Silver Wind is a small ship whose Tardis like properties make it feel far from small. The cabins are spacious if not cavernous, and it misses few of the traditional cruise ship facilities despite its meagre 17,400 tons. It doesn't provide the stylish drop-down stern and marina of some boutique competitors, nor romantic double chaise longue - if you are so inclined, however as the majority of passengers were retired if not exactly octogenarians these facilities might be interpreted as somewhat superfluous if not dangerous! The ship aspires to traditional excellence in a relaxed / Italian (via Miami) style - with a 'Country Club' atmosphere. The open-sitting dining is conducive to meeting new friends and I have never been with friendlier, nor more generally open passengers. Similarly the crew were largely dedicated and highly attentive, if a little too numerous at times. Unfortunately there were occasions, for example at embarkation, when it was necessary to ask for help and supervision might be a weakness. There were other times when I felt the ship was over-staffed and the crew were looking for things to do - most noticeably breakfast in the main dining room as when I visited the number of other passengers fluctuated between eight and none! There was, however, an overly motivated and very thorough future sales co-ordinator!
The product is good if not perfect and there are clear areas of weakness. However, whilst I have cruised many times I have still yet to sail on a perfect ship. This ship similarly fails to achieve perfection and I agree with the 2009 Berlitz rating of 4 Star Plus - and indeed with most of the narrative. One disembarking passenger much experienced of cruising remarked whilst they awaited their airport transfer that their cruise had been good, very good, but they were not certain it had been good enough to justify a return visit.
The line seems to be conscious of what its competitors provide and are keen to provide similar, even if it is not always appropriate to the ship. All cabins have Butlers, and whilst they were all charming and delightful I am not sure what their duties involved, except perhaps serving in-cabin breakfasts, cleaning the exterior of suitcases prior to passengers re-packing them, and greeting passengers by name as they walk to their cabins. They do not pack and un-pack for passengers - a fact that I found reassuring. It is, however, the crew's determination to greet passengers by name and to know things about them that I found unnerving at times and somewhat reminiscent of Big Brother. As I surfaced from my cabin the first morning disorientated from a long flight I was greeted by name by a member of the crew that I had not previously met - who wished me an 'Excellent morning' and enquired if my Mother (who had a cabin elsewhere on the ship and I am sure they had not previously met either - or any reason to know we were travelling together) was comfortably settled. It seems the crew are issued with pictures and possibly even short biographies of passengers and required to learn them. I find this form of forced familiarity unwelcome and intrusive.
The basic cabin (Vista Suite 240 Sq Ft) is identical to the Veranda Suite, except the additional balcony has been replaced with a large picture window. We had one of each. I have no problem with the basic cabin and personally see little benefit from having a veranda, especially as they are of limited size (49 Sq Ft). I benefitted from having a Vista suite on the higher deck five, which although noisy when the bow-thrusters were operated, was very comfortable and the occasional if sometimes long-lasting noise did not bother me.
The bedrooms were very well, if traditionally appointed, with a particularly soft bed and goose feather and down pillows (allergy-free pillows also available). Additionally there was a large sitting area (sufficiently large to have dinner served in the cabin by your butler) and it has a settee that in some instances transfers into an additional bed and a mini-bar that is kept stocked with passenger's preferred drinks. The quality of cabinet work was very good and a lot better than on some ships I have seen recently and a good amount of storage space. There is also a flat screen TV and DVD player, as well as an i-pod base which doubles as an alarm clock. A turn down-service is provided, with the provision of any literature, bed-time chocolates and yet another re-fresh of the towels. There is also a frequently re-stocked bowl of fruit and my cheaper cabin benefitted from having an orchid in it - our more expensive Veranda cabin did not!
There is a large walk-in closet equipped with a safe, umbrella, clothes brush, hair-dryer, etc.
The bathroom is adequate, but small compared to hotel bathrooms and is finished with wood effect flooring, marble, and an annoyingly trendy wash-basin. Good quality towels / bath-robes are continually changed and the soaps / shampoos etc are good quality Bulgari.