Silversea has always been seen as the pinnacle of cruising. As it's branded as "ultra-luxury" we've waited a long time to be able to sail and with great anticipation. We found this amazing 7 night Greek Isles & Turkey itinerary and had to book it right away. We did our research, read reviews, joined even joined the informal group on Facebook to read about what to expect. It all sounded so amazing: "effortless service", "they anticipate your needs without even asking", "simply the best!" Sign us up! We've been on over 60 cruises between the two of us with 13 of them since June 2021. We've done short cruises (4 nights) and long cruises (16-19 nights) on various lines ranging from Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, etc. All this to say, we are experienced cruisers on various lines, all sizes of ships, different regions of the world. We prefer fine dining, exceptional cocktails, excellent service, and smaller ships, so we were very excited to try Silversea - especially the Silver Spirit. Since we travel often, we chose to handle our own arrangements to arrive in Athens a day prior to embarkation and had no issues with luggage or transfers.
Check-In: On embarkation day, we arrived to the terminal around 1:15pm to complete the paperwork and check-in process in advance of the 2pm embarkation time we were given. I will say, the Athens cruise terminal is not the best, and it's no fault of Silversea that the terminal is a large, semi-air conditioned tent. We arrived and porters greeted us to tag our luggage as Silversea no longer mails out luggage tags. Upon entering the terminal, we stood in a line for them to take our temperature (keep in mind it's 90+ degrees in Athens), show our vaccination cards, and test results. We were then given a form to fill out - it was the health questionnaire. After that we stood in another line to have the medical staff verify our health information and were given a boarding group card; since we arrived with test results, we were in Group 1. At 1:50pm we were walked from the tent terminal, to the building next door where we started the check-in process including passports, credit card, room keys, etc. We passed through security starting at 2pm and were on the ship a few min after that. Interesting to note that the only time during the whole cruise we passed through security was in Athens. On boarding the ship we swiped our cards and there were some crew members waiting inside with towels and hand sanitizer. I will note that in all other ports, there were no crew members outside or just inside the gangway to greet you with cold towels or chilled water when returning to the ship, something we've experienced on many other line. Shortly after embarking, we learned that there were just under 600 passengers onboard.
Embarkation: Silversea does not allow you to place your carry-on luggage in or outside your room like some other cruise lines. So we had to drag our bags around for the 2 hours until the rooms were ready at 4pm. It was a messy and chaotic day after that with nearly 600 people trying to explore the ship and drag the bags around with them everywhere. Shortly before 4pm we were able to access the cabins and then the announcements started. Silversea still does an old-fashioned muster drill in the theater after watching a 10 minute safety video in your room. Then you sit in the theater for another 15 minutes while they recap the safety video and demonstrate how to don a life jacket and then finally walk you to where your lifeboat is. Considering the Silversea is part of the Royal Caribbean Group, I expected this whole process to be much simpler and streamlined.
The suites onboard Silver Spirit are spacious, well- laid out, and bright. We were in a deluxe veranda suite on Deck 6. The photos online show what the rooms look like and are accurate. The bathroom was one of the largest we've had on a cruise ship including a large sink/vanity area, large walk-in rain shower, and a deep, full size bathtub. Next to the bathroom was the large walk in closet with a chest of drawers (this is also where the safe is stored), along with a shoe shelf. The bed was comfortable with nice bedding with a nightstand/lamp on each side (including storage drawers) and USB/outlets. The living area is spacious with a large coffee table, comfortable love seat, 2 end-tables with additional storage, and a long dresser/desk with the minibar, 3 more drawers, and plenty of outlets. There is a curtain on the veranda door as well as a curtain that can be pulled to separate the bedroom from the living area. All in all, the rooms onboard Silver Spirit are exceptional and evoke the luxury experience that was lacking elsewhere.