In 1994, lots of cruise industry insiders scoffed at the idea of the new niche
line Silverseas, 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
Nobody's scoffing now. Such was the success of the line's two
original ships, Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, that the line built the larger,
28,000-ton 382-passenger Silver Shadow, which entered service in September 2000,
followed less than a year hence by Silver Whisper. Silver Wind underwent a major
refit after being withdrawn from service another year after that. An intimate
new specialty restaurant was added, spa facilities were expanded to include a
Tranquility Room, and the Fitness Center was moved to the Observation Deck,
Silversea having noted that people enjoy a panoramic view while working out.
At first, these ships were jaw-droppingly expensive --
approximately $850 per person per day. When many passengers, noting that several
lines offered comparably small ships, open single seating, and all- inclusivity,
agreed that was too much, the company responded by reconceiving its fare
structure. Since 2002, it has offered discounted fares and a variety of
promotional programs. Today, many of the most well heeled cruisers believe
Silversea offers unmatched value, most deserving of it reputation as the cruise
line for people who want the best at any price.
The "Personalized Voyages" program, introduced in 2003,
allows voyagers to design their own itinerary and vacation experience by
electing, for instance, to change the ports they want to embark and disembark
from despite what the brochure describes as the beginning and end dates of the
given itinerary. On the seven-day sailing of the Silver Wind between Bonifacio
(Corsica) and Valletta (Malta), for instance, you might elect to tack on three
days from the following cruise between Valletta and Corfu (Greece) by
disembarking in Rome, or in Sorrento the following day. The extra time onboard
is charged at a per-day rate dependent on the ports and the stateroom category
You must be on board the ship at least five nights to
participate in the program. Silversea helps with hotel and transfer
arrangements, but passengers are on their own with air transportation.
The Silversea Experience:
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
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. 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
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
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. The vast majority favor Silversea's warm, friendly service
to their rival line's much more formal deportment. Indeed, the eagerness of the
staff to observe and learn its passengers' preferences is one of the key reasons
Silversea's patrons keep coming back for additional cruises.
Several new programs intended to emphasize the line's Italian
heritage debuted in 2005. 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
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.
Taking The Kids:
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 Program:
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.
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.
Theme Cruises & 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
Everything's included in your fare.