by Joe Reynolds
October 14, 2010
Report on Silver Whisper Cruise October 14-24, 2010 New York City to Barbados We flew to New York City and spent two nights pre-cruise and finally used the time to visit the Intrepid Museum. We spent five hours there and were really tired after, but it was well worth the effort.
SILVER WHISPER CRUISE SHIP.
October 14, we boarded the Silver Whisper about 12 noon in spite of the suggested time of 3:00 PM. Our Luggage was in our cabin and we had lunch. We explored the ship and found it to be in great shape. The Silver Whisper is one of the Silversea (an Italian Company) ships. Registry is in the Bahamas. The builder was Mariotti, and it was built in Italy completed on July 2, 2001. The ship's capacity is 382 with a crew of 295. The ship has a gross tonnage of 28,258 and an average speed of 21 knots. It is 610 feet long, 81 feet wide, has 7 passenger decks and 194 outside rooms. It supports four restaurants and has five elevators. It seems like I did not ever have to wait on an elevator over 20 seconds.
We had cabin 828 selected by my travel agent and it turned out to be a great choice. Deck 8 has the pool deck and a bar that is open 9:00 AM until. It was 20 steps from our room. If you are a pool person this is the deck to be on. The one elevator amidships seemed to be adequate on this ship. There were four aft in the areas that had more activity and the area to disembark the ship. We never waited very long for an elevator on this ship anywhere. It was easy to get to deck 10 by elevator and get some coffee in the observation lounge. Of course there was excellent room service which my wife used everyday for coffee. We did not do the in room dining since it was much more fun to be in one of the dining areas. Deck 4 aft was the main dining area and if you were on deck 5 you were close to reception and only one down to dining. The Casino and the Grappa Bar (opened late) were on deck 5 along with the shops. This is an all inclusive cruise and I found the drinks to be very adequate serving the best liquor. I did find however that the wine was poor choice for me, but that could be because I like cheaper wines. I did not like the wine aboard. The specialty restaurant (le Champagne) aboard was not good for us, but it could have been because we picked the wrong night. Each night has a fixed menu in several courses. The wine and champagne served were just not to my taste.
The service was the best that I have had after 41 cruises. The food was as good as on any other ship I have been on and better than most. The wait times for special cooked eggs was nothing and you did not have to wait at the cooking station. You just told the cook what you wanted and he fixed it the way you liked it and had it delivered to your table. We always ate in the le Terraza restaurant which was the buffet style. The buffet was never crowded. It was like the buffet was there just for you. The main restaurant was reported to be a little slower for breakfast. The service certainly could not have been any better. One special main restaurant buffet style “Galley Brunch” was spectacular and held in the main dining room. They laid out the food in the kitchen so you got a tour of the kitchen while you went through a beautiful display of food which was very tasty also. The shrimp made a magnificent part of the display and I had shrimp every day.
The night of the first day of cruising was quite a roll. As they say the ship will move. My wife and I both took a scopace tablet (scopolamine) and went to bed. We found that laying crossways in the queen size bed was better than laying length wise and we faired the night quite well. The next day we had a much better weather and the rest of the cruise was quite smooth.
Our first port of call was BERMUDA and we were supposed to stop at St.George. The captain decided that the wind was too high to get through the narrow passage to the harbor of St. George and we docked at the British Naval Dockyard. We had pre-arranged a taxi for St. George and he met us at the Naval Dockyard and we toured the entire island so we got to St. George and Hamilton in addition to the Dockyard. Colin Jennings our taxi driver gave a three hour tour for $40/hr for the four of us. He said that a basic home in Bermuda cost one million dollars. Bermudians paid no income tax, but import taxes were high and this was passed on to the consumer.
Bermuda is an archipelago of islands connected by causeways and bridges. There about 22,000 square miles and have a population of 65,000. Bermuda has very strict immigration laws. Visitors cannot rent a car and can only go on their own using the mopeds. The largest business in Bermuda is the re-insurance business in which insurance companies insure other insurance companies. They pay no income tax so it is beneficial for them to do business here. Bermuda doesn't produce anything for export but does grow a few fruits, but not enough to export. We spent the night in Bermuda and the next day (Sunday) we toured around the Naval Dockyard area which was not that much to see and do, but nice shopping areas and we ate a very nice meal at the Bone fish Grill.
We had two days of smooth sailing to San Juan and played our Joker Poker game with friends and boys beat girls 9 games to 5.
