In 1994, lots of cruise industry insiders scoffed at the idea of the new niche line Silversea, which flaunted its own "Uncompromising Commitment to Service", surviving in the face of cruising's having become more and more a recreation of ordinary people. There were already plenty of yacht-like, all-suite luxury ships at sea. Silversea's adding private verandas to 75% of its staterooms and instituting an everything-included, all-frills-all-the-time policy changed few minds.
By 2000 Silversea had four ships - the line's two original ships, Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, then the larger, 28,000-ton 382-passenger Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper came along in 2001. The "Personalized Voyages" program, introduced in 2003, still allows voyagers to design their own itinerary and vacation experience by electing, for instance, to embark and disembark from any two ports despite what the brochure describes as the beginning and end dates of the given itinerary. The days onboard are charged at a per-day rate dependent on the ports and the stateroom category chosen. There is a five-night minimum and passengers are on their own with air transportation.
In 2007 the line introduced Silver Expedition (p0riginally named Prince Albert II) - an expedition vessel with all the onboard characteristics of the somewhat larger Silversea ships but an entirely different approach to shore tours. The vessel offers "expeditions" to mostly arctic regions. Tours are included in the price onboard, but we recommend that you read our ship review to see highly important recommendations about clothing and timing of tours on the ship.
Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper came along in 2010. These are the largest and most luxurious ships in the fleet at 302 crewmembers for just 382 guests. They each feature all-suite accomodations, like the other ships, with butler service with every stateroom.
Silversea offers great package deals including up to $1000 per person in shipboard credit. This goes a long way when your alcohol and gratuities are already included in the price.
Dream of being the crown of a small but much-admired, very rich European principality? Silversea is your cruise line, the most exclusive luxury vessels afloat offering the "best of the best" of everything. Dining tables, to give you some idea, are set with Christofle silver and Schott-Zwiesel crystal. The ships' cuisine? One word: sublime. Philipponnat Royale Reserve champagne flows like water.
All cabins are suites, three-quarters with their own verandas, all gorgeously appointed. Silver Whisper's staterooms are bigger than Seabourn's and Crystal's, and the marble bathrooms are, along with Seven Seas Navigator's and Voyager's, the most elegant at sea. One feature we like the best about Silversea is that it is the only luxury cruise line that offers butler service with every suite.
Walk-in closets, TV/DVD, small refrigerators stocked with your own favorite beverages (including spiritous, and all included in the price) and snacks, and a separate seating area with sofa and desk are all standard. All gratuities and beverages, including select wines, champagnes and spirits, are included. Its passengers may be assured they'll have a choice of several lounges, a good amount of deck space, spacious dining facilities, and a theater big enough to accommodate Broadway-style productions.
Silversea excels at itinerary-planning, perfectly balancing time in port and at sea. They offer extensive onboard concierge services should you like a car reserved for you in an upcoming port, for example, just ask and it will be done. Another treat is the line's never-ending quest to create shore experiences for their passengers that will not be found anywhere else, be it on another ship, or even on your own. Included with most cruises is a complimentary shore excursion called the Silversea Experience. On a recent Italian cruise, quests were treated to a private dinner, prepared and served by the shipboard culinary experts, inside a medieval stone monastery cut high in the Amalfi Coast.
Because they offer some of the highest passenger-space ratios at sea, many voyagers liken Silversea's to the smaller 204-passenger vessels of Seabourn Cruise Line. However the clear difference is the butler service, which Seabourn does not offer at all, even in the suites. In the especially quiet environment offered on these luxury ships - where one is on her own to find out what is happening onboard, having a butler comes in very handy for making recommendations and keeping you in step with any special events or occurances during the cruise.
Silversea's in-suite bath amenities are from the Italian fragrance house Acqua di Parma produces. Paintings by noted Italian artists are proudly featured. Italian luxury brand Loro Piana opened aboard each ship, offering accessories, gifts and made-to-measure products. But not all is from the land of Leonardo, Galileo, and Verdi; the first Viking Cooking School at sea, held in the new Viking culinary theatres, offers cooking classes led by the unmistakably Gallic chefs Relais & Chateaux.
Rich, over-55 veterans of many cruises, looking to sail to exotic places in incomparable luxury.Shore Excursions
Silversea shore excursions are well thought out and comprehensive; to cite one example, an overnight plane trip to Moscow for passengers docked in St. Petersburg. The line hires some of the most expert and articulate spoken guides extant. Plus they offer enhanced programs of shore excursions such one free special event for all passengers every cruise called "Silversea Experiences" where they treat the entire ship to a private cultural events or access to key historical sites arranged exclusively for Silversea by various national historical and cultural societies of the world.Kid's Excursions
Children are allowed on these cruises, but they are not likely to appreciate it, or add to the experience the adults are having. Take them on your next vacation.Past Passenger Programs
Silversea's exemplary "Venetian Society" past-passengers program offers five to 10 percent off brochure rates on year-round special sailings, with special activities like a golf tournament in Boca Raton, an exquisite private dinner in New Orleans, unforgettable private dinners in a separate dining room created by guest Relais & Chateaux chefs, and special shore excursions and a wonderful program of onboard events.Special Programs
Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow both offer the Silver Links 365 Golf Program, with a golf pro giving instruction and leading golf excursions to courses in each port. Using the latest V1 video-computer teaching technology, he'll make a VHS video of your on-board lesson to take home with you.
