Skip to content

This cruise line is betting big on caviar, Egyptian cotton and other spa-like indulgences

April 17, 2022
11 min read
Caviar with golden leaf.
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: TPG contributor Janice Wald Henderson sailed on Silver Dawn on a free trip provided by Silversea Cruises. The opinions expressed below are entirely hers and weren’t subject to review by the line.


Imagine lounging with a post-massage glow in a softly lit relaxation room, sipping fine Champagne and nibbling hand-fashioned chocolates. Instead of showering off and back to reality, you float back to your suite for a soak in a butler-drawn aromatherapy bath. Clean and relaxed beyond measure, you settle in for some in-suite spa cuisine — except your butler brings you lobster and caviar, not carrot sticks.

Welcome to Otium, the new spa concept from all-suite, all-inclusive luxury line Silversea Cruises that debuted on the recently christened 596-passenger Silver Dawn. Inspired by the lavish lifestyle of the Roman elite in their heyday, the Otium experiences are savored both en suite and in the Otium spa. Even better, other than actual spa treatments like facials and massages, all else — the aromatherapy bath, relaxation room experience and in-suite special Otium dining menu — is complimentary.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

The catchy term “hedonistic wellness” pops up in Silver Dawn’s literature. I can do that. In fact, I did. I’m guessing most other cruisers can gleefully embrace this concept, too.

Translated from Latin, Otium means “free time,” and is pronounced aught-zium, according to Silversea president and CEO Roberto Martinoli and confirmed by me with Google. No doubt most passengers (and crew members) will say ah-tium or oh-tium. During my shakedown cruise, no one pronounced the name correctly, but everyone loved the idea. And isn’t that really what matters?

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.

Otium treatments

Custom massage at Otium Spa on Silversea Cruises. (Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises)

In my book, the spa was the obvious place to begin a journey to total indulgence and relaxation. Reviewing the Otium spa menu (which was an indulgence in itself), I noted an array of tempting treatments I could schedule for a no-rush, leisurely spa day. I found several extra-long 100-minute experiences, from facials to massages. Frankly, I wanted to try them all.

I looked closely at the Roman Bliss Massage, a mind-body recalibration with a back exfoliation and tension-easing massage, where my feet would be cosseted in warm booties. The Hedone Delight ("hedone" is ancient Greek for “pleasure”) tempted with a massage and a body polish, while the Apollonian Spirit, inspired by Apollo, the god of healing, treats skincare woes with a mineral-rich salt stone massage and a nutrient-rich mask. After much deliberation and more than a few sips of Champagne, I chose the 100-minute signature Otium massage.

Otium treatment prices are high, but that’s typical for luxury lines. Gratuities are included in the fee. The 100-minute Otium experience I selected cost $399; a 75-minute Roman Bliss treatment runs $299 and a 100-minute Heavenly Couples Experience demands $719. This latter treatment, using massage oils, bamboo and/or hot stones, takes place in a larger room than on other Silversea ships, and includes a whirlpool tub. I peeked into the couples room; it looked downright sexy.

I noted many medi-spa selections, too, for tightening skin, getting filler and whitening teeth on board. Pricing is revealed during a consultation so I’m not sure what these treatments cost. A 50-minute acupuncture session runs $209 with add-ons available, like neck and shoulder cupping ($49) or an anti-aging acupuncture facial ($49).

Related: The 6 best cruise ship spas

Otium spa experience

Otium spa bathrobe. (Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises)

The day before my scheduled spa treatment, my butler delivered a spa bathrobe and a health form to my suite, along with a welcome letter. (The letter mentioned slippers, but during my sailing they weren’t yet available.)

The soft gray spa robe, with Otium inscribed on it, was very soft; it was designed to allow the body, and not the fabric, to absorb the treatment oils and creams. I was encouraged to wear the robe to the spa, so everyone knew where I was going to or headed from. I noted other passengers glancing over with spa envy — rather than giving me side-eye for prancing about an upscale cruise ship in my bathrobe.

My butler suggested I fill out the health form, the norm for nearly all spas, in advance. That way, when I arrived at Otium, doctor’s office-like paperwork didn’t stand between me and my indulgent spa day.

Prior to my 100-minute Otium massage, my therapist (one of four onboard) asked me to choose among three massage oils. Feeling a bit too amped up with excitement, I chose a calm blend, made with shea butter and chamomile.

To start the treatment, the therapist rang a bell and washed my feet with a warm wet towel. Beginning face-down, I felt her strong hands start massaging me with light strokes; when I asked for deeper ones, she replied she had to loosen the muscles first. She was right. Then, happily for me, her strokes became, and remained, deep. It wasn’t long before I melted into the table.

My therapist alternated between using her hands and, my favorite, hot stones. When it was time to roll over on my back, she covered my eyes with the most gentle cool cloth.

When the massage came to an end, the therapist rang a bell twice, its soft sound echoing around the room. I was struck by how slowly she removed my eye mask — unusual and lovely. Many therapists take it off quickly and you’re lying there, blinking in the sudden back-to-reality light.

After my treatment concluded, the therapist guided me to the relaxation lounge, pointing out the adjacent steam room and sauna, and offered a goodbye gift of sparkly wrapped body polish, tied with a bow.

