Silversea Christens Expedition Ship in Antarctic Channel

Silversea Christens Expedition Ship in Antarctic Channel

Silversea’s naming ceremony for its newest expedition ship, the 200-guest Silver Endeavour, took place Nov. 19 in a highly unusual setting – the Lemaire Channel in the heart of Antarctica.

Godmother Felicity Aston, the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica, first presided over a blessing of the ship in a ceremony Nov. 15 at the Cape Horn Sub-Antarctic Center in Puerto Williams, Chile – a new homeport for many Silversea Antarctic voyages and the southernmost city in the world.


The actual christening was in the Lemaire Channel in Antarctica during the ship’s inaugural Antarctic voyage; it was a shakedown cruise with media guests and travel advisors onboard.

Antarctic weather is iffy and ever-changing, but the ceremony took place in the sunshine with blue skies and temperatures in the mid-30s – positively balmy for Antarctica.

Many of the ship’s passengers boarded motorized Zodiac rafts to watch the ceremony from the calm channel waters, which were still filled with ice chunks.

Aston was on the ship with Capt. Niklas Peterstam and then released the traditional magnum – only this magnum was not a glass bottle filled with champagne, but an ice sculpture that shattered upon hitting the ship’s hull. No glass or bubbly entered the pristine Antarctic waters.

When the ice bottle shattered, passengers in the Zodiacs cheered and lifted plastic flutes of champagne in a toast.

Toasting Silver Endeavour at the christening ceremony. (Photo by Theresa Norton)

Silver Endeavour was built in 2021 for the former Crystal Cruises. When that line shuttered, parent company Royal Caribbean Group purchased the state-of-the-art expedition ship for Silversea in July 2022. The company added its branding and made some other interior renovations but is planning a dry-dock project after the Antarctic season. One change includes the addition of more upper-level suites in the helicopter pad – the chopper initially installed was sold because Silversea has no plans to operate helicopter tours.

The shakedown cruise gave guests the chance to experience two ways to get to and from Antarctica. From Puerto Williams, the ship crossed the notorious Drake Passage in a day and a half instead of two – there was some movement but not enough to make people sick or send tableware flying. Plus, the ship’s stabilizers did their job admirably in 15-foot seas.

On the way home, guests will fly Silversea’s Antarctic Bridge – a charter flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas, Chile. The flights are operated by DAP Antarctic Airways on a customized BAE 146 with seats removed and/or kept empty to accommodate 64 people in spacious surroundings.

penguin plane
Painted to look like a penguin, the DAP Antarctic Airways plane flies charter flights from Santiago to Puerto Williams, Chile. It also will fly over the Drake Passage from Punta Arenas, Chile. (Photo by Theresa Norton)

All of Silversea’s Antarctic cruises will depart from Puerto Williams except for the Antarctic Bridge voyages on Silver Endeavour – the flights depart and arrive in Punta Arenas.

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