Silvereas Cruises Overview 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.
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 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.
Fellow Passengers 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.
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.
Attire: 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 sailings.
Tipping: Everything's included in your fare.