|Viking Expedition Cruises||Silversea Expedition Cruises|
|Where do they cruise?|| |
|How many passengers are on board?||378||100 - 254|
|What type of cruise line are they?||Premium||Luxury|
|What are they known for?|| || |
|What is the average expedition cost per day?|| || |
|Are fares all inclusive?||Viking position themselves as an all-inclusive line, however, house beers and wine are only included at mealtimes (premium beverages are at additional cost) and there are optional paid excursions as well as included experiences.||Silversea positions themselves as an all-inclusive line. However, there are some benefits that incur charges, such as shore excursions which are not included on classic cruises, and some specialty restaurants where surcharges apply|
|Are gratuities included?||Yes, for Australian and New Zealand Passengers||Yes|
|Are there any additional gratuities payable on board?||No. Only at guest discretion||Additional gratuities are payable on spa treatments|
|Can I get any reciprocal loyalty club benefits?||No. The Viking Explorer Society offers credit and referral rewards to past passengers of Viking Cruises only||No. Venetian Club only|
|What is the onboard currency?||USD||USD|
|What language is spoken on board?||English||English|
|Who cruises with them?|| || |
|What is the average passenger age?||Primarily 50+||Primarily 50+|
|Are they good for families?||No. No children under 18 years of age||Children are accepted from 6+ months (12+ months on select cruises/ships). Children under the age of five years are unable participate in any expedition excursions or embarkations that require the use of a Zodiac. An adult family member will be required to remain on board with their child(ren) during Zodiac excursions|
|Are there children’s programs?||No||Only on Silver Muse which has an activities room for children when 12 or more children sail|
|Is there childcare and/or babysitting?||No||No|
|What are the accommodation options?||Nordic Balcony Staterooms & Suites||Oceanview, Balcony & Suites|
|Are there accessible staterooms?||Yes||Accessible suites available on Silver Cloud only|
|Are shore excursions included?||A minimum of one shore excursion per landing day is included; there may be two on some days. On some expeditions, there may also be optional excursions available for purchase||Yes. All zodiac, sea and shore excursions are included and there are optional shore excursions for purchase|
|What types of onboard activities are available for free?||Activities such as lectures, film screenings, presentations and daily briefings from the expedition team as well as scientific programs hosted in The Laboratory||Onboard expert lectures and films|
|Are there any onboard activities that I need to pay for?||No. All onboard activities are included||No|
|Is there free evening entertainment?||Yes||Yes|
|Is there any paid evening entertainment?||No||No|
|Are there complimentary dining options?||Yes||Yes|
|Are there specialty restaurants?||Yes. Complimentary||Yes. Meals in La Dame, Seishin Restaurant and Kaiseki Restaurant attract a charge|
|Are there dining packages for purchase?||No||No|
|Are non-alcoholic beverages included?||Yes. Purified water is provided in all staterooms. Soft drinks are included with lunches and dinners onboard. Specialty coffees and assorted hot teas are available 24 hours a day||Yes. Soft drinks, water, tea and coffee|
|Are alcoholic beverages included?||Complimentary house wines and beers are served with lunches and dinners on board||Yes. Premium wines and spirits and mini bar is stocked with guest preferences. Some premium champagne, premium wine and spirit selections are available to purchase at extra cost|
|Can I purchase a beverage package?||Yes. For premium cocktails or wines and spirits, Viking offers the Silver Spirits beverage package||No|
|Is there room service?||Yes. Complimentary 24/7||Yes. 24 hour in suite dining is an option and there is a butler service for every suite|
|Is there Wi-Fi on board?||Yes. Complimentary||Yes. Complimentary Wi-Fi for every suite for 1 device at a time. Premium suites are offered Wi-Fi for 2 devices at a time|
|Can I purchase Wi-Fi packages?||No||Yes. Upgraded premium access packages are available for purchase|
|Is there a Spa?||Yes. Access is complimentary||Yes|
|Are spa and salon services available?||Yes. Charges Apply||Yes. Charges Apply|
|Is there a gym?||Yes||Yes. All ships offer a Fitness Centre. These differ in size and equipment between ships|
|Are there group fitness classes?||Yes. Specialised classes such as yoga may attract a charge.||Yes. Services many differ between Classic and Expedition ships|
|Is there personal training available?||No||Yes. Charges Apply|
|Is there a self-service laundry?||Yes. Complimentary||Yes. Complimentary|
|Is a laundry service available?||Yes. Charges Apply||Yes. Charges Apply|
|Is there a casino on board?||No||No|
Please Note: There may be additional inclusions and privileges for select stateroom and suite guests or select loyalty member tiers. Activities and entertainment vary by ship, itinerary and departure and are a guide only.
