ABOVE: Our favorite shore excursion may have
been a tour in the Outer Hebrides, where our guide, Chris Ryan (see inset
photo), introduced us to a traditional "blackhouse" and several prehistoric
Tours are a fixture of port-intensive cruising, and Silversea
makes it easy for passengers to visit major tourist attractions without feeling
like they're on a class trip.
most ports, the Silver Whisper offers several optional tours. On our
cruise, for example, the shore excursions included city walking tours, an
evening at the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, the Tain Highland Gathering near
the Scottish port of Invergordon, and an all-day trip to Brussels from
Zeebrugge, Belgium. We took several tours, and all of the guides were excellent.
(We were especially impressed by Chris Ryan, who guided our Isle of Lewis tour
from Stornoway and owns Out and
To make tours more enjoyable, Silversea keeps tour
groups small (about 20 people, or half a busload) and provides escorts from the
ship who bring supplies of free bottled water and first-aid kits.
The tour desk can also arrange for private excursions, and--unlike some ships'
tour offices--it gives advice, maps, language "cheat sheets," and other
materials to guests who prefer independent sightseeing.
all, the Silver Whisper and other Silversea vessels offer free shuttle
buses whenever the ship isn't within easy walking distance of the city center.
These buses typically run at least once an hour in both directions, even when
the port is a fair distance from the ship (as it was in Edinburgh, which was a
30- to 45-minute trip by road).