Who wouldn’t relish a cruise on a small luxury ship where every stateroom is a suite, all onboard gratuities are included, most drinks (from sodas and coffees to cocktails and Champagne) are part of the fare and dining is an epicurean delight? Where shore excursions are flawless? Where your butler is always on call? Your butler, did we say? Quite so.
Despite the white glove service from table to stateroom, however, Silversea Cruises is not a tight-lipped Downton Abbey at sea. Instead, it is an ultra-luxurious cruising experience of a more relaxed sort, as we recently discovered on a Mediterranean cruise from Athens to Rome aboard the sleek, modern, relatively small (540-passenger) Silver Spirit.
As soon as we entered our spacious suite, Silversea’s version of Jeeves appeared to run through the many perks he could provide (choice of pillows, bathroom amenities, dinner reservations, in-suite dining options). Then he offered to unpack our luggage — which we automatically declined, acting perhaps as self-reliant Americans are apt to do. Not flummoxed by our refusal, he quickly dispelled our trepidations over having a butler. In fact, we came to love our skilled personal assistant, who proved to be more a private concierge than a footman, maid or valet — a man who made our smooth, plush voyage that much smoother and plusher. Over the next seven days, he restocked the bar to our taste, served us breakfast with white linens on our balcony and one afternoon even drew us a surprise scented whirlpool bath. (For butlers, women as well as men, this is not a leisurely cruise; each is at the beck and call of about a dozen suites daily.)
On Silversea, the butlers are there to enhance what’s offered on one of the world’s most elegant cruise lines, including some of the finest locally guided shore excursions we ever experienced — a tour and tasting at Marsala’s legendary winery, a ramble through the back streets of Malta, a hike up the slopes of Mount Etna, a stroll through the ravishing ruins of Pompeii and a jog on the track of the original Olympic Stadium — not to mention repasts at some exquisite onboard specialty restaurants, including La Champagne with its Relais & Châteaux menu.
In addition to impeccable, unobtrusive, European-style service; gourmet dining; and memorable shore excursions, each of Silversea’s five small ships (296 to 540 passengers) is equipped with swimming pool, spa, show lounge, beauty salon, Internet café and shops, making for an ample sprinkling of the entertainment and fitness options found on larger, more crowded ships. Silversea’s newest ship, the 596-passenger Silver Muse, replete with eight dining venues, will make its maiden voyage from Monte Carlo in April 2017. Silversea also operates three even smaller premium expedition ships (100 to 132 passengers) that focus on wildlife and adventure destinations on seven continents, although without, alas, the resources of an indefatigable butler.
The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.
European hotel brand Kempinski is expanding into the Americas with a new luxury property in Dominica. Slated for an Oct. 14 opening, the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski will be Dominica’s first 5-star hotel on the island and the brand’s second in the Caribbean.