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Unibok

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About Unibok

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    North America
  • Interests
    Travel and food, walking and hiking, sacred and spiritual sites, writing and reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Silversea
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anywhere I can get to; I'm trying them all!

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  1. Unibok

    Middle East

    Hi, Sued, I am on the same cruise (B2B, Mumbai to Athens), wondering the same. Please continue to post updates as you learn more. I am not inclined to cancel, as I booked it as a slow and fascinating way to get from Asia to Greece. It'll still be slow and fascinating whichever ports we visit, but I am quite in love with this itinerary. Fingers crossed that sanity and peace will prevail.
  2. She can make her own dining reservations, if she chooses, as early as 120 days before sailing through her MySilversea account. It is not always necessary, but many people do opt to make some reservations so that they are guaranteed a meal in each of the venues.
  3. My short-ish answer for you is yes: the butler and room steward share duties, work as a team, and communicate regularly with one another about what needs to be done. For the most part, I have just a few requests, which seem like they could be enacted by either one. On embarkation day I request what I'll need throughout the journey: a softer mattress top; remove the beer and soda from the fridge, replacing them with things I like; hot water before bed; a heavy buckwheat pillow for my legs. Sometimes I request a shoe shine or laundry, but I prefer to handle my own restaurant alterations in person rather than go through the butler. It all seems pretty basic, and we set it up on the first day. They will attempt to learn your rhythms, sussing out whether you leave early for excursions, if you linger over breakfast, if you are a night owl or prefer an earlier turn-down. My butlers and room attendants have all been lovely and non-obtrusive, which is generally how I like it. However, one butler went way above and beyond by anticipating extras I might not know I needed and certainly didn't ask for: an en suite dinner after a late evening excursion, welcome home roses and champagne after a mid-voyage overnight excursion, and other niceties he thought I thought I would like as we got to know each other. He is my favorite of all time, the one I remember with the most specificity, and the one with whom I felt I made a real friendship that developed gradually and organically.
  4. He has certainly more than earned a restful retirement if that is what he chooses, but he will be sorely missed by so many. FWIW, I felt the same as you when I heard about the Wind's pending Cloudification, but I'm considering giving her a chance in the British Isles in 2021.
  5. In the Guest Info tab, you'll see this at the bottom:
  6. Day 4: Bequia, St. Vincent and Grenadines Two important transitions happened today: it heralded a string of smaller, lesser visited islands; and it also marked the end of my camera-toting excursions. I was on and in the water from this point forward, so daily reports will be sans illustrations. Bequia, "Island of the Clouds," was a lovely tender port for us, and provided a welcome relief from other ships. I opted for the "Sailing Bequia" excursion, which took us out on a catamaran for swimming and snorkeling. I was grateful for my prior experience, as they gave us no instructions beyond "don't step on the sea urchins or I'll have to urinate on you" (an unfortunate recurring theme throughout the week) and "don't get too close to the rocks." The current was strong, and they provided masks with mouthpieces but not flippers, so most of us stayed in safer areas where there was less to see. Frankly, it felt so good to be in the water that I didn't mind seeing just a few fish and some aquatic plants. I floated happily, assuming the snorkeling would get better throughout the week. Back on board, I had considered going to the lecture, but the topic seemed to have nothing to do with the Caribbean. This, too, would be an unfortunate recurring theme. Instead, I enjoyed an unhurried Informal night in the company of new friends. Day 5: Fort-de-France, Martinique Another day, another quiet island -- today at dock. There was a small farmer's market at the pier, with dazzling fruits, vegetables, and spices, as well as home-made spiced rum. As Martinique is a French territory, EU travelers were delighted to find that their phones worked, and that they could use Euros on land. Today's excursion was a long one: the "North Discovery by Catamaran," clocking in at 7.5 hours. It was a smorgasbord of everything I could have wanted: several good snorkeling spots (again with no flippers -- what is up with that???), substantial time under sail, a delicious local lunch on board, time ashore in St. Pierre under the looming presence of Mt. Pelee, and excellent company. Our highlight was sailing with the dolphins -- an enormous pod that jumped and rolled and played in our wake. I happened to be sitting out on the bow netting, and the dolphins skipping across the water right below and beside me. What a thrilling ride! Back onboard, Colin and the classical singers treated us to an excellent pre-dinner performance of "Voce dell'Opera," the most enjoyable iteration of this production I've experienced. I particularly appreciated how Colin and the soprano (Eleanor) provided context for the pieces they performed. From there, we all enjoyed a Casual dinner, and a later performance by the other four Voices, the duet-driven "Simply Divine." I had seen the same set on the Muse just a few months prior, and generally speaking it's good fun -- with the notable exception of the ever cringe-worthy "The Doggone Girl Is Mine." All in all, quite a fine day in the "Paris of the Caribbean."
  7. JP: I feel the same way! In fact, I hadn't planned on a Caribbean cruise this year, but it is such an easy jaunt down from the east coast, and the deal was too good to pass up. I won't go to the Caribbean instead of somewhere else, but I sure will go there in addition to somewhere else 🙂