The Silversea Experience Cruises:
These voyages include complimentary Cultural Adventures like dinner in the Namib Dessert, ballet in Odessa, or a classical concert at Ephesus.
The Spirit of Exploration Cruises:
Notable explorers and scientists give lectures, confer individually with passengers, and even accompany them on some shore tours.
Silversea offers Relais & Chateaux Culinary Cruises and Wine Series voyages. See our theme cruise page for a list of currently scheduled sailings.
Formal nights are scheduled during days at sea, with a tux mandatory for gentlemen and lavish bejeweledness the unwritten law for ladies. But those who can't be bothered -- and who don't care about being turned away from the entertainment lounges -- are welcome to dine in their less-than-formal attire in the Lido restaurant and to enjoy cocktails and after-dinner drinks in a designated lounge. On a ten-night cruise there are three formal, four informal and three casual nights. Daytime attire is casual.
My cruising experience has been a pattern of progression. My first it was a weekend Bahamas cruise on Royal Carribean. After watching the belly flop contest I learned about Celebrity's promised "more upscale experience." It was then Millennium, followed by an Azamara to Silversea.
My lady friend and I found a great 7 day Caribbean bargain and decided to see if the "all inclusive" experience was worth all the hype. I'll make this simple. Silversea, down to the slightest detail up to the top is a marvelous experience. Onboard Silversea Silver Spirit even the simplest quick lunch is first-rate. Speaking of dining its consistently at the 4.5 - 5 star level in terms of quality -the entire experience. The "suite" staterooms are just as luxurious as the cruise line claims; marble sinks, tubs, and flooring; impeccable bed and bedding; and the stateroomâ€™s amenities.
Spirit is their "larger" ship but not even close to a mass market sized. You'll see the same staff rotating around from serving and tending position each day. Service is very personable as youâ€™ll get to know the same crew youâ€™ll see every day. The entertainment was varied and done well butwith a ship this size it was obviously limited compared to a mega ship. If numerous entertainment venues are an important option for your cruising experience you'd be on the wrong cruise line.
The greatest distinction of all inclusive cruising is the wondrous absence and silence of the "chit chase". I must confess I enjoy my libations during cruising. It is comforting to not have the round trip chit delivery with the beaming face with pen in hand. Not to mention the solace of very little sticker shock of the "settlement statement" at the end of the cruise, and the tip collection at the end as well -all that mostly gone. Itâ€™s very nice.
Service is also an important expectation and cruising pleasure for me. For example I would be dozing on an outdoor cushioned round rattan chair. As soon as my eye lids parted I'd have an ice water with lemon in front of me -instantly if not telepathically. In short Silversea indubitably lives up to its touted claims of elegance, quality and impeccable service.
But there is one aspect about our Spirit experience I want to convey: the clientele aboard this ship. My girlfriend and I found a 7 day bargain â€“if you could call it that. Generally we would not cruise a cruise line like this. We are both doing well and for the most part were able to â€œfit inâ€. We had fun. But make no mistake; most the cruisers we met and got to know are very well made people. On any given evening the ladies were wearing $5,000-$15,000 worth of stones and many of them wouldnâ€™t have any problem adding that much to their jewelry box in one day either. The men were probably lower key on the self-stature posturing. But their wives wouldnâ€™t let you forget that at times when they were together. These are CEOs, large business owners, and government affiliated types a tad above city councilman. Personally I respect success, am politically and geographically knowledgeable so I had some interesting conversations while sitting at the bars. But after 5 or so days I felt like I was at the country club in the VIP lounge with the same people daily. Also keep in mind that people of this standing may not be jolly social butter flies or closing down the dance floor â€“if the ship even offers it. Picture a senior director for the IRS with an advanced degree in finance and you get the gist. But I donâ€™t necessarily want to be on a mass market cruise with kids running around everywhere and parties flying until 6AM either. After several days I found, at times, I was having more fulfilling conversations with a couple of the bartenders.
Spirit is Silverseaâ€™s larger ship thatâ€™s trying to bring a wider variety of ages aboard. But most were 50 . I am told their smaller ships have a higher ratio of older cruisers aboard them. Their ships are also suitable for the solo traveler that wants to be left alone with a book but showered in exceptional service and fine dining. All being said if an unforgettable luxurious cruising experience is what you yearn for you will not be disappointed by any of their ships.
