Silversea Cruises' Newest Expedition Ship Ups the Ante on Luxury Wilderness Sails
Craving a Komodo screenshot? Hankering for overtime with an orangutan? Then be the first to book Silversea Cruises' newest expedition ship (their third), dubbed Silver Discoverer. Launching in March 2014, this 128-guest ultra-luxury vessel will troll remote waters of the Russian Far East, Micronesia and Melanesia and the Kimberly, Australia's hidden treasure.
Silver Discover was not built for Silversea; it's a purchased ship undergoing a major refurbishment before it's up to snuff for Silversea's tony guests. Like other vessels in this posh cruise line, it will be all-suite, featuring five suite categories. Expect 12 Zodiac boats, and check this out - a glass-bottom boat for up-close-and-personal exploration of marine life.
When you're done exploring Aboriginal rock art, looking for saltwater crocodiles and meeting remote tribes in Indonesia, climb back onboard and splash about the swimming pool, do bicep curls in the gym or get a fresh mani/pedi in the salon.
But despite designer soaps and other onboard pampering, this is still an expedition ship. Count on riveting lectures by the Silversea Expeditions team of 11 experts. They're here to guide you through these rough-and-tumble (okay, maybe just rough) experiences. Marine biologists, historians and dive-masters are among the expert group ensuring you only photograph a smoking volcano and not fall into one.
There are seemingly so many highlights of in this new wave of expedition travel, it's quite impossible to select a few. I suppose the Sea of Okhotsk in the Russian Far East (June 2014) is a biggie. Travelers are barely seen on land in this area, let alone at sea. Searching for bears, arctic foxes and whales in such uncharted territory so rich in wildlife is definitely high up in the thrills department.
Diving devotees might love exploring the waters of some of the most remote atolls in the Pacific Ocean, onboard a November 2014 Polynesian cruise. As a bonus, this voyage also offers opportunities to participate in local ceremonies and learn about ancient customs on these isolated tropical isles.
What is The Kimberley, you may ask? (I know I did.) It's a vast area in North West (take that, Kanye and Kim) Australia that's three times the size of England and three-fifths the size of Texas. It's got fewer people per square mile than nearly any other place on earth. Come here in April 2014 for eagles and ospreys, and saltwater crocodiles. Helicopter over Mitchell Falls, a stunning four-tiered waterfall. See King George's twin falls plunging more than 551-feet.
But I've got hankering for a March 2014 Indonesia-to-Australia voyage. It's got a good mix of everything; from glass-bottom boat coral-viewing to 300-pound Komodo Dragons (now that's a Facebook photo). To meet members of the Asmat tribe, dressed in warrior gear and wearing war-paint as they paddle in intricately carved canoes to meet your Zodiac - now that's (even if it's staged) what I call adventure.
Plus, plan on having a bubble bath drawn for you later in the day, because, after all, you're a guest on Silversea. And West Papua, New Guinea may be a little dusty. (silverseacruises.com)