The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Shadow & Whisper versus Spirit: Silver Spirit Cruise Review by LibLively
Overall Member Rating
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Shadow & Whisper versus Spirit
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
Cabins: First of all, the Mid-Ship Veranda cabins on the Spirit are not nearly as functional as the ones on the Whisper or the Shadow. They are very narrow and the bedroom configuration makes it very difficult for one person to get to the bathroom from the living area while the other is in the bedroom using the mirror or sitting at the foot of the bed. There is a very long narrow hall that acts as the entrance to the cabin, which is very off-putting. The Silver Suites, however, are lovely and are larger than the Silver Suites on the Shadow and Whisper. The decor of all the cabins on the Spirit is darker than that on the other two ships, which some people don't like, but the furniture and More electronics (including flat-screen TVs) are very nice. We found the beds comfortable in both types of cabins. There is not enough storage in the bathrooms in either of the cabins. The sinks (two in the Silver Suites, one in the Mid-Veranda) are very large and take up almost all of the counter space, and the storage on either side of the mirrors is too shallow to hold much of anything. The faucets in both cabin bathrooms have a funky lever that operates them, which leads to many accidents until you get used to them. There are no storage drawers in the bathrooms , so you are limited to under-sink storage primarily. The "rain shower" is a nice addition in both cabin types. The veranda with the Silver Suites is quite large with a table and two chairs and two reclining lounge chairs, and the veranda with the Mid-Ship cabin is slightly larger than the ones on the Shadow and Whisper. The location of the Silver Suites on the Spirit is high and forward, which I don't like. I prefer the more central location of the Silver Suites on both of the other large ships. Common Areas: The Common Areas on the Spirit are very different from those on the Shadow and Whisper. Some areas are better, but several are a real problem. Under the real problem areas on the Spirit, the theater is number one. It has a very low ceiling, will not hold all the passengers on the ship at one time. The seating and side-arm tables are not functional at all. The stage looks like it was built for one-man shows it is so narrow and compressed looking. It is a dark and uninviting place. You don't dare put your drink down, because the side-arm tables are so small the drinks won't sit solidly on them. The forced "love seat" seating does not allow for much diversity as far as seating configurations are concerned. People who come in as a single, do not want to sit down next to someone they don't know in the "love seat" configuration, so you get a lot of wasted space. The fact that you can't seat the entire ship in the theater does away with the Captain's Welcome and Farewell as we have known it before on the other Silver Sea ships. Now the Captain must hop from one place to another to welcome the passengers. Another problem area is the main bar. It has lost any feeling of intimacy because it literally overflows into the Reception area with nothing to contain it. On the Shadow and Whisper, this was always a place to unwind in a cozy atmosphere. On the Spirit, it feels more like Grand Central Station. The Fitness Center is tiny and over-crowded. Enough said. There are some nice additions to the common areas, too, however. The Panorama Lounge has been enlarged to include lots of outside deck space with comfortable sofas and chairs. It is a lovely place to sit and read or just gaze at the sea. The pool is slightly smaller on the Spirit as they have added another hot tub.
Restaurants: The main restaurant feels about the same on the Spirit as on the other two larger ships. La Terrazza on the Spirit has some additional outside seating, which is a nice addition. Stars is a waste of space. Very few people seemed to take advantage of it on our cruise, and those who did didn't go back. (Remember, I am telling you what happened on our cruise. Others may have had a different experience here.) La Champagne's space was very nice, but I felt the food didn't live up to the hype. We ate there twice, once each cruise, and enjoyed our dinners, but didn't really feel like the food was that special. On the Shadow and Whisper, we have experienced some exceptional dinners in this venue, but that may be due solely to the chefs we had at the time. The addition of an Oriental Restaurant on the Spirit appears to have been a good idea. We ate at Seishin twice also, and really enjoyed the food there. It was different, varied, and prepared quite well. La Terrazza on all ships has been good.
Service: We had excellent service on the Spirit, but again, I think this can vary depending on what cruise and cabin you select. Our butler and cabin attendant when we were in the Silver Suite on the Spirit were the best combo we've ever had. The butler and cabin attendant in the Mid-Ship Veranda cabin were a bit more harried I think. They tried very hard, but there were a few slip-ups. On the Shadow in the Silver Suite last winter, we had good service, but there seemed to be some confusion as to who was supposed to do what!! This may still be a work in progress. The service in the Dining Room was a bit slow a couple of nights, but on the whole, we didn't have a problem. Some people seated at the larger tables complained about slow dinner service on several occasions. Less
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