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This January marks the start of what could be our most exciting, adventurous and exotic Live Voyage Report yet: a stunning 10-night voyage to South Africa aboard Silversea’s luxurious and intimate Silver Wind.
Coverage will kick off on Sunday, January 13, 2013 as I begin the long trek to Cape Town from my home-base in Vancouver; a journey that will take roughly 25 hours and two long-haul flights. But even this excites me, because it is full of new adventures. I’ve never been on an airplane flight longer than 10 hours, yet my flight from Heathrow to Cape Town alone will be nearly 12 hours in duration. I’ve never been to South Africa, and my only flirtation with the African continent was during a port stop in Casablanca, Morocco last April.
Silversea has put together a fantastic itinerary for Voyage 2302. Beginning in Cape Town, Silver Wind sails for Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where guests can explore the town of venture further afar, perhaps on an excursion to Addo Elephant National Park before continuing on to Maputo, Mozambique.
After a day of exploring the capital of Mozambique, with its Gustav Eiffel-inspired architecture, it’s off to Richards Bay, South Africa, for an overnight call, giving guests aboard the Silver Wind ample opportunity to take an excursion further inland to an African game reserve, or to take part in a Zulu Sunset Dinner Safari.
In fact, inland journeys play a major role in this itinerary; Silversea even gives their guests the option of taking part in a “Mid-Voyage Land Adventure”, like the one offered in Durban that allows guests to spend an overnight stay at the exclusive, Relais & Chateaux-affiliated Gorah Elephant Camp.
Calls in Durban and East London, South Africa round out the itinerary which ends back in Cape Town. Interspersed throughout are three relaxing days spent sailing the Indian Ocean and enjoying the beautiful Silver Wind.
The entire journey is a stunning mix of South African ports, interspersed with overland excursions that whisk guests to some of the region’s most noteworthy Game Reserves and cultural expereinces. Think of it as the “Safari Cruise.”
The full itinerary:
|January 15, 2013||Cape Town, South Africa||Embark Silver Wind||11:00 PM|
|January 16||Cruising the Cape of Good Hope & the Indian Ocean|
|January 17||Port Elizabeth, South Africa||8:00 AM||6:00 PM|
|January 18||Cruising the Indian Ocean|
|January 19||Maputo, Mozambique||2:00 PM||7:00 PM|
|January 20||Richards Bay, South Africa||10:00 AM||Overnight|
|January 21||Richards Bay, South Africa||Overnight||11:00 PM|
|January 22||Durban, South Africa||8:00 AM||6:00 PM|
|January 23||East London, South Africa||12:00 PM||6:00 PM|
|January 24||Cruising the Indian Ocean & Cape of Good Hope|
|January 25, 2013||Cape Town, South Africa||8:00 AM||Disembark|
For me, half of the appeal of this itinerary was the 296-guest Silver Wind herself. When I was just a teenager, I remember seeing an advertisement for Silversea in a British cruising magazine. It showcased Silversea’s elegant Silver Cloud, sister-ship to Silver Wind, sailing into the setting sun. Below, a couple stood on the balcony of their sumptuously-appointed suite, looking quite content in their surroundings.
It was just a piece of paper, and yet I remember thinking, “I have to do that someday.”
Since then, I’ve wanted to sail aboard the Silver Wind, which remains today the smallest ship in the Silversea fleet outside of their expedition vessel, the 132-guest Silver Explorer.
Frankly, I’m content to let Silversea act as my guide for my first foray into South Africa. On past voyages, I’ve come to love and appreciate their amazing service, astonishingly well-appointed suites, and relaxed, comfortable ships. The emphasis onboard is choice, first and foremost. If you want to eat a lavish breakfast in your suite, you can. If you want to head down to the dining room for a formal breakfast every morning at 6am, you can. If you feel like a glass of bubbly with breakfast, well, you can! With that kind of choice, I’d be okay if Silver Wind just did circles in the harbour for the entire week.
But more importantly, a cruise with Silversea is like returning to an old friend. I know how odd that sounds, but hear me out: when you sail with them, you get to know them – and by them, I mean your bar stewards, butlers, cabin attendants, shore excursion managers, singers, dancers, chefs, hotel directors and captains. These people become your friends, truly. I saw this firsthand aboard the Silver Shadow in the port of Vancouver nearly three years ago. I remember wondering if there was some kind of reunion going on as I passed through the lobby of the Silver Shadow, as I witnessed guests embracing the crew members gathered in the entrance lobby as they embarked for a voyage to Alaska.
Later, that became me. Those who’ve sailed with the line already know what I am talking about. For those who haven’t, know this: the service is impeccable, yet surprisingly genuine – a characteristic missing from many land-based experiences.
But there’s something fascinating about this itinerary. It’s exotic, different, and 180 degrees from usual. On my last Live Voyage Report, printed balloons lined the German town of Passau, encouraging passers-by to “Escape the Ordinary.”
I’m doing just that with this voyage aboard Silver Wind – and I hope you’ll follow along as we embark on an African Adventure here on From the Deck Chair!
From the Deck Chair will return on December 27th!
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