From Oman to Greece Aboard the Elegant Silver Wind

Finally, the sleek lines of Silversea's Silver Wind, as seen in Trapani, Sicily. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Join us in April aboard the elegant Silver Wind as we sail from Muscat, Oman to Piraeus (Athens), Greece. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?

– Hunter S. Thompson

I’ve long maintained that cruises are a bit like bicycles: you have to do a couple of loops around the block with the training wheels on before you can fully set out on your own. The same is true, I think, of travel in general: there are trips you can take without really thinking about them, but the most rewarding are those that truly seek to show you something out of the ordinary.

Beginning on April 5, 2015, I’ll set out on a trip that is far from ordinary. In fact, it’s one of the most interesting itineraries I’ve seen in a long time – but it comes as no surprise to me that Silversea would be the line to offer it. I’ve been sailing with Silversea for over five years now, and the line has never left me disappointed in their willingness to go where others either can’t or don’t.

Take some time to explore the deserts that surround Muscat, Oman. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Take some time to explore the deserts that surround Muscat, Oman. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

So, at the start of April, I’ll fly all the way from Canada to Muscat, Oman to board the beautiful Silver Windone of my favorite Silversea ships, and one that has already shown me the splendors of South Africa and the warmth of the Mediterranean. With just 296 guests onboard, it’s exactly what you’d expect of a luxury vessel: intimate but welcoming, nimble but still large enough to offer amenities like a two-story show lounge, multiple dining venues, and plenty of outdoor deck space.

Our final destination? The Greek port of Piraeus, gateway to Athens. Voyage 2509 will take us there on a spectacular journey through the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal. Over the course of 15 days, we’ll trace a route through some of the most historic and important countries in the world, each with their own unique cultures, traditions and people.

Back onboard the Silver Wind, I always enjoyed dining at La Terrazza on Deck 7 aft. One of my favorite places on any Silversea ship. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

A handful of days at sea will allow for time to enjoy the luxurious but welcoming environment on the beautiful Silver Wind. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Our itinerary is a beautiful one. After an overnight stay in Muscat at the gorgeous Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, we’ll set off across the Indian Ocean aboard Silver Wind, bound for Salalah, Oman.

In Salalah, the contrast between the lush city and the barren red desert that surrounds it is apparent. One of the most interesting excursions Silversea offers here is a journey along the “Frankincense Trail” – an ancient trade route that led inland from the Indian Ocean that was named after the precious commodity that many residents of Dhofar still use to this day to add fragrance to their homes.

Journey to the incredible Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Journey to the incredible Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

After Salalah, we’ll get to spend four days sailing the Indian Ocean before arriving in Safaga, Egypt. Here, we can explore the Bedouin life with an off-road journey into the desert; go snorkelling in the Red Sea; or even visit the magnificent city of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. Google Safaga if you know nothing of it; it wouldn’t look out of place in the Greek Islands with its vibrant blue sea and resort-style community.

Aqaba, Jordan is next. Known as “The Bride of the Red Sea”, Aqaba has been inhabited since 4000 BC and today serves as a major tourist destination and the only seaport of Jordan. There’s plenty to do here, but the one real “prestige” tour is the excursion to ancient Petra. The city was established as early as 312 BC and is famous for its buildings that were literally cut into the rock face behind them, as well as for its modern aqueduct system. UNESCO called it “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage” and named it a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Ancient Petra is one of the major sights to see during any call to Aqaba, Jordan. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Ancient Petra is one of the major sights to see during any call to Aqaba, Jordan. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

We then stop in the seaside resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt for an eight-hour, early-morning call before setting out to transit the famous Suez Canal that links the Red Sea with the Mediterranean. A brief technical stop is also made in Port Said, Egypt.

Once in the Mediterranean, Silver Wind will head for Israel, calling on both Ashdod and Haifa. The only problem here is deciding which excursions to take! Do you spend the day touring the fabled city of Jerusalem, set out for Tel Aviv, or tour Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee? Silversea even offers a golfing excursion in Haifa, though I don’t think I’ll be participating in that. Who can golf when there’s so much amazing history to see?

September 24, 2014: Exploring the ancient ruins of Ephesus, Turkey with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

We’ll finish this amazing journey off in Kusadasi, Turkey – gateway to the historic city of Ephesus, one of my favorite places on the planet.  Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Our final port of call is the only one aside from Athens on the entire journey that I have been to: Kusadasi, Turkey – gateway to the ancient and mythical city of Ephesus. I’d love to do something different here, but we all know I won’t. Once you’ve been to Ephesus once, it gets in your blood and you simply have to go back to see its treasures again.

So follow along with us as we once again discover the beauty of sailing with Silversea as we travel through some of the world’s most fascinating – and misunderstood – countries. You can even come in person, too – there’s still a handful of Vista and Veranda Suites left on this sailing. The more, the merrier!

Our Live Voyage Report runs from April 5 to April 20, 2015!

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind will begin on April 5, 2015 from Muscat, Oman! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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