Author Topic: Silversea Silver Whisper Japan review  (Read 360 times)

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Offline Rob Lightbody

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Silversea Silver Whisper Japan review
« on: Oct 16, 2023, 02:34 PM »
We knew where we wanted to go (Japan) and we knew roughly when we wanted to go (a window in mid September to mid October) but thats all the plan we had.  We started to look at flights (very expensive) and it was in my mind to look for cruises, although we also wanted to combine this with some time independently.

We looked at various options but I knew I wanted some help from someone in japan - tour guides etc.  I also thought it would be exhausting using the train system to get from place to place with all our bags in tow.  We started to look at cruise ship companies that were in the right place at the right time, and I had never really heard of Silversea if I'm honest, but their oldest (cheapest!) ship was in the right place at the right time and their all-inclusive deal which looked completely out of reach "for the likes of us" to start with, actually started to make sense when you added up the inclusions.  An enquiry turned into a fully cancellable booking, which in turn got paid in full ahead of the cruise.

Transfers

Limo service to and from our house and Glasgow airport were excellent.  Lovely luxury car, great helpful drivers, and they were actually in the terminal building when we got home to help us.  Lovely.  At Tokyo Haneda, a bus was waiting, and efficiently took us to the inclusive hotel.  Again from the hotel to the ship was efficiently handled.
Inclusive hotel.The Conrad Tokyo.  Wow and wow again.  I've been in some nice hotels, but this topped them all.  There was a dedicated Silversea desk there too the whole time which was a great touch.  All super efficient.  We met some other cruise passengers at this time, and noted that they seemed super-wealthy... 

Boarding

Fast and efficient.   We were on at 1pm, and taken to the terraza restaurant, given a lovely table for 2 by a window (this was to be a recurring theme) and poured some (inclusive) wine with a lovely lunch.  By the time our room was ready, we were wined and dined and off to a good start.  A complimentary bottle of champagne was waiting on ice, and our steward and butler introduced themselves to us.

Our suite.

Bear in mind that we'd booked the cheapest cabin on their oldest ship....  it was very spacious.  A sitting area by the large window had space to lounge around, and a very clever table that could be converted into a full dining table.  A sideboard with wine etc., and a fully stocked mini bar.  By the bed on each side, were two USB ports, one a high speed one.  The bed was super-comfy and we didn't need to ask for the pillow menu.  A spacious walk in wardrobe was included, with luxury dressing gowns, and umbrellas, and other nice touches.  The bathroom had twin sinks, lots of marble, a spacious glass-doored shower, and a full sized bath with shower.  All very nice indeed.  A separate illuminted dressing table was also in the cabin.  I liked that there were 3 individual lamps, and a heavy curtain that could separate the lounge area by the window.  It was therefore possibe for one person to be in "bedroom" in the dark, and the other to be in the "lounge" fully lit.

Technology

A very clever TV in the room, was mirrored with an equally clever app allowing you to do everything on board.  On demand TV and movies, interactive bookings, and a messaging system to read messages from the crew and review bookings etc.   All-inclusive unlimited wifi (1 device at a time) was included and worked very well throughout.  This technology was matcthed with a quality printed programme with everything you need to know (also available on the tv/app).

The ship itself

I thought it was beautiful, and beautifully maintained.  I was gobsmacked by how she looked simply brand new.  Things on the deck like speakers, brackets, railings etc. were all gleaming and spotless, not a speck of rust, lots of gleaming stainless steel.  The awnings at the back were all spotless and white.  Even if you were out to find fault, you'd really struggle.  She hadn't been in for a refit since 2018, but still looked amazing.  We'd expected her to look really tired, and were pleasantly surprised.

The size was perfect, you could still get a walk around on deck, and I remember remarking that anytime you wanted a door or a stairway there was always one handy.  A sea view was constantly present, no matter where you were on board - the only exception was the tiny casino bar (which reminded me of QE2's PG bar).
Favourite spots on board ended up being the bool bar, or sitting at the back of the Panorama Lounge where you felt like you were on your own private superyacht, and the main bar in the evening after dinner, where a comfy seat was always available, Joker the superb barman was available to take any cocktail challenges you could come up with, and was never defeated.  Drinks were excellent and generous.
I hadn't realised before we boarded, but apparently Silver Whisper has the highest passenger space ratio of any cruise ship, and it certainly felt it.
She rides the waves very well, I thought she had a lovely smooth motion that reminded me of QE2.  We had very stormy day on our last 30 hours at sea, and i did have seasickness at this point I'm afraid...

Dining.

