Tag Archives: silversea cruises

HIGH SUMMER UNDER BALTIC SKIES- THE SILVER WHISPER

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Silver Whisper. Photo credit: Silversea Cruises

You always know that you’re on a classy ship when they bring some musical accompaniment outside to go with your evening meal. As if the sounds of steak, lobster and sea bass sizzling on our personal hot, volcanic rock plates was not symphony enough, we got some gentle, lilting piano melodies as a side order to go, too.

By this time, life aboard the Silver Whisper had morphed into a kind of sublime, smiley dream. Our days of lounging around the pool, sipping on Margaritas and picking at gourmet burgers slid easily into pre dinner cocktails on the open air aft terrace, and nights of sublime gourmet gluttony under those seemingly endless northern skies.

And this night too, was special; for this was Midsummer’s Eve. With the gently rolling Baltic crowned by the kind of slowly unfurling sunset that is almost heart stopping, we feasted as much on the surroundings as the steaks. That magical, mellow evening unfolded as slow and sublime as a flurry of muffled drum rolls.

There’s something quite moving and different about being in these waters in the summertime. A sense of being totally detached from such mundane things as reality. Our drinks glasses somehow refilled themselves without anyone noticing. Plates were removed and replaced; we talked and bonded in the blissful, boundless surroundings of an amazing, gold and grey sky, tainted burnt orange by the falling rays of the slowly setting sun.

Tomorrow would see our arrival in wonderful, whimsical Copenhagen, the Queen of Scandinavian cities. And, great as my pleasure would be at reconnecting with my favourite of all European cities, it also meant that I would be leaving the Silver Whisper- not to mention some wonderful, new found friends- behind me.

Though Captain Luigi had very kindly said that I could stay on board for the next cruise if I wanted (and a week to the beautiful fjords of Western Norway would not have been life’s greatest hardship) I knew full well that there were others who, quite rightly, would expect me to be elsewhere. Reality, that most unwelcome of all house guests, was definitely a ghost at the feast that night.

So yes, leaving Silversea remains, as ever, such sweet sorrow. I definitely felt as if I had been taken off life support next morning when, after one final languid breakfast, I shuffled down the gangway of the Silver Whisper, feeling very much like Cinderella the morning after the ball.

And that, for now, is where we leave things….

COOL BY THE POOL; SNAPSHOTS FROM THE SILVER WHISPER

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Silver Whisper pool deck. Photo credit: Silversea Cruises

So here we are, just poised on the other side of Midsummer’s Eve after what can only be described as a day of sheer indolence aboard the Silver Whisper. Last night’s dinner in Le Champagne was a flawless, glorious feast; six courses of sumptuous near gluttony that has definitely broadened my waistline to something like that of the ship’s waterline. The chefs on this ship take no prisoners; trust me on that one.

Last night, Mother Nature put on a show all of her own; a natural beauty pageant on a par with that memorable meal. We watched, utterly spellbound, as the midsummer sun sagged into the steel grey rollers of the North Sea like some slowly falling souffle, turning the entire horizon a brief lived shade of burnt orange. The only soundtrack to accompany this was the sound of the waves, rolling gently alongside the hull. It was a moment of sheer, spellbinding beauty in an enchanted part of the world. I hardly dared breathe, for fear of breaking the spell.

Yesterday afternoon was spent lying by the pool, savouring the warm summer sunshine and an ambient soundtrack that matched the on board vibe to perfection; some Eagles, a little Boz Scaggs and even a snippet or two of classic Burt Bacharach. The Margaritas from the Pool Bar didn’t exactly hurt, either, I don’t think ‘chilled out’ quite cut it, to be honest.

And that’s the very essence of a cruise with Silversea- there’s this whole ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ feeling of suddenly finding yourself somewhere that is at once strange, whimsical, and full of fabulous possibilities at every turn. You can build and shape your day to be as active or indolent as you want; the day is your own blank canvas, and the ship serves up the ingredients to let you create your own mini masterpiece. It’s casual, unstructured indulgence, raised to the level of an art form and, of course, it’s deliciously addictive.

Until the next time, that’s it from on board the Silver Whisper for now..

SILVER WHISPER- LIVE

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Silver Whisper. Photo credit: Silversea Cruises

So here we are, settled back in aboard the Silver Whisper, making our stately progress along the River Elbe, and out towards the open waters of the North Sea and the Baltic.

Our departure from Hamburg this morning was subtle, splendid stuff. The morning sun had just heaved itself above the city’s web of ancient. slender spires as we cast off. There was no fanfare or ceremony; the sight of 28,000 tons of gleaming white cruise ship, pirouetting gracefully mid stream into the River Elbe, was ceremony enough in it’s own right.

