Ultra-luxurious Silver Cloud offers far-reaching itineraries
Ship Review by Michael Coleman, October 2006
¨A homemade sign with two words – Welcome Americans – held proudly by a boy on a dusty road in Bejaia, Algeria, could not have been a more fitting sight as armed soldiers escorted our cruise-tour buses through the steep North African hills.
|Cruise News Weekly’s Silversea Silver Cloud photoset|
There is no bustling tourism industry per se in this port city just yet, but it did not prevent the locals from rolling out the red carpet – and sign – for our group of seasoned travelers. Nor did it deter ultra-luxury operator Silversea Cruises from offering such a tour in the first place.¨
It had been some 20 years since the last cruise ship with Americans onboard had docked in Bejaia, and while none of us felt like Neil Armstrong landing on the moon, it was, nonetheless, a significant milestone. We had been among the first Americans in decades to stroll through the city’s historic venues, although the national museum and Kasbah, for instance, showed signs of neglect as the result of fierce battles both before and after the country’s independence from France in 1962.¨
But the panoramic views over the Bay of Bejaia, the Soumman Valley and of the Cap Carbon Lighthouse, perched on a rocky outcrop 750 feet above sea level, were breathtaking. The lighthouse, in fact, is not only one of the highest in the world, but it is also the most powerful in Africa. Its beam extends some 50 miles into the Mediterranean Sea.¨
Shore excursions such as this and a visit the next day to Tunis, Tunisia – Algeria and Tunisia border Libya – may not be every cruise traveler’s idea of a dream vacation, let alone an exotic one, but Silversea offers these and a host of other unique global tour experiences to a discerning, well-traveled clientele eager to go where few, if any, cruise passengers have gone before. Even if it means traveling with an armed escort.¨
Guests had been prepared in advance that the Bejaia vista tour might not meet Silversea’s exacting standards. But, whether traveling in virgin territory or tried and true ports of call, Silversea guests would enjoy one very important constant: Each would return to the comfort of a six-star, luxurious vessel.¨
Trips are made all the more memorable by the line’s impeccable onboard service, informative guest lectures and contemporary, international cuisine, featuring La Collection du Monde – signature dishes designed exclusively for Silversea by Relais & Chƒ¢teaux.
The onboard atmosphere is one of conviviality and casual elegance. The pampering begins the moment you embark and friendly, respectful banter quietly ensues throughout the voyage between socialites, pilots, judges or best-selling authors, as was the case on my recent Mediterranean voyage aboard the 16,800-ton Silver Cloud.
Additional Mediterranean port calls included visits to Rome, Naples and the seaside community of Syracusa, Sicily; Valletta, Malta; Crete and Athens, Greece.¨
Such remarkable journeys occur daily, with ease, at Silversea. The line will offer 130 different itineraries to 350 global destinations on sailings from six to 126 days in 2007. Calling in nearly 120 countries, the line’s three other all-suite, all ocean-view ships – Silver Wind, Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper – will join Silver Cloud in visiting many UNESCO World Heritage sites, and places as unique and diverse as the fjords of southwestern Norway, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America.¨
Look for an 8-day roundtrip voyage from Barcelona, departing on June 22, to be among the year’s highlights. Privileged guests aboard Silver Whisper will experience the drama and excitement of the 32nd America’s Cup regatta, while anchored in the vibrant Mediterranean harbor of Valencia.¨
Meanwhile, in 2008, Silversea ships are scheduled to visit over 340 different ports in 116 countries, on a diverse schedule of over 140 itineraries, ranging from six to 110 days. Silver Shadow kicks off the year with its second consecutive world cruise, departing Fort Lauderdale in January. Other highlights include return visits to Alaska and Hawaii, plus 29 new destinations, including first-ever visits to Taiwan, Okinawa, Guam, the Marshall Islands, the Marquesas and Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific; The Gambia and Mozambique in Africa; and Saudi Arabia.¨
“It’s our goal to blend a luxury lifestyle with exciting and enriching travel experiences,” said David Morris, Silversea’s executive vice president of sales and marketing for North America. “Our itineraries have been carefully designed to offer a broad range of travel choices, including multiple-day calls and overnight stays showcasing some of the most historically and culturally significant destinations in the world, as well as myriad opportunities to explore the most exotic regions.¨
Where, even on a dusty hillside road surrounded by armed soldiers, a sign-toting young boy could welcome visitors in peace.
Click Here to read a review of this ship from October 2005.
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