Luxury Cruising on the Mediterranean

Any Mediterranean cruise is a treat for all the senses ?– never mind one on the world’s top luxury cruise lines?.

Silverseas Mediterranean cruise | BCBusiness
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Any Mediterranean cruise is a treat for all the senses 
– never mind one on the world’s top luxury cruise lines

Planes, trains and automobiles, 
yes. Even vaporetti, helicopters and private jets. But until this year, after more than a decade as a travel writer, I had never been on a cruise. Travel writers can be a snooty bunch, turning up our noses at the all-inclusive buffets, waterslides and tourist excursions, but the name of one legendary Monaco-based luxury cruise line is whispered in hushed reverence: Silversea. And this sailing was on its own home waters, the Mediterranean. 

As it turns out, a cruise virgin embarking on a Silversea cruise is akin to an actual virgin having a first date with, say, Madonna or George Clooney. There is no going back. No trading down. You will be spoiled for life. 

As my travel companion and I are welcomed aboard the Silver Spirit in Athens, a new best friend awaits outside our stateroom: Julian, our butler. He has a round, open face, dark curly hair and a slightly English-accented lilt when he asks us with an arcing gesture, before opening the first of many Drappier Champagne bottles, “Should I make it pop?” Equally challenging questions follow, regarding pillow type (memory foam or feather?), amenities (Bulgari or Ferragamo?) and custom bar-stocking (bourbon or gin?), which Julian quickly resolves by bringing one of each, on all counts. 

He provides almost ridiculously attentive service: replenishing the copious bottled water we glug through daily, unfurling a white tablecloth for our morning room-service breakfasts and, after one particularly hot and dusty day in the Sicilian town of Taormino, having a hot Bulgari-scented bath waiting when I return.

On day two a dinner invitation card arrives from the ship’s doctor. This quaint custom of formal invites – for drinks, dinner, afternoon tea – makes me feel like the most popular girl in high school. We debate issuing some invitations of our own. “Just wait until the passenger list comes out tomorrow,” a cruise veteran from Atlanta drawls on day two. Another venerable cruise tradition, the list reveals several esquires, a duke and duchess, lords and ladies and, most impressively, an HRH whom we are tempted to invite for G&Ts on our veranda.

On a ship with just seven passenger-accessible decks and a capacity of around 500 passengers, we don’t feel bored and confined. There are enough “secrets,” from the late-night jazz singer and the deep single-malt menu in Connoisseur’s Corner bar to the canopied round sun beds and shady yoga deck, to keep us happy for a week. You’d be happy, too, if somebody cut the crusts off your club sandwiches, tissue-wrapped your fresh laundry like a present and put boxes of Pierre Marcolini chocolates on your pillow. 

The luxury in this cruise, as it turns out, is not in the thread-count of the linens or the marble bathroom and rich Art Deco-style wood veneers throughout; it’s the true luxuries of the time, space and freedom to do as we please, with Julian always on-call to handle the details. The aesthetics don’t hurt, either, whether we’re waking up to views of the craggy cliff-perched towns of the Amalfi coast or to the villa-populated hills surrounding Monte Carlo. 

Oddly enough, my most vivid memory is of Shanghai. That’s the name of the Laura Tonatto fragrance that diffused through our cabin, courtesy the thoughtful Julian. I’ve purchased a bottle of it for home, and every day I take in the scent of glamour, exoticism and luxury, each whiff taking me one breath closer to the Silver Spirit.



The Mediterranean is perfect in spring and fall: temperatures in the 20s, long bright days and cooling ocean breezes. 

Best Bed

Book a mid-ship veranda room (on the Silver Spirit, levels seven and higher have lovely views) and consider the geography (for east-to-west cruising, the starboard side gives you best land views).

Cool Eats

The world’s only floating Relais & Chateaux Wine Restaurant, Le Champagne, is onboard the Silver Spirit. Other Silversea ships feature “slow food” inspired menus. 

Must See

A day trip to see the ruins of Pompei or a helicopter ride to appreciate the hidden hillside villas of Monaco are among the best excursions to book in port.