Silver Wind Review
As the second vessel ever constructed for ultra-luxury line Silversea, the Silver Wind still looks like she’s fresh out of the shipyard thanks to a series of thoughtful refits and updates, the most recent of which occured in late 2013. Sleek, yacht-like and wonderfully intimate, there’s nothing about Silver Wind that will immediately knock your socks off – and that’s just the way Silversea guests like it.
Instead, she carries the warm ambiance and friendly atmosphere that Silversea has successfully cultivated for decades. Public rooms are comfortable and inviting, done with elegant accents and a dash of vibrant red upholstery throughout. With just 296 guests onboard, crowding is never an issue here. Your favorite onboard spot remains just that, as if magically reserved just for you.
In a nod to the “new” Silversea, there are also healthy touches of the line’s flagship, the 540-guest Silver Spirit, that were added throughout during a 2008 refit. New additions included a glass-enclosed Observation Lounge on Deck 9 that remains wonderfully deserted throughout much of the day, and a completely redone La Terrazza aft on Deck 7.
A refit in late 2013 re-did the popular Bar on Deck 5, and dramatically altered the decor of Silversea’s Le Champagne specialty restaurant that is operated in conjunction with Relais & Chateaux. For the nostalgic, a few public rooms offer a glimpse at her mid-1990’s roots, including the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8 aft, with its polished brass and sea-foam green accents. Rather than being a negative, we see it as a positive. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The best quality of the Silver Wind, though, lies in her similarity to other Silversea vessels: Public rooms are clustered aft, and flow intuitively into one another. Nothing is far from reach here. It is paradise, the way cruising should be.
Silver Wind boasts some fantastic “hidden” suites, thanks to her 2008 refit. Of special note, Suite 738 is classified as a Vista Suite, but is located high up on Deck 7, just forward of the aft elevator lobby. At 325 square feet, it’s also substantially larger than those on Deck 4. Medallion Suite 741 is located just across the hall, and is the second stateroom to watch if you like a great location. Although this room lacks the balcony that those on Deck 8 offer, it is larger at 667 square feet, with oversized picture windows providing plenty of light into the separate living, dining and sleeping areas. The bathroom is also bigger than most of the top-level suites.
The lowest-accessible passenger deck aboard the Silver Wind, Deck 4 is home to 24 Oceanview Vista Suites. But don’t discount these just because they lack balconies; at 240 square feet, they’re some of the most spacious Oceanview staterooms afloat. Did we mention – as with every stateroom aboard Silver Wind – that the Vista Suites include butler service?
Just forward of the aft elevator lobby and its adjacent sweeping dual staircases is the Silver Wind’s lobby. Not only can you kick up your heels and relax with a good book here in the room’s clubby ambiance, but you can take the book with you, too. Well, perhaps not home – but you can take it poolside or enjoy it in your suite.
There’s also a fantastic collection of audio cd’s and DVD movies that can be rented free of charge and used in your suite’s DVD player or audio system. Simply take the empty case up to the Reception Desk, and the appropriate disc will be given to you. When you’re done with them, just return it to reception – or have your butler do it for you. The selection of both is better than we would have expected, with a great mix of contemporary titles and classic favorites.
A Silversea hallmark, Le Champagne is situated just aft of the aft elevator lobby in a separate room just off The Restaurant.
Dining here is exquisite and highly affordable, though the line still offers the pricy-but-worth-it degustation package that pairs a different kind of rare vintage wine with each course. Our only complaint about Le Champagne aboard the Silver Wind: It’s smallish and so popular you have to make reservations well in advance.
This is probably our favorite main dining room on the entire fleet. The Restaurant aboard the Silver Wind features sweeping, wave-like ceilings adorned with colored accent lighting that gives the room the feeling of being larger than it really is.
Seating is intimate and never cramped, and tables are offered on both port and starboard sides as well as in a rather cozy section in the middle of the room. Surrounded by serving stations, food here seems to magically appear before your eyes – and that’s never a bad thing. The Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner unless otherwise noted. Our personal favorite: Dinners here are almost universally delicious.
Like all Silversea ships, the forward half of Deck 5 is devoted to guest suites, while the after section contains the ship’s public rooms. Those on Deck 5, however, are some of our favorites.
Without a doubt our favorite public room aboard the Silver Wind, The Bar is an absolutely gorgeous affair that will make you want to spend your entire day here – and not just because of the generously-poured drinks, either. Decorated in earthy hues of yellow and gold, seating in The Bar is clustered in a horseshoe shape around the main bar area. Intimate wings extend aft down both port and starboard sides of the ship for quiet postprandial conversation and drinks, while you can always be a part of the action by ambling up to the highly-polished wooden bar and sliding into one of the comfortable leather seats.
Aboard other Silversea ships, The Bar is gradually being retrofitted to sport the same distinctive (and equally-attractive) Art Deco look found aboard the Silver Spirit, which means someday we may have to travel to an Italian shipyard to prevent them from doing that to this bar, because it is truly one of the nicest public rooms afloat. Period.
Evenings aboard the Silver Wind are always clustered around three main decks, one of which is Deck 6. The ship’s Reception and Shore Excursion desks, along with the Future Cruise Consultant, can also be found here.
The Parisian Lounge aboard the Silver Wind is something of a surprise for a ship her size: a surprisingly large, elegant venue spanning two decks in height and featuring gorgeous gold accents accompanied by rich upholstery that recalls the room’s French namesake. Sight lines tend to be excellent, with only a few locations with minimal obstructions. Our favorite seating location, though, is on the room’s upper wings, giving you a breathtaking view of the stage and seating areas below.
