Originally family-owned and operated by the Lefebvres of Rome, Royal Caribbean now has a 67% stake in Silversea Cruises. The line has been offering high-end cruises since the early 1990s when it first launched the SILVER CLOUD, joining Seabourn as one of the world’s most upscale cruise lines focused on excellent food and service, posh suites, and exotic itineraries.
A year after the CLOUD, sister ship SILVER WIND debuted — the latter the sole subject of this review — and then in 2000 and 2001, a pair of larger even more luxurious twins hit the water, the 382-passenger SILVER SHADOW and SILVER WHISPER respectively. In 2009, the luxury stakes were raised again when the 540-passenger SILVER SPIRIT was introduced, with six dining venues including an Asian restaurant. SILVER MUSE made its debut in spring 2017 upping the capacity further beyond our 300-passenger limit to be followed by The SILVER MUSE in the autumn of 2020. When considering the entire fleet, Silversea blankets the world with creative itineraries.
In August 2017, the SILVER CLOUD was refurbished and converted into an ice-class expedition ship and at the end of 2017 joined the company’s Silversea Expeditions division, whose fleet consists of the SILVER DISCOVERER, SILVER EXPLORER and SILVER GALAPAGOS.
In summer 2018, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd acquired a stake in privately-owned Silversea Cruises; here are more details.
Beginning in August 2020, SILVER WIND will get a second extensive refurbishment, completing a project started in late 2018, that will include a strengthened, ice-class hull, bigger suites and other upgrades. The ship will emerge with the ability to operate both classic and expedition itineraries.
Ship, Year Delivered & Passengers
SILVER CLOUD (built 1994 & 296 passengers) and SILVER WIND (b. 1995 & 296 p).
Well-to-do couples 40s on up, and a number of senior singles, from North America, and a handful from the UK and Europe.
6; an elevator connects all but the topmost deck.
$$ – $$$ Expensive to Super Pricey
Just about everything — wine, spirits, and tips.
- Winters, 7- to 14-night Caribbean cruises round-trip from or between Fort Lauderdale, Puerto Rico and Barbados, with a vast variety of itineraries to the eastern, western and southern regions; most cruises are a combination of offbeat small-ship ports (such as Tortola and Bequia) and bustling big-ship ports (the likes of Grand Cayman and St. Thomas).
- Spring and summer months of similar length in Northern Europe, including Norway, the Baltic and around Britain and Ireland from London, then westward to Eastern Canada, and fall foliage cruises between New York, Boston and via the St. Lawrence to Quebec and Montreal. Some transoceanic positioning cruises extend to 22 and 31 days. Following that via U.S. East Coast south to Fort Lauderdale and the resumption of winter Caribbean cruises.
SILVER CLOUD: Now see Silversea Expeditions
When to Go?
The ship cruises where the optimal weather matches the destination.
The all-suite ship has 149 very comfortable ocean-view suites, all with walk-in closets, a sitting area with sofa bed (for a third guest), and marble-clad bathrooms. The majority of rooms are 246 sq. ft. suites with 49 sq. ft. balconies. The 27 Vista Suites measure 240 sq. ft. and are the only rooms on the ship with windows and no balconies.
The largest suites measure 1,214 square feet and top categories have a one- or a two-bedroom configuration, plus a powder room for guests, full-sized whirlpool bathtub, CD player, and espresso machine. All this plus the amenities every accommodation on board boasts — butler service, plush robe, slippers, choice of pillows, choice of Ferragamo, Bvlgari or hypoallergenic bath amenities, ritzy Pratesi bed linens (if they were good enough for Elizabeth Taylor …), and a stocked mini fridge. Each also has a flat screen TV with on-demand movies, direct-dial telephone, Wi-Fi access and cellular service.
Overall, there is an appealing abundance of polished woods and teak decking, unlike newer ships. Up top is the forward-facing Observation Lounge, a quiet place for scenery viewing, reading and crossword puzzles. Just behind it are the spa, gym and hair salon. Otherwise, the public areas are at the stern of the ship. The windowed Panorama Lounge on Deck 8 is popular for daytime activities like dance lessons, and drinks before and after dinner, sometimes with live music; a cozy attached room called Connoisseur’s Corner is for cigar smokers.
Two decks below, the multi-tiered entertainment lounge hosts mini Broadway-style shows; it’s also used for movies and lectures. Going down to Deck 5 you’ll find the small casino with blackjack, roulette, poker and slot machines, plus another bar and the ship’s boutiques. A small library and Internet room reside on Deck 4.
Mealtime is a highlight of a Silversea cruise, with top-end continental fare and gracious five-star service. The four dining venues aboard the WIND include the elegant Restaurant with candle-lit tables, crisp white linens and china and seating capacity for all passengers at once; seating is open and there are tables for two and four passengers as well as larger tables, though you may have to wait for a two-top during the most popular dining times. Adjacent is the intimate Le Champagne, a 40-seat Relais & Châteaux conceived venue offering fine wines complemented by a set six-course tasting menu of regionally-inspired dishes ($40 per person and reservations are recommended).
La Terrazza serves buffet-style breakfast and lunch, with some a la carte options, and in the evening becomes a reservations-required Italian Restaurant inspired by the principals of Slow Food (ie, fresh and sustainable); for example, there is buffalo mozzarella from Naples, air-dried ham out of Parma, 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, and pasta made fresh daily on board.
The casual al fresco Pool Grille serves lite fare for breakfast and at lunch, you’ll get grilled meats, pizza, salads and more. Come evening, it becomes a novel dinner venue where you grill fish, prawns, steaks and other goodies exactly as you like them on a heated volcanic-rock plate right at your table (reservations are suggested). There is also room service that includes the option of ordering the same multi-course meals being served in the restaurants.
Activities & Entertainment
Most cruises have an expert lecturer or two — authors, scientists, professors, diplomats and others — who present day-time talks about the destination or other interesting topics, from foreign affairs to conservation. There’s a card room and some passengers entertain themselves with bridge and other games on long sea days. Others prefer spending time in the spa with its five massage rooms and sauna/steam rooms.
The oceanview gym sports a row of treadmills, stair climbers and stationary bikes, as well as free weights; there are Pilates, yoga and circuit training classes. Amidships on Deck 8 you’ll find the pool and two hot tubs, and a jogging/walking track up on Deck 9. Evenings, drinks with friends before and after dinner are de rigueur, plus there are live musicians in the various lounges and song and dance acts a few times a week in the show lounge.
Along the Same Lines
Silverseas Cruises, 110 East Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301; www.silversea.com, 800-722-9955
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