Sail Date: December 2009
Summary We originally booked Africa/Seychelles for December 9 on Silver Wind. In fact, I booked this in 2007. That cruise was canceled, and we booked this sailing to replace it. At first, I was very disappointed, but then I was very ... Read More
Summary We originally booked Africa/Seychelles for December 9 on Silver Wind. In fact, I booked this in 2007. That cruise was canceled, and we booked this sailing to replace it. At first, I was very disappointed, but then I was very excited about the new ship. We booked for the ship, not the itinerary. Due to the weather and the hassles we had getting to/from the destination, we look forward to sailing Spirit next fall in the Caribbean. We are travel agency owners, but we have paid full price for all of our Silversea sailings. I'm a Certified Lifestyle Specialist - Luxury Travel and a Certified Travel Industry Executive. I approach things from a very analytical view because of what I do. Hence, you will find below a rather lengthy piece. Those that don't want to read all of this should just read this summary and then read the section headings to find the areas that are of interest. I felt since this was a new ship that I needed to try to cover everything I could remember. Dining - There are a number of restaurants. Not all are available without paying extra, and all but the main dining room require reservations. The main dining room for dinner does not have as much variety as it should, though they will allow you to order special requests a day in advance. Simple things can be accommodated on the same night, and you can order from the room service menu in the main dining room and from the dining room menu in the cabin. The restaurant managers were all absolutely top notch and just went way out of their way to make every meal a joyous experience. Some meals were memorable, all were delicious. Ingredients were very fresh, and enough complimentary wines were available to please most guests. Public Rooms - The lounges are cozy, and we liked the layout of the ship. Cabins - Our only complaint is with the number of plug-ins. The cabins are very nice and comfortable, and we enjoyed our 11 nights there. The balconies are bigger and easier to open, but be sure they are locked and that your cabin attendant has locked the door, as they do slide open. The shower is tall enough for most any man, and there is a rain shower. Entertainment - We loved the live entertainment in all venues. The organized activities were all excellent, too. There just were not as many as I would have liked. Spa & Fitness - We did not do any classes or treatments. I am just basing this rating on the layout and the pricing. The offerings are more extensive than you will find on the other ships, and they have a number of treatments to make them quite proud. Family & Children (By Age Group) - There were just a couple of children that were not teens, and they were well supervised and seldom seen. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I enjoyed them. Shore Excursions - All of our tours were organized by professionals and escorted by staff. It was a little confusing how the rep was always at the location where we were to end up, rather than at the beginning of our journey (ship departure) directing us where to go. A couple of times, poor judgment was used regarding the weather, and at times, there were no umbrellas for people that did not bring the ones from their cabin. We enjoyed everything we did. The Casablanca cooking tour should have had a real cooking element but was enjoyable. Given our circumstances, I thought the staff worked very hard to give us as many choices for experiences as they could have. Embarkation - They led us to believe that boarding at noon started in 2010 and that we absolutely could not get on at noon. In fact, they did have noon boarding. We arrived at 2:15 and got on, but we had no assistance with bags and no welcome drink. We were properly escorted to our cabin. Service - We had issues with dinner service the first two nights, and our butler service was in need of improvement. Around the ship, we found a number of people that did not seem as empowered as we have seen on all other Silversea cruises, though they did their best to be accommodating. In many cases, our expectations were far exceeded, and there was not a single time where a slight service gap really made a significant difference in our overall cruise experience. Value-for-Money - It was a lovely cruise where we were so comfortable, well fed, and well entertained. I just felt it was overpriced due to a few situations. It was not something I felt strongly about, so I gave this a 4 rating. Rates - Rates were high due to the holiday sailing and the honor of it being the maiden voyage. However, the maiden honor was scarcely celebrated. Things were not quite ready, though everything was at about 97%. People seldom ever love Christmas/New Year's holiday rates on any vacation. I feel that Silversea has created a unique product with Spirit. It has some of the elements of the other Silversea ships, but it is something different. Those that like luxury will find it here. The "basic" suites are outstanding, and the silver suites and above are spectacular. Some of the best managers at sea are running the ship, and I feel they will continue to send it to new heights as it matures. Precruise We flew coach on Continental from Houston IAH to Barcelona via Newark on December 21. This was right after a huge blizzard on the east coast, but we timed it well enough to not get stranded. We were delayed for two hours getting into Newark, though. We lucked out because our flight to Barcelona happened to be on the same plane as the one from IAH even though it was a different flight number and crew. They still boarded in a somewhat timely manner, and we only arrived at Barcelona 42 minutes late at 9:42 a.m. We did not have video on demand, and the movies we could select from on the TV screen were all family/kid type shows plus TV. Still, we managed to find things to watch and killed the time in between the two meals. We had no issues in customs and got a taxi to our hotel on Las Ramblas for about 30 Euros with a non-English driver. We caught 3 glimpses of Silver Spirit on the way to the hotel. I had booked Hotel Continental on Las Ramblas for the one night due to free stuff and location. We used the internet extensively in our room and the lobby both. We only had one European converter, so we had an interesting time swapping back and forth trying to keep our batteries charged on all our devices. They also have free food and drinks there - tapas, pastries and breads, ice creams, cereals, coffees (including espressos and lattes), sodas, tea, beer, and wine, all 24 hours a day. The rooms are basic and quite pink, but you do get a tub. We would not stay more than one night, but the location was very good, if only the weather had been. We did a lot of walking here to see some of the buildings and architecture that people go to see in Barcelona, but we did not see everything because it was cold and rainy. Embarkation and Cabin We were well aware that Silversea would begin allowing boarding at noon in 2010, and I had called two or three times to ask about early boarding before our sailing. I was told it would be impossible because there would still be inspections. Silversea added a 2 day non-revenue sailing before ours (which to some of us cheapened the "being the first to sail" factor of our trip). Because of that, they allowed boarding at noon, but then they did not tell very many people. We suspected this might be the case, but we still had not made it to the cathedral, so we walked there from our hotel and then got a taxi to the ship and boarded at about 2:15 and were then told that, of course people were boarded at noon. Very few were on board, but as we were on only a few minutes, more started to come. Those with enough nights could board at 10:30, and most did. Since we were there before 3, there was no champagne greeting (I did see this after 3), snacks or anything, and we did carry our own carry-on bags with no offer of assistance. We were shown to our suite right away, however. We were in balcony cabin 606, a forward cabin on the port side. We were immediately impressed with the cabin. We looked around everywhere, noticing all the detail. The bathroom was very nice with a separate shower and tub. The shower is taller than the other ships, and there is a rain head. The tub was nice, but on the first use, we had no hot water at all, so we had to call. The floor was wood with a marble trim around it. There was a large white basin sink. The faucet took some getting used to in order to prevent splashing up the mirror. There was a shaver plug and shelves to put things on. The one thing I thought was a little odd was the toilet paper layout and also the hand towels just sit on the counter, as there is no rack for them. The Bvulgari setup was there. The bed from what we measured with the covers was 6 ft. 5 inches long and 5 ft. 9 inches wide. My husband is 6 ft. 3 inches, and his feet were over the bottom much of the time, and I am 5 ft. 6, and even mine were over sometimes when I scrunched into the pillows and covers. We never complained to ourselves, as the bed was very comfortable. We never were offered a pillow menu, but we did have one soft and one firm pillow each. That is what I put in the comments online before the cruise. The couch is longer than on all the other Silversea ships, and this is the biggest thing I wanted changed since Todd is tall. The table in the sitting area is a little longer, too. There are two cabinets that have sitting stools on them - one in the sleeping area and one in the sitting area. Each house a TV. The one in the sitting area has the mirror with a TV that stays a black square when off. The one in the bedroom goes invisible. We loved having two TVs, but they worked with one remote. When we would turn on one and then the other, the one in the bedroom would stick on whatever channel or function we had been in. We would have to call for a reset/reboot. This happened to many passengers, but they were going from cabin to cabin interviewing those with the issue to try to sort it out and track a pattern. We loved being able to check our statement on the TV, read about the shows and lecturers, etc. However, there were 56 movies, no newer releases like before. We had probably seen almost 50 of them. Also, what they show of where the ship is going was interesting but not as informative as the old system. We always watched recorded enrichment lectures in the past, and these were never shown. There are lamps in the walls on either side of the bed and other lamps on either side of the couch. There is also recessed lighting in the ceiling, and we liked how you could turn this and that on to change the amount of lighting even though there were no dimmers. Some of ours did not work, but another call, and they were there after some time to change bulbs. In fact, they were going door to door for that, too. A very nice change in the room is the draperies between the sitting and sleeping area. Instead of tying back, they slide along a track and can be completely opened or closed. You can really block out the light if you want to sleep, and you can get them totally out of the way when you want the cabin to seem spacious and serviceable. I was so pleased with it because it really changed how much I was able to sleep. We also really appreciate how thoughtful they were in setting up the balcony door and making it completely easy to handle. It is a must to keep it locked. In high winds, they will open. Also, a number of guests, we were the first that we knew of, had one or two incidents where the cabin attendant would leave the door totally open. If you took hours to discover (we discovered it at 4 a.m.), you may have high winds and freezing cold coming in by the time you wake up and figure it out. The balcony is larger than the other ships in verandah, and the chairs are very nice and adjustable, the table is larger, and there are two footstools. Since we were in such rough waters some of the time, there was often a lot of salt on our glass, and often we could not see out, and other times it was so cold we never opened the drapes. There are two plug-ins in the sitting area - one American and one European. Silversea has added a lovely clock that is so useful, but it takes up the only American plug in that area. Bring a strip. We were constantly unplugging the clock. It does have a battery backup, and it holds the time for a long time. There is another plug of each type in the sleeping area at the dressing table. We found ourselves constantly having cords draped over the bed or across the sitting area since the plugs were on the opposite side of everywhere we wanted to sit or lay down. The suites have doorbells, and the attendants and butlers need to learn to use them! We were burst in on as early as 7 a.m., and some guests (including our neighbor across the hall with 406 nights) were even bursted in on in their undergarments with the privacy sign on. At some point, they just stopped doing our room altogether, which was annoying when we would have the service ticket up for 6 or 7 hours. I am sure a couple of conversations to the cabin attendant could fix this, but it should not be necessary. Silversea opened La Terazza until 4 p.m. for lunch, a nice touch vs. having to run to the pool grill. We had a full meal and were soon relaxed and well-fed. Room Service We used this 3 times. We tried breakfast, lunch (Todd only), and dinner. The menu is extensive and similar to the other ships. You can get about anything you want from them (dial 800). The breakfast menu still has the guest one and guest two side, a lovely touch that avoids a lot of confusion. Todd's mango was quite green, but his omelet was well prepared. I had boiled eggs, cereal and a mixed fruit plate. Everything was perfect. When Todd ordered during the day, he ordered French onion soup and another course. Everything arrived hot. On the breakfast, it did arrive within our selected time (we asked for 6 to 6:30, and it came at 6:30. At the airport, we talked to a couple that put 7:30 to 8 on their ticket every day, and they would come before 7 a.m. even when they wrote on there to not come before 7. When we ordered dinner, we ordered a mix of the dining room items and the room service items. Our butler asked how long he should wait to come get the trays. I said 40 minutes, and after an hour and a half, I was calling and chasing him down to get all those dishes out. The dinner was quite nice, and they do a lovely setup. If you like, they will do it course by course, but we just wanted it all delivered. We had whatever we wanted - soups, appetizers, salads, entrees served at the right temperature and maybe in 30 or 35 minutes from ordering. Butler and Cabin Attendants Our suitcases were in our closet after we got back from eating our first lunch. This is different from the usual where they have always been on the bed. In fact, there were two clunky luggage racks in the room that remained there during our entire stay. When we met Nikhil , our butler. We asked him for the unpacking. He got a female cabin attendant to do it for us. She looked discouraged when she saw all of our stuff, but she did a fabulous job of putting things pretty much where we would have. We told her to put Todd's things up higher because he is tall. She asked if she could put the suitcases under the bed. Everything was set up beautifully. We also asked Nikhil for some other toiletries of one of the other brands. Those never came, and after two or three requests, we gave up. The attendants did replace the Bvulgari when it was getting empty. We also arrived to pretty much an empty refrigerator. We did note what we liked and mentioned the preferences I had done online before departure. In fact, those took 3 or 4 days to arrive, and the butler admitted that came from my online request and not his efforts. We did eventually get him to understand exactly what we liked by about the 9th day of the 11 day cruise, and we were serviced enough throughout by either tracking him down or by calling room service (who then paged the butler). It was not a big deal, but it really was all we needed besides the packing and unpacking. Todd became ill about 7 days into the cruise. When Nikhil saw how sick Todd was, he offered many times to call the doctor, and he did begin to check on us for requests after my mid-cruise comment card came out. At the end of the cruise, Nikhil did all of the packing, and he did a very, very nice job. He did not come when he was supposed to (he asked for a specific time), but the job was great, and we were so happy to have the service. Nikhil indicated that all of the butlers went through the guild training and that he had a masters degree in hospitality. He was charming and nice, and I am sure after he gets used to Silversea and the way of the company and the guests, he will surely get his service level up. He indicated he had 15 cabins. The butler on the other side of the hall seemed to be out and about a lot, and the lady across the hall seemed to always be concerned about her laundry arrival time and the impacts it had on her schedule. She tried to do something about it every day, and eventually, she got it worked out. Our cabin attendant seemed to not come to do the cabin until about 4:30 if at all and then it was almost time to turn down the bed. We only got chocolates about half the nights, and the Chronicle daily newsletter often did not come until 10 p.m. or even sometime in the night. I am sure we made it difficult by being in the room a lot, but we did have out our service ticket a lot and even called once for service. Pool Deck Service The pool did not open until around the 3rd day of the cruise, and we learned that there was a crack in it that had to be repaired. It was also the 2nd day when the hot tub worked, but after that, it was great. Temps were about 97. They did have to drain them the day that we were supposed to go to Tangier when the weather was bad and the waves were quite high. I went there in spite of the cold weather, and once the guys saw me, they would come around every few minutes to see if I needed anything. Rex at the pool bar area always would start getting ready for me or most any guest when they walked up, already expecting what they were going to order but asking to make sure. With the addition of the pool grill restaurant on deck 10 some days into the cruise, they were happily staying open downstairs until 9 or so. A welcome feature in the temperatures we had were lovely blankets, and the guys set up plush towels and comfy blankets all over. Many days, they had no customers except 4 or 5 at the bar, either die hard outsiders or smokers. Then on a couple of sunny days, maybe they had 20 people. We had lunch out there one day. It took a little while to get pizza, etc., but everything was made completely to order. We loved how fresh everything was, and the pizza was perfect. The last thing Todd said was that he wished we had eaten up there more often. The Restaurant It is possible to have all meals here a la carte. While I usually like a la carte best, our itinerary was so port intensive, and we had a lot of tours. It worked out better for us to do the buffet, and we enjoyed the view in La Terazza. The first night at dinner, nobody in our section got a menu for about 40 minutes nor was water served, and tables were not properly set. Some of the sections seemed to be operating, but ours was at a standstill even though there was wait staff around. After that night, things got better every day, and by the end of the cruise things were going very well with the service level we are used to on Silversea. There were a variety of wines being served. Some of them were from Spain, the region where we spent a good part of the cruise. We stuck to chardonnays after tasting some of them because that is just our preference. We found they had about 5 or 6 different complimentary chardonnays on the ship. There was an Italian, a couple from California, and I don't recall the others. All were tasty, so we just always said any chardonnay. Most of the menus had 3 appetizers. The intermezzo section typically had 1 soup, one salad, and one pasta. We often ordered the soup and the salad, and when they did not suit, sometimes we'd just order green salad for me and Caesar for Todd. We ordered the room service soups once. There was always a sorbet, and we had them every night. For the entrEe, there were 4 choices - a fish dish, a couple of meat dishes, and a vegetarian dish. There were 2 or 3 desserts. We seldom had dessert, and they only brought petit fours on two nights. Maybe we did not wait long enough. I imagine that was it. For the dinners, perhaps 9 of the 11 nights, they had sea bass for the fish. A couple of times, they put down sea bream, but then they would have sea bass anyway. One night, they had a seafood stew, and on Christmas they did not have a seafood dish. On Christmas, they had a holiday menu with set courses except for the entrEe. I had the goose that night. There was a holiday dinner on New Year's Eve, too. On both holidays, we had fun party favors at the table. They also gave a few prizes for the holiday of significant value. We did not win. All the food was very good, but I found more variety at lunch than dinner. It was always possible to customize, and there were never any mistakes in anything we ordered. A memorable dish I had was osso bucco, something I look forward to when I see it. The mashed potatoes were also some of the best I've ever had. In general, all the vegetables were prepared just exactly right. I did not find too much salt in the food, either. Todd's favorite was the Black Angus beef he had on one of the first nights. He thought it was just beautifully prepared. The restaurant is very nice, and we never saw any issue with crowding. Requests for sharing and private tables seemed to all be honored, and dinner was always a highlight of the day. Antonio was great with everyone, were the entertainers and waiters that seated guests. La Terazza Breakfast We had breakfast here a number of days. A couple of days, we had room service breakfast, and a couple of days, we skipped breakfast. Each day would start with charming greetings by Jonathan and/or Darlene. Todd ordered an omelet a few days, and it always came out fairly quickly. I ordered hard boiled eggs one day. They said 15 minutes. It was 30, and I asked to take them to the cabin. They were done perfectly, but the next time, I ordered them from room service. We did not see anyone order pancakes or waffles, and they were not offered. I imagine you could. I always got a nice portion of delicious fruits. Someone was always carving lovely fruits such as grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple, watermelon and other melons, and mango and papaya. They also had beautiful berries out on the buffet, along with dried fruits and nuts and some premium canned fruits. There were other fruits such as lychee. Sometimes there were whole fruits, also. They had hot and cold cereals, various breakfast meats, beans, eggs, Asian style items such as fish, and European style meats and cheeses. There were also a number of pastries. I am sure I am leaving many things out. Lunch La Terraza serves most of the items from the a la carte restaurant but in buffet style. We had lunch here a number of times. We enjoyed the soups. They had several seafood soups. Each time, the seafood was added fresh to order. This was the same with several soups, ingredients were added fresh after someone ordered. There was an Indian soup one day. There was always at least one grilled fish, a carved meat, two types of pizza (one day, there was calzone), a variety of vegetables, and other entrees. Some items were veal parmesan, quiche, beef wellington, seafood stir fry. There were many others. Every day, there was a large platter of sushi and sashimi and some Asian salads. The Seishin sushi chef prepared all the sushi and sashimi. It looked just as fresh as downstairs in the restaurant. Something I enjoyed were the various green salads. There were so many nice toppings and a delicious Italian dressing. I would get another great serving of fresh fruits daily. One day, they had a seafood platter that Todd really enjoyed with great onion rings. Another day (I think New Year's Day), there was a seafood buffet with crab legs, clams, mussels, and shrimp. In fact, I was able to get clams on several occasions. Those were a real highlight for me. They also had other dishes for the non seafood eaters. We are not big dessert eaters, but they had a variety, including sugar free. One day, Todd had the homemade ice cream. There were always 4 varieties (not always the same). I heard one guest say they only had the zero/zero at The Restaurant, but someone went and got it for him without him even asking. He was quite happy. They also had a variety of lunch meats (I missed the coppa even though there were other great meats) and fresh breads and beautiful looking cheeses. Service up there was really great at lunch. The food was good, and the staff was great. In general, lunch was my favorite meal on the ship due to all the fresh things I was able to get and because of the nice variety. Dinner We had dinner here one night, and we always intended to go back. Service here was wonderful. It is amazing how wonderful people like Marcello just go from one meal to the next and never look tired or unhappy and seem so concerned about all the guests. We started with a very nice antipasti platter that we shared. It had 9 items (pretty much the whole appetizer menu) in sampler sizes in a beautiful dish. I had a salad in a crunchy bowl, and Todd had scampi. Then I had sea bass, and Todd had the beef dish. For dessert, he had tiramisu, and I had an amazing chocolate sorbet with fruits. Instead of the regional theme menus, La