Exploring the Silver Wind at sea
Today is our first full day at sea aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind, as we make our way from La Goulette, Tunisia across the Mediterranean Sea. It was a bit of a bumpy night last evening, and the adverse conditions have continued into today, with high swells and strong winds causing the Silver Wind to move with the unpredictable motion of the ocean.
This type of weather isn’t terribly uncommon for this time of year but, like any ocean, conditions can change in an instant. Still, there’s no getting around it: even as I wrote that sentence here in the Panorama Lounge, I had to pause to stop my ginger ale – placed in the center of the table – from sliding off the edge.
I must have my sea legs back, because I spent some time this morning in the Observation Lounge on Deck 9 forward, enjoying a cup of coffee and reading the entire Globe & Mail newspaper. For $7.50 per issue per day, you can have one of over 280 newspapers printed off on 11×17 paper and delivered straight to your suite each morning. And these aren’t some condensed, newswire-format papers: I just plowed through the entire Saturday Globe, complete with advertisements and all. And being able to do that from the middle of the Mediterranean is pretty cool.
At 11 a.m., Captain Michele Macarone Palmieri came over the public address system to advise guests that, due to the adverse weather, our port call in Cartagena, Spain would be cancelled tomorrow, replaced instead with a day at sea. We’ve had to drop our speed considerably to deal with the conditions Mother Nature has thrown at us, and we continue to cross through periodic downpours of rain and gusts of wind up to 40 knots that are stirring up 15-foot swells.
Can I just say this: I, for one, am thrilled to have another full day at sea to enjoy the Silver Wind. I would have liked to have seen Cartagena, naturally, but I’ll take a cappuccino and a good book in the Panorama Lounge just as easily.
With the elements outdoors remaining fairly inhospitable at the moment, it’s a great opportunity for me to finally show you the Silver Wind’s recent refurbishment in detail. Just before this voyage, she underwent a general refit that included some extensive remodels to two major public areas. While in drydock in Palermo, she also had standard maintenance performed that included giving her hull above and below the waterline a new coat of paint and a thorough cleaning, along with a standard refresh of the ship’s marine and technical spaces.
The most noticeable changes, though, were reserved for The Bar on Deck 5, and for Le Champagne one deck below.
Let’s have a little ‘before-and-after’ look:
When I sailed to South Africa aboard Silver Wind in January, I absolutely loved the décor and colour scheme in The Bar, so I was a little hesitant to hear it was changing. Done in tones of yellow, the main social hub of the Silver Wind featured low-slung leather chairs, glass tables and decorative lighting that was reminiscent of the ship’s 1995 origins, but that had managed to stand the test of time.
However, the new interior design concept for The Bar following Silver Wind’s refit is a real winner. It also brings her in line with the rest of the Silversea fleet, which has now all been retrofitted to draw on the two-tone Art Deco colour design that was pioneered for the space of the same name aboard Silversea’s flagship, the 540-guest Silver Spirit.
While the design may have been inspired by the Silver Spirit, it is far from identical: The chairs here have fantastic black wooden armrests, and the table height has been adjusted to be, shall we say, more “beverage-friendly.”
But the overall design works particularly well here, creating a space that is tremendously inviting by day or night. The new teal and blue colour palette is soothing to the eye, and the dark wood veneer adds a timeless look of elegance to the space.
Passengers seem to think so too: The Bar has been packed each and every night of the cruise.
Le Champagne underwent what is easily the most dramatic transformation onboard the Silver Wind.
Its former incarnation wasn’t really all that well suited to Silversea’s signature dining venue, created in partnership with Relais & Chateaux. Situated in what was essentially a starboard-side extension of the main Restaurant on Deck 4, the décor here wasn’t all that different from the dining room itself. Tables were oddly spaced, and the room had a cavernous, almost banquet-hall appearance to it.
Silver Wind’s recent refit, however, has turned it into one of the nicest spots onboard the entire ship, and one that is entirely befitting of the intimate and enjoyable culinary experience here.
Le Champagne carries a modest cover charge, but the food here – particularly the foie gras – is out of this world. Dinner here is an event to be savoured, not rushed, and it is not uncommon for guests to linger over coffee or port wine. It is open every day (unless noted) from 7:30 p.m. until the last seating at 9:30 p.m., and booking early is a great idea because seating here goes fast.
