What's New at Silversea Cruises? By Paul Motter May 3, 2007
We all know there are differences between mainstream and luxury cruising; Better food, all-inclusive pricing for liquor and tips, itineraries that rarely repeat and the world's most exotic destinations. But what do the people who really love luxury cruises want most out of their cruise? I put that question to Brad Ball, public relations director for top-rated luxury line Silversea Cruises.
"Obviously, we have an ongoing dialogue with our passengers about what they want to see from us. The one thing we hear that our passengers want more than anything is enrichment."
And by "enrichment" do you mean making them wealthier than they already are?
"No, enrichment is a cruise industry term that refers to putting speakers and special programs onboard ships to educate and entertain the guests with knowledge. People want to discover the world, and have experiences that go beyond the ordinary."
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Silversea - Fulfilling the Luxury Lifestyle
"What our passengers really want are experiences of a lifetime that they can go home and brag about," answers Brad. Once again, the luxury cruise lines, especially on world cruises, seem to be vying to offer the most outrageous shore excursion experiences possible. And so, what is Silversea Cruises up to these days?
"Well, to start with, you have to understand that our clientele is international, and that for many of them, cost is not a factor." Indeed, Silversea can be defined as the cruise line for people who simply want the best and may not even bother to look at the price tag.
"One of our newest shore excursions we call 'Cruising the Stratosphere at Supersonic Speeds.' " This is a three-day excursion where the guest actually flies a Russian MiG-31 Foxhound fighter jet. The excursion is offered from the port of St. Petersburg, Russia and begins with a flight to Moscow where guests tour Red Square and the Kremlin and ride the Moscow Metro (subway) before dinner in the press club. Then they fly to Nizhny Novgorod, where they are accommodated for the night at a local hotel.
On day two, guests are escorted to the Sormovo airfield for flight training. They are issued a special flight suit, theirs to keep as a trophy souvenir to show friends and family back home. After training, the tenderfoot boards a MiG-31 and takes an exhilarating one-hour flight, climbing to an altitude of 80,000 feet, the edge of the stratospheric border. The only other person onboard is an English-speaking test pilot who guides the novice pilot to take the reins and perform basic maneuvers.
The entire flight and ground preparations are filmed and presented to the guest. The tour concludes in the evening when guests board an express train for St. Petersburg, returning to the ship in a cocoon of luxury in a first-class sleeper cabin. Sound expensive to you? If not, then you are not the type who doesn't need to ask, so you can resist clicking on the link below that will reveal the price tag.
Yes, that is the price for the shore excursion, you are not actually buying the jet.
Okay... So this is not a mainstream experience even for a Silversea customer, but there have been a few takers. But let's come back to earth for more realistic expectations for the "average" Silversea customer by asking Brad what else they have on tap this year.
"One of our hot tickets right now are 'front row seats' to the America's Cup regatta. Silver Whisper will be in Valencia, Spain, where the sail competition is taking place, and we will be anchored close enough to the action to be able to see the boats racing by. Plus, we will be watching the race on big screen monitors throughout the ship. It's the best way to see the race." This 8-day voyage, roundtrip Barcelona, departs on June 22, 2007. Look for a 10% Early Booking Incentive discount.
Luxury cruise lines seem to be competing these days to see who can get the most spellbinding guest speakers. Silversea is bringing back some of the people that wowed audiences in the past.
"Rex Reed, the film critic, just sponsored a film event on our current World Cruise with veteran actress Marge Champion. It was huge hit, and so on our next Silver Shadow's World Cruise 2008 we are having our second Silver Screen Cinema in connection with Travel & Leisure magazine. Movie stars are yet to be determined."
HIGH FASHION EXPERIENCES
"Fashionistas will love our "House of Ferragamo" tour of Tuscany. In Livorno, our guests will have a rare opportunity to go inside the Ferragamo family's legendary fashion house, take a guided tour of the renowned Ferragamo Museum and shop in their only boutique in the world offering custom-made replicas of famed shoes worn by Hollywood legends. We will also be treated to award-winning wines from the family's own Il Borro vineyards with lunch at one of their luxurious Florentine hotels."
It has the taste of the finer things in life to me, I said to Brad. The focus is definitely on experiences, not just being on a cruise ship.
"Well, we still have people who just want a vacation," Brad says. "For them we are offering a whole series of golf cruises in what we call our 'Silver Links' program. This year we have planned15 diverse itineraries aboard Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper, featuring over 45 challenging courses in more than 25 countries and islands throughout Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico." Those cruises will also feature an onboard PGA-classed golf professional, who will organize complimentary lessons, contests and clinics. SEE BELOW for more specific details on golf cruises.
A NEW SPA CONCEPT
For the ladies (and men, too), Silversea has a new spa concept recently unveiled aboard Silver Shadow's world cruise known as The Spa at Silversea. This will replace the line's existing Mandara Spas and feature new treatments and ceremonies that are more personalized.
