When we were offered the opportunity to travel with Silversea, we were so excited. I have never considered embarking on a cruise before, but this trip was an incredible introduction.

Silversea goes above and beyond to make your trip a pleasurable experience. With only 380 passengers and 376 crew, they gave us complete luxury and authenticity.

Rome, Italy

My husband and I went on the cruise in November, just before the holidays. Our 18-day itinerary started in Rome, where we spent the night exploring for the best pizza place while strolling through the streets, admiring all the monuments. After a restful night and a nice breakfast in the company of fellow passengers, we got on the bus heading towards the port where we were to embark on our travels with Silversea.

The boat, Silver Spirit, was so beautiful: every detail was impeccable, from the wooden staircase to the five restaurants (including one Relais & Chateau), to the pool deck, library, cinema, lounge, bars, gym, and spa. They even had a casino – it was so exciting. We unpacked in our beautiful suite, which had a bathroom complete with a shower AND bath as well as a large living room with a balcony where we could enjoy a meal or a glass of wine. Our butler came in to make sure we were settling in fine with a tray of luxury toiletries to choose from, from top-of-the-line brands like Bulgari. We then walked – well, really, we ran – around the whole ship, admiring its beauty and all the art from Picasso, Miro, Dali. We even had the chance to hit the gym before dressing up for our first dinner on board Silver Spirit.

That night we tried The Restaurant. The minute you take a seat at your table, they bring a flute of champagne. While having a look at our menu and at the people around us, we were so happy to be there and to be a part of this adventure. How cool is it to be on a luxurious boat, going to exotic destinations, at this beautiful table surrounded by elegant people, having a romantic evening with absolutely no worries and no obligations? Many times throughout the trip, I attributed some of my enjoyment of this vacation to the length of the stay; 18 days of adventure was the perfect duration to make a really relaxing and unforgettable experience.

Something I was hoping for was delicious food, and I was not disappointed. It was a pleasant surprise that, in any restaurant you dined in, they already knew dietary restrictions and preferences, presenting great options that were both vegetarian and gluten-free. The glasses of wine were flowing, and we indulged that evening, but every lunch or dinner that followed offered the same impeccable service and food and drink selection.

After dinner, we went to the top floor of the ship for a nightcap and a dance while the boat was navigating toward Naples.

 

Naples, Italy

In Naples, we decided to get off the boat and explore the town. The city is like a mountain and there are stairs everywhere. Most of our fellow travellers went to Pompeii, but we hiked to the top of the city’s mountain and visited an old castle, from which we had an amazing view of the city. We continued by touring some of the city’s finest art galleries. On our way back to the boat, we stopped in at a great local restaurant and tasted some delectable desserts.

That night, we were excited to get back to the boat for a formal dinner where everyone looked impeccable to the point that you feel you are part of a movie scene. We opted to share a table with other passengers, two of whom became our favourite people on board, having several fun dinners and chats on the deck. One was Catherine from New Zealand. She had the most amazing energy and personality; by day two, she had collected an entourage of the most interesting guests on Silver Spirit. If I were an artist, I would make her my muse – she is that dynamic and fascinating. We also met with Christopher, a very British gentleman that has had the most impressive life adventure, including traveling in Dakar with Prince William and has been on the Concord, the Queen Elizabeth, and so on. We were also seated with a couple from Los Angeles and a retired classical pianist that was on a 50-day cruise (quite a lifestyle!). We ended the night meeting a couple from England that, despite their young age, has already made several trips with Silversea.

Alexandria, Egypt

The next day we arrived in Alexandria, Egypt, a port city founded in 323 BC. I have to say that Egypt was not what I had anticipated. Despite being one of the oldest civilizations, it was surprisingly dirty and poor. We had a police escort until our return to the boat that night. The Pyramids were fascinating, but seeing this harsh reality of the city was shocking. The next day, we walked around Alexandria, but the city’s decrepitude made it hard to enjoy. It was so dirty that you didn’t know where to walk. I was happy that Silversea offered this on its itinerary: I’m grateful to have seen what life is like for other people and to better understand the impacts of political challenge. This stop made my experience real. Instead of having a super commercial experience, which I absolutely dislike, this was a real look into life around the world, and that is how traveling enriches your life.

