Prince Albert II

Prince Albert II

6,072 gross tons 132 passengers 111 crewmembers 354 feet length 52 feet width 14 knots speed 66 staterooms 2 elevators 8 zodiac boats Registry: Bahamas Entered Service: 2008
Quality Rating: 5+ stars

Value Rating: 4+ bucks

Silversea Silver Wind

Best For People Who Want: An expedition ship with "best of the best" luxury and class; spacious staterooms for an adventure ship, highly personalized service.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer: A wealth of entertainment options; large fitness or casino facilities; an assortment of sports or children's activities.

Notice: if you are booked on Prince Albert II in a polar region we have VITAL information for you. It could make the difference between an average and a great cruise for you.

In cold climates be sure to bring waterproof pants and gloves. Waterproof pants fit over your regular pants. They also fit over the rubber boots you must wear on ALL polar outings - whether the expedition team designates the tour as a "wet" or "dry landing" or no landing at all. They will give you rubber boots onboard as long as you wear a regular sized shoe. If you have an unusual sized foot you must buy a pair of Wellington or similar cold weather, waterproof rubber boots and bring them with you.

The Zodiac voyages can get very long and you can actually get wet if there are swells. In Artic weather it is vita that you stay warm and dry. You full outfit should be rubber boots over woolen socks, pants, water-proof overpants, the polar waterproof jacket Silversea will give you when you arrive, a woolen hat, scarf and some kind of polarizing sunglasses or even airtight goggles.

Onboard Experience: Prince Albert II is an 1A ice-class vessel built to withstand extremely cold conditions such as Arctic and Antarctic waters. Inside, she has been remade into a Silversea ship, especially in the staterooms. Public rooms are also elite and refined, but are in close proximity to a mud-room for shaking off the penguin dung when arriving back to the ship on one of the 16 onboard Zodiac rubber boats.

The focus is on sightseeing, as well as onboard enrichment. Expect to learn a lot about the places you are visiting with some of the most renowned experts in the field give the expedition guides and the lectures during one on one question and answer sessions onboard.

When you are not sightseeing, you are recuperating from the hig activity level shore excursions. The ship features some of the largest staterooms ever built into an expeditionary vessel. All 66 ocean-view accommodations feature luxurious living space and private marble bathrooms with bathtubs. Select suites offer double private French balconies or large private verandas, and additional elite amenities including butler service.

Carrying 16 zodiac boats and other landing craft allows her guests to visit even the most remote island locations providing a full expedition staff including lecturers and leading experts on the nature and culture of the places she visits. The tours are included in the price of the cruise.

Fitted with all of the most modern navigation, safety and environmental features, she will offer all of the world famous Silversea amenities, cuisine, program inclusions, and highest level of individual service.

On our Prince Albert II cruise we found that the shipboard experience is Silversea all the way. The expedition tours are not exactly like the other ships, however. The Zodiacs will often be used to take guests out from the ship and may not land at all. You may be out in the cold for a few hours. We also encountered some surprising last-minute changes in the scheduling. At times when were told the ship would not arrive at a location until 9:00 a.m. and the tours would not leave until 9:45. In fact the tour left as early as 8:40 a.m. with only about 40 minutes notice. It is best to get up early and to be prepared for almost anything at anytime if you want to see everything you paid for on this cruise.

Also take note that Prince Albert is a small vessel at only 6,000-tons. Even though it is well equipped for its size with stabilizers and ballast tanks the ship will rock in rougher seas as any vessel its size. The ship usually gets to a polar region and stays there for awhile, such as the Svalbard archipelago north of Norway. We recommend these shorter, destination intensive cruises as opposed to those where the itinerary covers long distances. It is at its best when the time is unstructured so they can take you to the wildlife.

Decor: Elegant but very welcoming, with lovely Italian mosaics, hand-painted frescos, and paintings, paintings, paintings. The rich maple paneling in hallways is attractively accented by brass wall sconces. The staterooms have king-sized beds with walk-in closets and lavish bathrooms. The verandas are "French-balconies" with sliding glass doors. They are more than adequate for fresh air and even standing outdoors with the door closed behind you. In artic weather, you don't need much more than that.

Public Rooms: With just five public decks, public rooms are limited to the restaurant, a show/lecture theater, and lounges, library and sitting room. The top deck (seven) is given over to spacious luxury suites with balconies. Deck six features an observation lounge overlooking the bridge and the bow of the ship. Behind it is the spacious lecture hall which is large enough to seat the entire passenger contingent for every lecture. Midships is the small spa area.

The Panorama Lounge with a small bandstand and dancefloor. A glassed-off area of the Panorama Lounge comprises "The Humidor," a lounge for wonderful cigars and excellent spirits, or just to grab a smoke. Look for the extra-large binoculars in the Panorama Lounge sitting room - deck five. They are great for seeing wildlife at a great distance. This room also serves soup throughout the colder sea days and has tea-time at 4:00. On the same deck is the Library is also an Internet cafe, although the entire ship also boasts stem to stern wireless Internet access and cell phone service.

Deck four has The Restaurant. The ship does not have a dedicated buffet area, although breakfast and lunch will both be served in a combination of buffet and table service with menues. This deck also has a small boutique, fitness center and hair salon.

Cuisine: This may be an adventure vessel, but don't expect anything less in terms of cuisine than what you will get on any other Silversea ship. While the ships' cuisine is almost always delectable, though, it is only sometimes beyond earthly imagination. The small size of the ship is a bonus when it comes to the ability to deliver food hot from the kitchen. Expect the chef to try local favorites moreso than on the other vessels. The purpose of this expedition ship is to discover the region you are sailing in, and part of that is sampling the local cuisine.

Service: The Indian and Filipino service staff is as personable as it is efficient. They'll know your names -- and preferences - almost before you've gotten to your cabin. Officers and crew seem genuinely to enjoy getting to know their passengers. Because so many Silversea voyagers stay aboard for cruise after cruise, there's a rare atmosphere of conviviality.

This ship has a goal of adaptability in its itineraries. if the captain knows or discovers and unusual happenstance he is free to go anywhere he feels the guests will enjoy. It must be noted that a when a ship that varies its itinerary almost on a per-cruise basis, it is not reasonable to expect the consistency and contingency planning for shore excursions you will find on a ship that has been repeating the same ports for years. Silversea has a glittering reputation for its shore excursions, but glitches can occur, and those on offer are sometimes subject to cancellation due to a lack of passenger interest.

You can order any meal from the dining room menue during meal times and have it served in your cabin course by course. There is also a 24-hour menu with pasta, hamburgers and pizza. There are elaborate breakfasts included with room service including European, English or American style. Okay, the granola is not homemade as they say, and they did run our of crewmcheese for two weeks, but the service delivery is excellent and the coffee and tea water stay hot all day in excellenty designed carafes.

Restaurants: Just like the larger vessels, expect "The Restaurant" to feature starched white linens, romantic lighting and Christofle flatware.

Entertainment: This ship will not even try to offer anything like the production shows you will see on other luxury vessels, but do expect to find talented people playing piano and doing their best to get the crowd involved. A single piano player offers "standards" for folks wishing to cut a rug, but the best entertainment is likely to be in your stateroom on the flat-panel televisions offering music and over 80 different on-demand movies, documentaries, and nature specials all available free of charge.

Cabins: Those who adore the larger ships vast suites with private butler service may find these staterooms mildly disappointing. Most of them are standard size for ships, with just six of the massive usual Silversea suites on board. All of them have an ocean view, and some of the larger suites can be connected to adjoining smaller suites. Only 20 of the 66 cabins have a balcony, but there is a good chance you will be in water so cold you won't really care anyway. All of the cabins have a sofa and desk, twin/queen bed configuration, down pillows, and 24-hour room service. The bathrooms have tub/shower, terry cloth robes, hair dryers, and private label toiletries.

Fitness/Spa: Prince Albbert's small fitness center does not offer classes during the cruise, but it has "self-service" treadmills and other machines to keep your heart pumping. There are also a beauty salon and a spa with massage offerings, but with a minimum staff on duty. There is a sauna and two top-deck whirlpools.

Attire: You do not have to bring your tux and long sequined gown. The full-time dress code is "resort casual". Nor do you have to bring you rown parka or backpack - those will be provided to you as needed.

Tipping: Silversea is a true "All-Inclusive" cruise line and Prince Albert II is no exception. All drinks including bottled water, soda, wine, beer, spirits and champagne are provided at dinner and stocked in your stateroom. Gratuities are also included and none are ever expected.

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