Arriving at SAN JUAN I had pre arranged a Segwey tour. None of us had ever been on a Segway before and we got our instructions and found it to be very easy to do. We thoroughly enjoyed our two hour tour out to Fort Morro and it beat walking. They don't have that many Segways so it seemed best to pre-arranged this tour for the four of us. It worked out to $90/p for the two hours, but a 10% tip was given because of the expert treatment we received. I would definitely recommend this tour www.segwaytouyspr.com My wife and I found a very nice P.R restaurant behind the Sheraton Hotel for an authentic Puerto Rican meal. San Juan is a great city to visit, and I would recommend that one stay in old town to enjoy the full effect of the culture.
The port of Gustavia, St. Barts was cancelled because of flooding there and we substituted ST.MARTEN (SXM). We however anchored in Marigot bay and tendered in rather than go to Phillipsburg dock and tangle with the Soltice and its traffic. We went to Orient Beach and spent the day at KAKAO restaurant area. Round trip $12/p. We then did some local shopping in Marigot before catching the tender back aboard. We stayed in St. Martin until 12 midnight because we had a wonderful barbecue around the pool aboard ship and being stationary we didn't have to contend with wind around the pool We couldn't have found better entertainment anywhere in St. Marten. We had a Latino show put on by the dancers around the pool with a manufactured stage using a backdrop.
Our next port was ST.JOHN'S ANTIGUA. Having been there several times in the past years we hired a taxi for a ride to Devil's bridge and the long bay area. We also had a look at Dickenson bay since we heard there had been some damage, but it looked to be in good shape. We past by to check on the Blue Waters hotel which was in good repair. There is a new Sandals on Dickenson bay right next to the old one. Apparently both are still functioning. Sandals on Dickenson Bay in Antigua would be a very nice place to spend a week. The Royal Antiguan a property on Deep Bay, that we had spent a week in 1994 had gone into some disrepair. The old Jaws restaurant on Deep Bay where the sunset was so magnificent as you dined in the evening was out of business and only used for private parties.
BEQUIA, GRENADINES was our next port of call. Bequia is a small island in the Grenadines measuring just seven square miles and is home to about 5000 people. It is just above Grenada in the Eastern Caribbean windward islands group. Independence from Great Britain was in 1979. The capital of the Grenadines is St.Vincent just across a small section of water 15 min by boat as long as the waves remain calm. The only thing about taking a ferry ride away from your cruise stop island is that if the waves kick up you might get stuck on that island and miss your cruise ship. There are several very pretty beaches on Bequia and quaint waterfront bars. Port Elizabeth is the main town and we disembarked there and met up with our taxi driver Noel Olivierre with his open air taxi. This actually was very nice in that it gave a good opportunity for photography from the back of the truck and was cool as the breezes flowed through. We remembered that this was the same type of transportation as in Papeete,Tahiti and Kirimati (Christmas) Island in the South Pacific used for touring. We stopped at a quaint little restaurant bar with a three room hotel. One would have to know it was there to find it. It had a quaint little small beach associated with it.
We went up to Hamilton fort to overlook Admiralty Bay and Port Elizabeth and then later went to Sargent's Model boat shop. One boat that was a replica of a yacht was commissioned for $5,000 by the owner of the yacht.
We visited Mr.King's turtle farm where he is raising Green and Hawksbill turtles. He is trying to help save the endangered sea turtle species. He said there are seven species of sea turtles. Bequians hunt the turtles for the shells and it was much more popular before they came out with the plastic shells. It is hard to maintain a species when only one out of 3000 will live to maturity after birth in the wild, so he is trying to improve the odds. He raises the turtles until they are full grown and releases them. He has permission to find the eggs on the beach and protect them.
Our final port was BARBADOS for disembarkation which went off very well. We hired a cab to gives us a 2 hour tour on the way to the airport and we went to the Crane Beach Hotel complex to have a look around. We had previously visited Crane Beach at a private home and could see the hotel, so we used the time to visit the hotel. The Crane Beach gets its name from a crane that was on the beach and used to unload cargo. Now you might see a statue of a crane in the lobby of the hotel. Crane beach has been listed as the 17th most beautiful beach in the world by the beach raters from a Travel Channel program. The hotel turned out to be more of a maze of little cottages than an actual hotel, but had a beautiful beach and an elevator to get down to the beach. The beach is under a high cliff that the hotel is built on. It was a good trip and no unusual problems. This cruise had more British than any other nationality aboard.
The down side of this cruise was I didn't like the wine on the entire cruise and didn't enjoy the specialty restaurant le Champagne. The Millennium class of Celebrity cruise ships has some cabins with 270 degree veranda views and that is the only thing I could see that would keep me with Celebrity if I was doing a Fjord Norway, Chilean Fjords, or Alaska Cruise. Otherwise the service and food in general on the Silver Whisper was far better than on a Celebrity cruise ship.
Pictures at: http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=5321