Wednesday 30 October 2019

Murders, movies, meatballs and media

Depressed and cynical and jaded as we all are these days, with 2016 having been such an awful year in so many ways that we couldn't wait to get to 2017, which turned out to be worse, ditto 2018, ditto 2019 and so, presumably, on... Progressively, dramatically dreadful as these years have been, there were - surprise! - others further back that were pretty eventful too. I was reminded of that today, over a long, sociable, delicious and sunny lunch at Baduzzi (venison meatballs!), hosted by Silversea. It was their annual catch-up with media here, most of them editors, plus me, to tell us about their new ships and new destinations and new themes.

The MD began by reminding us that it is Silversea's 25th anniversary this year, and asked us what we remembered of 1994. Well, personally, it was my first year back in NZ with my English-born family, but beyond that, I was stuck. Turns out quite a lot of big things happened, from the Rwanda genocide to the beginnings of 'Friends' and 'ER'. OJ Simpson did his slo-mo car chase, Kurt Cobain committed suicide, there was warfare in Sarajevo, Chechnya and the Persian Gulf, Fred and Rosemary West were charged with 12 murders at Gloucester's House of Horrors (including that of their poor daughter Heather, who I'd taught at Hucclecote School a few years previously, along with her siblings Mae and Stephen). 

Better things happened too. I really should have remembered, having so recently been there, about the ceasefire in Northern Ireland. Mandela was elected president of South Africa, the Channel Tunnel opened and Eurostar started up, Amazon was launched. We lost John Candy and Fanny Craddock, but gained Justin Bieber (maybe not really a gain). It was a big year for movies: Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Lion King, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Once Were Warriors, Speed. Playstation arrived.

And here in Auckland, we had a water shortage and I stopped, forever after, leaving the tap running while I brushed my teeth. (Plus, less positively, I will never forget 'If it's yellow, let it mellow - if it's brown, flush it down'.)

Meanwhile, back in Italy, Antonio Lefebre d'Ovidio founded Silversea, aiming to set a new standard in luxury small-ship cruising with two purpose-built ships, Silver Cloud and Silver Wind. The latter took me around Ireland and through Tower Bridge a couple of months ago, and is about to be converted to another exploration ship for them, since that's a field that's seeing a lot of growth lately (Antarctica, the Arctic, and Galapagos). Silversea will soon have a total of eleven ships in operation, thanks to the boost the company got from what it likes to call its 2018 'partnership' with Royal Caribbean - though the rest of us are more likely to term it a takeover, since RC now owns 2/3 of the company.

They boast about visiting 900 ports, more than any other cruise line, and on top of their excellent facilities, food and service, that keeps people loyal. Their regular guests sign up and pay in full as soon as new cruises are announced - unfortunately, since I have my eye on their new Northeast and Northwest Passage routes, between Norway and Nome, Alaska via Greenland, which I would love to do if ever (clearly unlikely) a suite was left empty.
My association with Silversea goes back 10 years, to my first cruise - to China! - in 2009. Since then, I've done six more, and despite the occasional disloyal curiosity about their main rival, Seabourn, would be perfectly happy, delighted in fact, to set sail with them again in order to reach my own personal 25 goal - of Silversea stories published, that is (I'm up to 24...)


the queen said...

I notice how carefully they don’t mention the Aurora. I’d be quite disappointed if I were that far north and didn’t see it.

TravelSkite said...

Well, that would be because they are summer voyages and the Lights are a winter thing. You have to choose between polar bears and the aurora - it would be a hard call, for me. Though I worry about seeing skinny bears, which would be so sad.


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