Terraza has gone to one menu with more selections. We enjoyed the menu immensely. Our only real disappointment here is that they do not offer a soup. I would also like to see a different veal dish from Milanese since I am not one to eat a lot of fried foods. Food is always subjective, but our experience was extremely good. Galley Lunch This was held in The Restaurant on Christmas Eve. Since it was held after the champagne tasting, there were already a lot of people in the room. We were sitting with Cruise Critic online messageboard member NJBelle and her husband and daughter, and we saw a long line, so we waited quite a while. There was still a line, but we went up anyway. It moved along. The area was a bit tight because Darlene was putting people through in lines on both sides. People then had to criss-cross. This did cause us to get full plates to avoid the line again, and then some things got cold. My favorite is always the ethnic foods. This was no exception. I love the pancit since I grew up eating it when we lived in the Pacific. The Naan was disappointing. They had a beautiful carved beef entrEe. There were piles of seafood. They had veal, fish, chicken, even burgers. There were huge salads. The desserts were served on a table out in the restaurant. I just got a few of the garnish berries, and Todd did not have dessert at all. I enjoyed the meal. Todd did not as much, but he had his plate full before he got to what he really likes because he just did not look ahead due to the people. The Pool Grille Restaurant One night, well into the cruise, they decided to try the grille with the captain and some staff and a few guests. We missed that. The next day, we were having lunch at the pool grill, and we did see the restaurant manager accepting reservations. We signed up for 8 p.m. While the restaurant is al fresco, and the weather was not great on this cruise, he did indicate that the heaters warm it up 10 degrees F. We were advised to dress casual. We dressed as if we were inside since it was an informal night and we came from the show. That was a particularly cold night, and only one other person was brave enough to dine there. He loved the food and was happy he did, but his family went inside and ate at the restaurant. They situated us right under a heater, but we did wrap ourselves in pool deck blankets. We did alright. The menu consisted of a variety of meats - several cuts of steaks and a veal chop. They also had shrimp. Todd ordered a ribeye, and I ordered a strip steak. We ordered shrimp to share. First we had salads. The steaks arrived sizzling on the plate, rare. The shrimp arrived raw, and it easily cooked in just minutes. I cooked a few shrimp at a time. The meats are served with baked potato, but you can get fries. I ordered fries. Todd ordered a baked potato, but it was too cold to eat when he was ready. It was not on the sizzling plate. We each had a few fries. We had fruits for dessert. The restaurant is serviced from the same area where they prepare the pool lunches, and the guys cart everything upstairs. The wine, water, everything comes from the pool bar, so they keep it open until around 9 (maybe later now that the restaurant is popular). The food was delicious, but if I ordered a steak again, I would get a filet. These other steaks were way too big, and they cooked beyond medium since it keeps cooking while you are eating. We had plenty, and the food quality was high. I believe even full, the service will remain fabulous because it is not a big place. I'd like to see scallops added. The concept of the entrEe is that you are brought the item on a sizzling plate, and you have control over the doneness. It is not like cooking over a campfire, a hibachi or anything else. You simply let your meat sizzle as you eat. The most intense amount of cooking is turning it over to keep it even. One of our favorite lunches was from the pool grill. We wish we had eaten on the pool deck more often, in spite of the outside temperature. Some days were certainly nice enough. I had pizza and salad. I ordered a shrimp cocktail that did not arrive. Todd had a burger. Everything is cooked to order, so allow time for that. STARS Stars Lounge is located off to the side of La Terraza. It has seating for 24 guests. There is also a full service bar there. In the evenings with a little bit of additional seating. I really liked it here and was here about 8 or 9 evenings for at least a while. Todd was here several, as well. It works as a place for a full meal, a gourmet snack, or just a lovely cabaret lounge. The entertainers, Alfreda and Vladimir put on a live show every night. It was always different since it was live. They seldom took breaks, and Alfreda always chatted from table to table before her show and during the breaks. Vladimir accompanied her and was always right on. When we first went, the menu had tasting portions for each letter in STARS. There were people doing the entire tasting of 15 items. Later, they added a pasta tasting set, also. The way it works is that you get 3 items per letter ordered that are served together and are a couple of bites each. For instance, there is one that I got a few times that has fois gras, a frog leg, and a scallop. Everything was top quality, and the presentation was beautiful. If you don't want any of those items, there are nibbles on the table. There are some incredible flour tortilla chips. They also have olives, incredible breadsticks that are like munching on cooked pie dough (yes!). There are some dipping sauces. One has a lot of fresh garlic. It did take a bit of time to get the ordered items, but we never arrived there hungry, anyway. Darlene, the manager was doing a wonderful job hosting and running the restaurant, in spite of always coming off a full day and evening at La Terraza. She is to be commended. The Other Lounges The Bar on Silver Spirit is just off the lobby on Deck 5. This is a new concept for Silversea, as The Bar has always been aft. We found that guests either loved it or did not like it at all. We loved it. We were there every day because of trivia, and I would stay afterward for the appetizers. There was food of some sort most of the time. In the mornings, there were pastries, orange and grapefruit juice and coffee. At first, they were running out of pastries, but a quick talk with Helmut, and that was corrected for the rest of the cruise. I would have loved to have seen a tray of fruit. After that, they served bullion . There were sandwiches and a full menu with even paninis during the day. Later on, there was a full tea service. At the cocktail hour, there were gourmet canapEs such as pate, shrimp cocktail, fois gras, tempura, etc. The issue was, none of them were ever served warm. Helmut said they were not allowed to serve them hot. I never did know the reason, and I think this should be changed. Throughout the day, they had a tub of hot mixed nuts, and they also had the usual baskets of nuts, chips, pretzels, and chex mix type items. Service at the counter was fine after the first day, but at the lounge seats, sometimes the servers stood at the back and did not seem to realize they should be circulating. Other times, the service was impeccable. Amadeo played piano tunes here at night before dinner and after dinner. The Panorama lounge was a location to hear Mark play the piano, and at 11 p.m., DJ Luc played a variety of tunes, including requests. As this caught on, there was a lot of dancing. I had good fun dancing up there a couple of nights. During the day, there were also refreshments served here at a variety of times, sometimes similar to the restaurant, and on one side, they do allow smoking. We only made it to the observation lounge to look around. It is a modern room. As you walk in, there is a screen that shows the live route the ship is going (same as the TV). There is also a great telescope up there. The view is spectacular, and I am sure this will be a popular spot for coming into port, sunsets, etc. The ship has the Connoisseur's Club lounge across from the casino. This is a clubby sitting area where cognacs and such are available and smokers can come. They were leaving the doors to the casino and the hallway open. The show lounge is not designed to hold all guests, but it was never full. It has a main stage and two side stages. I loved the way they used all three stages. Sometimes my eyes were just mesmerized traveling around the room to not miss anything. The room is all one level, but the seating is tiered so that everyone can see. The rows are too close together, so if someone crosses their foot right next to you, it will overlap. The benches for two are cozy for some, but we did fine. Sometimes we each sat on one side since there was usually plenty of space. They do have a place to set drinks, but it is barely wide enough. No drinks are served, so you have to bring your own. I asked a number of times anyone who would listen if they would just bring a small variety (like they usually do at the captain's party) and have the greeters hold them. They seem worried they will not please everyone, so they have taken on the solution of not doing it at all. I imagine the design will remain controversial to a lot of guests, but the seats are comfortable, you can see from everywhere, all guests were accommodated on our sailing. It is tight in the back, and you have to walk around the lighting, and there would not be much space for wheelchairs, walkers, and the like. There is no ramp side for handicapped that I saw, and the steps are very tiny (like 2 inches each), and they are constantly telling everyone to watch their step. Seishin This is a reservation only restaurant. While it was advertised they would have bento box lunches and a la carte, in addition to the degustation menu, during our sailing, this had not yet occurred. However, the restaurant manager was hoping this would happen, and she also was open to doing lunches when interest was high. We toured here more than once, though we did not dine here. We watched some preparation, and I sampled a couple of sakes. Dining here is 9 course, with a lot of raw. There is a chef that does the raw part in the middle of the room, and there is another chef that does the teppanyaki and other hot dishes in the back. The current price is $40 for the degustation with the sake pairing, and then there is a wine pairing option with the Le Champagne pricing. The entrEe for the degustation is waygu beef. The room accommodates 24. They had 22 to 24 a night in there, and 3 nights were sold out the first hour of the cruise. Le Champagne The room built for Le Champagne was well thought out and beautiful. Regional menus were offered. The one that looked the most interesting to me was the Tour of Italy. It featured a lemon veal scallopini. They had a caviar focus and an asparagus night. There were a number of others. The price here is $200 per person currently for the degustation menu and wine pairing if booking while on the ship. There is an option for $30 where no complimentary wines are served. To have wine, one must order from the manager's list. A number of guests were noting that some of the wines on the list were not available. Daytime Activities In general, there were less activities on this cruise than any Silversea cruise we have experienced. The itinerary was very port-intensive. The day that we did not get to go to Tangier, they put on a movie, but almost nobody knew about it. I only knew because they made it a "Name that Tune" question in the game at night. They did not have shuffleboard because they had not yet painted the lines. They did not have the golf putting because they did not have the equipment in yet. It was set to arrive the day we got off the ship. They did have some bridge games. Every day except the last night and the first night, they had team trivia. We played all nine nights that it was held. Only once did our team not place in the top 3. There were a few spa lectures on acupuncture, stress, body analysis and such, but the timing never worked for me. They did not have organized needlepoint at tea, but you could ask for a complimentary kit, I found out. One or two ladies just did theirs at tea time anyway. There were at least a couple of meets to guess distance traveled. There were no food demonstrations, and I always look forward to those. They did have a champagne tasting in The Restaurant on Christmas Eve right before the galley brunch. There were also port lectures and history/war lectures. Unfortunately, they did not put these on the TV. I hope they will do this in the future like we have always had on the other ships. The spa had conditioning classes, along with yoga and pilates. One afternoon, one of the Japanese guests did a lovely dance show in full costume. Nighttime Activities On this sailing, they were having a lot of the shows at both 6:45 and 10:15. We always went at 6:45 and attended every day. When the show is later, Todd often does not go, so I really enjoyed this pre-dinner option. There were 3 production shows. One was called Aquarius Dawning. It had music mainly from the late 60s. We enjoyed that one a lot. Another was a tribute to Elton John's music. Yes, Darren did an Elton John impersonation, but mostly, it was a tribute to a variety of his music. Even the ladies sang. Even the Lion King was featured, along with some costumes. The third was Euro 2010, a tribute to the show itself. We enjoyed that, also. At 10 pm one night, there was a Moroccan show with a local group. This was in Casablanca. I really enjoyed this. One of our trivia players did not like it at all because of his hearing aids. Guests were engaged in audience participation. I wish I had been sitting near the aisle. Another night, there was a local Flamenco show. This was very good, too. It was not as good as the show we saw on our tour in Cadiz. There was a group onboard at the beginning of the cruise that was in the Taste of Things to Come show and also did their own two shows on one night. This was Il Divo Forever. They were from Uraguay and Cuba but met in Iceland. Another night, there was a cabaret singer. Iris Williams. She sang a variety of songs from artists such as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. The boat was rocking that night, and she handled it quite well and gave a lovely performance. One night, they just had a Star Trek movie. We were in port that night, so no casino. One night, they had a Name that Tune game in The Bar with Amadeo playing the tunes on the piano. This was a team game. My team came in 2nd or 3rd. There was a mix of songs, including movie themes and songs from all sorts of decades. There was a section where the rhythm and to be named, and another where the composer had to be named. The captain's party was held in both The Bar and the Panorama, as was the Venetian Society party. There was entertainment in the lounges, and on some nights (7 out of 11), the casino was open if we weren't on an overnight. Other Public Areas On deck 8, there is the shops. There is a variety of logo items, jewelry, and designer ware. There are a very few pharmacy items. Also on deck 8 is the casino. This is larger than on all the other Silversea ships. Most notedly, there are quite a few more slots. They generally opened a half hour after coming into port and closed while in port. We played roulette once and eventually lost, so we mostly stuck to black jack and won almost every session. Tables also close during dinner. The day we arrived in Lisbon (which was supposed to be a sea day), they opened only for a couple of hours and only slots. The pool deck is very nice with 3 hot tubs and nice loungers with padded headrests. There is a row of double loungers that have thick cushions. All along the deck on the sides, there are loungers. Back behind the panorama lounge, there are other seats and even covered cabanas. Deck 10 has more seating and a track. These all have smoking areas. The library and internet center had a lot of books, mostly hardback. Gone are the DVDs, you just watch the movies on TV. They still had the suduko, daily quizzes (they ran out before 9 am almost every day), and crossword. The internet did not work a couple of days near the beginning of the cruise, and the guy running the center was seldom every in the center. He was available by page. Since he was with people all the time he was up there, I was surprised he was hardly ever around. On 5, they have the tour concierge desk now and also reception. Reception is the "go to" area for start for any issues, to pay bills, etc. There was a lot more "I am not allowed" than I have ever heard, but generally, they handled everything I ever needed. The infirmary is on deck 3, and the prices for nurse and doctor are posted there. They will also come to the cabin, but they charge more for that. The butler can arrange this. The spa had a number of treatment areas and new things like bamboo massage and herbal massage. They also have a Chinese medicine doctor and offer acupuncture. One of the guests we spoke to had this done and was quite pleased. Also available is Botox, and a number of people had it done. I don't need that yet. I didn't see a lot of specials except for multi-treatment packages. The aerobics room looks like it could not handle more than a handful of guests. It had hand weights and other equipment (no step) and a big screen. You could pick a routine from it, also. There was new equipment in the cardio room, and they had loaner headsets. A number of the machines are hooked to satellite, but it was not yet working. They were doing body composition analysis in this room for $40. There is a thermal room that was available for $25 per day or $150 for the cruise or $250 per couple. You could do your own aromatherapy and also sit on the hot stone seats (short) and also use the outdoor hot tub and lounge area. There was also a relaxation room. All areas had bottled waters and bottle juices available. The thermal area had its own sauna and steamroom. There was also a free sauna and steamroom, but both sets were unisex. It was an odd trot from the locker area to the sauna and steam, and over there, there was no hanger for robes and little room to move around. Generally, the steam room could handl 3 guests. The sauna had two benches for sitting or laying down, and it was oceanview. If someone laid on the bottom shelf, you could not lay on the top without making them move. The forward elevators did not work for several days in the rough weather. We just kept walking to the next set. Tours and Ports I booked tours with Silversea online in advance, and given the weather, I wish I had not done this. Our first scheduled tour was in Barcelona. This was the vineyard tour. It was canceled due to weather, but we did not do another tour since we had walked around a lot on our own the previous day. I had caught a mini cold from walking in the rain, so we just enjoyed the ship, all new. While walking around, we saw many restaurants, and there was everything for sale outside, even mice. In Malaga, we did a tour that went to a cathedral and a couple of castles. We had a spectacular view of the bullring and the ship and all of the water. We did the whole tour with umbrellas, and everyone wanted to come back early. The cathedral was just beautiful inside. All the architecture was amazing all around us, and we could not believe how much space was used in the town and how stacked the buildings were. There was also a shuttle, and some people went shopping. In Cadiz, we did the walking tour and Flamenco and Tapas. We really thought this was a highlight. I had walked all around the day before, but I did not know what I was seeing, and I did not go to quite as many places. It was windy up by the Atlantic. The Flamenco show was exceptional. Everyone was served local meat, cheese, and bread. We all got two drinks - either cava, red or white wine, lager or soft drinks. It is amazing how much work those dancers do, especially the men. Everyone had a great seat. Before the show, we were taken to a flower market and given time to go around on our own. We found a flea market and a fish and farmers market. We could not believe the variety of items available there. If you come here, be aware of the lengthy siesta time in the afternoon. Five guests did the cooking school here and actually got to cook. The cooking tour is the only tour I heard of that was not escorted by Silversea, but the guests just loved the tour. In Gibraltar, we went on one of the Rock of the Apes tours. This was another huge highlight. We were taken out by a lighthouse where we could see both Africa and Spain while we were standing in the U.K. The rock was an interesting sight, and after we drove up, we were placed in the environment with the apes as they ran free. We had many photo ops . We went inside for the cave tour, and it was very interesting. After the tour, I stayed in town to look around while Todd went back to the ship. There were a variety of British restaurants and pubs and many shops. Some were not open when I arrived due to it being Sunday, and then they opened later. In general, it was a good idea to have US dollars here (I did not), as they were giving the same exchange rate for Euros and USD. Since I was paying in Euros and already had lost on that deal from USD, I took a double hit. I only bought some cough syrup (12 EU) and a couple of magnets. I took a cab back to the ship for 2 Euros, but he would have taken 1 pound or 2 US dollars, also. In Casablanca, we each did a different tour. Todd did the sightseeing tour. They went inside the mosque on Todd's tour. On ours, we just saw the outside. Both went to the farmer's and fish market. Here I bought some of the Argan oil body lotion. Our guide stayed with us at all times. We went to a cooking school. First we were given some delicious juice that tasted like tangerines. Next, we were seated at a long metal table. The students demonstrated making various cookies and biscuits and beef and chicken dishes. The cookies were served with mint tea during the demo. Later, all the prepared dishes were served buffet style after we completed a hand-washing ritual that was a photo op. at the end, we had more cookies and tea on the rooftop. We had several sightseeing stops and a trip inside of a local store to buy African items. We also had a stop to a local herb place where they sold many herbs, lotions, potions, mixes, etc. for medicinal purposes and spices for cooking. Many were demonstrated. Then they were offered for sale at a one time price. I bought some other local hand crèmes. I'm really enjoying them. Both of our tours went by Rick's Cafe, a tribute to the movie that was actually filmed in Hollywood. Tangier was canceled due to the ship entering hurricane category 2 waters. We saw land in the distance, but we never entered the harbor and sailed on to Lisbon a day early after several hours of just laying down seasick and a rocky evening. Our tour in Lisbon included about 1 and a half hours on a river boat around the Tagus river. We were given local ham and cheese sandwiches and pastries, along with orange juice that tasted like Tang. This was a very pleasant way to see the river and get excellent pics of all the monuments and of Silver Spirit. Next, we took a motor coach all around town and got out for a couple of photos and saw a lot of the architecture. This was very relaxing. Dress Code The dress code on the ship during the day was resort casual. Since it was generally around 53 degrees F or 12 C much of the time, people had on long sleeved shirts, sometimes sweatshirts or sweaters, and long pants. I saw more people around in their robes than on any other cruise. Some wore them up to the hot tub. I have seen this before, but there was more of that on this cruise since it was cold. Also, people wore robes to the spa since the dressing room setup was not as desirable as on the other ships. Swimsuits are needed in the sauna and steam due to the unisex setup. During the day, I saw more jeans than ever, and with the weather, I wore them a couple of times myself and was happy to be in them! At night, we had 3 formal nights. It was a holiday cruise, and I think people enjoyed the dressup. We had 3 or 4 casual nights, and the rest were informal. Todd wore long-sleeved shirts on the casual, sometimes with a jacket, sometimes not. On the informal nights, he wore various dress shirts and a jacket and usually a tie. Some wore ties, and others did not. On New Year's Eve, there were a few gowns, but mostly, people dressed like on other Silversea cruises where there are a mix of tuxes and suits for men and a mix of dresses and nice pant outfits for women. Everyone looked nice all the time. Staff and Other Guests Around 60% of the staff came from other Silversea ships. We saw many familiar faces. Our cruise director was Fernando, and he brought Alessandra with him. It was great to see them. Crystal was the other international hostess. Fernando was ill for half the cruise, and Alessandra stepped in much of the time and did a wonderful job, as always. We saw wait staff and managers, all sorts of people that remembered us, and that we remembered. One exception is the production team. They were hired with contracts until August and had rehearsed for about a month and a half in Fort Lauderdale. There were 3 men and 5 women. Included is a ballet couple from the Ukraine. We did notice a difference in the service level of the new people from the seasoned Silversea staff. It was not from lack of interest or trying. By the end of the cruise, they had taken it up several notches. Even the experienced Silversea staff had some glitches with the new ship, but they were swift to act. There were 462 guests. There were 159 from the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) and 86 guests from Japan. There were some from Hong Kong and a number of Europeans and people from Canada. There were very few children, and none of them bothered anyone that I know of. We also were told that around 85% were returning Silversea guests. Holiday Celebrations At first, I thought they weren't really doing much for the Christmas holiday. They did, actually do some nice things, but there was not a lot of advanced notice. They had a mass on Christmas Eve. I went to this, though I am not Catholic. The next day in the early evening, there was a non-denominational service, but it was not mentioned the day before. There were a good number of attendees at the mass, including a number of the staff. There was a holiday show with mainly carols. This involved singing and piano and was held in the show lounge. On Christmas Eve, they had the galley lunch. On Christmas Day, there was an Italian family dinner in La Terazza and a set menu in The Restaurant, with the choice of entrEe. Seishin and Le Champagne were both open. On New Year's Day, they opened Seishin at lunch and had a Japanese New Year's party up there. Also on New Year's Day, they had a seafood buffet at lunch at La Terraza. On both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, at dinner, there were party favors at all the tables. On New Year's Eve, the lounges all had parties starting at 11 p.m. We booked in for STARS for 9:30. Dinner went until 9:40. Many that reserved did not show up at their correct time, and their tables were held. There were pluses and minuses to that. CEO Ken Watson attended the party at STARS. Alfreda added Motown and even disco to her offerings for the night. The entertainment staff all brought around champagne, and there were party favors - noise makers, hats, streamers, and balloons all over. There was dancing, and even Todd danced a little in spite of having a stomach ache and cough that was going around the ship a bit. After 12:15 when he went to the cabin, I went up to the Panorama lounge to look around. There were just a few people left. Inaugural Significance On this sailing, there was not a single sail away party, not even the first sail away. We were given a tote bag and two baseball caps, and we also got a paper certificate each noting our sailing on the maiden voyage. Little mention was made and not a lot of fanfare. Even the in-room sail away champagne was never even put on ice. When we opened it ourselves, they took it away before we even drank it. Debarkation and Trip Home We had a nice breakfast in our room and left the ship at 7:30 a.m. since we supposedly had an early flight in Lisbon. We were able to get a cab at the ship. We went in a Mercedes with an English-speaking guide who took us all the way inside the airport with our bags and made sure we were OK. He only wanted 37 Euros. On the Continental flight, we had video on demand. I watched 3 movies. The flight was full. We were served two meals again. We arrived to Newark two hours late. This caused us supposedly to miss our flight. We had already been confirmed for another flight in Lisbon as they expected us to miss it. We had to recheck our bags, and then we killed a bunch of time in Newark before we finally boarded for the 6:45 flight (we had originally been going to be all the way home by 7:20 Central). The flight was full, and we were set to go. They never shut the door, and all of a sudden, they said there was a security issue and to stand by. Eventually, we were deplaned, as were all planes in the terminal, including our original flight that had been delayed due to mechanical issues. We ended up being rallied down to the baggage claim. We were in Newark 8 hours, but eventually we got out that night and got home at 3:18 a.m. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Maiden Voyage-South America Embarkation-Buenos Aires 16 days to Valparaiso South American embarkation ports can be very difficult to reach. We originally planned to connect via DC, due to East Coast weather leading up to our departure ... Read More
