A word about our recent trip. If you like to cruise, have the money, and do not need constant “thrills”, then Silversea is the way to go.
A key factor in any decision is the ship itinerary, which is the reason we chose this cruise. I wanted to visit Vietnam and felt that my wife could endure such a trip. My original (foolhardy) idea of seeing the country by bike would not appeal to her.
I am not a cruise person. I disliked the experience on Royal Caribbean, which was a gift from my children (or revenge for something I did in their childhood). I vowed never to set foot on another cruise ship, and then I read an article in Vanity Fair about Silversea. Of course, the piece was promotional, but the offer sounded interesting. More research turned only positive comments and a list of cruises. The first I noticed was the voyage from Singapore to Sydney in December of last year. We booked it, and then had to cancel in order to become grandparents. We switched to Singapore to Hong Kong via Vietnam voyage.
The entire cruise experience turned out to be better than I expected. The accommodation was spacious and comfortable (not a cheap one), the food was excellent, and service was flawless. The number of guests was small, so one never felt crowded and no standing in line was necessary. This was a good way to see a country, because we did not have to unpack/pack and check in/check out at each stop. Tour guides were waiting at each stop, if we booked in advance. Shore tours were interesting, and the food was excellent (another surprise).
Of course, one must ignore the fact that you are being served by modern-day serfs/wage slaves/indentured servants. Despite smiles and gracious service, people working on a cruise ship have a tough life. Each has a limited contract (3, 6, or 9 months) and work seven days a week, from morning until night. Accommodation can be up to 4 in small room, deep in the bowels of the ship. All send money home to families, and all expressed homesickness, but none complained about the work. I admire the discipline and diligence. These are the people that made our experience so memorable.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.