width=576There are cruise lines - and then there is Silversea - a stellar cruise line in a league of its own. If you're seeking a cruise experience that definitely puts you in the lap of luxury, Silversea, a line offering intimate Italian cruising and a wealth of wonderful advantages, is the award-winning line you've been waiting for. If you have only been on mass-market cruise lines until now - you know, the ones where there are so many passengers you wait in line for everything - Silversea, we can tell you, is the cruise line that is as good as it gets. 

width=202We've sailed on larger, mass-market ships, and we can tell you quite honestly: Once you've experienced the pleasures of a small luxury ship, (and one that only holds 320 guests) you'll never set foot again on a massive ship with crowds of people. Silversea is a symphony of services and amenities - a cruise line that caters to your wants and needs with aplomb - even before you ask for them. Just like a five-star hotel, Silversea offers silken service and cashmere care that's designed to offer an ultimate travel experience. Here are a few things that we love about cruising on Silversea Cruises, because this cruise line makes the getting there as wonderful as whatever destination you're headed to. Come with us now, as we tell you about our recent voyage to Alaska, roundtrip from San Francisco. 

Special Requests Are Especially Taken
width=200Even before you board, Silversea wants to know all of your special dietary requests. Then, once on board, every guest has an opportunity to meet with the Executive Chef, to handle any dietary details that may remain. We love this feature - before we boarded on our recent Alaskan adventure on Silversea's Silver Shadow, we informed Silversea that we would be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary - and asked if the chef could possibly make us a lowfat carrot cake. 

width=200Faster than you can say, I Do, Executive Chef Sean Emslie proferred upon us a guilt-free gourmet delicacy. (We also brought on board our own lowfat mayonnaise, which we gave to the Chef, so we could eat tuna fish sandwiches at lunch without guilt. Note, however: We only brought our own low-fat mayonnaise because we booked our cruise very close to the sail date, without allowing enough time for Silversea to procure this item on its own, prior to the sail date. Had we booked our cruise with more time in advance, Silversea would have taken care of that with no problem. Hence, be assured that nearly whatever special requests you have prior to your cruise, if made enough time in advance of the sail date, Silversea's staff will almost surely meet them.)

Requests are made with your reservation through a travel agent, Chef Emslie told us. The requests are commonly for lactose-free and gluten-free menus, although the staff will move Heaven and Earth to see that you are satisfied. For us, it's like having your own personal chef. We also asked for special low-calorie breads and rolls, as well as entrees such as lowfat chicken cacciatore and ratatouille- requests that were fulfilled deliciously without any problem. 

In fact, Chef Emslie told us that he welcomes a challenge. Of course, if you don't have any special requests, all the better. The menu is always a treat, especially the gourmet galley-lunch that served up a storm of succulent dishes, including what seemed like 20 special desserts - everything from chocolate fondue to profiteroles.