By Erica Silverstein
Cruise Critic Senior Editor
3.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Silver Whisper Entertainment & Activities

Shore Excursions

Silversea charges extra for shore excursions, though sometimes it will comp them as part of a particular promotion. On our Caribbean cruise, tours covered a range of interests from sightseeing tours to active excursions like snorkeling, scuba or kayaking and recreational options, such as a sailboat ride, beach break at a resort or rum tasting. The ship's shore concierge can arrange for private cars and drivers in select ports. Prices were comparable to other lines. While we can't speak about every destination, we found the Caribbean offerings to be standard and nothing special.

Where appropriate, Silversea will provide complimentary shuttle transportation from the cruise port to a downtown area. In many ports, a tourism representative will come aboard the ship or meet passengers on the pier to provide information and answer questions about sightseeing and activities. In addition, Silversea often sends a member of the entertainment team (a singer, social hostess, guest lecturer or dance host) to accompany a tour, both to assist passengers and to report back on the tour quality for the cruise line.

Daytime and Evening Entertainment

Daily activities are limited on port days and increased on sea days. Team trivia is a popular daily staple, and there's often a lecture about the ports or a topic of interest. Other activities might include indoor golf putting, pool volleyball, a casino tournament, cocktail and cooking demonstrations, meetups for interest groups (solo travelers, veterans, etc.) and even language lessons. When dance hosts are onboard longer cruises, they will teach dance classes. On our cruise, competitive games (trivia, golf putting) earning prize points for the winners, who could redeem them at the end of the sailing for Silversea logo items, but the cruise director intimated that the corporate team is evaluating whether or not to keep that program.

In the evening, the resident pianist or trio plays in the bar or Panorama Lounge pre- and post-dinner for either listening or dancing. If gentleman hosts are onboard, they will make the rounds, asking ladies to dance. There's always an evening show -- occasionally two. Either the six Voices of Silversea singer-dancers perform a musical revue in the Viennese Lounge on Deck 6 or one or two of them will do a cabaret show in the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8. Our cruise had no guest entertainers, but two-week sailings or longer will bring on musical soloists or groups, comedians, magicians and the like to vary up the evening offerings. In our opinion, even a shorter, port-intensive cruise could use some entertainment variety. Individual singers on our cruise were excellent, together they didn't always mesh well with their mix of modern and classic vocal training, but the shows got to feel the same after a while, and something different would have been welcomed.

The casino on Deck 5 is oddly located by the boutiques and not adjacent to the bar, where you might find it would get more traffic. On our cruise, most people reported the casino as not being very lively, which might have been impacted by the particular crowd or the port-intensive nature of the sailing. The casino offers four gaming tables and a number of slot machines. On our one sea days, it held a blackjack tournament.

Additional evening activities might be a post-show dance party, a movie night or a game of Liars Club. 

Enrichment

Our cruise was port-intensive, so enrichment options were minimal. One guest lecturer was onboard who talked about what to expect in the ports of call, as well as other cruise-related topics such as famous ships. A rabbi was onboard to lead Hanukkah services, but also gave a few special-interest talks.

On itineraries with three or more sea days, Silversea will bring on ACBL bridge instructors. Certain longer voyages will have famous or expert lecturers onboard, so check with the cruise line before booking if this kind of enrichment is important to you. On world cruises, Silver Whisper hosts a minimum of three lecturers on each segment, plus an arts and crafts instructor, in addition to bridge instructors and gentleman hosts.

Silver Whisper Bars and Lounges

The Bar is generally the pre- and post-dinner hotspot, though sometimes a special event in the Panorama Lounge will attract cruisers there. Warm canapes are served at The Bar before dinner. The bartenders are knowledgeable and entertaining; order off the cocktail menu or ask the bartender to get creative for you.

The Bar (Deck 5): Just one deck up from The Restaurant, The Bar is the cocktail hour hotspot and a place to meet up with friends before a meal. It's also the location for trivia and the occasional cocktail-making lesson. A pianist or DJ provides background entertainment and/or dance music throughout the evening. Perch on a stool by the central bar, or sink into plush green-and-blue armchairs.

Viennese Lounge (Decks 6): Silversea's show lounge spans two decks, with stadium-style seating, but the only passenger entrance is from the rear and top of the theater on Deck 6. The theater is done in dark reds, and seating is a mix of club chairs and banquettes, with drinks tables in between. Aisles are spacious to accommodate drinks servers who take pre-show orders. Sightlines are good all round.

Connoisseur's Corner (Deck 7): The only indoor smoking venue onboard, this cigar bar is the place to enjoy a cigar or cigarette, perhaps with some port or cognac. Waiters from the Panorama Bar come by to take orders from drinks or sell cigars if you did not bring your own.

Panorama Lounge (Deck 8): This all-purpose lounge is more than just a bar. It hosts early riser breakfast and afternoon tea, piano music before and after dinner, cabaret shows by one or two of the ship's singers and the occasional late-night dance party on its dance floor. Wall-to-wall windows give the room its name.

Pool Bar (Deck 8): While some people do perch on the stools by the poolside bar, it mostly serves as a drink-making station for the wait staff who make the rounds of the Deck 8 and 9 lounge chairs, as well as The Grill's dining tables.

Tor's Observation Library (Deck 10): This under-used space at the top of the ship, facing forward, was remade in 2017 in the image of the observation library on sister ship Silver Muse. Neutral-colored armchairs and sofas blend in with cherry-wood walls and a geometric carpet. The venue is part secondary library and part self-service coffee and tea station. It's a quiet place to read while looking out the panoramic windows, but hardly anyone goes up there.

