few exceptions with fancy martinis they offered excellent drinks and service. What was great was they allowed a guest to show how he liked his drink made and it came that way after that every time.
Reception area - The Silver Galapagos has a very large reception area rather than a tiny desk tucked in a corner. This gives a nice feeling of a luxury ship rather than an expedition ship.
Explorer Lounge - Explorer Lounge is the main lounge on the ship. Each evening there is a recap of the day’s activities and explanations of the next day’s activities. An attractive lounge with a very unusual layout. Probably designed to allow the most comfortable viewing for the majority of people I could not figure out where it was best to sit. At least it was an interesting layout and the seating was comfortable.
The Restaurant - A long narrow dining room that can be noisy but length of the dining room does give a more intimate feel and helps with the noise level. Service was better than I anticipated and some very nice waiters. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner. Dinner ranged from excellent to average as with any cruise ship.
The Grill - On deck at the back usually pretty sheltered. This is definitely the place for lunch. Nice buffet, a specialty pizza, pasta and fresh fish each day. Plus the grill that has hamburgers, hot dogs, pizzas, fantastic fresh grilled fish and some amazing seafood. I have the largest prawns I have ever seen, larger than most lobster tails. They were the best prawns I have ever eaten. It can get a little hectic but worth it for the wonderful food and stunning surroundings on the deck.
Top marks for the cabins, particularly for an expedition ship. Even the lowest category, Explorer Suite is very acceptable. The two Terrace suites are at the front of the ship and larger interior with three windows facing onto the forward deck. As long as the sheers are pulled no one can see into your cabin. Very handy to pop outside and be on the forward deck. The Veranda Suites are also very nice. Having a verandah not only allows you the opportunity to sit outside but also makes the cabin light and bright and feel more spacious. Unfortunately the ship was totally full so I was unable to see the larger suite categories.
The Expedition Team
One of the all-around best teams I have seen in recent years. There are always the stars and the ones that just are not as good with all expedition teams. With the exception of one person everyone was excellent. All the team coming for Ecuador I think made a difference. This is their home and they are proud and knowledgeable about the Galapagos.Picture From Our Silver Galapagos Cruise - November 2016
The senior staff were standouts. The Hotel Director was absolutely EVERYWHERE always ensuring that things were going well. The Dining Room Manager was also always around checking on all the service and jumping into serve himself when necessary. The lady in charge of the Butlers was amazing I think she was in charge of everything. No matter what you needed there she was “I can do that for you”
The Crew - On past trips this had been a problem. All the staff must be from Ecuador and this has not always meant the best of service. However, overall the staff were excellent so I was very pleased and also they were friendly and helpful.
For the most part it was very good. There were times it was slow or not available but I have yet to be on a ship that does not have the same issues.
What was lacking? - Very little merchandise to purchase on the Silver Galapagos. Just a few cabinets with a few trinkets and hats. Some Silversea tee shirts and caps would even help. People like to browse so the lack of a little shop area was a disappointment for some.
No Forward Observation Lounge. Ships often lack a forward lounge and this is one of the things that most passengers really enjoy. Seeing where you are going, particularly if there is an ability to go outside from that forward lounge. The Silver Explorer has this lounge and at times it is a very popular spot on the ship.
Logistics - The pre hotel in Quito and the post hotel night in Guayaquil the hotels selected were first class and the entire operation was handled very efficiently.