One thing we particularly like about this room: There’s still plenty of dinner-theatre-style seating, with comfortable chairs and couches clustered around small tables.
The Grand Suite
In what could also be appropriately titled the “I’ve Died and Gone to Heaven” Suite, Silver Wind’s two Grand Suites are some of the largest aboard the ship, spanning 1,019 square feet and including two balconies: one facing the port or starboard side, and one facing forward that overlooks Silver Wind’s bow.
Photographs truly can’t do this room justice. They don’t tell you, for example, that the upper portion of all walls in the suite are covered in a rich, olive-green-colored fabric, bordered by attractive wooden panelling. Light switches are backed by brass panels, as are the room’s electrical outlets (which, curiously, are all European-style two-prong plug sockets).
After entering, a quick turn will bring you to your very own private hallway separating the bathroom from the bedroom and the walk-in-closet that’s big enough for a person to sleep in. All told, the room has five interior doors that can be opened or closed to partition off the room, perfect for entertaining or when travelling with more than two people in the suite.
In fact, nothing has been left out of this room: amenities like Bvlgari Silver toiletries (or Ferragamo); a Bang & Olufsen sound system; an Illy Espresso machine; two flat-panel television screens with DVD players; and a fabulous desk area with its own fixed window make it a joy to spend time here.
Guests booking a Grand Suite can also look forward to some addition amenities, like a complimentary daily newspaper printout delivered to the room; 240 minutes of free internet access; 120 minutes of free telephone calls; and complimentary laundry throughout the voyage. You can even dine in Le Champagne once per voyage segment for free.
Looking for a truly special experience? You can book the Grand Suite with an adjacent Veranda Suite for a grand total of 1,314 square feet, including a private, keycard-access-restricted entrance foyer. Staying in Grand Suite 702 may be like the Mount Everest of cruising: It will all be downhill after that!
Silver Wind’s standard Veranda Suites are nothing to turn your nose up at, either. Spacious and comfortable, these 295-square-foot suites are Silversea’s signature accommodation level, available throughout most of the Silver Wind. They feature a private balcony, marbled bathroom with a full-sized tub and shower combination, a separate sitting area, a vanity, a separate work desk, and – of course – the services of your always-attentive butler, who can provide you with three different kinds of toiletries, nine different types of pillow, and a world of relaxation.
Silversea’s trademark Italian eatery focuses on the core elements of the Slow Food movement: providing a pleasurable, quality dining experience that highlights the rich Italian heritage of La Terrazza. Here, you can rediscover the joys of eating – and eating well – with a menu of Italian specialties paired with fabulous wines. What’s more, if the weather allows, there’s nothing like a great meal here taken outdoor on the terrace.
Buffet breakfast and lunch are served here, while at night La Terrazza becomes a reservations-required (though free of charge) specialty restaurant. It’s one of our absolute favorite venues on any Silversea ship; we can’t get enough of it.
Deck 8 is sun-bathing country, home to Silver Wind’s expansive pool deck, swimming pool, and hot tubs. Because the ship only holds 296 guests, finding your favorite deck chair poolside is never an issue. Nor is space in the two hot tubs. Or the pool … or the … well, you get the idea.
At night, the pool deck is transformed into The Grill featuring Hot Rocks, a culinary “must” on any Silversea voyage. Here, you can dine under the stars on a variety of beef and seafood cooked atop your very own slab of volcanic rock. Pair it with an assortment of red or white wines, and you have the recipe for a magical night aboard the Silver Wind.
The Panorama Lounge
Located all the way aft on Deck 8, the Panorama Lounge offers events like Trivia and High Tea by day, and soothing live Piano music and dancing by night. It is one of the few public areas onboard that has remained largely untouched since the ship’s 1995 launch, which can be either a positive or a negative depending on your view of mid-90’s cruise ship design.
While it’s more understated and subdued than its counterpart aboard the newer Silver Spirit, there’s nothing like the 180-degree views from this wraparound lounge, which remains one of the ship’s most popular spaces by day and night.
High atop Deck 9, more outdoor deck space is offered, along with a collection of deck chairs that can be positioned along both port and starboard sides of the ship, sheltered from the wind by the higher bulkhead walls. But it is also home to one of Silver Wind’s most distinctive features.
The Observation Lounge
Added during the ship’s 2008 refit, the forward-facing Observation Lounge offers inspiring views overlooking the bow of the Silver Wind. Done in the same soothing, almost study-like style found aboard the 2009 Silver Spirit, it’s no problem to lose yourself here among one of the lounge’s many books, or to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while admiring the ocean ahead.
On our voyages, we always seemed to be the only people in here, which suited us just fine. Think of the Observation Lounge as your very own slice of paradise, onboard paradise.
The Spa at Silversea
During the refit, a new Spa and Gymnasium area was added just aft of the Observation Lounge, and is accessible via the forward staircase or from an exterior door on the starboard side of Deck 9. Like the rest of the Silver Wind, it seems perfectly proportioned and offers nearly all the treatments and services of Silversea’s larger ships.
THE SILVER WIND
If you look hard enough, you’ll find signs of her age: some bent steel in the hull plating, or an area of carpeting that doesn’t quite come flush with the walls. In other words, signs of a working ship. But there is something special, even magical about the Silver Wind. Silver Wind is the backbone on which Silversea cruises was built. She is the ship that, together with her earlier sister Silver Cloud, turned a dream into reality and launched one of the most successful luxury cruise lines in the world. Even now, more than two decades after her launch, she still turns heads whenever she pulls into port.
But most of all, Silver Wind captures the hearts of cruisers the way she’s done for countless guests since her debut in 1995: with her personalized service, her welcoming nature, and her decidedly human size. — Aaron Saunders