They both are big contenders in the luxury cruise segment. To the casual observer, these two lines may appear to be a lot alike. After all, both operate all-inclusive vessels, each carrying fewer than 608 guests.
Service and hardware on both vessels will make you feel like royalty. You’ll enter an elegant environment where the word “no” is hardly ever uttered unless you hear it from the person you’re traveling with.
Complimentary champagne pours as freely as water, and beverages are complimentary when you belly up to the bar. Dining? It is as elegant as it gets. Lines or queues? Are you joking? You will hardly ever encounter a wait of any sort on board the vessels operated by these companies.
Despite their similarities, however, Seabourn and Silversea have marked differences. Here are a few differentiating factors for each:
Aft marina on Seabourn Quest. © Ralph Grizzle
- Operates the industry’s youngest fleet of luxury cruise vessels.
- Seabourn’s ships carry between 450 and 600 guests.
- Seabourn’s two newest vessels, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation, carry 600 guests apiece.
- Seabourn’s service staff is largely European, with a smattering of South Africans.
- Seabourn’s vessels feature marinas that lower into the sea for water sports activities from the back of the vessel. Say “aft” for “back” if you want to be taken seriously when on board.
- Seabourn operates expeditions in Antarctica, and features full-fledged Ventures by Seabourn expedition team members in other destinations, like Alaska and Northern Europe. With the Ventures by Seabourn program, optional kayaking and Zodiac tours are available.
- Seabourn will launch its first purpose-built expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, in 2022. Seabourn Venture will feature 132 guest suites, with all the luxury you would expect from Seabourn.
- Seabourn has Nordic influences, in both ship design and in its heritage.
- Seabourn is part of the Carnival Corporation family of companies, with brands that include Carnival, Cunard, Holland America Line and Princess.
Everyone gets a butler on Silversea. © Ralph Grizzle
- Operates ten vessels, Silversea is split between classic luxury ships and luxury expedition ships.
- Silversea’s upcoming ship, Silver Dawn, debuts in November of 2021.
- The Flagship, Silver Muse, debuted in 2017. The design of this all-suite ship focused on enhancing guests’ onboard experiences with an impressive eight dining venues.
- The line has also heavily refitted Silver Cloud, converting it into an expedition ship, Silver Spirit, which was recently stretched, adding a new prefabricated midsection to increase the number of suites and public rooms available onboard, Silver Shadow, completely overhauled decor in suites and public spaces in 2019, the new Atrium & Arts Cafe was added to align her with the newer vessels and Silver Whisper was just refreshed in 2018.
- Silversea was one of the first companies to pioneer the concept of the luxury expedition cruise, starting with a single ship – Silver Explorer -in 2008, refurbished in 2017. Silver Origin, built for the Galapagos, currently is the most elegant expedition ship in the Galapagos.
- Silver Wind was recently refurbished in 2018, but in 2020, she will be refitted with an ice-class hull. This ship will be highly versatile, with the ability to voyage from the polar regions and iconic ports between.
- Silversea features butlers throughout its fleet across all accommodation levels.
- Service staff is primarily Asian, including many Filipinos and Indians
- The company, and its vessels, have an Italian heritage, evident in officers, food (think homemade pasta) and, of course, coffee served on board.
- Offers complimentary shore excursions as of 2022.
Both companies feature large accommodations on their ships, multiple dining venues and five (heck, maybe even six)-star service. Both companies feature generous space ratios on their ships (meaning more space per guest), with expansive lounges, bars, and showrooms.
What cruisers will note between Silversea and Seabourn are:
- Silversea’s expedition fleet vs. Seabourn Venture and a sister ship launching in 2022 dedicated to expeditions
- Seabourn’s Nordic heritage vs. Silversea’s Italian heritage
- Silversea’s butlers for all vs. Seabourn Moments for all
The bottom line is that both of these companies offer five-star cruise experiences.
Oh, we promised to get back about the all-inclusive aspect. These two companies are “mostly inclusive.” Things like gratuities, WiFi, beverages and the like are all complimentary.