Bridge too Far? Silversea Connects Continents and Travelers in Antarctica in Business-Class Comfort
Silversea's new Antarctica Bridge fly-cruise service flies passengers over the Drake Passage in style, saving four days at sea on return
by Lark Gould
Silversea Cruises, a leading global ultra-luxury cruise line, is launching a first in the space: a new fly-cruise service to Antarctica in business-class comfort tabbed “Antarctica Bridge.” The new service presents the fastest, most direct route to the White Continent.
Departing from December 2021, the collection of 12 fly-cruise voyages aboard Silver Explorer will be available for fares start from $17,500 per person, based on two sharing.
With direct flights from Chile's Punta Arenas to King George Island in Antarctica, travelers will fly 770 miles over the Drake Passage on a private plane reserved exclusively for Silversea's guests. The aircraft has been specially adapted for landing on King George Island.
Each seat is a business-class seat and the flight takes just two hours each way, saving guests several days at sea. Then travelers spend five full days – the same amount of time as on Silversea's conventional Antarctica voyages – travelling deep into the destination, accompanied by Silversea's team of expedition experts.
"This is a defining moment for Silversea's expedition offering: Antarctica Bridge will revolutionise the way in which our guests discover Antarctica," says Conrad Combrink, Silversea's Senior Vice President of Tour Operating, Expedition & Destination Management. "The luxury of choice is a key feature of our cruise line's offering; our new Antarctica Bridge service expands our guests' choices. Many will still choose to cross the epic Drake Passage, which is an unforgettable experience in itself, but Antarctica Bridge is perfect for time-conscious travelers, as it will immerse guests into the White Continent in a shorter timeframe. This builds on our existing offering, which comprises many 10-day voyages, as well as 18-day expeditions and longer, which are the ultimate in deep exploration. With the launch of Antarctica Bridge, our guests will be able to choose from 59 Antarctica voyages."
Snapshot of Antarctic Itineraries:
• Day 1: Inbound international flight, via Santiago. Travelers have the choice of either inclusive economy-class air or reduced business-class air on their inbound international flight to Punta Arenas, Chile, as part of Silversea's ongoing air promo.
• Day 2: Pre-cruise hotel night in Punta Arenas. Ahead of flying to Antarctica, the cruise line's guests will spend a night at the elegant Hotel Cabo de Hornos in Punta Arenas. Here, they will receive their expedition kit, including rubber boots, parka, walking poles for the duration of the expedition, waterproof trousers, expedition backpacks and a water bottle. A dedicated Expedition Team will be on the ground prepare guests for the journey ahead.
• Day 3: Flight to King George Island (Antarctica). A first in the ultra-luxury cruise segment, travelers will fly to Antarctica in the equivalent of business-class comfort, saving two days at sea each way. Silversea's guests will land at the Chilean base of Presidente Frey, which is normally used by scientists as they journey to the island's research stations.
• Days 3-9: Antarctica Expedition aboard Silver Explorer. With five full days in Antarctica, guests sail from King George Island, and experience Antarctic Sound, the Antarctic Peninsula over three days, and the South Shetland Islands, before returning to King George Island. The expedition team guides Zodiac tours, shore experiences, kayaking tours, and runs lectures on the region's fascinating geology, wildlife and history. In addition to witnessing remarkable icebergs, guests visit large penguin rookeries, and watch for species of seals, whales and birds.
• Day 9: Flight from Antarctica to Punta Arenas. Passengers return comfort on the 75-seat aircraft to Punta Arenas.
• Day 9: Post-cruise hotel night in Punta Arenas. Guests spend a relaxed post-cruise hotel night at the Hotel Cabo de Hornos and explore Punta Arenas once more.
• Day 10: Outbound international flight. Fly home.
Onboard amenities on Silversea include personalized butler service; a 24-hour in-suite dining service; a bottle of champagne upon arrival and a drinks bar, stocked with guests' preferred beverages; fine dining, including complimentary caviar on demand, canapes, and a rich offering of seafood and steak; and an array of other inclusive amenities.
•Roundtrip economy class air to Punta Arenas (Chile) •Private flight to and from Antarctica (King George Island) •One night pre-cruise and post-cruise hotel stay in Punta Arenas •Expedition gear – parka, waterproof trousers, walking poles (rentals), rubber boots (rentals), expedition backpack and water bottle •Welcome reception and bon voyage dinner (in Punta Arenas) •Pre- and post-cruise meals •Transfers between airport and hotel, and luggage handling, when guests take international air through Silversea •Silversea's standard expedition inclusions, which comprise guided Zodiac tours and shore side activities, led by the Expedition Team; enrichment lectures; butler service for every suite; and many additional amenities.
Silversea is part of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), a unique association committed to the practice of safe, environmentally responsible private-sector Antarctic travel.