Maiden Voyage-South America Embarkation-Buenos Aires 16 days to Valparaiso South American embarkation ports can be very difficult to reach. We originally planned to connect via DC, due to East Coast weather leading up to our departure was not looking good, we changed our plan to Lima, Peru instead. You should be well advised that most South American countries accesses $131 per person entry fee to US citizens, if not visa. Our flight on Lan Chile was late out of Los Angeles which resulted in broken connection in Lima, nice long layover which was not a good start. We spent 3 extra days in Buenos Aires prior to our sailing, we generally plan few extra days to avoid unplanned events. Embarkation at BA Cruise Terminal was chaotic due to 5 ships in port, Silversea representatives were no very active in assisting arriving passengers. They were happy to stand with clipboard, but not too involved, unless approached by passengers. We finally found our way through customs and immigration, then to shuttle bus to our ship. Once dockside, we entered the ship, then to lobby for registration and to our cabin. We were greeted by our butler and our room Stewart, they were pleasant and greeted us with a smile. Our luggage arrived shortly there after and our butler asked if we wished to have him unpack our bags and stored. Very nice touch, but my wife insisted on doing it herself. Our Mid-ship Veranda cabin was very spacious, approximately 376 square feet, full bath, large separate shower with rain shower head, walk in closet, two full size mirrors with built in flat screen TV and separate sitting area with curtain divider. Very nice in room movie feature, there are 378 films loaded in the system which allows you to browse and watch film of your choice. This was our first experience on Silversea, have cruised mostly on all inclusive mid-size ships. The staff and their service level matches our experience with similar class ships. We were always addressed by our name, everywhere we went, our needs were anticipated most of the time. There were instances when we had to repeat our request, especially during rush hour in the main dinning room. Our favorite dinning venues were Main Dinning room, Pool Grill and La Terrazza for lunch and breakfast. Main Dinning room menu was to our liking, Pool Grill for stone steak dinner(amazing). Two for fee specialty restaurants did not interest us, simply because of negative feedback from those who sampled them. Seishin Restaurant was not authentic enough and La Champaign over rated. I have not encountered extra fee for dinning on any other all inclusive ships, but I am sure there is a market for this type of service. We sampled the Star Supper Club, music too loud and was not impressed with their bite size menu, novel idea though! One other issue on this ship is their smoking policy. The Panorama Lounge allows smoking on one side, it might as well be the entire lounge. It was suffocating for non smokers and we had to escape to main bar area on deck 5, but it was always packed with people and hard to find available seating. They also allow smoking in cabins which really surprised us for safety reason. When we walked through the hallway on our deck, we smelled strong cigarette smoke coming from several cabins. There was never a mention of no smoking policy in cabins. Regent Seven Sea for example does not allow smoking anywhere except in the smoking lounge or out on the deck area. There are couple of small things worth mentioning. In the Panorama Lounge, the doors leading out to the deck has large door handles on the inside, but small knob like handle on the outside which makes it difficult to grasp and open? Internet Cafe is situated in a small area and not easy to find. The Main Showroom is large enough with very small stage and they do not offer beverage service at anytime, so we carried our own from the bar. The quality of entertainment was sufficient, not impressive. Now about our voyage! Ocean is rough in this part of the World , no matter when you travel, this was their summer. It was windy and rough seas, especially first couple of days sailing to Port Stanly. Our second day at sea was roughest I have experienced with ship this size. It felt like the ship was planning during the night, the sound of hull smashing against the water was loud and unsettling. It lasted most of the night. What can you say about Port Stanly? It is wind swept pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere. I guess most cruise-ships make this call, because there isn't much else around. We were there for several hours mingling with those adventurer who were getting ready to depart on Antarctic expedition on Russian trawler. We departed for possible Cape Horn encounter, but weather was so rough our Captain decided against the venture and instead ducked into Beagle Channel toward Ushuaia, Argentina. Then the CNN reported about 8.8 major quake in Chile, our destination. We had 9 days, before our scheduled arrival in Valparaiso, so crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. At the same time our thoughts were with those who perished and injured by the quake, feeling little guilty with our comfort in luxury. We participated in ship sponsored shore excursions, prices ranged from $100 to $2000, very expensive as with others. There were to complimentary excursions included with the cruise, the Silverse Experience which is a nice touch. We purchased 3 other excursions and they were interesting and quality of lunches and service was in line with ship's standard which included wine and beer with every meal. We sailed through the Chilean Fjords to Punta Arenas, Puerto Chacabuco, Puerto Montt and finally Valparaiso. Captain kept us informed of condition in Valparaiso as we approached our final destination. The damage was minimal in Valparaiso as well as Santiago. We scheduled ourselves to stay in Santiago for 3 days which turned out to be good move on our part. Those extra days allowed Lan Chile to return their operation back to near normal, our flight home was operating as scheduled on the 11th. On our last day in Chile, we were struck with 7.2 after shock on the 23rd floor of Marriot which rattled our nerves, but just in time for our departure. The airport ticket counter area was in the tent, because the second floor above the counter area had collapsed and 3 hours before departure, we were allowed into the terminal to our departure gate. We were happy to feel those wheels of our plane clear the runway! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Once we got off the plane and were greeted by the ground staff at LAX, we knew we were on Silversea! The representative stayed with us until we collected our luggage and then put us in a taxi to take us to the pier, but not before ... Read More
Once we got off the plane and were greeted by the ground staff at LAX, we knew we were on Silversea! The representative stayed with us until we collected our luggage and then put us in a taxi to take us to the pier, but not before reminding us that the fare and the tip were all taken care of. We walked up the gangway and were enthusiastically welcomed with hot towels and champagne. One step over to reception to turn in passports and have our ID photo taken and then we were escorted to our suite. The new Spirit is beautiful. It is modern yet the colors and furnishings are muted and elegant. This is a completely different experience from the other Silversea ships and is a wonderful alternative. We were in a verandah suite and were prepared that it would be "different" from other Silversea ships. Yes, the verandah suite is narrower, the hallway is only wide enough for one person at a time and the staff is challenged to get their large serving trays through, but it is not a negative. The suite itself is roomy and the furnishings are perfectly proportioned to the room. One can't help but get a kick out of the televisions that magically appear from behind the mirrors in the sitting area as well as the sleeping area. There is tons of storage with lots of nooks and crannies. The walk-in closet seems smaller than on other Silversea vessels, but it is certainly adequate. Also in the closet is a "chest of drawers", that is wide and deep as well as a safe. The bathroom is lovely. The marble and wood floors are elegant as is the wood cabinetry. While some miss the double sinks, we love the large vessel sink (we're not in the bathroom at the same time anyway!) There is a full sized tub as well as a large shower with both a conventional hand held shower as well as a rain shower from the ceiling that is absolute heaven. The teak verandah is larger than on other Silversea ships and has two very comfortable chairs that convert to full loungers, two foot stools, and a nice sized table. The bath sheets were fluffy and the bed linens were silky. Our outstanding cabin stewardess, Gemma (the best we have had on any Silversea ship), changed the sheets every day because she didn't like that they wrinkled! We personally preferred the new Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries to the Bulgari and the former Aqua Di Parma. There have been numerous blogs and posts about the "growing pains" endured by past passengers as the Spirit gets its act together. Like anything new, sometimes you don't know what doesn't work until you use it. Unlike those who have sailed before us, we found the Spirit to be absolutely up to par with all the other ships in the fleet. The service has been outstanding, the crew amazing and positive, and the new venues different and fun. The Spirit is different from others in the fleet and how fortunate that we have another choice. We did have a service issue with our butler, but it got resolved on the second day of the cruise. Our butler was new to the ship; he embarked with us in LA. He was a disaster after our first breakfast and we knew this was not going to work. We decided to deal with it immediately, rather than give him a chance to get oriented - after all it was our vacation and we are not here to train him. After 3 incidents of poor service (although he was polite and apologetic) we called reception and left a message with Oliver who oversees all butlers. We were impressed that not more than 5 minutes after our call, Oliver was at our suite and asked if he could come in and speak with us. He wanted to hear every detail and never made an excuse. He told us our experience was unacceptable and informed us that he was going to assign a seasoned butler to take care of us for the remainder of our journey. He also told us that he would have our former butler more closely shadowed to insure he gets up to speed quickly. We were really impressed with Oliver. And our new butler, Emilia, was FANTASTIC! I must also say that every time we saw our "former" butler he still greeted us with a smile and a warm greeting every time he saw us in the corridor. Every crew member has been friendly, calling us by name and giving perfect Silversea service. It seems that they are, indeed, stretched too thin, but they are working very hard to accommodate all passengers. We have enjoyed the food and would rate it from mostly very good, some excellent, and a few misses. We tried every dining venue. The main dining room is not well designed and lacks the elegance other Silversea ships. The ceiling is also very low which gives it a more casual feel. It is difficult for the wait staff to maneuver around the dining room in very narrow paths, and gone is the carving trolley—no room. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to get the cheese trolley around after dinner so waiters often try to ask you to order cheese rather than select it. We have breakfast in our suite almost every morning and it has been very nice, but I think that has more to do with our butler than the dining room. We are not big on buffets and were only in La Terraza a couple of times for breakfast and only once for lunch. However, those experiences were very good ones. The pool grill was great for casual poolside lunches. We found La Champagne to be an extreme disappointment both in the menu and the quality of the food. However Marcello is an amazing maitre d' and his wine selections are stellar—and reasonable! La Terraza at night was outstanding on all three occasions when we dined there. The food, service, and ambience were great. We really tried to like Hot Rocks Grill! It is just awkward to have a hot, sizzling stone in front of you while eating. We liked being able to cook our entrees (we both had filet mignon and tiger prawns) and keep them warm, but our faces were steaming from the heat off the stone and we were always afraid we were going to burn ourselves! But it sure is a great concept—I just wish it worked better. Stars was great. There was plenty of food and it was creative, fun, and original. The entertainment in Stars was outstanding. Seishin was another disappointment. The sushi and sashimi were good, the rest of the dishes were poor. The lobster was in a consumE and lacked flavor and the Kobe (Wagyu) beef was a huge disappointment. This was our third time through the canal but our first time taking any of the ships excursions. We were extremely pleased with the excursion staff. They were ever-present and helpful. The pool deck was always full (the weather was great) but never felt crowded. There appeared to be room for everyone. We never had a problem getting a table at the pool for lunch either. The service at the pool was excellent and there was always someone around to check on you. All of the public rooms were very nicely furnished and comfortable. We spent time each day in the Panorama Lounge and very much enjoyed the outside sitting area there as well. Again, there was always plenty of room and there was always a friendly server nearby. We also enjoyed the Observation Lounge on deck 11. The computer center/library is indeed small, but we never found it to be a problem (I had my own laptop, so I can't say whether or not there were enough computers available.) We were in The Bar every evening before dinner and had great drinks and conversation before dinner. Sometimes it was crowded, but it was never a problem. The real problem was that we never got to dinner before 8:30 so we never made it to any of the shows! Yes, there is the early show at 6:15, but we didn't want to get dressed just to go to the show. That was just our choice. I can't speak from personal experience, but I heard that some of the guest entertainers on board were excellent, while the production shows were weak. Disembarkation was a breeze. It was well organized, unhurried, and there were lots of Silversea staff both on the ship and on the shore to assist people. This was our first time using Silversea air and transfers and we were very impressed with how the transfers were handled. There were representatives with us on the bus to the airport and they managed the luggage, and secured (and tipped) porters. In summary, we had a grand experience on the new Spirit. We think that she is a wonderful alternative and a new and different Silversea experience. In our humble opinions, they should do away with the "specialty" restaurants if they are going to continue to charge a premium ("reservation fee") - the food was not special enough to warrant an extra fee. However, we really liked having so many choices in dining. The staff is stretched a bit too thin (perhaps management will be looking at this for the future), but every crew member had the Silversea "spirit" (pun intended) and provided the kind of excellent service we expect from this line. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
We all look forward to our holiday and cruising is no exceptions,having cruised with RCL, Norwegian, and silver seas. Spirit was a breath of fresh air, but you do pay, was it worth it yes I think so.Boarding was quick and pleasant ... Read More
We all look forward to our holiday and cruising is no exceptions,having cruised with RCL, Norwegian, and silver seas. Spirit was a breath of fresh air, but you do pay, was it worth it yes I think so.Boarding was quick and pleasant little to efficient and the personal touch was missing. Suite was very nice with comfortable Queen bed, plenty of storage, nice bathroom with large shower for a ship, large TV. Clean. Dining well probably the best we have encountered every restaurant had top quality produce, wonderful cooked, if you are not happy with the wine being served, say white is offered and you want french red it will be changed with an apologies within two minutes, the weighting staff try very hard to please. The odd floor head waiter will avoid eye contact so as not to have to get involved with the serving or clearing of plates but a minor issue. In these instances looking back we should have been more pointed in our requirement and directed it to the head waiter. again this was not on every occasion just the odd time. This is probably the only failing on this wonderful ship, you felt you had to ask on various occasions rather than be offered. The grill is wonderful, we booked twice on the second occasion the officer in charge went out of his way to accommodate my wife in her table requirement's very considerate. On the menu Madagascan prawn's, various stakes were listed prawns when they arrived probably red sea ( cheaper ) the taste is markedly different not Madagascan. Apparently the trailer arrived late and not delivered ummm !small item but let the night down a little. Stars great dinning with piano and soft singer, this young lady who also did our Corinth canal trip was great. Could not fault the dinning anywhere apart from this one issue with the prawns. Room butler, well we got the impression he had been on the ship to long and was a bit fed up with all these guests. Didn't really go out of his way to explain or assist us. Did the basics no more no less. If you want any drinks or snacks ask, some times it can feel a little off when you are not paying, but you have, so if staff do not approach you, you approach them. This was with the butler and prawns the only criticism of silver spirit and should not be taken out of context. All excursion are very good knowledgeable staff uncrowded transport timely and relaxed. Spar OK But very noisy with some Northern states people talking around the cubicles loudly. Leaving the ship in Athens was a big let down, once you pass to the luggage hall and external handling staff, we could not find a agent ended up outside the luggage hall with no advice being harassed by taxi drivers but had transfers with silver seas, in the end we could not get back doc side to get our transport and just got a taxi, this was refunded at the hotel by the shore representative but that's not the point. big improvement required. we could have left the ship earlier and got our own taxi rather than hang around for an hour and a half. This is still a lovely cruise with, few the wrinkles ironed out and it would be perfect. 2011 Seaborne lets see how they stack up. RCL Best value cruise Silver spirit best cruise by far to date Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
This is a boutique ship and the newest one offered by Silversea. Pro's: - only 500+ passengers - very well appointed and well planned suites, even the Vista suites have ample room, closet space, and well planned and ... Read More
This is a boutique ship and the newest one offered by Silversea. Pro's: - only 500+ passengers - very well appointed and well planned suites, even the Vista suites have ample room, closet space, and well planned and appointed bathrooms - vanity, but bring your own extension cord with extra plugs - wonderful system for converting coffee table to dining room table - free movies on demand, all categories, over 500 - wifi - your very own butler - almost everything is included (wine and spirits, water, etc.) - pampered service everywhere! - La Terraza breakfast and lunch buffets, nothing hurried, staff assist with plates, pre-set tables with linens - it's size allows the ship to have premier docking slips in ports, in Venice the ship docked right on the Venice Lagoon - never, ever crowded - anywhere! Con's - European style late start to dining hours, earliest is 7PM, main dining room is 7:30PM - very late breakfast opening - 7:30 PM, hard to eat and make an 8AM private tour if one wants to make the most of the day - no casual option for dinner, would be nice to have a buffet option for those who just want something light, don't want to dress up, and don't want room service - very bad system for continuing passengers (2+ week cruisers) as you're not allowed to book anything (excursions, hair appts., dining room reservations) in advance once you've embarked. The longer you're on the ship, the more difficult this is to reconcile as you can't book anything for future weeks, online or otherwise. Your embarkation stops all your online reservation privileges putting those who have not yet embarked and may be cruising for only one week, ahead of you in terms of appointment times and preferences. You can book via phone or at the venue once embarkation for that week begins. Note: Staff do try to help and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. - Main Dining Room, not very inviting, food could be simpler Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
We embarked in Barcelona at around 2pm and were in our stateroom with 15 minutes of getting on the ship. Wonderful freindly reception from quayside to cabin. The stateroom was midship veranda and beautifully laid out with ample ... Read More
