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Silver Origin in final outfitting, Galápagos expedition team selected

Silver Origin on the slipway at De Hoop.jpg
Silver Origin is pictured going down the slipway at De Hoop
The 100-passenger Silver Origin was floated out at De Hoop in Lobith, Netherlands, and Silversea has commenced the countdown for the vessel’s inaugural season.

Silver Origin is scheduled to welcome travelers in the Galápagos Islands starting July 18.

‘When Silver Origin welcomes guests in July 2020, the ship will be the most elegant vessel to ever sail in the Galápagos region. While completing the final stages of Silver Origin's construction, ensuring that the ship surpasses Silversea’s trademark level of comfort, we are also readying our expedition team, who will deliver an enriching and memorable expedition experience for our guests,’ Silversea President and CEO Roberto Martinoli said.

Expedition team

Aura Banda, environmental manager and naturalist guide, holds a degree in environmental management. Her first camera was a piece of wood cut by her grandfather on Floreana Island, Galápagos. She studied photographic arts, languages (French and Italian) and natural sciences and has been a naturalist guide at home in the Galápagos since 2005.

Paulina Aguirre, biologist and naturalist guide, is a native of Quito, where she earned her education degree. After crewing on yachts sailing across the globe, she moved to the Galápagos, where she had often vacationed with family living in the islands, and trained to start a new career as a naturalist and guide.

Born in Norway, Nicolai Bølling, biologist and naturalist guide, was skiing with his father through the forest before he had even learned to walk. He studied biology and earned a master's degree focused on the environmental health of the North Sea, which allowed him to spend time on a research ship. While visiting the Galápagos, he was injured and a local girl helped him to recover. They married, and today both work for Silversea.

Inspired by nature

Bernardo Galvez, architect and naturalist guide, grew up in Guayaquil, a city surrounded by mangrove estuaries. After studies in architecture and urbanism at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, he divided his time between Germany and Ecuador. Now a resident of the Galápagos, he still looks to nature for inspiration for his designs.      

Leandro Vaca, biologist and naturalist guide, lives in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal island. Studying biology at the Universidad de Guayaquil, his undergraduate thesis focused on the various fish species of the Galápagos.

Jason Heilmann, naturalist guide, grew up northern California and while pursuing his studies in the Pacific Northwest, met his future wife, an Ecuadorian woman. After being certified as a naturalist guide by the Galápagos National Park, he also worked as a naturalist in Alaska, British Columbia and Cuba. He lives in Ecuador and on the Galápagos Islands with his wife and son.

Naturalist guide Jeffo Marquez, born and raised in the Galápagos, was inspired by his father's job as a herpetologist and participated in several of his field trips. A certified naturalist guide with a background in environmental management, has also worked as a naturalist and photo instructor in such wildlife-rich places as Costa Rica, Antarctica, the Falklands, South Georgia, Baja California and the upper Amazon.

All-inclusive package

Travelers who reserve a Galápagos voyage with Silversea receive round-trip flights between Ecuador and the islands; a two-night, pre-cruise hotel stay in Quito; transfers between airport, hotel and ship; and a ‘Quito by Night’ tour. Those who book by Jan. 31 can take advantage of free round-trip economy air from select US and Canadian gateways for travel to Ecuador for select expeditions.

Silver Origin offers all ocean-view suites, butler service, included select wines, premium spirits and soft drinks served throughout the ship; in-suite minibar stocked with local snacks; 24-hour room service and in-suite dining; complimentary Wi-Fi.

The new ship will assume the itineraries of the retiring Silver Galapagos, alternating two Saturday-to-Saturday, routes between Baltra and San Cristóbal.

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