Silver Whisper pegged for 2012 world cruise

The ultra-luxurious and recently refurbished 382-guest Silver Whisper will host Silversea Cruises world cruise in 2012. Image courtesy Michael Coleman

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard the luxurious 382-guest Silver Whisper this week. Here’s his latest dispatch:

SPANISH TOWN, VIRGIN GORDA, B.V.I, March 10, 2011 — It should come as no surprise that the 382-guest Silver Whisper has been pegged by its owners to host their 2012 world cruise.

The Black Rock Grill, a convivial dining concept which enables guests to cook their preferences on heated lava rocks tableside under the stars on the pool deck, is but one culinary option aboard Silver Whisper. Image courtesy Silversea
Silversea Cruises’ intimate vessel, anchored here today in the midst of a 7-night Caribbean voyage, is aglow following a recent stem to stern makeover and may be more inviting than at any time in its 10-year-history of seamless, luxury globetrotting.

Guests will embark on the 115-night, Fort Lauderdale to Monte Carlo odyssey Jan. 16, 2012 discovering hidden jewels ranging from the Amazon and Africa to Asia and Arabia en route.

This is a cozy vessel oozing European charm and ambience and the onboard atmosphere here is relaxed and unpretentious.

Open bars, ocean view suites (most feature private teak deck verandas) complete with double vanities in the bathroom, walk-in wardrobe closets and separate sitting areas for entertaining or in-suite dining, will easily make for comfortable passage.

Butler service will be offered in every suite.

While the company’s six ships feature some 200 voyages to 450 destinations in more than 100 countries next year, across seven continents, it is Silver Whisper that has been pegged for the world adventure.

She will visit 45 ports in 27 countries stretching from the Caribbean and South America to Africa, the Far East, Arabia and Europe. Along the way guests will enjoy 13 overnight visits in various ports — look for such longer dalliances in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Bangkok; and Mumbai, India.

Silver Whisper’s cosmopolitan ambience and charm might best be reflected at La Terrazza, where breakfast, lunch and reservations-only dinner is served. Image courtesy Michael Coleman
While traversing the globe in pampered style, the ship’s culinary team will offer a host of choices in a number of venues to whet anyone’s gastronomic fancy. Dining options include The Restaurant, the ship’s main dining room (breakfast, lunch and dinner); La Terrazza (breakfast and lunch buffet, reservations-only Italian fare in the evening) and the reservation’s only Le Champagne, a specialty restaurant where dishes are expertly prepared and exclusive wines, paired with each course, flow freely.

Look for Silver Whisper to also offer a unique, under the stars dining experience on the pool deck. The Black Rock Grill, a convivial dining concept which enables guests to cook their preferences on heated lava rocks tableside, is perhaps the ship’s most casual and guiltiest of pleasures.

Rounding out the culinary component is grilled fare served daily on the pool deck, an elegant afternoon tea at 4 pm, and 24 hour room service.

Silver Whisper will spend the summer in Northern Europe and the fall foliage season in Canada and New England. In late fall she’ll return to the Caribbean and South America before ringing in the New Year with the commencement of her global journey.

Among the cozy bars aboard Silver Whisper, The Bar, is the place to see and be seen especially for pre-dinner cocktails.

Living the good life aboard Silver Whisper

Guests aboard Silver Whisper, presently in the midst of a week-long Caribbean journey, are enjoying the spoils of ultra-luxury travel at sea.
Images courtesy Michael Coleman

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard the luxurious 382-guest Silver Whisper this week. Here’s his latest dispatch:

ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA, March 8, 2011 — The pampering began immediately.

Weary travelers boarding the 382-guest Silver Whisper, just a few short days ago in Barbados, were greeted by a smiling, receptive crew and a glass of perfectly-chilled champagne.

It’s been all uphill ever since.

Despite a visit yesterday to jet-set-friendly St. Bart’s, the gem of the Caribbean, it’s almost a wonder why anyone would even consider debarking Silver Whisper in the first place.

All 382 guests aboard the luxurious Silver Whisper enjoy butler service.
Each and every guest enjoys the spoils of butler service. I knew mine would be particularly efficient – and pleasant — the very moment we met given the fact his name is “Sunny’’. Breakfast served on a sun-drenched balcony, daily, is just one of many butler-assisted perks as is the prompt delivery of late afternoon canapés with a setting Caribbean sun as a backdrop.

And there’s more. Much more for those enjoying the spoils of this ship. From comfortable, spacious suites to world-class cuisine, Silver Whisper has been wowing guests first since 2001 and now since a recent, sparkling refurbishment.

There are 194 ocean-view suites ranging in size from 287 to 1,435 square feet and some 80 percent of all suites feature private teak balconies. Suites include twin-to-queen-sized beds, walk-in wardrobe closets, sitting areas with writing desks, dressing tables with hair dryers and plush robes and slippers. Italian marble bathrooms, complete with double basin vanities, feature choice of Salvatore Ferragamo, Bvlgari or Neutrogena bath amenities. Suites also include full baths and separate showers, refrigerators and cocktail bars, remote-controlled flat screen televisions with DVD and satellite reception, a personal safe, fresh fruit and flowers.

