Silver Wind - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Silver Wind

★★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 410 out of 500

Accommodation: 174 out of 200

Food: 333 out of 400

Service: 333 out of 400

Entertainment: 74 out of 100

Cruise: 337 out of 400

Overall Score: 1661 out of 2000

Silver Wind Statistics

Size: Small Ship

Tonnage: 17,400

Lifestyle: Luxury

Cruise Line: Silversea Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 8903935

Builder: Visentini/Mariotti (Italy)

Original Cost: $125 million

Entered Service: Jan 1995

Registry: Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 514.4/155.8

Beam (ft/m): 70.62/21.4

Draft (ft/m): 17.3/5.3

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (11,700kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 6

Total Crew: 222

Passengers (lower beds): 302

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 57.6

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.3

Cabins (total): 151

Size Range (sq ft/m): 240.0-1,314.0/22.2-122.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 123

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 2

Wheelchair accessibility: Fair

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 4

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 1

Hot Tubs (on deck): 2

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/306

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


An all-inclusive small ship for the well-traveled

Overview. This ship is best suited to discerning, well-traveled couples, typically over 50, who seek a small ship with fine cuisine, European-style service, and surroundings that border on the elegant. An announcement-free ambience prevails, and there is no pressure or hype, and an enthusiastic staff know how to pamper you.

The Ship. Silver Wind has a quite handsome profile, with a sloping stern reminiscent of an Airstream trailer. The size is just about ideal for personalized cruising in an elegant environment. The vertical cake-layer stacking of public rooms aft and the location of accommodation units forward ensures quiet cabins. There is a synthetic turf-covered walk-around promenade deck outdoors - which should be upgraded to teak or Bolidt - and a fairly spacious swimming pool and sunbathing deck with teak/aluminum deck furniture. Little Silversea touches such as cold towels, water sprays, and fresh fruit provide poolside pampering on hot days.

The ship had a multi-million dollar makeover in 2003, and a further refit in 2009 made it more user-friendly by adding a proper, if small, observation lounge with bookcases and a covered walkway to access it, as well as a relocated and enlarged health spa. The spacious interior is well-planned, with elegant decor and fine-quality soft furnishings throughout, accented by brass fittings - some of sub-standard quality and showing blotchy patches in several places - fine woods and creative ceilings. There is an excellent amount of space per passenger and no hint of a line anywhere. There is a useful Internet center, a 24-hour library with hardback books and DVDs, and a cigar lounge.

Before your cruise, good documentation is provided in a high-quality document wallet and presentation box. Insurance, once included in the fare, now costs extra. All drinks, gratuities, and port taxes are included, and no further tipping anywhere on board is necessary, though it is not prohibited. It would be hard not to have a good cruise aboard this ship, albeit at a fairly high price. The company’s many international passengers like the ambience, food, service, and the staff, most of whom go out of their way to please.

The company’s ‘all-inclusive’ fares include gratuities and many things that cost extra aboard the ships of some rivals. Not included, however, are vintage wines, massage, and other personal services. Shuttle buses are provided in most ports of call, and all the little extras that passengers receive aboard this ship makes it an extremely pleasant experience, in surroundings that are very comfortable and contemporary without being extravagant, with open seating dining and drinks included, cold canapés and hot hors d’oeuvres served in the bars in the pre-dinner cocktail hour, a captain’s welcome aboard, and a farewell cocktail party.

After 10 years, Silversea Cruises re-invented itself with a more defined and refined product based on an Italian Heritage theme. The past few years sometimes saw the delivery of a tarnished service, but this has been recognized and Silversea Cruises is now polishing the silver again.

The passenger mix includes many nationalities, although most passengers are North American. Children are sometimes seen aboard, although they are not really welcomed by most passengers.

Passenger niggles include the fact that some vibration is evident when bow thrusters or the anchors are used, particularly in the forward-most suites. The self-service launderette is poor and not large enough for longer cruises, when passengers like to wash their own small items. Crew facilities are minimal, so crew turnover is quite high, making it difficult to maintain consistency.

