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Silver Whisper

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Stepping onto 388-passenger Silver Whisper is much like stepping into Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. They both take you places, and in impeccable style. Words like "elegant," "classic," "pricy" and "comfortable" are perfect fits. Along with twin Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper hovers near the top of luxury cruise ship lists. All accommodations are suites and most possess private verandas. Even entry-level suites impress, showcasing butler service, free standard Wi-Fi (biggest suites receive free premium), lavish in-suite dining presented course by course, liquor setup and stocked mini-fridges. Marble and granite baths wow; all feature separate showers, full-size tubs and double vanities. Suites also tout walk-in closets, so there's plenty of room for clothing, making weeks or months of cruising (as many Silver Whisper devotees do) easy.

Despite its small size, Silver Whisper features four restaurants: The Restaurant and La Terrazza for breakfast, lunch and dinner; the alfresco Grill for lunch and dinner; and La Dame for fancy evening dining at $60 per-diner fee -- an unusual charge for a speciality restaurant in a luxury cruise ship. (In fairness, La Dame chefs go hog-wild with luxury ingredients, such as lobster and foie gras.) Consider room service an experience, too, with butlers smoothing high-end white clothes over tables, carefully setting out polished silverware and serving elegant fare course by course. Most wines and spirits are complimentary 24/7, as is noteworthy caviar. The sustainable posh Italian roe, Ars Italica, is served by the tin on demand, with all the proper accoutrements.

Service hits nonstop high notes. Crew members learn your names and preferences on Day One and seem eager to spoil you rotten. With Silversea's no-tipping policy, such attentiveness comes from training and the heart, rather than attempts to garner gratuities. Crew are always smiling, polite and even charming (particularly the butlers and servers). When you walk down a suite corridor and encounter a crew member, that person acknowledges you and then steps aside so you can pass -- It feels quite like "The Crown." For buffet meals, servers hover nearby, wanting to carry your plate, even if it's tiny and merely holding a brownie.

Silver Whisper definitely skews traditional, including a formality of style and dress unlike more casual luxury ships. In fact, Silver Whisper passengers tend to dress up more than peers on some Silversea sister ships. Expect plentiful tuxedos on formal nights. This is not the place to come with a suitcase full of T-shirts, shorts and jeans, no matter who the designer. Entertainment, too, is on the low-key side, with most passengers revelling in the intimate ambience, fine dining and primo service. Some don't even care about the ports --this ship, quite simply, is enough.

Daytime: Casual, with shorts and T-shirts in balmy weather. However, Silver Whisper passengers dress casually chic -- no tacky T-shirts or ripped-hem shorts.

Evening: Mostly informal, meaning jackets with optional ties for men, and dresses or pantsuits for women. Eight-day cruises usually have one formal night, where men don tuxedos and women wear fancy cocktail dresses or gowns. The Grill is casual optional every night. On casual nights, open-neck shirts for men and sundresses or shirts and slacks for women is typical.

Not permitted: Jeans, baseball caps and bathing attire after 6 p.m. in all public areas. 

Shore Excursions

generally charges extra for shore excursions. On our Caribbean cruise, tours covered a range of interests from sightseeing tours to active excursions, such as snorkelling, kayaking and recreational options, including a sailboat ride, beach break at a resort and rum tasting. The ship's shore concierge can arrange for private cars and drivers in select ports. Prices are comparable to other lines. While we can't speak about every destination, we found the Caribbean offerings to be standard. Where appropriate, Silversea will provide complimentary shuttle transportation from the cruise port to a downtown area. In many ports, a tourism representative will come aboard the ship or meet passengers on the pier to provide information and answer questions about sightseeing and activities. In addition, Silversea often sends a member of the entertainment team (a singer, social hostess, guest lecturer or dance host) to accompany a tour, both to assist passengers and to report back on the tour quality for the cruise line.