In the relaxation room, five loungers, with sheer mesh privacy curtains on both sides, were arranged in a semicircle, with four accent chairs. I could have chilled outdoors on an alluring spa patio on one of eight loungers facing the sea, but frankly, I was feeling floaty and wanted to lie down immediately, retaining that beyond-relaxed spacy feeling.

Soft new age-y music from a high-end sound system flowed airily about the softly lit room. What was probably meant to be a fire pit sat in the room’s middle; its base now held numerous bottles of bubbly befitting the new spa mood of celebration and indulgence.

My therapist offered a selection of complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic cocktails, and house-made sweets such as marshmallows, candied orange peel and dark chocolate truffles. I can testify that all three treats tasted wonderful. In the spirit of indulgence, I unabashedly went back for a second marshmallow and swiped a third, tucking it into my robe pocket to save for later.

Back in my suite, my butler presented a hand-written thank-you note from my therapist penned on elegant Otium stationery, and another gift, Aegean Summer, Otium’s signature-scented room mist. The light scent smelled like fresh ocean breezes and I’m now using it nightly to spritz my bedroom pillow at home. When I close my eyes and pretend I’m back at sea, which puts me right to sleep.

Related: Best luxury cruise lines for elegance and exclusivity

Otium comfort food

Silversea serves caviar and wine on your private balcony as part of its Otium experience. (Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises)

Silversea is big on en suite dining, offering a substantial menu around the clock. With the introduction of the Otium spa concept, Silversea decided to add a special en suite menu, entitled Otium Comfort Food Dining. I found it tucked inside the Otium brochure in my nightstand and couldn’t wait to try such self-indulgent concepts of comfort. I could sample any of the seven selections nightly between 6 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Forget chicken soup and pot pie — Silversea’s version of comfort food includes snacks like hand-cut potato fries with truffle oil and parmesan, pre-dinner cocktail accompaniments such as lobster and caviar in brioche with lemony mayonnaise, and even entire meals; I inhaled the homemade spaghetti with Oscietra caviar and butter. Vegetarians will swoon over cauliflower three ways, with tahini-glazed chips, cauliflower puree and microherbs. I licked that plate clean.

I loved this Otium menu for its originality and its taste. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a room service menu on any cruise ship offering thin slices of freshly sauteed foie gras on sesame-sprinkled brioche with berry compote. It was delicious, the tangy-sweet compote offsetting the rich liver. Lighter options, like a caviar and gold flake-topped crabmeat-filled cucumber roll, were also superb.

Many passengers told me they ordered the menu’s truffle-flavored popcorn to snuggle with in bed and watch a movie, or munch on the veranda while reading a book. I didn’t see it on the Otium menu; perhaps it was listed on the regular en suite menu.

Related: All-you-can-eat caviar and a test kitchen: This new luxury cruise ship delivers for foodies

The bed

Silversea outfitted suites with new mattresses dubbed Otium Soft Touch, a 400-pocket spring system infused with essential oils like eucalyptus. I didn’t smell any oils, but I would imagine a scented bed would disturb passengers. I fell hard for the mattress; the pillowtop let me sink in just enough to cocoon my body.

The 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, made by Italian design house Rivolta Carmignani, felt neither silky nor satiny. Instead, they were made from crisp, incredibly soft cotton. The European-style linens reminded me of sheets I’ve slept on in a private manor house in the South of France and a five-star art-filled Roman hotel.

Each morning, I woke up refreshed. Not simply rested, but refreshed. I did a little digging back home, and discovered that Rivolta Carmignani does indeed make linens for leading European hotels and has for more than a century. At the company’s website, one three-piece set I glanced at cost 500 euros.

The bath

In-suite Otium bath on Silver Dawn. (Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises)

At the day and time I requested, my butler drew a Sicilian sea salt-scented bath in my suite’s full-size tub, set with a wooden tray and a freshly baked macaron stunningly presented under glass. (I chose my sea salt scent from three the butler offered; I picked one perfumed with patchouli.) Three battery-lit candles of varying heights flickered around the tub.

As classical music played softly in the background, I soaked in bliss. The butler cleverly kept hot water trickling into the tub, so the water remained warm, allowing me to linger as long as I liked in the soothing water.

Related: 5 best all-inclusive cruise lines

The balcony

The Otium in-suite offerings included a balcony experience, too. When ocean breezes were brisk, I wrapped myself in an Otium-designed cashmere blanket, and rang the butler to bring freshly made hot chocolate to sip alfresco. Heavenly.

Of course, I could partake in the Otium comfort food menu on my veranda, too. I could also order Champagne or a stirred in-suite martini — whatever I wanted. It was all complimentary.

Bottom line

Silversea has reimagined the spa concept, embracing the more indulgent side of wellness and rejuvenation and extending its reach in-suite. If I wanted to sip vegetable juice and munch carrots, I felt comfortable to do so. I, however, embraced Silver Dawn’s new idea of happiness — to indulge in life’s greatest pleasures when cruising. I felt this ship handed over an abundant amount, literally and figuratively, on big, shiny silver platters.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by Caviar with golden leaf on Silversea cruise ship. (Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases