Sail Date: February 2013
Embarkation The Silver Spirit was docked at the main cruise terminal at Port San Pedro and was the only ship there. Check in and emigration was swift and painless. Reception sign in, photo taking and credit card hand over were all ... Read More
Embarkation The Silver Spirit was docked at the main cruise terminal at Port San Pedro and was the only ship there. Check in and emigration was swift and painless. Reception sign in, photo taking and credit card hand over were all completed with a minimum of fuss, and as it was just after midday, no queues. The ship Generally the ship is in good condition. There are however signs of wear if you look closely. The rattan style chairs at the back of the Panorama have worn arms where the rattan has broken. If one looked closely at the chairs in the restaurants it is possible to see where they have been banged and chipped. This was more obvious in the suite, where both the glass topped table and the desk had very obvious marks in the wood. The carpet in the suite was obviously worn in one or two places. Interestingly the Spirit had a dry dock for a couple of weeks towards the end of 2012, but to be honest I could see no sign that anything had been done to the interior. The 'splashy' sinks are still there, and has been said elsewhere all the odd design failings are still in place. The public areas were kept very clean, but again if you look closely they are all showing slight signs of wear. Guests & Staff For the leg from Los Angeles to Papeete we had around 400 guests on board. In Papeete 23 left and about an additional 80 got on, leaving us with just over 450. As we had a number of solo guests this left very few empty suites. Guests were a good cosmopolitan mix, a large number of Brits (120+), some other Europeans, a few Australians, some Canadians and more than 50% from the US. Most guests were over 60, a handful of others ranging from mid 20's to 40', and there was one Italian family with an 18 month old toddler on board. The only poor behavior observed was from a lack of understanding (or possibly arrogance) by the father of the toddler. He had the child in the pool, although it was not toilet trained and unfortunately the staff were too scared to intervene. Only when the Hotel Director was made aware of the situation did it stop. On more than one occasion the child was brought into the main bar where Trivia was being played and had a screaming fit, again with a total lack of interest from the father. The father was also the only person onboard ship who chose not to conform to the dress code. There were two Gentlemen Hosts on this voyage and they worked quite hard. They were not only available for dancing in the afternoon and evening but seemed to have been roped into a number of day time activities by the CD. There were also two International Hostesses onboard, but they did not seem to much apart from escorting people in and out of the theatre in the evening. Pool Deck It is worth noting that when the weather is warm and the ship was at sea the pool deck becomes very crowded. It is only slightly larger than those on the Shadow or Whisper and put more than 300 people in the sun and it really shows. The sun beds were even extended to the back of the Panorama. MDR Ate here most evenings and generally the food was very good. The Executive Chef Jerome Foussier set a high standard across the board. Did not have any bad meals, but occasionally had something on a cold plate, this was resolved by always asking for a hot plate for my main. Had a couple of Indonesian meals and a really memorable Indian meal one evening. Marcelo the Brazilian MD ran a very tight and well controlled room. Cosmin was the head sommelier, and apart from running out of one red that I liked always made sure that there were plenty of alternatives to the wine of the day. One of the other junior sommeliers did try and sell me something from the Connoisseurs list, but he was easy to ignore. Generally the wines onboard were good, the NZ SB Dashwood was available, although it was running out towards the end of 31 days. There were two French SB's and one Chilean SB. The 'La Flor' Cab Sav was plentiful. For the chardonnay lovers The Crusher was available, and there was a reasonably nice Chablis. La Terrazza Ate breakfast here most days. It was the usual buffet style, plenty of fresh fruit and there were always strawberries available. There was fresh mango and papaya after our calls in French Polynesia and on some days raspberries and blackberries were at the serving section. On the other days there were always some available via your waiter. Service was always very good. Ate lunch here some days, especially if it was nice enough to sit outside. The food was generally good. Only ate twice in the evening, once outside and once inside. For the first time on Silversea I had a subpar duck ragout. The main reason for avoiding La Terrazza for dinner was the ever present Italian toddler whose parents had a dedicated table for all meals, and who occasionally let rip in the evenings. Pool Grill On a number of days the grill was supplemented at lunch by an extended BBQ, with some excellent food provided. The fresh water Madagascan prawns were delicious. Hot Rocks was never closed, even when it was cold and windy outside, and there was always someone there by 6:59 waiting to get fed. When we ate there we had excellent food and service, and we just love the hot rocks. On the leg to Papeete there was a night when it seemed that