At Sea en-route to Safaga, Egypt
Position as of 24:00 L: 12° 58’22” N, 48° 14’13” E
Speed: 18 knots
Wind: 13 km/h / Seas: 1 metre
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports
Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind is zipping along the Gulf of Aden at the relatively fast speed of 18 knots. It’s nearly top speed for our sleek 514-foot long ship, which has spent the better part of the day passing the slower-moving tankers and container ships that make up the bulk of traffic in the southbound shipping lanes here.
In fact, the more I talk to my fellow guests onboard, the more I’ve come to a singular conclusion: rather than being frightened of this itinerary, they’ve all come here expressly for this sailing from Oman to Greece. It’s a nice bit of confirmation that there are still people out there who base their travel decisions on information, and not the reactionary crap that CNN passes off as news.
Sea days here onboard the Silver Wind take on a relaxing ebb and flow, and I’ve found it all too easy to slip into my creature-of-habit-like ways. Breakfast was once again ordered to the suite for delivery at nine this morning, and my butler Reynaldo bested that by having it at the door at 8:50 a.m. I used my in-suite CD player to play a little music (The Reminder by Feist), and I enjoyed breakfast while the ocean slipped past my balcony doors. With multiple days at sea ahead of us, where’s the rush? The first thing on my agenda today was to have a Cappuccino in the Panorama Lounge around ten, and to attend the wine tasting in the Parisian Lounge on Deck 6 at eleven. Not a bad Wednesday morning, I must admit.
Throughout the past few days, I’ve also enjoyed running into several staff members who were onboard the Silver Wind during my last sailing in November of 2013, including Cruise Director Colin, International Hostess Elonora, and Future Cruise Consultant Alessandra. Just as impressive, I’ve actually run into several guests here onboard who were on that same post-drydock sailing with me. It’s not the first time I’ve run into guests I’ve sailed with before on other Silversea cruises, but I can tell you that there’s no other line in the world that I’ve sailed with where I’ve had that happen. It’s a nice little surprise, to be sure! It’s also been nice to meet several people who have been longtime readers who’ve come up and introduced themselves to me; I’m truly honoured when someone takes the time to walk over and say hello. When I started this site almost six years ago, I couldn’t fathom the day when that would happen!
This is a neat part of the world to sail through; all day, I’ve had the included Atlas of the World in my suite opened up to Page 140, which shows the region we’re going through in detail. There’s something quite interesting – not unsettling – about knowing Yemen is 10 nautical miles off our starboard beam. For most North Americans, the “Middle East” is some esoteric place that exists in a far-off land. It might as well be on the dark side of the moon. Sailing the smooth (and amazingly humid) seas off the coast puts a human perspective on it, even if we’re so far away that we can’t actually see land.
Which brings me to my next point: even though Silver Wind is plowing through the seas at 18 knots, the seas are smooth as glass here, and Silver Wind remains quiet and rattle-free throughout the ship. The only place that the increase in speed is noticeable is all the way aft in the Panorama Lounge, where a comfortable vibration can be observed in the seat of your chair and in the waterline of your drink.
It’s also been neat to observe the ships that are sailing around us. Throughout the day, the ships seem to repeat and cycle like the backdrop in an under-funded children’s cartoon. Cargo ship, Cargo ship, warship. Warship, tanker, tanker. Cargo ship, cargo ship, warship…and so on. I don’t know about you, but my last few trips to the Caribbean have been reasonably warship-free. There’s a definite excitement onboard with so much interesting and different traffic – all of it slower than us.
The only thing I’m not a fan of so far on this voyage is the incredible humidity outside. It manages to permeate the ship on the Deck 8 and Deck 7 corridors to the point where the glass doors separating the passenger accommodations from the rest of the public rooms aft have been closed off to preserve the poor Air Conditioning system, which must be working overtime to keep the ship cool.
Though my balcony had a pleasant breeze all afternoon, my attempts to sit on the pool deck felt like I’d signed up for an express Turkish Bath. Resigned that my Canadian body just wasn’t built for this sort of thing, I headed down to the Restaurant on Deck 4 for lunch for the first time this sailing – and I enjoyed it so much I might go back again tomorrow.
Today’s theme was “Mexico”, and to that end, I enjoyed the Spicy Salmon Ceviche; the Chicken Tortilla Wrap with Avocado; and the spicy Chile con Carne. Portions were excellent (I don’t like a heavy lunch), though I was a little surprised that the wrap came with Pringles potato chips. Which I love. Then again, it’s probably as close to Mexican tortilla chips as you can get when your ship is provisioning in Oman!
Tonight, I went to see the production show in the Parisian Lounge, Voices of Broadway, as performed by the Voices of Silversea – in this case, a cast of six talented performers. This is the successor to Silversea’s past entertainment program, which was informally known as “The Artists of Silversea.” Performing a variety of Broadway hits, Voices of Broadway was a minimalist but nice take on some of the best-known musicals of the past decades. If there’s one complaint, it’s that I wish there was a live orchestra accompanying these performers. Their vocal range is so fantastic that it seems a shame that the music accompanying them is little better than synth karaoke samples. Then again, an orchestra might overpower the intimate Parisian Lounge. It’s such a fine line.
Still – overall, I think the Voices of Silversea is an improvement over the previous Artists of Silversea programme.
Tonight, it’s up to the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8, where I am writing this report – hopefully in time to have a drink with some of my fellow guests, who are without exception, fabulous. I’ve always found it odd that I relate better to the guests on Silversea despite the fact that, at 32 years of age, I’m far from being the target demographic for the line. But I feel more comfortable here than on most mainstream ships, where I always have the vague but persistent feeling of being a fish out of water.
I’ve always maintained that all I try to do with these blogs is to show people the different lines, ships and destinations of the world. There’s literally a ship for everyone; for me, the Silver Wind fits my personality perfectly. If I ran a cruise line, it would look a lot like Silversea.
One of my favorite river cruise lines always says, “How you see the world matters.” I think that’s very true – and I can’t think of a better way to see the Middle East than here on the Silver Wind.
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 spend another day at sea en-route to Safaga, Egypt! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.