Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports
The old saying goes that the best is always saved for last, and that’s a very accurate statement here onboard Silversea’s Silver Wind, as Voyage 2334 from Rome to Malaga slowly winds its way to a close.
In contrast to the rough weather we had experienced as of late, today is the quintessential postcard-perfect day in the Mediterranean. The sun is out in full force, with only the faintest wisp of cloud cluttering an otherwise brilliant blue sky. Temperatures are warm, the wind is slight, and the seas are so smooth that upon waking this morning, I thought we were docked.
We were supposed to call on Cartegena, Spain today but due to the adverse conditions present in the last few days, Captain Palmieri made the decision to cancel the call in order to drop the ship’s speed to provide guests with a slower – and safer – day at sea.
However, at 9 a.m., Captain Palmieri came over the public address system to inform guests that the Silver Wind will come alongside in Malaga around 6:30 p.m. this evening. Yesterday, our arrival time was supposed to be closer to midnight, but today’s calm conditions allowed for an increase in speed that will have us arriving four hours earlier and will ensure that no guests miss flights or onward arrangements tomorrow.
Will I get off the ship? I’m not sure. Perhaps to have a quick walk around, but I don’t really see any need for me to leave the beautiful Silver Wind. In fact, I am quite happy to have the unscheduled day at sea today, as it gives me a chance to enjoy more of the things the ship has to offer.
Now, it’s worth noting that inasmuch as the guests were expecting a port call today, so were the crew.
On port days, there are minimal activities scheduled during the day, as most guests are ashore on tours. But with an unexpected day at sea, Cruise Director Colin Brown and his team had to come up with a last-minute schedule of activities to keep guests busy with, and he has succeeded admirably.
Today’s diverse activities include a Spanish Class with International Hostess Maria; coffee with the Artists of Silversea; another L’Ecole des Chefs Cooking Demonstration with Executive Chef David Bilsland; Wine Tasting with Head Sommelier Max; and even a Special Interest Talk with lecturer Dr. Lew Deitch that I find particularly interesting, titled “Is Canada Different from the United States?”
The full list of activities whipped up for our last full day aboard the elegant Silver Wind:
Note how that last activity is phrased: Not everyone will be disembarking tomorrow in Malaga. Some will continue on to Las Palmas, and a few are travelling as far as Cape Town and beyond. One guest I’ve heard of is even sailing onboard the Silver Wind for two more months!
Besides being activity-packed, an unexpected sea day is also a great chance to visit the Silver Wind’s onboard shops, which – along with the Casino – are normally closed while in port.
I have to admit that I discovered something last night: Silver Wind has a Card and Games room on Deck 6 that, frankly, I never knew existed. It just shows that, even on a smaller ship, there are still surprises to be had.
Today, everyone onboard the Silver Wind was out and about, basking in the glow of the Mediterranean sun and revelling in the calm sea that only became more and more glass-like as the afternoon went on.
As afternoon gave way to evening, we arrived as scheduled in Malaga as the sun’s final rays were disappearing behind the mountains. Guests lined their balconies and came up to cluster around the forward portion of Deck 9 in order to get a firsthand look at one of the most scenic sail-ins of the entire voyage. Had we arrived in Malaga as scheduled – tomorrow morning before sunrise – guests would have missed this spectacular experience.
Nobody likes the last full day of the cruise. There’s packing to do, flights to check in for, and generally a whole host of last-minute business to settle. On Silversea, though, your butler can do the packing for you, and crew can even assist in checking you in for your flights.
I have taken a lot of cruises on a lot of different lines, but I find leaving any Silversea ship to be a difficult and often upsetting thing. If you’ve never sailed with the line, sure, that sounds overly sentimental. But if you ask any Silversea guest, they’ll tell you it is an understatement. You’re not just leaving a vacation; you’re leaving your family.
Tomorrow, Captain Palmieri will give the order to let go the lines, and Silver Wind will slip silently from her berth in Malaga. Onboard, 296 new guests will settle into their suites for the next seven days, bound for Las Palmas. By December, she will be in Cape Town, South Africa, where she will remain until February when she gradually makes her way back to Europe for a summer of Mediterranean cruises next year.
Below the waterline, Silver Wind’s screws will begin to turn once again, biting their way through the water at 17 knots. Many experiences will lay ahead for all her guests and crew; some unexpected, some delightful. Every cruise has little unexpected bursts of surprise and wonder; moments that, as you experience them, seem to slow down time, if only for a second.
There just seems to be a lot more of those moments on Silversea.
|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 disembark in Malaga and spend some time in the always-fascinating city of London, England. Be sure to follow along on twitter by following the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.