Silversea in Egypt, Part 1 - More than a CruiseBy Paul Motter, Nov. 13, 2006
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Complete photo galleries for this story are here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
Our ship was Silver Whisper, one of the line's relatively new (launched 2001) and relatively large (though just 28,258 registered tons) ships. In the luxury category, Silversea's ships are larger than Seabourn and SeaDream Yacht Club (both describe their vessels as yachts as opposed to ships), but smaller than Regent Seven Seas and Crystal.
The Luxury Edge
Like most luxury lines, Silversea includes all tips in the cruise fare. No other tipping is required or expected. Another aspect of luxury ships -- an uncrowded environment and high crew-to-passenger ratio -- are also evident on Silver Whisper. With a capacity of 295 crew and 382 passengers, the ratio is .77 to 1 -- about as good as it gets in the cruise industry. Another luxury characteristic is recognition of passengers by name: By our second night, all the staff members assigned to work with us directly were greeting us by name.
The aspect that defines luxury cruising most of all is attention to detail, and in the areas most important to me, Silversea was on top of the game. There were a few things that could be improved, but these were easy to fix.
Some people cruise for the pampering, some for the leisure. I would identify myself as a traveler who prefers cruise ships as my form of conveyance. I have traveled to faraway places by trains, planes and automobiles. And for me, traveling by cruise ship beats them all for the sheer convenience of having to unpack only once and never having to worry about finding a taxi, hotel or restaurant. The fact that Silversea Cruises understands me (and other types of cruisers) is a testament to its professionalism and experience.
The Only Way to Go
The Silversea Experience
The Silversea experience began before we boarded the ship. The line considers pre-cruise hotel stays to be a part of every cruise. We flew to Cairo to spend two nights at the Cairo Four Seasons Hotel on the Nile, and to take a full day of tours there. And it wasn't one of those all-too-typical pre-cruise experiences where you arrive at a hotel to find out no one knows who you are, why you are there or how to contact the cruise line.
When we arrived at the airport we knew we were in good hands. A young man holding a placard with my name met us there. He was holding our visas for Egypt, which Silversea acquired for us, and intercepted us before we entered the customs line. He collected our luggage, put it in a cart, and led us to the small van reserved just for us, with the Silversea sign in the window. Our ride to the Four Seasons in downtown Cairo was exhilarating even after 24 hours of air travel. We arrived during Ramadan, so people were out enjoying the warm Egyptian autumn night when they are allowed to eat, drink and smoke before they resume daily fasting at sunrise the next day.
At the Four Seasons we were escorted through the steel security barricade outside the hotel. Though like a fortress on the outside, on the inside it is a slice of heaven. We were checked in and in our room within minutes, setting our wake-up calls.Go to Silversea in Egypt, Part 2
Go to Silversea in Egypt, Part 3 | Go to Silversea in Egypt, Part 4 |