Silver Spirit Entertainment
When it comes to traditional shipboard entertainment, Silver Spirit seems a little quieter than most. Sure, there's team trivia, bingo, golf-putting competitions and an occasional movie in the theater, but most of the spirited entertainment takes place well after dark with Broadway-style productions and really fine live jazz in the Stars Supper Club.
The Silver Spirit singers and dancers on our 10-day cruise put on five shows -- one a "Europe's Got Talent" knock-off, another an Elton John retrospective. They did a very nice turn with the outdoor "Spirito della Celebrazione," a Latin-inspired production that followed a spectacular pool deck barbeque.
Silver Spirit also hosts guest entertainers. Music theater star John Bowles, from Australia, and U.K. entertainer Jon Courtenay both headlined shows during our segment of Silver Spirit's world cruise. Also important to acknowledge are the destination-focused enrichment lectures that have become a hallmark of the luxury lines. Bill Toone, an American conservationist, and Hugh Thomson, a British writer and documentary-maker, added considerably to our understanding of Mexico's natural and cultural history. Broadcast journalist Dan Rather, British biographer Robert Lacey and Zahi Hawas, the world-famous Egyptologist, are part of the deep bench Silver Spirit will bring to its 2011 world cruise.
Silver Spirit Public Rooms
Silver Spirit has a great flow. Venues aren't jammed together against a central atrium, as is the case on so many ships. The six dining venues, for example, are located on different parts of three separate decks, which to me seems nice spatially. New on Silver Spirit is The Bar, a gathering place for coffee and complimentary cocktails next to the Reception Desk lobby on Deck 5. It has been so well received that the cozy seating was rearranged recently to accommodate more people. The theatre, which hosts both Broadway-style productions and guest lecturers, is just steps away from The Bar.
The public room that feels most like the ship itself is The Observation Lounge, nautical in design and located above the bow on Deck 11. It has evening bar hours, but it's almost too tucked away for its own good. By contrast, the more centrally located Panorama Lounge, on Deck 9 in the stern, is popular for afternoon tea and has bar service starting at 10:30 a.m.
Deck 8 is the retail hub with three shops: an H. Stern outpost with jewelry and watches and two boutiques equipped with Silversea logowear, perfumes, designer jewelry and clothing. Also on Deck 8 is a cigar bar and a casino with 50 plus slot machines as well as roulette, blackjack and poker tables.
The all-important Internet Library Cafe, on Deck 7, houses seven computers although there's wireless Web access shipwide. Payment plans vary, ranging from 1,000 minutes for $250, or 25 cents a minute; 250 minutes for $85, or 34 cents a minute; and 100 minutes for $45, or 45 cents a minute. The pay-as-you-go option costs 50 cents a minute. The library has a fairly robust selection of books and magazines, and it's a quiet place to catch up on crossword puzzles, distributed there daily.
Another thing that Silver Spirit does exceptionally well is create what amounts to public rooms in outdoor spaces. Above La Terrazza, on Deck 8 and removed from any bar or pool, is a quiet spot with deck chairs that's just lovely. There's another respite, this one shaded, by the whirlpool outside of the fitness center on Deck 6 that is free to all guests. The piece de resistance is the deck beyond the Panorama Lounge with its cushioned seats and, best of all, cocoon-like chairs -- think of a convertible with the top up or down, depending on your pleasure -- that are roomy enough to accommodate two.
Silver Spirit Spa & Fitness
With its first new ship in a decade, Silversea introduced with Silver Spirit something the rest of the fleet doesn't have: a stunning spa that includes a ceramic-tiled thermal suite with heated lounge chairs and an array of all-new body scrubs and massages. There's even a Botox doctor on board.
The 8,300-square-foot spa, located on Deck 6, features a beauty salon, fitness center, nine spa treatment rooms, two sauna rooms and two steam rooms. New treatments include the Private Hamman Experience, an ancient Arabian body scrub performed by a therapist; a do-it-yourself scrub bar glow; and a bamboo massage.
Additional services include acupuncture and the usual selection of services that Steiner, the popular shipboard spa operator, offers: among them, tooth whitening, facials, cellulite reduction, milk wraps and lime glows.
Silversea skimped on the fitness center, open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. There's one bike, three ellipticals and four treadmills -- all with TV screens. There are a few resistance machines and some free weights but, due to space, the two free weight benches are so close together you can't work out if someone is next to you. With more than a half dozen or so people in the room, the space feels cramped. We found the best time of day to work out was at 6:30 a.m., shortly after it opens.
A fitness trainer offers yoga, Pilates and stretching exercises at no cost. And for a nice jog or walk, there's always Deck 10, where 10 circuits equal a mile.