ABOVE: Silver Whisper stewardesses pose
in their evening dress uniforms.
Years ago, when we had problems getting our car loaded onto the
budget-priced ocean liner Mikhail Lermontov, a stevedore told us: "When
you go cheap, what do you expect?" He'd have been pleased to see that we learned
our lesson by cruising on the Silver Whisper.
The service on Silversea's Silver Whisper can be
summarized with one word: "superb." Everyone, from Captain Gennaro Arma to the
stewardesses to the able seamen who helped us on and off the ship's tenders, was
impeccably courteous and helpful.
Some members of the crew were formal (such as an Italian waiter,
Claudio, who moved with the precision and flair of a waiter trained in fine
European hotels). Others were more overtly eager to please (such as the young
waiter who, after reading our placecards at the safety officer's table,
addressed us as "Mr. Durant" and "Mrs. Cheryl" each time he served us a new
We were especially impressed by Gabriele Schintu, the maitre d'
in The Restaurant, and Carlos, the headwaiter in the Terrace Café, who memorized
our surname and instantly accommodated our dining preferences (at a shared table
or à deux, indoors or outdoors) at
suggest the quality of service that you can expect on the Silver Whisper:
We were slow to make reservations for the "Cucina Italiana"
theme dinner in the Terrace Café. Carlos, the headwaiter, explained that the
dinner was fully booked, but that he'd put our names on a waiting list.
Around 6:15 p.m. on the evening of the dinner, Carlos phoned our
suite and said that, unfortunately, there hadn't been any cancellations and he
didn't have a table for us.
An hour and a half later, as we were on our way to The
Restaurant, we stopped for a moment to talk with a fellow passenger near the
staircase. Carlos saw us from his Terrace Café podium at the far end of the
corridor and ran down the hall to tell us that he'd just had a last-minute
cancellation and could give us a table. (He'd tried to reach us in our suite,
but we'd already left, so he made a point of looking for us before we could
reach the main dining room.)
In St. Peter Port,
Guernsey, a fellow guest bought a pantsuit that required alterations. She asked
if a tailor was on board, the concierge's desk said yes, and in due course a
tailor arrived at her cabin to take measurements. She then asked if it would be
possible to have the suit back within 24 hours.
The following day, the suit was delivered to the passenger's
stateroom. She tried it on, and it fit perfectly. The only surprise came when
she received her bill at the end of the voyage: The tailor had charged only US
$10 for the extensive alterations.
Such service qualifies as "above and beyond the call of
duty"--and it's all the more impressive on a ship where service is included in
the fare and no further tipping is expected.