everyone wished to eat outside and they managed to cope with 115 covers. Again the staff did an excellent job. Le Champagne Had dinner here once and although the menu has not changed now for over a year the food and service was very good. The lobster was good and the souffle outstanding. Seishin Since our last trip on the Spirit Seishin now opens for lunch. There is sashimi, a wide selection of sushi and a hot fish basket. This became my favorite place for a light lunch. We also ate the full menu on a couple of evenings and particularly enjoyed the Wagyu beef. Stars Supper Club. The first time we ate here I though the menu was a little odd, but on subsequent dinners, there had been a change and the menu worked very well. I thought Mikka Brown was a little tired and didn't quite hit the spots this time. Bars The main bar was run in an amazingly efficient fashion by Chester, well supported by his assistant Vishkal. Rommel & Bass ran the Panorama and Zack the Pool bar. We never used the bar in the Casino, which is now really no longer viable without the smokers and I never got to the Observation Lounge when the bar there was open. The main bar was very busy before dinner but most people ended up in the Panorama after the shows. Bulter and assistant Both were excellent, Wilson was from Goa and left the same day we did and his English was very good, and way much better than some. Henny our lovely assistant was on the Shadow with us last year. Enrichement Apart from the cooking demonstrations we did not attend any of the lectures. We watched some of them on the TV on repeat. The lecturers themselves were nice, but it's not really our cup of tea. I thought Corey Sandler does a very good job and is well worth having onboard. We had sailed with Herb Keyser before and to be honest its time they get someone younger. Bridge The bridge lecturer, George King was outstanding, and he was an excellent teacher. At times he had 40+ people attending his sessions and most sea days we had 9 or 10 tables for the afternoon duplicate sessions. His lovely wife Sally was always there to help and fill in. Silversea should certainly use them more often. Trivia Trivia was very well attended, pretty competitive and well run by the CD, Kirk Detweiller. It was held in the main bar with somewhere around 100 guests participating. Entertainment I thought the Artists of Silversea were the weakest of the groups we had seen so far. This might have been due to their coming to the end of their contract or possibly the way they were used by the CD. They were not particularly sociable. One of the things that was missing were early evening single or duo shows in the Panorama, probably down to the fact that less than half of the guests would be able to get in. Once again shows started off at 10:15 and after grumbles from the 'oldies' eventually ended up at 9:45, which made it hard to get there for most of the show. Cooking As this was an L'Ecole des Chefs voyage we had David Bilsland onboard. There were a number morning cooking demonstrations, all of which were excellent. David ran 3 cook and learn lunches in Stars, again they were excellent and the food memorable. David also ran a market visit in Papeete which was a lot of fun. Ports & Tours The highlights of the trip were Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Christmas and Fanning Islands and a side trip from Maui to Lanai. Generally the shipboard tours were well run and provided reasonable value for money. The only port where the weather was bad was the day we arrived in Hilo, and it absolutely threw it down for most of the day. Luckily we took the Volcano Park tour and avoided most of the bad weather. The next day the ship visited Kona on the other side of the Island and it was sunny all day. The ship stayed overnight in Papeete but the overnight in Bora Bora was cancelled (before we embarked). This was a shame for the crew as they have very few chances to get off in the evenings. There was also a late stop in Honolulu to enable a deck BBQ. Both the visits to Kiribati caused problems. The ports are tender only and in Christmas Island the two tenders were restricted to about 50 pax each as the lagoon was fairly shallow, with about ½ a meter clearance below the bottom of the tender at one point. This lead to very long queues and waits of more than 2 hours to get off. A large number of guests gave up and did not bother to get off. The main criticism was that no one from the ship appeared to have considered this being a problem in advance and it was very poorly handled. The next day at Fanning Island was worse, the regular morning rain squall blew up and made visibility poor enough to suspend the tender service. The Captain then decided that as we were running into bad weather later that day to cancel the service completely, and we left 3 hours early and with glorious sunshine bathing the island. Weather It turned out to be colder than expected, and although it was the rainy season in the South Pacific we were pretty lucky about missing most of the rain. We had two rough days after leaving Fanning Island, swells up to 4 meters and 50-60mph winds, and for part of one day the lifts were all stopped. We also had a further couple of rough days after leaving Maui and it was mostly unseasonably cold for the 5 days back to LA. One point that those booking Silver Suites should consider is that when the weather is rough every time the ship hits a swell the bump travels all the way to the top of the front of the ship. Some people complained that they got no real sleep on the rough nights. Wildlife We saw very few birds anywhere away from the Islands, but we did see large numbers of whales around Maui. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2013
