The Silver Whisper cruises elegantly to Denmark and saves our editor’s shoes en route…
Having to deal with a sartorial emergency while in the middle of the North Sea is not what anyone needs, especially when on Silversea’s elegant Silver Whisper.
Until then, the first evening had been pretty much perfect – a prosecco-fuelled embarkation, a wonderful dinner (creamy caprese salad and gargantuan tiger prawns served with black rice, for the record) and, to finish, a nightcap in the lively bar.
It was only when I decided to retire that the entire sole of one of my high heels decided to part ways with the rest of the shoe. However, I was en route to Copenhagen, so mentally added a shopping trip to my itinerary and forgot all about it.
The following morning, I bumped into my personal butler, Mustafa, on the way to breakfast. For those unfamiliar with Silversea, I should explain that butlers serve no more than 14 guests and are always on hand for anything you might need or want during the cruise.
“Did you have a good sleep?” he enquired. Remembering the events of the night before, I mentioned that one of my shoes had broken. “Let me take a look,” he said as we turned back to the suite. He didn’t even bat an eyelid as I showed him the offending item. “Glue should do it,” he confirmed, before whisking them away.
And I’m pleased to report a successful temporary fix, presumably with industrial-strength ship glue. This meant I could go to the ball – or rather the Relais & Chateaux restaurant Le Champagne – for a seven-course menu that included such culinary delights as gold-leaf risotto and lobster-tail bisque.
Apart from the all-inclusive advantages (out-of-pocket exenses are minimal), what you get when cruising with Silversea is unwavering attention to detail – touches such as stocking the minibar with your choice of tipple, ensuring your pillow is to your liking, turning the TV to face the sofa during the day and carrying your breakfast plates to your table.
In fact, everywhere you turn there seems to be a smiling face on hand to help or wish you a good day – the ratio of passengers to staff is almost 1:1.
Having said that, such a high level of service can be a little unnerving to start with, but you soon get used to it – I mean, who doesn’t like to be spoilt occasionally?
Built in 2001 and refurbished in 2016, the Silver Whisper, just like all Silversea ships, has a boutique feel and accommodates no more than 382 guests. It’s easy to find your way around, and you feel like a valued guest as opposed to just another number.
It sounds like a cliché but there’s a real family atmosphere on board, and it’s informal and relaxed: passengers and staff often call each other by name.
Suites are comfortable and spotlessly clean, most have verandas and they range from 287sq ft for a Vista Suite to 1,264sq ft for a two-bedroom Owner’s Suite. All feature a bar stocked with your preferences, and a choice of pillow, binoculars and personalised stationery.
Also, on arrival, your butler will give you the option of three brands of toiletries, including Bulgari and Sebamed (for those who prefer unscented products). Cosy Etro bathrobes and slippers keep the luxurious theme going.
Outside the suite there is, of course, plenty to do for all generations; my fellow passengers on Whisper were a mixed bunch, ranging from teenagers to seniors.
Having time on your hands when at sea is a definite luxury – for me it’s all about indulging in some well-deserved me-time. Along with the pool deck, complete with salt-water swimming pool, two hot tubs and waiter service, the spa should definitely be part of a client’s trip.
Following a workout in the well equipped gym, a 50-minute Elemis Bamboo massage induced a deep state of zen, so much so that I was glad that my suite was just a couple of decks away afterwards.
From La Terrazza to Le Champagne and the Grill, food is one of the highlights of sailing with Silversea. The breakfasts are simply stupendous, and there’s always a member of staff on hand to help you to carry your choices to your table.
Even on a short cruise, female clients will have the chance to get their glam on, as the dress code ranges from casual to formal – although I noticed many ladies making an effort even on casual night.
Entertainment in the Show Lounge is of a very high standard, and the performers as good as you’ll find in London’s West End or on Broadway in New York – in fact, the cruise director, Vicki van Tassel, has trodden the boards in the Big Apple and is a very talented and funny comedian.
During our short cruise, we also had the chance to watch a spellbinding ballet and contemporary dance performance of Giselle, featuring two principal dancers from the Opera de Paris and the Opera di Roma.
For those who want to burn the midnight oil even further, the bar is a good place to start, followed by a trip to either the disco or the casino, depending on their mood.
If your client is looking for an intimate, luxurious cruising experience, recommend Silversea. Not only is it the ultimate in all-inclusive cruising, but also, if they happen to break a shoe while on board, they’ll be walking on cloud nine again in no time at all.
BRUGES (ZEEBRUGGE) Cruise passengers embark and disembark in Zeebrugge, the largest cruise port in Flanders. From there, it’s easy to reach a number of historical and tourist cities in western Europe, including the beautiful city of Bruges, which is located about 17km from the port.
AMSTERDAM First-class museums, buzzing nightlife and rich history – this tolerant, laid-back city is a major hub for commerce, tourism and culture. It’s said that there are more bikes in Amsterdam than permanent residents.
HAMBURG Our ship moored overnighted in Germany’s second largest city and “the gateway to the world”, Hamburg. This gave passengers the opportunity to enjoy an evening in this buzzing port city, which blends culture, nightlife and shopping.
SKAGEN Pronounced Skane, this unique destination situated at the northern end of Denmark’s Jutland peninsula, is blessed with a landscape and light that many artists have fallen in love with. In this 600-year-old port town, you can literally put one foot in the North Sea and the other in the Baltic Sea.
COPENHAGEN The popular Danish city is filled with history, charm and an abundance of style. Silversea clients can book the half-day Wonderful Copenhagen excursion, which includes stops at the Little Mermaid, the Amalienborg Palace and the old Stock Exchange.
1 Silver Whisper’s size gives a feeling of intimacy and exclusivity.
2 There’s a real family feel on board; clients will get to know staff names – and they’ll get to know the clients’ – very quickly.
3 Butler service is what sets Silversea apart from many other cruise lines – ideal if your client is looking for that personal touch with a dash of discretion.
4 The food is excellent, with The Restaurant and Le Champagne (additional charge applies) both worthy of a mention.
5 Unlike other cruise lines, there’s a mix of ages and customers on board, from couples to families.