"It's a holistic spa experience that focuses on the guest's individual needs and lifestyle," says Brad. Among the new treatments is a new selection of specialized Wellness Ceremonies to address such concerns as aging skin, cellulite, arthritis, poor circulation, and sore muscles. Other ceremonies are ideal for those who just want to relax.
The new spa concept will be implemented aboard Silver Wind in July, and expanded to Silver Cloud and Silver Whisper in the following months.
The Spa also has special grooming services for men, including facials and barbering. For the man who wants more, the Spa at Silversea also offers a half day of pampering for the face and body. Couples can have a ceremony designed exclusively for them, including an in-suite massage and a calming bathing ritual.
FOCUS ON THE MEDITERRANEAN
This year, Silversea has a slate of Mediterranean sailings that feature new and unusual ports for people who really want to delve into the unique cultural experiences. They also offer several land package add-ons to these cruises in places where ships can't reach, such as Milan, the Alps or Lake Como in Northern Italy. Here are just a few of the Mediterranean voyages they have planned for this summer:
Silver Wind departs June 7, 2007 on a 15-day "Mosques and Monuments" voyage (#2718) from Istanbul to Rome with calls in Mykonos, Rhodes and Crete, Greece; Sicily and Sorrento, Italy; Kusadasi, Turkey; Tartous, Syria; Alexandria, Egypt; and Malta. Silver Sailing fares start at $8,746 per person.
Silver Cloud departs July 6, 2007 on a 7-day "Minarets and Revelations" voyage (#1717) from Istanbul to Athens with calls in Bodrum, Turkey and Mykonos, Thessaloniki, Crete and Nauplia, Greece. Silver Sailing fares start at $4,406 per person.
Silver Whisper departs August 17, 2007 on a 7-day "Arts and Antiquity" cruise (#4729) from Rome to Monte Carlo with calls in Minorca, Spain; Portovenere and Livorno, Italy; Cannes and Sete, France. Early Booking Incentive fares start at $5,350 per person.
Silver Shadow departs September 23, 2007 on a 9-day "Atlantic Isles Accents" cruise (#3725) from Lisbon to Las Palmas with calls in Casablanca, Morocco; Funchal (Madeira), Portugal; Malaga, Cadiz, and Canary Islands, Spain. Silver Sailing fares start at $4,437 per person.
SILVERSEA GOLF CRUISES:
Silver Whisper departs August 17, 2007 on a 7-day "Arts & Antiquity" voyage (4729) from Rome to Monte Carlo with optional golf excursions to Cosmopolitan Country Club (Livorno); Cannes Mougins Golf Club (Cannes); Servannes Golf Club (Sete); and Club de Golf Son Parc (Mahon, Minorca). Early Booking Incentive cruise fares start at $5,350 per person.
Silver Whisper departs August 24, 2007 on a 7-day "Mediterranean Medley" voyage (4730) from Monte Carlo to Barcelona with optional golf excursions to Sainte Maxime Golf Club (St. Tropez); Le Fr�gate Golf Club (Marseille); and Son Vida Club de Golf (Palma de Mallorca). Silver Sailing cruise fares start at $4,406 per person.
Silver Shadow departs September 23, 2007 on a 9-day "Atlantic Isles Accents" voyage (3725) from Lisbon to Las Palmas with optional golf excursions to Marbella Golf Course (Malaga); Sherry Golf Jerez (Cadiz); Royal Golf Anfa-Mohammedia (Casablanca); Palheiro Golf Club (Funchal); and Real Club de Golf Las Palmas (Canary Islands). Silver Sailing cruise fares start at $4,437 per person.
Silver Shadow departs October 26, 2007 on a 10-day "Caribbean Kaleidoscope" voyage (3728) from Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale with optional golf excursions to Wyndham el Conquistador Golf & Resort (San Juan, Puerto Rico); Teeth of the Dog Golf Club (La Romana, Dominican Republic); White Witch Golf Club (Montego Bay, Jamaica); Links at SafeHaven Golf Club (Grand Cayman); and Key West Golf Club (Key West, Florida). Early Booking Incentive cruise fares start at $4,945 per person.
Silver Shadow departs November 23, 2007 on a 15-day "Panama Canal Passage" (3731) from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego with optional golf excursions to Mexico's Fairmont Pierre Marques Golf Club (Acapulco); El Tigre Golf Club (Puerto Vallarta); Tangolunda Golf Club (Huatulco); and Costa Rica's Los Sue�os Marriott Golf Resort. Early Booking Incentive cruise fares start at $6,965 per person.
Silver Shadow departs December 8, 2007 on a 15-day "Pacific Interlude" voyage (3732) from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale with optional golf excursions to Mexico's Cabo del Sol Desert Course (Cabo San Lucas); El Cid Golf & Country Club (Mazatlan); Fairmont Pierre Marques Golf Club (Acapulco); and Costa Rica's Los Sue�os Marriott Golf Resort. Early Booking Incentive cruise fares start at $6,556 per person.