Silversea has five ships used for their expedition sailings. The smallest vessels, Silver Origin and Silver Galapagos, have an intimate 100 passenger capacity while the Silver Explorer accommodates 144 guests and Silver Cloud and Silver Wind welcome just over 250 guests on their expeditions.
Facilities and amenities differ from ship to ship, and you’ll get a couple more venues and public spaces on the larger vessels (such as two additional restaurants and a pool deck on Silver Cloud and Silver Wind). Across the fleet guests will have access to at least two complimentary restaurants, a beauty salon and spa, fitness centre, and a lounge to enjoy expedition briefings, video screenings, seminars, lectures and presentations.
The newest ship in the fleet, Silver Origin, has been designed for expedition and sustainable cruising in the Galapagos. She comes equipped with some unique spaces, including a ‘fire pit’ to relax around in the Explorer Lounge by night, which serves as an expedition briefing room during by day. Silver Origin is also home to Basecamp, a meeting point for Zodiac excursions complete with a wealth of destination materials. Here guests can prepare for their daily excursions before heading out onto the adjoining marina to start their exploration.
The two new Viking expedition ships, set to launch in 2022, will be larger than those in the Silversea expedition fleet. Viking Polaris and Viking Octantis will accommodate 378 guests apiece and have a practically identical design. The brand has retained signature elements of its ocean fleet, with elegant Scandinavian décor, plenty of natural light, and familiar features such as the Explorers’ Lounge, the Living Room and the Nordic inspired spa. Each ship will have three different temperature pools to relax in, and guests can choose from six complimentary dining options including Manfredi’s Italian which is a popular favourite on Viking ocean cruise ships.
Designed as working research vessels, there are also some unique and interesting expedition specific spaces on the new ships. The Aula auditorium spans two decks and is a dedicated learning space where lectures and presentations are hosted. It has floor to ceiling glass on three sides to take in the views, and there is a retractable screen that spans nearly the width of the room for film screenings and seminars.
The Laboratory is an onboard research lab staffed by scientists. Here field samples collected during expedition excursions will be analysed, and guests can participate under supervision as scientists undertake their research. The Laboratory is housed within The Hangar, another unique feature that will be found on both new Viking expedition vessels. The Hangar is an enclosed marina that facilitates small excursion craft launches shielded from the elements, so guests won’t have to contend with wind and waves as they embark and disembark.
Silversea expedition ships are marketed as all-suite. There are different categories across the fleet, and you’ll find sizes and layouts vary considerably by vessel. Depending on the ship, guests may choose the smallest suite at 15 m² (167 ft²) with portholes only, or perhaps opt for the largest Owners Suite complete with a private balcony and 160 m² (1,722 ft²) of space. There are a variety of options and passengers can choose which suits their preferences and their budget.
Viking accommodation options are the same on both expedition vessels. They range from 21 m² (222 ft²) balcony staterooms to the Junior Suite at 30 m² (322 ft²), all with a Nordic Balcony. A Nordic Balcony is different to a traditional outdoor balcony. Instead, these are comprised of floor to ceiling glass that guests can either leave closed to enjoy views from the indoors or open the top half of the retractable window for a sheltered al fresco observation space. For a private balcony, consider the Explorer Suite with both a Nordic Balcony and private veranda, or the Owner’s Suite at 114 m² (1,223 ft²) with a 74 m² (792 ft²) private garden lounge area complete with a badestamp (hot tub).
Silversea expedition cruises service the key expedition destinations, including South America and Antarctica, and Northern Europe and the Arctic. They also offer itineraries to island hop the Galapagos and cruise the coastlines of Canada and Alaska. For those looking to cruise from Australia, there are also journeys along the Kimberley Coast as well as cruises to Asia and the South Pacific from Australian ports. Silversea expedition ships sail to all seven continents, so there is no shortage of options.
