After so many cruises on Silversea cruises, I struggled with what to say about our 14-day transatlantic sailing that hasn’t been said yet. If you want to learn more about the incredible Silversea service, you can go back to our first sailing on Silver Whisper in 2002. Fast forward to 2009 if you want to read about an unforgettable birthday dinner in Le Champagne on my birthday on Silberwind in Africa during my cruise. And if you want to know how we feel about Silver Spirit, we were on it in 2010 when we drove from Santiago, Chile to Acapulco, Mexico. What can we possibly say about Silversea that we haven’t said yet? Cruise ratings, however, are snapshots. A cruise line or ship can be great in one year and not so great in the next. As ships age, crew members come and go and the dynamics can change. So if a cruise line like Silversea “does everything right” year after year, it is more than remarkable historical. And let’s face it: some things just have to be repeated.
When we arrived at the pier in Bridgetown, Barbados, to board Silver Spirit, it really felt like we were coming home. We see crew members that we remember about past cruises over the years, and many remember our names. Even some of the other guests seem familiar to us and we know that we have sailed with them on Silversea before. So we weren’t too surprised when Roland, our excellent butler on Silver Shadow last year in China, greeted us when we arrived in our beautiful Silver Suite (1106) this year.
Embarkation on Silversea is always smooth. Why not welcome every cruise line with a glass of champagne on board? I don’t know, do I? Someone? Good? Just know that Silversea does and always has. We were escorted to our Silver Suite within five minutes of boarding. Coming “home” couldn’t be easier.
Silver Spirit is the newest and largest ship in the Silversea fleet, which entered service in 2010. We initially asked ourselves whether Silversea could offer the same service on a ship with 540 guests. Don’t worry, Silversea offers excellent service regardless of the ship. The ship is masterfully constructed so that it doesn’t “feel” bigger than the other, smaller ships. The public spaces are spacious and comfortable. The interior of the ship reflects an Art Deco design and offers more works of art than other Silversea ships. Silver Spirit is elegant without being showy.
Silversea has always been known for its spacious and luxurious accommodations. Even the most modest accommodations on Silversea deserve to be called “suites”. However, the Silver Suite on Silver Spirit raises the bar for great design and comfort. While the Silver Suites aren’t the largest suites on Silver Spirit, at 742 square feet they’re more than twice the size of the simple veranda suites.
The 26 Silver Suites on Silver Spirit dominate decks 10 and 11 and give residents the feeling of being at the concierge level of a luxury hotel. Even the Observation Lounge on Deck 11 Forward feels like a private retreat for Silver Suite guests, but is of course available to every guest.
When entering the Silver Suite, guests walk down a hallway to the living room, where there is a round dining table that can comfortably accommodate four people. The table appears to hold a sheet that makes it bigger and offers more space. A very comfortable desk was soon used up by my MacBook Pro, iPod and other devices. The desk has four drawers and two large shelves. The only thing missing are more sockets, a general oversight by the ship’s designers. There is only a single 110 US outlet on the desk. A small desk lamp and direct dial phone are the only items that occupy the desk.
On the outside wall of the living room there is a mini fridge / bar / TV cabinet with two large sliding glass doors on both sides. A sophisticated espresso machine and equipment take up most of the table space on this device. Since I am not an espresso drinker, I soon found that the machine and the tray with the espresso cups fit perfectly on the two shelves of the desk unit. More space for my electronic equipment!
Opposite the dining table is the suite’s large sofa (which also becomes an extra bed), two chairs and a glass-topped coffee table. The high-tech CD player / stereo system from Bang & Olufsen is located on a small side table. A beautiful fresh flower arrangement adorned our coffee table.
Two large wooden sliding doors can be closed to completely isolate the master bedroom from all activities in the living room. This is handy for the early morning when I work on the computer, drink my coffee and watch Fox News while Rickee is sleeping. I say “master bedroom” because the living room can be converted into a bedroom via the sofa bed. The bedroom is spacious, elegant and very well laid out. The comfortable king-size bed is flanked by two side tables with lamps. A large make-up / washstand with a large mirror is located next to the bed and outside the traffic areas. Opposite the bed is another flat screen TV and a storage unit with multiple shelves hidden behind doors.