We embarked in Barcelona at around 2pm and were in our stateroom with 15 minutes of getting on the ship. Wonderful freindly reception from quayside to cabin. The stateroom was midship veranda and beautifully laid out with ample storage (more than we have had on any other cruise line). Really neat ideas like the mirrors which 'secretly' housed the tvs in the bedroom and sitting area. Full size seperate shower etc etc, but I have to say that the wash basin tap was a strange choice for installation. Impossible to turn on (even when you really concentrated) without turning it the wrong way or spraying yourself and the mirror. You have to try it understand what I am saying. We were waitlisted for a Silver Suite and were moved to one after three days and sadly I have to say that although there was much more space the mod cons of the veranda suite were much better than the Silver Suite which had a very strange combination of storage and ordinary free standing tvs and DVD player. The ship was hoovered within an inch of it's life all the time we were on it. Immaculate!! Crew were friendly and helpful throughout the ship and Officers were always on show. Fernado, the Cruise Director was just brilliant, absolutely perfect for the job! The food was wonderful in all the restaurants we ate in although Stars was not as good as the rest but had great entertainment to watch as you dined. We did no excursions this time but got off at each port and explored on our own which was very relaxing. We had 6 ports of call and not another ship was in dock on the same day as ours other than on embarkation in Barcelona which made a really refreshing change from the normal 4000 to 5000+ people hitting the same destination each time you dock. We expected this cruise to be good but it turned out to be way above our expectations! We are now Silversea convertees and are looking to book another cruise with them around the Caribbean late winter/early spring. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
We have sailed on all of Silver Seas ships, and we have found we prefer the larger vessels to the smaller ones. Because of this, we wanted to try out the Silver Spirit so we could compare it to the Shadow and the Whisper. Having said this, ... Read More
We have sailed on all of Silver Seas ships, and we have found we prefer the larger vessels to the smaller ones. Because of this, we wanted to try out the Silver Spirit so we could compare it to the Shadow and the Whisper. Having said this, I will give you my opinion of our experiences. 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 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. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
My wife and I have been cruising for the last 15 years and have most recently sailed with Cunard, Saga, and Regent SS. This was our first Silversea and, unlike practically all our previous cruises was very short - only 7 days and very port ... Read More
My wife and I have been cruising for the last 15 years and have most recently sailed with Cunard, Saga, and Regent SS. This was our first Silversea and, unlike practically all our previous cruises was very short - only 7 days and very port intensive. We used the flight package and everything went to plan. The transfer to the ship at Lisbon was a bit slow in leaving the airport but embarkation was fast and painless. Luggage arrived in our cabin (stateroom?) very quickly. Our cabin was a midship veranda and we found it totally to our liking. Our butler took the order for in-cabin drinks - the only minor gripe is that I could not get my usual Macallan - and any replenishment of soft drinks/ mixers was spot on. All the staff on board were excellent - particularly good at remembering our name - the CD, Fernando was absolutely first class. We did not use any of the extra charge restaurants as we feel that on a ship of this class no extra charges should be applied. Our favourite dining option was Hot Rocks Grill, followed by La Terazza. The dining room was not particularly to our liking - a bit too soulless. We did not try Stars as we ran out of time! We took 2 paid for shore excursions and although they were OK, we thought they were grossly overpriced. By far the most enjoyable trip was to the local market in Marbella with the executive chef (Marcus) and his boss (David?). A group of about 12 passengers had signed up to this (free!) trip and we all enjoyed watching the chefs buying local produce and then, later in the afternoon, cooking it for us to sample. We did not take part in any of the activities as every day bar one was a sea day. We were not really aware of any "enrichment" programme other than a pretty poor port talk. We did not use the Spa at all - no time! Disembarkation was fine, although we were dumped at Nice airport even before the check-in had opened and our flights back to Edinburgh via Heathrow were good. To sum up, we really enjoyed our first Silversea experience although we prefer longer cruises with more sea days. would we cruire again on Silver Spirit? absolutely YES! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
This was our first Silversea cruise, and we were very excited to "step it up" to a luxury line. The following details our experience as honestly as possible: Embarkation: Very easy. Just walked aboard after checking in. No ... Read More
This was our first Silversea cruise, and we were very excited to "step it up" to a luxury line. The following details our experience as honestly as possible: Embarkation: Very easy. Just walked aboard after checking in. No line whatsoever. Were greeted with a welcome champagne (Drappier in contrary to the brochure Pommery) and our carryon was taken from us after we had our photos and passports taken. We were escorted to our midship veranda suite by a friendly lady. Suite: The midship veranda suite was very nice and perfectly adequate space for a 14-day cruise for 2. As other's have mentioned, the suite is very narrow and long, and there is an ackward makeup desk/mirror 1 foot in front of the bed which made it quite difficult to walk by while my fiancee was getting ready. The bathrooms were nice with marble and wood highlights. The bowl sink was ok and large enough for 2 to use simultaneously but the faucet did spray water everywhere if not careful. The separate shower and bathtub were nice and the water pressure was excellent in the shower. We appreciated the choice of bathroom products and tried all of them including the heavily perfumed Bulgari, the lighter Ferragamo, and the nonscented Neutragena. The walk-in closet with armoire were good storage. The bed was very comfortable and the choices of pillows were fun. We tried buckwheat for the first time and enjoyed them. The sitting area of the suite was spacious enough for 2 and the convertible coffee table with top made in-suite dining convenient. The balcony was decent size, and the outdoor furniture was nicer than most cruiselines. We had a strange loud squeak from the wall of our suite that made it very difficult to sleep while at sea, but as soon as we complained about it, it was fixed. Butler: Our butler was very conscientious and worked hard. He occasionally missed things though esp with breakfast but always got our special requests right. For special occasions (Bday, romantic evening, etc) he did an awesome job with candles and special surprise desserts. He even had cheese and snacks waiting for us after we returned from a long shore excursion. We were especially impressed when our butler brought us a 1 liter bottle of Baileys for our room when we asked. Service: As a whole, the service was great but not as personal as I have heard about Silversea. There were a few people who knew our names, but not many. The service in the main dining room seemed rushed and they seemed overworked. Service in the other restaurants was much better. It was nice having gratuities and alcohol included; we were not hounded by servers trying to sell drinks and we didn't feel guilty to have a drink by the pool. Food/Wine: Food as a whole was some of the best cruiseship food we've had but it did not rival restaurant-quality food (except for Le Champagne). The food in the main dining room was always artfully presented and usually quite good but not as amazing as we were hoping for (we are foodies). Every dinner was accompanied with complimentary white and red wine most of which were quite good. We never felt the need to order from the Connoiseur's list. Le Champagne was outstanding but $400 inc wine pairing was steep. It did rival some of the Michelin 3-star restaurants we've been to. Seishin was somewhat disappointing eventhough the food was presented nicely. The sushi was ordinary in comparison to Nobu or other creative Japanese restaurants. Hot Rocks was excellent and we ate there twice. Cooking beautiful filets on 500 degree stones was fun. Stars was a great concept and the tapas were nicely done and well presented. La Terraza for dinner was excellent especially the filet course with a truffle sauce (we ate there twice). The decor in La Terraza seemed more intimate and inviting than the main dining room, and the service was better. La Terraza for lunch was decent though we prefer food cooked to order rather than buffet. Entertainment: As a whole, the ship seemed to go to sleep just after the main 10:15 show for the evening. We did not go to the casino, and we went to the disco once (only to find 5-6 people there). The production shows were decent but not extraordinary; definitely less impressive than other cruises. The other acts (a multiinstrumentalist and a pianist) were not very good. The ship band was pretty poor as a whole. The best entertainment was a female jazz singer and her accompanying pianist. We enjoyed them very much in Stars and their one show in the main lounge. Ship as a whole: The ship was immaculate, new, and intimate. The overall design was good except for the boutiques and casino which were hard to find. Also, the observation lounge was hard to get to. The ship was nicely decorated though art deco wasn't really our preference. Itinerary: The itinerary was excellent, and we experienced a lot of diversity over the 14 days: western europe, Morocco, Canary Islands, 6-days of doing nothing across the Atlantic, then Antiqua, Dominica, and Barbados. St Lucia was cancelled and we were rerouted to Dominca due to hurricane damage. Weather was sunny and 70's for most of the trip except for severe rain in Antiqua. Excursions: Ship shore excursions were better than others I've been on. They seemed to be well organized and interesting. We were able to find some more active excursions in the Caribbean including speedboating and snorkelling. Ziplining was offered but it was cancelled due to hurricane damage. Fellow passengers: This was our only complaint- the average age (physical and mental) of the passengers. It seemed like most people were in their 70's with some in their 80's. We were the youngest couple on board BY FAR. We enjoyed the lack of screaming kids (there were NO kids on board), but we would have liked to hang out with some more energetic and fun people. There were times where we felt as though we were on a floating nursing home, but as a whole everyone dressed elegantly and seemed polished. Would we do it again: We both enjoyed the luxury of Silversea but at our current age, I'd say NO. There are other cruiselines we'd like to try before returning to Silversea. Perhaps in 20-30 yrs, we'll be back. Who knows? :) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2010
Background Information: My review describes the Silver Spirit on her 14 day transatlantic voyage from Lisbon to Bridgetown, Barbados, October 2010. I flew from Sydney to Lisbon and had 4 nights at the Hotel Avenida Palace. This ... Read More
Background Information: My review describes the Silver Spirit on her 14 day transatlantic voyage from Lisbon to Bridgetown, Barbados, October 2010. I flew from Sydney to Lisbon and had 4 nights at the Hotel Avenida Palace. This hotel is stunning. The public rooms have beautiful stained glass windows and magnificent chandeliers. My single room was a good size with 2 twin beds, a decent sized bathroom and the location was excellent. Easy walk to the main squares and next door to the railway station to Sintra. If I had the opportunity in the future, I would definitely stay at the Avenida Palace. A Cruise Critic get-together had been organised at the Marriott Hotel for the night before embarkation. This function was well attended and we all had a great time getting to know each other. This set the scene for an excellent cruise. Travel To Port of Embarkation: Embarkation was quick and easy. Charlie and I checked out of the hotel and got a car to the port at around 12pm. Our luggage was taken immediately and we were shown where to check-in. From there, it was a short walk to the ship where we were welcomed onboard and had our picture taken. A number of CC friends arrived around the same time and after a short wait, we had a very nice lunch, the first of many, in The Restaurant. Ship Info: I loved the ship. My favourite place was the Panorama Lounge which has incredibly comfortable armchairs and a lovely outside area with lounges and day beds. I also loved the Bar. Our group of 10 met there every evening for drinks. The only place I didn't like was the spa/gym area. The spa, in my opinion, was way too big and the gym, way too small. The area aft with the spa was lovely but there is a $25/day charge for it. The pool area is nice however the running/walking track is very short unless you walk the whole deck and on hot sunny days was very difficult because of all the lounge chairs in the way. I don't worship the sun so I didn't use the pool area, although I had several nice lunches at the tables on the pool deck. The pool deck did get crowded particularly on the sea days. The Observation Lounge was beautiful but very under utilised. It's almost like you forget it's there and seems to be more like a private lounge for the Silver Suites. It was a lovely venue for a get-together for all the passengers who were continuing on the Barbados round trip. If I remember correctly, we had 465 passengers on board. We also had a get-together for all the CC members who had registered on the roll call. This was held in Stars and was a morning tea affair. Hotel Director, Paolo, had organised for invitations to go out the previous night and we had 28 people attend. Roll call meet and greets are a fantastic way to meet fellow passengers. Stateroom: For the first time ever, I had a balcony and I loved it. This was due to Silversea's very reasonable single supplement of 125% (which probably won't happen again at anytime soon!!). My suite, 610, was lovely. The bed and pillows were so comfortable that most mornings I didn't want to leave my bed. I loved the TV screens in the mirrors and the ability to watch a movie on demand - a choice of over 400. The bathroom was fabulous with the full length bath and rainforest shower head. The tap and basin were a little odd but once I got used to it, was fine. The balcony was fabulous, much wider than I expected and the chair and foot stool were very comfortable. I often had a Bellini and cheese platter out on my balcony. It was great. My butler was Andung/Indonesia and my cabin attendant was Dalfon/Philippines. They were both very nice. I was not asked if I wanted the unpacking service, so I unpacked myself. I had been in my room for several hours before Andung came to offer me the toiletries (I chose the Ferragamo). I really didn't need a butler, I'm such a low maintenance cruiser but he was very pleasant and always brought my breakfast on time and with a smile. After my long bus trip back from Marrakesh, Andung had drawn a bubble bath for me. When I walked into my bathroom, there were lots of little battery-operated candles and heaps of bubbles. It was a gorgeous surprise. Dining: I thoroughly enjoyed the food. I had one dud meal on the cruise and it was the Kansas beef. I asked for it rare but it came pretty much with its heart still beating - it wasn't nice at all. Everything else was yum. I had breakfast in bed every morning. We often went to the Restaurant for lunch and later in the cruise, La Terrazza, for lunch. I tried every option for dinner: The Restaurant, La Terrazza, Seishin, Le Champagne, Stars and the Hot Rocks grill which we re-named the Hot Rocks Cafe. The Restaurant: interesting menus and lots of seafood which I love. Also the lamb chops were brilliant - from Australia (of course!). Desserts (and I'm a huge dessert fan) were spectacular. La Terrazza: I had my best ever pasta dish there. It was long pasta in a cheese and pepper sauce and it was to die for. I dined at LT 3 times and each time I had this delightful meal. LT was great for lunch as well, there is a lovely al fresco area on the aft deck (bigger than the other ships) and the buffet area has plenty of room to manoeuvre and choose food. I don't normally do buffets on cruise ships because they tend to be like cafeterias but this was very orderly. Seishin: the night we dined at Seishin, it was full, no spare tables at all. I chose the degustation menu for $40 and it was huge. 8 or so courses and I thoroughly enjoyed each course. With Seishin, although I liked the food, it was a case of been there, done that so won't go again next time. Le Champagne: the theme for our night was "Flavours of the Fall" which included mushrooms of various types and truffles. Venison was the main course and I hadn't eaten it in a long time because I felt it was like eating Bambi, however, this venison was so tender that I quickly forgot all about Bambi and got stuck into it. I was glad to have tried Le Champagne but I won't do it again. Stars: Dining at Stars started at around 9pm or so. I cheated and had some dinner in my room first so wasn't all that hungry, however the little dishes of tapas were yummy and well presented. We had a table of 8 and we were fairly rowdy (in fact everywhere we dined we were rowdy). I don't remember anything about the singer - maybe I had too many Bellinis! Hot Rocks Cafe: I loved this venue. We dined here several times and each time I had the Aussie lamb chops and the Madagascar prawns. It was so much fun cooking the food on the hot stone plates. One night it was very windy but that didn't stop us having fun. A lovely afternoon tea service was held daily in La Terrazza offering all types of tea (or coffee). One afternoon there was an incredible chocolate buffet. It was delightful. Service: Lunch service was always excellent however the dinner service in The Restaurant was a little lack lustre for Silversea. I think this may have been because we always had a table of 10 and it is difficult to wait on a large table and perhaps there just isn't enough waiters. However on our last night, it took nearly 3 hours to eat. On the subject of drinks, the service in the Bar and Panorama Lounge was always excellent. All the staff members were friendly and would do their best to provide your request. Activities: Besides all the eating and drinking, trivia was my favourite activity. My team was focused and we did very well because we had a variety of nations represented: Australia, USA, Canada, Bahamas, England and Ireland. During our sea days across the Atlantic, we had trivia twice a day and I never missed it. I also got hooked on Bingo and played it every day. There were a lot of other activities like language classes, enrichment lectures, boat building (go Bernard!), fitness classes (I only did one in the whole 21 days and that was a stretch class!). I found that most of my time was spent relaxing and chatting with my new found friends. Port & Shore Excursions: I enjoyed my shore excursions in Tangier (Cap Spartel) and the full day trip to Marrakesh. Although the bus ride is long, don't miss Marrakesh. It was fascinating, especially roaming through the medina, seeing the tiny alleyways and shop fronts. The major problem there is the hawkers, they never leave you alone and are constantly in your face. One guy followed me the whole way and kept telling me he was sure I was a movie star! Very corny but it gets annoying so be prepared. I did the fire mountains tour to see the lunar and volcanic landscape in Arrecife. It was so amazing. There was a camel ride which was lots of fun as well as a visit to a winery to view the unorthodox method of grape growing on the mountainside. There was also a wine tasting. In Tenerife, I did the tour to the Orotavo Valley and Puerto De La Cruz. We had a few stops for photo opportunities and a walk around the town which was right on the water. On the way back to the ship, we stopped off at a beautiful Orchid Garden. It was in Tenerife that our dear friend Charlie was taken off the ship and to hospital. He was very ill in intensive care and I was able to get frequent updates from the Hotel Director as the ship was in constant contact with the hospital. I'm pleased to say that Charlie is doing much better now but we sure did miss him and his sense of humour. Six glorious sea days across the Atlantic, sunny, warm and calm. Next port of call was Antigua. Since I'd already been here some years ago, I didn't do an excursion. Instead, a group of us wandered around the town but came back to the ship because of a huge downpour. As we had been following Hurricane Tomas, we were unable to call into St Lucia so Dominica was the substituted port. It rained very heavily in the morning and in the afternoon I got off the ship and bought a fridge magnet. We were docked out of town because this was an unscheduled stop - I think it was one of the Royal Caribbean ships that was docked in town. Entertainment: For the first time ever on a cruise, I only went to one show and that was Aquarius. I enjoyed it immensely because I love the music from that era. I didn't make any of the other shows because we were always too late - our dining usually finished around 1030pm and then a few of us would go to the Panorama Lounge for more cocktails and dancing with the DJ playing his favourite playlists - although it got a bit boring because he played the same thing nearly every night. After reading RonMathMD's review of this cruise, I have to disagree that they were the youngest on the ship. Two in our group were in their late twenties/early thirties and were always in the Panorama Lounge each night dancing to the music. Disembarkation: I didn't leave the ship as I was doing the next cruise, round trip Barbados. Disembarkation was very sad as all my friends (except for PhilipB) had to leave. During our next 7 days, Philip and I continually talked about how much we missed them. Summary: When summing up my experience, what comes to mind is not that the gym was crap or the suites not wide enough, it was the remarkable people that I met. I want to thank all my Silver Spirit friends for their wonderful friendship during those 14 days. I will look back fondly and remember our good times. I hope that we will have the opportunity to sail again in the not too distant future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2010
Excitement and trepidation ran through our veins before setting off to Barbados. Never having been to the Caribbean, or on a cruise before, this was a holiday of firsts. We arrived at the embarkation point very tired and distinctly hot ... Read More
Excitement and trepidation ran through our veins before setting off to Barbados. Never having been to the Caribbean, or on a cruise before, this was a holiday of firsts. We arrived at the embarkation point very tired and distinctly hot and sweaty, only to be confronted with some minor admin hitches which did not improve tempers. In retrospect it would have been much better to fly a few days before the cruise departed to give us time to get over jetlag, and to make the most of the first day on board the magnificent Silver Spirit. As it was, we arrived on boad just as the drill was being called and we had no time to shower and change, let alone sample some of the champagne in our suite! We had a mid ship verhandah and it was spacious and well appointed with some very thoughtful details in the layout. The food was always extremely good, and the choices of restaurants were more than acceptable. We did not choose to use those that had a premium attached to them as we spent all of our on board credit on shore excursions. Menus varied pleasingly, the staff were unfailingly freindly, helpful and polite. Hot Rocks was fun and very tasty, but the menu was the only one that did not change that much at all. Shore excursions were varied and we enjoyed the more active ones - river tubing etc. This was very much more active than anyone had been led to expect, and I strongly suggest that if you do it (it is great fun), you wear shoes, and don't wear anything you are not prepared to lose. White water rapids the whole way! We are not formal people and managed to avoid the formal nights by not going to the main restaurant on the two formal nights, we ate elsewhere. How can you fault a fantastic operation like the Silver Spirit, it was simply magnificent. If I had any compaints at all then they are churlish - the fact that I really do not know what to do with a butler, lovely though he was, room service would have been fine! By the end of our 9 nights we were ready to go back to the real world and step out of all the luxury. To work out whether we could still mix our own G&Ts or carry our own plates to the table etc. 5-6 course meals, champagne, endless cocktails, butlers, deluxe chocolates, uber comfy beds, private balcony, fancy toiletries, endlessly cheerful and polite crew. Goodness, I think I need to go and pick up a bag of salad and some mineral water from Morrisons and experience the joys of the surly check out staff, get back to real life again, I am exhausted from all that indulgence! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Background Information I booked this cruise while we were on the Maiden Voyage of the Spirit in December/January in order to take advantage of the 2% onboard savings and the free air program. We enjoyed the Spirit on our first sailing, ... Read More