Viking expedition cruises will launch in 2022, with their inaugural seasons focusing on Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Great Lakes and Canada. There are also a handful of Grand Journeys taking in the coastline of Brazil, the Caribbean, a transatlantic crossing, and a voyage from Norway to the British Isles. With just two ships there are fewer itineraries to choose from with Viking at this stage. However, where the two lines overlap in their itinerary offerings, your decision will likely come down to how each explores the region.
Silversea delivers everything you would expect of an expedition cruise. Guests will enjoy informative lectures and seminars, and there is an expedition team onboard to provide destination briefings and deliver excursions tailored to suit. Excursions may range from Zodiac cruises and nature hikes to museum visits and culturally immersive experiences, depending on where your voyage takes you. Silversea includes excursions on their expedition itineraries, and there are also optional experiences available for purchase on select cruises.
Designed to double as a floating learning laboratory, the Viking expedition experience is great for science enthusiasts. Viking has partnered with the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute, whose scientists will undertake fieldwork on Viking’s expedition ships. On shore travellers can accompany scientists to collect samples or monitor wildlife. Viking has also partnered with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a bird research facility, whose ornithologists will also regularly join expedition sailings to collect data and undertake field testing.
To complement these experiences, Viking expedition ships will also come equipped with two six-seater submarines to explore the underwater worlds they visit. Submarine experiences will allow for roughly 30 minutes below the surface in various regions, and they will be offered complimentary to guests which is a standout for the line. On Viking expedition cruises, virtually all excursions are included in your cruise fare. In some destinations guests can also choose from optional experiences to further their exploration.
Both Silversea and Viking are considered all-inclusive. Your cruise fare will include benefits such as gratuities, shore excursions and onboard programming, Wi-Fi, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages (some limitations apply) and a selection of complimentary dining options. There are however some differences between the offering of Silversea and Viking that are worth considering when weighing up which is the best for you.
Viking has more dining options on offer than Silversea, and they are all included in the cruise fare. Guests can choose from six dining experiences; The Restaurant serving up regional cuisines and classic dishes, Manfredi’s Italian, The World Café with a range of international flavours, Mamsen’s Norwegian Deli, the Aquavit Bar, and a bakery offering breads and pastries at any hour.
On board Silversea expedition ships guests can choose from at least two complimentary venues. Local dishes and international selections are offered in The Restaurant and guests can cook directly at their table on a heated lava stone in The Grill. There are two additional venues on Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, with Italian fare served up at La Terrazza (also complimentary) and a multi-course dining experience paired with find wines at La Dame (fees apply, select suite categories enjoy one complimentary sitting).
Silversea includes alcoholic beverages in their cruise fare, including free-flowing premium wines and spirits for every guest. Every suite mini bar is also stocked with guest preferences. There are some premium selections available to purchase at an additional cost, however, the complimentary offering is quite comprehensive.
Viking includes house wines and beers (and soft drink) with lunches and dinners only. Alcohol purchases outside of mealtimes or extending beyond the complimentary selection at lunch and dinner will incur charges. Guests can opt to add a Silver Spirits beverage package to their booking which will upgrade their inclusions or enjoy this package as a complimentary benefit when cruising in Explorer or Owner’s Suites.
Silversea includes a dedicated butler service for every suite, so every guest can expect the full white glove experience even on expedition cruises to far flung destinations. Viking does not offer a butler service on any of its cruises, however, there is 24/7 complimentary room service available for in-room dining throughout your Viking voyage.
Guests cruising to the remote reaches of the planet will need to be suitably prepared. Viking provides all outer clothing and gear required for expeditions, and the free Viking Expedition Kit includes the use of boots, waterproof pants, and even binoculars. Excursion gear such as trekking poles, snowshoes and skis are also provided complimentary. When cruising to the Polar regions, Viking also provides an expedition jacket for guests to take home.
Silversea also provides a complimentary parka when cruising to the Poles, however, additional gear such as boots, trekking poles or waterproof layers are not included. Silversea does offer a rental service for these items at an additional cost.
Each line varies slightly in their inclusions, as well as their overall onboard and onshore experience and itinerary design, so there is a lot to consider before making your decision. Silversea focuses on delivering expeditions in a luxurious setting, and while their maiden voyages are yet to unfold, Viking is putting more emphasis on the scientific discovery along the way. An expedition cruise is often a once in a lifetime trip, so take your time looking through the itineraries available with both Silversea and Viking to find the expedition that is right for you.
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