When Robin Stephens asked the expedition leader on board the Silversea Discoverer what his true job was, he said, “I am responsible for providing the real-life brochure to our guests.”
“Everything was just so new and different. We got the brochure,” she said of their Alaska Expedition cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia to Anchorage (Seward), Alaska.
“This was such an awesome trip,” she said. “The whole idea of this itinerary is based around the nature of Alaska and that’s what they provided us — Alaskan nature up close….and we were certainly up close!”
While she and her husband visited four ports on their voyage, the focus — and Alaskan experience — centered around taking zodiacs, small inflatable boats, out each day for two to three hours at a time and exploring the beautiful scenery, waterfalls, glaciers and wildlife, including birds, bears and whales.
“We were up close and personal with the whales and the bears,” she said, showing a picture they took from the beach. “Look how close we are. You could hear them and watch them dig.”
Robin enjoyed the flexibility of their schedule.
“If the weather and the wildlife were out there, they would stay if they could,” she said.
They also had front-row seats to viewing glaciers.
“We were only about a football field away from glaciers,” she said.
One special Silversea touch? The staff met the guests after their zodiac cruise with hot chocolate paired with Baileys and rum (“if you wanted it,” adds Robin.)
“One day when we were out looking out at the glaciers, they met us with champagne,” she said. “I was like ‘Does this get any better?’ ”
When they weren’t exploring in the zodiacs, the smaller ship allowed them access to smaller ports that cruise lines normally don’t go to.
Robin enjoyed visiting the little town of Metlakatla, where the townspeople were trying to teach their youth about their culture so they wouldn’t lose sight of their roots.
“It was only the second time a cruise ship had been there,” she said. The first time was a Silversea ship the previous week. They took a tour of the town, where they visited a longhouse, a one-room house that families traditionally lived in. The townspeople treated them to a cultural dance.
“That was pretty cool,” she said. “They were very welcoming.”
Another fun port to visit was the fishing town of Elfin Cove, with boardwalks all the way around the cove and no cars.
“During the winter, there are only eight people that live in this little town,” she said.
Robin said the whole experience was geared toward learning. Every day, they would be given a newsletter, called Chronicles, about what was happening that day. They also had onboard lectures.
“Mostly what it was focused on was the naturalists talking about what we saw that day and what we can expect for tomorrow,” she said.
The ship’s entertainment was one man playing the piano at night in the lounge.
“The entertainment isn’t a Las Vegas show,” she said. “If that is what you’re looking for, this is not the cruise for you!”
With only 120 passengers at full capacity, Robin said they met people from all over the world.
“The average age was a person in their 60s — very well-educated and well-traveled,” she said. “There was one family on board. The kids loved it when we were out on the zodiacs but other than that, they were bored to death.”
While it’s an expedition-style cruise ship focused on adventure, the service they experienced was definitely luxury. What was the best onboard amenity? The butler service, says Robin.
“With Silversea, regardless of the category that you’re in, you’ll have a butler that you’ll share with a few other staterooms,” she said. “Our butler was Hitesh and he knew our names right away.” Hitesh make sure their every need was taken care of, from tidying up their room to making sure their favorite drinks were in the mini fridge.
What are a few tips Robin would give to someone considering an expedition cruise like this?
- “Waterproof everything!” she says with a chuckle. “Definitely purchase waterproof pants and shoes. You have no idea how wet you are going to get.”
Silversea supplies each guest with a souvenir jacket for their trip.
“They are waterproof, warm and red,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’d hang them outside our room on hooks since they were soaking wet.”
Silversea gives you a packing list before the cruise. “We went by the packing list and it was perfect,” she said.
Be flexible. “This is an itinerary that can change because of weather and wildlife,” she said. “Take advantage of every zodiac ride if you can.”
Make a reservation at Hot Rocks restaurant. Weather permitting on the deck, you can grill you own food under the stars. “The night that we did it was the day that we saw the whales,” she said. “They were still following the ship while we were eating this amazing dinner.”
Overall, Robin calls the experience a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
“If you haven’t been to Alaska and are looking for something different, you need to do this,” she said.
Contact Robin about this vacation
- (520) 232-5578
- [email protected]