Background Information I booked this cruise while we were on the Maiden Voyage of the Spirit in December/January in order to take advantage of the 2% onboard savings and the free air program. We enjoyed the Spirit on our first sailing, though we traveled where it was cold, and I thought a warmer itinerary would be fun. We have been on a number of Silversea sailings on Whisper, Shadow, and Wind and hope to get on the Cloud sometime soon. We have also sailed other lines We're in the travel industry and I am a Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE, Certified Luxury Specialist (CLS) and Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), as well as a former technology quality assurance lead. I seem to approach a lot of my trips from a QA perspective, and my husband often points that out to me!! This review will focus on this sailing, as I've done comparisons of the other ships, other lines, etc. before. Travel & Hotel Info We left Houston IAH on American, and Silversea was nice enough to let us have some say in our itinerary on the free flight promo. That was very much appreciated. We left on a flight leaving Houston at 10:40 a.m. and arriving in Miami at 1:25 p.m. Our only requirements were for complimentary internet, breakfast and 24 hour shuttle. We got all that, and that was about it. We stayed at a Comfort Suites in the highest end room there (lol) and walked to IHOP nearby for a quick dinner. It was nothing like any IHOP we have been to, but we ate. In the morning, we had an easy shuttle and took the next American flight into Barbados BGT, arriving around our expected time. The day of our departure, Silversea provided those with flights to Miami, JFK, and the UK a transfer at 9 a.m. to the Savannah Hotel in Barbados where we had a hospitality room (group) with towels, juice, coffee, tea, water, pastries, fruits, light sandwiches, and a couple of hot appetizers. They had an air conditioned room with board games, and we had full use of the pool and beach. Todd and I wore bathing suits under our departure outfits, and we took full advantage of the facilities. Unfortunately, they announced the departure time only to those in the main room, and the "rumor mill" time was not quite right. We stumbled into some of the group loading up and ended up with a few others on a second bus. The Savannah was OK, plenty of loungers and adequate shade, but the water off of their short beach was natural and 100% full of rocks. Some guests stayed all 4 1/2 hours in that room and did not look around. Others laid at the beach or pool. Some ate and had drinks. We sat under an umbrella by the pool and got in the water a number of times and walked around in the sand. We also had a few snacks. Arrival & Embarkation We arrived into Barbados BGT airport at 1:15. We had hoped to see a Silversea rep to direct us or at least signs since a number of Silversea guests were on our Miami flight. No such luck and no baggage assistance either inside the baggage claim or at the Silversea provided transportation. A lady was outside with a list of expected arrivals, but she did not even know her list had the cabin numbers, and she seemed almost unable to manage the group of maybe 14 people. She sent people here and yon and finally got everyone in cabs where no baggage handling was provided either free or at a cost. We all helped each other schlep our bags right into the vans. Then we waited a long time while they tried to cram another couple on, but eventually we proceeded when nobody came. We certainly did not have room for their bags. There was no water provided. We had a ride longer than the 6 of us in our particular van expected. Traffic was bad, and we inched along. When we got to the port, we were still self-directed with no rep in sight, but since we had been to Barbados before, we sort of told our group where to go and reached the tables with Silversea reps that were requesting cruise tickets. We then were put on a local bus again with no water and taken to the ship, though it was a very short distance. At that point, we had our ID cards and were told rooms would be ready. When we got to the gangway, someone took my bag and carried it up, but we were scolded for standing 2 inches from where they wanted us. I am sure newbies in front and back of us were not impressed, and nobody carried their bags or Todd's. Greeting was nice with cold towel and escort to the bar for nice drinks, nuts, chips, and party mix. No canapEs or greeting spread for the first time on Silversea. Nobody announced it, but I knew Silversea would have something nice open for everyone somewhere, and I was delighted to find that the lunch buffet was left open until 3:45. Todd didn't come up, as he wanted to wait for the butler, but I had my first of many delightful meals onboard, and I prefer the full meal to the canapes. Ship Info The ship holds 540 guests, and there were about 479 onboard or 89%. There are lovely public lounges onboard the ship. Last sailing, we loved the new main bar which was open day and night at that time and just off the lobby. Of course, it is still open for seating, and they have a big screen tv going in the afternoon, but drinks are not served in the afternoon as they were when we sailed over the holidays. One had to go to the Panorama or the pool deck or one's own cabin. This started to make those spaces where we hung out, and a lot of people used the nice space behind the Panorama or other nice shady areas around the ship. There are 3 hot tubs on the pool deck, and they were at 3 slightly different temperatures. I think it was on purpose and seemed thoughtful to me. The pool was used more than I have seen the pool used on any luxury sailing. We used it a few times ourselves, and I was really pleased to see Todd enjoying the water areas more than usual (not that he doesn't like them, but he never "gets around to it" much). We did not use the spa, steam room, etc. this time. I have covered these areas in my original report, along with the pluses and minuses of some of the locker areas. The ship is very easy to navigate, and our cabin 647 could not have been better positioned. We were in between two elevator banks and two staircases, and we were just about anywhere in a short moment. The library and internet cafe are mixed, and there is no divider for the internet section. The conference room is near the theatre. There is also a small card room. The medical facility is on deck 3, and unfortunately, I had to pay them a couple of visits after slamming my finger in the cabin door for nearly a full minute. Activities Activities were generally led by the cruise director and two social hostesses, along with members of the production cast. We participated in all of the team trivia sessions. Todd played in several table tennis tournaments. We attended many golf putting contests. Together, we did one shuffleboard contest, and Todd attended several others. On the sea day, I attended the wine tasting in the Panorama Lounge. This was led by one of the 3 sommeliers, Norman, and he was assisted by one of the others, Simon. There was a white and a red in the tasting. I also attended the cooking demo in the theatre. At the cooking demo, the emphasis was on fois gras. The chef made a fois gras terrine that everyone got to taste and a seared one that nobody got to taste. I had ordered this through our butler the day before, and he arrived that night with two beautifully prepared plates and a full table setup. On the sea day, they also did a bridge tour and a galley tour. I tried to sign up for the galley tour long before the deadline, but it was already full. I would not have been able to go due to my accident anyway. My accident really put a damper on the sea day and the last 1/3 of the cruise. I was on my way to arts and crafts to make a bracelet when I injured my finger in the door. Also in the arts and crafts department, they had origami lessons. There were Italian, French and Portuguese lessons, too. I believe there were card games. There were some classes from the spa on detox, acupuncture, botox, etc. There were two enrichment lectures on the sea day based on geology and Barbados. We enjoyed the things that we did, and we got some logo prizes at the end for participating. One night, we played blackjack at the casino before dinner. I won $5, and Todd won enough to pay for the two tours we did. We did not go back after that, as we were happy with our winnings. Also, there is a full exercise program and dance lessons with the ballet duo available at no additional cost. There was a captain's party on the formal night, and like last time, it was split between The Bar and Panarama Lounge. There was also a Venetian Society one night in the theatre. There was one couple that was honored for going over 500 nights. They will receive a complimentary 14 night cruise. Service The pool deck was a bit more crowded than our last sailing on Spirit due to nicer weather, and the deck staff was not as quick to remove towels. They were not usually resetting up towels like they usually do on Silversea, so we'd have to go seek a towel. Also, though there were more waiters than we have ever seen, but if you weren't sitting at the dining tables, you had to go ask for service. The pool deck service has always been over the top before, so it was a step down even though there were probably twice as many servers. They just seemed to be wandering sometimes. They were happy to do anything when asked. Some people did not think that the dining service was that great. Ours was fine to good. At lunch, it was not always easy to get wine without begging, and they rarely carried the plate to the table anymore, which is something I really enjoy them doing and something I really needed for 3 days. Breakfast service is the best we've ever had, and the other service was better than on the maiden voyage on Spirit. Our butler service started slow. We received the Bvulgari toiletries right away but wanted to try the new ones. We did get those after a few hours. It took about 5 or 6 hours to get our bags unpacked, and we had to let the butler repack a few hours before we were ready. Other than that, the butler and cabin service were exemplary. Several days, we received beautiful snacks at cocktail hour - things like huge mussels, crab dip on crackers, chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce, pate, crab claws, and meatballs. He knew that I liked limes and brought them automatically after a discussion on exactly how many I would need each day. He always kept our chardonnay stocked and our soda and ice, too. He, along with our room attendant did a wonderful job with the suite. When we ordered room service , it took so long. I tried to give up and go eat upstairs at noon when they opened and left for a tour at 12:10 (I was told the meeting time was 12:30 to make it to the tour at 1 pm) and went down to the tender. They had just left without me, and I missed the tour after getting over on the tender and finding they had left by 3 minutes after time even though they called the boat to see if I was on it. The head butler did not know this, yet he came to apologize for the delay with room service, which was caused by them calling to say they were not happy with the quality and were redoing the order. I thought that was very classy of the head butler to make a visit, unlike the shore department who did not bother to start lunch early anywhere in order for anyone to have lunch. Sometimes they served drinks in the theatre, which was something that was missing on the maiden voyage, and this was very welcome. The reception staff was also very courteous, and the bar staff remembered everything all the time and were so courteous and efficient. We always love Silversea service, and it a major factor in why we sail with them. Port & Shore Excursions We overnighted in Barbados on the ship, and I paid a couple $20 to take me around for an hour for some photos and to explain some of the historical and picturesque sights. They took me to a beach that had some hurricane damage and down into Bridgetown and some other places. It was enjoyable. Elsewhere in the review, I talked about our day in Barbados at the Savannah Hotel at the end of the cruise. The first port was Dominica. This was the only new port for us based on the originally scheduled itinerary. I went on the aerial tram tour. They brought an old rickety bus, which was not exemplary of Silversea, and it broke down 7 miles up the road. We were safe and looking at a beautiful volcano, but two ladies were uncomfortable and trying to talk everyone into going back to the ship. Twenty minutes later, we were rescued and divided into two vans that were still full but were more of the style of what Silversea should have sent in the first place. The tram ride was very interesting, and everyone crossed the foot bridge in the rain forest. There was some light climbing and hiking. Photos don't do it justice. We never got to see the 5 waterfalls like the description, at least not water falling but could hear them and saw a couple of rivers coming off of them. It was worthwhile, but I would not go again. Todd did the accessible tour. He went to Morne Bruce viewpoint and experienced a lovely view overlooking Roseau and could see the ship and also some rain forest. Next, they went to the botanical gardens and saw birds and some flora and fauna. It was small and had a lot of hurricane damage from Tomas that had just come through. There was not a lot to see except some nice views. They went on a long drive (at least 30 minutes) with nice views, first along the beach and then up a mountain in the rainforest to Jaco Falls. There was about 45 minutes there, and some of the bathrooms were not great. They walked down a steep area with a lot of rocks. Todd wanted to get in, but there wasn't much time since he had stopped to take so many pictures. At the end, both tours offered both a rum punch and a non-alcoholic beverage. Todd dined on the pool deck after his tour, and I dashed to the buffet. The people that went on the whale watching and dolphin tour mostly saw dolphins. I think the people that did the emerald pool enjoyed that one. I also went inside the market area and also toured the visitors center and walked a ways down from where the ship was docked for more photos. The next day, they flipped the itinerary around and went to St. Kitts instead of St Barths. Todd did not get to the ship. Last time we were there, he golfed at the Marriott, and I went to the casino and pool and beach there. This time, I walked quite a distance up and down various streets and viewed some old churches and other buildings, along with a brief look at the touristy shops at "The Circus". We never did go to St. Barths due to the safety issues and damage from Tomas. The captain spent a long time circling around Phillipsburg in St. Martin, but there were 25,000 people there from large cruise ships, and there was no slots, so he went to the French side where it was necessary to tender. We were a long ways out, and the tender was a 20 or 25 minute ride. That is the only thing I saw since the tour abandoned me, and we have only been to the airport there. I just got right back on the tender since I was upset. In Bequia in the Grenadines, many people just jumped on the back of the trucks sitting there for island tours. We did that last time and went to the fort and turtle farm and a beach. There were water taxis to take people to the beach, and I think Silversea organized a beach tour and also an island tour. I walked all around the waterfront as far as I could and took a number of beautiful photos and walked the little beach there. A number of people sat around at the little restaurants and bars there and had cocktails. I walked over to the vegetable markets to look around and also went to watch some local fishermen working with fish. I stayed there a while, as I was enjoying that. There were a number of people who had zodiacs docked and were coming in and out from yachts offshore to get things at the markets. The iced tea and chilled water at the tent where guests were to wait for the tender was a nice touch. Our Suite We adore the verandah cabins. The rain head shower is nice, and the shower is tall enough. Todd finds the space a bit snug, but it is fine for me. The tub is a luxury size for a cruise ship, and I love the nice rinse off spout that they installed. The cabin had plenty of storage space everywhere. There are two TVs controlled by one remote. This time, we had no issues at all with the system, and there are over 400 movies from which to chooses. We enjoyed several recent releases. Our drinks of choice were always there, we never ran out of anything, and after a very short conversation with the butler the first day, the things we did not need were removed to allow space for what we liked. We had nice fruits and orchids, and we had champagne on ice upon arrival. The verandah was very inviting in warm weather, especially since the loungers will lay back, and with footstools and a nice table, it is just a terrific place to be. Dining I enjoyed the buffets at lunch the most. The dining room was full, but they are using a sharing concept to help with this (optional). On the days that Todd did not come up, I always shared, and I really enjoyed the conversations. The restaurant was always open for course by course lunch, but I was enjoying selecting my own fruits and salad ingredients. Todd liked the meats and vegetables a lot. There were mostly cold soups at lunch, a disappointment, but there was a delicious squash soup one day. Most days, the lunch buffet has a regional theme. There is usually an Asian item (a couple of times, it was a chicken curry, and the other days, it was Thai or Chinese). There was always a carved meat, quite a few fresh vegetable dishes and a few nice dishes. One day, there was a nice boulliabase. Also on the lunch buffet are beautiful lettuces, a variety of dressings, salad toppings, a salad of the day, sushi, sashimi, gourmet cured meats, fresh pastries, a cheese trolley, gourmet ice cream and sorbet, and fresh breads. The fish was the most disappointing since it was usually dry and overcooked, but the last day, there were large, nice sea scallops. Todd enjoyed a burger a couple of days on the pool deck. Another day, he just got onion rings. We shared a pizza one day. I heard one lady say she didn't want her food anymore because it was taking too long. It can take a while since it is cooked beautifully to order, so if you want a quick bite before dashing off somewhere, this is not the venue to use. If you are hanging out, it is a lovely option, and you can get your food at your pool chair or the table. There is a full menu on the deck. There is a full menu for the room with very nice choices, and you can get the restaurant offerings during meal hours. The day after I hurt my finger, we stayed in a lot since I was in pain, and we had a nice room service lunch. The tables that they set up in the Spirit verandah suites are larger than on the other ships since there is more space. Todd had French onion soup, and I had tomato basil. I ordered a pesto pasta, and Todd ordered steak. At breakfast, you can go to the restaurant for the course by course service, it was never crowded. You can also go to the buffet. For the first time at the buffet, my waiter always asked me if I wanted to order anything such as eggs, waffles, etc., and things were prompt and beautifully prepared. They have asked Todd before, but I have never been asked. Daily, a variety of fresh fruits were carved throughout the service time, and there were other varieties of fruits and gorgeous berries. They had piles of smoked salmon and cheeses. There was ham, bacon, sausage, potatoes, beans, pastries, yogurt, and cereals. The pink grapefruit juice was so delicious that it tasted like I was drinking a grapefruit ( I was!!). We went to La Terazza one night. We had soup and an antipasto platter and salads. Todd had sliced steak, and I had wonderful osso bucco. Todd had the tiramissu, and I had the panna cotta. I didn't like it because it had nutmeg in it. Service was nice, and the restaurant was quiet and relaxing. We really enjoyed our evening there. Early in the cruise, we went to hot rocks. I ordered the veal chop, and Todd ordered a steak and a couple of shrimp. The server insisted that I order sea bass, but it was not like any sea bass I have had and was too fishy to eat and likely was not sea bass. I normally love the sea bass on Silversea. We had salads, and Todd had a baked potato. My veal chop was divine, but there was no way I could finish all of it. Todd had the same issue as last time with it cooking before he could eat it and getting too done. The restaurant is so popular now that it is hard to get in if you don't reserve early in the cruise. We had a second reservation and gave it up. We had a great evening and really enjoyed the Filipino singer that sings up to the diners from the pool deck. We enjoyed our dinners at the main dining room, though there was often no fish choice besides the daily salmon choice. I ended up ordering other things. I couldn't order vegetarian due to it always having mushrooms, but I always found something like pheasant or shellfish or something. On formal night, I asked to have my lobster prepared without butter, and I loved it. Since the shows were at 10:15, too late for us if we finish dinner at 9:30, we adjusted our schedule to 8 or 8:30 the two nights of the production shows and went to the Panorama beforehand and listened to Amadeus and the DJ music and relaxed. It actually made for a complete evening doing it that way. One evening, we dined with a couple that had been married 61 years, and we had a wonderful time with them working our way through all 5 courses. Evenings were great until I hurt my finger, and then we just watched movies after dinner. That was fun, too. I just couldn't sleep. On the night of the pool bbq, it was just hours after I slammed my finger in the door, and I just had 4 crab claws and one rib, and Todd had 3 ribs, and I was just in too much pain, so we left about 15 minutes after it started. This event is not our thing, but we liked how this time they put smaller tables for 6 or 8 vs. those long tables we have experienced on most sailings. The main dining room was open, but I was not up to it. We did not go to Seishin or Le Champagne. Seishin has two teaser menus and the main degustation menu, and you can pair with complimentary wines, wine pairings, or sake pairings, and there are different prices for each of these choices. Le Champagne is so beautiful on this ship, if I was going to go there, it would be on this ship, but many times, I know that the menus are too exotic for Todd's more meat and potatoes taste. Entertainment I found this to be weaker than it has been on other Silversea cruises since there was no guest magician or comedian or cabaret act. Last time on Spirit, they offered the shows twice in an evening, and I know that was short-lived for only one or two cruises. This sailing had two production shows, both are repeats for us from the maiden voyage 10 months ago. Only Keeva remains from the original production company, and I feel the original entertainers were better, though this group is good. The Rocketman show was not nearly as good as with the other group. Same with Dawning of Aquarius. There was a Taste of Things to Come show that was very short. It was on the pool deck. On the BBQ night, there was a show by the production company. We were not able to attend that due to my accident. There was no guest performers at all, and that is a first time for us ever on a luxury ship and was a disappointment. Several nights, they had movies in the theatre, and those were on the TV anyway. There was live entertainment on the ship and DJ sets. Any we attended were quite pleasant, but the timing was not always just right for when the people were in the particular lounge. STARS was so crowded on the nights of the lack of live entertainment in the theatre that we could not even get a seat or get to the bar, We tried several times and never stayed over 5 minutes since it was just too full. Disembarkation The butler packed for us before dinnertime, and we kept our bags in the room and put them out before the 11 p.m. deadline, keeping out a few things for our day at Savannah Hotel. I had a short breakfast because we had to be off the ship for our ride to Savannah at 9, and both the doctor and the restaurant didn't open until 8 a.m. We did not get the luggage assistance that I requested, but we did alright and easily located our bags in the terminal. We took the shuttle over to Savannah, it probably took 30 minutes. We had easily opted out of the charity donation, and there were no unexpected charges on the bill. We had the two tours and my $606 and change doctor bill. There was a sort delay of 15 minutes for passport pickup which also made it a challenge to go to breakfast and the doctor, but I managed it all. This was not our best Silversea cruise due to a few issues with the shore excursions and the handling of my accident, but it was mostly very enjoyable. Our cabin was excellent, dining service was mostly excellent (beverage service was good but not excellent in the dining rooms). The shore staff size needs increased, and they need to take a look at getting back into treating people to a more luxurious tour style. We relaxed so much all around the ship, in our balcony and in the cabin, and we enjoyed every activity we attended and wish we could have made even more, though we gave it a valiant effort. I did a blog, which is a work in progress at http://www.luxurycruiseandland.com. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
First things first. We are Seabourn fanatics and have sailed on month long voyages with Seaboun. I thought I'd share my comments about Silver Spirit that we sailed on for Christmas and NYE. We started cruising on the larger, ... Read More
