Belle of the Baltics
Silver Whisper's splendid cruise of Northern Europe


As Russia geared up for the gala tricentennial celebrations of St. Petersburg this past May, President Vladimir Putin personally authorized the charter of the Silver Whisper to host a roster of international dignitaries and VIPs. Moored in water alongside the Hermitage - formerly the historic Winter Palace of the Czars - the gleaming white 382-passenger Silversea vessel delighted its privileged guests with fireworks, classical concerts, ballet performances and superb cuisine.

As it happens, the shipboard life the guests experienced was the same luxurious comfort bestowed on any Silver Whisper passenger: suites laden with Moet & Chandon chilling on ice, silken Frette bed linens, Bulgari bath amenities and bars stocked with a complimentary choice of wines, liquors, beers and soft drinks.

Of course, Silver Whisper guests aren't bound to a single port. While a Baltic cruise that visits historic northern European ports can be exciting on any vessel, a deluxe Silversea cruise refines the experience with three VIP days in St. Petersburg, where passengers are provided with exclusive off-hours access to museums and palaces along with opportunities to enjoy performances in concert halls that are typically restricted to the public.

Depending on the itinerary, a Baltic cruise may start in London, Amsterdam or Oslo. It may include a host of diverse ports: the Aland Islands scattered between Finland and Sweden; the serene isles of Swedish Visby or Danish Bornholme, both medieval gems; or Rostock, Germany, the gateway to Berlin. For 2003 and 2004, the best Baltic itineraries include 3-days in St. Petersburg with calls in Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm.

For professionals (say, doctors) with tight schedules, a good choice is the seven-day cruise that loops between Stockholm and Copenhagen and maximizes time in St. Petersburg, yet allows you to add pre- and post-cruise experiences in the two Scandinavian capitals. If your schedule restricts you to travel on certain days, consider custom planning a Baltic itinerary with Silversea's flexible Personalized Voyages Program. This allows you to embark and disembark in ports along the way as well as tailor the length of the cruise.

For the seven-day cruise from Stockholm, try to arrive at least two days early. The city - straddling 14 islands linked by bridges - is more beautiful than ever. Unhindered by the tenets of Swedish modernism, nothing blemishes the architectural integrity of its medieval core or harbour. The ship berths at the edge of Gamla Stan, Stockholm's old town, a UNESCO World Heritage treasury of medieval buildings where you can explore cobbled alleys of boutiques, galleries and cafes. Doctor's, researchers and laymen alike are thrilled to visit City Hall and stand on the Nobel Prize podium.

For a touch of history, visit the Vasa, the world's oldest identified ship (which sank on its 1628 maiden voyage). But to see how the locals celebrate sunshine, stop for a drink at a Gamla Stan café, or board the local ferry and sail to Drottningholm Palace. The royal family's 17th-century, Baroque-Rococo residential estate deserves its World Heritage status. After boarding the Silver Whisper, linger on deck as the ship bids farewell to Sweden's capital. Indulge in champagne and caviar as the sunset casts magical hues on Stockholm's fading silhouette of steeples.

A tour of this intimate vessel reveals ample amenities. On the tenth deck, the Observation Lounge overlooks the prow. Next door, the Mandara Spa and Fitness Centre boasts treadmills and recumbent bikes with personal TVs and headphones. Deck 9 has a jogging track and golf cage. A deck below, twin whirlpools flank the pool. Indoors are the Panorama Lounge, the computer centre and library. One deck down, the Terrace Café (popular for buffet breakfast and lunch) doubles as an alternative restaurant at night, themed alternatively for Italian, French, seafood and Mediterranean cuisine.

Adjacent are a number of cozy hideaways. Le Champagne (the wine and caviar room) serves as a private dining and boardroom. The Humidor is a haven for cigar aficionados. Next door, the Conference Room connects to a card room. The tiered Viennese Show Lounge extends down from Deck 6 to 5. Here, the reception lobby leads to the casino and shops. On Deck 4, The Restaurant sparkles with crystal, china and Christofle silver. Down on Deck 3, The Medical Centre is accessible by appointment around the clock.

After a sumptuous dinner and nightclub show, settling into the suite is pure pleasure. TV movies, cable news and documentaries are complimentary. For a nominal fee, Silversea's new interactive television system provides movies on demand, along with direct Internet access and capabilities to send and receive e-mail. The daily Silversea Chronicles outlines the next day's programs, Sightseeing details as well as the lunch and dinner menus (all available as room service, delivered course by course). Silversea excels in culinary style and taste. Associated with the international Relais & Châteaux-Relais Gourmands hotels and restaurants, its menus feature the signature creations of their Michelin-rated chefs.

Before heading to St. Petersburg, Silversea offers several day excursions into Tallinn, Estonia. Ruled in turn by the Danes, Germans, Swedes and Russians, Tallin is now coming into its own. Wandering about this Hanseatic town on your own is also satisfying, if you don't mind climbing a few steps for the views. It retains a warren of medieval sights including Kadriorg Palace, commissioned in 1718 by Peter the Great for his beloved Catherine.

