Have you ever considered a cruise?
I have always thought that cruising was absolutely not for me, that it was for people who had no sense of adventure, or people who just wanted to sit around in the sun all day doing nothing else other than eat and drink. How wrong I was!
Recently I had the opportunity to spend a day on the SS Silver Cloud, one of the Silversea Company’s ships. Reader, it was a revelation!
For a start, it’s not “water, water everywhere”, with nowhere to go. This particular cruise took in the Norwegian fiords and finished up round the British Isles, stopping at all the major cities. When I looked at the Silversea brochure, there are cruises to such diverse places as Australia and Russia, the Caribbean and Antartica, Belfast and Bangkok!
Silversea is an Italian family owned company, and their motto is “Intimate Cruising, Ultimate Luxury”, and while I cannot comment on the first part, I can most certainly vouch for the second. I have to say, I had no idea that such luxury and attention to detail was attainable for most of us. Yes it’s relatively expensive, but everything, absolutely everything, is included. I saw a diagram comparing Silversea’s five star luxury with that of a five star resort, and when everything was taken into consideration (gratuities, drinks, etc) the cruising was the winner by a country mile.
All of the cabins, or suites, on each ship in the Silversea fleet are overlooking the sea, and have verandas, albeit very small in the case of the cheapest suite. The amenities for each one are mind blowing. There are choices when it comes to bed and pillow preferences, the bedding and towels are of the finest quality and top of the range. The toiletries too are top notch, by Bvlgari or Ferragamo. There is butler service for every suite; the bar and fridge are stocked according to the choice of the guest, and there are numerous other little details which add to the luxury.
There so many extras available to guests that it would be no hardship to stay on board throughout one’s stay. To name but a few, there is a pool, a spa and a jogging track, lounges, bars, restaurants, a small library from which books or DVDs may be borrowed, a very small casino and even a theatre which is big enough to seat the full complement of over two hundred guests. I understand the shows are very professional, and very much enjoyed by the guests. In addition, there is an Internet centre for those who need to stay in touch, and it is hoped to have wifi available throughout the ship in the foreseeable future.
The Silver Cloud has three restaurants, and if the lunch I had when I was there is anything to go by, then no one could have cause for complaint. It was quite wonderful, each course was as good as, if not better, than the one before, and there was wine to accompany each of these courses, all explained by the sommelier. Needless to say, the service was impeccable.
Throughout my brief stay on the ship it was very apparent that the service is second to none – attentive without being obsequious, and always readily available. Though that is understandable when one considers there are 222 crew members for a maximum of 296 passengers.
I have to say, many of the 2015 destinations appeal to me, and now having had the pleasure of being on board the SS Silver Cloud, I would certainly not be averse to cruising as a way of seeing those places.