My 10 Lasting Impressions of Silversea Silver Whisper
Instead of making a DVD of the voyage to sell to passengers on the final night of our Silversea cruise the Captain, surrounded by a vast flank of his crew, played a home-made compilation of photographs taken of the crew and passengers on tours and around the ship. Made by one of the crew I had seen taking photos as part of her everyday duties, it was not a slick produced production but more like something I have made when my extended family get together for an event like Christmas or my Dad’s 70th birthday. The crew clapped at the pictures of the passengers. The passengers loved it. The sentiment was un-corporate like and warm. It was funny in parts, and made us feel like we had been through something important together.
Just before the presentation the Entertainment Director had called out the various departments as they streamed down the stairs of the Venetian Show Lounge to a stirring Italian opera track. Passengers whooped and clapped especially generously at the teams hidden away in the mysterious ship within the ship behind doors marked “Crew Only”. The Chefs, the engineers and the even the security team were given an excited welcome.
I suspect this small event helps seal the decision by most passengers that they need to book again. And soon.
This event and video will be one of my lasting impressions of cruising with Silversea: a feeling that crew appreciated you travelling with the line.
I had 9 other lasting impressions:
- Small ship cruising did not mean doing without. There was everything you need, like choices of restaurants, fitness centre, shops, spa, pool and quiet spots to hide away in.
- Docking in town, while the big ships were stuck out of town in commercial docking areas. In the ports we visited like St. Petersburg and Helsinki we were right in the city, while the big ships were some miles away in commercial ports without the scenery of the city.
- Never having to get your card out, made it feel more up-market. I really liked not having to get out my cruise card whenever I had a coffee, diet coke or went to a different restaurant. It created a classy ambience. And you did not have to be constantly thinking about the bill you were stacking up. I do not drink alcohol, but for those that do this would be a big plus. The all-inclusive fare covers those. A lunch and dinner a white and red wine are recommended, but there is a range of 60 on offer within the fare if those do not appeal.
- Lack of up and cross selling on-board. There is no drive to get you to spend on board. No constant flow promotional leaflets with inches of gold, photograph and portrait offers, cocktail of the day, drinks packages or art auctions. Even the tours are discreetly promoted, with listings of what they are and proper historical and cultural talks on destinations by an expert, not the tour team promoting the tours.
- Quiet and calm. The venues and ship was quieter as there were so many less people. The pool was never crowded. The decks were always quiet. There were always seats in the show lounge. The tours only had up to 25 people on them, which meant more attention by the tour guides, and loads of room on the bus. There were very few children, as this is not a ship with the facilities that would keep kids and teens entertained. The few that were on-board were largely invisible!
- Getting on and off the ship was easy as no lines, crowds and was fast once docked. Even on disembarkation day.
- The shows. I have written about the shows separately. They were fantastic. Incredible singers that offered varied and versatile shows. They were one of the big highlights of the trip.
- Understated luxury. The luxury touches are subtle. The huge range of choice of ways you can have your eggs cooked. The luxury brand names in toiletries, linen, coffee, and types of beef. There was concierge service open at every port who could help direct you and give specific tips. They even knew off by heart the exact bus numbers and stops for buses to the obscure local beach in Tallinn when we had a craving for some beach time.
- Staff got to know you. You were recognised and often called by name. They had time to stop and chat if you wanted. They went out of their way to check things were going well.
What did I miss?
Night time buzz on occasions. Unlike on big ships, there is less of a focus on the night time activities. A time when I assume a lot of the on-board revenue is generated. On Silversea it was more reliant on self entertaining and connecting with other passengers you had met. The casino is more tucked away, and less a stop by point so has less atmosphere. If you want to drink and dance, you can. But it is less of a focus. So embrace it!
Dress code not entirely clear or enforced. There are formal, semi-formal and casual nights. But they were less followed and enforced. So on formal night there was a mixed bag of tuxedos, jackets and ties and sports jackets. I like the dressing up part if cruising, and missed the more uniform approach.
Open seating means not getting to now your servers. Every night is open seating, and so you do not get the same waiting staff each meal who you get to know and they get to know you and your quirks. I quite like building that relationship. The staff were all very helpful and attentive. But it is also nice to get to know a small team too.
Who is Silversea best for in my view?
Couples, or small groups, of all ages who are sociable and like to meet and mix with others than be constantly entertained. It was largely full of professional people and is not ideal for kids and teens as the services are not geared for them or big party loving types.
Read all my articles and reports about my Silversea experience at https://www.tipsfortravellers.com/silversea
I travelled as a guest of Silversea on the Silver Whisper on a 7 night Baltics Cruise from Stockholm, visiting Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Copenhagen. Silversea are a privately owned, luxury all-inclusive, small ship cruise line with an Italian heritage that appeals to well-travelled, international guests.