Stepping onto 388-passenger Silver Whisper is much like stepping into Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. They both take you places, and in impeccable style. Words like "elegant," "classic," "pricy" and "comfortable" are perfect fits. Along with twin Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper hovers near the top of luxury cruise ship lists.
All accommodations are suites and most possess private verandas. Even entry-level suites impress, showcasing butler service, free standard Wi-Fi (biggest suites receive free premium), lavish in-suite dining presented course by course, liquor setup and stocked mini-fridges. Marble and granite baths wow; all feature separate showers, full-size tubs and double vanities. Suites also tout walk-in closets, so there's plenty of room for clothing, making weeks or months of cruising (as many Silver Whisper devotees do) easy.
Despite its small size, Silver Whisper features four restaurants: The Restaurant and La Terrazza for breakfast, lunch and dinner; the alfresco Grill for lunch and dinner; and La Dame for fancy evening dining at $60 per-diner fee -- an unusual charge for a specialty restaurant in a luxury cruise ship. (In fairness, La Dame chefs go hog-wild with luxury ingredients, such as lobster and foie gras.) Consider room service an experience, too, with butlers smoothing high-end white clothes over tables, carefully setting out polished silverware and serving elegant fare course by course. Most wines and spirits are complimentary 24/7, as is noteworthy caviar. The sustainable posh Italian roe, Ars Italica, is served by the tin on demand, with all the proper accoutrements.
Service hits nonstop high notes. Crew members learn your names and preferences on Day One and seem eager to spoil you rotten. With Silversea's no-tipping policy, such attentiveness comes from training and the heart, rather than attempts to garner gratuities. Crew are always smiling, polite and even charming (particularly the butlers and servers). When you walk down a suite corridor and encounter a crew member, that person acknowledges you and then steps aside so you can pass -- It feels quite like "The Crown." For buffet meals, servers hover nearby, wanting to carry your plate, even if it's tiny and merely holding a brownie.
Silver Whisper definitely skews traditional, including a formality of style and dress unlike more casual luxury ships. In fact, Silver Whisper passengers tend to dress up more than peers on some Silversea sister ships. Expect plentiful tuxedos on formal nights. This is not the place to come with a suitcase full of T-shirts, shorts and jeans, no matter who the designer. Entertainment, too, is on the low-key side, with most passengers reveling in the intimate ambiance, fine dining and primo service. Some don't even care about the ports --this ship, quite simply, is enough.
Silversea cruises lure an international crowd. Although the majority are North American, the rest hail from the U.K., Europe and other countries. Passengers are affluent, well-traveled and well-educated. Most are retired, but many professional couples and the occasional family (with well-behaved children) also sail Silversea. Solo travelers -- mainly widows and older ladies -- appreciate Silversea's open-seating dining (with hosted singles tables) and cruises with dance hosts. Silver Whisper is gay-friendly, too.
Daytime: Casual, with shorts and T-shirts in balmy weather. However, Silver Whisper passengers dress casually chic -- no tacky T-shirts or ripped-hem shorts.
Evening: Mostly informal, meaning jackets with optional ties for men, and dresses or pantsuits for women. Eight-day cruises usually have one formal night, where men don tuxedos and women wear fancy cocktail dresses or gowns. The Grill is casual optional every night. On casual nights, open-neck shirts for men and sundresses or shirts and slacks for women is typical.
Not permitted: Jeans, baseball caps and bathing attire after 6 p.m. in all public areas.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Silversea
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Our First Cruise Ever and I thought I would hate it
First Time Cruiser