For those who are familiar with Silversea and are wondering about the new ship, I will review a few details, mostly good, some not so much, in the latter part (skip the first paragraph), but I would like to start by making one thing clear for the uninitiated: by far the main reason one chooses this line and pays a significant multiple of the regular cruise line prices is the clientele. It can cut both ways, depending on one's preference, so I will try to explain for those who might be wondering what they would be paying extra for and what the experience might look like without passing any judgment whether this is the right place for you. For client selection, the steep price is coupled with a very conservative dress code - there are very few "casual" days (and even that does not mean shorts, flip-flops, tank tops, etc), and "informal" means jacket for gents that is required on most days, plus 2-3 formals (tux or business suit) per 10-15 days. Even on informal days many passengers wore suits and ties... The company actually had to reverse an initial more casual policy because of customer demand (https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=8009). Both factors yield not only a well-heeled, but also a rather sophisticated international crowd. It is like a club of old money plus newly minted members who can fit in on multiple criteria besides money. Let me share two overheard conversations to illustrate. "Our daughter came out and married young..." If you are wondering whether this refers to the person being gay, you are mistaken. The reference is to a debutante, and if you don't know what it means, maybe this is not a place for you. The other example was a story by an amazed physician whose hedge fund manager patient showed him how he can change the illumination color on top of a NY skyscraper visible from his penthouse with his cell phone, because he owned the building. Getting the drift? A Boston Brahmin would be a typical guest. The wardrobes, watches and jewelry just reinforced the obvious, and quite frankly surprised us a bit - we usually do not bring tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff to the ship, especially because typically we have a land portion before/after the sailing - kind of silly to haul it to Machu Picchu! This might not be everyone's cup of tea (no extended pinky if you are consuming it!), but we had a very good feeling, because despite the obvious wealth, people did not seem overtly pretentious, were certainly not intrusive, and maybe the dress policy weeded out potentially annoying nouveau riche (?). We do not socialize a lot on cruises, but all guest interactions were polite, pleasant and sometimes even interesting. OK, call me elitist, guilty as charged!
Now more tangible characteristics starting with those that truly distinguish Silversea. The most extraordinary experience is the butler service. Our butler Rahul not only fulfilled every request in the most professional manner, but he anticipated certain needs and proactively addressed them. No wonder, because the butlers on Silversea are trained in the same school whose alumni work at the Buckingham Palace, and I believe that the Head Butler actually did work there. There are other nice service touches, such as a pool guy coming by and cleaning glasses (as in sunglasses and reading glasses).
A rather amazing experience was acupuncture by Shiroto-sensei in the spa. Quite "simple": she ameliorated long-standing health problems for both of us, and we also saw a written testimonial by a customer that verges on a medical miracle! It is hard to overestimate how big of a difference such an individual can make for the trip as a whole.
Everything is perfect. Enough space in every compartment (room, bathroom, walk-in closet, veranda), fantastic linen and pillow menu, a very innovative solution with two TV's behind mirrors, really more of a lux hotel room than a ship cabin... And of course astonishing butler service described above.
Nothing to do locally except scuba diving. If you haven't seen it before, go to Chichen Itza.