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Silversea Cruises bought the 175-passenger World Discoverer and renamed it Prince Albert II, after renovations. The company later changed the name of the expedition ship to Silver Explorer.

"We felt there was a real need to have an expedition ship that lives up to the standard of Silversea," says Brad Ball, director corporate communications. "We also reduced the number of suites and enlarged them to create 66 ocean view staterooms," says Ball. Many staterooms and suites have private verandas.

All suites and staterooms have flat-screen televisions. In Silver Explorer lounges, passengers can enjoy drinks, music and entertainment, as well as lectures by guest experts on high definition video screens.

Wi Fi access

Guests dine in a specialty restaurant and a single-seating main dining room. The ship also features a boutique shop, beauty salon, fitness center, sauna, spa and two Jacuzzi pools.

Passengers can use their WiFi-enabled laptops and PDAs for accessing the Internet and their e-mails, because the Silver Explorer boasts state-of-the-art satellite communications.

Wireless Internet access is available in staterooms and public areas, including the library, which has desktop computers and Internet access. Guests can use cell phones when the ship is at sea.

Exotic destinations

Silver Explorer caters to travelers who want adventure travel combined with luxury suites, fine dining and five-star service. The expedition ship has a Lloyd's Register 1A ice-strengthened hull, so it can cruise in Antarctica and the Arctic. "Our challenge is finding destinations where other ships don't go," says Brad Ball.

Expeditions on the 6,072-ton ship include stimulating shore excursions and enrichment programs. Experts provide lectures on the culture, wildlife and history of the destinations that Silver Explorer visits. Eight Zodiacs use Yamaha four-stroke engines to reduce emissions and allow passengers to explore remote and unspoiled areas of the world.

Cruise calendar

Silver Explorer cruises range from 10 to 21 days in length. The Silversea expedition ship cruises to the Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland in summer.

Between mid-August and November, Silver Explorer cruises from North America's east coast through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles. On the repositioning cruise to Ushuaia, passengers can explore the Sea of Cortez, the Galapagos, Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island.

Luxury expedition cruise

With a crew of 106, and only 132 passengers, the crew-to-guest ratio of Silver Explorer is similar to the service standards of the Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Spirit and Silver Whisper.

The Silversea fleet cruises to the seven continents. The world headquarters of Silversea Cruises is in Monaco.