This review is months overdo, but it had to be written. I'll try to keep this brief & to the point. Background: My husband & I were celebrating our Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. As a surprise, we sent my parents on their ... Read More
This review is months overdo, but it had to be written. I'll try to keep this brief & to the point. Background: My husband & I were celebrating our Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. As a surprise, we sent my parents on their 1st SS cruise a few years ago and they're hooked! They urged us to sail Silversea. So glad they did! They joined us on this cruise (their 3d) and celebrated our Anniversary with us!We arrived in Barbados on a rainy day. Silversea provided transport from the Terminal (effortless). Once we gave the shuttle driver our bags, we didn't see them again until we arrived in our stateroom after check-in. Embarkation: no line, no wait, no hassle! Staff met us at the gangway with umbrellas in hand. We enjoyed a 'Welcome' glass of champagne while we checked in. Our stateroom (V5, 730, mid-ship veranda) was absolutely beautiful! Marble bath with tub & shower (with glass shower door, NOT a shower curtain!). Bulgari & Ferragamo toiletries. Very comfy bed (we were happy with the standard pillows, although a pillow menu is available). The veranda was our favorite spot to relax. Large enough to enjoy coffee & breakfast each morning. Our cabin adjoined my parents' cabin. The wall separating our verandas has a door that can be opened so we were able to sip cocktails together on our verandas! Our butler, Christley Gladson, was absolutely wonderful! He was so attentive, pleasant and worked very hard to cater to our every whim! He treated us like family! Adesh, our room steward, kept our room immaculately clean and did so quickly. As quickly as he came into the stateroom, he was gone! In fact, the entire crew (with the exception of one or two) went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and at home. It should be noted, that the crew are not and do not deserve to be treated like personal servants. They are hard working people, working hard to provide outstanding service to all on board. And they're doing so as a means to provide for their families. They deserve to be treated with dignity & respect. They have names; learn them & use them! Talk to them. Get to know them. And if the urge to be an demanding elitist starts to creep in, think of the Golden Rule: would we want to be treated in that manner?The ship itself is beautiful. Classy. We felt like we were on our own private yacht. The lounges were comfortable. The bartenders made great cocktails (the vodka tasting was lots of fun!) We thought the food was excellent. We really enjoyed Hot Rocks. I was disappointed that we weren't able to get into Le Champagne. Loved the Spa! I enjoyed three different spa services on 'Sea Days'. We used the gym. It was small but the equipment we typically use was there. We enjoyed a private shore excursion in Dominica. Comfortable vehicle, knowledgable tour guide. A very nice day. While in San Juan, we invited friends of ours who live there to join us on board for lunch while we were in Port. Christley set up an en suite cocktail party for us (classy!) and we enjoyed lunch at The Restaurant. Our guests had a great time! We've read the thoughts of other CC reviewers regarding dress code infractions on the part of other passengers, smoking in non-smoking areas, etc. We didn't notice anyone disregarding the smoking policy. In terms of the dress code, we really couldn't have cared less who wore what when. We were too busy enjoying ourselves to find fault with fellow passengers! We read & understood SS's dress code and packed accordingly. We're not nit-picky people. Some reviewers complained about the quality of the food, this wine or that was unavailable, etc. Really, people? What is NOT to love about this cruise? Yes, the price tag for cruising SS is steep and a certain level of service is expected (and, in this reviewer's opinion, more than met!) Frankly, if certain passenger's standards are THAT high, perhaps they'd do better to consider purchasing their own yacht. Then they can guarantee that their extremely high standards are met to the letter. We're booked to sail Silver Spirit again in December '13. We can't wait!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
Our experience on this newest and largest of Silversea's ships was truly wonderful. Our Silver Suite was a luxury of space and design. Our butler made the trip very pleasant as he was always on hand, seemingly anticipating our ... Read More
Our experience on this newest and largest of Silversea's ships was truly wonderful. Our Silver Suite was a luxury of space and design. Our butler made the trip very pleasant as he was always on hand, seemingly anticipating our needs. The Silver Spirit is larger and somewhat harder to get a handle on than the Whisper/Shadow ships we had sailed on before. The Dining Room seems huge and in a way off-putting by it's size. The Bar is much larger and easy to find a spot in, that's a plus for us. All the other familiar spots are bigger and, in many ways, better. This was our first experience with Hot Rocks, the transformation of the Pool Grill at night. We really enjoyed the under the stars hot rock experience. In fact we enjoyed all our meals: four dinners in the Main Dining Room, four in La Terrazza, four at Hot Rocks, two in Le Champagne, and (of course) the Pool BBQ. Overall, a luxurious pampering experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Easy helpful courteous boarding. Good size comfortable suite. First night in main restaurant Silversea tried to con me. We asked if we could order wine by the glass and the waiter brought us a box of spectacles. We asked someone else - ... Read More