I have cruised many times, but do not enjoy the "Bigger is Better" theme personified by most of the cruise companies. I saw an ad for huge reductions on Silver Seas last March and we took advantage of the 75% reduction.
The cruise was an amazing experience. The Silver Spirit is their newest ship,(2009) and holds 500 passengers and 375 crew. It is advertised as 6* and does live up to its promise. We booked the least expensive suite,(the Vista) on deck 2. This cabin does not have a veranda, as 90% of the cabins do.
We were contacted one week before the cruise to see if we wanted an"'upgrade"- for $1000.00 more.
AS a former travel agent, I was not familiar with this practice, as to me and upgrade is just that, the passenger is upgraded at no further cost.
Upon arrival at the pier, we had been upgraded to the 8th deck and were situated right beside the Owner's Suite. Our cabin did not have a balcony, but on this ship, it was not an issue, as the pool deck was so close, on deck 9.
There were a couple onglitches on this ship. Our shore excursion in Montenegro was extremely poor and quite dangerous. We did bring this to the attention of customer service and were redounded our money.
The decor of this ship was a bit disappointing. The colours to me appeared dated, very 70's looking and the art was not interesting.
However, everything else was amazing. The food was delicious(except beside the pool) and the crew was wonderful. As we had a $500.00 onboard credit, we enjoyed some amazing wine suggested by the charming sommelier, Carl and shopped in the small boutique.
The evening entertainment here was superlative. Angela and Woody, in the lovely Stars lounge serenaded us to everything from Cole Porter to Stevie Wonder and were the highlight of this amazing cruise.
Personalized attention from our butler, Acula was much appreciated.
Silverseas is a class act. We met the most amazing passengers from all over the world. I cannot wait to take another Silverseas cruise.
SILVER CLOUD CRUISE REPORT
JANUARY 7-16 2012 From Fort Lauderdale to San Juan We arrived in Fort Lauderdale on January 6th and spent the night at the Hampton Inn Fort Lauderdale Airport North 2301 SW 12th. the Manager David Blevins was actually driving a transportation van to pick us up. The hotel also furnishes transportation to the port. The service and food at this hotel was very good. The hotel furnished transportation to some restaurants within a mile of the hotel. We ate at the old Heidelberg German Restaurant that was very good. We boarded the Silver Cloud around 12 noon without incident and hardly any wait being entertained by the local energetic people working the port. They were very hospitable. The Silver Cloud was built in Italy in 1994 by Mariotti and refurbished in 2001. She looked remarkably in good condition for her age. The 16, 800 GRT ship has a capacity for 296 passengers that are carried in superb luxury. She is 514 ft long and a 70 ft beam. She has 4 restaurants one pool and four elevators. One never seems to have to wait very long for anelevator to traverse her 6 decks and no long waits in line at the buffet.
We had two days at sea and then on January 10, stopped at Spanish Town in Virgin Gorda British Virgin Islands. Columbus discovered the islands in 1493 an archipelago consisting of some 60 small islets and rocky outcrops of which Tortola and Virgin Gorda are the largest ones. The British took over in the 17th century and still retain control to this day as a Crown Colony. The B.V.I have a governor who is appointed by the Queen. This was a tender stop and we took a ships sponsored tour in an open air safari type truck that took us up to Gorda Peak and we had several beautiful view stops on this wonderful day. We then descended down to Gun Creek where we disembarked to get on a motor boat to tour around the Dog islands named by Christopher Columbus. We had a view of Necker Island owned by Sir Robert Branson. The main house burned down just before his daughter was to be married, but they put up a tent and had the wedding. BTW you can spend some time on the island for $50,000/p/day. HA. We motored around Moskito island to the Baths just sightseeing. We returned to Spanish town where we browsed the shops and sat at a table to eat a snack and have a drink while we watched people come and go. Jan noticed two young guys that seemed to be getting supplies. Their dingy had Satori written on it. Copy and paste the link. We did not see where the Yacht was. http://www.superyachts.com/news/heesen-yachts-launch-motor-yacht-satori-1105.htm
Wednesday January 11 we arrived at Marigot Bay St.Martin and used the tenders to go ashore. This is a much better stop for St.Martin than at Phillipsburg where competition with the larger ships can be difficult. We just spent time in Marigot having decided not to go to Orient Beach on this visit. Jan did not want to risk walking in the sand with her leg splint on the stress fracture of the tibia. I did climb to the top of Fort Lewis using several rest stops and did the round trip in about 45 minutes. Jan limped around in her leg splint and did not let it slow down her shopping. Marigot is on the French side of the Island and has a more genteel ambience for some fashionable shopping and continental flair. Ships drop anchor off shore and ferry passengers to Marina Royale in the middle of Marigot where you can walk to any of the downtown shops. There were many stalls set up along the wharf with various goods to sell. St Martin remains a part of the European Union.
