Haynie Kent is a huge fan of luxury cruise line Silversea
Haynie Kent has voyaged with Silversea six times and named her two cats, Whisper and Shadow, after two of the Silversea fleet.
Ask her why she prefers the exclusive cruise line and she says simply because the first cruise was so good “we came back”.
There are five luxury ships in the Silversea fleet consisting two ‘older’ 296-guest ships, Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, two mid-size 382-guest ‘sister ships’ Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper, and the latest and largest 595-guest Silver Spirit.
As returning guests, Haynie and her family are part of the Venetian Society, Silversea’s loyalty programme, where you receive members-only benefits and cruise rewards. Returning passengers may also benefit from the ‘past-guest discount’ incentive programme, where they may get a percentage off each voyage.
“And then there’s the free laundry service you get when you have sailed more than 100 days with them,” she jokes.
Haynie’s most recent cruise in August saw her on two seven-day back-to-back Mediterranean cruises on the 296-guest Silver Wind.
Travelling with her family, the first seven-day leg of the voyage they departed from Rome, visiting Corsica, Florence, Portofino, Monte Carlo, Sete, Saint Tropez and Barcelona. The second part of the voyage then saw them departing Barcelona, visiting Corsica, Sardinia, Spain’s Port Mahon, Parma de Mallorca, Valencia, and returning to Barcelona.
Her favourite places were Menorca – “just beautiful” – and Sardinia which was “pretty cool too” with its bronze-age “beehive” monuments dotting the landscape.
Haynie’s party stayed in two suites – two of them shared a Veranda Suite and she stayed separately in a Vista Suite. She says both suites were “perfectly adequate” but smaller than the Silver Suite they all normally stay in when they cruise with Silversea. The Silver Suite comes with its own living room, dining area and has a larger verandah space with patio furniture. The Verandah Suite meanwhile consists of one studio-room, plus bathroom and its own private deck space and the Vista Suite is a studio room with its own bathroom and a large picture window.
And as if you aren’t pampered enough on a Silversea voyage, the individual butler service is “pretty impressive” says Haynie.
You can have your own butler regardless of the type of suite you are in and, having welcomed you on arrival, unpacked for you and shown you around your suite, is there on hand throughout the voyage to keep your suite immaculate, serve you breakfast, sort out your laundry, refresh your bar and turn down your bed every night.
While some people might find this intrusive, Haynie says she doesn’t find it so. Coming back to her room is a pleasure, she says, after a busy day on shore because the butler will have tidied up the suite and there are small personal touches including polished shoes and a bookmark placed in the book she has been reading. The butler will even polish your sunglasses!
“I like it. Someone’s thought about you, it’s not intrusive at all”, she says.
There’s a number of restaurants on Silver Wind, including the main dining room, an Italian a la carte restaurant, the pool bar and grill with its ‘Hot Rock’ cuisine, and Le Champagne, where they dined “several times”. It’s a French Relais and Chateaux restaurant where “very French” gourmet food is matched with the perfect wine.
Haynie says her perfect meal at Le Champagne would be an entrée of caviar, followed by lobster salad and maybe a crayfish thermidor. She has also sampled the famed Silversea gold-leaf risotto……..
Dress code on board during the day is called Country Club casual, which Haynie says is “basically capris and polo shirts.” Dress code at night is broken into three categories, casual, informal and formal.
She says casual and informal “seem to be pretty similar, nice pants or skirt and top.”
“Formal is evening wear, a cocktail dress or a dinner suit.”
This cruise line generally appeals to older people and is perfectly set up for them with its high level of personal service. Younger people are in a minority and Haynie, who is in her 30s, was once mistaken by a guest for a member of staff because of her youth
But because it is an Italian-owned cruise company, there are less Americans and “quite a few” Europeans says Haynie.
The first cruise the family took in 2007 was two back-to-back London to St Petersburg voyages on Silver Wind, where they moored at Tower Bridge and had a private tour of the Crown Jewels. When they left London for St Petersburg, and returned back to London, Tower Bridge opened up for the ship both times. On their return, as they cruised up the Thames the band played ‘Rule Britannia’ with everyone waving at them from the shore! Once in St Petersburg, they had a private viewing of the oldest and largest museum of art and culture in the world, the Hermitage Museum.
The second cruise, on mid-size Silver Whisper, took them to Rome and Venice, and the third, again on Silver Whisper, was a Silversea Asia Cruise, Tokyo to Singapore, visiting Vietnam on the way.
A highlight for Haynie – “the best” – in Vietnam was Silversea guest lecturer Ted Koppel, an experienced British-American journalist who had been a war correspondent for ABC News during the Vietnam War.
Haynie’s fourth cruise saw her back on Silver Wind, departing Athens and ending up in Safaga, Luxor in Egypt.
This cruise particularly appealed to Haynie who loves the ancient history and culture of Eqypt, particularly the visit to Petra in Jordan
Silver Spirit, Silversea’s newest and largest cruise ship was Haynie’s fifth voyage from Southampton to Barcelona, visiting Portugal on the way.
Unfortunately for Haynie, she was sick throughout the whole voyage, but she also found the larger ship had “too many people” and she “didn’t initially like it”.
“When you are on Silver Wind, everyone knows your name,” she adds.
It’s clear that the draw-card for Haynie is the intimacy of the small ships, the personal service and pampering you get on board.
She’s yet to book her seventh voyage but really wants to sail from Singapore to Muscat – including three days in Yangoon, Myanmar.
“I am actually wanting to try Seabourn but I can’t find the right itinerary at the moment so may well end up back on Silversea.”
Thanks for telling us all about your cruise experiences Haynie and we look forward to hearing about the next one!