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A New Spirit at SilverseaFebruary 12, 2010 By: Susan Young Travel Agent
Living and sleeping areas in the Silver Spirit’s cozy Verandah suite can be separated by a curtain
Accustomed to big-ship amenities while sailing in the contemporary and premium segments, many baby boomers, Gen-X and Gen-Y clients are now searching for those same razzle-dazzle features on luxury cruises. But by nature of their intimate size, many small luxury ships built in the 1990s lack robust public areas and activity options.
That’s now changing as small-ship luxury operators seek to broaden their clientele and attract the next generation of luxury cruisers. In the latest fleet diversification move, Silversea Cruises christened its new 540-passenger Silver Spirit in January. This ultra-luxury ship not only retains high-quality service and spacious, pampering suites luxury clients desire, it also delivers more nightlife, dining and onboard activities.
In essence, the 36,000-ton Silver Spirit combines a small-ship luxury experience with what I term a “real cruise ship experience,” something not always found on smallish luxury ships.
I stayed overnight on the new ship at Port Everglades, FL, during its christening and found it incredibly spacious. All suites were occupied during my stay, plus there were day-trippers onboard taking tours. The good news? The ship was more than full, yet wasn’t crowded at all.
Room to Spread Out: On several of the small Silversea ships, the lobbies are rather tiny, and not places guests frequent unless they have some business at the purser’s office. Not so with the Silver Spirit. With touches of Art Deco and modern decor, this ship’s lobby area resembles a comfortable living room, a place to meet and be seen.
It also blends into a much larger area, called The Bar, essentially a relaxing lounge and seating area that extends across the ship’s beam. This airy space has natural light streaming from both sides, a full-service bar and an entertainment corner with a platform for a small band and a dance floor.
We also gravitated to the ship’s exterior relaxation areas, including the outer deck just outside the Panorama Lounge. Guests will discover dark rattan-style seating with comfortable cushions as well as inviting, two-person covered loungers.
Not surprisingly, many areas that tend to be small on Silversea’s other vessels are quite large on this ship, including the Library, which houses the Internet café. At 1,990 square feet, the onboard casino is Silversea’s largest with a number of slot machines and six gaming tables for blackjack, poker and roulette.
Shopaholics with an eye for luxury merchandise will love the H. Stern jewelry shop and two additional boutiques with goods ranging from costume jewelry to designer clothing; perfumes to gifts; logo items to sundries. The ship’s design incorporates a large “avenue” of sorts, leading past the shops to the casino.
Perhaps most notable is the show lounge, where Michael Feinstein performed during the inaugural events; it’s a living room-style graduated seating with couches that seat two. Lighting, acoustics and sight lines were good.
Silversea’s Largest Spa: At 8,300 square feet, Silver Spirit’s Spa is Silversea’s largest such facility at sea with nine treatment rooms. The spa has floor-to-ceiling windows, saunas and a salon. In addition to facials, body wraps and massages, your clients may have their teeth whitened, metabolism tested or feet pampered with a pedicure.
Treatment rooms are spacious and fellow guests loved the couples’ treatment room. A 50-minute couples’ massage costs $242. Also, we gravitated to the outdoor loungers ringing a whirlpool on the spa’s private exterior deck. This exterior area—as well as an interior thermal suite with tiled loungers—are quiet spots reserved for guests who have purchased a spa treatment.
Near the spa, your clients will also discover Silversea’s largest fitness facility at sea. It has a plethora of the latest high-tech machines, along with a separate aerobics/Pilates studio.
Suite Memories: All accommodations on Silver Spirit are suites, 95 percent with private balconies. All suites have butler service; champagne on arrival; fresh fruit and flowers; a refrigerator; bar setup stocked with the client’s preferred beverages; European bath amenities; down duvets and fine bed linens; choice of pillows; robes and slippers for guest use; aromatherapy options; personalized stationery; bi-noculars and an umbrella; a daily news summary; Wi-Fi Internet access (a fee applies but guests in top suites receive a nominal amount of free access); and daily suite service with nightly turndown.
My suite, #727, was a comfortable 376-square-foot Verandah suite with living and sleeping areas that could be separated by a curtain; guests could request either one queen bed or two twin beds. The suite had rich fabrics and furniture, and two massive armoires/dressing/desk areas with large mirrors. Guests will find plenty of nooks and crannies for storage and a walk-in closet housing a chest of drawers and personal safe.
The bathroom was stunning with its marble appointments. It comprised a single sink, full soaking tub and a walk-in rainforest shower with a unique curved door. All balconies are teak. Vista suites have a large picture window in lieu of a balcony.
New for Silversea are flat-screen TVs embedded in the living and bedroom suite mirrors. However, my Verandah suite TV was 26-inch, a bit small compared with those in most luxury hotels.
One-bedroom Owner’s and Grand Suites can be configured into a two-bedroom suite by booking an adjoining Verandah suite. Silver Suites are atop the ship on Decks 10 and 11. These upper-level suites also come with additional perks such as two hours of worldwide phone use from the suite on every voyage, along with laundry service, dinner at an officer’s table, afternoon canapés and so on.
One nice perk for all suite guests, regardless of suite size, is the butler service. So, your butler is available to help you pack and unpack, polish shoes or assist with specializing dining. Just ask.
New Dining Concepts: What’s exciting for luxury cruisers on the dining front is a new alternative dining venue, Seishin, adjacent to The Restaurant. Elegant and intimate, Seishin serves Asian fusion cuisine, Kobe beef, spider lobster and delicacies prepared in the center of the restaurant by a sushi master. This restaurant carries a guest reservation fee of $40 for its multi-course culinary experience; $80 if sake is included; and $200 if wine pairing is included.
Nearby is the popular Le Champagne. We liked the look of this small venue with all seating around a huge wine tower in the center. The guest reservation fee is $30 for the restaurant’s cuisine with house wine or $200 for a menu with wine pairing.
A new concept for Silversea, the Stars Supper Club, debuts on Silver Spirit. Arrive early for cocktails and stay late as the mood is transformed by live music, dancing and nightclub-style entertainment.
And clients, of course, will also find their favorite dining venues from other Silversea ships. The elegant, pampering Restaurant, spanning the full beam of the ship, has excellent service and savory cuisine.
La Terrazza is the spot for a tasty breakfast buffet with a fine selection of smoked fish, nuts, fruit, cheeses, cereals and many hot dishes as well. We loved the cashews and pistachios. Guests also will find cooked-to-order pizza, grilled meats and light fare at the Pool Grill.
Passengers can also head to the Panorama Lounge or The Bar for afternoon tea.
Silver Spirit is now sailing the world’s oceans on its Grand Inaugural Voyage. After visiting 45 ports throughout the Americas on that cruise, the new ship will spend the summer in the Mediterranean before repositioning to the Caribbean for fall and winter cruises. From my perspective, it’s a perfect ship for clients seeking upscale luxury accommodations, pampering service and big-ship amenities without any crowds.
The pool area of Silver Spirit is just one of the ship’s many exterior spots for relaxation