One More Relaxing Day At Sea With Silversea
Position as of 16:13 L: 24° 15’48” N, 36° 03’42” E
Speed: 15.3 knots
Wind: 61 km/h / Seas: 3 metres
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports
Our final day at sea onboard Silversea’s Silver Wind before our arrival in Safaga, Egypt tomorrow couldn’t be more different from those that came before it. To start with, high winds gusting up to 70 kilometres per hour overnight increased the wave height from virtually nothing to decent-sized swells that had the Silver Wind plowing through spray and wind well into the afternoon.
Last night, I attempted to photograph these swells just after midnight – and was caught by surprise by an unusually large wave that blanketed my verandah in thick, salty sea spray. This is a good time to mention I’m on Deck 7 – and sea level is five decks below me. Yet I watched as a huge wave broke over the bow of the ship, obliterated the starboard bridge wing, and raced aft towards my camera. It took 30 minutes to dry the Nikon off, and necessitated a midnight hop in the shower for me to get the saltwater out of my hair.
The other major change today is that the sweltering 44°C temperatures of yesterday have disappeared, thanks in large part to a “cold” front that’s sweeping down from Cairo and the Mediterranean. This means that the shipboard air conditioning system can actually keep up with the temperature inside the ship, which is finally starting to regulate after two days of overworked wonkiness.
Today was all about breaking up my “usual” Silversea routine. I went to La Terrazza on Deck 7 for breakfast this morning, where they put out a beautiful buffet spread with pretty well anything you could want, including cheeses, fruits, hot and cold items, muesli and cereals.
After, I headed up to the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8 for some reading, writing and my morning Cappuccino, but instead spent an enjoyable morning talking with some fantastic fellow guests. International Hostess Bianca came around with the daily Sudoku competition, but I took a pass on that. Math was never my strong suit, and I like to joke that anything with numbers still freaks me out a bit.
Instead, I poured myself a cup of Bouillon around 11:00 and sat in the lounge until just after Noon – marking three hours well spent in the lounge talking, laughing, and writing – all within sight of the sea. If only every day could be this way!
I also took lunch in The Restaurant today, which I am finding increasingly relaxing. Normally I stick to the Pool Grill, but the recent heatwave forced me to find alternatives. Only about a dozen or so guests were there, but that’s part of the draw, too. With classical music playing softly in the background and attentive waiters and sommeliers zipping all around you, there’s little to complain about.
That’s not to say that everything is perfect: the exterior of the ship is in rough shape for what I’d expect from Silversea, and could use a definite re-painting around the portside bow and funnel areas. However, I also know that different ports have regulations that govern when, or if, exterior paint work is allowed, so that has to be taken into consideration. Add to it the fact that Silver Wind is arguably sailing a series of “real” voyages with long stretches at sea and not short pleasure trips around the Caribbean, and you can see why she’s perhaps got a more “run hard” look to her.
I mention this only because I think the Silver Wind and her sister, Silver Cloud, are some of the most beautiful ships afloat. They have elegant, graceful lines, from their tapered forward superstructure to their swept-back bridge wings and elongated upper deck works that cascade attractively both forward and aft. The experience on the inside is what count, but the exterior of a luxury ship should make everyone stepping off the larger megaships jealous with envy.
Inside, though, service is flawless as always – and that’s what truly makes all the difference. Onboard the Silver Wind, there are staff here that I’ve sailed with on Silver Spirit, Silver Explorer, Silver Discoverer, and Silver Shadow on voyages in the past. The more you sail with Silversea, the better they know you. The more like family you become. They’re genuinely nice, and genuinely interested. And I’m just scratching the surface in comparison to my fellow guests: at tonight’s Venetian Society Party for past guests, one couple had just crossed the 500 day mark. Another couple had 600 days with the line. But the winner in the room was a nice American couple, who trumped everyone with well over 700 days at sea with Silversea. To me, that says a lot!
Tomorrow, we arrive in Safaga, and our adventure through history begins! I’ll be taking the massive 13-hour tour of nearby Luxor & The Valley of the Kings, but for those who elect to stay in Safaga, Silversea has already arranged for complimentary shuttle bus service between the ship and the Riviera Plaza Abu Soma Hotel that departs at the bottom of the hour between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Maps have already been placed out on the Shore Excursion Desk on Deck 6, along with a detailed writeup of the port courtesy of Fodors. These Silversea Concierge Close Up papers are absolutely invaluable, as they have a map overview of the city center, important sights to see, and a brief history of the port or region.
They’re also a welcome change for those who might be used to the “maps” you get on many mainstream cruises that have literally been created with diamond and gemstone resellers in mind, at the expense of the rest of the town. There’s none of that here –nor should there be.
As for me, I’ve got my shore excursion ticket in hand tonight, ready for an early-morning departure from the ship – and a journey back in time to one of the world’s most ancient sites.
Silver Wind Middle East Adventure
|April 5, 2015||Muscat, Oman||Embark Silver Wind||19:00|
|April 6||Day at Sea|
|April 7||Salalah, Oman||13:00||23:00|
|April 8||At Sea|
|April 9||At Sea|
|April 10||At Sea|
|April 11||At Sea|
|April 12||Safaga, Egypt||07:00||21:00|
|April 13||Aqaba, Jordan||09:30||21:00|
|April 14||Transiting the Suez Canal|
|April 15||Port Said, Egypt||08:00||17:00|
|April 16||Ashdod, Israel||08:00||23:00|
|April 17||Haifa, Israel||07:00||18:00|
|April 18||At Sea|
|April 19||Kusadasi, Turkey||08:00||17:00|
|April 20||Piraeus (Athens), Greece||07:00||Disembark; Live Voyage Recap|
Our Live Voyage Report aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind continues tomorrow as we travel to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.