Hear from our travel experts Jennifer Walters and Tina Hirr about their recent experience in Antarctica:

Silversea Antarctica 6-Night Bridge Expedition Cruise
Roundtrip King George Island, Antarctica
November 24-December 5, 2023

This trip has FAR exceeded both of our expectations for the good. It quite literally is difficult to put into words the absolute awe we have seen and experienced so far. We say there is no way tomorrow is going to be better…and in some magical way, it is. And if you work with Jennifer, you know that’s saying a lot since she was out of her mind excited for this FAM trip!

Silversea is the only cruise line that exclusively offers a “Bridge cruise” that bypasses the dreaded Drakes Passage. By chartering a flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island, Antarctica, the 2-day, insanely rough passage it would take by ship lessens to only a 2-hour chartered flight. 

Cruises operate in Antarctica during their summer months, typically November through February. The average temperature is 31-41 degrees Fahrenheit, generally warmer than Michigan for this time of year, so it’s very comfortable with the expedition gear provided. You just need to add a layer underneath:

  • Invest in a wool, wicking base layer. Cuddle Dudds do not work well because they are cotton, if you sweat you will be soaked! Yep, I personally learned that lessen the first day.
  • Active wear over the base layer ie; thin hoodies, lined pants or leggings. If hiking, you will get warm quickly so don’t bundle up too much!
  • Glove liners and gortex gloves that are waterproof or water resistant.
  • Sock liners and wool socks (Smartwool brand is wonderful)
  • Gator to protect your neck and face from the wind. Don’t bring scarves.
  • Warm hat that covers your ears properly. I bought one with ear flaps that snapped under my chin. Not a great fashion statement but I loved it (my kids told me I look like the Russian man in Stranger Things, thanks boys!!)!
  • INVEST IN A GOPRO CAMERA FOR YOUR EXCURSIONS. We wore it on our head which completely frees up your hands. You will enjoy your time on the zodiac and your landings so much more not constantly messing with your camera!!

It is daylight almost 24 hours.

Friday, November 24 – Departed Grand Rapids for our overnight flight through Atlanta to Santiago, Chile.

Saturday, November 25– Arrived in Santiago where we were greeted by several smiling Silversea Representatives in the baggage claim area after clearing the uneventful and quick customs and immigration process. Silversea showed us to our shuttle to the Ritz Carlton, approximately 20- 30 minutes ride from the airport. We enjoyed the mountainous scenery of the Andes mixed with the city landscape of Santiago.

We were delayed flying out of Atlanta 2 hours, so we missed our Viator 3-hour small group walking tour of Santiago. Thankfully, we were able to reschedule it with our tour guide via WhatsApp for 6 pm that evening so that worked out nicely. After arriving at the hotel, we were directed to a private conference room for all Silversea guests to check-in and enjoy light refreshments. Rooms were not ready yet, so the hotel held our luggage. After getting refreshed in the hotel spa, we visited the concierge. With city map in hand, we hired an Uber, the least expensive, most direct way to get around the city, to visit the recommended Italian neighborhood which didn’t disappoint. We shopped for beautiful, handcrafted Chilean souvenirs including copper jewelry and enjoyed a delicious lunch with local craft beer and fried cheese appetizers, YUM! The vast majority of their restaurants are el fresco including beautiful, interior open-air courtyards. They are so neat and offer a fun dining experience.

Exhausted from lack of sleep and full from our delicious meal, we headed back to get settled into our nicely appointed room and take a much needed power nap for our upcoming city tour (that turned out to be private).

We met our tour guide, Eugene a Brazilian who moved with his wife to Chile for a better life seven years ago. He said this is the story for many people who now call Chile home. Chile’s economy is superior and offers many opportunities that simply do not exist with its neighboring countries. He said Chile follows the lead of the USA for many of its economic policies. Eugene provided countless historical and political insight into Chile, both past and present. He also walked us through several must see neighborhoods for wonderful shopping, dining, and entertainment options. In addition to the Italian neighborhood we experienced earlier, you do not want to miss Bella Vista. This is where we ended our tour with more souvenir purchases and Eugene introducing us to Chile’s infamous beverage, the Pisco Sour. Oh yeah!

We wished we would have had two nights in Santiago to enjoy more of what this friendly, vibrant city has to offer, so book your client’s an extra night. Or allow even more time if they would like to visit Patagonia, ski resorts in the Andes and many other areas outside of the city.

Please note that we were told several times by our Concierge, Uber drivers and Eugene our tour guide to keep your cell phone, purse/wallet secure when walking around.

Also, all types of credit cards are accepted in the local artisan markets and restaurants which is very convenient since they only accept the Chilean peso for currency (we didn’t exchange nearly enough).

Unlike us, do not forget your converter at home for your electrical equipment. Yes, we proved we can be the worst travelers ever! Thankfully the Ritz had a couple to spare. You do not need converters at all for the Silversea Endeavor. There were at least 3 US outlets in our room, plus USB ports.

Sunday, November 26 – Woke to another beautiful, sunny warm day and enjoyed a leisurely, included breakfast at the hotel before departing to the airport for our 3-hour chartered flight to Punta Arenas. All 200+ guests were literally packed on this flight; I could barely open the tray table to type LOL (picture Spirit Airlines). But Tina and I took it in stride knowing it’s all part of the adventure. If we only knew at this point what adventures were in store for us!!

Make sure you tell your clients to get a window seat, the views are stunning with so many glaciers and bright blue lakes. Another fun fact, Chile is home to 50% of the earth’s glaciers. Wow, who knew?? Tina captured some amazing pics! We arrived in sunny Punta Arenas but just a tiny bit colder around 50 degrees instead of the 70’s we enjoyed in Santiago. It meant we were getting closer!!!

Punta Arenas is located at the “end of the earth”, the most southern point of South America. It is rather desolate, windy, cold but with a nice, small-town feel. We arrived on a Sunday, please note there isn’t anything open. Reminded me of Zeeland, MI on a Sunday LOL!

Once we landed, we were officially “on call” to depart to King George Island in Antarctica. The airstrip in Antarctica is a Chilean Airforce base and they, along with meteorologists determine and have final say when or if we fly.

The hotel, Cabo Hornos is very lovely for such a small city. Our room was ready, and we noticed it was quite warm with no air conditioning option, only heat. All the windows opened to help cool down the room. Since it’s cold year-round here, AC is not needed. Our Antarctica Silversea expedition gear we pre-ordered was on the bed. After trying on the gear, we swapped out what didn’t fit quite right. Make sure your clients zip up the parkas and can comfortably sit down and move their arms around. Silversea was very organized, no one had any issues swapping out their gear for different sizes.

We enjoyed a delicious, included buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant that evening. Then it was off to bed. It was announced we need to rise and shine at 2 am to catch the window of time to safely fly over the Drakes Passage from Punta Arenas to King George Island. YIKES!!!

Checked luggage outside the room by midnight. Make sure you have everything you need, including all of your expedition gear, since you won’t see it again until you are on the ship.

November 27 – Slept for 2 ½ hours to awake at 2 am to transfer to the airport to fly South! Silversea chartered 3 buses for 3 chartered Antarctic Airlines aircraft. Again, everything was very well organized with each bus/flight departing 15 minutes apart.

After, a delicious Chilean meal onboard, the sun rose and within 2 hours we were finally in Antarctica, aka the White Continent! It was amazing to watch giant icebergs come into view as we descended. Tina was able to capture amazing pics from her window seat.

After getting all our expedition gear and boots on and disembarking the plane, we got into our shuttle buses to take us 1 mile to the landing beach where our zodiac awaited. Alert your clients that it is an extremely bumpy ride, the “road” is a 2 track with very large water filled potholes. It was a blast, reminded me of 4 wheeling back in the day! After turning a final corner, there was the landing beach and zodiacs with our gorgeous expedition ship, the Silversea Endeavor anchored offshore!!

After a quick demonstration and getting fitted with our lifejacket, we got into our zodiac and motored to the ship entrance at the water line. There are 2 entrances, one on the port and starboard side. Which one is used is dependent on the water conditions. After another quick demonstration, we hopped off the zodiac and were finally on the ship we will call home for the next 7 days, YAY!!!

