Silver Wind Mediterranean Day 3 – Naples

An Unexpected Day in Naples

The striking Galleria Umberto I in the heart of historic Naples, Italy. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
The striking Galleria Umberto I in the heart of historic Naples, Italy. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports

The Mediterranean is renowned the world over for its breathtaking vistas and ideal climate. But this paradise can –and has – turned on sailors for centuries. Harsh, vengeful and remorseless, she is every bit as demanding of one’s respect as the moody North Atlantic.

Last night, things were rocking and rolling here onboard Silversea’s Silver Wind. The party, however, really kicked off around 1 a.m., when the seas and winds were at their height. A large swell clipped us, and the Silver Wind shuddered as she “bottomed out” on the trough left by the waves, causing my stateroom’s orchid to take an unscheduled dive to the floor, along with the brochures I had been looking at.

The Sea Was Angry That Day: the view from my balcony at one a.m. as the Silver Wind drove through a particularly turbulent stretch of the Mediterranean. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
The Sea Was Angry That Day: the view from my balcony at one a.m. as the Silver Wind drove through a particularly turbulent stretch of the Mediterranean. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Fortunately, I’d taken some pre-emptive measures before going to bed last night, applying Sea Bands and enjoying some ginger. I’m not prone to seasickness, but it never hurts to be prepared.

For the next few hours, the Silver Wind lurched forward and aft; port and starboard with the heavy swells, spray and rain pounding the ship and caking my balcony with a fine layer of sea salt.

Approaching the breakwater at Naples, Italy. Even at 6am, the swells here are still large. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Approaching the breakwater at Naples, Italy. Even at 6 a.m., the swells here are still large. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The adverse weather also provided a unique Silversea moment: I spent 10 minutes propping up my bottles of Scotch and Champagne that my butler had brought just hours before to ensure they wouldn’t break. Silversea is the only cruise line I wake up in the middle of a storm onboard and think to myself, “Oh no – the Scotch!”

The decision to scrap our planned port of call in Sorrento in favor of Naples seemed all the more logical after last night. In fact, I have yet to hear a single complaint about the diversion. Even just entering the breakwater around the harbour here in Napoli required crossing some ugly swells that buffeted not only us, but also the much-larger Queen Elizabeth that followed us in.

The Queen Elizabeth follows our lead into Naples on November 20, 2013. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
The Queen Elizabeth follows our lead into Naples on November 20, 2013. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

If you read my last Live Voyage Report from onboard the Silver Wind in South Africa back in January, you’ll know I was fortunate to snag one of two palatial Grand Suites on Deck 7. But I have to say how much I am enjoying my Midship Balcony Suite this time around. Sure, I loved the Grand Suite – you’d have to be amazingly jaded not to – but I am pleasantly surprised by how spacious the room is. It’s ingeniously designed, and while numerous little enhancements have been made over the years, it’s difficult to believe that these rooms are nearly 20 years old.

Silversea's Silver Wind docked in Naples, Italy. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Silversea’s Silver Wind docked in Naples, Italy. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

I also appreciate that, despite the fact Silversea is a luxury product, the few things (and I mean “few”) that actually carry a surcharge are reasonably priced. Laundry and pressing services onboard are more affordable than the last luxury hotel I stayed in, and internet packages are on-par with other lines, coming in at about $85 for 250 minutes. Connectivity speed has been faster than I would have expected.

With real Italian coffee and fresh orange juice, why do I need to get off the ship? Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
With real Italian coffee and fresh orange juice, why do I need to get off the ship? Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

But even just this morning has reaffirmed why I always tell people to consider sailing with Silversea, even if perhaps they feel it is out of their price range. The fact remains that Silversea is expensive, but it’s also a fantastic value. Rather than getting stuck with an onboard account statement filled with dozens of incidental charges at the end of your vacation, you arguably pay for it upfront. For that, you get better food. Better service. Better accommodations.