Easy helpful courteous boarding. Good size comfortable suite. First night in main restaurant Silversea tried to con me. We asked if we could order wine by the glass and the waiter brought us a box of spectacles. We asked someone else - the wine waiter I think - if we could order wine by the glass and he too said no but handed me 2 wine lists - one with stratospheric prices and the other with so-called special good deal prices. I asked if there were any wines we could order by the half bottle and he said no but they would keep what's left for our next visit. I managed to find an ok bottle of wine for $60. The next day I found out that there are loads of complementary wines and that this is part of the inclusivity of Silversea. Clearly the wine waiter was expected by his bosses to persuade passengers to trade up to paid-for wines. I don't mind that as an option but I think it's grubby to try and get me to trade up by deceit. I handed a letter of complaint to the reception and they apologised and knocked off the $60. I'm sure there was some small print info where I could hjave learned this in advance but Silversea have shovelled more bits of paper in front of me at the outset of this voyage than the total papers I got when buying a house. Information not only has be churned out, it also has to be received. All the restaurants were too noisy. Not just the musak. The main noise was the clattering of plates and cutlery by the staff into one of the numerous serving islands that seemed to be within ear splitting distance of every table. The waiters had no sensitivity in this regard - they would be more at home in a cheap cafeteria. It used ot drive me nuts the way the waiters would try to carry my plate if I was waalking to my table from a buffet. I'm not a cripple. They need to develop enough sensitivity to back off when a guest seems comfortable continuing his journey unassisted. On one occasion when at my table I picked up a pepper pot top add some more pepper to my dish a waiter rushed over to try to take it out of my hand so he could do it for me. I know cruise operators have a lot of elderly guests who might enjoy this degree of rescue from the unbearable hardship of adding more pepper to their meal but waiters need to be trained to differentiate between types of guests in terms of self-reliance. Allowing smoking on deck is unacceptable and in the case of cigars, such smokers should be sent to a cigar-fumed chamber for aversion therapy. Seriously, developed countries have for the most part conquered this obnoxious social habit which is so unpleasant to anyone within a few feet of these wretched people and it is about time Silversea followed suit. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
We have completed our third fall sailing on the Silversea Spirit. The Ship and Crew make for a perfect get away from it all. In fact we are booked again this fall. The ship sails from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We ... Read More
We have completed our third fall sailing on the Silversea Spirit. The Ship and Crew make for a perfect get away from it all. In fact we are booked again this fall. The ship sails from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We always enjoy spending a couple of days ahead of the cruise in Fort Lauderdale. The shops along Los Olas make for a perfect late afternoon. We love to walk the beach and just let the ocean settle in. We stayed at the Hilton Beach Resort which is a wonderful hotel located centrally to the beach. The hotel is only 10 minutes to the port. The Silversea experience starts with check-in.....It is a quick and painless process, far different from the large ship experience. In minutes you are on board. We also love the opportunity to bring a friend abroad to show off the ship and really enjoy an afternoon on the ship. We picked the same Cabin as our first voyage, Suite 707. I just love the suite and the service. Yes I could get used to butler.....but really is just a bonus to be enjoyed on-board. The rooms are perfectly sized for a 10 or 20 day voyage. The Balcony includes two chairs and a small table and unlike many ships you can stretch your legs and really settle into a great book as the ocean goes by. We had breakfast on the Balcony on most sea days. In fact you really don't need an alarm clock, just order tea, coffee or a full breakfast ensuite.....it arrives at the appointed time, every time. We love the Hot Rocks Grill at night. In fact we eat there whenever possible. You do need to get your reservations early for the speciality restaurants, but at this place it is not a problem. Hot Rocks with excellent fish and meats is the perfect ending to a day sailing the emerald isles of the Carribbean. They have a nice two piece combo playing down below, providing smooth listening music and take requests. The Main Dining Room is excellent also. When you want a full upscale meal you can't beat this venue. One thing I