Silver Wind Middle East Adventure Day 2: At Sea

At Sea en-route to Salalah, Oman

Sailing the Arabian Sea aboard Silversea's Silver Wind on Monday, April 6, 2015. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Sailing the Arabian Sea aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind on Monday, April 6, 2015. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Position as of Noon: 19° 59’02” N, 58° 50’25” E

Speed: 15.80 knots

Wind: 50 km/h / Seas: 1 metre

Distance Sailed from Muscat: 268 Nautical Miles

 

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports

Monday, April 6, 2015

Our first day onboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind is a relaxing one, as we spend a day sailing the Arabian Sea en-route to our first port of call in Salalah, Oman, where we will dock tomorrow afternoon.

It's all about the little details on Silversea. Why go down to breakfast when you can have it brought up to you, in every suite category? Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
It’s all about the little details on Silversea. Why go down to breakfast when you can have it brought up to you, in every suite category? Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Because Silversea is all about little indulgences, I filled out a Room Service Breakfast card last night before heading off to bed. Reynaldo, my butler, delivered it promptly at nine this morning as requested. Although breakfast aboard Silver Wind is offered in La Terrazza (Deck 7) or in The Restaurant (Deck 4), I prefer to have mine delivered to my suite. It’s just so darn easy and convenient.

My Silver Suite also features its own espresso machine...Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
My Silver Suite also features its own espresso machine…Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
...perfect for that morning espresso and the daily news - personalized based on your nationality. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
…perfect for that morning espresso and the daily news – personalized based on your nationality. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

As we sail the smooth-as-glass Arabian Sea today, here’s the location of the Silversea fleet today, courtesy of the Silversea Chronicles:

Today, Silversea's Silver Discoverer is anchored at Raft Point, in Australia's Kimberley Coast... Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
Today, Silversea’s Silver Discoverer is anchored at Raft Point, in Australia’s Kimberley Coast… Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
...while Silver Galapagos is anchored off Punta Vincente Roca, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Silversea has shown me more of the world's most interesting and off-the-beaten-path itineraries than any other cruise line - and it's the reason I sail with them again and again. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
…while Silver Galapagos is anchored off Punta Vincente Roca, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Silversea has shown me more of the world’s most interesting and off-the-beaten-path itineraries than any other cruise line – and it’s the reason I sail with them again and again. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The positions of Silver Galapagos and Silver Discoverer are two of my absolute favorite places I’ve ever visited. They’re also a good reminder that some of the most interesting places I’ve been to have been onboard Silversea ships. There was Porto Novo in the Cape Verde Islands aboard the Silver Spirit in 2012. Richards Bay, South Africa aboard the Silver Wind in 2013. Taormina, Sicily aboard the Silver Spirit in 2011. Staffa, Scotland aboard the Silver Explorer in 2012. The list goes on and on. To me, the strength of Silversea’s itineraries and their willingness to explore off-the-beaten path ports of call – even with their “classic” fleet of non-expedition luxury ships – is a major plus.

For most of today, we were treated to a horizon of odd haze that obscured the sun, but not the heat or humidity. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
For most of today, we were treated to a horizon of odd haze that obscured the sun, but not the heat or humidity. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Speaking of itineraries, our own itinerary has been changed today. Captain Gennaro Arma informed us during his Noon address that, due to Egyptian authorities insisting on an earlier transit of the Suez Canal, our call on Sharm el Sheikh has been dropped. This has been done to allow us to take the first Northbound Transit Convoy of the day on 14 April; a change necessitated due to heavy marine traffic in the region. Should we miss that first transit convoy, we’d be forced to take the evening convoy – and miss our scheduled arrival into Ashdod, Israel.

Although I photographed it later in the day, I spent the morning in the Observation Lounge on Deck 9 forward... Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Although I photographed it later in the day, I spent the morning in the Observation Lounge on Deck 9 forward… Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
...catching up on a little light reading, courtesy of the Silversea Library. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
…catching up on a little light reading, courtesy of the Silversea Library. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Because Ashdod is such an important port of call, Captain Arma – in consultation with Silversea – made the decision to drop Sharm el Sheikh. I would have liked to have seen the Egyptian resort town, but I’m just thankful it wasn’t one of the “big ports” like Safaga (gateway to Luxor) or Aqaba (gateway to Petra) that were affected. Plus, after two back-to-back 13 hour tours in both of the aforementioned ports of call, I think I’ll need a day at sea to recuperate!

At 11:00 a.m., I listed to a fascinating lecture by Guest Lecturer Peter Damisch. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
At 11:00 a.m., I listed to a fascinating lecture by Guest Lecturer Peter Damisch. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Days at sea are relaxing events on Silversea ships. There’s no rock-climbing wall, nor are there a million diversions with which to occupy your time. There are scheduled activities, of course, but these tend to be either educational (lectures, origami art classes, bridge lessons) or social (coffee chat with a Voice of Silversea, afternoon tea).

I also found time to get my hair cut... Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
I also found time to get my hair cut… Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
...at the Spa at Silversea on Deck 9 forward. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
…at the Spa at Silversea on Deck 9 forward. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

That’s not to say a day at sea aboard the Silver Wind is boring. Far from it! If anything, a Silversea day at sea gives you the time you need to rest, recuperate from your journey, and indulge your own interests. For me, that meant getting my hair cut by Charlie in the Spa at Silversea this morning – something I’ve needed to do for about three weeks now but have continually been putting off. The price of a Men’s Wet Cut is a very reasonable $36, and I’ve had great success with getting my hair cut aboard Silversea ships since I made my first trip to a shipboard barber aboard Silver Shadow in Alaska last June.

Despite the immense humidity, I also indulge in my favorite pool deck lunch. There's nothing like dining outdoors when you're at sea! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Despite the immense humidity, I also indulged in my favorite pool deck lunch. There’s nothing like dining outdoors when you’re at sea! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

I also found the time to read my book on my balcony (Tracks by Robyn Davidson) on my balcony until the heat and humidity drove me back into the air conditioned splendour of the ship. The heat here is a funny thing; it’s about 27 degrees Celsius outside. Hot, but by no means scorching. Add to that nearly 100 percent humidity and you’ll find yourself perspiring like a slowly-squeezed sponge in no time at all. The temperature inside my Silver Suite is much more to this cold-weather Canadian’s liking!

My Silver Suite by day. Even relaxing in your suite can be considered a worthwhile activity on a day at sea aboard a Silversea ship! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
My Silver Suite by day. Even relaxing in your suite can be considered a worthwhile activity on a day at sea aboard a Silversea ship! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

In short, no two guests here aboard the Silver Wind spent their sea days alike. But I do find it interesting that, without exception, everyone I have spoken with so far has sailed with Silversea on any number of voyages in the past, and all were attracted to this specific itinerary – as was I. Personally, I am thankful that Silversea offers it. Not all of us want to sail to the Caribbean from Florida for the rest of our natural lives.

Enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail in The Bar, Deck 5. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail in The Bar, Deck 5. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Tonight is our first Formal Night here aboard the Silver Wind. I gave my shirts to my butler yesterday evening to be pressed, and they came back looking sharp and crisp just before 6:00 p.m. I also noticed that, at some point in the afternoon, he had shined my shoes, wrapped them, and sealed them with a Silversea-logo sticker. This is one of the things that impressed me so much on my first trip with Silversea back in 2010, and it doesn’t fail to impress me now.

Guests gather in the Parisien Lounge on Decks 5 and 6 for the Captain's Welcome Cocktail at 7:00 p.m. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Guests gather in the Parisien Lounge on Decks 5 and 6 for the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail at 7:00 p.m. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

It does interest me a little when I read message boards like those on CruiseCritic. There are those that say Silversea is slipping, that bemoan the “good old days” when caviar flowed like water and the Silver Wind was 19 years younger. It’s true – this staple of the Silversea fleet celebrates her 20th birthday this year, and it’s true, there are a few bumps and bruises here and there. If you look hard enough. As you’d expect of any ship this age.

Cruise Director Colin Barbiere-Brown introduces the Captain and his Officers at the Welcome Aboard Cocktail this evening. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Cruise Director Colin Barbiere-Brown introduces the Captain and his Officers at the Welcome Aboard Cocktail this evening. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

What I don’t see, however, is the Silversea product slipping. I see it evolving. Sure, I miss the printed Passenger List the line used to hand out. That was pretty special. But I think the new documentation package is a huge improvement over the old one; regardless of how much I loved those leather document pouches, I threw all the contents straight into the garbage after the voyage. The new Voyage Journals give me a book-like keepsake of my entire journey, and I’ve got past ones lined up on my bookshelf at home.

The Silver Wind Quartet performs at the Captain's Welcome Cocktail this evening. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
The Silver Wind Quartet performs at the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail this evening. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

I also, personally, have seen the food improve. The onboard amenities have improved, from the Pratesi linens to the Bang & Olufsen sound systems and iHome iPod docking stations. Waiters in all the dining venues now use an iPad-based system that ensures greater accuracy in orders and enables them to converse with you more now that the need for them to constantly run to the galley has been eliminated. Even in the onboard shops, where I purchased a new hat today, the purchasing system has been entirely switched over to a sales associate holding an iPad.

Strolling the Silver Wind at night. Despite being on the eve of her 20th birthday, the ship is in great shape. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Strolling the Silver Wind at night. Despite being on the eve of her 20th birthday, the ship is in great shape. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Just this year, the line launched a new initiative in the Mediterranean: inclusive shore excursions. It’s a program that has been enormously popular since Silversea rolled it out a few months ago, and one that no doubt the line’s top brass are carefully mulling possibly expanding to other destinations.

Still my favorite spot onboard the Silver Wind: the picturesque corridor that runs along Deck 9 forward between the Spa at Silversea and the Observation Lounge. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Still my favorite spot onboard the Silver Wind: the picturesque corridor that runs along Deck 9 forward between the Spa at Silversea and the Observation Lounge. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

So when I read reports that Silversea is slipping? Not in the least. Anyone who has any doubts of that need only step onboard any one of the mainstream cruise ships, holding three to five thousand passengers and littered with a myriad of extra-cost items and no butlers, to truly appreciate just how good they’ve got it here onboard the Silver Wind.

Twenty-one years on, Silversea’s still got a pretty darn good idea of how to deliver a luxury cruise experience.

Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Silver Wind Middle East Adventure

DAYPORTARRIVEDEPART
April 5, 2015Muscat, OmanEmbark Silver Wind19:00
April 6Day at Sea
April 7Salalah, Oman13:0023:00
April 8At Sea
April 9At Sea
April 10At Sea
April 11At Sea
April 12Safaga, Egypt07:0021:00
April 13Aqaba, Jordan09:3021:00
April 14Transiting the Suez Canal
April 15Port Said, Egypt08:0017:00
April 16Ashdod, Israel08:0023:00
April 17Haifa, Israel07:0018:00
April 18At Sea
April 19Kusadasi, Turkey08:0017:00
April 20Piraeus (Athens), Greece07:00Disembark; Live Voyage Recap

Our Live Voyage Report aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind continues tomorrow as we arrive in Salalah, Oman! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

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One Comment

  • Thanks Aaron… Following this with great interest.

    Regards Gary Magill [AU]

    Reply

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