It’s the million little things…  Cruising on the new Silver Moon in Greece

It’s the million little things… Cruising on the new Silver Moon in Greece

Gaynor Galbraith Neill reviews her recent trip on board the new Silver Moon

 

Silversea resumes services

Some months ago, while launching World Cruise 2023, the Chief Marketing Officer of Silversea Cruises quoted Hemingway when asked about resumption of services “Gradually, then one day suddenly” she said and it really resonated with me, and I have recited those words over and over again.  Because, in these unprecedented times, all that could be done was to plan for the safe resumption of voyages, so that when the time came, we would be prepared and ready to get people back to their travels.

And now today I find myself sitting on the pool deck of the brand-new Silver Moon, and gradually has become suddenly.  Suddenly I am here sipping an icy frozen Mojito and waiting for my Chicken Caesar salad to be delivered while overlooking the Island of Mykonos in Greece.  It almost doesn’t seem real. I realise in this moment that probably only when I return home and reflect that I will take it all in, it’s almost a little overwhelming.

Silver Moon at Mykonos

There have been times in the past eighteen months that travel had become so out of reach it was difficult to even imagine.  But when Silversea Cruises finally resumed services in June this year with the inaugural season of the Silver Moon, we started imagining again.

Having being involved with the representation of Silversea Cruises in South Africa since the early days of the company, I have had the great privilege to have sailed on most of the ships over the years.  I have always returned a little richer for the experience, there is always something to be gained some knowledge or insight that can only be gained from the first-hand experience.  These trips have been invaluable and I find myself reporting back afterwards on the facilities, services and offering constructive critique where necessary. You gain a new confidence for recommending the product to prospective clients and higher quality of information when delivering training to the travel industry who promote the voyages.

The “Whispered Luxury” of Silversea

This time is different, this time I feel different.  I realise that all of those facilities have been there, been sustained or improved, updated and of course modernised since my first voyage on the Silver Cloud way back in 1995.  With the benefits of the world wide web, all of the facilities can be demonstrated through incredible images and videos through websites, exquisite brochures and tempting marketing pieces. But what can’t be found on those pages are the feelings, the emotions the passion that the in-person experience invokes.

Perhaps it’s the realisation that a few years ago the reality was only a flight away. But for eighteen months we have only been able to travel in our minds, through those pages and images. Now beginning to travel again in this all-new world perhaps we will find ourselves, like I did, more appreciative, more mindful.  Almost definitely, some of those “little things” were always there, did we just expect them? Or even take them for-granted?  But now it’s these “little things” that are standing out and I have realised they’re not so little after all.

I’m talking about the hundreds of touches of finer details that have made the Silver Moon feel like a safe sanctuary, like a private island for the past ten days. That while I enjoy visiting the islands and the sites of the Greece, my travelling base, the Silver Moon has just delivered what can only be described as the perfect return to travel.

Silversea refer to it as “whispered luxury” and that term makes complete sense to me now. This magnificent ship that feels neither big nor small. The soft tones and muted colour hues give Silver Moon and modern, airy and contemporary feel. Yet the classic and elegant touch of the thoughtfully selected and curated artworks, photographs, paintings, sculptures, Lalique glass and artifacts carefully placed around the ship, adorning public areas and lobbies celebrate the classic tradition of cruising.

Lalique Glass at La Dame Restaurant

It’s about the serenity of sitting at one of the many comfortable outdoor lounge areas or at the pool or in a jacuzzi, looking at, breathing in the ocean and being offered your favourite tipple by a waiter who knows you by name.

It’s about taking a cup of tea in the Art’s café, choosing a favourite blend. Perhaps grab a cake or ‘designer sandwich’ maybe just some fruit and page through a book about a fabulous Fashionista, artist, photographer or of some distant land or culture.

The Art’s Cafe

S.A.L.T – the new Sea and Land Taste culinary concept

It’s knowing that by developing and introducing the S.A.L.T. concept (Sea and Land Taste), that Silversea have given every consideration to your overall experience. By bringing your destination aboard S.A.L.T ensures the immersive experience.  Book a class in the high-tech Test Kitchen Lab on board and learn to make a traditional local dish or delicacy, dine in the S.A.L.T restaurant with its daily destination menu or voyage regional menu or better still, join the S.A.L.T. experience ashore for a local culinary masterclass or experience.

Preparing to cook Moussaka at the S.A.L.T. Lab

It’s all about choices

Perhaps it’s all the choices, a bath scented with Ortigia Salts drawn by your butler as you prepare for a dinner that will undoubtedly meet and satisfy any culinary craving in one of the eight restaurants on board. Then feel the emotion in the Venetian Lounge as the operatically trained cast perform another world class show, from their eclectic repertoire of opera favourites, down memory lane with the 50’s and 60’s, highlights from the songbook of the incredible Queen or a selection from favourite stage shows.

Ortigia Bath Salt Selection

It’s deciding how to end off another perfect day, maybe a little Rhythm & Blues or Jazz in the Silver Note with its theatrical Asian & South America fusion dishes, a cigar and cognac in the Wintergarden of the Connoisseur’s Corner or simply sitting with your feet up on your balcony and watching the moon cast a silver slick on the waves.

Dining experience in the Silver Note

It’s all of these touches, and so many more, that fill your day before putting your head down on your choice of pillow under your plush linen and expecting a great night’s sleep.  Will your butler be serving in-suite breakfast in the morning?  Will you be exploring and immersing yourself at another wonderful destination or enjoying a relaxed day at sea?  Whatever it will be – there are a million little things that will make it special.

Beautiful Mykonos

How do I explain? There is no pretense no themes no ‘stuffiness’ the experience is authentic, the delivery is classy and luxurious.  It is warm, friendly and welcoming and every need or request is subtly taken care of, to the extent that your needs are sensed and met without you even having to ask.

Health & Safety Protocols

The topic of the new protocols is a concern to everyone. Health and safety protocols have had to change, and following over a year of recommendations by the Healthy Sail Panel of experts, these have been painstakingly implemented. And yet, Silversea have managed to integrate those new measures in a subtle and unobtrusive way.  Please do not misinterpret my use of the world subtle, the protocols are thorough, impressive and mandatory but presented in such a way that they have just been integrated into ship life and appreciated and respected by all on board. The most asked question is that of mask-wearing. Guests are required to wear masks walking around the inside of the vessel and may be removed once seated in the restaurants, theatre, lounges, bars or at the pool.  On arrival each guest receives a Bvlgari pouch filled with hand-sanitiser and hand cream, surgical mask and disinfectant wipes. Replacement masks are available on request and always at the gangway.

Perhaps I got lost for a while focusing on the something like 900 destinations Silversea offer across the fleet of 5 classic and 4 expedition ships, that’s what it’s all about right?  Absolutely, but it is also about all the little things that take that journey from spectacular to sublime.  Welcome to the World by Silversea Cruises.

Gaynor Galbraith Neill is the Managing Director/Owner of Cruise Vacations. Gaynor had the opportunity to travel with Silversea Cruises on board the new Silver Moon roundtrip from Athens in September 2021 and the above is her feedback from that voyage.

Cruise Vacations are the South African General Sales Agents for Silversea Cruises in Southern Africa, handling the reservations, marketing and sales for guests from this region.  Cruise Vacations work alongside client’s travel agents and are also able to recommend agents to assist clients with ancillary arrangements, visas, flights and most importantly travel protocols.  gaynor@cruise-vacations.co.za  011 5140564

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