First things first. We are Seabourn fanatics and have sailed on month long voyages with Seaboun. I thought I'd share my comments about Silver Spirit that we sailed on for Christmas and NYE. We started cruising on the larger, bigger (low scale) lines such as Princess, P&O, NCL and RCCL we then found Seabourn and became instantly hooked. I've written a few reviews on Seabourn Legend if you want to read them. Silver Spirit was a choice that we made last year due to the heavy discounting that Seabourn could not match. It was a difficult decision to make, and we do prefer the smaller ships. On boarding, we were amazed at the quality of the inside of the ship, something that Seabourn Legend of course (due to age) hasn't got. The space per passenger was higher than we had anticipated and we were impressed by the way the ship was laid out (with the accommodation at the front, and the entertainment and dining areas at the back). Our cabins were superb, I can't fault the cabins on this ship, the only negative thing I could find, was they were narrow by the bed, potentially making it difficult to navigate to the lounge area (not a problem for me, but for an older person) We have had amazing service on Seabourn before, and we were interested in the Butler service that Silversea offered. Unfortunatley for me, this proved to be a real let down. My butler was very friendly and efficient, but couldn't see his relevance (apart to restock my bar and pick up laundry). He was always calling my name and after a while, this became annoying. My cabin steward did his job well, but he could have done the job of a butler(maybe I missed something in the 14 nights!) saying that.. they had lots of cabins to attend to, so overloading the poor room steward probably isn't a good idea! We tried "Le Champagne" and we were impressed by the level of service offered, it was a totally different dining experience, however be warned.. $200 is a lot of extra money that is really spent on wine, not food! You can dine here for an additional $30pp, plus buy a bottle from their wine list (this brings down the cost considerably.) The main dining room was always busy, we dined on table of 3 every night, with the same waiters. Our opinion of the food is that it's pretty much identical, however.. SEABOURN wins with the desserts. We found that the desserts consisted mainly of "mousse" and were not to our taste (we are European and Australian!) Coffee on board was HORRID.. Any Europeans will be disappointed! The bar service was great, again very little to distinguish between Silversea and Seabourn. Your drinks were always complimentary and replenished as and when required. To be fair, we need to travel on the newer Seabourn ships to give an accurate account of any differences. We did enjoy our cruise, and wouldn't hesitate to go back in a heartbeat. There was one negative about our cruise, my Mother and Grandmother were in a disabled cabin, and it STANK, not just a little, but enough to make you vomit at night. We made several complaints to various people, but it was never resolved whilst on board. We are not complainers AT ALL.. but this kind of spoilt the holiday for them. Silversea did compensate us post voyage after writing to them to be fair. We are booked again on Seabourn Legend in September of this year, and it will be an interesting comparison again. Any questions, please feel free to email me. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2011
We just cruised on the Silver Spirit from Singapore to Dubai for 15 days, stopping in Malaysia, Thailand, India, Oman and then Dubai. This is our 3rd Silversea cruise, the previous ones were on the Whisper and we were looking forward to ... Read More
We just cruised on the Silver Spirit from Singapore to Dubai for 15 days, stopping in Malaysia, Thailand, India, Oman and then Dubai. This is our 3rd Silversea cruise, the previous ones were on the Whisper and we were looking forward to seeing how the Spirit compared. The ShipWe think the Silver Spirit is a wonderful, if not perfect, ship. We felt that Silversea had captured a lot of the feel of the original ships but just scaled it all up, it felt like home. She is in wonderful condition as you'd expect from a new ship. We booked a midship veranda suite. The layout is good, splitting into a living and sleeping area and the balcony is now real usable space, you can sit out there, you could eat out there if you wanted. We loved the bathroom with a shower door which actually kept water in and a proper shower head as well as wood floor instead of freezing cold marble and tile. There was ample storage all over the room and we used quite little of it , our two fairly large suitcases fit nicely under the bed. The aircon worked well and noiselessly and in this part of the world you need it to. We particularly liked the dual TVs, built into the mirrors at the proper height, much better than the old ships where you crane your neck to see them. For techies, you have stereo/composite video, HDMI and a VGA input and they all display really well. We used a laptop and portable disk drive to catch up on 6 months of TV, lovely pictures. (we did have to get the TV tech to restart the system once, he said they have limited cooling and can overheat - after that it was fine). The suite is a little narrower than those on the older ships, not a lot, but it's noticeable. There's a real lack of power points and none near the bed so you can't plug in an alarm clock. They do provide a 5v USB power outlet which will charge an iPhone equivalent (but doesn't have enough power for an iPad). We thought that the public rooms on the ship were a little too small for the number of cabins. The theater is small and poorly laid out, bench seats instead of the much more sociable and waiter-accessible tables and chairs. La Terrazza is also pretty well stuffed with tables and really wanted to be larger, getting between the chairs to get to the buffet was sometimes an obstacle course and when in there you had to dodge wandering diners. There was a lack of shade on the pool deck with tables and chairs going further on each side than on the small ships. That led to some competition for shaded beds on sea days as the sun was brutal. The areas at the back by the Panorama lounge and on Deck 8 helped a bit but you really needed more shaded areas. Finally the observation lounge. Tucked away at the front of deck 11, down a corridor of rooms, a lot of people never even found it! A shame, it was a nice place. Food and DrinkWe thought the food on the cruise was very good, a step up from our last Silversea cruise. The menu was varied, they added in some Asian options which were welcome and (apart from one Chinese pork dish which was dreadful) well executed. Portions seemed to be smaller, but you could always ask for more and on a cruise where people eat all day, large portions probably go to waste. Ingredient quality and freshness were consistently high. There are several restaurants on the ship. La Terrazza is the Italian themed restaurant and was very popular the whole cruise and always booked, we managed to go there 3 times in 15 nights, once as a crew invite. Book early and keep asking. The Restaurant is the main dining room, it was fine, we got window tables most of the times we asked and went early, we were found interesting company to sit with and the service was brisk and efficient, we rarely waited for anything. On-deck is 'Hot Rocks', an outdoor BBQ concept restaurant, always casual, where you cook your food on a hot rock. The food was fine, the atmosphere was a little casual for our taste, we did it once. It was also very popular with the people who wanted to enjoy the outdoors and great weather and wanted something less formal. The two themed restaurants which attract a surcharge are La Champagne and Seishin. In the former no free wines are served, but you can either take the (expensive) wine pairing, or select from the chargeable wine list. I saw nobody take the pairing and the wine list had good wines at better-than-expected prices. The food was very good and we went twice. Seishin is Japanese-themed, we went once and were less-impressed. It was a good facsimile of Japanese food, but perhaps it's not possible to get the real ingredients so the sashimi had an unusual texture, red radish was used instead of daikon .. etc. The overall impression from the people who went there we talked to was that it was ok, but not stellar and I know of nobody who went twice. You can have the complimentary wines there or take a sake pairing, as a sake drinker I tried that, it wasn't bad. Stars is a supper club where they serve small morsels of food over the course of several hours. We didn't try it, the people we spoke to who did were mostly a little unhappy with the slow speed and small amounts of food. By 10pm one group we spoke to had had 3 mouthfuls each and gave up. We don't lunch a lot so we skipped most of the lunch buffets. We did however keep an eye on the menu and there was one occasion we asked the staff to keep a portion of the lunch back for dinner because we liked it better than the dinner menu. They were only too happy to oblige. We also asked for things from the restaurant or off the room service menu to be served at the pool and it was never an issue. That's Silversea for you, they try to say yes. House champagne was Drappier, we drank our fair share of it, it's fine. Generally we thought the quality of the wines was a step up from our last Silversea cruise too, everything very drinkable, some quite nice and we requested those we liked the most on later days. StaffStaff make Silversea. They are all well trained and helpful. They really honestly try to honour all your requests. I can't say much more about them except that they continue to be the basic reason we cruise Silversea. Silversea recently introduced 'all butler' service, I'm not sure we really got that much out of that. It was often easier (and less error-prone) to make reservations for the restaurants directly instead of using the overworked butler trying to deal with a corridor of guests. Ours was very nice, but calling him a butler is really more marketing than fact, he's a well-trained cabin steward. Spa/GymThe gym was just about big enough with just about enough equipment that you could find time to use it even on sea days. The spa, as has ever been the case, was professional and peaceful, but not the best value for money. The world cruisers who'd been on for a while had taken to looking up spas in the ports of call and going there. Ports of Call and ExcursionsOn a trip from Singapore to Dubai the ports of call are somewhat limited, they don't all perhaps have a proper passenger cruise terminal. However there was a constant grumble (again from the world cruisers who had been on for months) that the ship continually docked at container ports or very old run-down passenger terminals and a suggestion that Silversea was cutting costs here. We didn't take any of the ship excursions this time, they are pretty expensive. Some people seemed to get a lot out of them, some people thought them not good value for money. We'd like to cruise Silversea somewhere in the world there's more of a cruising culture to see where they dock, we'd probably get off the ship more often; we were generally more than happy to stay on when everyone else got off. EntertainmentThe entertainment didn't excite us much, we went to a show with a magician which was great, didn't watch any others. Most people seemed to give them quite good marks. The on-board lecturers were one good, one not very good at all. OverallWonderful. We totally relaxed, we had a great time, we'd have stayed on the ship another month if we could have. The Silver Spirit does feel like part of the Silversea family, it's not perfect, but the flaws are few and mostly to do with not having quite enough room in the public spaces. Food was good, wine was good and service was excellent in every way. We will definitely cruise Silversea again and thought this cruise was better than our last one and will enjoy both the larger Spirit and the smaller original sisters in future. Silversea, if you build another larger ship, please make it just a little bit larger for the same number of suites, or pack in a few less suites so the ship feels as uncrowded as the original ships do. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2011
I promised myself I would write this review today as I feel obligated to warn fellow cruisers of our experience as a 7 day cruisers on the tail end of a World Cruise. My husband and I choose this trip as a 25th Anniversary ... Read More
I promised myself I would write this review today as I feel obligated to warn fellow cruisers of our experience as a 7 day cruisers on the tail end of a World Cruise. My husband and I choose this trip as a 25th Anniversary Celebration and fully expected a wonderful cruising experience on the Silver Sea Spirit- cruising the Red Sea- Petra, Sharm, Suez and Alexandria- ending in Greece. We travel a lot but both are still self employed and do not desire to take long vacations, however, we take many small vacations every year. We have traveled from Galapagos, Trans Siberian RR, Borneo, Europe, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Morroco, Baltic Countries, South America, etc... We stay at 5 star and we stay at 2 or 3 star accommodations. We enjoy many types of experiences. So I believe we set off on our adventure at Easter to meet up with the Silver Sea Spirit at the Red Sea with good expectations and as experienced travelers. However, we should have known something was wrong from the minute we joined the group on a day trip in Luxor. The cruise director who was there early had no idea we were joining group and questioned us on whether we had paid for that part of excursion-we had.(Though it was free for all other travelers as mid- cruise excursion) After an afternoon of touring in Luxor we boarded the pre-assigned bus #6- which had our name on a list and set off for a 3 hour in the dark trip to Red Sea and Safaga. At arrival on the ship no one greeted us, bus driver stopped us from pulling our own baggage but yet we had to go to a harbor police to find assistance- Silver Sea knew we were on that transfer but made no effort to greet us. Upon arrival in our room, our assigned Butler was off so some one showed us a couple things, no offered to help unpack -champagne and fruit was waiting. I do not know what the purpose of the butlers are other than to bring coffee when I ordered in the morning. There was no attempt to anticipate our needs, no attempt to bring snacks to pool as Beaches/Sandals Butlers do, no attempt to bring canapes/snacks before dinner- nothing. The gift shop was very poor selections on everyday items, I hunted the whole cruise and at the ports for curlers or curling iron, having forgot mine to no avail. Nor did any staff seem to care- Meals were so so and not any better than Carnival. The Supervisor of the Butlers should go to school at Beaches/Sandals and figure out how to be make a vacation truly enjoyable.... Our Butler was nice and brought coffee - when I ordered- that was it..... However, the purpose of my review is to explain NEVER EVER to join a world cruise in the last week or two of their 100 day cruise even if it is free- unless your time is worth nothing- then only if free-- There were no activities on board except shuffleboard, scrabble and bridge that no one was playing. There were no cooking demonstrations, no ice carving, nothing. Even the captain's bridge tour was limited to those who had "signed up 10 days earlier" in Dubai or something, since we joined 7 days after Dubai that was not much help. The staff made no effort to meet us at arrival. (another traveler we met last day advised of same experience.) The staff made no effort to provide any orientation to the few couples that arrived at Safaga. Never ever was there a meeting to acquaint orient, to explain availability of shore excursions, anything about ship, anything about anything- we were just shadows- maybe SPIRTS! who joined at Safaga etc. We were advised when I asked on 4th or 5th day that this had been done earlier in the 100 day world cruise- My newspapers did not start until 3 days later- All I can figure out is the staff was worn out from 100 days or they themselves had joined the world traveler club of which we were not a member. A mention about other travelers- The first couple of days we could not decide if the mostly elderly travelers had a hearing problem or were simple rude. My husband is 85 and I 55, so we are used to dealing with people in this age range. It is common courtesy for us- to say Good Morning to someone we pass in the hall- outside of the restaurant heading in to breakfast- however- they would look past you -like you did not exist- finally, we quit saying good morning. Perhaps none of them could hear- or they were too tired of their trip, or they simply did not associate with the common people who did not have their name engraved on a brass name plate outside their room and only joined the cruise for 7 days- I truly believe it was the latter based upon multiple experiences. So as you can see- a group of very "cliquish" travelers- who already were in the group- (Thought perhaps I was in junior high again and a new kid) and a ship staff that did NOTHING- let me repeat NOTHING to welcome you, to orient you, to provide activities and information to the few couples that joined in Safaga or even Dubai as I was advised from a Dubai embarkation couple. Since, you do not know WHO this handful of newly arrived travelers were- as there was not even an orientation meeting- you couldn't even find travelers with same experience going on. One evening was touted as Arabian night- since we had no pre-warning of this other than the daily paper- I did not bring my Abeya or a head wrap etc, I looked at the yet another empty port town on the Red Sea that we stopped and could find nothing, I looked in ship's gift shop and they had nothing- yet when we arrived at the pool side dinner- (the one special dinner) this whole group of world travelers were dressed the part and dancing and carry-on etc. When I questioned how they could find such outfits and had such warning, I was advised that -oh they bought those in Dubai where they planned it with cruise staff a week before we arrived. I do not understand why the cruise staff could not have had at least some head wraps- etc for sale in the gift shop or something for the rest of us, infidels. The Suez Canal transit was very boring, just desert on both sides and flat, so nothing entertaining like a Panama transit. In addition, the "expert" only spoke from a loud speaker that was not audible from the observation deck. (The stated reason was that a ship of the calibre of Silver Sea Spirit could not figure out how to broadcast in the observation deck/room without broadcasting in the spas.? Go figure..) The last port was Alexandria and as my husband and I sat sipping coffee, a couple walked by that I recalled meeting 6 days early on an elevator and thought they may have arrived the same day as we had arrived. I said hello and we sat and had coffee, they had the exact same opinion on these topics in which I post- When I said to them that I had told my husband that morning that I felt like we were the "Black Sheep of the Cruise"- she laughed and said she had said -just that morning that they were the "Lost Children of the Cruise." They advised that previously they had been on the first week of a world cruise and the experience was totally different and activities were going on- and guests were friendly- (probably didn't realize they were only on for 1 week-ha) Speaking of that the ship staff had a couple special meeting/dinners for these really special people- who were part of the world cruise- which is fine- BUT they still needed to do something for the rest of us. Other than handing us a bucket and mop to mop the floors - we were treated like 4th class travelers. Very poor and one could not PAY me to take another SILVERSEA World cruise-in which I only joined for a week. I might would consider a week or 10 day cruise that all guests were on the same itinerary- however, I would look close at what the ship had to offer in activities on board etc before I wasted my money on Silver Sea again. I did mention the last night my dissatisfaction to the Butler on these issues on the cruise- I did not think much of this was his responsibility- and he immediately brought his supervisor- who had just joined the ship from I think a South America cruise and she was very kind, understanding and seemed genuinely concerned and appeared to believe these issues were unacceptable. At a minimum she had been trained on how to handle a customers dissatisfaction.- not that I ever heard anything more- nor did I really expect to. I was disappointed that the comment questionnaire did not have a company land address to mail them to- therefore I did not take the time to complete as i assumed it would not make it off the ship. In any event, I hope this review helped some in deciding whether to join in the middle of a world cruise---On a side note- since nothing going on- I was able to watch Royal wedding and the Osama death coverage in the beautiful cabin and I appreciated the veranda and the heavy curtain separating the bedroom area from sitting area. LP Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
Last month we embarked on The Silver Sea Silver Spirit for what we believed would be a superb experience. We could not have been more disappointed!. The only part of the cruise that met our expectations was the cabin and butler(although at ... Read More
Last month we embarked on The Silver Sea Silver Spirit for what we believed would be a superb experience. We could not have been more disappointed!. The only part of the cruise that met our expectations was the cabin and butler(although at first he was hard to understand, he was fabulous). Let me tell you about dining on board: mediocre service and poor quality food. What we saw is what what we would have expected from a large 3000 passenger vessel which would have cost much much much less that what we paid. We had traveled with Seaborne where the food and service were first class and we expected the same. At the Silver Spirit, most of the waiting staff was not as solicitous as they should have been, but the worse part is that the food just was not good. For example, I ordered a steak and salad by the pool, and the meat I received was inedible. The tuna sandwich was a thin spread of tuna on a non very appetizing bread. The panini was cold...etc,etc,etc....When we ordered drinks by the pool, we waited 20 minutes!!!The main restaurant was a 6 out of 10...the only restaurant that I would consider visiting again was The Hot Rock Grill... The entertainers were beyond bad. The dancers had no grace or talent. I have found that there is usually a big difference between the disembarkation at a luxury line and all others. The exception to this rule was of course the Silver Spirit. We disembarked in Canes. I believe that the original itinerary indicated Monte Carlo, but that was provably changed due to the prince's wedding. Disembarkation was not at a port, but in tenders, and at first they seemed to have it organized well. Passengers were waiting in the lounges until they were called by assigned color and it went quick. We expected to see the luggage organized in a similar way at the port. It was not!, most of the luggage had not even arrived at port. We had to wait in the sun (without any facilities) and then crowd around vans that were bringing the luggage to search for it. We had 4 pieces of luggage and 3 of them came in 3 separate vans. The last one was lost! It was recovered and brought to us at the airport a couple of hours later. We would not consider another voyage in Silver Sea... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2011
Silver Seas makes a very big deal about service and luxury. Our experience is that they perhaps should talk less and do more. There was nothing wrong as such, but there were some oddities that made this less than five star. Upon ... Read More
