The 120-guest Silver Discoverer expedition ship of Silversea Cruises doesn't have the wide variety of onboard activities that you find on a traditional cruise ship. Guests taking one of these cruises are primarily interested in the wildlife, natural wonders, and science of the places the ship visits, not the "hairiest chest" contest or BINGO. They are interested in learning activities, but still want to have fun, eat good food, and enjoy the common areas on the ship and their suites. Plus, have plenty of time to relax on their vacation, too.
The purpose of the photo above is to emphasize that the cruise itinerary mostly focuses on the things to see ashore or from one of the Zodiacs. Many of the onboard presentations prepared us to get more out of what we were seeing when we left the Silver Discoverer in the Zodiacs. History, geology, botany, ornithology, marine biology, and other sciences are much more interesting and easier to understand when you have daily field trips to accentuate what you've learned.
Let's take a look at some of the onboard activities, starting with the presentations given by our expert expedition team.
Page 2 >> Educational Presentations >>
Educational Presentations in the Explorer Lounge
Silversea Cruises brings together a knowledgeable, experienced, and diverse expedition team to help the guests maximize the learning opportunities on the cruise. We had team members onboard who were experts in marine mammals, fish, birds, geology, photography, and pest eradication! And, they could all drive Zodiacs and were enthusiastic about the entire Silver Discoverer experience. Don't you just love it when people love their jobs?
On this voyage that circumnavigated the South Island of New Zealand and visited some of the Sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia, we had fascinating presentations on the following topics. All were accompanied by photos, graphs, and slides.
- Seabirds of the Southern Pacific
- Introduction to Nature Photography
- Eradication of Rats on Campbell Island
- Macquarie Island -- Sub-Antarctic Jewel
- Chubbies, Silkies, and Sirens (New Zealand pinnipeds)
- Drifting Continents -- What Is Geology?
- White Gold of Macquarie Island
- Superlative Seabirds of the Southern Seas: Penguins
- Whale Tales
- Identifying Seabirds in the Sub-Antarctic Region
- When Worlds Collide -- Pacific Ring of Fire
- The Closest Thing to Life on Another Planet
- Orange Gold: Exploring the Deep
We also had documentary movies about New Zealand and other relevant topics. The presentations were well-attended and worthwhile. However, the expedition team allowed time for being outside on the deck to take in the scenery and wildlife.
Page 3 > > Watching the Magnificent Scenery and Wildlife > >
Watching the Magnificent Scenery and Wildlife
The Silver Discoverer sailed in waters unknown to most of the guests on the small expedition ship. Therefore, we stayed outside much of the time, enjoying the amazing scenery and watching the birds and marine life.
Although we usually used the Zodiacs to get close to nature, the Captain was enthusiastic about taking the Silver Discoverer to get closer to whales or other marine life as well as some natural wonders like a waterfall in Milford Sound.
Page 4 >> Getting up Close to Natural Attractions >>
Getting up Close to Natural Attractions
We had many fantastic adventures from the Zodiacs, but the day we visited peaceful Milford Sound, the Captain put the nose of the Silver Discoverer up to one of the waterfalls. What a fun experience.
This photo also shows the warm hooded jackets that all the guests were given to wear on the cruise and take home. I think about our cruise every time I wear it.
Page 5 >> Tasting Martinis >>
Not all of the onboard activities revolved around our cruise itinerary or the sciences. (Unless you include mixology as a science.) One day at sea, we had an informative martini tasting demonstration. We learned how to make four different types of martinis. Since the martini tasting was early in the cruise, it was a fun way to get to know some of our fellow guests.
Mateo Martini is the Hotel Director on the Silver Discoverer, and of course we had to ask him if he was related to the Martini family who gave this famous drink its name. He wasn't related to them, but as seen in the photo above, he did know how to make a martini!
Page 6 >> Time to Relax and Enjoy the Cruise >>
Time to Chill Out and Enjoy the Cruise
Guests on a Silver Discoverer cruise are not expected to participate in every presentation or to be outside with their binoculars searching for birds or marine life. After all, the guests are on vacation and can take time to just sit and watch the sea and the sky. We also had time to nap, read, and get to know our cruise mates and the expedition team.