Silversea’s Silver Cloud made her debut as an expedition vessel in Montevideo, Uruguay, on November 14. Travel Agent was among the invited guests on its shakedown cruise.
A two-month intensive dry dock in Malta transformed the vessel into the most spacious ICE class ship in expedition cruising. It will carry but 200 guests in polar regions, giving it the highest (more than 1:1) crew-to-guest ratio in the business.
Making the ship even more unique: Silver Cloud is expedition’s first luxury crossover, so to speak. The ship can sail expedition itineraries as well as traditional ones. The pool deck has been refurbished, and is ready for use in warm-weather destinations.
Silver Cloud emerged from the multi-million-dollar dry dock almost entirely new. Staterooms have new furnishings, bedding, carpet, draperies and fixtures. Bathrooms are newly-reconditioned, having been upgraded in the past year and a half.
The ship now holds three times more suites in the Silver Suite category and above.
Public areas, including restaurants, theater, spa and fitness center, are re-done and (in the case of the fitness center) expanded. There’s a new Observation Lounge and a Photo Studio, designed for guests to make the most of their scenic encounters.
Five restaurants, mostly balcony cabins and butler service keep Silver Cloud in familiar luxury territory.
The ship's new color palette of muted taupes and beiges is very much in the vein of the Silver Muse, which debuted in the spring. Artwork throughout the ship captures classic scenes of expedition travel.
More significant than the cosmetic refurbishments are Silver Cloud’s structural enhancements. The ship now has an ice-strengthened hull, new navigation equipment, new heating and air conditioning systems and reinforced windows, among other upgrades.
At an afternoon press conference the day of departure, executives, including chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio spoke about the ship’s role in the market, And its role in Silversea.
“It was very emotional for me to see the ship after it was finished. This was our first ship when we started Silversea in 1994,” said Lefebvre.
In its new iteration, Silver Cloud will sail with a team of 22 expedition leaders, 16 Zodiac vessels, 12 kayaks and a specially-designed boarding platform.
Agents on board for the short shakedown shared Lefebvre’s enthusiasm.
“Silversea really doesn’t have any competitors in the luxury expedition field. Lots of lines say that they are. But, it has never been true. And, Silver Cloud demonstrates that more than ever,” Jane Schuyler, vice president of Travel Leaders Destinations Unlimited, tells Travel Agent.