We are moving through a slowly unwinding hinterland that unfurls like a series of drum rolls along both banks of this ancient waterway. Ferries and tugs sprint across our path like so many maddened water beetles. Container ships surge past us, painted in shades of drab red, green and blue. Along the serpentine banks of the Elbe itself, a host of rolling greenery is studded with small villas, hotels and caravan parks. Wind turbines spin lazily in a warm breeze that drifts across the decks of the ship as we surge forward on the steel grey river. It’s like being awake in some particularly vivid dream.

Broad, dusky sand beaches spill out to kiss the water’s edge. Early morning walkers with their dogs gaze up at the awe inspiring bulk of the Silver Whisper as she ghosts past them on what looks like a perfect summer’s day. From over the rim of my coffee cup, it all looks like something from a series of still life paintings.

And we are sailing in the wake of history as well. The Bismarck came this same way back in 1940. Built in Hamburg, and still regarded by the locals as a ‘Hamburg ship’, that tiger shark of a battleship was manned by a crew of mainly local men, all of whom would have known the waters we are sailing through very well indeed. It’s hard to shake the image of that squat, solid grey ghost, with her phalanx of guns looking like so many drawn swords. But here and now, on the Silver Whisper, we are confronted with nothing more aggressive than some particularly feisty- and very welcome- early morning coffee.

There’s a strange dichotomy involved in sailing such inland waterways. Everything looks close enough to touch, from washing flapping idly in the breeze to the trees, rustling ashore in a kind of indolent rhythm that’s all their own. And yet, we are detached from it all by a million miles, cocooned in what I can only describe as a kind of pampered stupor aboard this beautiful ship.

Of course, it’s a panorama s old as time itself; ship, sky and sea creating a stunning, multi colour audio visual playback that unfolds like a series of slowly waving flags. But it’s no less bewitching for all that. Timeless as it is, this stuff never gets old.

It all adds to the mood of surreal calm that permeates this ship. There are no screaming loudspeaker announcements selling everything from T-shirts to costume jewels, no lines for food or drinks. No feeling of pressure of any kind, in fact.

So what is there, then? That’s easy- a sense of contentment and familiarity, and a shared kinship of sailing these waters with the kind of people that appreciate a ship like the Silver Whisper. A sense that nothing is too much trouble, and that everything is within easy reach.

Speaking of which, it’s time for my lunchtime Margarita. More dispatches from the front to come soon…..

COMING NEXT; SILVER WHISPER

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Silver Whisper. Photo credit: Silversea cruises

Next week brings an all too brief reunion with an old, fondly remembered friend when I rejoin the gorgeous Silver Whisper for a short jaunt around the top of Denmark from Hamburg to Copenhagen.

Last time I was aboard the ship was on a Baltic cruise some four years ago; it was  a mellow, memorable experience that left me stirred rather than shaken, and definitely keen for more. But, since then, Silversea the company has moved on.

With the development and gestation of a four ship fleet of truly wonderful, individual expedition ships, and then the introduction this year of the stunning, first of class new Silver Muse, the Monaco based company served firm notice of intent that it was not simply prepared to merely sit on its considerably gilded laurels. Silversea is more about innovation than institution; times change, and so do the expectations and anticipation of future guests.

But I have to confess to a kind of vague unease; would this obvious concentration on new ideas and ships mean an inevitable dilution of the ‘old guard’ luxury aboard the rest of the fleet? And, with Silver Cloud going to the expedition fleet in November also, another watershed in the line’s history is reached as it’s pioneering ship crosses a bar of sorts.

But it seems that Silversea have anticipated this; along with the new ships came a series of sympathetic enhancements and upgrades for Silver Wind, Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper; part of a $150 million plan to update all three ships to keep them smart, crisp, contemporary and alluring. And, from initial reports, the results are very pleasing indeed. I’m looking forward to seeing for myself.

Plans are also apparently afoot for some major rebuilding of the one-off Silver Spirit, though details are as yet thin on the ground. In the case of all four refurbishments, the core aim seems to have been to introduce some of the styling nuances that have made the new Silver Muse such an appealing choice.

So yes, I’m looking forward to renewing my acquaintance with what i think will be an artfully renewed ship. Silversea remember your details- they have even given me exactly the same suite that I had last time I was on board the Silver Whisper. None too shabby, as I recall.

I’m looking forward to long, lazy breakfasts out on the Terrace, with fresh, piping hot coffee on tap and the sight of our wake stretching lazily behind us. I’m anticipating fine food and finely styled, flawless service.

There’s the delicious prospect of long, lazy summer afternoons in the hot tub, and chocolate martinis on deck at sunset, with a side order of cool jazz. And there’s also the beautiful, bewitching way that the light plays on the water in those long, almost permanently light latitudes.

There’s rollicking, gregarious Hamburg and wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen as stellar start and finish points, of course. But the real deal will be the sheer, indolent sense of joy and ease that you only really get on a ship like the Silver Whisper.

Full report to follow, of course. As ever, stay tuned.