Gary Buchanan’s review of Silversea Cruises’ Silver Wind cruise ship
Having sailed with Silversea Cruises since their inception, my recent experience aboard Silver Wind on a 10-night round-trip voyage from Cape Town was nothing less than a return to the good old days.
Since the first of their almost-identical duo of 296-passenger ships entered service in 1994, Silversea Cruises has been a trail-blazer, offering the pinnacle of all-inclusive, ultra-deluxe cruising that has found favour with the cognoscenti.
I was delighted to discover the on board service ethic is well-motivated and almost faultless, the sole exception being an assistant maitre d’ who seemed to lack any social skills. When I first learned the company was pioneering the concept of offering butler service in all stateroom grades, in addition to stewardesses, I was sceptical. On my recent voyage I was more than happy with my ever-present Filipino butler who ensured all my requirements were deftly taken care of, always with a courteous smile.
Food throughout the vessel was of a calibre to rival anything at sea. I enjoyed the informality several evenings in La Terrazza which boasts à la carte menus showcasing Italian cuisine. I enjoyed breakfast here every morning either outside on the terrace or inside when the humidity made the air-conditioning more comfortable. Lunches too were enjoyable but I felt the salad selection a tad repetitive. The cooked-to-order pizzas were unquestionably as good as any trattoria in Naples.
I enjoyed cooking succulent steaks on the unique volcanic ‘Black Rocks’ that are a feature of the Grill on pool deck; this option proved ideal when the proscribed dress-code was informal (jacket required), yet the outside temperature around the waters of Mozambique was in the high-nineties.
In Le Champagne I enjoyed a zesty lobster salad, tender rack of lamb, and indulgent Grand Marnier soufflé from the à la carte menu created exclusively by Relais & Châteaux. The incomparable Grand Chef Jacques Thorel’s menu selection in The Restaurant was accompanied by a prestigious array of both Old and New World wines. A few years ago Silversea downgraded the quality of complimentary wines; this is definitely no longer the case.
An unexpected highlight of my cruise was sailing once again with Cruise Director, Colin Brown. This accomplished pianist gave an after-dinner recital that was a good contrast to the singers and dancers who performed Broadway revues with typical cruise-style panache.
Service from the deck stewards also impressed me. All too often on some ships in the deluxe category this is a facet of service that can be below par. On Silver Wind no passenger had to arrange their towels on the sun-loungers, drinks appeared with unfailing regularity, while cool towels and fruit kebabs were most welcome.
This was the first time I had been aboard Silver Wind since the Observation Lounge was added to the forward area of Deck 8 in 2009. Sadly this well-appointed lounge was rarely used, in contrast I found the furnishings in the Panorama Lounge slightly tired, but appreciated the quality and comfort of the cream-leather upholstered chairs in The Bar, where as everywhere, the service was impeccable.
© Gary Buchanan, written for The Cruise Line 2013.