Sailing from United States
Setting sail from San Francisco
Renowned for its food, its misty mornings and its vertiginous streets, cosmopolitan San Francisco is quite unlike any other American city. The birthplace of the hippie movement and the centre of the dot-com bubble, it's an open-minded and forward-looking place with an undeniably European feel. Highlights include the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the delightful waterfront and the bohemian quarter of Haight Ashbury, while a boat trip across to the notorious prison island of Alcatraz makes for a fascinating half-day excursion.
Obviously you can’t miss the cable cars, but even if it feels touristy, make sure you ride them.
French Polynesia: Nuku Hiva
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas, an island of towering basalt peaks, cliffs and canyons, carpeted with verdant jungle. From the pretty little capital, Taiohae, you can strike out into the unspoilt countryside in search of the island’s many archaeological sites.
French Polynesia: Rangiroa
The Rangiroa atoll is one of the biggest in the world, a ring of over 400 motu (islets) surrounding a vast lagoon. This stunning area is a popular destination for divers and snorkellers, and the waters are home to marine life including sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, hammerhead sharks and manta rays.
French Polynesia: Mo'orea
Mo’orea is one of the real highlights of the South Pacific, a picture perfect landscape of jagged green mountains and dazzling cobalt bays. The warm waters of the lagoon are perfect for a host of watersports, while the lush island interior can be easily explored by scooter or bicycle.
French Polynesia: Papeete
Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, situated on the northwest coast of Tahiti. The port is not the most magical spot, so we advise venturing forth to luxuriate in the turquoise lagoons, relax on the white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, and explore the rugged mountain peaks.
French Polynesia: Bora Bora
Bora Bora is the very definition of idyllic, a diminutive Polynesian island dominated by rainforest-clad volcanic peaks, overlooking an electric blue lagoon ringed by coral reefs. The beaches and over-water bungalows are particularly popular with honeymooners, and the clear waters of the lagoon are perfect for snorkelling.
Cook Islands: Rarotonga
Surrounded by kaleidoscopic reefs, white sand beaches and beautifully blue waters, Rarotonga is exactly what most of us picture when we think of the South Pacific. The lagoon is ideally suited to snorkelling and scuba diving, while the island itself is home to ancient sacred sites and pretty coral churches.
The Vava’u group of islands is part of the Kingdom of Tonga, the last surviving Polynesian monarchy and the only South Pacific nation never to have been colonised by Europeans. Vava’u is idyllic but also authentic, and is one of the best places in the region to see humpback whales during their annual migration between May and October.
New Zealand: Auckland
Auckland offers a buzzing waterfront and a vibrant arts scene, and provides a fascinating introduction to New Zealand’s proud cultural heritage. The centre is home to excellent shopping and a number of fantastic restaurants, and to the west is the city's oldest wine region.
30 January - 1 February
One or our favourite cities in the world, we love pretty much everything about Sydney. Offering outdoor living at its best, the city is known for the excellent beaches but offers so much more, including a thriving and varied food scene inspired by Asian and European flavours.
Brisbane has plenty of shopping malls and, with great weather, a fantastic café culture. Amongst the steel and glass skyscrapers are some interesting historic buildings, and with plenty surrounding the city there’s enough on offer to make for an interesting short stay.
Cairns is a buzzing tourist hub, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. A snorkelling trip out to the reef is the most obvious excursion to take here, but other options include riding the Skyrail cableway over the rainforest canopy or swimming in the croc-free saltwater lagoon.
More of a large town than a city, Darwin is less about what’s contained within the city limits and more about the huge expanse of wild landscape that’s outside it. Closer to Jakarta than Sydney, the city really does feel remote in its tropical perch.
Indonesia: Komodo Island
Komodo Island is situated within an area of spectacular natural beauty, home to the famous Komodo dragon. The stunning beaches are tinged with pink thanks to the high concentration of red coral just offshore, and the waters draw intrepid divers from all over the world.
Indonesia: Benoa (Bali)
The beaches, spectacular volcanic scenery and lush green rice terraces lend Bali a natural beauty that seems to dovetail perfectly with the island’s distinct Hindu culture, which adorns the landscape with stunning temples.
Manila is a sprawling, chaotic conglomeration of soaring skyscrapers, faded colonial facades and ramshackle slums, and it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you have the stamina and an inquisitive nature, there is plenty to be enjoyed in the Philippines’ boisterous capital.
Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s second largest city and one of the world’s largest container ports, situated on the south west coast of the island. Formerly a rather grim industrial centre, the city has been transformed in recent years, with new parks, cafés, galleries and museums popping up all over the place.
Taiwan: Keelung (Taipei)
Keelung is a fairly unremarkable port city close to Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. The city is best known for its night market, where a mouthwatering array of food is on offer in an atmospheric setting. Otherwise, you are best off heading for Taipei if you want to prolong your stay on the island.
