Position as of this writing: 34° 14.32’ S, 24° 10.05’ E
Speed: 14 knots
Wind: 69.7 km
Bound for: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
After departing from Cape Town, South Africa last evening, Silversea’s Silver Wind almost immediately encountered heavy, rolling swells and high winds. This, in turn, had me encountering what was only my second bout of seasickness ever.
Normally, I pride myself on my ‘damn-the-torpedoes’ constitution that lets me enjoy the elevator ride that accompanies adverse weather while one-handing the uppermost, forward-most railing, screaming ‘Is that the best you’ve got?.’ into the wind and spray, but last night my sea legs weren’t fully working. So I hauled myself out of bed and stumbled over to the bathroom amid the shuddering of the ship and the ghost-like movement of my closet’s drawers to get a tried-and-tested remedy: I put a band-aid on my belly-button.
Now, I know how odd that sounds. Years ago, my mother read that if you placed a band-aid on your belly-button, it would help avoid seasickness. Mom’s sources on this advice remain unclear at best, but she was right – it works as well as eating a piece of ginger (also noted for its seakeeping properties.) Within 30 minutes of applying it, I’d gone from dreading the next swell that would shake my suite to having it lull me to sleep.
Once I got there, it was a wonderful, Silversea-sleep. There are actually two sides to a Silversea mattress: the standard soft side, and a firmer side for those who need a little more support. Your butler can switch this around for you, if you need it. There is also a pillow concierge menu featuring nine different options atop which you can lay your head upon. Embarrassingly, I’ve only ever stuck with the standard ones that the line puts out. Ditto for the toiletries, which come as Bulgari Silver in the Grand Suite, but can be swapped out for the regular green Bulgari (also awesome), or ones produced by Ferragamo.
It’s all about choice.
Unfortunately for me, my body chose a different choice this morning: the choice to be seasick. I put up the good fight with my little mal-de-mer ailment, trying to sit indoors, outdoors, forward and aft, but by 9am, I had to admit defeat: I crawled back into bed, put Taken 2 up on the television, and shut my eyes. In 34 cruises and over 200 days at sea, I have never once been physically ill on a cruise. That long-standing run ended this morning as the high winds and swells finally got the better of me.
Now, let me say this: if there is any ship I could have been forced to be seasick aboard, I’m glad it is the Silver Wind. My butler, the fantastic Ronaldo, sensed immediately that I wasn’t feeling well when he delivered my breakfast this morning (likely when the colour drained from my face.) He offered to bring me some sugared ginger, crackers, and Ginger Ale, which I readily agreed to. He was back in a flash, and came to collect my uneaten breakfast shortly thereafter. Even the front desk was offering to bring up some anti-seasickness tablets for me. For solo cruisers like myself, having another person offer to bring you something to make you feel better is just as good as being at home. By noon, I felt well enough to rejoin the world thanks to their kind care.
But enough about my inner-workings; let’s get on to this Wednesday, January 16th here onboard the Silver Wind. Here is a look at some of the things guests could participate in today, courtesy of the Chroniclesdaily program:
The one thing I’m truly disappointed I missed was the Arabic language class with Asta. If you’ve never gone to a language class on a cruise before, do so: they’re absolutely invaluable, and I though the chance to learn a little basic Arabic would be amazing.
On another note, I am super-impressed with the new paper stock Silversea is using for their Chronicles daily program. Textured and heavier than the previous paper, it gives the daily program a decidedly elegant feel to it. It’s also very tactile, and great for making notes on the paper. I am not sure if this new stock is only being used for certain suite categories, but I will try to find out.
One thing I really love about the Silver Wind is how easy and familiar everything is, even compared to my sailings on the much-larger and newer Silver Spirit. When I finally mustered up the courage to have lunch in La Terrazza this afternoon, it was just like a slightly-scaled down version of the one onboard the Silver Spirit, with the same attractive wood-panelled wall treatments and crimson soft furnishings.