like about Silversea is the smaller portions. Some ships provide quantity....Silversea focuses on quality. You can see the hand of the Executive Chef in preparing dishes that just pop, none of the bland food they often pass off as dining. I really loved the relaxing approach from the waiters and the ability to join others or dine alone. The fellow passengers are a real mix of cultures and ages. Lots of British and Americans to mix with. You really have fun with everyone. My problem is remembering everyones name. You won't find many children or teenagers on board, and frankly the result is a positive country club like atmosphere. Things to remember. Its all-inclusive which means you can relax and enjoy the premium service on board. The Fitness Center is a don't miss on the days you want to get a work out. The shore tours desk offers a wide range of tours from sailing the island of St. Bart's to just kicking it on your own with good advice on what not to miss. Islands to remember: St. Kitts, I love this understated and not overbuilt cruise ship stop. Grand Turk for ones birthday at Margaritaville is not to be missed. The beach is perfect the water is sparkling and you are only steps for the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
This was our first Silversea cruise. The experience was everything and more than we dreamed of. The ship is immaculate and very well kept. The crew is friendly and helpful, but never intrusive. Even though there were over 500 passengers, ... Read More
This was our first Silversea cruise. The experience was everything and more than we dreamed of. The ship is immaculate and very well kept. The crew is friendly and helpful, but never intrusive. Even though there were over 500 passengers, we never felt crowded. The food was excellent; comparable to the finest restaurants we visit. The service, with rare exception, was outstanding, if not memorable. Our party of four had two vegetarians, a pescaterian and a meat lover. All felt the food was superb. While a number of CC people fret about the evening attire, we found the instructions provided by Silversea to be easy to follow. Virtually all passengers followed the dress code and those who didn't were fine. The atmosphere on Silversea is refined elegance and layer back. Everything was first class and we will be back! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
This was our first trip on a "small" luxury cruise ship and I must say it is the only way to sail if you can afford it. On first viewing the ship, it looks huge, but later encounters with the mega ships showed that we were indeed ... Read More
This was our first trip on a "small" luxury cruise ship and I must say it is the only way to sail if you can afford it. On first viewing the ship, it looks huge, but later encounters with the mega ships showed that we were indeed small. This repositioning cruise across the Atlantic/Caribbean seems to not be popular as there were only 163 people on-board for embarkation, but it made for a dream cruise for those of us aboard. Like your own private yacht. Service was exemplary as there were about 2.5 crew members per passenger. The weather was mid 70's and seas were calm for the entire crossing.This was our first cruise of more than a week, and I must say it was great not having to think of repacking after 4 days. We had a silver suite room, which was absolutely huge. All suites come with a butler and ours was exemplary. He wanted to set up a cocktail party every night as all beverages and food are included in the cruise price. The ship interior is subdued compared to some other ships, but seems to fit the clientele. There are always little things that can be nit-picked, but overall the ship ranks with the best. They obviously read "commited2travels" earlier critique, as there was a Captain's Farewell Party in the lounge the last night. Not having sailed on one of the new mega ships, it was mind boggling to sit on the open deck having a leisurely dinner and watch 3 of them come into port as we were leaving. There must have been 7-9000 people disembarking at once. Don't think I'll go that way.We tried all of the 6 restaurants and they were all good. Three of them have small surcharges and are intimate dining venues. We loved the outdoor "Hot Rocks" dining area that allowed us to cook part of our own meal. Overall, the 6 people in our group felt that this was a cruise to remember and, consequently, we signed up for a future cruise on this ship. By the way, Silverseas has a policy that allows you to put down a small deposit onboard and then gives you a year to decide on another cruise with a 5% discount. If you decide not to go or have not decided within a year, they will refund your money. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Over the past ten years we have cruised many times on the Silversea fleet, sailing on the Whisper, Shadow and the smaller Cloud and Wind. With the launch of the new larger Spirit in 2010 we often found ourselves in conversation with fellow ... Read More
