Why the US basketball team ditched the Olympic village for a luxury cruise

Silver Cloud is the type of cruise ship that attracts well travelled and discerning holidaymakers seeking fine food, flawless service and no-expense-spared organised excursions. Most passengers are aged 60 and above.


Why the US basketball team ditched the Olympic village for a luxury cruise

The US ballers can lounge by the pool

So imagine what crew on the 296-passenger all-suite ship will make of their current guest contingent – members of the men’s and women’s US Olympic basketball team.


Why the US basketball team ditched the Olympic village for a luxury cruise

Enjoy a sauna and a rub down

Some fortunate players have reportedly swapped to so-cramped-you-are-hugging, dormitory-style accommodation and non-flushing toilets of Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Village for Italian Pratesi bed linen, a pillow menu, marble-floored bathrooms, Bulgari amenities, walk-in wardrobes, flat-screen TV, memory-foam mattresses and fluffy bathrobes. Well can you blame them?

Our cruise ship review describes Silver Cloud as having “quite a handsome profile, with a sloping stern reminiscent of an Airstream trailer.”


Why the US basketball team ditched the Olympic village for a luxury cruise

Dine in any of four restaurants

Credit:
© 2008 Michel Verdure/Michel Verdure

Suites all face the ocean and many have private teak verandas. They range in size from 240 ft² (Vista Suite) to 827 ft² (for the Owner’s Suite).


Why the US basketball team ditched the Olympic village for a luxury cruise

Or in their suite, to stay away from prying eyes

Guests dine from Eschenbach china using Christofle silverware in any of four restaurants, including La Terrazza, which serves up al fresco Italian cuisine, and Le Champagne, the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea. 


Why the US basketball team ditched the Olympic village for a luxury cruise

The digs are a little more luxurious than the Olympic village

Credit:
© 2008 Michel Verdure/Michel Verdure

The Bahamas-registered ship also has a bar (the Olympians will probably eschew cocktails in favour of sparkling water), a casino, a library and a swimming pool lined with chaise longues. Connoisseur’s Corner is a spot the athletes will probably do well to avoid – it’s for those who "appreciate good cognac or premium cigars". 


Why the US basketball team ditched the Olympic village for a luxury cruise

The food more refined

They can, however, keep trim in the top-deck gym, with sea views and the on-board spa, female and male sauna areas, treatment rooms, a beauty salon offering pedicures and hair styling, and an extensive menu of massages.


Why the US basketball team ditched the Olympic village for a luxury cruise

And hot stone massages on offer

Credit:
© 2009 Michel Verdure/Michel Verdure

Owned by five-star cruise line Silversea, Silver Cloud is currently moored at Pier Maua in the port of Rio de Janeiro. A taxi from the pier to Copacabana Beach takes around 20 minutes.

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The port is a working cargo terminal and the third busiest port in Brazil. Passenger facilities have been renovated ahead of the Olympic Games, but heavy security has been deployed around the ship.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, "a fence made of bulletproof material will keep the public away from the US athletes, who will be guarded by some 250 Federal Police officers."

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