How to Choose Your Silversea Grand Voyage
The desire to travel dates to the dawn of humankind, but then, it was for survival. Today, it’s about pleasure. For seasoned travelers, time in destination is key to a successful trip. A Silversea Grand Voyage takes many of the most pleasurable elements of traveling and applies them to carefully mapped itineraries that sail at a leisurely pace on exceptionally ultra-luxury cruise ships.
Grand Voyages ensure the indulgence of time in a dedicated region, the opposite of the each-day-new-country approach. Instead, guests spend restorative days at sea between ports of call with a staff who sails with you. The merits of a Grand Voyage are many, but the results are undeniable: Travelers will slip into another headspace they relax into a world beyond the one they know.
What is a Grand Voyage?
Longer than a typical cruise but more focused than a circumnavigation of the globe, a Grand Voyage narrows its boundaries to one part of the world and hovers there long enough for guests to dig into the destination. These sailings typically center on a single continent, but at other times they include other regions and even stretch across continental divides. Grand Voyages brush broad geographic strokes but still manage to define the finer details of each cultural picture.
South America Grand Voyages, for example, tend to stick to South American countries but may also include the Central American nations and Caribbean islands bordering them.
The Grand Pacific Voyage draws a ring around Oceania, islands in the Pacific Ocean, then drags it toward Japan for a comprehensive sampler platter of some of the region’s largest island nations.
On voyages of eight to 18 weeks, guests sail a comprehensive itinerary that will take them to globally recognized cities (visions of tango in Buenos Aires; the minarets and spice markets of Casablanca, Morocco) as well as those spots on a map that are lesser-known. The combination of big cities and secluded beaches aims aimed to give Grand Voyage participants a more complex finish than a single place.
How does a Grand Voyage differ from a World Cruise?
Think of a Grand Voyage as a World Cruise that sticks to one part of the world. World cruises tend to be longer than Grand Voyages, covering more nautical miles and ground to showcase a broader variety of destinations. Many (but not all) World Cruises circumnavigate the Earth, meaning they sail all the way around in one pattern or another, often passing through the Panama Canal. Silversea’s World Cruises are offered once each year and tend to include one-off special events for guests that are available only aboard each specific sailing.
A Grand Voyage also requires a commitment of a few weeks to months, and those weeks are spent within a smaller radius. In other words, guests get to see the Holy Land’s biblical sites of Israel in depth on a Grand Voyage in the Arabian Peninsula rather than a single stop on a broader itinerary. Whether you hold a magnifying glass closer to a map or pull it away, the circumference is the same; each type of cruise requires a significant commitment of time, but the difference is in how — and where — the time is spent.
Unlike a world cruise, which is a one-off, several Grand Voyage destinations are offered each year, usually with three or four regions on offer. Grand Voyages generally sell out quickly. You can be wait-listed, but you’re encouraged to book well in advance.
Which Grand Voyages are available?
Although Grand Voyages are a separate category from World Cruises, the length and logistics involved in sailing guests to dozens of ports in various countries for unique experiences still takes considerable time to plan and execute.
Silversea continues to innovate, adding new ports of call, experimenting with different routes, even introducing new voyages such as Grand Africa & Arabia. In this way, Grand Voyages remain exclusive; only few are organized and available each year, and they don’t visit every region of the world annually. If you missed the booking window for the 2023 suite of your choice on next year’s Mediterranean crossing, you might have to wait two years to set sail on a similar itinerary.
Here is a list of Silversea’s available Grand Voyages (at time of publication):
Sailing around the Med on a luxuriously appointed ship offering white-glove service sounds like the pastime of a billionaire, but this Grand Voyage is available to a lucky few guests who book in advance luxury; you just have to book before it sells out.
The 2023 Mediterranean Grand Voyage departs from Lisbon, Portugal, and offers six connecting routes that traverse 52 ports in 16 countries across Europe and Africa, ending in Athens, Greece. With ample time in Italy, France, and Spain, it’s the months-long summer backpacking trip of youth, complete with a butler — and no backpacking.
Highlights include three weeks in the Eastern Med featuring several ancient and holy sites, including the Greek island of Rhodes; Nazareth, Israel; and Alexandria, Egypt (both overnight stays). This sailing marks the first call on Jerusalem top photo by Shutterstock) of any Grand Voyage. With just five sea days during a 66-day sailing, guests will have a port in their future 90 percent of the time.