Watching our approach into Naples from Deck 9 aboard the Silver Wind. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Watching our approach into Naples from Deck 9 aboard the Silver Wind. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Most relaxing of all, I can grab a Coke out of the mini-bar and it doesn’t cost me a dime. I can order a latte, gratis. If I finish my martini and I’m asked, “Mr. Saunders, would you like another,” I can say yes instead of worrying about how much it will set me back.

If you’re walking off mainstream cruises with onboard account bills in excess of $1,000, ask yourself again just how “affordable” that vacation is. It adds up quickly.

Silver Wind's dedicated crew keep a watchful eye as they prepare to cast the first bow line ashore. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Silver Wind’s dedicated crew keep a watchful eye as they prepare to cast the first bow line ashore. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Before we head off for some adventure in Naples, a look at some of what is happening this morning and afternoon aboard the Silver Wind, courtesy of the Silversea Chronicles:

  • 7:30 – Morning Walk with Fitness Instructor Elvis – Aerobics Room (9)
  • 8:00 – Silver Wind is scheduled to dock in Naples, Italy
  • 8:00 – the Silver Quiz, Crossword, and Sudoku are available. Shore Concierge (6)
  • 8:00 – International Desk. Maria is available to assist International Guests. Lobby (6)
  • 8:00 – Stretch and Surrender with Fitness Instructor Elvis – Aerobics Room (9)
  • 10:00 – Jigsaw Puzzle. Come along and add a few pieces. – Card Room (6)
  • 10:15 – Coffee Chat with the Artists of Silversea – Panorama Lounge (8)
  • 10:30 – Sudoku Challenge for prize points with Int’l. Hostess Eleonora – Panorama Lounge (8)
  • 11:00 – Informal Table Tennis with fellow guests. – Pool Deck (8)
  • 4:00 – Afternoon Tea is served with the delightful music of Mario – Panorama Lounge (8)
  • 5:00 – Team Trivia for prize points with Cruise Director Colin – The Bar (5)
  • 5:30 – All aboard! The Silver Wind prepares to sail
  • 5:30 – Enrichment Lecture with Destination Consultant Dr. Lew Deitch. – Parisian Lounge (6)
  • 5:30 – Golf Putting with the Artists of Silversea. – Lobby (5)
  • 5:30 – Sundowners Bar – Enjoy a cocktail as the sun descends beyond the horizon. – Pool Bar (8)

Today, the gangway is conveniently located right outside my suite on Deck 5, making going ashore in Naples ridiculously easy.

Naples is something of a hub for both construction and traffic. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Naples is something of a hub for both construction and traffic. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Getting around on foot in Naples can be a challenge. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Getting around on foot in Naples can be a challenge. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Naples lacks the natural charm that cities like Rome and Florence have. The disparity of wealth here in Napoli is particularly naked. On one street, you’ll see people dressed as if they’re geared up to go to a party filled with influential movers and shakers, while poverty-stricken women cradle babies and beg for change on the streets. Couple that with dead-end streets, endless construction and locust-like traffic, and you have an experience that is rough around the edges.

But experienced travelers should be able to look past those challenges to still have an enjoyable time here. I set out armed with a map (provided at the Shore Concierge desk) and no real plans, and ended up having an enjoyable morning ashore.

The imposing facade of Napoli's Castel Nouovo. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
The imposing facade of Napoli’s Castel Nuovo. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

My first stop was easily visible from onboard the Silver Wind: the imposing medieval fortress of Castel Nuovo. Known locally as Maschio Angioino, the castle dates back to the 1400s and can be toured for only €6 per person.

Castel Nuovo's Inner Courtyard. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Castel Nuovo’s Inner Courtyard. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

In addition to housing several historic works of art and other artifacts, the Castle also boasts some postcard-perfect views of Naples and the city’s inner harbour. Architecture buffs will no doubt also love the design and construction of the Castle’s Inner Courtyard. It’s just a shame they make you hand back the small information pamphlet provided on your way out.