We thought it was superb throughout.  Our favourite ended up being the main dining room simply called "the restaurant".  The decor here could do with some modernising, but the excellent maitre'd, plentiful private tables for 2, super staff and lovely food made up for the decor.
If you order room service, your own butler will always appear with it.  He will convert your table to a linen-covered dining table, lay it properly like in a restaurant, and serve your meal.  He also unprompted kept our drinks supply topped up in the room without us ever asking.We ended up doing the "Hot Rocks" Dinner 3 times and absolutely loved it.  Dining outside under the stars, by the pool, with delicious food and free-flowing wine, what's not to love?  I had amazing steak twice, and then between us we created a surf-and-turf one evening.  The fish, prawns and steaks were universally excellent here.
We had afternoon tea outside three times - at the panorama lounge aft - which was delicious, and obviously could be a champagne afternoon tea at no extra charge. 

Excursions
We took 7 excursions (included) and also used the complimentary shuttle buses a number of times.  All worked faultlessly and were amongst the best excursions I've ever done.  I think credit for the wonderful excursions probably has to go mainly to the Japanese organisers, but the shipboard side of things was slick too.  Things like umbrellas, water bottles, information, tickets - was all super slick.

Staff & Customer Service.

Aweseome.  Exceptional I would say.  Every crew member seemed happy, pleasant and efficient.  This gave the whole ship "that feeling".  During the first half of our cruise, there was a fault with the refrigeration system which meant the menu was more limited than normal.  We got a generous future cruise credit off the back of it (everyone got the same).  Thats customer service.  I also made a suggestion to them during the cruise, which they listened to and acted upon.  Also, I asked for seasickness pills at one point and was given complimentary ones with an understanding smile - another nice touch.
Sitting down anywhere on board for more than a few minutes, brought waiting staff to your side, and automatic canapes from late afternoon onwards.  It became a bit of a running joke, as when you sat down on an empty chair, you immediately actually had to start thinking in your head, which drink you were going to want when the waiter appeared!  We mostly managed this tiresome task! :-)

Entertainment
Obviously on such a small ship, entertainment was fairly limited but there was a surpisingly impressive show lounge considering the size of the ship, which did a nightly musical, and daytime enrichment lectures, as well as a couple of cinema showings.  We enjoyed "Daria" in the bar in the evening, her piano playing and singing was lovely.  There was a DJ and a "club" in the panorama lounge in the evening, but I never saw anyone there... in the evening, the only things happening really were in the show and the bar, but that suited us.  The usual quizzes and games are available.


Passengers & the effect of them...


The ship was full to the brim with millionaires.  We came to the conclusion early on that everyone on board was a millionaire apart from us.  Everyone was lovely and we made some friends amongst them easily.  We think this standard of customer, means the customer service simply has to be superb.  We had also read that Silversea never offer upgrades, and always treat everyone the same.  It certainly felt like this.  Once on board, everyone was equal.  Everyone was drinking the same drinks, eating the same food, enjoying the same entertainment.  It didn't matter if you cruised constantly with silversea and were rich, or it was a once in a lifetime treat, - you were all equal.  Average age was probably 60s I think but there was a smattering of people down to late 30s and up to 80s.  In our early 50s, we certainly didn't feel out of place.

We came off the ship absolutely gobsmacked that our final account said $0.  Not spending on board made the whole thing more enjoyable for us.

Its unlikely we'll be able to sail on Silver Whisper again, for a variety of reasons, and that makes me sad as I'm now really fond of her and her crew, but I will treasure the memories forever.  We might make it onto another short Silversea trip on another of their ships sometime in the next year or two due to the previously mentioned future cruise credit, however I would have to think that will be the end of it for us for Silversea, unless we win the lottery!

I'd have to do a separate review of Japan and Tokyo - but we loved absolutely every minute of it.  It was the trip of a lifetime, it really was.
« Last Edit: Oct 16, 2023, 02:45 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Rod

Re: Silversea Silver Whisper Japan review
« Reply #1 on: Oct 16, 2023, 04:40 PM »
Well, with that review I would have no problems taking a cruise.
The ship looks so uncluttered!
Thanks Rob

Offline Ben Zabulis

Re: Silversea Silver Whisper Japan review
« Reply #2 on: Oct 31, 2023, 09:38 AM »
Sounds a fabulous cruise Rob and the ship looks superb, the orchid in the cabin is a nice touch. Japan is such an interesting place, in fact I used to work in Tokyo so got to know it very well. Would love to know a little bit more about the itinerary. On our cruise out to Asia (Fred Olsen) we called into Naha, Tokyo, Kobe and Nagasaki - they were all spectacular !

 

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