Silversea

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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.

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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.

In 2017, Silversea announced that for the company starts selling bonds to the public in order to finance its business. The plan is to raise USD 550 million (up from the originally-planned USD 275 million). The senior secured notes will be due in 2025 and pay interest at 7,25% rate.

In June 2017 was announced the company's partnership with Peninsula Hotels (Hong Kong-based hotel chain). The new "cruise + hotel" program debuted on Silver Muse (during its World Cruise 2019). Both brands collaborate only on Asian cruises. During these voyages, Peninsula Hotels provides a team of chefs and specialists to interact with passengers and arrange exclusive onboard events in select Asian port cities.

New ships

In the late 2000s, Silversea started a fleet-expansion program adding tonnage through newbuilds.

  • In December 2009, the company launched the 540-passenger Silver Spirit.
  • In 2017 was launched the 596-passenger (Silver Spirit modified design) Silver Muse (building cost EUR 105 million / USD 125 million).
  • On September 11, 2017, was signed an EUR 310 million (USD 370 million) shipbuilding contract with Fincantieri for all 3 new cruise ships - including the Silver Moon ship, with scheduled delivery in 2020. Currently, Silversea has a fleet of 9 operational vessels, with planned expansion up to 12 ships. The last 2 newbuilds (sister-ships to Muse and Moon, still unnamed) are with scheduled deliveries in 2021 and 2023.
  • When the Silversea-Fincantieri shiporder for Silver Moon was signed (September 2017), the Italian shipbuilder had a total of 78 cruise vessels built in the period 1990-2017 (of which 55 launched between 2002-2017) plus other 31 currently being designed or constructed.

Ship refurbishments

In August 2016, , Silversea announced the company's plans to invest USD 170 million in a fleetwide refurbishment project. Ship upgrades started in 2016 with 3 ships.

  • Silver Whisper had refreshed suites (dark emperor marble floors in cabin bathrooms, sun deck (new loungers, newly tiled pool). The Restaurant and La Terrazza are with new furniture and flooring (hard-wood parquet / carpet). Two new satellite antennas provide faster Internet. On-demand movies and interactive TVs were added in all cabins.
  • Silver Wind received the same upgrades as Silver Whisper - all cabins, restaurants, ship technology. The pool deck has all new teak decking.
  • Silver Discoverer - The Discoverer Lounge was redesigned (from breakfast venue into upscale lounge), while The Explorer Lounge received new furniture and audio-video equipment. The Restaurant was renovated. The pool grill received new furniture.
  • Silver Cloud was remade into polar expedition ship.

Silversea cruise 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 (cigar bar, wine bar, computer center, expanded spa, not to mention larger and better-equipped show lounge), Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow attract younger clientele. Still, Silversea is not the cruise line for the 20- and 30-something travelers.

For season 2016-2017, the Silversea Expeditions company partnered with Technogym for selected Wellness-themed cruises. By this partnership, on all Silversea expedition vessels were offered fitness and wellness themed onboard events and complimentary amenities and services, including spa treatments, classes (Yoga, Pilates, fitness), enrichment lectures, healthy cooking demos gym sessions (with personal trainers and Technogym equipment).

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 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 need Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent license to participate. They must take their own BCD vests and regulators. The line provides weight belts, tanks, masks and fins on board Silver Discoverer, all free of charge.

In July 2017 Silversea revealed that  Silver Explorer would sail the first-ever Pacific coast explorations of the line as part of ship’s lineup of Americas voyages in 2018. Silver Explorer’s collection sails from Ushuaia, Argentina up the Pacific coastline to Vancouver. The highlights include:

Another epic cruise from Fort Lauderdale FL to South America and back is a 69-day sailing aboard the 596-passenger Silver Muse and kicks off January 3, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale featuring a complete circumnavigation of the South American continent. Highlights of the trip include a crossing of Panama Canal; 2-day cruising Chile's fjords; a 3-day stopover in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival; and overnights in Buenos AiresManausValparaiso and Punta Arenas. The South America voyage is just one of a number of extended trips that Silversea unveiled for 2018 and 2019. 

Silversea Expeditions

Follows a list of cruise expedition themed cruises operated by Silversea Expeditions' ships. These are Silver Discoverer, Silver Galapagos, Silver Explorer and Silver Cloud (since 2017).

  • "Photography Expedition Cruises" include photo walks, onboard workshops and lectures lead by professional photographers.
  • "Birding and Ornithology Expedition Cruises" are offered on itineraries in Alaska and Galapagos (wdlife viewing themed).
  • "Culinary Expedition Cruises" provide an array of ashore and onboard culinary-themed events.
  • "Diving Expedition Cruises" by Silversea's scuba diving program are led by professional expedition team and certified divemasters. Silver Discoverer operates in Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Indonesia.
  • "Wellness Expedition Cruises" allow passengers to improve their well-being while cruising to destinations in South Pacific Ocean and Southeast Asia. Dedicated wellness specialists host an onboard fitness training program that includes Pilates, yoga and stretching. Also included are cooking demonstrations and daily wellness lectures focused on balanced nutrition. Also price inclusive are spa massage treatments.

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).

Galapagos cruise itineraries

Starting in 2017 (March 25), Silversea alternated two exciting 7-night Galapagos itineraries (Saturday to Saturday) approved by Galapagos National Park Service. Both are operated by the 100-passenger ship Silver Galapagos. Departures are from San Cristobal.

  • The new north central itinerary departs Baltra for San Cristóbal with a newly added circumnavigation of Isla Daphne Grande (Daphne Major). The voyage explores Darwin Bay and El Barranco on Genovesa Island), Galapaguera Cerro Colorado and Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal Island), Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez (Espanola Island), El Edén, Fausto Llerena Breeding Center and Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island),as well as Seymour NorteRabida and Plaza Sur.
  • Departing from San Cristóbal for Baltra, the new western cruise itinerary is enhanced by new points of interest - Cerro Dragón and Playa Las Bachas (Santa Cruz) and a circumnavigation of Roca Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). The itinerary also includes Punta Vicente Roca, Caleta Tagus and Elizabeth Bay (on Isabela Island), Post Office Bay, Islote Champion and Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island), Los Gemelos, Fausto Llerena Breeding Center and Puerto Ayora (on Santa Cruz Island), Bartolome, Playa Espumilla and Punta Espinoza.
  • Silver Galapagos circumnavigates Kicker Rock and Daphne Major - both spectacular settings for exotic birds viewing. Flamingos can be seen at Las Bachas Beach. Wildlife viewing opportunities also include land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins, finches.
  • All Silversea's complimentary Galapagos shore expeditions are guided by an experienced team (certified by Galápagos National Park Service),  On the ship, cruise tourists enjoy pampering Silversea-standard butler service, gourmet cuisine, complimentary wines and spirits throughout the ship, free Wi-Fi.

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).
  • The cruise line also announced plans for a 132-day world voyage in 2019 including stops in 52 ports in 31 countries.

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