Inside Castel Nuovo are numerous artifacts and works of art from the period. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Inside Castel Nuovo are numerous artifacts and works of art from the period. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
The view from the second-floor balcony isn't bad, either. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
The view from the second-floor balcony isn’t bad, either. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Upon leaving the Castle, I trailed a group of teenagers on tour. I figured they were headed somewhere interesting, and my assumption wasn’t incorrect. In fact, they were headed for an architectural gem I had always wanted to see in person, but one that I had forgotten was located in the heart of Napoli: the Galleria Umberto I.

Arguably my favorite place in Naples; the Milan-inspired Galleria Umberto I. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Arguably my favorite place in Naples; the Milan-inspired Galleria Umberto I. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Constructed over four years between 1887 and 1891, the Galleria Umberto I was created as part of a massive building program in operation until the start of the First World War that was intended to modernize and beautify Naples. Today, it houses high-end shops and cafes on is cross-shaped Piazza level, with office space above.

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Through the Galleria Umberto I, I stumbled upon Via Roma, the main shopping street in Naples. I’m not a big shopper, but if you’re in the market for clothes of any kind, this is the place to be. Italians are famous for their fashionable style and wide variety of leather goods, and a trip to Naples doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Personally, I took the opportunity to finally buy a real, Italian leather belt.

Via Roma, the main shopping area in Naples. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Via Roma, the main shopping area in Naples. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Tonight is Formal Night here onboard the Silver Wind, and all the passengers are decked out in their finest. But rather than being a chore, this is something that is a special occasion on Silversea, and guests and crew all seem happy to play the part. Personally, I don’t like dressing up on mainstream ships when half the ship is in blue jeans and ball caps. But on Silversea, Formal Night is a true event, and everyone enjoys taking part.

Enjoying the relaxing views from the Pool Deck aboard Silver Wind. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Enjoying the relaxing views from the Pool Deck aboard Silver Wind. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Guacamole Chicken Burger, poolside. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Guacamole Chicken Burger, poolside. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

As my second evening aboard the beautiful Silver Wind draws to a close, I think it is only fitting to look at where the rest of the fleet is, courtesy of the Silver Chronicles:

  • Silver Cloud ­– Manaus, Brazil
  • Silver Shadow – Nha Trang, Vietnam
  • Silver Whisper – Castries, St. Lucia
  • Silver Spirit – En route to St. George’s, Bermuda
  • Silver Explorer – En route to South Georgia
  • Silver Galapagos – Post Office Bay, Floreana, Ecuador

In each of these ports of call tonight, there are guests who are discovering the magic of sailing with Silversea. Some, perhaps, for the first time. But, as I learned three years ago aboard the Silver Spirit, there is no such thing as a “last time” when it comes to sailing with Silversea.

Tonight's post comes to you from the cozy Panorama Lounge, located all the way aft on Deck 8 aboard the Silver Wind. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Tonight’s post comes to you from the cozy Panorama Lounge, located all the way aft on Deck 8 aboard the Silver Wind. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Captain Palmieri introduces his Senior Officers at tonight's Welcome Cocktail Reception in the Parisian Lounge. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Captain Palmieri introduces his Senior Officers at tonight’s Welcome Cocktail Reception in the Parisian Lounge. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Silver Wind, Rome to Malaga

DAYPORTARRIVEDEPART
November 18, 2013Rome, ItalyArrival in RomeOvernight hotel stay
November 19Civitavecchia (Rome), ItalyEmbark Silver Wind6:00 PM
November 20Sorrento, Italy8:00 AM6:00 PM
November 21Trapani, Italy8:00 AM6:00 PM
November 22Valetta, Malta8:00 AM 4:00 PM
November 23La Goulette, Tunisia8:30 AM6:00 PM
November 24At Sea
November 25Cartagena, Spain8:00 AM5:00 PM
November 26Malaga, Spain8:00 AMDisembark Silver Wind; onward journey

Our Live Voyage Report through the Mediterranean aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind will continue tomorrow from the port of Trapani, Sicily. Be sure to follow along using the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

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2 Comments

  • Silver sea is not the only cruise line you need to worry about your scotch. Seabourn and regent as well

    Reply

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