Just consider this picture; a gracefully setting sun that seems to be falling bit by bit into a glass of champagne. Of all the many thousands of pictures I’ve ever taken on cruises over three decades or so, I don’t think any other one quite captures the elegant, timeless essence of a true luxury cruise quite as deftly as this one. A real freak shot, but a beauty for all that.
It was shot from the terrace outside the Panorama Lounge aboard Silversea’s stunning Silver Whisper. We were sailing between Helsinki and Copenhagen, winding down towards the end of what had already been a truly memorable cruise.
It’s all the more improbable when you consider that it was taken in the notoriously fickle Baltic in August. The sea really was that benign for a whole week; we sailed in and out of a constant, mind blowing conga line of such fierce, fiery floor shows, courtesy of Mother Nature. And that got me thinking….
There has long been an almost symbiotic, truly sybaritic relationship between champagne and sunsets at sea. They are the Rogers and Astaire of that most mesmerising and poetic of mid ocean combinations. The champagne dances on your tonsils even as the sunset flits across your field of vision like some exquisitely choreographed dance routine.
This kind of strange, magical evening can happen almost anywhere in the world, but the experience is honed to almost exquisite clarity out at sea. With little or no land based pollution to distort the view, the sunsets seem to unfold in magnificent, slow motion cinemascope.
You might consider that such a sight and taste sensation deserves some kind of epic soundtrack. And you’d be right, in part at least. Because here, once again, it is Mother Nature that pulls out all the stops.
Anyone who has ever heard that gentle, swishing sound of water against a slowly moving ship’s hull will certainly know exactly what I mean. It’s as low key and exquisite as a superb base line, and not one bit less compelling. It fills the electrified ether between sea and sky with the power of a quiet storm; a sound and a feeling quite impossible to replicate on dry land.
All of these things combine to create something so rare, special and tender that you hardly dare breathe, in case it fractures like some beautiful, broken butterfly. It’s a moment too intense and precious to last forever. Something as fleeting and fragile as it is exquisite and beautiful.
And yet… these memories do last. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll happily drink to that.