‘Home away from home’: Luxury cruise-goers have spent 1850 days at sea


Ever wanted to sail around the world? What about on a luxury cruise ship? Wendy and Roger have done exactly that – for nearly 5 years.
Silver Shadow cruising in the Caribbeans.

Wendy and Roger are currently on board Silversea Cruises’ 139-day World Cruise, South Side Story, when we speak. The Silver Shadow, which departed from Sydney on January 10, is taking guests to Fort Lauderdale. On the way, it’ll hit 66 destinations in 34 countries across five continents.

The lengthy cruise isn’t the couple’s first rodeo – they’ve spent more than 1850 days at sea with Silversea by the time we talk.

“We find longer cruises very satisfying,” the pair say. “Our ‘home away from home’ is just that – we still book the same cabin on board Shadow or Whisper each year.”

Silversea is known for its ultra-luxe offerings. The South Side Story journey, for example, didn’t begin in Sydney’s Circular Quay – it started way back on each individual passenger’s doorstep. The package includes private executive transfers between their home, the airport and the ship; business class flights; access to designated airline lounges; a personalised flight journey; and even a butler service upon arrival.

Then there are the extravagant events guests attend during the cruise: a performance of the Baining ceremony in Papua New Guinea; a dinner in the Cave of Descending Dragons in Vietnam; a theatre performance by the Amazonas Symphony and Choir in Brazil; and an exclusive dining experience in the Old Arab Fort in Zanzibar.

“Some of the special events put on for us so far have been spectacular,” the pair say. So far, their favourite has been the Valentine’s Day dinner on board the ship.

“Huge efforts were made to decorate the dining room and it was great to see Gilbert [the ship’s restaurant manager] taking the floor with his wife in Manila. Also, the evening at Kalanggaman Island was great.”

Tony and his wife, two Australian passengers on the Silver Shadow’s South Side Story, are also addicted to the sea life: they’ve been at sea for nearly 450 days (and counting). Their favourite experience so far? Dinner in the vineyards of Marlborough, New Zealand, with an orchestra under the stars.

It’s a lavish way to see the world – but Tony says it’s the cruise community that keeps him coming back.

“Long cruises allow us to really relax and feel like we live here,” Tony says. “This means that we get to know the crew more and they get to know us, resulting in a more personalised level of service. Like when they start advising us on what will best suit our menu preferences.

Silver Shadow pool deck. Image source: Supplied

“We have also cruised with many of the passengers before, so there is a real sense of community and being willing to help one another if that was ever needed.”

Silver Shadow is just one of Silversea’s many liners – there are Muse, Whisper, Spirit (which this year became the first global cruise line to sail from Hong Kong in nearly three years) and Moon. Then there are its expedition ships: Endeavour, Origin, Wind, Explorer and Cloud. And in January this year, it unveiled its new ship, the Silver Nova, which will launch in August this year.

Silver Nova. Image source: Supplied

Its parent company, Royal Caribbean Group, has a global fleet of 64 ships travelling to approximately 1,000 destinations around the world. After suffering significant losses after the pandemic, the company turned in a narrower-than-expected loss (US$1.12 per share as opposed to expected losses of US$1.37 per share) in Q4 2022 thanks to heightened demand for vacation experiences.

Its net loss was US$500 million – but that’s a significant improvement on 2021’s US$1.4 billion loss during the same period.

“The pandemic was hard on everyone – and Silversea was no exception,” Tony says. He was actually involved in a fundraising effort to help support unemployed crew members during the pandemic, which was started by fellow passengers Steve and Janet Randall.

“With widespread support, a proud total of $250,000 was raised,” Tony tells Forbes. “This, in itself, is a demonstration of how high the level of regard is between passengers and crew… It still feels like a family run business.”

Silversea’s 2024 World Cruise is currently sold out, but there are still spots available on its 2025 World Cruise Contrempo. Pricaes start at AU$120,000 per guest for the Panorama Suite, AU$126,000 per guest for the Classic Veranda Suite, AU$134,000 per guest for the Superior Veranda Suite, or AU $142,000 per guest for the Deluxe Veranda Suite. Other (higher) suite categories are sold out (i.e., Silver Suite, Royal Suite, Grand Suite and Owner’s Suite). 

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