A Legendary World Cruise Gala Welcome
For travelers embarking on a Silversea world cruise, a ritual tradition is the eve-of-embarkation gala held just for those on the full voyage. On the eve of this year’s 140-day “Legends of Cruising,” the first-ever to call on Antarctica, we gathered at Palm Beach, Florida’s iconic The Breakers Hotel, to celebrate. Here’s our report on the world cruise gala.
Robert “Bob” Capriles sat at a corner table in The Breaker’s Hotel Mediterranean Ballroom, quietly savoring the moment. Most of his fellow world cruisers were busy catching up over cocktails, escaping the 50-something-degree temperatures from the adjacent Mediterranean Courtyard on this nippy January night in Palm Beach. But the 81-year old Curaçao native merely observed the crowd, his eyes filled with wonder, anticipation and delight. This was his first time at the luxurious historic hotel, which in and of itself is a sight to behold. But, crucially, he was also about to embark on his first Silversea world cruise and his first Silversea cruise altogether, a lifelong dream. “Being from such a small island, my father always inspired and encouraged us to discover the world,” Mr. Capriles said. “What better way to see the world than on a world cruise?”
Some 25 feet away and at the other end of the world cruise spectrum, John and Joyce Griffin made a grand entrance. The Irish couple greeted everyone in sight, posed for photographs and showed off a few dance moves to the tune of the live piano. They have sailed together more than 800 days with Silversea, many of which have been spent of world cruises. “The best part is getting to see all these wonderful friends again,” Mr. Griffin explained as he introduced me to a revolving door of fellow cruisers. “But of course, the destinations are nice,” he added with a playful smile.
The man at the center of this social soiree couldn’t be any other than the one chosen as the Cruise Director for the 140-day voyage: Mr. Fernando Barroso de Oliveira. Portuguese by birth and international by trade, he embodies the joie de vivre of his fellow guests. He also embodies Silversea. For 25 years, the age of the cruise line, Mr. Barroso de Oliveira has called Silversea home.
Addressing the crowd of elite travelers now gathered for dinner at The Breaker’s storied Venetian Ballroom, Fernando gushed as he defined them as “the family that I really care for. It’s just so warm, so fabulous to have the opportunity to sail with so many good friends again and again,” he added, while also taking the opportunity to welcome the 55 new-to-Silversea guests, Mr. Capriles among them. “You’ll soon get used to my funny accent over the ‘bing-bong’ (of the ship’s loudspeaker) when I announce the activities,” he said wryly.
Whether they’ve sailed zero or hundreds of days, the Griffins, Mr. Capriles, and the rest of the 232 guests booked for the full 140-day voyage are making history together. The 2020 Legends of World Cruising voyage, the first to visit all 7 continents, is truly unlike any other voyage. Sixty-two ports in 32 countries await these intrepid adventurers, as well as 33 brand new shore experiences from Salvador da Bahia to Moorea and from Singapore to Edinburgh. And many guests repeatedly point to Antarctica as one of the highlights of the itinerary, a 3-day segment to the Antarctic Peninsula on Zodiac tours led by Silversea’s Expedition team.
Witnessing the crackling camaraderie tonight, it also becomes apparent that there is another “destination,” one that’s perhaps unmarked on the lengthy itinerary, that draws these trailblazers together: a sense of family, of belonging. Today, it lives in The Breakers; tomorrow, aboard Silver Whisper. And during the next 5 months, the camaraderie continues, in whichever latitude the Legends of Cruising traverses.
Curious to follow along? We’ll be sharing occasional chronicles from “Legends of Cruising” on our blog and also via our dedicated Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LegendsofCruising2020/.