Daytime and Evening Entertainment

Daily activities are limited on port days and increased on sea days. Team trivia is a popular daily staple, and there's often a lecture about the ports or a topic of interest. Other activities might include golf putting, pool volleyball, casino tournament, cocktail and cooking demonstrations, meetups for special interest groups (such as solo travellers) and even language lessons. On longer cruises, dance hosts are onboard to teach dance classes. In the evening, a skilled resident pianist or trio plays in The Bar or Panorama Lounge pre- and post-dinner for either listening or dancing. If gentleman hosts are onboard, they make the rounds, asking ladies to dance. There's always an evening show -- occasionally, two. Either the six Voices of Silversea singer-dancers perform a musical revue in The Show Lounge on Deck 6, or one or two of them will do a cabaret show. They are personable and very good, although some voices mesh together better than others. More guest entertainers are onboard longer sails, such as noteworthy musical soloists or groups, comedians and magicians to vary the evening offerings. The casino on Deck 5 is oddly located by the boutiques and not adjacent to The Bar, where you might find it would get more traffic. On our cruise, most people reported the casino as not being very lively, which might have been impacted by the particular crowd or the port-intensive nature of the sailing. The casino offers three gaming tables (two poker, one roulette) and a number of slot machines. It might feature a popular blackjack tournament on a sea day. Additional evening activities might be a postshow dance party, Death by Chocolate deck party (with the most extravagant and delicious dessert spread), movie night or a game of Liars Club.

Enrichment

On port-intensive cruises, such as in the Caribbean, enrichment options are minimal. A guest lecturer might talk about what to expect in ports of call, as well as other cruise-related topics such as famous ships. On itineraries with three or more sea days, Silversea will bring on ACBL bridge instructors. Certain longer voyages will have famous or expert lecturers onboard, so check with the cruise line before booking if this kind of enrichment is important to you. On world cruises, Silver Whisper hosts a minimum of three lecturers on each segment, plus an arts and crafts instructor, in addition to bridge instructors and gentleman hosts.

 

Silver Whisper Bars and Lounges

The Bar is the buzziest predinner hot spot (head here for warm canapes and cool cocktails), while the Panorama Lounge often rules post-dinner, particularly late night. Knowledgeable bartenders whip up expert drinks and servers quickly remember your favourite.

The Bar (Deck 5): Just one deck up from The Restaurant, The Bar is the cocktail-hour hot spot and the place to go to meet new friends, and perhaps, decide to dine together. It's also the locale for trivia and the occasional cocktail-making lesson. A pianist or vocal guitarist provides background entertainment throughout the evening. Perch on a stool by the central bar, or sink into plush bluish-purple armchairs in softly lit, inviting seating areas.

The Show Lounge (Decks 6): Silversea's Show Lounge spans two decks, with stadium-style seating, but the only passenger entrance is from the rear and top of the theatre on Deck 6. The theatre is done in dark reds, and seating is a mix of club chairs and banquettes, with drink tables in between. Aisles are spacious to accommodate drinks servers who take preshow orders. Sightlines are good all round.

Connoisseur's Corner (Deck 7): The only indoor smoking venue onboard, this clubby cigar bar, with buttery leather chairs, is the place to enjoy a cigar or cigarette, perhaps with some Port or cognac. Waiters from the Panorama Bar come by to take drink orders or sell cigars if you did not bring your own.

Panorama Lounge (Deck 8): This all-purpose lounge, decorated in neutral hues, is more than just a bar. It hosts early-riser breakfast and afternoon tea, piano music or the Silver Whisper Trio before and after dinner, and the occasional black-and-white dress dance party. Wall-to-wall windows give the room its name.

Pool Bar (Deck 8): Some people do perch on the stools by the poolside bar (another good space to make new friends), although it mostly serves as a drink-making station for the wait staff who make the rounds of Deck 8 and 9 lounge chairs, as well as The Grill's dining tables.

Tor's Observation Lounge (Deck 10): This quiet space at the top of the ship, facing forward, was remade in the image of the chic observation library on sister ship Silver Muse. Soothing soft blue armchairs and sofas blend in with cherrywood walls and a bold geometric carpet with pops of orange. The venue is part secondary library and part self-service coffee and tea station. It's a peaceful, comfortable place to read while looking out the panoramic windows.

 

Silver Whisper Outside Recreation

A pool and two hot tubs dominate Deck 8 midship. They are ringed by brown-padded loungers, and some loungers for two. Additional lounge chairs and double loungers ring the area of Deck 9 that overlooks the pool. Another alfresco seating area, with blue-cushioned chairs, is behind the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8, as well as a designated smoking area. (Nonsmokers also come here if no one is puffing away to relax with a book.) The pool area is generally serene, with plenty of lounge chairs for all. Servers come around to take drink orders, or present cool towels and fresh fruit skewers. There's a Ping-Pong table at the aft end of the pool deck and a shuffleboard court one deck up on Deck 9.

 

Silver Whisper Services

Deck 5 midship is the hub for ship services. In the main lobby, you'll find the reception and shore excursion desks, as well as the future cruise sales consultant. Just forward of the lobby are the ship's boutiques, selling jewellery, watches, fashionable clothing, perfume, sunglasses and handbags. The shops also sell toiletries and sundries that you might have forgotten to pack (these are accessible 24/7 via your butler; you'll find a lengthy item list in your suite). Watch your daily newsletter for notice of special events (such as lectures on tanzanite) or sales.

Deck 7 houses a card room that doubles as a conference room. The library and internet cafe are better positioned just forward of the Panorama Lounge. At the library, you can browse the book selection or pick up daily sudoku and crossword puzzles and a ridiculously difficult quiz, as well as news reports from around the world. (You can also download the PressReader app and read many newspapers online.) The computer centre offers a handful of desktop computers for those who aren't travelling with a laptop or don't wish to use their tablets or smartphones. An IT officer can assist from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Every passenger receives complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi at standard speeds; passengers in select suites receive unlimited Wi-Fi at premium speeds. Passengers who want to upgrade their connection speed can choose from extra-fee packages. Complimentary self-service launderettes are located on Decks 4 and 6, and are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Laundry detergent is provided. You'll find three Miele washers, three Miele dryers, an ironing board and iron, sink and flat-screen television. A medical center is on Deck 3.

Smoking is only allowed in designated public areas: In the Connoisseur's Corner cigar bar on Deck 7, on the outside deck behind the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8 and at the tables along one side of the pool deck. No smoking is permitted on suite verandas.

The small Zagara Beauty Spa on Deck 10 offers a host of treatments. The spa has four treatment rooms and skilful therapists primarily use Elemis products. Count on an array of facials (such as procollagen and antiaging), massages (including hot stone and coconut poultice), detox treatments (such as Elemis Thousand Flower Detox Wrap) and nourishing body wraps. Prices are steep; the cheapest treatments start around $159 for 50 minutes. Look for specials on port days, such as three 20-minute treatments for a discounted price. Or, score a deal by booking three appointments simultaneously, and receive a 30 percent discount on the third treatment. The most popular treatment times do fill quickly, so make your reservations before sailing or early in the cruise for optimal timing.

The Zagara Beauty Salon offers hair treatments, nail services, waxing, teeth whitening and men's grooming services (such as shaves and beard trims), performed in a real barber's chair. Kerastase products are among those used. Men's and women's locker rooms are small yet each includes showers, toilet, lockers, steam room and a sauna. Lockers are fitted with robes, slippers and towels.