Silver Moon features Silversea’s S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste) program, with culinary-focused shore excursions, hands-on demonstrations and regional tastings, as well as the S.A.L.T. Kitchen featuring local dishes in an intimate venue and S.A.L.T. Bar offering beverages that reflect the destination.
At 59 days, the Grand Pacific is the shortest of the voyages, but it covers a big part of the world: from Australia and New Zealand to Asia and across the Pacific Ocean.
The first route on the 2023 Grand Pacific Voyage connects Melbourne (and a stop in Australia’s Tasmania) to New Zealand. Guests then sail from New Zealand back into Oz, toward Cairns, home of the Great Barrier Reef. The third segment works its way into Indonesia, but not before making three calls to the remote islands of Papua New Guinea.
The ship sails from Singapore for a cruise through Asia visiting Vietnam, China, and ending in Osaka, Japan.
The Grand Pacific Voyage is more evenly divided than most between time spent unwinding onboard the ship and time in port; about 40 percent of the trip is spent at sea.
Grand South America
Silver Moon hosts the 2023 South America Grand Voyage from January through mid-March. The voyage, which departs from and returns to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., includes 23 countries. This South America route includes a Panama Canal transit and time in world capitals such as Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lima, Peru; and Rio de Janeiro.
Bustling urban centers contrast with remote natural landscapes and wild frontiers, including a scenic sail through the Chilean fjords of Patagonia and a visit to Ushuaia, Argentina, at the tip of the continent and is the closest port city, just across the Drake Passage, to Antarctica. A day in the Falkland Islands should result in a glimpse of spectacular bird life, including thousands of penguins in five species that mate, nest and dwell there.
On the return to the U.S., this 10-week voyage sails into island paradise with stops in Barbados, St. Lucia, Bequia, Antigua and more.
The 2024 South America Grand Voyage visits fewer countries (18), but more ports during its 72-night run, also round trip from Fort Lauderdale. The itinerary is similar to the previous year’s, but this Grand Voyage will sail on the all-new Silver Nova, which is to make its debut later in 2023 and will feature the S.A.L.T. program on and off the ship.
Highlights of Silversea’s ’24 South America adventure include three nights celebrating Rio’s world-famous Carnival, with 16 total days spent in Brazil. Guests will sail the Amazon River, the Panama Canal and the Chilean fjords.
Grand Africa and Arabia
The first Grand Voyage to set sail from Africa departs Jan. 27, 2024, aboard Silver Spirit from Cape Town, South Africa. Grand Africa & Arabia takes four routes to more than a dozen countries, sailing for 63 days around the tip of Africa into the islands of the Indian Ocean and onward to the Arabian Peninsula.
Guests will spend time in Namibia and South Africa before setting sail for Madagascar, Reunion, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
Upon arrival in Oman, passengers will spend time in the Middle East exploring the United Arab Emirates, with an overnight in Abu Dhabi; calls in Qatar and Bahrain; a day in Dubai; a chance to see Jordan’s ancient city of Petra; and four days in Egypt, including a Suez Canal transit.
A disembarkation in Greece lets Grand Voyage participants step foot in three continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe) in one sailing.
Grand Pole-to-Pole Expedition
You can live a grand expedition life, sailing to six of the world’s seven continents, from Antarctica to the High Arctic; the South Pole to the North Pole. Adventurous souls bound for the 131-night Grand Voyage Expedition 2023 will board Silversea’s expedition vessel, Silver Cloud, in Puerto Williams, Chile, and return to port nearly four months later.
Cruisers will earn their sea legs crossing the Drake Passage. Next comes Cape Horn in southern Chile. They will visit islands rife with wildlife, including the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands, where penguins outnumber people. Three days in remote St. Helena, about 1,200 miles west of Africa’s coast, will have guests off the grid in the South Atlantic, kayaking with fellow passengers and millions of sea birds. A week in South Africa gives way to lesser-visited lands, including Comoros, a volcanic archipelago off Africa.
The tropical warmth of the Seychelles and the heat of the Middle East will warm guests before springtime ports in the Mediterranean, including Greece, Albania, Tunisia, Algeria, Spain and Portugal.
Guests will then visit in the United Kingdom and Ireland just before the summer solstice, which heralds the start of the season as well as the transit from the UK to Iceland. The ship arrives with its passengers in Reykjavik, Iceland, after four days of exploring volcanic islands.
The final segment of this 96-port sailing takes guests from Iceland to Greenland for the rest of the cruise. About two weeks in Greenland will leave a lasting impression on visitors with the island’s otherworldly landscapes and captivating culture.