The Silver Cloud’s inaugural luxury expedition to Antarctica has been halted due to mechanical problems.
“On November 21st, the Silver Cloud experienced a mechanical failure and has safely returned to Puerto Madryn to perform the necessary repairs. All guests have been repatriated. Silver Cloud’s next cruise departing Ushuaia on December 1st, is scheduled to operate regularly,” said Roberto Martinoli, CEO of Silversea in a statement sent to Cruise Passenger this morning.
It’s uncertain whether any Aussies are onboard the $21,000-a-head voyage.
The ship was scheduled to visit the Falkland Islands, the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula on the 16-day sailing from Buenos Aires and Ushuaia.
Silver Cloud had already been hit by bad weather when it was scheduled to depart Buenos Aires on November 15 to visit Peninsula Valdes, a Unesco World Heritage Site rich with wildlife.
But there were severe winds and swells of six-eight metres and, according to the UK Daily Telegraph, guests were told that Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands was cancelled from the itineraries. Guests waited for two days in port for storms to pass.
But just after a few hours at sea on November 20, the Silver Cloud fuel pump failed and the engine cut out for a short time.
The ship spent three months in dry dock and the ship was fitted with a new reinforced and reshaped bow to allow her to break through ice, forward-facing sonar, echosounders, infrared cameras for night ice navigation and thermal imaging.
Capacity was reduced and all suites were completely refurbished and many were enlarged.
“To be very honest, such things do happen after such a major conversion,” a senior Silversea executive was quoted as saying.
“We had three months in dry dock, the systems were tested, the cabins were completely refurbished, electrical work was redone, plumbing was redone, piping was redone. As these things go into service, one can expect small defects. Considering the scope and scale of the work, I have to say we’ve come out pretty well.”