Idyllic St. Bart’s was one of several port calls this week aboard Silver Whisper. Guests are set to enjoy St. John’s, Antigua, today followed by calls on Marigot Bay, St. Martin; Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
If one does venture away from his/her butler and the friendly confines of well-appointed suites, Silver Whisper will still pamper the mind, body and soul.

The Spa at Silversea, operated by Steiner, offers massages, facials, aroma stone therapy, teeth whitening and for those truly inclined a 150-minute anti-arthritic healing ceremony. Later, the ship’s sommelier might offer any number of complimentary wine selections pairing the best of the vine with a host of culinary options.

Taste buds, meanwhile, will not be ignored in the aptly-named The Restaurant, the ship’s main dining room, or in reservations-only La Terrazza (Italian fare) or Le Champagne, a specialty restaurant where one might indulge in a Relais & Chateaux lobster spectacle.

Guests have also been enjoying onboard boutique shopping, a beauty salon, fitness centre and sauna, production shows, casino, an Internet Café and WiFi service from stem to stern.

Lounging on comfortable pool-side chairs, where wait staff remember your name and perhaps more importantly your drink preference, has for years been a Silversea staple. As is the open bar concept, an essential component when island hopping under sunny skies here in the Caribbean.

Cruise Guide: MSC Fantasia guests enjoy red carpet treatment

The 3,900-passenger MSC Fantasia features an exclusive VIP area — the MSC Yacht Club - with suites adjacent to the ship’s spa. Yacht Club members also enjoy a host of high-end perks, from around-the-clock butler and concierge services to a private lounge and pool.  Image courtesy Michael Coleman
The 3,900-passenger MSC Fantasia features an exclusive VIP area — the MSC Yacht Club - with suites adjacent to the ship’s spa. Yacht Club members also enjoy a host of high-end perks, from around-the-clock butler and concierge services to a private lounge and pool. Image courtesy Michael Coleman

By Michael Coleman

One of the world’s largest passenger vessels boasts an exclusive, amenity-laden onboard retreat.

While the ship hosts some 3,900-passengers at full capacity, Yacht Club guests are insulated in their own private area — off limits to other passengers and strictly enforced – complete with special elevator access to the ship’s Aurea Spa.

There’s a private library, a panoramic VIP lounge where breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are served plus a private pool with sun deck, bar and whirl pools. Soft drinks, wine, liquor and beer, served within the Yacht Club, are complimentary.

Yacht Club guests also enjoy the spoils of butler and concierge service daily.

While the ship is as beautiful and glamorous as Sophia Loren, the vessel’s godmother, one really doesn’t have to leave the Yacht Club at all. Laundry, dry cleaning and pressing services are complimentary as is your favorite newspaper.

Ship architects created just 99 adjoining suites, each with a balcony. Look also for a generous-sized wardrobe closet, bathroom with shower and tub, a safe, interactive TV, telephone, Internet connection and a stocked, complimentary mini-bar.

If you do choose to leave the oasis, however, don’t be surprised if your butler escorts you to the spa or perhaps to the ship’s L’Etoile Restaurant, an a la carte complimentary venue on Deck 15.

The intimate 136-seat venue features refined fare and a stellar wine list. Look for fois gras terrine, snails in garlic butter and traditional gratinated onion soup as starters plus lobster medallions, roasted rack of lamb with garlic cream and wine reduction or filet mignon with mushrooms, sautéed vegetables and truffled Madeira sauce as main courses. Splendid desserts and cheeses, plus exceptional service, round out the gastronomic offering.

Meanwhile, a Mexican specialty restaurant on Deck 7 is a big hit with passengers.

The 108-seat El Sombrero restaurant offers standard Tex-Mex fare with a twist. Tacos, quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, steaks, lamb, spare ribs and even hamburgers have an extra kick. The secret’s in the kitchen where a fusion of friendly Asian, Philippine and Mexican cooks blend a series of spices plus a palate-pleasing Adobo marinade to most dishes. The friendliest servers onboard, bar none, work this special venue.

But, if French cuisine and Mexican fare doesn’t float your boat chefs will offer a host of Italian gastronomic choices in various other dining venues culled from Genoa, Rome, Naples, Palermo and Cagliari region recipes.

And, without question, the best pizza on the high seas is offered nightly aboard Fantasia between 8 p.m. and midnight in – where else? – La Pizzeria on Deck 14. MSC pizzas — fleet-wide – rival many of Italy’s great, family-owned pizzerias across the country.

Fantasia, at 133,500 tons, features 13 passenger decks, 13 indoor bars and lounges, six restaurants, five pools and four outdoor pool bars.

On the Web: msccruisesusa.com

MSC Cruises adding dedicated managers and concierge

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MSC Cruises says fine service is all about listening. That’s why they’ve added two new pairs of ears to its service teams. All guests on MSC Cruises fleet are now offered the support of a dedicated guest relations manager with a very special role, while guests on ships in the “Fantasia” class also receive their own concierge. Continue reading “MSC Cruises adding dedicated managers and concierge”

Cruise Guide: Silversea expands butler service

By Michael Coleman

cruiseguideheadersmallThe lap of luxury at sea just got better.

Ultra-luxurious Silversea Cruises will be expanding butler service across its five-ship fleet over the coming months to include all guest accommodations. Continue reading “Cruise Guide: Silversea expands butler service”