The start of a busy cruise ship month began with a whisper Monday.

The small luxury cruise ship Silver Explorer pulled into the Port of Astoria on its way upriver.

The ship carries up to 130 passengers on what Willy Fleming, an expedition programs coordinator, called luxury expedition cruising.

“We try to go places where you can’t exactly get to by plane, like the whole point of cruising,” Fleming said. “The idea with expedition cruising is to really bring the point of cruising, and going to very, very remote places,” he said. “But then also the owner likes to have his ultra luxury service.”

The 29-year-old cruiser, built in Finland, was purchased in the mid-2000s by Silversea Cruises and retrofitted for Arctic excursions in the summer and Antarctica in the winter. The ship includes butler service for passengers, along with fine dining, spas, a library, a cognac room and other amenities.

Cruises run between $6,500 and more than $20,000.

After visiting Astoria, the Silver Explorer was scheduled to leave for Rainier, after which it will head toward the Puget Sound region, ending the trip in Vancouver, British Columbia. The ship will travel south from Canada, visiting Astoria May 18 on its way to San Francisco.

Bruce Conner, cruise ship marketer for the Port, said there are 43,000 passengers expected this year, up from 38,000 last year.

“We’re known as part of the Alaska experience,” Conner said.

Astoria will have six cruise ships in May, one in July, 13 in September and five in October. The largest, the Disney Wonder, arrives Sept. 11. A cruise ship schedule is available at


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