Silver Whisper Outside Recreation

A pool and two hot tubs dominate Deck 8 midship. They are ringed by striped padded loungers, as well as circular daybed pods with clamshell coverings. Additional lounge chairs and wicker double loungers ring the area of Deck 9 that overlooks the pool. Another alfresco seating area, with square wicker chairs and couches, behind the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8, is a designated smoking area.

The pool area is generally serene, with plenty of lounge chairs for all. Occasionally, the entertainment team might host a pool volleyball game. Waiters come around to take drink orders.

There's a Ping-Pong table at the aft end of the pool deck and a shuffleboard court one deck up on Deck 9.

Silver Whisper Services

Deck 5 midship is the hub for ship services. In the main lobby, you'll find the reception and shore excursion desks, as well as the future cruise sales consultant. Just forward of the lobby are the ship's boutiques, selling jewelry, watches, fashionable clothing, perfume, sunglasses and handbags. The shops also sell toiletries and sundries that you might have forgotten to pack (these are accessible 24/7 via reception) and a limited supply of Silversea T-shirts. Watch your daily newsletter for notice of special events or sales.

Deck 7 houses both a conference room and a card room, which are unobtrusive and easy to miss. The library and internet cafe are better positioned just forward of the Panorama Lounge. At the library, you can browse the book selection or pick up daily sudoku and crossword puzzles and a ridiculously difficult quiz, as well as news reports from around the world. The computer center is only manned at select hours and offers a handful of desktop computers for those who aren't traveling with a laptop or don't wish to use their tablets or smartphones.

Every passenger receives one hour of free Wi-Fi each day of their cruise at standard speeds; passengers in select suites receive unlimited Wi-Fi at premium speeds. The one hour is "use it or lose it." If you don't use your hour on day one, you do not get two hours on day two. Passenger who want more internet time or want to upgrade their connection speed have a choice of several extra-fee packages.

At the internet cafe, you can pay $3 for 30 minutes or $6 for 60 minutes of standard access (for email, web surfing or instant messaging) or $10 for 30 minutes or $20 for 60 minutes of premium access (a higher satellite speed that enables video and audio calls and streaming). With these packages, you cannot log out and log in again to access the plan; any unused minutes are forfeited. On your personal device, you can buy 24 hours of standard access for $25 or premium access for $30; unlimited access costs vary based on number of days and type of access. For example, unlimited standard access starts at $23.75 per day for two days of use and goes to $18.75 per day for 10 or more days of use; premium access starts at $37.05 per day for two days and drops to $27.30 per day for 10 or more days.

Self-service launderettes are located on Decks 4, 6 and 8. They are free to use and laundry detergent is provided. You'll find three washers, three dryers, an ironing board and iron, and sink. A medical center is on Deck 3.

Smoking is only allowed in designated public areas and not on verandas. It is permitted in the Connoisseur's Corner cigar bar on Deck 7, on the outside deck behind the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8 and at the tables along one side of the pool deck.

Silver Whisper Spa & Fitness

The Zagara Spa on Deck 10 is not large, but seems to serve the needs of the small ship just fine. The complex houses a fitness center, salon and spa. The spa has four treatment rooms, and is run by Steiner (the company that dominates cruise ship spas across many lines), using Elemis products. It offers an array of facials (pro-collagen, tri-enzyme, etc.), massages (hot stone, deep tissue, salt scrubs), detox treatments and body wraps. Prices are steep; the cheapest treatments start around $150 for 50 minutes. Look for unique options during port days, such as three 20-minute treatments for a discounted price. The most popular treatment times do book out quickly, so make your reservations early in the cruise if you're choosy.

The salon offers hair treatments, nail services, waxing, teeth whitening and men's grooming services (shaves, beard trims, etc.).

Men's and women's locker rooms are small but cram in showers, a toilet, lockers, a steam room and a sauna. Ask at the spa reception for a key to a locker with a robe, slippers and towel.

The small fitness facility comprises two rooms. One is a small gym with treadmills, elliptical trainers, recumbent and upright stationary bicycles and resistance machines by Life Fitness and Technogym. A mini-fridge offers bottled water. The other is a group class studio for complimentary programs like Pilates, yoga, abs and stretching, which are very basic and not at all like the land-based versions. You'll find yoga mats, free weights and weight benches in this space as well. We never saw crowds, but it can be awkward when you want to use the weights or yoga mats, and the fitness trainer is leading a class or personal consult in the studio.

The onboard fitness instructor leads daily sunrise walks along the jogging track on Deck 9, as well as the occasional health-focused seminar. She offers complimentary footprint analyses (which tend to be a product pitch for insoles). Passengers can also sign up for personal training sessions and metabolism tests for a fee.

The jogging track on Deck 9 only circles half the ship, so you'll need to run nine laps to make a mile. The deck is covered with a spongy material that we assume is easy on the knees. You can also do laps on Deck 10, but signs request that you walk, not run.

Silver Whisper For Kids

Silversea cruises are not suitable for most young children, but the line does not ban them either (though it does reserve the right to restrict the total number of children onboard). The few children on our cruise were rarely seen or heard and that's the way Silversea passengers like it to be. The line does not typically offer babysitting or activities for children. However, during the winter holidays and summer months, the line will bring youth counselors onboard to plan activities when there are more children than usual onboard.

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