Thursday January 12, we stopped at St.John's Antigua where I did a Segway tour. Jan had decided not to do it since it was over uneven surfaces and she already had a broken leg. Jan rode in the chase car and took some video. I had done three previous Segway tours, but fell off on this one. No serious damage to machine or passenger. I was kind of standing looking for a parking place when I ended up on the ground. Not sure what actually happened. I should have just dismounted as soon as I got to the area where we were to stop. Antigua is an island of beaches with 365 of them all open to the public. We had previously visited Antigua spending a week and done the Nelson's Dockyard thing, and Shirley Heights for a sunset and BBQ. We had visited the Devil's bridge natural rock formation where slaves were reported to jump to their deaths when their lives became unbearable. This trip after bringing Jan back to the ship, I just hired a cab and rode out to Dickenson bay to see how nice it was and yearned to visit the Sandals again. Same old story. If you are on the ship you want to be ashore and if you are ashore you want to be on the ship.
Friday January 13, we were in Castries, St. Lucia. We used Cosol tours and Yellowbird, Cosol's brother gave us a very good tour for $65/person. He took us all over the island through fishing villages, and then to Jalousie Beach arriving by water taxi since the Jalousie property controls all the other accesses to the beach, but cannot prevent people from coming on the beach from the sea. This beach was between the famous Pitons of St.Lucia. We had beer and Rum punch in our travelling portable bar and several snacks. We visited the Botanical Gardens and later had some Hot bread and cheese. We stopped at a local store for samples of spiced rum and of course buying a few bottles along with some Banana Catsup. They make many things in the Caribbean with bananas. I think this was the day the news broke about the sinking of the Costa ship and Friday the 13th turned out to be an unlucky day for those involved. St. Lucia has suffered through the years from Hurricanes I think the latest was Thomas that brought 1/2 a mountain down on a family of 5.
Saturday January 14, we were in Roseau, Dominica where we met Levi Baron of bumping tours who took us around the Island and we did the Aerial tram right through the forest being below the canopy most of the time . Since 75% of Dominica is a rain forest we thought an Aerial tram through it for 70 minutes would be a good idea. This is also where one can do the Zip line over Breakfast River Gorge. I did walk across the bridge across the gorge, and it was pretty stable. This Aerial Tram through a Rain forest is one of only two available in the Caribbean area. The other is in Costa Rica. I think St.Kitts has a Zip line tour. The roads in Dominica are improving since our last visit, but it takes a driver that knows where all the pot holes are to give a good ride. Levi is well worth any fees. On a previous trip we had used Bumping tours with my family so we were familiar with Levi Baron. We were able to bring Levi and his wife aboard the Silver Cloud for a visit. I have not been able to do this on other ships.
Sunday January 15 we stopped in Basseterre, St.Kitts where we met Royston a 38 year old very young looking gentleman that gave us a great tour around what I think may be the most beautiful of the Caribbean Islands. The views he showed us were magnificent and we didn't have to walk. We went up to Brimstone Hill and Royston would drive and position the vehicle so that I could look out the window and take pictures without getting out. We even drove along the water's edge and actually into the water so he could demonstrate how hard the black sand was and we did not get stuck in just an ordinary two wheel drive van. When he took off on a side road later, climbing at about a 40 deg angle, Jan took a deep breath, but Royston knew what he was doing and he went up the top of the mountain like a mountain goat to where the water tank was and gave us a magnificent view of the beautiful Marriott Hotel on St.Kitts and of the Caribbean sea and shore line.
We arrived in San Juan on January 16th and had cancelled the previously arranged Segway tour. This is where we had done our first Segway tour and had planned to repeat it since we enjoyed it so much last time. Since we survived the Antigua Segway without too much damage we just went to the airport after a wonderful in suite breakfast of Eggs Benedict and Cappuccino. Our flight back was just tiring but uneventful. The food on the Silver Cloud is the best and the service is impeccable. Jan says that this butler was the best we have had. Women seem to know these things. Breakfast in the suite was always on time and hot. Lunches were excellent and were as good as they looked. The dinners were wonderful and fixed to perfection. We never stood in a line for food except at the galley lunch when everyone showed up. This was not a long line and seemed to move very fast. At any other time no lines. We ate under the stars by the pool with a sit down dinner. This required reservations because of the limited tables but was one of the best eating experiences we have had. Of course all beverages are complimentary and in room drinks are also supplied. The entertainment aboard was excellent and after their show the entertainers would carry the show into the main bar dance floor and get everyone jumping and dancing. Who says Carnival is the party ship. The short time us older folks could last was a blast. Unfortunately if my Eagle is going to fly the next day, my Owl has to stop hooting at a decent hour.