Last night, I had the most remarkable experience. At around 3 a.m., drumrolls of thunder woke me from my sleep. I wrapped my bathrobe around me, walked into the living room and pulled back the curtains. What a spectacle! Flashes of lightning streaked the sky, violent yet beautiful. As I watched, the sky brightened and I noticed something I had not expected to see but immediately recognized: the silhouette of Stromboli.
The small island north of Sicily is dominated by a volcano that has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years. I’ve seen the cone-shaped island a few times on voyages to and from Sicily, but never like last night.
My first thought was to try to photograph what I was seeing. After fiddling with the controls on the camera, I realized it was too dark to capture great photographs. I did manage a couple that were keepers, however.
The photographs do little justice to what I was experiencing: nature at its fiercest, the elements of the earth raging. I stayed up 30 minutes watching the spectacle of fire dancing across the sky and lava that appeared to be trickling down the mountain.
A Rainy Day In Messina
After sailing through a stormy night, Silver Wind docked in Messina on a morning mixed with rain and sunshine. We went out exploring but quickly returned to the ship during a downpour. With clouds threatening more rain, I thought it would be a good day to invite you into my suite.
There are many things that I appreciate about Suite 601. If you’re in the process of — or dreaming of — booking yourself in a similar suite (or even one of Silver Wind’s smaller suites), you may find these observations helpful. Before revealing my suite’s features, however, I thought it would be wise to give you some information about its location.
Also known as the Amalfi Suite (appropriate given our tour yesterday), Suite 601 is situated forward on deck 6. In fact, it is about as far forward as you can get, neatly tucked into the ship’s bow. Thus positioned, Suite 601 occupies a commanding position on Silver Wind. The bridge is in the same forward position, but two decks above us.
Categorized as a “Royal Suite,” ours is one of six big suites on Silver Wind. Measuring 736 square feet, the Royal suites are larger than either of the two Owner’s suites, situated midships on deck seven and measuring 587 square feet each, and smaller than the two Grand suites, situated forward on deck seven and measuring 1,019 square feet each. Our suite has a sister, Suite 602, directly across the main corridor.
All six of these big suites can be made even bigger, by adding the adjoining Vista or Veranda suites to create two-bedroom living spaces. If you’re traveling with friends or family, you may want to consider booking adjoining suites. Our Royal Suite comes in a two-bedroom variety, for example, that measures 1,031 square feet with two verandas. That extra space is accomplished by booking the adjoining Veranda Suite (603).
Step Inside Suite 601
Insert your keycard and enter into the corridor that leads to the living room, a bright and expansive space with a dining table that can accommodate four. If you’re like me, you’ll spend plenty of time at that table, dining with loved ones or friends, or enjoying breakfast delivered by your butler. I appreciate the fact that linen tablecloths and fine porcelain, glassware and cutlery adorn the table at each meal.
The forward-facing wall in the living room is set at a slight diagonal so that the suite becomes wider the more you move toward the middle of the ship. The wall also is pitched inward beginning at about halfway to the ceiling. The pitch gives the impression that you are on a ship, practical perhaps in its intent but nautical by its nature. There are three windows facing forward, though at ever-so-slight angles due to the shape of the wall.
Against another wall is a sofa that can transform into a queen-sized bed. The living room also features a coffee table, side tables and desk. We have a flat-panel television (as well as one in the bedroom) and an illy (Italian) espresso machine.
The living room comes equipped with elegant glassware, a stocked refrigerator minibar, fresh fruits, an atlas, binoculars as well as menus for afternoon canapés and in-suite dining. We also have The Connoisseur’s Wine List (should we prefer a 2008 Beaucastle Chateauneuf du Pape for $130 over the complimentary wines) and a Caviar menu with prices for 50-gram jars ranging from $125 for California farm-raised white sturgeon to $800 for Beluga caviar (all are served with two glasses of Grey Goose Vodka, buckwheat blinis and condiments).
The innermost wall at the widest part of the living room opens onto an expansive veranda with three chairs and a couple of tables. Because we are located under the bridge, we’re requested to shut off the veranda lights at night and to close the curtains to the veranda so that the navigators can perform their duties without distraction.
The bedroom is accessible through double doors via the living room or through single doors via a set of corridors. The bed can be configured into twins or queen-sized upon request. I adore the Pratesi linens, down duvets and choice of pillows.
The bedroom also features a window, flat-panel television and a make-up vanity with an expansive mirror. In the corridor leading away from the bedroom are two large closets, drawers and safe. Bathrobes and slippers also are provided. Also off the corridor is the marbled bathroom, which is large, with a full-sized whirlpool tub (and shower head).
There are some additional big perks to this big room:
- complimentary laundry, dry cleaning and pressing
- afternoon canapés
- four hours of internet service
- two hours of satellite telephone calls, worldwide
- complimentary dinner for two in Le Champagne, the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea (US$40 per person value)
- one daily complimentary edition of your preferred newspaper
Large Still, Silver Wind’s Smaller Suites
All of Silver Wind’s suites share commonalities: butler service, bar setup stocked with your preferences, European bath amenities, Pratesi fine bed linens and down duvet covers, premium mattresses, pillow menus, plush robes and slippers, personalized stationery, binoculars, umbrella and WiFi internet access, ranging from 25 cents per minute to 50 cents per minute depending on the plan you choose.
Here are the details on the smaller, yet still large by industry standards, suites:
- Silver suites measure 541 square feet including the 92-square-foot verandas. As noted in an earlier post, these suites come with free laundry service, which could prove to be a valuable perk.
- Medallion suites are as large as 667 square feet (with no veranda) down to 494 square feet, including the 125-square-food verandas.
- Veranda suites and Midships veranda suites measure 295 square feet including 49-square-foot verandas. Some veranda suites accommodate up to three guests.
- Vista suites, some of which also can accommodate up to three guests, measure 240 square feet, with one exception: Vista Suite 738 measures 325 square feet.
Tomorrow is a sea day, and I’ll be taking a look at some other aspects of Silver Wind. Be sure to follow along on twitter by using the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport. Coverage runs from Tuesday, October 21 – Friday, October 31, 2014.
Our full journey: