Having done 10 Silversea cruises, and encouraged by many acquaintances on these to try Seabourn, we saw a 5 night segment come up on the Spirit, Nov. 27, Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas with stops at Grand Turk, and Jost Van Dyke. We booked it, regular suite, and two weeks prior to the sailing, we were informed by the agent that we were being bumped up to an owners suite, number 5. Obviously, someone wanted a longer booking, and our previous suite was workable. Literature warned of obstructed view in 4 and 5 due to lifeboat gear, but this was minimally invasive. Embarkation was a bit tedious, with a wait in a seating area, and admittance to the ship in small groups. (Yes, we were 1/2 hour early!) Finally processed to board ship, and then seated in a lounge for further processing, credit card swipe, passport surrender, etc., only to be reseated for another wait. (Silversea does all processing ashore, so when you are on the ship, you are ON THE SHIP.)Finally escorted to the suite. Warning: lunch not available at this time, only finger food. Owners suite very spacious, large sitting room with dining table, french doors separating sleeping area, typical bath, with powder room at entry. Walk in closet, and much other closet and drawer space. Fair sized veranda, with 2 chaises. Window at dining table, and window in bedroom, obstruction not a real issue. Empty Sprite can,liquor bottles from previous occupant quickly corrected by very efficient stewardess.
The Spirit is very easy to move around on, but the design is dated. Pool is separate from deck chair area; but two hot tubs are close by. Secondary restaurant, Veranda Cafe, is only accessible from outside, very windy at times. Main restaurant nicely appointed and comfortable. Ship maintenance is fairly good,with refurbishment needed in some places. Cabin woodwork has poor workmanship, with sloppy mitres and many exposed screw heads. (Sorry, I'm a woodworker!) Other reviews state that crew is overworked; I agree; a waitress first escorted us to the suite, and much double/triple duty is apparent. Despite this, service is top notch. Sky Bar Barman Nelson, from Chile, is as good as any on land or sea. He is everywhere, making sure no glass is empty. Bar staff double as deck attendants. Spirit cuisine was impressive. Quality ingredients and careful preparation. Excellent soups and perfectly cooked fish highlighted meals. We enjoyed two delightful outdoor evening barbecues on deck. Exec. Chef Bjoern is obviously proud of his galley, food reflects that. Entertainment was alright, I guess. Did not attend any "shows", and lounge music was pedestrian. The stern marina is a highlight, with an enclosed pool, and much water sports equipment available on the designated day. Very attentive staff makes it a safe afternoon.
My largest complaint arises from the entertainment on deck following the last evening barbecue. Needing to vacate our suite at 0800 hours for debarkation, we retired early. Unfortunately, at 9pm, blaring rock music began directly above our cabin, rendering sleep an impossibility. At 9:30, we telephoned the desk, and were assured the music would cease at 10pm. It did not. Finally, at 10:30, peace was restored. I feel that this was an unreasonable intrusion on privacy. The ship has a lounge not above sleeping quarters, deafening noise should be restricted to that venue. Disembarkation is very easy and smooth. Overall, we found this cruise enjoyable (50th for my wife, 45th for myself). Fellow passengers were delightful, as were crew members. I know that there are loyal Seabourn devotees, however, my wife and I still prefer Silversea for a totally satisfying cruise experience.