Better Than Gold
by Linda Coffman
2007 — It's widely regarded that silver is
even better once it's aged a bit. The patina is what gives it that
glow. Much of the same can be said about Silversea Cruises. In
slightly over a decade, the line has launched four of the
highest-quality cruise ships at sea and consistently delivers what
voyages in a refined setting.
Changes & Improvements
Small things can make or break any trip, and this is
particularly true in the case of a cruise. I first sailed with
Silversea in 2002 and always look forward to returning because of
their consistency. I can count on feeling "at home" as
soon a I set foot on board. Check in is always swift with staff
members easing the way. Luggage is handled promptly. And, best of
all, is the welcome feeling. Embarking on a Silversea cruise is like
arriving at a private estate; passengers are treated as valued
As much as I appreciate
consistency, I love the choices Silversea now affords me. Had we
been crunched for time, we wouldn't have had to pass up the unique
ports we were most interested in seeing on our recent Silversea
cruise. With their offering of Personalized Voyages, we had the
flexibility to embark and disembark in ports of our choosing to
tailor the cruise to our needs.
For those of us who can never be
completely out of touch with home or the office, the addition of two
amenities make cruising on Silversea a perfect fit—there
is cell phone service as well as WiFi connectivity for laptops
throughout the ships, including all suites. Both worked amazingly
well, despite our location in the far north regions of Scandinavia.
Upon embarkation, I was pleased to
see my favorite Bvlgari toiletries in the bathroom, yet I could have
also requested Acqua Di Parma and Neutrogena. My husband enjoyed the
latter, less-girly option.
All accommodations are suites with an ocean
view, and the majority also feature private verandahs. The interior
decor hasn't changed, but there was a heavenly upgrade awaiting my
first night on board... new pillow top mattresses and fluffy down
comforter and pillows. Paired with whisper soft linens, it was like
sleeping in the clouds.
Silversea guests are greeted with a
bottle of champagne chilling on ice in their suites and the
mini-refrigerators contain bottled water, soft drinks, and beer.
Make your favorites known to your cabin stewardess and she'll fill
the fridge with your preferences, along with providing your choice
of alcohol. Naturally, all beverages throughout the ship are
included and you'll even find bottled water waiting at the gangway
to take ashore.
Speaking of going ashore,
transportation to the center of town is available in ports where
it's too far to walk. Shore excursions are varied and a good value,
especially those that include experiences that would otherwise be
Back on board you might find an
entertaining interlude presented by local performers. You won't want
to miss the lectures by experts in their fields and professional
entertainers hand-picked for their talent. Production
shows are presently "out" and a variety of individual
performers shine on stage.
As a true diva, I like things my
way and Silversea's open-seating dining fits my lifestyle perfectly.
Even when requesting a table for two in the main restaurant, there
was never a wait to be seated.
While I was disappointed that the
fantastic filet mignon I remembered was no longer on the room
service menu (replaced with a sirloin steak), I was thrilled with a
new (to me) Italian selection—Isabella
Rossellini's Signature Pasta. In fact, all the dishes I tried were
memorable and the pasta selections were outstanding!
An intimate dining experience aboard each Silversea vessel is the Wine
Restaurant by Relais & Châteaux—Le
Champagne. Adding a gourmet dimension to dining, the
exquisite cuisine is designed to celebrate the wine—a
different celebrated vintage is served with each set course of the
dégustation menu ($200 per person). Menus and wines are chosen by
Relais & Châteaux sommeliers to reflect regions of the world
noted for their rich wine heritage. Or, if you prefer, you may opt
to select from one of two entrées and order your own choice of wine
($30 per person, plus wine).
celebrate Silversea's Italian heritage, an evening alternative to
the main restaurant is La Terrazza, which features a different
regional Italian cuisine each night. It's complimentary, although
seating is limited and reservations are required. Should you choose
not to dress to the nines on formal night, make a reservation for
the casually elegant La Terrazza and you won't have to settle for
A much discussed—and
always hotly debated—topic
of conversation is the matter of smoking. Despite their significant
popularity with non-North American guests, Silversea has followed
the trend of eliminated smoking in most areas of the ships. Smokers
are still welcome to light up in designated areas on open decks, in
the smoking section of The Bar, the casino bar, and, of course, The
Humidor. No longer complimentary, cigarettes are available for
purchase in the bars; however, brands are limited.
won't find aspirin and similar items on display in the Gift Shop;
however, if you need something, just ask. Pharmaceutical items and
toiletries are available. Alas, the Bvlgari signature shop is long
gone from Silversea ships. In its place is H. Stern, which features
an exquisite collection of jewelry and accessories.
Many cabin attendants deserve praise. However, most do no
more than make beds, clean bathrooms, and say hello in passing. How
many would go out of their way to check up on a passenger who's
feeling ill? I know of several instances where Silversea cabin
stewardesses have not only done that, but have done it during their
time off. When you're far from home and not well, it's comforting to
know that someone cares enough to make sure you're okay and have
everything you need.
It's those little touches that
develop a patina and keep me yearning to sail on Silversea for many
years to come.
© CruiseDiva.com/Linda Coffman