Cruise Line Focus

Cruise line focus: Silversea Cruises

Silversea is a luxury cruise company with a mainstream cruise fleet and an expedition fleet that explores the most remote corner of the world, it is the world’s most formal cruise line, with white-glove service and a butler for each stateroom.

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Silversea is an ultra-luxurious all-inclusive cruise line with fares that include unlimited beverages and gratuities. Since it was founded, the line has been proudly independent, but in 2018 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) announced that it had acquired a 67% stake in the company.

Seabourn (owned by RCL’s competitor Carnival) is the closest comparison for Silversea, but this line is known for its more formal atmosphere, with a butler assigned to every stateroom, for example.

There are five ships in the mainstream Silversea fleet, with a further four operating ultra-luxurious expedition cruises.

Silver Explorer was one of the world’s first truly luxurious expedition cruise ships, pioneering the concept as recently as 2008.

Since then, other lines from Seabourn Cruises to Celebrity Cruises have gotten in on the act as well.

Whether sailing on a traditional Silversea cruise ship, our one of the expedition vessels, the service, standards of everything from food to facilities, remains the same.

However, because the expedition fleet ships are much smaller, the range of dining venues and public spaces is more limited. Silversea redressed this with the major refit and refurbishment of Silver Cloud in 2017.

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Cruise experience aboard Silversea

The atmosphere aboard a Silversea ship can best be described as upscale yet friendly. No matter the type of voyage, passengers can expect destination-intensive itineraries with a good mix of well-known, popular ports, and more exotic undiscovered gems.

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Accommodations are spacious and ‘old money’ elegant, with a range of suites with either panoramic windows or balconies. The entry-level suites on the newer ships start at 287 square feet, while expedition cabins are more snug.

The largest suites in the main fleet cover 1,389 square feet, but the only difference between the largest suite and the smallest stateroom is the size.

Every suite, from the least expensive to the top Owner’s Suites, have a personal butler and each comes with Pratesi linens and soaps, body lotions, shampoos and conditioners from Ferragamo, Bvlgari or SebaMed (depending on your choice).

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Silver Spirit was recently cut in half and lengthened.

The main cruise fleet, consisting of Silver Muse, Shadow, Spirit, Wind and Whisper offer open seating in the main dining room, while there are also a range of inclusive alternative dining options.

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In the evening there is the indoor/outdoor La Terrazza for Italian, which also does international breakfast and lunch buffets.

If Silversea’s idea of casual isn’t elegant enough for you, there is also the uber-upscale La Dame By Relais & Chateaux.

The larger ships (Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow) additional options from Pan Asian to pizza to a casual grill, while Silver Muse, the cruise line’s new flagship, doesn’t have a main dining room at all.

Instead, passengers can choose to dine at any of eight specialty restaurants. Unlike many other luxury cruise lines, Seabourn included, a few of Silversea’s alternative dining venues carry surcharges.

These are the options aboard the main cruise ships, the expedition fleet’s dining and entertainment options are more limited.

All the expedition ships except Silver Cloud offer only The Grill and The Restaurant (the main dining room). Silver Cloud, by virtue of her comparatively larger size, has these and La Terrazza and La Dame.

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Entertainment and activities aboard Silversea

Daytime activities and evening entertainment aboard Silversea is low-key. There are a series of lectures held throughout each voyage, with experts providing insight into the destinations visited.

Some cruises also feature a bridge instructor and/or a golf pro to offer lessons during the voyage. All ships also have a well-stocked library and a Steiner-managed spa and fitness centre.

Aboard the expedition ships there are also a team of expedition staff who are experts in the destinations in which the ships sail.

These highly trained guides and naturalists give lectures and accompany shore excursions.

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Silver Cloud is now arguably the world’s most luxurious expedition ship.

The excursion ship also don’t all have a pool area. In fact, Silver Cloud is the only one with a proper pool area, while Silver Discoverer has a small plunge pool.

Silver Galapagos has a hot tub, and Silver Explorer has no swimming options whatsoever.

In both the expedition and main fleet there are no children’s programs or facilities, apart from Silver Muse, the new flagship, which does have a small play room.

Aboard Silver Muse, child minders are also retained if there are more than 12 children on any particular sailing.

In addition, unlike most mass market cruise lines that are fairly tolerant of children running loose in public areas, aboard Silversea children are expected to behave themselves.

Types of passengers on a Silversea cruise

As the above might suggest, a Silversea cruise is for the older crowd. Most passengers are retired professionals with exacting tastes and the resources and time to explore the world in style.

As with other luxury and premium cruise lines, they tend to be regular Silversea cruisers.

Aboard Silver Muse and Silver Spirit’s shorter voyages, there are usually a few more middle-aged and younger passengers, usually travelling as part of a multi-generational group.

Just over half of passengers are American, while British, European and Australians make up the rest.

Cruise ships in the Silversea fleet:

Silver Muse

Silver Shadow

Silver Spirit

Silver Whisper

Silver Wind

Expedition ships:

Silver Galapagos

Silver Explorer

Silver Discoverer

Silver Cloud Expedition

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