Call it the new queen of the polar regions. 

Luxury line Silversea’s 254-passenger Silver Cloud on Wednesday will sail on its first voyage after a massive makeover designed to turn it into the most elegant polar expedition vessel at sea. 

Steering a course from Buenos Aires to Antarctica, where it now will spend a significant part of the year, the 23-year-old ship is sailing with a newly reinforced steel hull and a new ice-class bulb at its front that will allow for navigation in icy polar waters. New sonars also have been installed for underwater ice detection, and new windows resistant to polar temperatures have been added.

The 514-foot-long, nine-deck-high vessel also has taken aboard 16 motorized Zodiac rafts to land passengers in remote locations as well as 10 kayaks for exploring. 

The transformation of Cloud also included a major overhaul of its on-board accommodations, which the line says are now the largest in expedition cruising — the niche of cruising that involves exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations in small ships that carry motorized rafts for landings. The ship also will have the highest space-to-passenger and crew-to-passenger ratios in expedition cruising. 

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Silver Cloud reconfigured to sail the polar regions
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