A Touch of Luxe

Life aboard the Silver Wind is as grand as it gets

By: By Jonathan Siskin

Guests aboard the Silver Wind are treated to white-glove service. // (c) Silversea Cruises
Guests aboard the Silver Wind are treated
to white-glove service. // (c) Silversea Cruises

When recently sailing on the Silver Wind’s 14-day cruise from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Barbados, I learned firsthand why Silversea Cruises has long been considered one of the most prestigious cruise lines in the world. Since its debut in 1994, Silversea has sought to provide “pleasure beyond measure” on cruises from the Mediterranean and the Amazon to the South Pacific and beyond. The luxury line’s commitment to excellence makes it the preferred cruise line of affluent globetrotters seeking to explore new horizons in an atmosphere of conviviality, camaraderie and comfort. With sleek, yacht-like interiors adorned with marble, brass and polished woods, the five ships in the Silversea fleet exude the exclusivity and intimacy of a posh private club combined with the amenities of a five-star hotel.

Silversea has a well-deserved reputation of delivering personalized service second to none, and a crew-to-guest ratio of nearly 1-to-1 insures a rapid response to guests’ every need and request. Service is attentive yet unobtrusive, and it began immediately upon boarding when I was greeted by a white-gloved waiter offering a flute of champagne before being escorted to my suite, which measured a spacious 300 square feet. The Veranda Suite featured a walk-in closet, an Italian-marble bathroom with a full-size bath and shower, a sitting area, a writing desk, an entertainment center with satellite television and a DVD player, a minibar (replenished daily with your choice of libations), fine Irish bed linens and down pillows. All suites also have ocean views, and 80 percent come with verandas, adding to the delight of cruising in warm-weather climates.

Guests who reserve one of the top-of-the line Royal, Grand, Rossellini or Owner’s Suites are entitled to additional amenities such as butler service, afternoon canapes, espresso makers and plasma televisions. Butlers perform a multitude of tasks from arranging a private car at ports of call to orchestrating an in-suite cocktail party.

Superb wining and dining takes place nightly in the elegant main dining room, known simply as The Restaurant; it has an open-seating policy allowing clients to choose when and with whom they prefer to dine. Five-star Gourmet cuisine prepared by Silversea’s master chefs is served at tables set with Christofle silver and Schott Zwiesel crystal. Entrees are paired with complimentary red and white wines selected from one of the finest wine cellars at sea, and all gratuities are included in the cruise fare. Another dining venue, the casual indoor/outdoor La Terraza cafe, is an ideal spot to enjoy sumptuous breakfast and lunch buffets and serves as an alternative dining room at night.

I was pleased to find that a premium assortment of complimentary wines and spirits were offered throughout the cruise — even during breakfast, when guests paired champagne with the caviar omelet.

After a fine meal, guests can further indulge at the spa, which offers a wide range of wellness and holistic therapies, such as Aroma Stone Therapy, a Japanese Silk Booster Facial and an Absolute Spa Ritual. Clients can also opt for a couples’ massage in the privacy of their suite.

Post-pampering, guests have the option of attending jazz and classical music performances in the multi-tiered entertainment lounge, trying their luck in the casino or going for a nightcap in the Panorama Lounge, which is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views of the sea and sky.

And on some cruises, guests are invited to attend complimentary cultural events such as a classical concert at Ephesus, Turkey, or a ballet in Odessa, Ukraine.

Without a doubt, my time aboard the Silver Wind was superb, and I can only estimate that Silversea’s sixth ship, Silver Spirit, will deliver the same level of service and offer even more amenities. Silver Spirit, the largest Silversea ship ever built, will debut in fall 2009 and contain 270 oceanview suites — most featuring verandas — along with several public spaces not found on its other ships including a lobby bar, an enlarged spa, a new supper club and an Asian-themed restaurant.