Over the past ten years we have cruised many times on the Silversea fleet, sailing on the Whisper, Shadow and the smaller Cloud and Wind. With the launch of the new larger Spirit in 2010 we often found ourselves in conversation with fellow travellers when the question 'have you sailed on the Spirit and what is your opinion of it'? Was raised, well with varied answers we decided to try the Spirit ourselves and make our own mind up. Late October we embarked on a ten day voyage from Barcelona bound for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Initial impressions were very good, the ship makes good use of the additional space and the public areas all benefited from being that little bit larger. In particular the La Terraza restaurant benefits greatly from a larger buffet servery and outdoor terrace. Throughout the ship fixtures, fittings and furnishings all met the high standards expected from Silversea. The veranda suites are about 12" narrower than the Whisper & Shadow which is a shame, they are however longer, the balcony slightly larger and the bathroom is very much improved. The food and service was very good throughout the ship and all it's restaurants, although there was a feeling shared by others that the food fell short of sister ships. Oh dear! Who on earth purchased the cutlery? Particularly the forks! The design makes them very uncomfortable and difficult to use, a compliant shared by many fellow passengers. Maybe if you are using the forks 'American Style' as a spoon they are ok but as a fork the do not function! The Show Lounge (theatre) looks impressive however the design differs from its sister ships. The Spirit lacks the two level layout, with access from two decks and seating on two levels found on the other ships. Also the seating layout is new, gone are the tiered benches with free standing chairs and tables. They are replaced with tiered rows of twin seats, similar to those you are more likely to find in the back row of your local cinema! I think it fair to say this seating arrangement did not draw universal approval! So alas, it is no longer possible to enjoy a drink or two with same canapes as you no longer have the tables or indeed the space. Out on deck the sun loungers were excellent and easy to use. Not so the unfortunate use of a 'plastic' material used for the outside dining tables. The 'plastic' must be porous in some way, with many of the tables being disfigured with dark wine glass stains. It seemed that the surface had absorbed red wine and the stains appeared impossible to remove. Coincidently there is a similar problem with the three Jacuzzis, each of which is badly marked with what appear to be rust stains which have penetrated the plastic material surrounding the Jacuzzis making them look unclean. The actual body of the Jacuzzis also show dark markings which detract from the appearance. We were surprised to find the Captain' Welcome Reception, normally held in the Show Lounge (theatre), had been pared back to a brief 15 minute affair in the bar. An even greater surprise was the absence of the Captain's Farewell Party. "Time to Say Goodbye" In our experience this "Signature Event" has always been a highlight of the cruise -- for both crew and passengers! All in all the staff were very good indeed with many being Excellent and displaying all of the exceptional qualities we have come to expect of from Silversea crews. However ,I think it fair to say that overall the Spirit is lacking in the passion and pride so very well demonstrated on the sister ships. On board entertainment predominantly in the Show Lounge was a disappointment. The song, dance and variety shows we were expecting were replaced by a succession of 'tribute song acts' with some very poor costumes for the singers. We assumed the performers were working to performances created by their Producer but it has to be said they were pretty dire! Disembarkation did not go as smoothly as it could have done, hampered by lack of clear communication from the cruise director, with some passengers, us included, experiencing unnecessary delay and problems having our baggage properly transferred from ship to the terminal. So would we go again? Well if it was to a destination we particularly wanted to visit and other ships in the fleet were not operating there yes we would. We do however feel the Spirit -- good as it is -- still has a way to go to exude the warmth, pride and care of the Shadow and Whisper which will remain as our first choice.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2012
We are longtime fans of Silversea. We have a bit more than 500 days of sailing with the company, with 5 trips more now booked. This recent cruise included Messina in Sicily and Bonafacio in Corsica...both were very intriguing and our ... Read More
We are longtime fans of Silversea. We have a bit more than 500 days of sailing with the company, with 5 trips more now booked. This recent cruise included Messina in Sicily and Bonafacio in Corsica...both were very intriguing and our first time visits. We love the itineraries, the incredible service and the friendly, very interesting, well traveled fellow passengers. We like the rather formal dress code and hope they resist the current trend towards casual dressing. We appreciate the all inclusive policy. This takes a lot of pressure off in terms of tipping anxieties, and it makes meeting new friends very uncomplicated. The Spirit, is the largest in the Silversea fleet, and building it was a departure for the line. Most of the "Old Timers" prefer the smaller sisters, the Shadow and the Whisper, or the Cloud and the Wind. We really weren't crazy at first about the 500 passenger Spirit, but with each sailing, we have come to appreciate her more. The cabins are big and lovely..including the least expensive ones. All the bathrooms are fabulous. Best of all are the furnished open decks. Dining, reading, or just relaxing on the stern verandas is so peaceful...maybe even addictive. Of all the accolades we could give the Silversea ships it is the service on ALL the ships which is always outstanding, and is what makes the line so very special. If you are lucky enough to be able to sail on a Silver Spirit cruise, you are lucky enough! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2012
There are many things about Silversea that are truly excellent and we had high hopes of making our cruise the first of many. Transfer from the airport and check in and embarkation were extremely smooth Even your hand luggage was ... Read More
There are many things about Silversea that are truly excellent and we had high hopes of making our cruise the first of many. Transfer from the airport and check in and embarkation were extremely smooth Even your hand luggage was carried up the gangway for you Cabins were truly lovely and the TV screens incorporated into wall to wall mirrors whilst small were very nice as was the vast selection of movies available to watch . the Bathrooms were truly beautiful and very well planned Could not fault the maid or butler Gideons service The walk in wardrobe was disapointing and very badly planned because the door was too close to the rail which ran the length on one side so mens jackets etc got caught if you closed it , by same token the drawer unit at the end was too wide so all clothes had to be hung at angles and constantly pushed well back or they caught in the drawers The libray was well stocked .......some days there were copies of Daily Newspapers The in house singers and dancers were very amateur indeed but the Guest Flautist and Pianist were excellent Trivia was clearly a clique affair so we didnt bother Breakfast in La terrazza was a great selection Lunch too although predominated by Italian sausage Dinner in Main Dining Room had a strange menu on a 3 day repeat and it was often hard to find a suitable choice not once did a fillet steak ordered med rare or even rare turn up anything other that med welldone Bar staff especially Frederick were all very good and rapidly knew your name and your drinks preference The Observation Bar on Deck 11 was a peaceful retreat with a great Barman The one thing that totally and utterly ruined our entire trip was CIGAR SMOKING ,,,,passengers were smoking cigars on balconies so that made many unusable The only comfortable seating outside that was in the shade was at the back of the Panorama Bar on Deck 9 however this was rendered unusable by cigar smokers who even if they kept to the so called VERY AMBIGUOUS designated smoking area the stench drifted right across the deck and forced one to leave Paulo the Hotel Manager and his Deputy Tim would not even deign to experience the problem and Bar staff were expected to deal with arrogant cigar smokers who picked up ash trays and moved them at will What little undercover loungers there were on pool deck were always full and too close to the smoking section all along one side Clearly on Silversea SMOKERS RULE and since theres been not even the courtesy of a reply from Head Office to a constructive letter its clear that Silversea simply do not care For a 6 star Luxury Line to treat majority non smoking passengers with such disdain or consideration of their health is quite simply not acceptable Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
My cruising experience has been a pattern of progression. My first it was a weekend Bahamas cruise on Royal Caribbean. After watching the belly flop contest I learned about Celebrity's promised "more upscale experience." ... Read More
My cruising experience has been a pattern of progression. My first it was a weekend Bahamas cruise on Royal Caribbean. After watching the belly flop contest I learned about Celebrity's promised "more upscale experience." It was then Millennium, followed by an Azamara to Silversea. My lady friend and I found a great 7 day Caribbean bargain and decided to see if the "all inclusive" experience was worth all the hype. I'll make this simple. Silversea, down to the slightest detail up to the top is a marvelous experience. Onboard Silversea Silver Spirit even the simplest quick lunch is first-rate. Speaking of dining its consistently at the 4.5 - 5 star level in terms of quality -the entire experience. The "suite" staterooms are just as luxurious as the cruise line claims; marble sinks, tubs, and flooring; impeccable bed and bedding; and the stateroom's amenities. Spirit is their "larger" ship but not even close to a mass market sized. You'll see the same staff rotating around from serving and tending position each day. Service is very personable as you'll get to know the same crew you'll see every day. The entertainment was varied and done well but with a ship this size it was obviously limited compared to a mega ship. If numerous entertainment venues are an important option for your cruising experience you'd be on the wrong cruise line. The greatest distinction of all inclusive cruising is the wondrous absence and silence of the "chit chase". I must confess I enjoy my libations during cruising. It is comforting to not have the round trip chit delivery with the beaming face with pen in hand. Not to mention the solace of very little sticker shock of the "settlement statement" at the end of the cruise, and the tip collection at the end as well -all that mostly gone. It's very nice. Service is also an important expectation and cruising pleasure for me. For example I would be dozing on an outdoor cushioned round rattan chair. As soon as my eye lids parted I'd