The Fitness Centre comprises two small rooms. One is a well-equipped gym with treadmills, elliptical trainers, recumbent and upright stationary bicycles, and Technogym resistance machines, most providing ocean views. There's even a SKILLMILL, a treadmill-like machine used in pro-athlete gyms that works your entire body, improving stability, speed and stamina. A mini-fridge offers bottled water and the counter features fruit and cereal bars. The second room, dubbed the aerobics room, is used as a group class studio for complementary programs, such as basic Pilates, yoga and stretching, led by a fitness instructor, who also leads the occasional health-focused seminar. When classes or personal consults aren't held, head here for yoga mats, or free weights and weight benches. There's a barre on the mirrored wall. The instructor also offers complimentary footprint analyses (which tend to be a product pitch for insoles). Passengers can also sign up for personal training sessions for a fee. The jogging track on Deck 9 only circles half the ship, so you'll need to run (or walk) nine laps to make a mile. You can also join sunrise walks led by the fitness instructor here. The deck is covered with a spongy material that we assume is easy on the knees. You can also do laps on Deck 10, but signs request that you walk, not run.

Prepare to dine elegantly on beautifully presented dishes prepared with primo ingredients. Menus offer an impressive variety of choices, with healthful and vegetarian selections. All-around menus (placed in suites) can be ordered from nearly every public venue and in-suite 24/7. Check the interactive television for restaurant descriptions and daily menus. Attentive service is de rigueur; the only speed bumps can come at lunchtime at The Grill if the venue is packed on a balmy sea day. For lunch and dinner in all venues, bar staff offers a house red or white wine, and the quality is decent, comparable to other luxury lines. For instance, bottles poured might be 2016 Alexander Valley Vineyards Merlot, or 2015 Greystone Cellars Petite Sirah. If you don't like the selection, the sommelier asks what style you prefer and brings a different bottle. Sommeliers know their wine and recommend well. Most notably, prices on the premium list are reasonable, making a splurge feel less like a splurge than a find.

 

Free Dining

The Restaurant (Deck 4)

Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D): Silver Whisper's main dining venue is elegant and airy with graceful columns, light wood-like tile flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows and sparkly chandeliers. Meals are open seating, no reservations needed -- though if invited to an officer- or crew-hosted table, it's polite to RSVP. Sit with your travel party or at an open table to meet fellow cruisers. The Restaurant is quiet at breakfast and lunchtime unless it's a sea day. Dinner is prime time, but there's never a queue for seating and the room doesn't feel crowded. The Restaurant serves up a traditional breakfast menu, and lunch features appetizers, soup, pasta, hearty salad, wrap and carving du jour, entrees and an Asian speciality (perhaps Indian or Filipino). Dinner is comprehensive, with formal nights offering more delicacies: Expect a suggested four-course menu, perhaps showcasing a country such as China or France; evening recommendations; vegetarian selections; and many fresh fish and meats. The complimentary caviar proves a popular way to begin dinner, and house-made gelato ends the night sweetly. A complimentary red and white wine of the day, often themed (e.g., California or Italian wines), are poured nightly. If not to your liking, request another complimentary bottle, or off the premium (extra-cost) menu. Waiters come around with both still and sparkling water. Staff is gracious and always asking how you like your meal. Servers pace meals well -- not too quick, not too slow. They can also adapt; on embarkation night, our server, noticing our fatigue, brought courses out quickly so we could retire.

La Terrazza (Deck 7)

