Review of Silversea
Silversea Cruises was founded in 1994 as a privately owned luxury cruise line, based in Monaco. With its first ship, the Silver Cloud, Silversea pioneered all-inclusive cruising. Silversea operators and owners are the Lefebvre family of Rome, Italy. Since 2014, the company has had eight boutique ships, each carrying only up to 540 passengers.
The line was initiated by a joint venture made up of the Lefebvre family and V-Ships (previously named Vlasov Group) of Monaco. The business model of Silversea was to operate ships in the small, ultra-luxury, all-suite category.
The all inclusive fares of the new line included such features as port charges, travel insurance, gratuities (none were allowed), one or more shore events in every itinerary, and beverages (selected wines at lunch and dinner). 80% of Silversea's clients were expected to come from North America, so the line established its marketing office in Fort Lauderdale FL.
- Silversea's first vessel, Silver Cloud, entered service in April 1994. It was followed by a sister ship, Silver Wind, in January 1995.
- In September 2000, Silversea Cruises launched Silver Shadow. Silver Whisper debuted in January 2001. Both ships were enlarged versions of the two original ships, but carrying nearly a hundred more passengers.
- In 2008, the Silversea line expanded into luxury expedition market. It bought the pre-owned expedition vessel Prince Albert II and upgraded it to the highest standards of luxury. The 132-guest Silver Explorer was christened in June 2008 and features more rugged itineraries than her sister ships (including Arctic and Antarctic cruises and Serengeti of Western Africa). The Explorer offers up-close wildlife adventures with Zodiac boat expeditions.
- On June 18, 2012 it was announced that Silversea had acquired Canodros S.A., a premier Ecuadorian tourism company operating in the Galapagos Islands. The purchase included the former Renaissance ship Galapagos Explorer II, which continued on her planned schedule of cruises.
- In 2013, Silversea added Silver Galapagos. The 100-passenger ship is stationed year-round in the favorite destination of Darwin.
- A third expedition ship, Silver Discoverer, joined the fleet in March 2014, plying the waters on far-flung itineraries, such as Micronesia, Melonesia, Polynesia, the Russian Far East, Australia and New Zealand. A glass-bottom boat, a fleet of Zodiacs, snorkeling and dive program, allow exploration on the unique vessel.
- Silversea Cruises has also added tonnage through newbuilds. In December 2009, it launched the 540-passenger, all-suite Silver Spirit. In 2017, Silversea will launch the 596-passenger, similarly-designed Silver Muse.
Silversea Cruises Experience
Silversea Cruises boasts an upscale, yet casual onboard atmosphere with spacious public spaces that offer bigger-than-average spaces for travelers. The line provides stellar service and its guests may be sure there is no waiting in line for activities or meals.
Extraordinary dining experiences are available on all Silversea ships, with wine poured generously at meals. The all-inclusive policy covers all gratuities and unlimited beverages - beer, wine, liquor and soft drinks, except premium brands.
There are lecturers on all cruises, offering insights into the cultures of the destinations visited. Sometimes Silversea provides a bridge instructor or a golf pro for lessons at the practice nets on board each ship. However, partly as a function of relatively low passenger capacity, few educational opportunities are available. Each of Silversea Cruises ships has a well-stocked library, a fitness center and a Steiner-managed spa.
Meals in the main dining room are served open seating, with lunch available between 12:00 and 1:30 p.m., and dinner at any time between 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Alternative dinner is available at 7 p.m. in La Terrazza, free of charge (reservations are required) and in the upscale Le Champagne between 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Le Champagne applies a $200/$30 charge, which depends on the chosen dining option ($200 is for a multicourse degustation menu with wine pairings).
NOTE: As there are no organized kids programs, the Silversea ships are inappropriate for families with young kids.
Silversea Cruises passengers are generally, as on most small luxury ships, somewhat older than those found on bigger, mainstream vessels. In terms of nationality, about 50% are North Americans, with the other 50% coming from all over the world (mainly the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia). Many travelers are retirees with the resources and leisure to make Silversea Cruises their line of choice.
