I now have a problem. After experiencing Silversea's Silver Whisper for seven nights how can I go better? I have now reached the pinnacle of luxury cruising!
Joining the ship in Istanbul the concierge greeted us alongside the Cruise Director, both dressed immaculately in full tails. Check-in was over quickly and we found ourselves embarking the Silver Whisper to assemble of stewards who immediately took our hand luggage from us and replaced them with a glass of chilled Moet et Chandon champagne. Although this was the first of many a glass of complimentary Moet throughout the cruise, the first glass was special.
The first thing that I noticed is the elegance of the ship. The environment does not jump out and ‘wow' you with some flashy atrium or huge showlounge. The ship is simply a class in its own. My veranda suite measured in at a very comfortable 345sq/ft. Once again a welcoming bottle of Moet on ice invited me in to the sitting area of the suite. Large walk-in closet with enough space for an army of tuxedos. Marble washroom, complete with separate shower and bath, toiletries by Bvlgari. Private veranda, TV/VCR, room safe, robe and slippers, fresh fruit all awaiting my arrival. My Croatian suite steward welcomed me immediately and informed me of all the onboard facilities and services.
One thing missing however was the hoards of bulletins and flyers to promote and convince you to run straight to the boutiques, casino or beauty salon and spend, spend, spend..something I welcomed with great relief. In fact, during the whole cruise I never heard any "sales pitching" from any onboard concessions, no photographers and thankfully no Art Auctioneer!! One this ship I was forced to relax, and I didn't complain. The daytime activities also reflect the atmosphere. Gone are the belly-flop competitions, limbo poles, bingo and horseracing. In place are daily quizzes, shuffleboard, lectures and even Italian lessons. Despite the size of the ship we were treated to two full production shows with singers and dancers that would rival the Royal Caribbean and Princess ships of similar size. We enjoyed two cabaret shows, one magician, a piano entertainer and even a fantastic puppet show from the Cruise Director. The showlounge has more seats than passengers on the ship, therefore you are always guaranteed a view for the show. In the evening of Rhodes we were treated to a top deck barbeque and local Greek dancers. In The Bar we had live music from the Silver Quintet, the Panorama Lounge had late night entertainment with Colin Salter, an Australian entertainer no-one should miss. Nothing was forced on you, and with complimentary drinks flowing I had more fun in the evenings on this ship than many of the larger ships.
The highlight of the cruise however had to be the food. I have never eaten finer food in my life. "Salade de Salmon au ble noir", "Stuffed Chicken Breast with Fois Gras and Chilled Celery-Pistachio Sauce", "Curried Clam Soup with Apples" and "Crispy Duck with Candied Turnips and Spiced Plums" to name a few dishes. Silversea are recognised within the "Relais and Chateaux" awards and have collaborated with them to produce some fantastic dishes. The head sommelier always recommends a red or white wine to compliment the cuisine, but there is an extensive wine list of 75 wines (45 of these are complimentary). The service was equal to the food. A simple raise of the eyebrow is all you need for a waiter to appear next to you! The dining at Silversea is open. No reservations are needed, and not once did I have to wait for a table. Alternatively you could dine in the Terrace Café which provided a different themed menu each evening. I chose the Oriental evening and experienced some of the best sushi I have tasted. Its limited to 50 passengers and starts prompt at 7.45pm and is worth one evenings worth of enjoyment.
As you roam the ship in the evening other lounges invite you in. The small casino has just the three tables and a dozen slots, enough for the few budding gamblers testing lady luck. "Grappa" bar next to the casino offers a quiet retreat with a wonderful collection of Erte paintings overlooking the bar. "The Champagne Bar" boasts an impressive collection of wines and champagne, sponsored again by Moet. The cigar lounge created by "Davidoff" maybe wasn't my scene, but I had to be impressed by the contents of cigars and the best Louis XIII brandies offered. Even the late night shopper was kept busy in the Bvlgari shop drooling over the wonderful jewellery in the display counters.
I haven't spoken about the ports as this is a review of the ship itself, but ports are a bonus on a Silversea cruise. The ship is the destination itself. You cruise on Silversea to relax and to be utterly spoilt. The beauty of the ship is its elegance, attention to detail, service, food and importantly no constant pestering from the concessions. There is simply no better cruise line if you want to be treated like someone special for a few days and pretend you're royalty. Go on, spoil yourself!!!!!