Meals: B, L, D: Silver Whisper's buffet venue for breakfast and lunch has a consistently serene and upscale vibe -- Passengers aren't generally flooding it all at once. The buffet is in a room adjacent to the seating area, so you don't walk into queues of people with trays. Hosts escort passengers to tables and servers assist with carrying dishes. Two-, four- and six-top tables are available. Outdoor tables on the aft terrace are in high demand on sunny days and balmy nights. La Terrazza dishes often mirror The Restaurant menu. Breakfast includes cereals, house-made breakfast breads and pastries, premade egg dishes and pancakes, breakfast meats, cereal, yoghurt and fruit. At lunch, expect an array of sushi, shellfish, delicate smoked fish and high-end deli meat, an expansive salad bar with numerous toppings and prepared salads, carving station du jour, hot dishes, pizzas and a terrific quiche du jour, bread, imported cheese and desserts. A gluten-free station is prominently featured. At night, La Terrazza transforms into a reservations-only sit-down Italian restaurant, with an intimate and romantic ambience. The dress code is always informal and you can dine indoors or out. The evening begins with a glass of Prosecco, an outstanding antipasto platter, focaccia and roasted garlic bulb to spread on homemade bread. Order house-made pasta as a starter or entree. Mains include king prawns with cognac and grilled duck breast. Desserts showcase gelatos, Italian cheese plate and a luscious chocolate molten cake.

The Grill (Deck 8)

Meals: L, D: The Grill is a casual alfresco sit-down restaurant by the pool. Tables line the port and starboard sides and are clustered by the grill itself. At lunch, choose from sandwiches, salads, burgers (including a veggie version) and hot dogs, and grilled specials (the fish of the day always excels). Starters feature Mediterranean flavours, and desserts are always popular. On certain sea days, fun poolside lunch buffets are showcased, with some cooking a la minute, and live music. At dinner, the venue offers its wildly popular hot rock dining, where passengers cook meat, fish or vegetables over a hot lava stone. Begin with a choice of salad and then entrees to grill. Choose from intensely flavoured sauces like hollandaise and veal jus, and sides. Entrees come with a baked potato with appropriate accoutrements and grilled vegetable skewer. Desserts feature exotic fruits. When it's time to grill, the server places the raw entree on a hot rock and provides some cooking guidance. He also drapes an apron over you to protect clothing. If you're cooking a thick piece of meat or fish, it can sear outside but remain undercooked inside. To cook it through, cut it into smaller pieces. You can request new hot sides if the grilled vegetable skewer and baked potato grow cold, or that the chef cook the meat for you, which he will. That said, it's lovely and relaxing to dine under the stars in casual attire (also perfect for families with young children).

Promenade Lounge (Deck 8)

Meals: Snack: An elegant afternoon tea is served from 4 to 5 p.m. daily in the Promenade Lounge. Choose from a menu of Ronnefeldt teas, including caffeinated and decaf options, and green, white and herbal teas. Waiters deliver elegant three-tiered trays of cookies or cupcakes, petits fours and finger sandwiches (such as roast beef and smoked salmon), and offer fresh-baked scones with jam and cream. A pianist plays delightful background music. Everything tastes delicious, and one tray is generous enough to serve at least three passengers at this time of day.

Room Service

Meals: B, L, D: On Silversea's All Around Dining menu, you'll find multiple courses for fine dining in your suite, casual fare for a light lunch (including sandwiches, burgers and pizza) and desserts, including assorted cheeses and gelato. (The menu even sports the most tempting sentence, "Ask your butler for our ice cream menu.") In addition, during breakfast, lunch and dinner open hours in The Restaurant, you can order items off that venue's menu to be served in your suite. For breakfast, you can also request room service the night before by filling out a card and placing it in your cabin's mail slot. Count on a wide range of hot and cold items. Service is generally prompt and within the time marked, even if late at night or delivered to The Bar during trivia. Butlers fuss over your suite table, spreading a white tablecloth and setting tableware properly -- none leaves you with a stacked tray, unless that's your choice. Requests for dinner to be served course by course is worth experiencing; it's a leisurely, indulgent affair, replete with candlelight.

