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Silversea’s Prince Albert II to return to the Arctic

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Silversea’s latest addition to the fleet, Prince Albert II, which was originally scheduled to reposition from Antarctica to French Polynesia for the 2009 spring and summer seasons, will now sail back to its inaugural destination – the Arctic – on June 1st. Prince Albert II will operate 9 expeditions in the Arctic before heading south.

The 2008-09 (and 2009-10) winter voyages will remain unchanged, exploring the Antarctic Peninsula as well as the remote islands of South Georgia and the Falklands. In July and August this year, Prince Albert II operated four expedition voyages to the Arctic.

“I am confident,” said Silversea Vice President for Asia Pacific Steve Odell, “that her revised 2009 deployment will meet a great success given the overly positive response of our Arctic cruisers and the strong market demand for this type of product. With her ice-strengthened hull, Prince Albert II is quite naturally associated with polar sea ice regions, rather than other attractive, exotic destinations.”

The Arctic region, which comprises parts of Canada, Norway, Greenland and Iceland, has become a very sought-after destination with seasoned travellers and first-time cruisers alike. It is the harsh beauty of the terrain, its forbidding remoteness and indigenous fauna and flora, which have awakened travellers’ sense of wonder, as well as –sadly – a growing awareness of global warming.

Prince Albert II, which was named to honour H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco, a passionate explorer and conservationist, is committed to compensating for its greenhouse gas emissions through its affiliation to the Prince’s Foundation. On-board cruisers will not only travel to the Arctic, but see, feel and experience all it has to offer.  With a bilingual (English/German) veteran expedition team, as well as a panel of lecturers and naturalists including geologists, environmental scientists, biologists, historians and marine biologists to accompany and guide them on their travels, every day will bring a new adventure: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spot a polar bear in its ice-floe habitat from one of the vessel-operated zodiacs, or a customised lecture about the Arctic environment with the experts.

7-day voyages to either Svalbard or Greenland will provide a great overview of their far-off treasures, be it the early ice of the season or the awakening polar bears, whereas a 10 to 16-day exploration may take you to the farthest corners of the world. On its “Far Side of Svalbard” expedition, Prince Albert II will attempt to circumnavigate the archipelago; on its “Frozen Worlds” expedition, it should return to the volcanic island of Jan Mayen, whose access was granted to three vessels alone in 2008, including Silversea’s.

Prior to this Arctic deployment, Prince Albert II will explore British waters with two equally enticing voyages: an exclusive journey across the Channel Islands, with select stopovers in Cornwall, Brittany and Normandy; next onto some remote parts of Scotland and Ireland, taking in the  sights of “Britain in Bloom” and enabling budding botanists and ornithologists to live their passion to the full. Likewise, the Central and South American expeditions scheduled in autumn, some of which may be combined, will provide yet another opportunity to experience first hand jungle-scapes, ancient cultures and indigenous wild and sea life.

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