General refurbishments were also made to several other public areas, including the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8 aft, which received a brand-new carpet design that replaces the old canary-yellow carpeting. Red with white and grey crescent accents, the new carpeting gives the room a warmer, more welcoming feel than its previous incarnation. It’s amazing what something as simple as a new carpet design can do to change the look and feel of a room.
At this time, Silver Wind has not received the rainforest shower design that her sister, Silver Cloud, was fitted with in most suites during her drydock last fall. However, suite showers have now been outfitted with adjustable-height wand shower heads in addition to the overhead, fixed shower head.
A few other small changes have been made during the Silver Wind’s drydock, including completely new tile around the main pool on Deck 8 amidships.
As we take our virtual tour around the Silver Wind, here’s a look at some of what is happening onboard today, courtesy of the Silversea Chronicles for Sunday, November 24, 2013:
- 8:00 – Morning Walk with Fitness Instructor Elvis – Aerobics Room (9)
- 8:00 – Please sign up to participate in today’s Navigational Bridge Visit by 9:30am; Galley Tour by 10:00am. Reception Desk (6)
- 9:00 – International Desk: Maria is available to assist International Guests – Main Lobby (6)
- 10:15 – Enrichment Lecture with Destination Consultant Dr. Lew Deitch – Parisian Lounge (6)
- 10:15 – Coffee Chat with the Artists of Silversea – Panorama Lounge (8)
- 11:15 – L’Ecole des Chefs Programme – Fish Master Class with Chef David Bilsland – Parisian Lounge (6)
- 11:30 – Mileage Pool: Guess how many miles Silver Wind has sailed since La Goulette. Pool Deck (8)
- 3:00 – Blackjack Tournament with the Casino Staff – Casino (5)
- 3:45 – Sailing into the Future with Cruise Consultant Alessandra – The Bar (5)
- 4:00 – “Cioccolato” Afternoon Tea, followed by the H. Stern fashion show with the Artists of Silversea – Panorama Lounge (8)
- 5:00 – Team Trivia with Cruise Director Colin – The Bar (5)
- 5:15 – Galley Tour – The Restaurant (4)
- 5:30 – Golf Putting with the Artists of Silversea – Lobby (5)
- 6:45 – Mario plays your favorite melodies – The Bar (5)
- 7:00 – Captain’s Farewell & Silver Wind crew parade – Parisian Lounge (6)
- 10:00 – Silversea Proudly Presents: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” – Parisian Lounge (6)
As our rocky day at sea draws to a close here onboard the Silver Wind, I once again think it’s only appropriate to mention the amazing crew that are onboard, guided under the direction of Hotel Director Helmut Huber. Today, I’ve personally witnessed crew members from all ranks helping guests down stairs, carrying plates and drinks from the buffet, fetching plates of raw and candied ginger, and answering questions ranging from the seas to our arrival in Malaga.
Likewise, I’ve seen guests help crew who have lost their balance during the more pronounced rolls. The constant sway has made guests and crew alike a little lighthearted, with zig-zagging walking patterns that elicit little chuckles of amusement. When some glasses slid off the counter in the Panorama Lounge and smashed on the floor, a cheer of “Opa!” went up.
I suppose that’s my point. By this time, passengers and crew are all like family. You don’t measure the strength of a crew on the best day in the most agreeable conditions; you do so on days like today, where just walking down the hall can be challenging.
As much as I love the ship, as delicious as the food is, and as sumptuous as my accommodations are – none of it matters without the crew. Here onboard the Silver Wind tonight, I’m convinced they’re one of the best I’ve sailed with this year.
Silver Wind, Rome to Malaga
|November 18, 2013||Rome, Italy||Arrival in Rome||Overnight hotel stay|
|November 19||Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy||Embark Silver Wind||6:00 PM|
|November 20||Sorrento, Italy||8:00 AM||6:00 PM|
|November 21||Trapani, Italy||8:00 AM||6:00 PM|
|November 22||Valetta, Malta||8:00 AM||4:00 PM|
|November 23||La Goulette, Tunisia||8:30 AM||6:00 PM|
|November 24||At Sea|
|November 25||Cartagena, Spain||8:00 AM||5:00 PM|
|November 26||Malaga, Spain||8:00 AM||Disembark Silver Wind; onward journey|
Our Live Voyage Report through the Mediterranean aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind continues tomorrow as we spend another day at sea en-route to Malaga, Spain! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.