The Prince of Poles
There are few journeys in life where a woman needs to pack Jimmy Choo stilettos and thermal underwear. Silversea’s inaugural expedition to Svalbard, aboard the Prince Albert II, might be one of them. On June 12, the 132-passenger vessel, named for the maybe-engaged Monaco heir (and the ship’s ceremonial ribbon-cutter), sets sail from London on its 18-day voyage to the Arctic, boldly venturing near the North Pole.
Silversea has tricked out the former World Discover with two top-deck whirlpools, a state-of-the-art theater and a dedicated cigar bar. But this expedition ship is also serious business, built with the highest ice-rating (that would be a Lloyd’s Register 1A) to navigate both polar regions (the world’s northernmost town of Longyearbyen, anyone?). The introduction of the Prince Albert II is good news for all deep-pocketed climate tourists wishing to witness the Arctic before it morphs into Tahiti, as well as adrenalin junkies who might find the Serengeti a tad too quotidian.
Expedition leaders, destination-experts, lecturers and nature photography instructors join the typical coddling crew onboard. So while you might get a hot stone aromatherapy massage one minute, you’ll be bundled in a parka and bouncing about in a Zodiac the next. After all, there are hungry polar, or — thanks to global warming — “grolar bears” to confront, walrus-blanketed beaches to explore, and challenging hikes over the windswept tundra. Just one note for the ladies: loose the Choos; you’ll need them for the caviar-and-champagne Relais & Châteaux dinners onboard.