Accommodation. There are seven price grades. The all-outside suites, 75 percent with fine private teakwood-floor balconies, have convertible queen-to-twin beds and are nicely fitted out. They include large floor-to-ceiling windows, large walk-in closets, dressing table, writing desk, stocked minibar/refrigerator (no charge), and fresh flowers. The marble floor bathrooms have a tub, fixed shower head - not as hygienic as a hand-held unit - single washbasin, and plenty of high-quality towels. Personalized stationery, an eight-pillow menu from soft down to memory foam, bathrobes, and an array of Acqua di Parma bathroom amenities are provided in all suites.

In the Grand, Royal, Rossellini or Owner’s Suites, you get unobtrusive service from butlers certified by London’s Guild of Professional Butlers.

All suites have TV and DVD players (top-grade suites also have CD players). However, the walk-in closets don’t actually provide much hanging space, particularly for such items as full-length dresses, and it would be better for the door to open outward instead of inward. The drawers themselves are poorly positioned, although several other drawers and storage areas are provided in the living area. Although the cabin insulation above and below each suite is good, the insulation between them is not - a privacy curtain installed between entry door and sleeping area would be useful - and light from the passageway leaks into the suite, making it hard to achieve a dark room.

The top grades of suites have teak balcony furniture, while others don’t - but all balconies have teak floors. Suites with balconies on the lowest deck can suffer from sticky salt spray when the ship is moving, so the balconies need lots of cleaning. Each evening, the stewardesses bring plates of canapés to your suite - just right for a light bite with cocktails.

Dining. The main dining room, The Restaurant, provides open-seating dining in elegant surroundings. It has an attractive arched gazebo center and a wavy ceiling design as its focal point, and is set with fine Limoges china and well-balanced Christofle silverware. Meals are served in an open seating, which means you can eat when you like within the given dining room opening times, and with whom you like.

The cuisine/dining experience is good, with a choice of three dining salons. Standard table wines are included for lunch and dinner, but there is also a ‘connoisseur list’ of premium wines at extra charge. All meals are prepared as à-la-carte items, with almost none of the pre-preparation that used to exist. Special orders are also possible.

Other dining options. A specialty dining salon, the intimate 24-seat La Saletta, adjacent to the main dining room, has dégustation menus that include dishes designed for Silversea Cruises by chefs from Relais & Châteaux Gourmands, the cuisine-oriented division of Relais & Châteaux, paired with selected wines. Reservations are required, and there’s a cover charge.

For more informal dining, La Terrazza offers self-serve breakfast and lunch buffets. In the evening it serves Italian regional dishes and has softer lighting, with both indoors and outdoors seating at teakwood tables and chairs.

There is a 24-hour in-cabin dining service; full course-by-course dinners are available, although the balcony tables in the standard suites are rather low for dining outdoors.

Entertainment. The Showlounge is the venue for all entertainment events and some social functions. The room spans two decks and has a sloping floor; both banquette and individual seating are provided, with good sight lines from almost all seats.

Although Silversea Cruises places more emphasis on food than entertainment, what is provided is quite tasteful and not overbearing, as aboard some larger ships. A decent array of cabaret acts does the Silversea circuit. Most of the cabaret acts provide intelligent entertainment.

Also, more emphasis is now placed on classical music ensembles. There is also a band, as well as several small musical units for live music in the evenings in The Bar, and the Panorama Lounge.

Spa/Fitness. Although The Spa at Silversea facility isn’t large, it underwent a sea change in 2007 with redesigned, more welcoming, decor, and an updated range of treatments and spa packages for both men and women. Massage and other body-pampering treatments, facials, pedicures, and beauty salon treatments cost extra.

Facilities include a mixed sauna for men and women, several treatment rooms, and a beauty salon. A separate gymnasium, formerly an observation lounge, located atop the ship, provides sea views.