Anticipation runs high as the ship navigates the narrow canal to St. Petersburg. If you're hard-pressed to choose a tour, consult the concierge. My recommendations? Don't miss the State Hermitage Museum with the mind-boggling jewelry and antique collections of the Gold and Restoration rooms (closed to the general public). Visit Peter the Great's palace: you'll get an off-hours view of the gilded statues lining the staircase (which are otherwise obscured by spraying fountains) and a gala meal and concert in the mirrored ballroom. Some consider back-to-back visits to the gilded Pushkin and Pavlovsk palaces visual overkill, but they are memorable sights to behold. On the third day in port, many passengers fly into Moscow for an all-day tour and return from the pricey excursion raving about the Kremlin. In the evenings, try to attend the ship's private performance of the St. Petersburg ballet or the costumed opera at the Yusopov Palace: these exquisite cultural experiences are entirely different from the local folkloric singers and dancers brought on board.

At sunrise, the ship approaches Helsinki, passing the 250-year-old Suomenlinna Island fortress built to thwart Russian invasions. Here, also, the ship offers interesting historical tours. But to absorb the local cheer, don walking shoes and grab a map. Right at the harbour, the waterfront Kauppatori market bustles with vendors hawking produce, fish and handicrafts. Designed in the neo-classical style of the early 19th century, Helsinki exudes charm. Pose for photos in front of the grand cathedrals, then follow the tree-lined esplanade buzzing with cafés and shops. A trail of gardens, fountains and monuments leads to the Anteneum (Finland's traditional art gallery), and the new Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, designed by U.S. architect Steven Holl. Music buffs may appreciate a visit to Finlandia Hall, designed by Alvar Aalto, or the monument to composer Jean Sibelius.

Finally, a day at sea is just what the doctor ordered to unwind from the intensive itinerary. There are plenty of diversions (including lectures, culinary and wine programs) as the 25,000 tonne ship cruises at a speedy 20.5 knots. But this is a perfect chance to prep for touring Copenhagen with a rejuvenating treatment in the Mandara Spa, or an indulgent "de-stressing message" in the privacy of your suite or balcony.

At first glance, the Danish city of Copenhagen seems overly fanciful. With bronze statues of the Little Mermaid in the harbour and Hans Christian Andersen in the city square, the whimsical Tivoli Gardens, and the Royal Amalienborg Palace, even the tour guides crack grins. But the more serious art and culture thrive in lively cafés and jazz clubs scattered along the Stroget pedestrian shopping street and in medieval warehouses fringing Nyhavn Canal. Once the sailors' quarter, the canal's many waterfront cafes overlook flotillas of tour boats.

The city also has excellent galleries. The contemporary Luisiana Museum of Modern Art deserves accolades, while the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, which mixes classical sculptures with exquisite Impressionist art, houses one of the world's four complete series of Degas bronzes.

After a luxurious voyage that mingles medieval and modern elements in Stockholm, Tallinn, Helsinki and Copenhagen with the frivolous opulence of czar-era St. Petersburg, settling into the Radisson Royal Hotel is a keen contrast. Though it is a world apart in concept and style from the gilded edifices of St. Petersburg, the hotel is a work of art. Designed in the 1950s by famed Danish architect Arne Jacobsen and furnished with his quintessential Egg and Swan chairs, it commands remarkable esteem just across the sea. To see the arthitectural contrasts and the diverse cultures along the way are good reasons to sail a Baltic itinerary. Mind you, it's fine just to be coddled on a Silver Whisper cruise.

Five years running, a Travel & Leisure poll named Silversea Cruises the World's Best Small-Ship Cruise Line. The cruises are frequently themed - some on food and wine, others on the arts or literature. The Silver Links golf cruises include PGA instructors, privileges at famed courses worldwide, transfers and lunch.

Silversea Cruises (Tel: (954) 522-4477 or (800) 722-6655; Fax: (954) 522-4499; are all-inclusive, excluding rare vintage wines, spa treatments or shore excursions beyond tours listed as the Silversea Experience.

Rates for the Silver Whisper, her twin, Silver Shadow, and the smaller Silver Cloud and Wind include airfare, transfers, port charges, pre-cruise hotel, gratuities, all drinks (including wine, liquor, water, soft drinks). Rates vary with size of suite, length of cruise and distance to initial and final ports of call.

To inquire about Silversea's various booking options (including a comprehensive air/sea package, cruise-only fare, the customized Personalized Voyages program or early-booking bonus rates), contact your travel agent.

Copyright: Toby Saltzman 2003



Register Free at      Back to HOME PAGE

Copyright © 2000 travelterrific inc. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement


Home Links Contact About
Chloe women men best replica store celine outlet yves-saint-laurent-borse-fake yves-saint-laurent-women-online Red bottoms sneakers women outlet store shop Replica sale yves saint laurent best women belt 2015-yves-saint-laurent-replica-store-women-clutch Bags-wallet-2015-chloe-replica-online Shop red bottoms sandals women replica online christian louboutin pas cher Official replica sale women men chloe Louis Vuitton replica handbags uk yves-saint-laurent-belt-sale yves-saint-laurent-clutch-purse-outlet Cheap Louis Vuitton UK sale online
Wallet belt chloe replica store best Outlet store 2015 shoes sneakers christian louboutin authentic-birkin-hermes-bag-price Women handbags hermes fake outlet online chloe bags sale Cheap men handbags replica store louis vuitton louis vuitton outlet italia chaussures pas cheres louboutin buy-authentic-prada-bags hermes replica Cheap christian louboutin outlet replica sneakers boots buy-chloe-wallets 2015-outlet-store-yves-saint-laurent-women-bags Bags purse outlet sale hermes wholesale Bags-purses-celine-outlet-store-wholesale prada-bag-outlet Fake-women-handbags-outlet-store-yves-saint-laurent Louis Vuitton replica handbags uk Christian louboutin replica store authentic heels men