Stormy, yes. But this journey from Rome to Malaga had so much more to offer.

Silversea's elegant Silver Wind docked in Trapani, Sicily, on Thursday, November 21, 2013. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind docked in Trapani, Sicily, on Thursday, November 21, 2013. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

There’s no getting around it: The seas I experienced last week aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind, on Voyage 2334 from Rome to Malaga were some of the worst I’ve had in the Mediterranean. Roughly seven suites disembarked in Naples following a bumpy ride from Civitavecchia that saw our port call in Sorrento altered.

They may have escaped the seas, but I think they missed out on a great experience. The full journey, here on From the Deck Chair:

Yes, it was rough. I could only get a few forward-facing shots before my lens was entirely covered with ocean spray. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Yes, it was rough. I could only get a few forward-facing shots before my lens was entirely covered with ocean spray. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Sure, everything that wasn’t bolted down clattered around my suite, or fell, or broke entirely. Sure, shaving my face each morning we weren’t docked became a nerve-jangling dance with fate that I could have probably done without.

But I have never seen a crew gel and work so well together as the current crew onboard the Silver Wind. This is particularly impressive when you consider the ship had just come from an intensive, two-week drydock in Palermo. A drydock is far from a walk in the park; it’s so busy that most crew look forward to the guests returning to they can actually take a bit of a breather.

Fresh from drydock, even the non-altered areas of the Silver Wind sparkled. Pictured here is the Deck 6 staircase, facing forward. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Fresh from drydock, even the non-altered areas of the Silver Wind sparkled. Pictured here is the Deck 6 staircase, facing forward. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Roughly half the crew worked day-and-night during the drydock. The other half of the crew had two weeks off to spend with friends and family. So to come back to the first voyage after drydock – which is always demanding – and discover that Mother Nature is going to put you through the wringer as well must have been amazingly stressful.

If it was (and trust me – it was) they never showed it.

They continued to schedule activities, re-arrange excursions, prepare meals, host dinners and roll with the punches, every step of the way. They helped guests up and down stairs, into elevators, and everything in between. When my utensils slid off the table one morning at breakfast in La Terrazza, they were scooped up and replaced with new ones before I even knew what happened.

As stormy as it was, there were plenty of beautiful moments onboard Voyage 2334, including some of the best sunrises I've seen this year. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

As stormy as it was, there were plenty of fantastic moments onboard Voyage 2334, including some of the best sunrises I’ve seen this year. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

So it disheartened me when I heard one guest demanding a refund at the front desk on Tuesday morning — after enjoying a week of six-star luxury — because the weather was shite and we missed a port of call that, frankly, I’m told was no big loss. Personally, I’ll err on the side of Captain Michele Macarone Palmieri’s judgment every time; if the man doesn’t want to drive his ship hard through the elements just to make the last port of call, who am I to say otherwise?

After all, how bad can things be when you overhear someone say, “These seas are simply dreadful! Pass the Champagne, dear.”

Food onboard Voyage 2334 was as fantastic as ever. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Food onboard Voyage 2334 was as fantastic as ever. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

If it was up to me, I’d join a voyage like this every time. Why? Because, while some guests were definitely ill, it became a sort of adventure; a rite of passage that marks you as a true sailor, and one that bonds you together. The elevator-like motion of the ship, which could sometimes border on the absurd due to the high swells, became a topic of conversation. The guests who were out and about had fun and, I think, the crew did, too.

By the way, it’s not all peachy-keen for the crew, either. Just because they work on a ship does not make them immune: International Hostess Eleonora was down for the count one day with seasickness so acute she was given “the shot” by the ship’s Doctor. International Hostess Maria helped out and took on Eleonora’s duties, plus her own. Suite attendants kept hanging — and replacing — sickness bags on the corridor railings, and butlers scurried about the passageways like I have never seen before, tending to guests confined to their suites.

Enjoying breakfast out on the terrace at La Terrazza prior to arrival in La Goulette, Tunisia. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Enjoying breakfast out on the terrace at La Terrazza prior to arrival in La Goulette, Tunisia. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The crew in La Terrazza held the rails in the buffet for balance as the Silver Wind rode the swells down, and one crew member even held the pots of boiling water steady so Executive Chef David Bilsland could carry on his cooking demonstration in the Parisian Lounge. Nelson and his team kept everyone satiated with adult beverages despite the fact that just pouring a successful glass of wine required nerves-of-steel. And they never spilled a drop.

In every single port, the ship's crew washed the salt off each and every window to keep Silver Wind sparkling. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

In every single port, the ship’s crew washed the salt off each and every window to keep Silver Wind sparkling. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

On a ship’s crew, everyone helps each other. They whipped up impromptu activities for a day when none where scheduled, and not just some half-assed filler, either. Cruise Director Colin Brown never looked fazed once, though he must have been under tremendous pressure to deliver. I ended up having a great dinner with him after a hosted table for ten became a table for six, which became a table for two as conditions increased and more people started taking dinner in their suites.

When the elements got to be too much, guests could retreat to their suite oasis, where room and butler service continued unabated. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

When the elements got to be too much, guests could retreat to their suite oasis, where room and butler service continued unabated. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Oh, did I not mention that? Yes, even with the conditions, you could still order room service – or from the dining room menu – and have it delivered in the comfort of your suite. With wine. Or Champagne. Or spirits. Complimentary.

Within the stormy, unpredictable nature of the Mediterranean, there were also swaths of brilliant, warm, blue-skied days. I saw some of the best sunsets and sunrises of any cruise this year; proof alone that all was not “doom-and-gloom.”

Shore excursions, like this one to Mdina, Malta, seemed to be of universally-high quality. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Shore excursions, like this one to Mdina, Malta, seemed to be of universally high quality. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

I went on this cruise with the idea of talking largely about the Silver Wind and her new hardware – most notably, the amazing refreshments to Le Champagne on Deck 4, and The Bar on Deck 5. And they’re stunning, believe me. I think Le Champagne aboard the Silver Wind is actually more beautiful than the same space aboard the line’s flagship, the 540-guest Silver Spirit.

On the last full day onboard Silver Wind, our unexpected sea day allowed guests to take in the warm weather poolside. Nothing wrong with that! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

On the last full day onboard Silver Wind, our unexpected sea day allowed guests to take in the warm weather poolside. Nothing wrong with that! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

But without the crew of the Silver Wind, she would just be a pretty space that bobs around on the water. Because of that, I want to make this an open letter to all of the crew aboard the Silver Wind: You did an absolutely astonishing job. I was amazed. I am, still, amazed. You make it look effortless and easy. You make it look second-nature.

Let me be the one of the first of 200-and-some guests to say thank you.

Thank You.

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report through the Mediterranean aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind has sadly come to a close, but stay tuned for more Live Voyage Reports! Be sure to follow along by hash tagging #LiveVoyageReport.

 

2 Responses to Silver Wind Mediterranean Live Voyage Recap

  1. […] as to what a Silversea voyage is like? Click here to read our report from onboard Silver Wind in the Mediterranean from Rome to Malaga, or aboard Silver Spirit from Athens to […]

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