Silver Seas makes a very big deal about service and luxury. Our experience is that they perhaps should talk less and do more. There was nothing wrong as such, but there were some oddities that made this less than five star. Upon arriving at the airport, we were met by a cruise rep, as arranged. She explained that we would be taken to the ship, although it was too early to board. However, we could check our luggage, then go into the city for the day. She said the cruise would be available for boarding at about 2 pm. The transfer to the port was by private car. When we arrived at the port, there were reps there as well. They, however, did not know what to do with us. The woman we spoke with suggested we wait for boarding (4 hours!). She was obviously busy with passengers leaving the ship, but even when I told her what had been said at the airport, she was clueless. After 45 minutes I saw a desk that had a checked luggage sign, and yes indeed it was where we could leave our luggage so we could tour the city. That the ship's own representative was ignorant of a service that existed within 100 feet of her was rather stunning. We finally boarded around 3 pm. No one showed us to our stateroom. The stateroom was just fine, and lived up to the claims of Silver Seas for the Spirit appointments and amenities. It was very large and comfortable, with two flat screen televisions (but outdated movies). One problem was the "desk" in the sleeping area. It was more of a ledge than a desk, very shallow, and there was very little space between it and the bottom of the bed. The hair dryer is permanently attached in a drawer there, so you have to use this space to do your hair. However, if one person sat there to do that, the other had to climb over the bed to get to the bathroom or closet. As for the walk in closet, at first I thought it was a good idea. However, I think we ended up with less space for hanging garments than we do in cabins that do not have this feature. I have read some of the reviews about services offered on this ship and by this line and let me just say that a lot of it was news to me when I read the reviews. No one indicated we could have the butler unpack or pack our luggage, least of all him. It was not clear what he would or could do, other than make sure that our fridge had the water and drinks we requested, and serve us room service if we ordered it. He offered to help us in any way, so perhaps I was supposed to make whatever demands I wanted and leave it to him to comply or not? We found a card that said we could request a choice of newspapers, but he explained that was no longer offered free of charge. The lack of information was a bit of a problem in many areas, in our opinion. The ship seemed to assume we were more aware of how it operated than we were, since this was our first experience on this line. When it came to service, again nothing was "wrong." On the other hand, there were peculiarities. When you went to the breakfast buffet, a waiter took your plate and carried it to your table. All fine and good, but an example of how the ship did these showy "service" things that were not really necessary. What was odd was that no one explained that you could request certain other items from the waiter in addition to the buffet, such as pancakes or eggs Benedict, or that the waiter would put in the order for an omelet so you did not have to wait for it. There were all these waiters watching passengers trying to do that themselves, and not saying a word about the service they offered. They just took the plate and carried it, then asked what you wanted to drink. I just found this peculiar. Perhaps no one else does. The lunch is only served until 2 pm in the buffet or the dining room, which is annoying. After that the only option is a very limited menu at the pool grill. One day I asked if perhaps I could order from the room service menu instead of the grill's menu.(I did not want to eat in my room.) I assumed that it would be available since room service was available. The staff had no idea what to do with my request, and eventually said, no, only items on the menu could be served there. My point is that many of the staff do not seem to be empowered to go the extra mile to ensure the service being touted. They have a little list they have been taught of their duties, and unusual requests seem to confuse them. The excursions were pretty typical. One was not well thought out and included a stop that made no sense, where we visited a resort for ice tea and little cakes. I think it was included just to claim the tour, which was pricey for the time involved, had X number of stops when in reality it had X minus one. A long excursion to Seville would have been better if more time had been set aside to be on our own. 90 minutes to both eat lunch on our own and shop was not sufficient in a Spanish city. Neither the cruise rep who was with us nor the tour guide offered any advice on restaurants either, which was less than helpful. (Actually, I purchased nothing on this trip because all of the excursions left so little time to do so. By the way, while in Gibralter we discovered it was a duty free zone. None of the ship's information had indicated this. Considering the high VATs in Europe, it is the sort of thing passengers might want to know, I think.) The food was very good in the dining room. More selection would be nice. Efforts were made to create distinctive dishes with unusual tastes. We were fine with this, but those who like less creativity might find it less appealing. The wine was adequate. The free pourings were all of a "light" taste--very light in some cases. I think they could do better in this area. They seem to be choosing the wines by the lowest common denominator in terms of what would be considered drinkable. So the wines had little depth or body. I think that one can request a different wine, from the bar, if the offering does not appeal. Ask for a specific varietal and it will be brought. The Italian restaurant was, again, somewhat typical, and not gourmet. Think well done Trattoria food. It did provide a change of pace from the dining room. Debarkation went very smoothly. We stayed an extra two days in Lisbon at the Tara hotel. It is a large business hotel, with large rooms but somewhat tired decor, in an upscale neighborhood some distance from the city center, with very few restaurants in walking distance. I think the cruise line uses it as an option because it is near the Ritz, which it also uses. Be warned that this hotel has the hardest beds I have ever slept in, and I am used to European beds being hard. Our flight back was fine, but the cruise line might have warned passengers about the problems with the Lisbon airport. It is not an airport where you want to cut it close. Besides a long walk to the area that has the International gates, there is a passport control that creates a huge bottleneck. We stood in that line alone for over half an hour. We made it to our plane, but there were five "no shows" in business class (out of 12 booked passengers), including at least one couple from our cruise who I knew should be there. Another couple from the cruise made it just in time. While this is an airport issue, Silver Seas should warn passengers about this, since they use Lisbon on a regular basis. We found ourselves, after all was said and done, trying to articulate why we were a little disappointed in this experience. Not unhappy, mind you, just a less than wowed. We felt it had not compared favorably with cruises taken on other luxury lines, but pinpointing why took some thought. The initial lack of service upon arriving at the ship did not help, of course. I have tried to give a picture of the little things that accumulated to give us this feeling that Silver Seas customer service and general experience was slightly "off." Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2011
Booked a 7 night med cruise on the Silver Spirit. First, this would be a 4 star review if on Princess or RCCL for 70% less fare. At over $3,000 US per day for a seven day trip, expectations were not even close to met: The ... Read More
Booked a 7 night med cruise on the Silver Spirit. First, this would be a 4 star review if on Princess or RCCL for 70% less fare. At over $3,000 US per day for a seven day trip, expectations were not even close to met: The ship itself was in good shape, but our shower had a strong smell of raw sewage and there was no hot water for the first two days. The main recurring theme for the cruise was: PLEASE DON'T BOTHER THE CREW. The advertised butler service is generally unavailable. He wasn't there to greet us or to show us the cabin. There is no way to contact the butler other than through a pager which frequently goes unanswered. We found out the paging system was broken two days into the cruise, but even after it was fixed we still couldn't get any assistance most of the times we called. It's a one-way system. When the butler doesn't call you back, you have to call the reception desk and the people there make it clear you are not supposed to call them. One time they transferred us to an East Indian gentleman with a think accent who tried to provide phone support in lieu of the butler service. It was like calling tech support for your PC. Without listening to anything we had to say, he kept saying "please", "thank you", and "the butler will call you back". I'm not sure if he was even on the ship, but this is the level of service I expect when I call about a $50 appliance that is years out of warranty. Putting a tuxedo on an untrained person with no experience in the service industry and calling him a butler doesn't add any value in my book. Even at the end of the cruise he hadn't figured out what we liked or disliked. At breakfast, we asked the server standing behind the buffet table next to an empty frying pan to cook the eggs he was serving a bit more, and he refused, instructing us to instead "tell your waiter". Half the time we would finish our meal before we could find a waiter to relay the request. You get what you get. The few times we contacted the shore excursion desk, they always knew less than what little we did about any topic we might ask them about. It was like talking to a fellow confused passenger, and they seemed genuinely bothered to talk with us, even on the excursions we purchased directly from SilverSea. The level of English spoken at the reception desk was horrendous for a luxury cruise that solicits English speaking customers. We would try to communicate the same thing three or four different ways and then usually give up and walk over to try and communicate in person with gestures. Not all of the crew was bad - Fernando the cruise director and the security staff made us feel welcome, and there were numerous occasions where crew members went out of their way to help out, but the steady feeling that you're bothering the staff really ruins the vacation. I don't know if it's the increased size of the boat, or SilverSea has just gone down hill, but the level of service was nothing like what we received on the Wind or the Cloud. I'm not sure why anyone would want to spend three times the cost of a lesser cruise for the experience we received. I don't think we'll be back any time soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2011
Despite the delay by BA in getting the luggage to Venice Silversea as expected provided everything needed including a trouble free embarkation in late afternoon and a warm welcome by my charming butler whose help was always friendly and ... Read More
Despite the delay by BA in getting the luggage to Venice Silversea as expected provided everything needed including a trouble free embarkation in late afternoon and a warm welcome by my charming butler whose help was always friendly and professional.The suite was comfortable,spacious and well appointed.The lectures were outstanding and the few activities especially on the sea day were enjoyable.The on board service was six star with always a smile,chat and efficient service of both the inclusive drinks and superb food:the dinner always had good alternatives where the ever changing gourmet menu was not chosen. Fernando was an excellent cruise director with his trivia quiz much fun and often quite difficult.The ship was spotless,well decorated and I look forward to July 2012 when I am on the Spirit again for two weeks. It is expensive especially for singles BUT it is a fantastic cruise holiday experience. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Flights to Athens and home from Nice were arranged by Silverseas and went without a hitch. No sign of any demos in Athens on 30th September and we were welcomed on board with a glass of bubbly while we checked in. Our butler was on ... Read More
Flights to Athens and home from Nice were arranged by Silverseas and went without a hitch. No sign of any demos in Athens on 30th September and we were welcomed on board with a glass of bubbly while we checked in. Our butler was on hand to greet us as soon as we arrived at our midships veranda suite and was to prove helpful during the cruise, making sure drinks/canapes were there when required. Also booked alternative restaurants for us. This was a 7 night port intensive cruise so not much in the way of on board activites other than a ports lecturer who we found to be very knowledgeable and helpful. We took a couple of ship's tours - Mount Etna drive in Sicily and Etruscan countryside from Civitavecchia - while we did our own thing in Malta,Sorrento,and Elba. The ship's tours were fine - not too crowded on the coach and good local guides. They are too expensive though. We ate in Hot Rocks twice (very good). La Terrazza (diasappointing) Le Champagne (a bit pretentious) while the main dining room food was first class and service excellent. Because of the low ceiling, the room itself is not particularly attractive. Our suite was fine and all the public rooms had a good standard of decor and we felt that the ship was, in every way, as well looked-after as it had been on our previous cruise 12 months ago. The entertainment consisted of a singing/dancing group and they performed every evening. They were young and enthusiastic and did a pretty good job. It was a little surprising that there was no comedian or musician to take some of the entertainment load. Finally, a special mention of Fernando - the best cruise director we have come across. He was everywhere, did everything, and seemed to know every passenger's name Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Western Mediterranean, 7-21 October 2011. I am a well-traveled, 53 year-old female cruising with my same-age niece. I have about 10 weeks of cruising experience, on a variety of lines and different-sized ships, this was my first ... Read More
Western Mediterranean, 7-21 October 2011. I am a well-traveled, 53 year-old female cruising with my same-age niece. I have about 10 weeks of cruising experience, on a variety of lines and different-sized ships, this was my first Silversea cruise. Rather than a "destination", we used the ship as a "Five-star floating hotel" to travel to and see parts of the Med that we had not seen before. There's definitely something to be said for unpacking and packing once to see twelve different ports! Cabin - 910, Least expensive Veranda cabin; located on the Pool Deck. Everything you've read about the narrowness of the cabins on the Spirit is true, it's just too narrow in the very middle where it really counts. We had the beds configured as twins, so this at least made it a little more convenient to pass than if the bed was configured as a queen. It just doesn't work, we were constantly in each other's way. The TV which is hidden behind the mirror is a definite space-saver, but it makes for a darker mirror and it is impossible to use the mirror while the TV is on. The TV behind the living area mirror works better, but is impossible to "tilt" toward any other part of the cabin. Otherwise, the space in the cabin is very comfortable, the veranda is larger than most (deeper) allowing for ottomans for your faux-wicker chairs. Desk area is spacious as is storage and walk-in closet. Shall I tell you about the bathroom?... Whoever designed the sink and faucet was an idiot. After two weeks using the stupid thing, we still sprayed and splashed water all over the place. They should have opted for two smaller sinks with "normal" faucets! The boat-shaped shower is small and awkward, and makes it impossible to shave your legs. Good thing they also put in a full-sized tub. Both have good pressure and we never ran out of hot water. Make-up mirror is not lit, and there is poor overhead lighting; better to opt for the vanity area by the bed - much better lighting. Plentiful and luxurious towels and amenities. Restaurants - "The" Restaurant - Smaller and more intimate (lots of 2-tops) than most ship's dining rooms. We never had a problem getting a table, even when it looked crowded. Good service, not excellent - and very loud bus stations, ask to be seated as far away as possible. Good choice of "everyday" selections and creative and varied "specials". There was always a selection of good wines available at no extra cost, or you could just ask for your favorite. Portions are small, such that a three- or four-course meal is possible without being stuffed. Breakfast gets boring, always the same menu (exactly the same as room service) and there are no specials. "Seishin" - I'd call it Asian "tapas". You choose from either a 4-5 course ($30) or a 9-course ($40) dinner, then you can add on Sake tastings for extra. Food and garnishes became repetitive on 9-course meal, but overall it was a fun and tasty experience. This is the only place you can be served Japanese beer on the boat - too bad they don't have a bar, only seating for about 26 diners with a Sushi-bar "demo" in the middle. "La Terrazza" - This is the ubiquitous buffet restaurant for the boat, at least for breakfast and lunch. Both meals had the same food display and availability (with minor changes) daily - it became boring, but at least you can get in and out in a hurry if you choose. Breakfast service is a little awkward, you must go through the buffet, then sit down to order any egg dishes, as they won't take your order while you wait at the buffet. Lunch always included a generous salad bar and assortment of sushi. For dinner, it's a reservations-only, sit-down Italian restaurant, the menu changes every 5 days or so, but some dishes are always available. Good food, good wine - just ask to be seated away from the bussing stations - as the constant clang of dishes and silverware tends to de-romanticize the dimly-lit beautiful dining room. "Le Champange" - Best food on the ship! Every day they feature a specific food, then build a six- to ten-course menu around that food. We went twice, for Lobster night and Fois Gras night - absolutely delicious! They advertise it as a Gourmet Food & Wine experience at $200 per person, with a special glass of wine paired with each course. BUT... if you buy yourself a Bon Voyage gift prior to departure (see Silversea's website) , it's only $150 per person. And, even better, it's only $30 each if you get the "tasting menu" and purchase a bottle of wine off their wine list (mandatory), the wine list starts at about $50 per bottle. Generally, what they were pouring with the full menu was very young and mostly drinkable, but in my opinion not worth $170 each. "Stars" - Billed as a "Tapas" restaurant with live Jazz entertainment. Good food, not great. Good music, not great. Still, I think it's a "must" during the cruise. "Hot Rocks", also known as The Pool Grill - this is a great idea that really works. You get a salad, then they bring out individual hot "tiles" on which they have just placed your selection of meat(s); you also get a veggie skewer and a baked potato. You cook your meat the way you like it, then put it on your plate and eat it. Simple dinner, but it was really good. Somehow, after all the fancy food, a steak and baked potato just hit the spot! Dress - As I expected, anything goes. Unfortunately for you guys, ladies can get away with dressing-down easier than men can. Ladies can go to dinner any night in nice black pants and a silk top. On the formal nights, I saw everything from tuxedos and ball-gowns to jeans and short skirts. If "Formal" is your thing, just plan the evening around "The Restaurant" or "Le Champagne" and dress to the nines! If "Formal" doesn't do it for you - then make a reservation at Hot Rocks and wear your jeans. It's just no big deal - do whatever you feel like and you'll be comfortable. I way-overpacked, especially considering the convenient and free self-service laundry on each deck. Service - Silversea obviously cares about this aspect and has trained their staff to be responsive to the guests' needs. Almost always, they come through with shining colors, but occasionally, they just miss the mark. When they don't get it done correctly the first time, follow-up and follow-through get lost; I have a feeling that because the staff has such task-specific jobs, they expect each other to take care of issues, and then they drop the ball thinking it's not in their job-description. Then, when you have to ask again, the staff seems put-out, like "we are taking care of that already," you want to ask who is? and when? Nevertheless, within less than a week, most of the staff knew us and addressed us by name - what an accomplishment when there are 500+ guests on board! All staff we encountered spoke perfect English, as well as other languages I'm sure. Overall, I was definitely impressed by the level of service and the extensive knowledge of the staff. Shore Excursions - It was nice to have smaller size groups for tours, it was also a bonus that each tour was accompanied by a crew member, usually from the "Social Staff" (entertainers, etc.). During two weeks on board, we took a tour everyday except one. Sometimes we would have only 18 to 20 people on an excursion - and they used those huge, 52 passenger busses. It felt like a waste, but I understand why they do it - people would rather have the extra elbow room and not feel packed-in like sardines. I personally think it would be better to use those smaller 22 passenger mini-busses and just fill them up. Most excursions were very professionally led and very informative - you know there's always an exception, we had one tour-guide who spent more time on her cell phone than she did telling us about what we were seeing. I highly recommend ANY of Silversea's shore excursions which feature the little crown - they are very special indeed, always done in very small groups, usually include an incredible meal, and worth the price! If you want to stay away from the larger groups and the older, slower-moving crowd - look for the "extensive walking" excursions - they were much faster-paced and tended to cover more ground and spent far less time sightseeing from the bus. However, be aware that even with a sold-out cruise, they still cancelled shore excursions (always at the last minute!) - book yours early and be prepared with a second choice. Spa - Every day they have a "special" announced in the Silversea Chronicles - act fast getting a reservation, because the specials are usually combination-type packages and up to about 30% off, and they sell out fast. They have a wide variety of treatments, more than I've ever seen offered on a ship - but they are very expensive. The facial and massage treatments I had were basic and average, but being able to take advantage of the quiet, covered deck, exclusive hot-tub, and heated relaxation beds was a treat. Facilities are new and really nice, but not worth the extra $$$ required if you are not having a treatment. Overall - I detest being nickled-and-dimed to death on cruises, I also dislike the constant P.A. announcements trying to sell me something and not being able to enjoy sea-days without having art or jewelry hawked all day. It was a real pleasure to be onboard Silversea and have absolutely NONE of that! Silversea's Spirit is the epitome of a truly classy, luxury vacation. The "house" champagne was Heidseick Blue-top, and it was available whenever and wherever I wanted it - does vacation get much better? I loved having all the different dining options on the Spirit, just be sure and get reservations for every night as soon as you get on board, otherwise you'll be disappointed when your wait-list never clears! I'm ready to go again... where do I sign up? Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Spirit of the Caribbean For several reasons, not least a highly attractive price, we booked back-to-back cruises 5135 and 5136 on SilverSea's Silver Spirit. The itineraries were both of 9 nights duration and were part of a season ... Read More
