Naturally Inspired

Experience the magic of the Galápagos Islands and the anticipated Silver Origin.
By Claire Woodbridge

The sea lions are feeling frisky this morning. I’m floating in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the Galápagos Islands—a tad cold for a land creature like myself—and all around me, the joyful pinnipeds swirl and twirl, doing somersaults and figure-eights, swimming straight toward me, then spinning away at the last second. They’re the picture of unadulterated joy, and it’s kind of infectious. I square my goggles on my face and reposition my snorkel, clamping down on its bit and blowing with a hard puff to spout out any saltwater that has splashed into it, and submerge myself into their turquoise world. Their big, glassy eyes blink at me as their chattering echoes through the water. Coupled with the site of their energetic display of water aerobics, it almost sounds like laughter. I let out a giggle of my own just as one slithers underneath me, so close I swear I felt the tip of its tail tickling my ankles.


After a few days in the Galápagos, such close encounters with wildlife have become almost commonplace, and yet these interactions—stepping onto islands covered with thousands of dragon-like marine iguanas, sailing up to a blue-footed boobie in the midst of his goose-stepping mating dance—never cease to amaze me. It’s par for the course when you’re in this place, which is unlike any other on the planet. The archipelago is home to 13 islands, more than 100 other smaller landmasses, and hundreds of rare animal species, many of which aren’t found elsewhere. That’s hard to beat for a vacation, especially after more than a year of quarantine, and even more so when you experience it all on the Silver Origin, Silversea’s new 100-passenger all-suite ship—and the most luxurious commercial cruiser to ply these waters ever.


After debuting last summer, the Origin returned to service in the Galápagos Islands in June. Built specifically to sail these special waters, the ship isn’t just a means for visiting this unrivaled archipelago—it’s a destination unto its own, where guests feel connected to their surroundings, whether they’re swimming with sea lions or sipping cocktails on board. Here’s everything you need to know for your next sailing.


Sustainability is Everything
The Silver Origin isn’t just about seeing the Galápagos Islands—it’s about protecting them too. Built with the environment in mind, it uses advanced propulsion technology for greater fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions, and employs a dynamic positioning system that allows the ship to maneuver over delicate seabeds without dropping anchor or disturbing the habitats below. The experience on board is green too, thanks to fresh-water purification systems in every stateroom, eliminating the need for plastic bottles throughout the ship. Guests can even do their part to support the archipelago by donating to the Silversea Fund for the Galápagos, an award-winning effort that supports conservation efforts throughout the region.


The Adventure Begins On Board
You’ll never forget where you are on the Silver Origin, because everything about its design was custom-built to showcase its singular location, from the floor-to-ceiling windows that make a living movie out of the magnificent landscapes just beyond, to the Explorer Lounge and its library stocked with adventure tomes about the Galápagos. In the Observation Lounge, you’ll feel like the captain at the helm of the ship, watching the majesty of the islands unfold before you as you glide through the water.


You’ll Sail with the Best in the Biz
The Silver Origin is a place to learn as well as play. The ship’s guides and naturalists—of which there are more per guest than any other ship in the Galápagos—are among the foremost experts in their fields, sharing their knowledge both out in the field and during riveting presentations at the ship’s Basecamp. Topics include the unusual mating rituals of red-breasted frigate birds and the long life cycles of Galápagos Tortoises.


Every Meal Offers a Taste of Ecuador
The Silver Origin’s two restaurants bring the flavors of Ecuador and the Galápagos to every bite, thanks to Executive Chef Carlo Bermudez’s commitment to the native ingredients of these two rich and diverse cultures. Tasting menus are served with regional wines, and live gourmet demonstrations teaching the secrets of perfect ceviche and other local delicacies give guests the know-how to bring a little taste of the islands back home with them.


Don’t Worry: There’s Downtime Too!
On an adventure like this, it’s hard to imagine taking even a moment for R&R but the Silver Origin’s crew makes time to pamper their guests, too. Your new best friend, of course, is your butler, who can arrange evening canapes and cocktails in your suite, a massage in the spa, and a pedicure for those tired feet in the Salon. The Origin is the only cruise ship in the Galápagos to offer butler service in all of its suites, making every moment at sea all the more memorable.


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