Perhaps because they provide the space for more facilities (a cigar bar, a wine bar, a computer center, and an expanded spa, not to mention a larger and better-equipped show lounge), Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow attract a younger clientele, but it's still not the line for the 20- and 30-something set.
Itinerary of Silversea
According to an independent cruise market 2016-2017 research, Silversea continues to be rated number one luxury cruise line by ship capacity. With a fleet of 9 vessels, the company is also the dominant player on the Mediterranean luxury cruising market, especially during summer months. The second biggest by passenger capacity line is Crystal Cruises (Los Angeles USA-based). The third biggest luxury line is Regent Seven Seas, followed closely by Seabourn.
- Silversea's "flight and cruise" package deals (by the line's Silver Sky programme) are inclusive of the luxury cruise fare, discount round-trip airfare (Economy Class) and airport-pier-airport transfers.
- Silversea's "hotel and cruise" package "Silver Shore Simply Hotel" offers overnight 5-star luxury hotel stays with the option of adding transfers or upgrades. The upgraded cruise and hotel package ("Silver Shore Grande Hotel") offers 1-3-nights landmark hotel stays (or at a boutique property), and is inclusive of private transfers (airport-hotel and hotel-pier).
Silversea Expeditions scuba diving cruises in 2016 and 2017 feature some of the most remote destinations in the world and top diving sites in the Indian and western Pacific oceans.
The latest addition to Silversea Cruises expedition fleet, 120-passenger Silver Discoverer, has 20 cruises featuring scuba diving opportunities for experienced divers in regions like the Maldives, the Palau archipelago, the Andaman Islands and Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Participants can explore hidden tunnels, caves, coral fish and rare creatures. The diving program is free of charge.
In addition to a dive master onboard, the cruises will feature experts including marine biologists, ecologists, environmentalists and geologists.
Silver Discoverer's scuba diving cruises include experiences, such as: a 14-day Cairns to Balikpapan program 'Australia (Great Barrier Reef) & Indonesia,' departing October 4, and a 15-day voyage Phuket to the Maldives 'Myanmar & Andaman Islands,' December 2.
The 17-day 'Maldives, Seychelles (Aldabra) & Africa' cruise departs December 17 and features a rare call at the remote coral atoll of Aldabra. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, virtually untouched by humans, is one of the world's biggest atolls and home to thousands of giant tortoises.
Scuba diving opportunities in 2017 include the 14-day Darwin to Koror 'Indonesia & Palau Archipelago,' departing May 26, and 14-day Cairns to Bali 'Australia (Great Barrier Reef) & Indonesia,' sailing November 9.
Passengers who wish to dive will need Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent license to participate. They must take their own BCD vests and regulators. The line will provide weight belts, tanks, masks and fins on board Silver Discoverer, all free of charge.
Northwest Passage cruise 2014
In summer 2014, Silver Explorer did the Silversea's first Northwest Passage Cruise crossing. The 23-days long itinerary started in Kangerlussuaq Greenland (on August 9) and ended in Nome Alaska (on September 2), covering a distance of over 4000 ml (6480 km).
Silversea World Cruise 2018
Silversea's World Cruise 2018 on Silver Whisper will be a 121-day westbound itinerary from USA (Los Angeles to Rome, departure Jan 6, 2018).
- The itinerary (named "La Grande Bellezza") visits 60 ports in 21 countries, and includes a total of 17 overnight port stays plus 13 late-night port stays. Among the visited destinations are Hawaii, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, Oman), Suez Canal, Europe-Mediterranean (Egypt, Greece, Italy. Smaller itinerary segments are also available.
- World Cruise 2018 booked passengers receive as bonus amenities Bon Voyage reception and Los Angeles overnight hotel stay (Jan 5), included airfare (Business Class tickets and airport-hotel-ship transfer), USD 4000 per cabin onboard credit, complimentary services (baggage valet, laundry, dry cleaning), unlimited Wi-Fi, special gifts.
- Full World Cruise 2018 prices start at USD 58000 pp (Vista Suite) up to USD 182000 pp (Owner Suite).