All ships that sail Antarctica are under very strict guidelines by IATO (International Antarctica Treaty Organization) which includes biosecurity. This meant we needed to scrub the bottom of our boots, give them a good rinse and step in a tray full of a cleaning solution as soon as we stepped into the ship, every time.  Please note: Silversea is very strict on the biosecurity with your gear.  The expedition team does go through the mud room and check boots to see if they were scrubbed enough that nothing was left on the boots.  IATO has inspectors on the ship and will monitor that these rules are being followed.  We were then directed by friendly crew members into the mudroom and shown where to store our boots and lifejacket. As the ship set sailed, we checked in at reception and then the lifeboat briefing including excursion safety in the lounge and finally visiting our muster station. Since we arrived so early, our cabins were not ready for a couple more hours, so we headed to The Restaurant for a light breakfast.

Tina and I hope to kayak at least once during the cruise, so we attended the mandatory class for kayak safety in order to do so.

The Silversea Endeavor is stunning and was purchased in 2021 from Crystal. It was built for sailing Antarctica and cutting through ice. Our cabin is absolutely gorgeous and thoughtfully designed for guests bringing a lot of gear and clothing. The walk-in closet was such a lovely surprise! The majority of the guests took advantage of the few hours before our evening briefing and dinner that evening to rest up. Jennifer couldn’t sleep, she was too excited so she self-toured the ship, venturing into all the restaurants, lounges, observation decks, notice boards etc…once back in the cabin, the ship horn blew to alert us that whales were spotted. Sure enough, a humpback whale spouted and showed us his tail from our balcony. SO exciting!!

We loved the food! Make dining reservations on or after 7:30 pm before they cruise (we completely forgot, oops! But thankfully, we were still able to reserve a couple with the help of our Butler). Sometimes the daily briefing in the evenings can run a little long. If they choose to dine in the The Restaurant, no reservations are required, and we never waited to be seated. Our favorite was The Grill, the glassed-in pool area on the back of the ship that turned into a specialty restaurant in the evening and buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch. The views were spectacular!

At 6:30 pm each evening in the lounge, we attended the briefing for the next day’s adventure, hosted by the expedition team. There were 25 team members all specializing in various areas of expertise ie., marine biology, birds, continental drift, kayaking, etc. Each briefing was so organized and informative that when it opened for Q&A there were no questions.  

Each day one of the expedition team members would lead a seminar or an Enrichment Lecture in their area of expertise. Today Alex spoke about Antarctica, the white continent. They were all very interesting.

There are typically 2 excursions per day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon in 2 different locations. You do not need to sign up for any of the excursions unless you would like to kayak. Each evening after the briefing, you put your name in the lottery for the kayak excursions offered the next day. If your name is not selected, you are given priority for the next day and so on. The passengers are divided into 4 groups, one through four, with cross-referenced bookings staying together so they may experience the excursions together. The departure times for each group are staggered and again, incredibly organized and communicated by the Silversea expedition team. The excursion times are also weather dependent and may be delayed or all together cancelled if the weather produces safety concerns.

We experienced the following excursions during our 6-night cruise:

  • Tuesday, November 28
  • The restaurant staff already knows our name and cabin number. WOW!
    • Morning – Anchored at Orne Harbour – zodiac sea landing on Antarctica! We climbed to the top of the “mountain” to visit the Chinstrap penguins. It was a VERY strenuous hike and SO worth it. Weather moved in and the ice flows blocked the harbor and we were “stuck” in the zodiac!! It was SO cool LOL! The ship actually had to back up and use its propellers to move the ice away so we could get back to the ship.
    • Afternoon – Achored at Wilhelmina Bay – zodiac cruise with Christian where we saw a humpback whale breach and a Leopard Seal. It was so calm and serene and the marine life so close. It was gorgeous!

