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Operated in partnership with marine conservation charity ORCA, Silversea’s latest whale watching voyages yielded a total of 1,076 marine mammal sightings for the cruise lines’ guests, including sightings of blue whales, killer whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, minke whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and much more. ORCA’s expert conservationists travelled aboard Silversea’s Silver Muse to share their insights with guests on voyages from Tokyo to Seward and from Seward to Vancouver, concluding on 6 June 2019.

Rising with the sun, from 4:30am each morning, dozens of Silversea’s guests gathered out on deck and in the Observation Lounge throughout the voyage to witness the abundance of marine life from the ship, with more than 150 guests participating at times. Throughout both voyages, virtually all guests attended lectures, workshops and/or engaged in whale watching activities to learn more about the marine life and conservation of these remarkable regions. Marine-related shore experiences then enriched the offering, enabling guests to delve deeper into the topic. The data collected by ORCA and Silversea’s guests will contribute towards conservation efforts and each guest will receive an ORCA Ambassador certificate to mark the achievement.

Some of the highlights of the two voyages included sightings of four blue whales, the largest animal on the planet; over 420 Pacific white-sided dolphins in just a two-hour window; three orcas while approaching the Hubbard Glacier; humpback whales in large numbers throughout Alaska; northern sea otters, eating crabs and sea cucumbers; and an abundance of birds, including bald eagles, tufted puffins, rhinoceros auklets, and three different species of albatross, among others. While the number of sightings suggested that the two whale watching voyages were hugely successful, it was the strength of guests’ feedback that affirmed the success of the experiences.

“The feedback from all guests was extremely positive,” says Anna Bunney, the Education Coordinator at ORCA, who travelled aboard Silver Muse – along with ORCA’s Shenaz Khimji – for both voyages. “I do believe that we added a whole different dimension to guests’ experiences of these remarkable regions. Many exclaimed that they benefitted from our presence on board and the knowledge we had given them enhanced their experiences ashore, as they already had lots of knowledge about the wildlife. From the amount of wildlife sighted to the guests’ engagement throughout, the voyages were hugely successful. It was an honour to share such incredible wildlife experiences with such enthusiastic travellers on Silver Muse.

Part of an industry-leading offering that comprises calls in over 1,000 destinations, Silversea’s voyages to the Russian Far East and Alaska were ideal for the whale watching project. These two regions were pre-selected as ideal destinations for whale watching voyages, due to the abundance and diversity of marine life that inhabits these regions’ waters. 

The beauty was that we were able to survey a wide variety of different habitats, meaning the species diversity was huge,” continues Bunney. “Alaska is one of the best places to view whales in the world – when you encounter many whales on their migration (such as humpback whales), and the food in this area is extremely abundant. Our partnership with Silversea gives us unique access to some of the richest habitats on the planet. By visiting these areas, we can monitor the different species that call these remote corners of the world home, studying their population size and identifying trends or changes that could impact on our ability to protect them. This crucial insight is key in helping governments around the world to create effective marine conservation policies, so that we can create safer spaces for whales and dolphins around the globe.”

Silversea’s voyages to remote destinations – from pole-to-pole and almost everywhere in between – are entirely unique: aboard Silversea’s intimate ships, guests can travel deeper into each destination in superlative comfort, enjoying an intimate onboard atmosphere and numerous luxuries, such as the personalised service of a butler; complimentary drinks throughout the ship, as well as an in-suite bar stocked with guests’ preferred beverages; and fine cuisine that is inspired by the sailed region, among other all-inclusive luxuries.

“We are delighted that our partnership with ORCA is enriching the cruise experience for our guests,” says Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Our guests enjoy travelling deeper into a destination. The insight from ORCA’s representatives enabled our guests to develop in-depth knowledge about marine life, before witnessing the ocean’s most incredible animals first-hand.”