 

All our destinations were offering so much culture and enriching experiences, exactly what I was looking for. But at the time, we still had two other stops in Egypt and I was not sure I was going to be thrilled by them.

Suez Canal

 

Sharm El Sheik, Egypt

We navigated through the Suez Canal, which was quite unique. The colours there were surreal. I learned that the canal makes $5 billion in revenue annually – there are a lot of interesting things happening in there. It was also my husband Dooma’s birthday, and we couldn’t have asked for a better place to celebrate. We booked La Dame, the Relais & Chateaux restaurant to celebrate, and it was exquisite. We then celebrated at the club with our friends, and by the time we came back to our suite, our butler had decorated our room in honour of the occasion.

When we arrived in Sharm El Sheik, we decided to take a private car with a guide. We went to the national park and it was so beautiful. After a great walk, we did some snorkeling in the Red Sea. This was one of the highlights of our trip; the sea was so blue and so deep, filled with fish of all colours. We then visited a mosque, tried some falafel, and ended our day for a shisha and coffee with our guide. I had an Instax camera and offered a few people a Polaroid portrait, which they were so amazed by. This was a truly fun day, and our guide was very kind and generous. It was a great place for jewellery shopping, but you really have to negotiate hard.

Vally of the Kings, Egypt

Back on the ship for two days at sea, it was time to have lunch by the pool, followed by an afternoon chatting with new friends, sharing experiences, attending a lecture, and playing bridge or trivia. It was quite a relaxing time.

The next day we woke up in a new city. We watched Silver Spirit sail to the port before our breakfast on the bridge with the morning light shining down. It was such a fantastic way to start a new adventure.

The colours in Jordan, our day’s destination, were phenomenal: a blue-violet sky sprinkled with some orange and deep greens. Most of the cruise travelers went to Petra, an archaeological kingdom built in 300 BC. We decided to spend the day walking around town exploring the city while shopping for gifts and souvenirs. They have an amazing jewellery selection.

Our next stop was Safaga, back in Egypt, and we signed up for the Valley of the Kings: the tombs. The pyramids in Safaga were fascinating, especially because of their history; we actually saw the oldest pyramid, built in 2600 BC. As the bus stopped, the surrounding valley was mesmerizing, but there was no sign for what we were about to discover. The tombs were truly amazing – you enter through an underground tunnel that opens up into the hidden spaces that are richly decorated from wall to ceiling with hand-sculpted details and vibrant paintings, which have not lost their colour after all these years. The tombs were built for the kings and queens, work starting from the day they were born, and serve as a place for their treasures so they can have them in the afterlife.

Jordan

 

Egypt

 

Egypt

After two days at sea, we then stopped at Oman, in the Arabian Peninsula, which generated much enthusiasm. I was really looking forward to discovering this country; Salalah ‘The Garden City’ is the vacation place with miles of deserted beaches with hardy Bedouins and their camels. This is the country of Frankincense, the incense that is used in all Catholic Churches. Omanies dress in a traditional way and have an air of low-stress and happy lives.

Oman

The next day we stopped in the port of Muscat, where we spent a day in the Souk. We didn’t visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, but we saw one of his yachts and some of his incredibly impressive properties.

Oman

We visited a restaurant, Bait Al Luban, near the port for a delicious dinner before going back on board, where we met a friend for a drink.

Our trip was sadly about to come to an end with our final destination, Dubai, where we spent our last day by the pool of a luxurious hotel.

Traveling is so enriching: it helps you have a better understanding of people, it exposes you to new ideas and cultures, it broadens your perspective. During this trip, I was fortunate to visit five countries on two continents. I was particularly pleased with the opportunity to access countries and cities that I don’t think I would have ever visited otherwise, and certainly not for a stand-alone trip. On board Silver Spirit, not only did I travel through history, I also cruised through a new sea of life experiences with a diverse entourage.

This was my first cruise experience, and now I’m looking forward to my next. Of course, it will be with Silversea – and hopefully with Catherine from New Zealand, too.

 

Photos by Kathia Cambron using Fujifilm XT2 Camera for Silversea.

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Kathia Cambron

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