Now that I have returned from South Africa and Silversea’s elegant Silver Wind, I have finally had a chance to decompress and recover from jet lag (more on that later). Most importantly, I’ve had some time to look over some of the questions sent in by readers about my journey, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some of them here.
How does the Silver Wind compare to the Silver Spirit or Silver Shadow?
Very well – but they’re different in terms of style. Silver Wind was Silversea’s second ship, constructed in 1995 by Genoa-based T. Mariotti. Silver Spirit was built in 2009 and is longer, taller, wider and carries more guests than her earlier fleetmate. Silver Shadow, on the other hand, is a bridge between the two, having been built in 2000.
Is there a better ship? I don’t think so. It really depends what you look for in a ship: Silver Wind has aged beautifully, but there are still areas of her that harken back to her early 1990’s roots, like the faux marble on the support columns and ceiling accents in the Panorama Lounge. Is that a problem? No – in fact, Silver Wind’s Bar on Deck 5 is so beautifully done that I hope the line never touches it.
Silver Wind’s décor and color palette are more subdued than the vibrant reds, greens and blues of the Silver Spirit.
If you love the intimacy of a smaller ship, though, it’s tough to beat the Silver Wind. She has all the important Silversea hallmarks, like The Grill featuring Hot Rocks, La Terrazza, and Le Champagne, not to mention some fabulous suites and that same high-quality Silversea service.
What was your favorite thing about the Silver Wind?
I loved her size. If you forget something in your suite, it’s never more than a 60-second walk away. No Silversea ship is crowded, but the Silver Wind took spaciousness to a new level. The only thing that seemed too small to meet demand, at least on my sailing, was Le Champagne. But its popularity could vary between sailings.
I also loved the Observation Lounge on Deck 9 forward. Once again, few people were ever in this beautiful space. There’s no bar here like onboard the Silver Spirit, but a light breakfast (fruit, pastries, coffee, tea) is served here each morning, and I’d often go up for a coffee and some fruit. Okay – coffee and a doughnut. Who am I kidding?
How bad are the flights to South Africa from North America?
Flying to South Africa is really more of a case of mind over matter: it sounds worse than it really is. I flew on British Airways through London Heathrow in both directions, and found that jet lag on returning home was no worse than a trip to London or Paris. This is due to the fact that although the flight from Heathrow to Cape Town is about 11.5 hours in duration, the time difference between the two is only two hours.
A few people remarked on my long layover at Heathrow; it was actually quite pleasant! But I enjoy airports and I had my laptop, so I took the opportunity to catch up on work. And I’d rather lay over for nine hours than do a “milk run” flight with multiple connections.
Why did you get seasick? Does the Silver Wind not handle rough seas well?
Ah, the seasickness. It has nothing to do with the Silver Wind’s sea-keeping abilities and everything to do with the unpredictability of the Indian Ocean. The