Best For People Who Want
The "best of the best" at any price; spacious suites with
butlers serving in cabin meals, personalized service.
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
A wealth of entertainment options; large fitness or casino
facilities; an assortment of sports or children's activities.
The luxury segment of the cruise industry comes in a variety of
tastes and sizes; and no one offers greater panache than Silversea.
Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, as the smaller and older vessels of
the fleet, are full of the sort of luxury and spaciousness the
Fortune 500 types who are their passengers demand, but a bit short
of the variety and flair accomplished by the slightly larger, newer
vessels. Still, it's no surprise that passengers often enjoy their
cruises so much that they decide to stay aboard for the next
From the moment you board the ship, you're made to feel like a
member of a very rich, old European family, pampered to within an
inch of your life by extremely warm and gracious European
Though it is a mere 16,800 tons, Silver Cloud is still big
enough to feel like a ship. Indeed, the layout is similar to many
larger vessels, with a sumptuous lobby, a mere three and a half
accommodations decks, Lido buffet, observation lounge and pool
deck. It is just that there are fewer of everything; staterooms,
gift shops, slot machines, bars. But that doesn't stop her from
acting like a big ship. For example, there are production shows
larger ships would be proud to call their own in a two-deck-high
Still, Silver Cloud actually impress most with the small
touches, the Cristofle flatware and Limoges china in the
restaurant, the champagne and caviar delivered to your suite almost
the same moment as when you first arrive.
Silversea's itineraries are among the most attractive on offer
from any cruise line, and they do a particularly good job of giving
you just the right proportions of time ashore and time at sea. Your
fellow passengers are apt to represent a broader range of countries
than on other cruises.
Several new programs intended to emphasize the line's Italian
lineage debuted in 2005. Silversea's in-suite bath amenities are
now furnished by the Italian fragrance house Acqua di Parma.
Paintings by noted Italian artists are proudly featured throughout.
Italian luxury brand Loro Piana opened shops offering accessories,
gifts and made-to-measure products aboard each ship.
But not all is from the land of Leonardo, Galileo, and Verdi;
the first Viking Cooking School at sea, held in the ships' new
Viking culinary theatres, offers cooking classes led by the
unmistakably Gallic alliance of Relais & Chateaux.
Elegant but surprisingly simple, the rooms and hallways are
unfettered by bric-a-brac. What you see is all the finest quality,
but there is no over abundance of anything.
The Panorama and Observation lounges are both finished with
floor to ceiling windows and comfortable chairs just for sipping
self-service drinks, listening to music or simply sitting and
watching the sea go by. The multi-tiered Venetian Lounge provides a
pleasant setting for evening shows or movies with unobstructed
views. The most popular spot is the art deco saloon aptly named,
The Bar. Making friends is the key here, and the barkeep calls you
by name and remembers what you drink after one visit.
Elegant new furniture, linens and attractive artwork in all
suites are recent additions to Silver Cloud, but the addition
you're apt to applaud most heartily is the intimate new dining
room, La Saletta, reminiscent of the newer Silver Shadow's and
Silver Whisper's Le Champagne. There's also a new Internet center,
and expanded spa facilities, including a Tranquility Room. The
Fitness Center has been moved up to the Observation Deck, meaning
that you can now savor panoramic views of the ocean while using,
rather than losing, it.
Where once there were Bulgari outlets, there are now little LJ
boutiques. The ship's logowear boutique, which offers pretty much
the same stuff you'd find on 80 percent of the cruise ships at sea,
You can't fault the culinary staff for stodginess. Besides
traditional steamed lobster, for instance, you're apt to be offered
lobster medallions breaded in chick pea flour and served with
chorizo sausage chutney. While the ships' cuisine is almost always
delectable, though, it is only sometimes beyond earthly
imagination. Four entrees are offered each evening in the main
dining room, and the chef will happily concoct another dish for
anyone uninspired by all four of them. Pasta and fish are reliably
delicious, as are sauces and starches. The one downside of open
seating is that what starts out perfect in the kitchen on a crowded
night may not always arrive at the table the same way.
Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style in the La Terrazza
Cafeacute;. On the newer ships the Lidos have kitchens built in
next door, but on these smaller older vessels, once again, the trip
from the kitchen becomes a factor. So, ask the staff there to cook
pasta to order for you, and then fill up on the handmade ice cream
It must be noted that a when a ship that varies its itinerary
almost on a per-cruise basis, it is not reasonable to expect the
consistency and contingency planning for shore excursions you will
find on a ship that has been repeating the same ports for years.
Silversea has a glittering reputation for its shore excursions, but
glitches can occur, and those on offer are sometimes subject to
cancellation due to a lack of passenger interest.
Starched white linens, romantic lighting and Christofle flatware
adorn tables for four, six, eight and ten in The Restaurant, a
huge, gorgeous room with windows overlooking the sea. The service
here is sublime, as it is too in The Terrace Cafe, popular for
casual breakfast and luncheon buffets, and open to the aft deck,
but with not quite enough tables for prospective al fresco diners.
At night, the cafe becomes the alternative Italian restaurant La
Terrazza, requiring reservations.
If it's haute cuisine you're after, definitely head for the
intimate La Saletta, a new Relais & Chateaux wine-themed
restaurant with cuisine conceived to complement wine, rather than
the more usual other way around. Inspired by Joachim Koerper's
Michelin two-star Girasol, in Moraira, Spain, the restaurant offers
seasonal menus with which it hopes to establish itself as the most
memorable gourmet experience at sea. It's open for dinner only and
reservations are recommended, as seating is extremely limited.
Prepare to be charged a small fee for the premium wines that will
be the stars of your meal.
Tired after a frenzied day ashore? Call room service and dine en
suite, with your meal delivered course by course.
The almost entirely European staff is as personable as it is
efficient. They'll know your names -- and preferences - almost
before you've gotten to your cabin. Officers and crew seem
genuinely to enjoy getting to know their passengers. Because so
many Silversea voyagers stay aboard for cruise after cruise,
there's a rare atmosphere of conviviality.
Included in your fare, though additional services provided by a
butler or concierge may deserve extra consideration at your
Small ship entertainment is normally fairly lackluster, but
Silversea is clearly intent on bucking that trend with lavish Las
Vegas-style production shows. At some ports, local musicians are
invited aboard to perform before dinner. The ship's'
comedian/magicians can only be described as laff-riots.
Sea days feature such extremely low-key traditional activities
as napkin-folding, golf putting, and shuffleboard, with wine
tasting and fitness classes for any live wires.
Those who adore Crystal Cruises' vast suites with private butler
service may find these ships mildly disappointing. The majority of
staterooms (75%) are standard suites with a 296-square-foot private
veranda. The cabins are luxurious enough, though, for just about
anyone. Staterooms have big walk-in closets, a separate sitting
area with sofa and desk, twin/queen bed configuration, down
pillows, and 24-hour room service. The bathrooms have tub/shower,
terry cloth robes, hair dryers, and private label toiletries -- and
ought, frankly, to be bigger.
The minimum category Vista Suite without balcony is 240 square
feet. Larger suites include Silver Suites at 541 square feet and
the Owner's Suite (827 square feet). The Royal Suite is 1,030
square feet, the Grand Suite, with two bedrooms, a whopping 1,314.
All suite residents get complimentary laundry service. How suite it
The occupants of the largest Silversea suites - the Grand,
Royal, Rossellini and Owner's -- enjoy the ministrations of butlers
certified by no less than the Guild of Professional English
Butlers, which trains the British Royal Family's servants. Your
butler will do everything from unpacking your suitcase to arranging
a private car at the next port, from drawing a bath to planning an
in-suite cocktail party.
Silver Cloud's small fitness center offers classes during days
at sea, There are also a beauty salon with massage offerings, but
with a minimum staff on duty.
Bring your tux and long sequined gown. Silversea's passengers
delight in dressing up - way up. Formal nights follow days at