 

Fee Dining

La Dame (Deck 7); $60 for dinner

Meals: D: La Dame serves exquisite French cuisine in a most intimate setting (from 7 to 9:30 p.m.) The restaurant has only seven tables (each seating up to four diners), with a maximum capacity of 24 and there's but one seating. The table is yours for the night. The $60 per passenger surcharge (waived once for priciest suites) -- a rarity among inclusive luxury lines -- does little to squelch passenger demand. Reservations are difficult to score once onboard; best to book online before sailing. Here, the ship successfully creates an exclusive venue, where garnering a table is considered both a triumph and cruise highlight. The menu showcases the most lavish ingredients -- the stuff of foodies' dreams. Starters include caviar, foie gras (two ways) and lobster salad, and silken intensely flavoured soups excel. Mains feature a variety of meat and seafood (duck, lamb, Maine lobster). Special French cuisine offerings are a highlight at La Dame. Limousin beef from France, ranked one of the world's best, is only served here onboard, with truffles. Breads are unique to La Dame, and taste delicious spread with Normandy (France) butter (arguably the world's best), only used in La Dame. Finish with French cheeses and/or the star dessert, a Grand Marnier souffle cooked to order and rushed towering and quivering to tables. Every dish, all artfully presented, is Instagram-worthy. The wines match what's offered in The Restaurant, though we wish they'd be a notch above. Service may be the best here than any other dining venue - a high bar, indeed. La Dame's sole flaw is its design. The tables are set in a loose circle. Often, it's all couples, and chairs are arranged so that everyone's back is to a wall and they face into the restaurant, which means you're often staring at other diners or servers throughout the meal, rather than each other. We'd love to see another, more intimate, arrangement, perhaps screens between tables to enhance the intimacy and evoke romance, and some flowers and candlelight (battery-operated, of course).

All Silver Whisper accommodations are suites, with divided sitting and sleeping areas. All feature ocean views, and only Vista Suites do not feature balconies. The decor is soothingly neutral. Even the smallest suites feel spacious; you just can't go wrong with any category of suite. Six pairs of standard suites connect; the Royal, Grand and Owner's suites also connect to the adjoining standard suite. Two suites on Deck 5 are wheelchair-accessible, and many suites can accommodate a third passenger in a pull-out sofa. In every suite, passengers find twin beds that convert to one queen, vanity table with a mirror, writing desk with personalized stationery and a love seat (or larger) with at least one armchair and table. Pratesi bed linens and down duvets combine to create luxurious sleeping arrangements. Each suite has a walk-in closet with drawers and hanging space, including padded hangers, bathrobes and slippers, and amenities such as a shoe buff, umbrella and hair dryer. Butlers place a lighted Silversea keychain bedside and carefully wrap glasses left outside cases in eyeglass cloths.

On the tech side, there's a phone, USB port and plugs bedside, a flat-screen TV with multiple international channels (including ship-specific ones, such as a bridge cam) and complimentary on-demand movies that remember where you left off if you need to finish watching on another day. Interactive components include viewing daily activities and restaurant menus, and checking your bill. Mini-bars are stocked with beer, water and soda, according to your preferences. Passengers can also request bottles of wine and liquor for an in-cabin setup -- whatever they desire from complimentary onboard offerings. Welcome Champagne is available and fresh fruit is also provided.

All suites feature marble bathrooms with a toilet, double vanities, full-sized bathtub with shower sprayer and clothesline, and a separate glass-enclosed stall shower. Standard suites receive Bvlgari green tea toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and bar soap), as well as liquid hand soap; higher-end suites are set with Bvlgari white tea toiletries. All passengers have a choice of toiletry brands: Although Bvlgari is standard, you can request Sebamed hypoallergenic or Sicilian brand Ortigia, instead. Six glass shelves by the mirror, as well as a shelf below the vanity, provide plenty of bathroom storage.

Butler service is not lip service; these men and women are highly experienced and well trained. Your butler can serve meals and snacks in-suite, bring you a choice of pillows from the extensive pillow menu, pack and repack your bags, shine your shoes before formal nights (without you asking) and help with reservations. Butlers and suite stewards may team up to surprise passengers with a candlelit bubble bath and chilled Champagne after they return from a day's outing. They even clean your luggage and tie them with Silversea ribbons near the cruise end.