Public rooms are laid out just as onboard all Silversea ships, with guest suites taking up the forward half of the ship and public areas situated aft, all linked by a single central corridor. A dual-sided spiral staircase links each level amidships (along with four elevators), and a smaller staircase provides additional access to the ship’s forward suites.
I love that the Silver Wind has been “Spirit-ized” a little: the gorgeous observation lounge up on Deck 9 was added during a refit a few years ago, and looks every bit like a scaled down version of my favorite daytime spot aboard the Silver Spirit, complete with a telescope and a book exchange program.
But there are also some wonderful differences about the Silver Wind, too. On Deck 5, The Bar is smaller and wonderfully inviting, spanning the entire beam of the ship. Flanked by large picture windows on either side, it’s decorated in cream coloured tones accented by highly-polished dark woods, making it feel bright and airy by day, and soft and soothing by night. I also like the grid-patterned ceilings that hide the room’s air conditioning systems; these were common on ships of the 1990’s but have gradually disappeared over the past decade or so. Here, the geometric pattern works to compliment the room’s Picasso-esque artwork.
Like the Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper, The Bar aboard the Silver Wind leads directly into the Parisian Show Lounge by way of two flanking doors on the port and starboard sides of the room. You wouldn’t expect to see a sweeping, two story show lounge onboard a ship the size of the Silver Wind, yet the Parisian Show Lounge makes perfect sense: it can seat the entire guest compliment in a single go.
The Bar also leads forward to a small Casino situated on the ship’s starboard side. Like the Casinos on every Silversea sailing I’ve been on, it sits largely forgotten and unused – which is fascinating, if you think about it. On larger, mainstream ships, the casino becomes this whirring entity of noise, flashing lights and cigarette smoke. Here onboard the Silver Wind, the Library is seeing more action. I’m not a gambler myself, so to me a quiet casino is heaven on earth.
More cool little things worth mentioning: there’s no interactive entertainment system in the suites aboard Silver Wind, but there is an extensive DVD library for guests to choose from. You simply head on down to the Library, pick the title out that you want, and sign it out at Reception. These are completely free of charge.
For suites with the Bang & Olufsen sound systems (or guests with their own CD players), a small selection of CD’s can also be rented out. I was impressed I was able to get my favorite sailing album, Enya’s Amarantine, to listen to, along with a DVD of the Liam Neeson movie, Unknown, to watch.
Tonight was our first Formal Night, and I enjoyed a fantastic dinner in the Italian-inspired La Terrazza all the way aft on Deck 7. Along with the outdoor Grill featuring Hot Rocks and Le Champagne, dinner in La Terrazza is one of my most treasured events on any Silversea ship. It’s like a little slice of Italy gone to sea, and I every time I dine there, I feel like I am back in my favorite city of Firenze.
Finally, I want to impress upon readers how much like a family a sailing with Silversea is. I’ve already met crew who remember me from my voyages aboard the Silver Spirit and the adventurous expedition vessel, Silver Explorer. They’re quick to say hi and offer me a hearty handshake, and I always enjoy stopping to chat and catch up with them. And I’m not alone; throughout the ship, I’ve seen other guests shake hands and embrace with the ship’s staff, asking them how they are and what they have been up to since they all last met.
Being able to travel halfway around the world and cruise in luxury is wonderful, but being able to step aboard and be greeted by a familiar, smiling face is what makes this experience truly magical. That, and sailing the Indian Ocean – in any condition.
|Day 1||Cape Town, South Africa|
|Day 2||Cruising The Indian Ocean|
|Day 3||Addo Elephant Park|
|Day 4||Day at Sea|
|Day 5||Maputo, Mozambique|
|Day 6||iSimangaliso Wetland Park|
|Day 7||On Safari|
|Day 8||Durban & Tala Private Game Reserve|
|Day 9||East London & an Inkwenkwezi Safari|
|Day 10||Day at Sea|