Travels with Fernando: Exploring His Mediterranean Sea

If you’ve sailed on a Silversea world cruise or many other voyages, chances are you’ve met Fernando Barroso de Oliveira, who is practically an iconic presence onboard.  Having spent nearly a lifetime at sea certainly adds to his charisma. As a young boy growing up in Portugal’s picturesque seaside town of Cascais, Fernando knew that he wanted to make traveling his career. The glamour of the great ocean liners docking at nearby Lisbon and the allure of the vast, open Atlantic Ocean in the horizon played a part in Barroso de Oliveira’s decision. “I cannot stay put more than 8 days in one place or else I get crazy,” he adds.

No one knows the Mediterranean better than Fernando, Silversea’s Senior Cruise Director & President’s Ambassador to the Venetian Society. He can’t wait to show you “his” Mediterranean. Born in Portugal, he’s lived in numerous Mediterranean cities from Lisbon to Athens to Istanbul, and has traveled just about everywhere onboard Silversea. It’s his backyard, he tells us. 

More than a quarter of a century ago, de Oliveira embarked upon his first Mediterranean voyage with Silversea. The fateful October 1994 voyage took place on Silver Cloud—back then the only ship in the new cruise line’s fleet. His first job? Cruise director. It was, in retrospect, a most fitting debut.  “The first moment I realized I belonged there was at cocktail time at 7 p.m. in the bar on Deck 5,” Barroso de Oliveira reminisces. “I saw the guests and that was it. I was hooked.”

And for more than 25 years, Silversea guests have been hooked as well. In his current role as Senior Cruise Director & President’s Ambassador to the Venetian Society, Fernando is a mainstay on the company’s annual world cruises and numerous other voyages. His enormous charisma, coupled with his endless fascinating anecdotes, have made him a living legend among the cruise line’s loyal-most community.

Barcelona’s Park Guell

And the Mediterranean particularly resonates for him and, he hopes, for members of the Venetian Society and Silversea newcomers. Of all of his globetrotting sophistication, he will always point to his beloved “Mare Nostrum” as his all-time favorite cruising ground and the one he is most intimately familiar with. “The Mediterranean is the epitome of culture in a sense…the whole thing started there. Every day you are in a different port that brings centuries and centuries of civilization and history.”