Vista Suite: At 287 square feet, the smallest accommodations onboard offer side-by-side sleeping and sitting areas separated by a curtain and a large picture window, but no balcony. Sitting areas feature a love seat and a chair.

Veranda Suite: On Decks 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, these measure 345 square feet, including a 60-square-foot veranda, furnished with two upright chairs and a drinks table. The sitting area is slightly larger than what you find in lower-category suites. Some Veranda Suites can accommodate a third passenger in a pull-out sofa.

Medallion Suite: The two Medallion Suites on Deck 7 midship measure 521 square feet, including the 81-square-foot balconies. These are the first true suites with a bedroom separated by curtained glass walls from a living room. A side table expands into a full dining table for in-suite meals. The bathroom is split; the bath, shower and double vanity are in one room that opens onto to a half-bath (toilet and sink), so when entertaining, you can hide the bathing area. The walk-in closet is located between the bedroom and the bathroom. Additional amenities for this suite level and above include special welcome Pierre Marcolini chocolates, afternoon canapes on request, unlimited premium Wi-Fi, dinner at an officer's table, illy espresso machine and complimentary laundry, wet cleaning and pressing. All laundry is returned either beautifully folded, wrapped in tissue paper and sealed, or hung in your closet.

Silver Suite: Sleeping three, the Silver Suites are truly spacious at 653 to 701 square feet and are located midship rather than forward, so they are quieter and feel less movement and are among the most popular suites onboard. A hallway with several shelf-and-cabinet units lead to a desk and then opens onto a large living and dining area with a one-person pull-out love seat, end tables and armchairs, a round dining table for four and a long buffet area with an illy espresso machine and fruit tray. As with the Medallion Suite, the bedroom is set off by curtained etched-glass walls, with a vanity, corner cabinet and second TV as well. There is no bedside table, but shelf space above the bed is available. A large walk-in closet separates the bedroom from the split bathroom. Extra-wide balconies measure 110 to 123 square feet, double the size of standard verandas, with upgraded furnishings including a small dining table.

Royal Suite: Two Royal Suites, measuring 967 or 1,007 square feet, including a 110- to 116-square-foot veranda, are found on Decks 6 and 7 all the way forward, on the port side. The suites sleep three but can also be combined with adjoining veranda cabins to make one two-bedroom suite that sleeps five and measures 1,312 to 1,352 square feet with a 170- to 176-square-foot balcony. This suite level and above has the bedroom separated from the living area by solid walls; here, the bedroom is under the angled front of the ship with long windows looking out to sea. The living and dining area also features a small bar with bar seating. There's a master bathroom with a full-sized whirlpool tub, plus a second powder room by the suite entrance. Additional amenities for this suite category and above are dinner for two in La Dame once per cruise and two hours of worldwide phone use in your suite.

Grand Suite: The four Grand Suites on Decks 6, 7 and 8 are nearly identical in layout to the Royal Suites, and given that the six forward suites are not standard sizes, it's unclear to us after touring one of each why Silversea splits them into different categories. Alone, Grand Suites range from 941 to 1,090 square feet, including verandas measuring 103 to 116 square feet, and sleep three. When combined with the adjoining Veranda Suite to form a two-bedroom unit, they are 1,286 to 1,435 square feet, including balconies of 163 to 176 square feet.

Owner's Suite: The Deck 7 top accommodations actually have slightly less interior space (919 square feet) than the Royal and Grand Suites, but are located in the more stable and convenient middle of the ship and offer the biggest private veranda (220 square feet). They can be combined with an adjoining Vista Suite for a two-bedroom arrangement that measures 1,264 square feet. The Owner's Suites feature all the same amenities as the top-tier suites -- true separate bedrooms, sitting areas with pull-out couches and dining space with a bar, and master and powder bathrooms. However, because the suites are not at the curved bow of the ship, they are more rectangular in layout, without slanted forward walls.

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