ABOVE: The M/V Silver Whisper
is a small ship by today's standards, carrying 382 passengers in 194 outside
The Silver Whisper
Size and layout. The M/V Silver Whisper is the newest vessel in
Silversea's four-ship fleet. It began service in July, 2001, joining its sister
ship, the Silver Shadow, and the slightly smaller Silver Cloud and
With a length of 610 feet (186m), a width of
82 feet (25m), and a tonnage of 28,258, the Silver Whisper is
considerably smaller than the "megaships" of many rival cruise lines. Yet
because it carries only 382 passengers, compared to several thousand for today's
largest cruise ships, its space-to-passenger ratio is the highest in the
industry at 74 tons per guest. The ship never feels crowded even when it's
traveling with a nearly full load of passengers, as it was on our Athens-to-Rome
Like Silversea's other ships, the Silver Whisper
has an unusual deck configuration. On decks with staterooms, all public rooms
are in the aft section of the vessel, with passenger accommodations located
midship or forward. This minimizes noise and traffic in the stateroom corridors
while making it easy to move among the public areas by stairwell or elevators.
Decor. The Silver Whisper's decor is the most attractive we've encountered on a
ship in 40 years of ocean travel. For the most part, it could be
described as simple but elegant, with extensive use of hardwood paneling and
fixtures throughout the ship. The overall feel is reminiscent of a classic
European liner from the 1930s, with an emphasis on comfort instead of glitz.
The traditional ambience carries through to the open decks, which are clad in
teak (except for the jogging track) and furnished with teak deck chairs and
Amenities. The Silver Whisper lacks some of
the amenities offered by larger vessels--you won't find a climbing wall or an
ice-skating rink, for example--but it's well-equipped with restaurants, lounges,
bars, a spa, a small gym, an outdoor swimming pool with hot tubs, three
launderettes, two shops, a computer room with Internet access, and a small
library with videocassettes and books (mostly bestsellers, with many books
available in large-type editions).
Passengers. The Silver Whisper's
guest mix varies by season and itinerary:
On our cruise, which took place
in the Mediterranean during the traditional European holiday month, the
passengers came from 21 countries, with just over half from the United States. (See
table.) At least two dozen children and teenagers were on board, and one
couple traveled with a baby.
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Venice for Cruisers
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