Two highly anticipated small luxury ships have launched. T+L compares the inside scoop on each.
Ship Size: 540 passengers.
Suites: The largest of any Silversea ship, starting at 312 square feet. Each room has its own soaking tub, and 90 percent have terraces.
Dining: Six-course tasting menus change daily at the upscale Le Champagne; for a casual lunch, there’s the Star Supper Club, with tapas-style dishes.
Destinations: A slew of Mediterranean and Caribbean itineraries are slated for fall, followed by French Polynesia (January 20–February 1).
Favorite Amenity: Plan your own picnic at the Grill, where you can cook kebabs and line-caught fish over volcanic rocks. Silversea Cruises; 10-day itineraries from $4,182 per person.
Ship Size: 450 passengers.
Suites: Rooms begin at 295 square feet, with walk-in closets and separate living areas; most have private verandas.
Dining: Star chef Charlie Palmer is behind the ship’s four restaurants, which include a casual patio grill and the open-kitchen Colonnade, serving American classics such as New York sirloin steak.
Destinations: The ship travels the Mediterranean and Scandinavia, and a world trip is scheduled for 2011.
Favorite Amenity: Don’t miss the two-story Spa at Seabourn, the largest on any luxury ship, with Elemis products, six treatment rooms, and a private couples villa. The Yachts of Seabourn; 12-day itineraries from $4,995 per person.
Silversea’s fancy, pampering experience is delivered on six sleek, 132- to 540-passenger ships, done up in contemporary décor, with gourmet cuisine, spacious ocean-view suites, free booze, and top-notch service—the solicitous crew even shines your shoes and brings room service, course by course. Steaks are prepared the way you like them. And yes, the bartender knows your name. An impressive guest lecture series includes famous chefs. The line also operates the upscale 132-passenger soft adventure ship Prince Albert II.
New and Newsworthy: The 540-passenger Silver Spirit debuted in 2009; it’s the line’s first new ship in eight years. Silver Wind recently had a multimillion refurbishment including a new observation lounge and spa.
Price: Weeklong cruises from $2,638 (plus air–inclusive offer).
Geographic Areas: Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Baltics, Africa and Indian Ocean, Far East, South Pacific, Caribbean, South America, Central America, New England/Canada,
Seabourn has long defined luxury for the old-money crowd, operating tastefully decorated, intimate yachts with no more than 300 suites per ship. Here, guests are pampered with free-flowing fine wines and other niceties while enjoying unique itineraries to destinations that larger ships cannot follow, including World Heritage sites made accessible by a partnership with UNESCO. While the fleet grows with new, modern ships appealing to the bon vivant crowd, Seabourn maintains its hallmarks of impeccable service, fine cuisine (now overseen by Thomas Keller), and luxurious all-suite accommodations. Join the bon vivant crowd and dress up at night (even on “casual” itineraries) or by attending exclusive on-board lectures by luminaries in the fields of Cuisine, Culture, Arts, and Sciences.