Storage is the strength of the Silver Suite: the huge walk-in closet is simply incredible and will even make the residents of the Owner’s Suite jealous. In the Silver Suite, you no longer have to worry about running out of space. There are shelves, drawers and plenty of hanging space everywhere. A digital safe is on a shelf that has all of my camera and video equipment in it, and I get a lot of it.
Everything about the bathroom design is almost perfect. We can overlook the awkward operation of the ship sinks and are only happy that there are two of them, not to mention a third in the guest toilet! A large shower cubicle with rich Italian marble is spacious and has a handheld sprayer (my favorite) and a rain shower head (Rickees favorite) that is mounted in the ceiling. The shower even has a seat! A large whirlpool tub can be used for a relaxing bubble bath, and that’s about it. We had the choice between Ferragamo, Neutrogena or Bvlgari.
A separate “guest toilet” with toilet and sink is accessible from the bathroom and hallway of the suite. Because the powder room is accessible from the hallway, guests who visit your suite or other people who share the fold-out sofa bed can access it without entering your private bedroom.
From the living room there are two large sliding glass doors that lead to a very spacious and well furnished veranda. Our veranda was furnished with a lounger, three wicker chairs, a large wicker and a small glass table, perfect for outdoors Breakfast service.
After 14 days and nights in a Silver Suite, I have to say that my rating table for comfort and design easily gives 5 out of 5 points. It has more to offer than practically any other suite we have enjoyed. In fact, the Silver Suite is so comfortable and spacious that it really feels like a home away from home.
Rickee and I are something like “experienced” cruisers. After all, it’s ours business. We no longer think it is necessary to have everything in sight when we are on a cruise. In fact, we try to maintain a fairly normal eating routine, similar to that we have at home. There are nights when you don’t even go out for dinner and choose to stay in our suite and have a light meal with room service. Fortunately, this is possible on Silversea. I can call Roland, our butler, at 7:00 p.m. and order a chicken caesar salad (one of my favorites). A bowl of soup and rickee might get an order of Asian spring rolls and a salad, and that’s it! I know it sounds boring, but it is something we like and Silversea makes it possible.
Our breakfast usually consists of Roland, who brings me hot water for my coffee, and Rickee, who gets extra sleep instead of food. While most guests enjoy everything that the fantastic breakfast buffet from La Terrazza has to offer, we are in our suite and in our pajamas. On port days, as we have to get up early for a trip, we drive to La Terrazza and have eggs made to order, English bacon and Rickee like pancakes. She also loves fresh fruit and there is plenty in La Terrazza. I have to hurry past the mountains of bread and pastries to appease the low-carb master I reluctantly serve. We always have breakfast in the restaurant on the day of disembarkation. It is our tradition and we will not change it.
We usually go to La Terrazza for lunch and Rickee often enjoys nothing more than the excellent selection of salads. I spend a lot of time at the meat stations, paying special attention to the oriental dish of the day. Of course, they have everything everyone can ask for from their beautiful buffet: a carving station that is switched to a new roasted meat every day; fresh pasta made to order; and yes, the mountain o bread … my wicked seductress.
The restaurant is the traditional “cruise ship” on Silversea ships. However, the “traditional” term ends with the practice of offering three meals a day with daily changing lunch and dinner menus. The restaurant on Silver Spirit is very inviting and offers plenty of seating for two if you want a little personal space. You can dine at any time and with whom (within the specified service times). Reservation is not required.
The majority of guests bypass the restaurant at breakfast and lunch, opting for the tempting selection at La Terrazza and the convenience of a buffet. In addition, dining on deck is a strong draw when the weather is nice. If you prefer to dine in quiet solitude, visit the restaurant during this time. The service in the restaurant, like all restaurants in Silversea, is clear and efficient. A free red or white wine is offered for lunch or dinner. If the offer does not meet your needs, …