Luxury Equals Choice On Silversea Cruises

Like the late afternoon canapés delivered today by my butler, Silversea’s appeal is about variety and choice. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

One of the things that strikes me about Silversea Cruises is the abundance of choices available to guests. This week and next, as my 17-year-old daughter and I sail on Silver Whisper from Southampton to Lisbon, I’ll be looking at a few of the many choices that contribute to the value proposition offered by the luxury operator.

Perhaps I am thinking about choices because I just came from a river cruise, which was highly enjoyable, but with few choices. There was only one restaurant, for example, and dinner was fixed at 7:15 each evening. Seating was not assigned but we weren’t exactly free to choose our tables either. With the dining room operating at near capacity, some passengers showed up 15 minutes early — squatters — to assure they’d get the table they wanted. We took what was left.

Again, I want to emphasize that the river cruise was enjoyable, but doing back-to-back trips on the river cruise and Silversea really made the choice factor of the latter profoundly apparent.

Being able to offer choices imbues Silversea with a sense of freedom, allowing guests to cruise as they wish.

It’s not enough to simply offer choices, however. After all, what good is choice if none of the choices are all that great? Silversea offers quality choices. There are the small things — such as a choice of nine kinds of pillows (technically one is a pillow case, but what a pillow case), three types of luxury bath amenities, a choice of welcome champagnes.

Then there are the larger attributes, such as multiple dining venues, choice of dining times and not only size of ship (from a small expedition vessel to the 540-passenger Silver Spirit), and more choice of itineraries that competitors thanks to having the luxury industry’s broadest fleet of vessels (seven vessels with the addition of the Galapagos Explorer II, which will begin operations after being renovated and renamed in September 2013).

Silversea even offers a world cruise, on Silver Whisper next year in fact. And of course, fleetwide, there are choices of excursions and overland journeys and more.

I’ll be focusing on choices this week and what they mean to both avid — and prospective — cruisers. I have to go now to get dressed for dinner, right after deciding where to dine. Do I don the tuxedo for formal night in the main dining room or go casual at The Grill? In this case, the choice is not entirely mine. There’s a 17-year-old girl who has the final say. It’s only fitting that I would allow her the freedom of choice.

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