Halina Melerowicz, Senior Travel Designer
It is with great confidence that I recommend company’s like Abercrombie and Kent and Silversea Expeditions to my clients. A&K land programs throughout the world offer unique experiences. Enjoy a “Taylor Made Journey” designed just for you, or one of A&K’s small luxury group journeys. Silversea Expeditions offer a luxury all-inclusive cruise experience to the Galapagos aboard their ship the Silver Galapagos. Other destinations visited by Silversea Expeditions ships are Antarctica, Africa and the Indian Ocean, and Asia.
My Client's Review
"Further to our conversation I wanted to put in writing how much we enjoyed the trip. Every part of the A&K experience was exceptional. Once again the outstanding guides made the trip. The lady who picked us up at the airport in Lima was friendly and made sure our arrival and check in at the hotel went smoothly. It was very late at night and she wouldn’t leave until she confirmed with us that we liked out room. She also took us to the airport to catch our flight to Cusco as well. We did appreciate the lovely scarves that were waiting for us in our room. Very appropriate. Baby alpaca is so soft and luxurious. A perfect reminder of our trip to Peru.
When we arrived in Cusco we were met by our guide and also a lovely young woman from the local office. She facilitated our check-in at the fabulous Hotel Monasterio. We were so fortunate to have Fidel Cruz as our guide for the rest of our trip to Peru and Machu Picchu. I can’t rave about him enough. His knowledge of the area as well as his manners and professionalism are outstanding. We learned so much from Fidel. The car we had was wonderful. The driver made sure it was clean every morning. After we hiked around in the dust in the Sacred Valley, the next morning he made sure the car was immaculate. Also, having little bags of tissue and candies in the car, along with the water every morning, was perfect. We were so happy that the car we were in was not a minivan. Those are not comfortable getting in and out. Thanks to whoever made sure the car was not a minivan!
You should know that the hotel in the Sacred Valley is under construction. They are putting in a pool and some other large structures. Even though the hotel is very lovely, with beautiful gardens, excellent food and staff and quaint cottages, the construction and the terrible water pressure in the shower (or lack thereof!) were not great.
And then on to Machu Picchu! Loved the train ride. Such beautiful countryside. Fidel was a wealth of information as we road along in the Vistadome. He knows every inch of the trip and made sure we sat on the side of the train with the best views and also let us know ahead of time when a photographic opportunity was approaching.
There are no words to describe the next part of the trip. Fidel’s vast knowledge and ability to convey information in an interesting way made our exploration of the lost city of the Inca’s unforgettable. The weather was perfect and we spent two days hiking and exploring the wonders of the Inca construction and city planning. Truly an exceptional society.
Unfortunately the Sanctuary Lodge gave us a room facing a wall. Literally, it faced a wall. I had checked on their website and saw in our paperwork that we had a “superior” room. Not the basic room. The description of the room stated that it had a patio (superior room with patio), not a wall. When we checked-in I showed the website to the fellow who took us to the room. He insisted that superior rooms did not have a patio, even when I showed him the website that confirmed my position. He also said that they were sold out of patio rooms.When we left the room, Fidel asked how our room was and I told him we were not happy. He suggested that we have lunch and go out to the ruins. When we returned, after our hike, we were informed by the front desk that we had been given a “free upgrade” to a room with a patio. What a difference!!!!! I suspect that Fidel and A&K had something to do with that. After our hike and first thing in the morning, having that patio and walkout to the garden made our stay perfect. I suggest that for future guests it is clear as to what kind of room they are getting. The website is misleading.
The Hiram Bingham train was a lot of fun. The three hours it took went very quickly as we enjoyed a lovely meal and had a stimulating discussion with Fidel about Peruvian history, people and politics. We told him he should run for president. We are serious. He could fix the problems the country is having and win the hearts of the people.
The flights went very well. Again A&K made sure all went smoothly. We were surprised that the transfer from the airport to the hotel in Quito was not included in our package at the JW Marriott and that Silversea was charging $169.00 USD per person roundtrip. We booked our own way transfer to the hotel at $50.00 USD, and the return transfer through the concierge desk at the hotel at the same cost of $50.00 USD cost.
The cruise was excellent. It was our first time with Silversea and we were impressed with the service onboard. The ship is a little tired. I’m sure the climate in the Galápagos is hard on the vessel, but I would think they could do a better job. The furniture on our veranda was rusty and worn and very dirty. When I mentioned this to the butler he immediately tried to clean the cushions and table. They were beyond a simple cleaning. He removed them that evening and in the morning the cushions were replaced. He did the best he could, but it was really not what we expected from Silversea. All the railings were worn and and many areas in the ship were rusted and old.
Not to dwell on housekeeping, the trip was wonderful. Zodiac expeditions were well run and informative. We saw lots of interesting wildlife...even a blue whale! The naturalists kept stressing “quality over quantity”. The Ecuadorian staff and naturalists were very helpful and from a service point of view they couldn’t do enough for us. We know that the Ecuadorian government controls where tourists can go and also controls who the naturalists are. They were not the calibre of the naturalists on our Antarctic cruise with A&K but they certainly loved their islands and were proud to show them to us. In particular, Daniel, the young naturalist was outstanding. He and the photographer (Daniella) were perhaps the best. Our butler, Enrico, was exceptional and so was Byron, a waiter who seemed to work all day and all night with a smile on his face.
All in all it was a memorable trip. Thank you for your help."