Inside Silversea’s Otium: A Boldly Indulgent Wellness Program

What if a wellness program emphasized indulgence instead of self-sacrifice? If, in addition to the spa, you could extend the concept to your own suite, via the verandah, living room, in-suite dining, bedroom and bath? What if incorporating a wellness theme into your vacation focused on joy and serenity rather than calorie counts and step-tracking?

Indeed, Silversea’s Otium, a Roman-inspired creation for Silver Dawn that launches in spring 2022, is being designed for those for whom the idea of wellness, particularly on holiday, is more about indulgences, large and small, than sacrifice. The idea, which was inspired by the pandemic, says Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s chief commercial officer, offers an “opportunity to stop pretending. This is all about instant gratification: Champagne and chocolate, and there’s not going to be any sweating.”

“We are an Italian company,” she tells us, “and we are born of the Otium lifestyle, which is defined as the absence of work, involving socializing, eating and drinking.”

It’s about seeking balance, however you want to achieve it. And who doesn’t need it these days? “We take care of everybody else, all the time,” says Mary Jean Tully, founder and CEO of Tully Luxury Travel, who was onboard for the preview. “This time we get to make it completely about us.”

What is Otium, Exactly?

During September’s Otium preview, held aboard Silver Moon in the Greek Isles, we were among a group of travel and lifestyle journalists invited to learn about the meaning of Otium — and experience components of the program, which is still being developed and tested.

Silversea’s interpretation of Otium is inspired by the Romans, Muckermann tells us. “It’s really the history of indulgence. Looking back at the Roman empire you will see how it was absolutely customary for Romans to spend a day in the Otium state. It was all about indulging in social activities, listening to poetry or music, enjoying the incredible food and wine of the region — or just going to the Roman baths and having wonderful treatments. This is why Otium is just the perfect word to explain the amazing program we’re working on.

“When thinking about the Silversea brand,” she adds,  “we’re always thinking about what is important to our guests and we realized that deprivation, sweating and suffering was nowhere close to our brand experience and the experience our guests like to enjoy. So we thought about developing a new spa and wellness program that actually will allow you to indulge, enjoy and just stop pretending that you are going to lose weight on a cruise ship.

“It’s about unleashing our creativity to find new, incredible ways of pampering our guests.”

The concepts we saw on our preview cruise on Silver Moon are still evolving. What will remain core to the program is that indulgences onboard Silver Dawn, Otium’s first home, will include the spa but go well beyond it, too. The program’s key, wherever you enjoy it, is that one’s wellness is a sense of being cared for and of pampering.

Here’s our sneak peek of the experiences we shared while onboard the preview on Silver Moon.  

Naturally, a Wellness Program Should Start with A Good Night’s Sleep

Did you know that you spend about 1/3 of your time onboard…in bed?

To start, there will be new, tailor-made mattresses, featuring Soft Touch technology, that enhances softness and comfort (if you care to geek out on the details, there are twin system springs, 400 springs per square meter, and Myform Memory Air® foam inserts, on top, to relieve pressure on bothersome backs).  Bedding is complemented by Milan’s Rivolta Carmignani, using combed Egyptian cotton with the all-important 400-thread count.

All guests will be presented with the Pillow Menu, with five different types of pillows. You can choose from several feather/down blends, memory foam, and the hypoallergenic Fairfax option in medium and firm varieties. Better yet, you can choose them all….

The Art of the Bath — And Then Some

On Silver Dawn, sumptuous bathrooms with separate showers and bathtubs are available in every category of suite, and even the most avid shower fan may want to take time to smell the roses (or vetiver, orange, or fig and cedar, all varieties of bath salts). On any day — and why not try it a couple of times — butlers will, on request, draw you a bath. In addition to the scented salts, we loved the battalion of (battery-operated) candles placed all around the tub’s ledge, offering a glowing ambience.

There’s a teak tray that’s outfitted with just enough diversions (a macaron for the peckish, a glass of Champagne or any other beverage you’d prefer, fresh flowers, and a book-stand holder; the book is optional).  Don’t miss out the loofah sponges, harvested from the Mediterranean. Ours had a faint, fresh smell of the sea.

Otium Transforms your Verandah, Too

Perhaps we’re all most accustomed to using our private verandahs for lazy, long afternoons reading a good book, watching the sunset over a cocktail, or waking up to coffee as the ship sails into scenic ports. The Otium-inspired verandahs, take it up a notch. On our Greek Isles cruise, we asked for the Otium treatment. What I loved was the balance of wellness, from a dedicated sea-inspired cocktail menu and a trim box of Pierre Marcolini chocolates to a tray of misters and exotic sun-protection creams (encouraging you to care for your skin) and even aloe vera gel, just in case.

Ultimately, the Otium-inspired verandah will have two different seasons. If you’re traveling in warm weather destinations, as we were, it’s more tropically influenced. And if you are cruising in Polar and other cold weather places, you’ll instead find cashmere blankets, hot nibbles and the most decadent freshly made hot chocolate, available with — or without — your favorite dram.

Comfort Food with a Gourmet Touch

Imagine you’ve spent a day trekking the medieval city walls that surround Rhodes, on a hot day, as we did on our Greek Isles cruise. Returning to the ship, feeling pleasantly exhausted, we just wanted to stay in, wear pajamas, and watch a movie. Peace and serenity is just as much part of Otium as is indulgence and pampering. The Otium tie-in to our suite’s living room went beyond the always-available in-suite dining menu to a menu of indulgent comfort foods, ranging from a foie gras burger to the most delicious lobster roll — and, afterward, an order or two of truffle popcorn to accompany the flick.

Socializing at the Spa — It’s the Roman Way

The spa services menu for Otium-influenced treatments will include massages using Roman ingredients, from honey to Argan oil, and yet there’s so much more to the spa experience than just a rubdown. Even basic treatments, like manicures and pedicures, offer an Otium twist, such as a glass of Champagne (a common practice at European salons) while you’re buffed and prodded.

Afterward, guests can gather at a secluded, aft-facing nook just beyond the spa, enjoy a cocktail, play board games, and, otherwise, just stay off the so-called-grid — as long as possible.

Otium, which will ultimately be extended throughout the Silversea fleet, launches on Silver Dawn in spring 2022, and will be available to all passengers in all suite categories. As the concept continues to evolve, we’ll keep you posted on the latest updates.