Silver Wind Entertainment & Activities
This was definitely the weakest link for me. I admit I am not the greatest fan of cruise ship shows, but I can appreciate talent even if it's not my taste.
There were shows each evening in the theatre -- they call it the Parisien Lounge, which is appropriate because it is quite compact -- but all except one failed to impress.
The staple evening performance was the Silversea singers, who were limited by the size of the stage. The singing and dancing were amateurish; good sound and light might have helped, but that, too, was very poorly done.
We also had a rather unimpressive songs-from-the-shows male vocalist, a song-and-chat show by David Lawton (the cruise director) and violinist Beverley Davison, whose performance was the exception. She was a terrific player -- her rendition of a train was amazing -- and had a sense of humour to boot.
Daytime enrichment was provided by Alan Nazareth, a former Indian ambassador, who gave lectures on all things Indian -- including Mahatma Ghandi, the Moghuls and Indian religion and politics. His talks were well attended, and I tried a couple but found them very dry.
Silver Wind Public Rooms
The most popular place on the ship, by day, was the pool area; once the sun went down, it was The Bar (another rather unimaginatively named room, but at least there's no doubt what goes on in there).
The Bar was always packed before dinner, busy afterwards and empty by about 11:30 p.m. with just a few stalwarts left. It's a shame because that was the time karaoke started, and there were just not enough people to make it work.
The Panorama Lounge is a comfortable place with views out the back, and there's a rather intimate observation lounge at the front of the ship with seating for just 34 people. There are a few books and games, and you can help yourself to tea and coffee. There were also two telescopes, but I could never see anything through them, so I suspect they were just for decoration.
The library is a lovely little room with a selection of books, newspapers and loads of DVD's if you fancy a quiet night in your suite. To the side is a small Internet cafe with six computer terminals. The ship (including the suites) is wired for Wi-Fi, which is so much more convenient if you have your own computer. Pay-as-you-go prices are 50 cents a minute, but the packages are a better value -- 100 minutes for $45, 250 minutes for $85 and 1,000 minutes for $250.
There's a small, rarely used casino -- four gaming tables and 15 slot machines -- and a couple of high-class boutiques: H Stern for jewellery and a general shop that sells all the usual logo wear, perfume, hats, bags and sunglasses -- all with designer names like Gucci, Versace and Seiko.
Deck 6 has a card room, as well as separate reception, concierge and tour desks.
Silver Wind Spa & Fitness
One of the biggest changes on Silver Wind is the spa, which has moved from Deck 7 to Deck 9. It's small, with just four treatment rooms, but there is also a salon where you can get your hair and nails done, as well as separate male and female changing areas, each with a sauna and steam room.
As is usual with Silversea, the spa is run by Steiner. Despite its small size, it offers the full range of therapies, including massages, facials, body wraps and detox programmes.
The bad news for those who like to be rubbed and scrubbed is that prices are steep -- especially for the British, now that the pound is so weak against the dollar. On the plus side, my massage was very good.
A 75-minute stone massage will set you back $210, a 100-minute lime and ginger body scrub costs $178, and a Sole Delight pedicure (where they clean up your feet and paint your nails) is a breathtaking $84. There are special offers if you book more than one treatment at once.
Through the spa, on the port side, there's a small gym with four treadmills, two cycles, two cross-trainers and some weights. The area was used but not over-worked. The fridge with free water was a welcome sight.
There is also a daily fitness schedule with yoga, Pilates and the like -- all free -- but I admit that I managed to give those a miss.
Silver Wind For Kids
Silver Wind does not ban children, but this is not a ship for kids. There is nothing to keep youngsters amused on sea days, and I suspect many passengers would not be happy to have their tranquillity spoiled by noisy kids.