Osaka, Japan’s third largest city, is a pulsating commercial hub, famous for its food, and the cityscape rivals Tokyo for neon-lit futurism. If you need respite from the urban sprawl seek out Osaka Castle and the surrounding Nishinomaru Garden, a particularly pretty spot during the cherry blossom season.
In a state of constant renewal and forever looking to the future, densely populated Tokyo is a dazzling introduction to Japan and its utterly unique culture. With more neon than Las Vegas and more Michelin stars than Paris, it’s a real assault on the senses.
Booming Shanghai has long been China’s most outward-looking, cosmopolitan city, as evidenced by the fascinating mixture of European and Oriental architecture. The Bund, a riverfront promenade flanked by grand colonial era buildings, is the city's most famous thoroughfare, while the Pudong financial district lights up the city skyline at night with its futuristic towers.
Hong Kong SAR China: Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a striking mix of ancient and modern, Chinese and British, and there is a lot more to the city than just skyscrapers and high finance. Its also a fantastic destination for foodies, a melting pot of culinary influences from around Asia and beyond.
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon, as it was known then, was the capital of the South during the Vietnam War, and American-style capitalism has been embraced more enthusiastically here than in the North, with a clutch of shining skyscrapers standing as testament to Vietnam’s surging economic growth.
Singapore’s heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you’ll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang)
Malaysia’s capital is a hot and humid cultural melting pot, defined by its distinctive Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. The dazzling Petronas Towers are KL’s most recognisable landmark, while at street level you’ll find temples and mosques, elegant colonial buildings and bustling markets.
Sri Lanka: Trincomalee
Trincomalee, on Sri Lanka’s less developed east coast, has begun to re-emerge as a tourist destination following the end of the island’s bitter civil war in 2009. The sleepy streets are scattered with churches, mosques and Hindu temples, and the nearby beaches of Uppuveli and Nilaveli are stunning.
Sri Lanka: Colombo
Colombo may be a little chaotic, but there is plenty to recommend Sri Lanka's colourful capital. Faded colonial architecture and beautiful Buddhist temples hint at the city's considerable history, while the excellent restaurants, lively bars and characterful streets provide the perfect introduction to contemporary Sri Lankan culture.
The low lying reef protected atolls of the Maldives, set in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, are the perfect place to relax and unwind. A great choice for a honeymoon or romantic getaway, the Maldives also appeal to active travellers who love watersports, snorkelling and diving.
Seychelles: Praslin Island
The island of Praslin is home to some of the Seychelles’ top attractions, including the Vallée de Mai, a protected forest where you’ll see the rare coco de mer, a tree that produces the world’s largest seed and palm flower. The grove is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been compared to the Garden of Eden.
Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles, home to the diminutive capital, Victoria, and 90% of the country’s population. It’s the quintessential tropical paradise, a sun-drenched landscape of granite mountains, lush jungle and heavenly white sand beaches.
Mombasa is a vibrant and colourful city of contrasts, and the gateway to some of the extraordinary national parks of East Africa, as well as being an appealing beach destination with some beautiful hotels.
The name Zanzibar evokes images of sultans and spice traders, an island of beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters criss-crossed by dhows. It’s also a great place for spotting wildlife, including dolphins, antelope and the rare red colobus monkey.
Mayotte is part of the Comoros archipelago, off the east coast of Africa, governed by France as an overseas territory. It’s something of a post-colonial oddity; the white sand beaches and laid back pace are typical of the Indian Ocean, but the cost of living is more reminiscent of mainland France.
Madagascar: Nosy Be
The island of Nosy Be, just off the northeast coast of Madagascar, remains a laid back locale in spite of its popularity as a tourist destination. The beaches are the main attraction for most visitors, along with the colourful chameleons and tiny frogs hiding in the Lokobe wildlife reserve.
Mozambique’s laid back capital is an eclectic mix of elegant Portuguese colonial architecture and concrete blocks that hark back to the days of Soviet influence. Maputo also has an excellent selection of restaurants and a lively nightlife scene, as well as some interesting museums and markets.
South Africa: Richard's Bay
South Africa: Durban
Durban is a real melting pot; not only does the city feel more authentically African than Cape Town, it’s also home to a large Indian community that lends the city a distinctly Asian flavour. The lovely waterfront promenade was revamped for the 2010 World Cup, and the beach is a popular destination for domestic tourists.
South Africa: East London
East London is not the most appealing city in South Africa, but it serves as the gateway to the fascinating and often neglected Eastern Cape region. To the west is the Sunshine Coast and the arid, semi-desert landscape of the Great Karoo, while to the east is the rugged and undeveloped Wild Coast.
