If you're looking for a top-of-the-line cruise experience, you're likely checking out what luxury line Silversea Cruises has to offer. It's one of the classic, highly inclusive cruise lines offering an adult atmosphere, spacious suites and excellent service on both traditional cruise ships and expedition vessels. Read on to see if Silversea is the luxury cruise line for you.
Silversea's cruise ships carry 298 to 608 passengers; its expedition vessels carry 100 to 254 passengers. On the classic cruise side, the line has the smallest ships (Silver Wind, Shadow and Whisper) compared to luxury competitors such as Seabourn, Regent and Crystal. Although the vessels are small, they feel roomy, thanks to the low passenger count. That means you never feel crowded or waste time queuing.
Because Silversea has both a luxury cruise and luxury expedition fleet, you can stay with the same trusted company for all of your cruise vacations. Want a relaxing beach vacation in the Caribbean, a whirlwind sightseeing tour of Europe or an adventurous exploration of Antarctica? Silversea offers it all.
Silversea is an inclusive cruise line. Its fares cover crew gratuities, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, self-service laundry, shuttles into town (where applicable) and unlimited Wi-Fi every day (standard for some staterooms, and premium for upper-category suites on most ships). Expedition cruises include shore excursions (Zodiac tours, guided hikes) and gear like hats and parkas, where necessary.
Every cabin on a Silversea cruise ship is called a suite because it has sleeping and sitting areas separated by at least a curtain. All have walk-in closets and full-sized tubs, and most have balconies. The smallest Vista Suites on the cruise ships measure 240 square feet, but you can splurge on grandiose suites that are akin to a multi-room apartment. While expedition ships tend to have smaller accommodations, you will still find lavish suites and even spacious entry-level cabins on ships like Silver Cloud Expedition.
Every Silversea cruise passenger gets a butler. Crew members know your name before you've met them. Restaurant staff will escort you to your table and carry your plate at the buffet. Your butler will stock your suite with your choice of beverages and pillows, and set even your ensuite breakfast table with a white tablecloth and full silverware. Crew members escort shore excursions to solve problems and make sure the experience meets Silversea's standards. Laundry is returned to you wrapped in tissue paper. Everyone onboard wants you to have the perfect vacation.
Silversea's ships are small, but that doesn't mean you can't have a choice in what to eat and where to dine. The main restaurant's menu is large and supplemented by a robust all-around dining menu (essentially the heartiest room service menu we've ever seen, where meals can be ordered in a restaurant, to your suite or to a public area like the pool deck or bar). Menus are delivered the night before so you can plan your meal or request alternatives if you have a dietary restriction. All ships offer a number of alternative venues; Silver Muse has eight eateries. Choose from the exclusive and intimate La Dame, an alfresco grill or an Italian restaurant on most ships; on the larger ones, you can try Asian venues, a supper club and an outdoor Italian-style pizza venue.
Between its expedition and cruise arms, Silversea offers some killer itineraries with pretty much every bucket list cruise destination on your list, as well as a ton of places you've never heard of. Africa, the Polar Regions, the South Pacific, Australia, South America and the Galapagos -- even the Russian Far East -- if it's near an ocean or sea, Silversea likely goes there. And, if your dream destination is on land, Silversea might still be able to get you there between its pre- and post-cruise extensions in places like Machu Picchu, Denali and Iguazu or its over-the-top Couture Collection of exotic and exclusive land add-ons to destinations like Namibia, the Australian Outback, Mongolia and Bolivia.
Broadway shows, dancing till dawn and big-name comedians or magicians are not a hallmark of this cruise line. You'll get the ship's team of singers and a couple of pianists on cruises shorter than two weeks; book a longer sailing, and you'll find a guest entertainer and maybe an expert lecturer. Longer cruises also employ gentlemen hosts to ballroom dance with the ladies, but you won't have a lot of entertainment venues or options on Silversea ships.
Silversea is a formal line, with three tiers of evening dress: casual, informal and formal. Most nights, men will need to don a jacket and ladies a dress or nice pantsuit and on the formal nights, many people do dress to the nines. Evening dress code applies to all public areas after 6 p.m., so if you want to kick back in your jeans or shorts, you'll need to lock yourself in your cabin.
Silversea does not ban children, but it does not encourage them either. The atmosphere onboard is decidedly adult with multicourse dinners, formal dress codes and activities like bridge games, cocktail tastings and ballroom dance classes. There are no youth lounges (except on Silver Muse), and only holiday and summer sailings with extra kids onboard have any sort of youth counselor and kid programming. Unless your kids can entertain themselves and have been accustomed to long dinners and behaving in the presence of adults, you'll be better off with another line.