PHOTO: Silversea Expeditions’ Silver Explorer. (photo courtesy of Silversea)
It’s not everyday that you discover a cruise line taking the concept of a local coastal explorer itinerary and expanding on it in grand expedition style, but that’s exactly what Silversea Expeditions is planning with its Silver Explorer in 2018.
From Ushuaia, Argentina to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the intimate 144-guest ship will conveniently stop at homeports along the Pacific coast.
“These new and exciting expeditions offer the modern-day traveler a chance to rediscover the naturally stunning and historically interesting west coast of the Americas,” said Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s vice president of expedition planning and strategic development, in a press release.
“Each of these unique expeditions will offer a wide variety of exploration activities — from exploring rich marine ecosystems by Zodiac, hiking in rain forests, discovering prolific wildlife, cruising historically important rivers, and exploring volcanoes, to savoring incredible cuisine. Our selection of expeditions along the west coasts of these two great continents will impress and leave the most intrepid traveler longing for more.”
In total, seven itineraries will trace both exotic destinations like the Nazca Lines and the Sea or Cortez as well as easily accessible embarkation and disembarkation cities of San Francisco and my own homeport of San Diego. As a rare native resident, California coastal sailings are always on my radar, and these are definitely the most unique to ever come along.
Particularly attractive is that the featured ports-of-call are not the usual San Pedro, Santa Barbara and Santa Catalina Island. In fact, between San Diego and Vancouver are stops at Santa Cruz Island, Monterey and San Francisco in California before heading to Astoria and Rainier in Oregon and Port Angeles, Olympia, Anacortes and Friday Harbour, San Juan Island in Washington.
A similar itinerary heading back south from Vancouver to San Francisco hits comparable spots as well as Lopez Island and Cypress Island in Washington and Eureka in California.
Best of all, even these sailings get the full Silversea treatment—complete with included excursions and an expedition team of expert field guides and lecturers. They will be on hand for the 11-day San Diego to Vancouver voyage on May 2-13, exploring the likes of Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier. The nine-day Vancouver to San Francisco run on May 13-22 will additionally feature the redwoods of Eureka and the whale-watching of Anacortes and Cypress Island.
San Diegans should also be interested in the 11-day journey beginning in Mazatlan, Mexico and ending in America’s Finest City on April 21 or May 2.
As someone who has had the pleasure of sailing the Sea of Cortez on a larger cruise ship previously, the notion of revisiting it on a luxury expedition vessel is indeed an intriguing one. Remarkably, only Topolobampo and Cabo San Lucas would be repeats too. The unfrequented remainder would be all new to me and most others as well.
Awaiting discovery are UNESCO-protected biospheres filled with whales, dolphins and sea lions, plus iguanas, songbirds, jackrabbits and seabirds such as the blue-footed booby. There’s even an overnight train excursion available to the Copper Canyon.
Farther away but also starting from Ushuaia are four more exotic excursions worth considering aboard the Silver Explorer. From February 25 to March 11, the ship will head to Valparaiso, Chile discovering Chilean fjords and glaciers, as well as the Torres del Paine National Park on a two-week cruise.
Then on March 11-21, a 10-day voyage will continue from Valparaiso to Callao (Lima), Peru for the chance to see the aforementioned Nazca Lines from the sky in addition to the Atacama Desert and wildlife like cormorants, blue-footed boobies, terns, pelicans and Humboldt penguins.
Heading north from Peru to Fuerte Amador (Panama City), Panama from March 21 to April 4 for two weeks will be four new destinations: Puerto Quepos, Golfo Dulce, Isla de Coiba and Panama City itself. Highlights will include the Manuel Antonio National Park and the Darien Jungle.
Lastly, from April 4-16, a 12-day cruise of Central America featuring the countries of Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala from Fuerte Amador to Puerto Quetzal.
Sailings on the Silver Explorer include butler service, complimentary drinks, stocked in-suite beverages and at least one hour of free Wi-Fi internet access per guest per day.
For more information, visit www.Silversea.com/landing-page-west-coast-expedition.
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.