South Africa: Cape Town
Cape Town is a magical, multicultural city where Africa meets a European-style cosmopolitan atmosphere, creating a vibrant melting pot of cultures and religions. With flat-topped Table Mountain soaring above the city, beautiful natural landscapes, and gardens within the city, you never feel far from nature here.
Namibia: Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay is situated on the edge of a tidal lagoon, sheltered from the Atlantic by a long sand spit. This important wetland area is famous for its birdlife, home to one of southern Africa’s largest flamingo colonies, and it’s a short drive to the city of Swakopmund, known for its quirky German colonial architecture.
São Tomé and Príncipe: São Tomé
The equatorial island nation of São Tomé and Principe, located just off the west coast of Africa, is an idyllic and unspoilt tropical paradise that few people have even heard of. Wander along beautiful beaches with barely a tourist in sight, explore lush rainforests rich in birdlife, or immerse yourself in São Tomé’s unique Portuguese-Creole culture.
Lomé is Togo’s capital and largest city, once known as the ‘Pearl of West Africa’, and there are still some architectural remnants of the colonial period, when the city was part of German Togoland. Perhaps more interesting today are Lomé’s colourful fetish markets, where you can learn about the role of Voodoo in West Africa.
Ghana’s capital city Accra is located on the Atlantic Ocean, where Europeans arrived to establish a trading hub on what was known as the Gold Coast. Precious metals were soon superseded by slaves, and visitors can get a flavour of the remnants of this grim practice in the former slave prisons and museums.
29 April - 1 May
Banjul is the capital of The Gambia, Africa’s smallest country, situated at the point where the Gambia river enters the Atlantic. City highlights include the National Museum and the bustling Royal Albert Market, and the nearby Tanji Bird Reserve attracts ornithologists from around the world, with hundreds of colourful species.
The busy, dusty streets of Senegal’s capital Dakar are filled with life and colour, noises, smells and local music. The people here are friendly and helpful, so expect a warm welcome – but watch out for the usual hustles and scams of a busy city.
Bustling and modern, fizzing with industry and commerce, Casablanca is often overlooked in favour of Morocco’s better known tourist draws. But then this is part of its appeal: it’s an authentic and unvarnished city, and it’s also home to the spectacular modernist architecture of the Hassan II Mosque.
Seville is a wonderful destination, a sophisticated and sun-kissed city on the banks of the Guadalquivir river. It’s a treat for all the senses, from the smell of orange blossom to the heart-tugging sounds of flamenco, and the highlight of the calendar is undoubtedly Semana Santa, when a spectacular Easter parade fills the streets.
Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon’s colourful cityscape includes Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums. But for many the best times will be had wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets, with their great local food, wine and music.
It’s not so long ago that Bilbao was a grim and unappealing place, scarred by heavy industry, but the Basque Country’s biggest city has reinvented itself as a cultural hub since the opening of the shimmering Guggenheim Museum in 1997.
Bordeaux sits at the centre of the world's most famous wine region, and is home to a beguiling blend of beautiful buildings, sophisticated gastronomy and high culture. It's a marvellous place to spend some time, whether it's a day sampling wines, an evening at the opera or a night on the tiles.
Saint-Malo grew rich off the back of maritime trade and its plundering corsairs, a seafaring heritage that is still proudly on display today. It’s great fun getting lost in the streets of the walled old town, and the famous medieval abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is an easy day-trip.
Arriving in London (Greenwich)
Greenwich is one of London's most fascinating boroughs, rich in maritime history and with a discernible seaside feel, in spite of the fact that it lies just 8 miles downstream from the city centre. This was once the seat of British naval power, and you can learn more about the area's seafaring heritage at the fascinating National Maritime Museum. Other attractions include the Cutty Sark, the O2 Arena and the Royal Observatory, where you can straddle two hemispheres by placing one foot either side of the Greenwich Meridian Line.
Your home from home
Silver Shadow & Whisper are elegant ships carrying just 382 privileged guests each, in beautiful style, with plenty of space and loads of facilities, whilst maintaining a nurturing intimacy.
What we love
We do enjoy stepping aboard these sleek ships, the second generation from Silversea. Whilst maintaining the small ship feel, they have the space to offer upgraded facilities and choices, not to mention outstanding levels of service and hospitality, with Italian flair and a family atmosphere.
|Crew||302 International Staff|
|Style||The Italian verve and sparkle of Silversea makes for a social, welcoming ambience and cosmopolitan style. The international passenger mix creates a sophisticated and elegant environment.|
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in San Francisco
It depends where you want to be, but we love the hip Argonaut at Fishermans Wharf.
See more around San Francisco
Get out of the city – Napa Valley, Yosemite, Carmel…