Spirit of the Caribbean For several reasons, not least a highly attractive price, we booked back-to-back cruises 5135 and 5136 on SilverSea's Silver Spirit. The itineraries were both of 9 nights duration and were part of a season which saw the ship sailing between Barbados and Fort Lauderdale for a couple of months during November and December 2011. The Spirit has something of a mixed reputation with past passengers; some love it, whilst others won't return to her. It is the biggest and newest of the SilverSea fleet, and has a normal (not all berths in cabins where more than 2 can be accommodated) capacity of 500. This is over 100 or 200 more than the other ships in the fleet. One of the features of a SilverSea cruise is that the crew make an effort early on to learn your name and we wondered whether this would hold good on our 2 cruises, where there were 473 and 406 respectively on board. We followed our usual practice and arrived in Barbados the day prior to embarkation, in case our luggage did not keep up with us; fortunately, it did. We stayed at the Hilton Barbados (see review on Trip Advisor) and made our way to the port around 13.00. Only Emerald Princess was in port in addition to the Spirit and there was no congestion, with registration being immediate. Our cases were piled with others into a lorry and one was damaged by the time it arrived in our cabin, though fortunately, it was repaired by the ship's upholsterer. After leaving our hand cases in our cabin -- 914 -- we went for a light lunch on the open deck area of the Terrace Cafe, then did our customary ship's familiarisation tour, as we had not previously sailed on her. The condition of the Spirit was excellent. Our lifestyle preference is to have a cabin on pool deck and this influenced our choice of 914, the furthest mid-ship accommodation available for both cruises when we booked. The open deck space around the pool appeared no bigger than on the smaller ships, whilst the pool itself was arguably not as big, a potential issue on sea days when the ship is full. The pool deck attendants were always willing to find, and set up loungers on request. We invariably lunched alfresco around the pool and Bas, the chef, cooked excellent fish to order. The rum & raisin ice cream benefited from a shot of dark rum from the pool bar! The Observation Lounge proved to be an under-used bar both pre- and post-dinner. In fact, it was not unusual after dinner for us to be the only ones there. Sunny made the best pina colada on the ship by adding a shot of dark rum. We were told that the absence of toilet facilities in the lounge would be remedied during the next dry dock, with conversion of the Deck 11 laundrette being the most likely solution. The Panorama Lounge, Terrace Cafe, Theatre, Dining Room and La Champagne speciality dining venues are essentially similar to the equivalent facilities on other SilverSea ships and can thus pass without general remark. One irritant is the requirement that cooked food to order at breakfast in the Terrace Cafe must be via a waiter, rather than direct to the chef. Unique in the SilverSea fleet, the ship has a Japanese dining venue Sieshin, and what is called, the Stars Supper Club. In the latter, a set tapas menu is served to the accompaniment of a light jazz singer and pianist, the entertainers being first class. Overall, the food on board was very good. When we placed pre-orders off-menu at dinner, these were always excellent. We dislike the SilverSea practice of using vegetables purely as a garnish to a plate of meat or fish and ordered extra vegetables, well cooked, which invariably also proved popular with others at our table. Our dinner wine preferences were always accommodated from the table wines onboard. Service at all meals was virtually faultless, a marked change from our experience on Silver Shadow in March. The occasional breakfast in the dining room always found it virtually deserted but the menu choices here added variety to this meal. The main bar, unlike on other SilverSea ships, is, effectively, a corridor on Deck 5. It lacks ambiance and atmosphere at any time of the day, from light breakfast through to post-dinner and is a design error. Our cabin, 914, was a Midship Veranda. As such, it was a typical Silversea arrangement, with large balcony, seating/dining space with a writing desk and drinks/fridge facility, bedroom and walk-in wardrobe with safe. It is, however, somewhat narrower than cabins on other SilverSea ships and, most irritatingly, the dressing table is too narrow, as is the gap between this and the bed. By contrast, the bathroom has an excellent size of bath and a separate rain shower enclosure, which was brilliant. We rarely patronise the spa but it was certainly an extensive facility, though the gym was small and had only basic equipment in addition to the usual cardio-vascular machines. Interestingly, part of the spa, including a wet area (a Hammam) with heated tiled beds, were accessible only on payment of a fee, either on a daily basis, or for the duration of the cruise. Aside from the jazz entertainers already mentioned, we watched all the shows in the Theatre and considered the performers to be very good. Unusually for us, (because we are normally in the gym in the late afternoon) we participated in the late afternoon trivia quiz, though there were never more than 3 teams. Susan, the cruise director, hosted this and, as with other entertainment, conducted herself in a style appropriate to a SilverSea ship. The one area of major weakness was the Shore Concierge Desk. Clive, the manager, had been in the same position during our cruise in March on the Shadow, however on the Caribbean sailings we were extremely disappointed with both the Desk's performance and knowledge. All the staff from Clive downwards ranged from the mediocre to the plain useless. Giving just one example, it took days of emails by us to book an excursion in the pre-cruise booklet but not on the tours list onboard. The company offering the trip (on a rib boat in Grenada), had apparently been reserved by SilverSea, but the staff on board seemed oblivious to this, even when the pre-cruise excursion brochure was referred to. Fortunately our persistence paid off, and we did the trip under our own auspices with only two other passengers, who were staying on the island, but it was most annoying and upsetting for the company, which is a husband/wife operation to realise that they had no bookings at all from the Silver Spirit As we feared, the larger size of ship meant the crew did not get to know your name or your usual preferences, unlike on the smaller SilverSea ships. Surprisingly, the sole exception was no less than His Highness, the Hotel Director, and thus the most senior person onboard (after the Captain?). At the cocktail party on the second night, Paulo came over, greeted us by name and remarked that we were on board for the following cruise too. Full marks, Paulo, and the time we spent in your company during the ensuing 16 nights helped to make our cruise. Although quite a number of passengers were combining 2 cruises, most were from North America and doing round-trip Fort Lauderdale. We were only 2 of 11 doing round-trip Barbados. As is now the norm on SilverSea, the passengers were a league of nations. It was most marked in Philipsburg, (St Maarten) where we were docked along with Norwegian Dawn and P&O's Ventura, to see how it was generally possible to judge which passengers were from which ship! The weather was variable. It poured all day in Philipsburg on the day we should have been in nearby St Barts, the relocation being due to predicted poor weather for tendering ashore. Otherwise, the conditions were generally good, though getting lively as we approached and later left Fort Lauderdale. Across the 2 itineraries, only Bequia was duplicated and during our second visit there, we arranged a schooner with others on board, to visit Mustique, a private island, also part of the Grenadines. When we returned to St Martin (Marigot), on the second cruise, whereas many headed for duty-free shopping in Philipsburg across on the Dutch side of the island (St Maarten), we took the regular 25-minute ferry crossing to the British protectorate of Anguilla. This is noted for its beaches, and snorkelling was a regular feature of our port calls on these cruises. Sadly, apart from Mustique and during the boat trip in Grenada, off-the-beach snorkelling was poor because the unsettled weather was churning up the sea close to shore. On Bequia, we got a local cab $US 10 (same price as the water taxi but avoiding a wet landing) to Lower Bay beach. On Dominica, during a 2-day stay in Philipsburg, Antigua and St Lucia, we toured the island on local buses. These are typically 13-seat minibuses, which charge a Government-set fare and largely pick up and drop off as required. Generally, they will not leave their start point until full, which (for our Soufriere to Castries leg on St Lucia) took 75 minutes but might also be as quick as 5 minutes, as it was on our outward leg from Castries to Vieux Fort, in the extreme south of St Lucia. Drivers and fellow passengers were always friendly and helpful and the fares were so cheap compared to taxis or shore excursions. You also experience more of an island's character by travelling this way. Locals always helped us find where we needed to go to catch the bus we wanted. On St Kitts, we booked the highly enjoyable sugar cane train via the ship and this gave a leisurely trundle round most of the island. (Interestingly on initial research for shorexs, we had tried to book this trip independently, only to be told it had to be arranged through the ship. It would appear that many excursion and trip operators will only take bookings via hotels or cruise lines and refer independent travellers to one or other of these. From our experience the ships and hotels add on a significant mark up). The train trip only being three hours, we returned to Basseterre and got the local ferry across to nearby Nevis and went to Pinneys beach, which proved disappointing for snorkelling. Fortunately, we were the only ship in port in Bequia, Dominica, St Kitts, Grand Turk, Tortola, French St Martin and Grenada. This helped take the pressure off local resources, like taxis, notably in Tortola and Grand Turk. In both the latter we took taxis to Smugglers Cove and Pillory Beach (the latter now hosts the Bohio Dive Resort) respectively. To reach the former involves a 10-minute crawl over a pot-holed road on the other side of the island to reach the beach and taxi drivers do not like making this journey, especially if there are easier pickings from a deluge of ship passengers. The visit was well worth it and there is a Government-set fare. Beware in Anguilla. Based on another posting, we walked just over a mile to the beautiful Rendezvous Bay on the report about the hotel there. It closed 2 years ago and, what has not been demolished, is derelict. If you do go, take drinking water and enjoy the pristine sand and sheltered water. Needless to say there are no facilities there. I have never raved about the Caribbean but these 2 cruises, totalling 18 nights, provided a diverse perspective from a traveller's (a more inquisitive person than a sightseer) perspective. Visiting the West Indies on a small ship has very distinct advantages, not least that it is usually possible to "dock" as opposed to "tender", and the itinerary often includes less run of the mill "touristy" islands. We were extremely fortunate that in most of the ports we visited on these two cruises, we were the only ship. In Grand Turk, for example, if there had been another cruise ship docked at Carnival's purported $US 40 million complex, it would have ruined the visit! However a little postscript -- one of the beachside bars, the much vaunted Jacks Shack outside the complex, didn't open -- apparently because there was not "a big ship" in!! Silversea is classed as a "quiet" ship -- hurrah!! The (relatively) small Silver Spirit offered an ideal vessel from many standpoints, notably comfort and amenity. On cruise 5136, two sea days, then 6 ports and disembark, was not particularly relaxing and a sea day before Barbados would have been preferable. However disembarking on a Sunday morning (about 9.30 am) with no other cruise ships in, was a breeze, and it was incredible to see not only a deserted cruise terminal, but also Bridgetown, and our taxi to visit friends took no time at all, prior to our flight later that day. Would we cruise again with Silversea? Silly question really, already booked on the Shadow from Fremantle (WA) to Singapore next February!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
After cruising on over a half dozen cruise lines over twenty years, we finally chose to try Silversea and reserved a very expensive top category suite. Regrettably, we didn't feel that this cruise would be considered a ... Read More
After cruising on over a half dozen cruise lines over twenty years, we finally chose to try Silversea and reserved a very expensive top category suite. Regrettably, we didn't feel that this cruise would be considered a "luxury" experience. While the majority of the ship's staff did appear to try to please passengers, we simply didn't believe the cruise lived up to its "luxury" price. Check in at the pier required standing in line 25 to 30 minutes. We had to sit in a shuttle bus to get to the ship until the bus was full. Then, once aboard, we were told that our suite would be ready in an hour-and-a-half. We never met the ship's hotel manager or captain. Apparently, there was no Captain's Dinner on the sailing. The welcome "event" for first time passengers was held in the theater, with two speeches and a glass of complimentary champagne. Room service breakfast was bland and cold. (Tried it just one time) Free movies on the ship's television system stopped and started a few times. One stopped and wouldn't re-start at all. (Perhaps a bandwidth problem?) Disembarkation was a log jam in the atrium and down the hallways. We were not aware of any waiting area for suite guests. And while disembarkation was announced by luggage tag color, this procedure was not enforced. It was a stampede with passengers with various colors all trying to exit at the same time. Food was good, but not fantastic. Service in the main dining room was especially slow at breakfast and lunch. We've been in many top suites on numerous ships. We just didn't feel that Silversea Spirit was worth the "luxury" cost, nor did the Spirit live up to our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We cruised Alaska with Silversea in 2010 on Silver Shadow but this was our first time in the Caribbean and on Silver Spirit. On arrival at Miami Airport we collected our luggage and just outside the baggage hall the Silversea ... Read More
We cruised Alaska with Silversea in 2010 on Silver Shadow but this was our first time in the Caribbean and on Silver Spirit. On arrival at Miami Airport we collected our luggage and just outside the baggage hall the Silversea representatives met us and took our luggage. We boarded the mini bus for the 45 minute transfer to the Silversea pre-cruise hotel which was the Hyatt Regency Pier 66. The transfer was handled well and we arrived at the hotel very quickly. The Pre-cruise hotel was however not so good and poor value for the cost. This is reviewed in more detail on Trip Advisor. The following day the 13.00 transfer to the ship (10 mins maximum) was also smooth and as we passed the long time of people standing in the hot sunshine waiting to board the Holland America ship we started to get a bit apprehensive. No need, as we were dropped off in a covered area and swiftly went through customs after filling in a short health form. Next we went up to a desk and picked up our suite "keys" and were then straight onto the ship - less than 30 minutes after leaving the hotel. A glass of champagne waited in reception for us and then a quick photograph for the security card/ suite key and we were all done. We were informed that our suite would not be ready until 14.30 so off we went to La Terrazza for some lunch. We went along to our suite at 14.40 and it was all ready but there was no sign of our butler (we later learned that they have a break in the middle of the day) so we unpacked ourselves to avoid the clothes being even more creased. This I guess is the down side of being allowed to board early but it was nice to get on the ship and get settled before we left port. We also used the time in the restaurant to book tables for later in the cruise at La Terrazza and "Hot Rocks". The ship itself has some good points and some bad points. For a relatively new ship there are some quality issues which you wouldn't expect to find. The chairs in the dining areas are already showing signs of wear with chips on the wooden handles and some of the seats on deck had nasty stains on the cushions. Some of the deck areas are covered in an "imitation" deck covering which is some sort of plastic coating but it is not non slip and there are signs all around warning that it may become slippery when wet. We didn't find it too slippery but it does look very cheap and nasty. There are however some "bumps" on the deck which do catch you out from time to time. On this warm weather cruise the walking/jogging area became clogged up with sun loungers and we didn't enjoy walking our usual few miles to burn up the calories quite so much as on other cruises. The "bar" on deck 5 is a nice area to meet for pre and post dinner drinks and is a good size. The tables in La Terrazza however are so close together that getting to a window table is difficult. The tables in the main dining area are much better spaced. We tried the "hot Rocks" dining one night but it is a bit of a novelty and who wants to cook their own food when on holiday? There seemed to be lots of room on the ship but there were only around 340 passengers. Our suite was clean and tidy but I don't think that our choice of Hypo-allergenic pillows had been picked up from the guest information forms we filled in on line (my birthday was missed on our cruise last year as well). We asked the butler to check and they were provided before retiring for the night. The cabin does appear narrow at first as others have commented on but we never really found this to be a problem. It does mean that some of the cupboards are so narrow as to be useless but there is plenty of other storage space. We did find the washbowl a bit shallow and if the tap is turned on a bit too hard water does splash over the mirror. The tap is also a bit fiddly and in our suite you had to push the handle down to turn the water on. There is also only one bowl where some ships have two. The shower and bath worked well but we did have a bit of a smell in the toilet at some stages of our trip - it was not particularly bad and seemed to come and go. The major problem we had on our first night on the way from Fort Lauderdale to BVI was the noise and vibration in the suite. The sea was quite rough with a sizeable swell but the balcony door rattled, the wardrobe door rattled and various other bits of the cabin joined in for good measure. On the way back from Prince Rupert to San Francisco on our previous cruise on Silver Shadow the sea was much rougher but we never had a problems with our suite. Also we don't tend to suffer from sea sickness but we didn't feel too good after our first night and the following day we had a light breakfast and lunch and went to bed at 17.00. We complained about our cabin and two maintenance men spent over an hour on the suite door and then pronounced that they couldn't fix it. We were offered the use of another cabin on deck 6 (we were on deck 8) which we didn't like so much but we slept there for two nights whilst we were at sea and until the sea calmed down a bit. This avoided us having to pack and unpack again to move cabin. I managed to fix the balcony door with aid of a flannel from the bathroom wedged under the outside runner of the door to make sure the catches engaged properly when closed. The table on the balcony was falling apart and it wouldn't even take a drink. This was replaced by a better one but it still had sharp pieces sticking out of the side and needed replacing. We were advised that they were all the same. The wooden decking on the balcony rocked as you walked on it and the other end rose up by almost 1 inch. This couldn't be repaired either as it was caused by a bulge in the metal of the deck according to the maintenance staff. By this stage I was wishing I had packed my tool bag as I am sure I could fix it! The aircon also seemed to be a bit dodgy and sometimes in the middle of the night we would wake up as the room had got too hot. The control unit was only partly secured to the wall and this was reported by the butler but never fixed before we left the ship. The TV remote control sensor is located below the mirrors and just above a couple of useful shelves but if you place anything on the shelf it blocks the sensor and you can't operate the TV. Poor design. We felt that the food quality and choice at breakfast and lunch was not as good as last year but still ok. Most of the fruit at breakfast seemed to be tinned which is surprising given we were between Florida and the Caribbean. The eggs were freshly cooked as usual but at 07.00 when we had breakfast most mornings the other "hot" items were not as hot as they should have been. The hash browns were over cooked virtually every day and disintegrated when a fork was applied. The coffee and orange juice were very good however. The dinner choice was good and the quality fine. The menu had quite a lot of fish dishes reflecting the local produce but the steaks were always an option and superb (you must try the Black Angus steak). The complimentary wine (and champagne) was in my opinion poor except for some good Italian and New Zealand white bottles mainly served at lunchtime. On our previous cruise with Silversea when we asked for something else we always found a good alternative. On this cruise the alternatives offered were also on the whole poor and the wine waiter staff did not seem to know what was available in the their cellar. We never saw the head sommelier during the trip. Screw top bottles of Cote De Rhone are not really 6 star cruising? The staff were on the whole quite good and friendly especially the butlers and room maids but some of the European restaurant staff had a very abrupt manner which was a bit disconcerting. Our butler called us by name but virtually no other staff asked our name or used it. On our previous Silversea cruise the restaurant staff knew us by name within a couple of days. There seemed to be just something missing this time and perhaps it was the very officious Maitre d' who certainly kept the staff on their toes. The "senior" staff (captain, Chief Engineer etc) were not very visible either in the restaurants or public areas but perhaps we just missed them. Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation and the colour coding system for our luggage and getting off worked well. We were off the ship by 09.30 having had to vacate the cabin by 08.00 making use of the bar to wait. On our previous cruise we were "abandoned" by Silversea at San Francisco airport at around 11.00 for a 17.30 flight which we knew to be around 5 hours late thanks to a text from BA. The ship had been chartered for the next week leaving ASAP and so remaining on the ship was not an option. On this cruise we were offered a "complimentary" excursion which lasted 6.5 hours and included lunch dropping us off at the airport only 3 hours from our scheduled departure - much better! This was offered as an excursion ($139 if pre booked) on the list we received but we did not take it up thankfully. We took 5 Tours (including the complimentary one in Barbados) mainly because we had $500 shipboard credit. None of them looked very inspiring I have to say unless you like beaches or snorkelling. The tour in Antigua (overview) turned out to be really good but that was down to the fantastic tour guide we had on the bus. We spoke to others who did the same trip and they didn't enjoy it. I guess the Caribbean islands do not have that much to see on tours. I would recommend that you do NOT book the Seven Sisters waterfalls tour on Grenada unless you want to spend an hour on a botany lesson about the vegetation on the island, and another couple of hours slithering up and down a steep muddy slope to see a couple of fairly poor waterfalls (the other 5 are so small that it is not worth the effort to climb up to see them). On the way back there is a group of guys who charge you $1 to clean your shoes before you are allowed to board the bus. The tour guides put on a pair of wellies before they set out which was very wise but not an option for us. The cruise Itinerary gave us a good flavour of the Caribbean visiting 7 different islands but I have to say they are all remarkably similar and apart from the sunshine and beaches they are not very interesting. They are all becoming very dependent on tourism and in places like Castries you have to run the gauntlet of taxi drivers just to walk out of the port, many of whom I am sure are not licensed. It was nice to see the Caribbean but it is not for us Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We embarked in Barbados--Silversea works hard to get you to the ship from the airport and onto the ship, but check-in at the dock was tedious--unorganized. Reception on board was smiley-face friendly, but not much else. Cold towels (good) ... Read More
We embarked in Barbados--Silversea works hard to get you to the ship from the airport and onto the ship, but check-in at the dock was tedious--unorganized. Reception on board was smiley-face friendly, but not much else. Cold towels (good) and warm champagne--glasses half filled (bad) and you had to look for a server. Most arrivals hadn't eaten all day and there was nothing to snack on, and I finally grabbed someone and asked them to show me to our room...which was ready--noting that liquor I asked for in my room was there--very good. The ship was clean as a whistle--and the staff otherwise quite accommodating, or certainly willing to be accommodating. This was a 9-day cruise that stopped at six islands and returned to Ft. Lauderdale. Ports were fine--no issues, even though my wife and I stayed on board for two islands we'd been to previously. Also, the on-board pool is salt water--a very pleasant surprise--clean as a whistle. All ships should consider converting to salt water Now, don't go by the company's website hype and photos. At 61, take my word, I was in the young crowd, and don't believe for a minute that these are executive type travelers...80% on this ship (at only 2/3 full) were retirees--great folks, but this ship/cruise did not offer a chance to hob-nob with fellow business folks--65% American and the rest Canadians, Brits and Europeans. There were three children on board with one being totally obnoxious and mostly un-managed. I'm beggin' you if you go on this cruise line--please dont take kids on this cruise line--there is nothing for them to do and everyone else is on board to get away from kids. Our cabin was simply great--comfortable bed with our butler just about as good as it gets. The cabin was spanking clean everyday...we even told our room steward not to change the sheets everyday--it was just that clean. Good for Silversea. Food, unfortunately, was average at best with a less than suburban steak house quality steak in the main restaurant (yuk). The whole food thing on Silver Spirit needs to be re-worked, in my opinion. The specialty restaurants were okay--booze selection was top drawer, but you had to ask for it--wines above average all around. The breakfast buffet--our choice for all nine days, was well run with excellent food and health food choices. Hats off to the bartenders throughout--all very good--all very accommodating, with a special nod to Wilma and Bass in the Reception Lounge and Rex at poolside. The captain and the crew were very standoffish. Even though language barriers were evident, the captain made no attempt to respond to my several friendly "hellos" and gestures other than with grunts. This is the first cruise I've ever taken with no dialogue with any of the staff/crew. We we're in a very upscale cabin--yet no captain's dinner, no reception--no nothing. On our very similar Windstar cruise (Wind Surf) two years earlier, everyone gets to know everyone, and the captain and his crew were totally interactive--not so on the Silver Spirit. Entertainment was okay--about what you'd expect for a small ship--but a very nice show lounge. The poolside "horse races" with the talent staff to earn on-board cruise points just may have been the most annoying thing I've ever witnessed on board a ship---they need to lose it...nobody cared, except the screaming kid. Lastly, the crap about not tipping from management just means most people don't, which is a shame. As expensive as this cruise was, my wife and I tipped our butler, our room steward and several of the bartenders. The tips were greatly appreciated...these folks are just working stiffs like we all once were-- looking to make a living...please take care of them as well. Good cruising to you--we'll probably go back, just not sure where or when. Read Less
Silver Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 2.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates N/A 4.0

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