AHOY, SILVER ORIGIN!

Silversea Cruises Takes Delivery of Their First Destination-Specific Ship

When it comes to cruising, the headlines have changed from ones of doom and gloom to ones that reflect a soaring increase in bookings.

Still, many eager travelers are thinking small. They’re looking to dip their toe back into cruising’s waters aboard intimate vessels where the crowds and queues that terrified us at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic are virtually unheard of and destinations are remote ones, like the Galapagos Islands.

Silver Origin, courtesy Silversea

Enter Silversea’s 100-guest all-suite, all balcony Silver Origin, the luxury line’s first destination-specific ship, delivered on time last week making it the first in-person cruise ship delivery since the global lockdown. Silver Origin’s schedule of 7-day Galapagos sailings begins August 22, 2020 with an 11-day Silver Origin sailing scheduled for December 18, 2021 and a 10-day one immediately following on December 29, 2021.

The Galapagos Islands are the largest National Park in Ecuador and are home to some of the most extraordinary animal species on earth—the very same species that inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Witness the exotic courtship of the monogamous Galapagos albatross, be hypnotized by the lumbering pace of a centenary Galápagos tortoise and swim with playful sea lions while you learn more about the area’s history and the volcanic action that created and continue to shape this fascinating area.

Silver Origin:

Like all of Silversea’s expedition vessels, the 5,800 grt Silver Origin will bring “whispered elegance” to the expedition experience with butler service in all suite categories (the only ship in the Galapagos to do so) and accommodations that range from a 269 square-foot Classic Veranda to a 1,076 square-foot Owner’s Suite.

Silver Origin deluxe verandah bathroom, courtesy Silversea

Select categories will feature an ocean-view bathtub and shower that may be accessed from balconies and an innovative horizon balcony which transforms into an indoor seating area at the touch of a button. A choice of two dining venues, including the open-air Grill which will feature Silversea’s popular “hot rocks” dining concept in the evening, connect guests with the soul of the destination, sourcing native ingredients from independent suppliers as well as local farmers and fisherman.

Public spaces aboard Silver Origin are designed with a distinct nod to the expedition nature of sailing the Galapagos Islands. The Marina, with its innovative fold-out stern, is the embarkation/disembarkation point of the vessel, providing easy access to the Zodiacs and kayaks that will transport guests (Silver Origin will never dock alongside during operation, even for embarkation). It is appointed with comfortable couches and outdoor showers to rinse gear and storage facilities for wetsuits and other expedition equipment.

The heart of Silver Origin is Base Camp, a space specifically designed for educational activities that will allow guests to interact with Silversea’s team of expert guides, all of whom are certified by the Galapagos National Park. Base Camp’s interactive digital wall provides destination-related content including exclusive aerial and underwater shots provided by the Royal Geographical Society of London.

Ready to unwind? Head to the Explorer Lounge for a drink while enjoying views of the Galapagos’ magnificent scenery from the room’s floor-to ceiling windows or relax on the beautiful terrace, complete with fire pit. The cozy Observation Lounge, with its 180-degree views and extensive library is the perfect place to curl up with a book while the more active guest might opt for a workout at Silver Origin’s Spa and Fitness Center.

Safety On Board:

Among the sanitation measures to be employed by Silver Origin are a bacteria-removing fogging of all cabins and public spaces prior to each cruise, physical distancing (made easy thanks to the ship’s 100-guest capacity and high passenger-to-space ratio), buffet selections served by gloved/masked attendants with no guests touching serving utensils at any time, screening of crew prior to joining the ship and during all sailings, passenger screenings, the sanitation of all provisions and luggage, strictly limited visitor policy, fully-equipped on board medical facilities with shoreside support if necessary, advance scrutinization of all shoreside activities to avoid contamination and more. Silversea is working with the CDC and other authorities on additional safety measures.

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The Road to Silver Origin…A Few Hiccups and a Historic First!

It seems unimaginable that Silver Origin could have been completed and delivered during a period of global flux. Yet, thanks to DeHoop shipyard—a small 130-year-old shipbuilding facility located in a remote corner of Holland, it was.

Despite the lockdown, the shipyard’s employees voted to continue with the project and overcame both small hurdles and giant obstacles between the February 6, 2019 keel laying and the ship’s June 3, 2020 delivery.

With challenges that ranged from water levels on the Waal River (too shallow in November and December for float out and too high in January and February) to a global pandemic, Silver Origin prevailed and was rewarded with super successful sea trials off the coast of Goeree-Overflakkee on April 27th-29th.

Included in these sea trials was an historic world first triggered by the Covid-19 travel ban which prevented sub-contractors from reaching the ship: A remotely-operated dynamic positioning acceptance test. The test, which evaluates the ship’s ability to remain within 10 cm of a fixed point without dropping anchor so as not to damage the Galapagos’ delicate seabed ecosystems, was tuned and calibrated by a third party in St. Petersburg, Russia (over 1,000 miles away!) through near-instant communications using a headset and camera while the ship’s captain served as onboard lookout.

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