For all the years I have been in the travel industry, I have to admit that until today, I had never set foot on a Silversea ship. This and the fact that I would be hosted by Silversea’ Managing Director for the Americas, Mark Conroy himself raised my excitement and anticipation for my short time aboard. She did not disappoint and the below blog will give you a thorough review of the recently refurbished vessel and all that is happening at Silversea – one of the world’s finest luxury cruise lines.
Silver Whisper arrived shaken and windblown in Port of San Francisco after crossing the Panama Canal on its 17-day New Year sailing that originated in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She is formally starting her 2019 “132-Day World Cruise” with a first 12-Day segment en-route to Papeete (Tahiti) with stops in the Marquesas Islands, Rangiroa, and Moorea. She then heads on to Sydney Australia and will end her trip in Greenwich, London on May 19th 2019. In case you are wondering about the photo above – due to the storm that howled across San Francisco on this cold Sunday, outside images where not flattering so I chose a stock photo in sunny Sydney instead.
Principled Ship Design
“There are many ways to skin a cat” so the saying goes which is also true for ship building. What makes Silversea stand out is the principled approach taken by moving all the cabins to mid-ship forward locations and the entertainment (noisy) venues aft. While this assures quiet cabins for all guests it also creates a logical flow and the full deck plans posted by the elevator area on each deck make navigation super easy. Kudos to Silversea for sticking with this principle, even on their newest ship Silver Muse.
Note: Silversea provides complimentary laundry service on each deck with modern machines. My VIP host Mark Conroy pointed out that this is the venue where guests share the inevitable gossip that happens aboard.
Nestled mid-ship on deck 4 guests find “The Restaurant” as their main dining venue. This classical space with elegant color touches of red and burgundy offers tables of 2 to 12 for open seating dining. We were fortunate enough to be treated to a sit-down lunch during our ship visit which allowed us to experience the culinary aspects of the line.
Silver Whisper’s The Restaurant on Deck 4For a full selection of our menu (which changes daily) see the images above. As you can see, the choices are plentiful and the selection is broad – covering all possible dietary requirements and tastes. My lunch started with the “Pesce Fresco del Giorno” which was a lovingly presented seafood salad. I followed it up with the “Il duo di Trenette” pasta plate and I finished with the Fritto Misto di Mare which was delicious. At Mark Conroy’s urging, I added some tartare sauce to enhance the dish which it did!
If you do not want to do the full sit-down service, the ship also offers simpler fare at “La Terrazza” on deck 7 featuring buffet style lunch or you can walk outside to the pool grill on deck 8 for a burger or sandwich. Of course, there is room service 24-7 as well.
While Silversea is an all-inclusive luxury line, there is one venue that requires reservations at a $60 per person surcharge. La Dame features a bespoke menu expressing the highest elegance of a French restaurant in an intimate setting. It is a must do at least once during a Silversea cruise.
My verdict: Silversea exceeded my culinary expectations with excellent preparation, beautiful presentation and exceptional service.
Culinary voyages – for those with epicurean focus
Did you know that Silversea is operating a series of culinary voyages with a special focus on food and live cooking demonstrations with the executive chef. The below two sailings have peaked my interest – so check it out you may want to join.
#2921 | London – Reykjavik |20 July – 31 July
#4925 | London – New York | 26 Sept – 11 Oct
Public Spaces – Entertainment
Thanks to the smart ship design Silver Whisper offers a ton of comfortable and cozy public spaces to sit, chat, play games, dance or gamble. Note that all indoor spaces with the exception of the cigar lounge on deck 8 are 100% non-smoking. There was not a whiff of smoke to be found anywhere, that includes the casino. All public spaces share a common theme of seafarer history with tasteful artwork and comfortable lounges and chairs. To top it all off, the ship features a theater aft on Decks 5 & 6 that can hold all 388 guests at once. While smaller ships like this one cannot offer Broadway style productions, the Silversea team of dancers and singers has a varied repertoire on hand to entertain guests, plus Silversea’ enrichment lectures add the educational component many cruisers seek.
|Deck 7 is the central hub for daytime activities like card games in the Game lounge or smoking a Cuban cigar (yes they sell you one) in the smoking lounge. Anything the heart desires is available here from fine Scotch to top notch Cognac’s and Grappa’s you will not miss a thing!|
Silversea also takes the health and beauty/relaxation aspects into account. Clients will find the state of the art gym on Deck 10 forward. That is also where the Steiner operated exclusively Silversea branded Zagara Spa is located. As Mark Conroy mentioned, the SPA is staffed up for the world cruise to accommodate 2 additional stylists to cope with Salon treatment demand. Who knew!
This is of course the key aspect of any cruise and Silversea does not disappoint in this area. From the basic Vista & Terrace Suites with 287 SQF to the Owner’s Suite at 919 SQF there is a cabin for every taste and budget. All are outside facing cabins and from deck 5 upward, all feature verandas.
Tasteful and contemporary in color scheme, each suite features a separate sitting area with flat-screen TV. Fresh flowers enhance the living room atmosphere in all cabins. The selection of the right suite is always a tricky one. Silversea makes it easy in the sense that every suite comes with a cohesive color scheme that inspires comfort and warmth and the main difference amounts to space and layout.
Having toured the entire ship during its complete turn-over for the World Cruise, I had the chance to inspect every cabin category personally. I would be home in any one of them but here are my favorites.
Value for money: Silver Suite for its smart layout and mid-ship location. I love that you can separate the bedroom from the living room while still having access to the bathroom from both rooms.
Tip: Step up from Vista/Terrace suite to a Veranda 1-4 as the few dollars more provide a much better experience
What makes Silversea unique?
While offering comfortable and well thought out ships, Silversea’ point of distinction is without hesitation its staff which creates a warm and familiar atmosphere. I felt it from the moment I stepped on board and it never left me. Silversea is for people that want to feel at home, want to be part of a traveling family and enjoy convivial interactions with fellow guests.
Having had the chance to compare with rivals such as Seabourn, Crystal or Regent recently, I can attest tho the fact that all are good products in their own rights, yet they all lacked that “je ne sais qui” that Silversea breathes.
Despite the nasty weather, howling winds and turbulent seas, touring Silver Whisper gave me a sense of calm and a feeling of home. Yes, there are newer ships with more gimmicks but few create the sense of comfort and coziness. You will board as guests and leave as family, waiting to return whenever the sea calls.
Ready to take off on her world cruise, Silver Whisper left a positive impression on me and on its 240 returning guests that boarded all the way to London on this 132-Day journey. Inspired by the spirit of the great explores Magellan, Marco Polo and Columbus, I have carried my dream of a world cruise for a long time. It is firmly planned in due time when the day comes to retire.