THEY DON'T USE the word 'cabin' on board the cruise ship Silver Cloud, which was berthed in Hong Kong last week. The reason is quite simple. They don't have any. But don't imagine for a moment that passengers are left to swing back and forth on deck hammocks in gale force winds. Far from it. If the weather turns foul out on the ocean, they'll probably be sending e-mail messages to their friends, telling them what a wonderful time they are having or unwinding in the Mandara Spa with a Lomi Lomi massage, said to have been a favourite of Hawaii's kings and queens. Or they may be watching satellite television while spooning caviar washed down with Moet & Chandon champagne - out of crystal, of course. More champagne? Just pick up the phone. There's room service 24 hours a day and guests can have as much champers or sevruga as they want throughout the journey, which normally lasts 12 to 14 days. It's all included in the price of the cruise. A bargain? Well, the Silver Cloud is no ordinary cruise ship. It doesn't have cabins because everyone has a suite - it's an all-suite vessel - and at around US$1,000 (HK$7,800) per person per day for a standard suite with veranda (shore trips not included), we are definitely talking about the rich and famous here. And at the very top end, the Grand Suite goes for around HK$187,000 per person for a 14-day voyage that takes in Thailand, Hong Kong and Vietnam. That's about HK$375,000 for a couple. Now that means super-rich. As the Silver Cloud berthed at Ocean Terminal, waiting to pick up more passengers before weighing anchor for Haiphong, Vietnam, a group of journalists was given a tour of the vessel to see just why company directors, diplomats, senior civil servants and celebrities are prepared to splash out a small fortune to taste life in this floating hotel. We were asked to hand in our ID cards as we crossed the gang-plank, and collect them as we left. Security is tight. If you want to be a stowaway, you couldn't do much better than choose the Silver Cloud. But they aren't taking any risks, even with the press. Steve Odell, vice-president (sales and marketing) for Silversea Cruises, which is headquartered in the United States, had flown in from Britain, where he is based. He boasts that the Silver Cloud has a total of 148 suites, and 210 crew members pamper up to 296 passengers. The vessel is one of three Silversea all-suite ships in service, and a fourth, Silver Whisper, will be launched this summer. They also ply the waters of the Mediterranean, northern Europe and the Indian Ocean. Seventy-five per cent of the suites have private verandas, and these are so popular that it is difficult to sell those without, even with special discounts. Not that Silversea is into special offers. Discounts can only be made on most suites if bookings are secured months in advance of a sailing. Restaurants are intimate, cuisine is world-class. There is a theatre, but there are no can-can girls. Instead, passengers are treated to first-run movies, or lectures by experts on art and history pertaining to their destinations. There are also cooking demonstrations. There is a casino, but it is low-key. The bank of one-arm bandits is screened off. The accommodation and public areas are at opposite ends of the ship to maximise privacy, and staff are not allowed to accept tips during voyages. On cruises run by some companies, the chambermaids actually leave envelopes in cabins, expecting passengers to stick in a few US dollar bills. The Silver Cloud also has on-board duty-free shopping for luxury brand name goods and jewellery. Odell remembers one voyage in which a passenger fell in love with a US$30,000 necklace. She was allowed to wear it for dinner that evening, before committing herself to the purchase. With cruises running at around US$1,000 per person per day, it is not surprising that the average age of passengers is around 57. Silversea clients have made their money, and aren't afraid to spend it. But Odell says the repeat passenger factor is as high as 62 per cent. With so many returning, Silversea regularly changes its cruise itineraries. Next year, however, Silver Cloud will sail only in Asia, because the Far East is so popular. Most of its very wealthy passengers fly in from North America or Europe to join the ship. But last week a Hong Kong couple took a veranda suite, said Brian Smith, a director of Travel Advisers, the sole agent here. Who are they? I pressed him. But his lips are sealed. A travel agent's commission is high if he makes a booking on a Silversea suite. Confidentiality is assured.