    • Attended the Enrichment Lecture with Nick: “Antarctic Marine Bird  Ecology
  • Wednesday, November 29
    • Up at 6 am to admire the scenery, cruising through the Lemaire Chanel.
    • Morning – Achored at Petermann Island – zodiac sea landing to visit the Gentoo and Adelie penguin colonies. The sun was shining and we enjoyed a very easy hike/walk today. We found that the penguins do indeed have an odor, but they are so darn cute we forgive them. The scenery is just so beautiful everywhere we go.
    • Afternoon – Achored at Pleneau Bay – zodiac cruise with Nick, the bird guy! He’s a hoot. We had the rare opportunity to land on an ice sheet and walk around a bit. Very cool!
    • Attended the Enrichment Lecture with Julien: “The Wandering Continents”
  • Thursday, November 30
    • Morning – Anchored at Skontorp Cove aka Paradise Cove – zodiac cruise with Alex, she’s fantastic! We saw a lot of Adelie penguins “playing” in the water and admired the blue icebergs and glaciers up close. SO amazing. We then motored to the expedition team in a zodiac serving up hot cocoa and champagne! It was a pinch me moment once again!!
    • Argentina also has a science station here to study the biology of Antarctica.
    • Afternoon – Anchored at Neko Harbor – zodiac sea landing overlooking a massive glacier. We witnessed a small avalanche (not a calve, an actual avalanche!); I was able to video the end of it. It was SO LOUD and SO AMAZING to watch!! The penguin colonies here have created many penguin “highways” in the snow to more easily get around. We had to stop frequently to let a penguin pass LOL.
    • Tina attended the Enrichment Lecture with Nikita: “Pinniped Peculiarities” aka Seals.
  • Friday, December 1
    • Morning – Anchored at Cierva Cove and we were finally selected to KAYAK!! It was a gorgeous sunny, calm water day and we were surrounded by icebergs. It was definitely worth the wait! A small group of curious penguins that included 3 different species which is incredibly rare, followed us. IT WAS SO COOL! This was definitely a highlight of our cruise.
    • 11 am, time to POLAR PLUNGE for Jen! She truly never experienced cold until jumping into the 31-degree Antarctic waters. She received an official certificate that she will be hanging at her desk!! Out of 193 passengers on our sailing, 83 plunged which is a high number. The cruise before ours, 77 plunged so we were happy we beat them LOL.
    • Afternoon – Anchored at Spert Island – sea zodiac landing – we are now at open sea, up until now we anchored in picturesque coves and harbours. Rarely are ships able to port at Spert Island because of the very windy conditions that produce too great of swells to safely zodiac around the icebergs and volcanic rock caves.

  • Saturday, December 2
    • Morning – Anchored at President Head – sea zodiac landing – home to the Elephant Seal. They were all sleeping. There was also a dead baby seal ☹ and a whale vertebra.
    • While cruising through Neptune Bellows, the small, picturesque entrance to Whalers Bay, Tina and I enjoyed the view from the hot tub on the bow. Surprisingly, we were the only ones that had this brilliant idea, the rest of our fellow passengers were in full arctic gear and were a little envious LOL!
    • Afternoon – Anchored at Whalers Bay, Deception Island – our last sea zodiac landing to this active volcanic island. The ship actually anchors in the caldera that has been flooded by the sea. You could smell the sulfur in the air and steam coming off the water in areas. Here, we were lead along the black sand beaches and grounds by Alex in a guided group tour of the interesting history of the island. Thousands of whales were brought here to be gutted and cleaned for their precious blubber that was melted for heating oil. Until petroleum was introduced, the whale population was reduced to insanely low numbers.

We were sad to see our amazing expedition cruise coming to an end. We hope many more will follow us and experience this amazing place! It was an EPIC trip.


6-Day Silversea Antarctica Cruise

All-Inclusive Luxury Expedition Cruise Visiting Antarctica!

A trip to Antarctica is on every travel lover’s wish list, but the distance – and the Drake Passage – have made it inaccessible for many. This fantastic fly cruise trip takes care of all that. You’ll fly from Punta Arenas direct to King George Island, where you’ll board Silver Endeavour and begin your fantastic adventure in Antarctica. Explore mighty glaciers, get up close in daily Zodiacs landings and revel in the pristine wilderness that fascinates everyone. Return via a short flight back to Chile.

Our travel experts Jen and Tina recently returned from this same voyage! You can hear all about this once-in-lifetime adventure directly from them here at this link.

Receive our exclusive extra of $600 Onboard Credit per stateroom!

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Classic Veranda Suite (up to 295 sf) Door-to-Door pricing without international flights from


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Classic Veranda Suite (up to 295 sf) Door-to-Door pricing without international flights from


per person

Prices are per person based on double occupancy, available and subject to change without notice. Special shipboard credit is based on double occupancy. Port-to- Port third person promotion guest is required to pay taxes, fees and port expenses. Door-to-Door deposits are refundable until 150 days pre-cruise; Port-to-Port deposits are non-refundable. Other restrictions may apply. Ship’s registry: Bahamas