Vietnam has long been a country high on my list to visit. Due to its odd and very long geographical shape, visiting the unique cities and sights in the North and South would require lots of flying. We know all too well what that means – traffic to and from the airport, plane delays and hours waiting at the airports So, when I came upon a Silversea Asia cruise itinerary that explored the coast of Vietnam, I quickly thought: that solves this transportation issue!
This 9-night itinerary from Hong Kong to Singapore on the Silver Shadow really caught my eye:
- Day 1 – Hong Kong – Sail out of Hong Kong at dusk as city lights come to life
- Day 2 – Day at Sea – Enjoy the ship: laze on the deck lounge chairs with your favorite book or listen to lectures about Vietnamese history and culture by a renowned South East Asia lecturer
- Day 3 & 4 – Overnight in Halong Bay: Anchor overnight in this picture perfect Unesco World Heritage site and have plenty of time to explore nearby Hanoi
- Day 5 – DaNang – Visit beautiful Hoi An or the Forbidden City in Hue
- Day 6 – Nha Trang –Go biking amongst rice paddies and visit villages in the gorgeous Vietnamese countryside
- Day 7 & 8 – Overnight in Saigon and go sightseeing on the back of a Vespa, winding through narrow back alleys and on broad boulevards. Spend the evening in the city and dine at the Temple Club, with its old world charm and intimacy
- Day 9 – Day at Sea – sharpen your skills at a game of bridge or take a Pilates class
- Day 10 – Singapore – it is not over yet! – disembark the ship and check into the iconic Fullerton Hotel on the Singapore River. Later that afternoon, head for a Singapore sling at the Long Bar at the famous Raffles Singapore Hotel where the drink was invented.
I was sold! The Silversea Asia cruise was booked, air tickets purchased and my husband and I were off to Hong Kong! We arrived a few days early and stayed at The Peninsula Hotel on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. It is highly recommended to always arrive at least 2 days prior to sailing, to adjust to the time zone and visit the point of departure – which is usually a destination of its own. The Peninsula Hotel, located a short distance from the cruise terminal, is a perfect choice to begin or end your cruise. Exclusive to Virtuoso guests staying 2 nights, is a transfer to/from the cruise terminal in an amazing Rolls Royce Phantom!
The Silversea Experience
The Silver Shadow is a small luxury cruise ship carrying, at most, 382 passengers. It is all inclusive: all meals including specialty restaurants, complimentary wines, champagne and spirits, gratuities and on some cruises even shore excursions are at no extra charge. Plus, you have your own personal butler and walk-in closet! The ship has a European elegance and sophistication, yet with a casual atmosphere. There are roomy public spaces for lounging; several bars for a pre-dinner cocktail, often accompanied by music of the Silver Quartet; or lively entertainment by the Voices of Silversea. There is a casino; and lots of daily activities to take part in – or not, as you choose.
There are four gourmet dining options offering seasonal specialties created exclusively for Silversea by Relais Chateaux. The Restaurant is the formal open seating dining room, serving a varied menu along with wines selected for the meal. With the assistance of one of their sommeliers, you can order (at a very reasonable extra cost) off an extensive extra-premium wine list. The other dining choices are: La Terrazza, which serves as a buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch with indoor or al fresco seating and is transformed into an intimate Italian restaurant for dinner; the excellent Le Champagne, developed in partnership with Relais & Châteaux and serving six-course menus created especially to bring out the flavors in the day’s six wine selections (dining at La Champagne entails a modest extra charge); and The Pool Bar & Grill serves casual lunches and dinners, the latter featuring the fun “Black Rock Dining” experience, in which guests can grill their own meat or seafood at their table on a preheated volcanic rock. For those preferring to dine in your suite, you can order lunch and dinner served course by course in your cabin, from the day’s menu at the Restaurant.
All staterooms are suites and have ocean views. The lead in category, the Vista Suite (no balcony) is 287 sf. The next category, the Veranda Suite, is the same size but with a 60 sf balcony. This is the stateroom we had and it was spacious enough for a 9-night cruise. We are always amazed how well designed the ship staterooms are – taking advantage of every nook & cranny to create space for storage, comfort and convenience.
For those needing more space, I suggest the Medallion Suite at approx. 450 inside with a 80 sf balcony, or higher. Depending on your budget and needs, you will not be disappointed. All accommodations come with the service of a butler, who will draw you a bath, surprise you with a chilled bottle of champagne awaiting your return from a long day, arrange a cocktail party and even clean your luggage with an eco-friendly solution (this was truly appreciated as I have never cleaned my luggage!!).
Life on board
Life on board proceeds at your own personal pace. You can relax if you choose, but for those who seek more activities, there are plenty to choose from. We were especially impressed with the guest lecturers, who provided a series of spirited and entertaining lectures (which lots of pictures), about the fascinating history of Vietnam, the country’s rich culture and cuisine, and a history of Buddhism and the role it has played and continues to play in the Vietnamese daily lives. There were cooking demonstrations, golf putting games, sing-alongs, bridge games, trivia contests, nutrition classes, exercise, and of course the spa with a variety of personal care and pleasures services. I was enjoying myself so much aboard the ship that I forgot to take pictures!
If you are as enticed as I was about the Silversea Asia cruise options or any opportunity to see Asia via luxury cruise, get in touch and we can begin planning your own amazing voyage!