Silver Spirit

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Indeed, not only the butler but the polished, professional, and eager-to-please staff (“no,” by all indications, is not a word found in the Silver-sea lexicon) seems dedicated to the proposition that guests go home with smiles on their faces—a concept reinforced by a staff-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one.

Recommend recently joined an international passenger roster on a 7-day cruise from Piraeus to Istanbul, all sampling from a shipload of activities including scouring designer boutiques; splashing in the pool and soaking the working world away in warm whirlpools; and taking in an enrichment lecture…or a dance class, bridge game, or table tennis competition. In port, they embarked on shopping and sightseeing excursions on the storied isles of Crete, Rhodes, Santorini, and Mykonos.

Another Silversea signature—one that sets it apart—is the pitch-perfect staging of an uncommon event at a one-of-a-kind location. On this cruise it was a classical concert by the Aegean Chamber Orchestra, set at the foot of the grand amphitheater constructed in the second century at ancient Ephesus near the port of Kusadasi. The famed archaeological site, always thronged with visitors by day, was open only to Spirit passengers in the evening, its treasure-trove of night-lit landmarks a spellbinding sight.

Stellar events such as this are entirely complimentary and, in fact, are part of the Silversea experience that agents will want to emphasize when assisting clients in doing the math. Many of the ship’s key offerings are included in the fare—not only unforgettable happenings such as the Ephesus concert, not only personal pampering by the suite’s butler and stocking of cruisers’ chosen beverages, but a generous selection of wines, spirits, soft drinks and specialty coffees made available throughout the ship. Not to mention all gratuities, roundtrip shuttles between the pier and the heart of port towns, and bottles of water piled high as you set out on explorations.

Clients should also be encouraged to take a look at the Passport to Luxury promotion, which has been extended to all voyages in 2012 (except the line’s expedition cruises aboard the recently re-named Silver Explorer). The program provides an onboard spending credit of up to $1,500 per suite ($750 pp), depending on the length of the voyage or back-to-back itineraries. Spending credits may be applied to spa treatments, specialty restaurants, shore excursions, boutique purchases, Internet packages and more.

Other 2012 newsmakers: 19 new mid-voyage land adventures (total of 50), for the culture-vulture traveler who wants to delve deeper and see more than what can be accomplished during a typical half-day tour. These may last one day or several days and offer such opportunities as a safari stay at the exclusive Gorah Elephant Camp in South Africa (three days), and a look at the sand dunes of the Nabib Desert at the deluxe Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (two days).

Twenty Grand Voyages for clients with plenty of vacation time range from the 24-day Grand Asia & Australia Hong Kong-to-Sydney journey with an overnight in Ho Chi Minh City (fares start at $10,787 pp); to the 64-day South America & Rio Carnaval odyssey that visits 18 countries, with two nights in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval (fares start at $33,658 pp). And as of September, travel agents can book Silversea through Amadeus Cruise Distribution Solutions, offering real-time loading of all Silversea sailings, tariffs and onboard amenities, as well as instant booking confirmation due to a seamless connection to the line’s inhouse reservation system.

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