  8. Day 3: St. George's, Grenada Rocked by the gentle waves on our first night at sea, I slept like a baby until waking in Grenada. The morning's excursion focused on nutmeg. Just as sugar cane grew easily and rapidly in Barbados, nutmeg found beneficial growing conditions in Grenada. We began at a spice plantation, learning about the various flavors that grow well here. Some were indigenous, but most were brought from South Asia by the colonizers. These spices have since become a cornerstone of the island's economy and a part of its flavor -- literally and metaphorically. From the plantation, we headed into town for a factory tour, and then back into the country for a visit to the island's largest waterfall. Guests on our tour were reading aloud messages from their partners on other excursions about the heavy rains, but somehow the moisture missed us. You just never know in the Caribbean, do you? At the waterfall, we received some pretty good rum punch (almost as good as in Barbados) and the opportunity to jump in the pool pictured above. Only three of us did, including myself. It was deep, and cold, and so refreshing. I would do it again in a heartbeat. After that, I enjoyed a fairly quiet evening, dining alone at the Grill and reading until bedtime.
  9. Hi Golfguy, I've not yet sailed on the Spirit (99 days to go!), but the other Silversea ships I've sailed do have an open terminal in the reception area for guest use. As for newspapers, a little summary version can be delivered to your suite each morning -- roughly 6 pages with an emphasis on your home country. I've not looked into availability for anything beyond that, as I'm usually seeking to escape news from home 🙂
  10. Dear Master Echo, thank you for your kind words; I always enjoy your trip reports as well. You ask an excellent question about Colin. He takes such pleasure in his virtuoso piano performances, and I'll say more on that topic later in this thread. The Whisper and Shadow still allow CDs to perform, so I've wondered if he will move to one of them, or stay on as an expedition CD, or (please, no!) retire. He is so beloved. He was in his civvies on disembarkation day, leaving for a 1-week stretch during which Hostess Ana would fulfill his CD duties. Indeed, she called out our luggage colors, signaling a temporary passing of the torch. Does anyone out there know his plans?
  11. I am so glad you mentioned this, as I was just peeking through this thread in hopes of learning more about Zippori before signing on to an excursion there. Can you say more about it?
  12. Day 2: Bridgetown, Barbados A beautiful day in Barbados, with an afternoon Photo Adventure excursion. Taking us to various photo-ready spots, our guide showed us how much of the island used to be sugar plantations, and did not shy away from talking about the history of slavery on the island. Indeed, the first photo stop was a village with intact "chattel houses" -- easily disassembled homes on a slab from when slaves (and later share-croppers) needed to move quickly to a new location. Many of us left donations for the owner of the house to defray the cost of keeping it so nicely painted for tourists. This shot shows a) how it grew with additions over time, and b) how it sits within the village. We then ventured to the "Scottish District," so called because it is the closest thing you can find to the Headlands in the Caribbean. The geology is completely different from the rest of the island, with a ruggedness and lack of stability unique to the area. We were treated to a medley of greens as the sun poked through the clouds. One of our final stops was at a very photogenic beach, where we also enjoyed rum punch and local bananas. I enjoyed watching this surfer. Now about that rum punch: it turned out to be far more interesting than just rum + punch. Even at the hotel, I could discern there was nutmeg and some other spices in it. Our guide gave us the recipe: 1 sour, 2 sweet, 3 strong, 4 weak. Sour = lime, sweet = simple syrup, 3 = Barbados rum (spiced or plain), 4 = juice (often grapefruit). Finish with a shot of bitters and grated nutmeg. There you have it. I plan to make it at home for the right occasion. Barbados rum punch was so good that it spoiled me for the rest of the voyage. The farther north we sailed, the less complex the concoctions, until at the end it was literally just rum and punch. I'm surprised to say I've become quite the rum punch snob. Lesson of the day: don't miss the rum punch in Barbados, but opt for something else on the other islands. Sailaway was at 6:00, followed by the Captain's Welcome and Formal Night. I was feeling fancy, so I dressed up and dined at the Solo table with one of the international hostesses. There were so many solos on this sailing that they actually split us into 2 groups. The conversation at ours was rather bit off-putting (slinging insults about the Royal Family and Brexit), so I steered clear of the solos for the rest of the journey. That's the beauty of having a choice, and there certainly are plenty of other ways to make friends on the Wind. I was very glad to see that the front page of the menu includes a thematic/local special menu for the day, in addition to other specials of the day. I had enjoyed that feature on the Shadow, and am glad it seems to have been implemented fleet-wide on ships with an MDR. The meal was fantastic -- overseen by a female executive chef from Mexico whose name I should have written down. Voices of Silversea performed "Showtime," a musical revue that featured songs I'd not yet heard on the Voices stage. One of my main complaints with the Voices is that the operatic singers stick out too much and don't blend with the musical/pop singers. This was the first voyage that was not true: by the end of the show, I could not have told you which two were the classically trained singers. This team blended beautifully, shared the stage with one another, and also had the most elaborate choreography of any Voices I've seen so far. I later learned that they had been working together for 5 months, and this was the final sailing for one of the singers. It was a far cut above the other Voices I've seen, with just one slight disappointment that one of the singers didn't project enough to be captured by her microphone. If the Voices had been that cohesive on my other voyages, I would have gone to more of their performances. Do more of this, Silversea! Even at this early stage of the voyage, it seemed that we had a dream team from the Captain all the way down. There was clear camaraderie among them, and they ran a very tight ship.
  13. Adding a visual, for those who can't picture the giant eyeball. It leered at us several times throughout the journey.
  14. Excellent! Thank you for the clarifications! Sounds like a terrific addition to a beautiful ship.
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