have an ice water with lemon in front of me -instantly if not telepathically. In short Silversea indubitably lives up to its touted claims of elegance, quality and impeccable service. But there is one aspect about our Spirit experience I want to convey: the clientele aboard this ship. My girlfriend and I found a 7 day bargain ,if you could call it that. Generally we would not cruise a cruise line like this. We are both doing well and for the most part were able to fit in. We had fun. But make no mistake; most the cruisers we met and got to know are very well made people. On any given evening the ladies were wearing $5,000-$15,000 worth of stones and many of them wouldn't have any problem adding that much to their jewelry box in one day either. The men were probably lower key on the self-stature posturing. But their wives wouldn't let you forget that at times when they were together. These are CEOs, large business owners, and government affiliated types a tad above city councilman. Personally I respect success, am politically and geographically knowledgeable so I had some interesting conversations while sitting at the bars. But after 5 or so days I felt like I was at the country club in the VIP lounge with the same people daily. Also keep in mind that people of this standing may not be jolly social butter flies or closing down the dance floor ,if the ship even offers it. Picture a senior director for the IRS with an advanced degree in finance and you get the gist. But I don't necessarily want to be on a mass market cruise with kids running around everywhere and parties flying until 6AM either. After several days I found, at times, I was having more fulfilling conversations with a couple of the bartenders. Spirit is Silversea's larger ship that's trying to bring a wider variety of ages aboard. But most were 50+. I am told their smaller ships have a higher ratio of older cruisers aboard them. Their ships are also suitable for the solo traveler that wants to be left alone with a book but showered in exceptional service and fine dining. All being said if an unforgettable luxurious cruising experience is what you yearn for you will not be disappointed by any of their ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
Travel to the Port: We drove over cruise morning with another couple from the West coast of Florida to the Port which was 270 miles (4 hours). We parked in a Park & Go lot just before you enter the port on the left. It was about ... Read More
Travel to the Port: We drove over cruise morning with another couple from the West coast of Florida to the Port which was 270 miles (4 hours). We parked in a Park & Go lot just before you enter the port on the left. It was about $11/day but could be less if you went on line before and printed a coupon. You park...a van goes to your car and unloads your luggage and takes you to the ship...easy and less than Port Parking. Personal Background Information: My wife and I are in our early 70s and in good health. We have cruised 15 times but always on larger ships. We felt we wanted to try a small boutique luxury ship and Silversea had good reviews. This ship can handle 450 which is much smaller than 2,000 to 3,000 monsters. It is all inclusive which means food, liquor, wine, gratuities are in your base cruise price. The only extra charge are the tours you select and shipboard Internet service. There is also a surcharge for 2 of the 5 restaurants (later). Stateroom #932:We had a mini suite with a balcony (2 chairs and 1 small table)which we rarely used because our cabin was next to the pool, pool bar and pool grill. If you could book this cabin or one nearby you will be pleased with the convenience. The service with our butler (Anil Kumar Mahla) and room attendant (Jocelyn Ochavillo) were first rate. Free washer, dryer and soap just across the hall from us. Fox and CNN was available on our 2 flat screen TVs. Remotes took a while to get used to because TVs we set in the mirrors,The bath room had a full sized tub and a separate shower (with a rainfall fixture overhead...very nice touch).Large walk in closet. We took large suitcases and still had more than enough storage. Privacy curtain between the bedroom and sitting area was handy if I wanted to read and bride wanted to sleep.Room service was available 24/7. Bride liked breakfast in cabin but I went to "The Restaurant" in the mornings to be served. Days at sea: We both took professional bridge (card) lessons in the mornings and my wife played duplicate bridge in the afternoons. Always enough lounges. Nice libraries and numerous areas to sit around and relax. Although there was only one small child on board there were many couples in their 40s, 50s and 60s which surprised us. Still, not a cruise for families with small children. Dress aboard ship: This is not a blue jeans or muscle shirt crowd Two formal nights for tuxes or coats/ties. We took tuxes but did the tie option instead. Warm weather not condusive for tuxes. Four informal nights: Coats and slacks, no ties. Four casual nights: Nice shirts and slacks, no coats. Cocktail Lounges/Bars: We were very pleased with the entertainment and piano bars. The snacks offered during cocktails usually left much to be desired. Service was exceptional everywhere on the ship. Restaurants: There were 5 which I will discuss below: 1. The "Restaurant" was the main dining room and served breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations not required and food selections were regular restaurant fare. 2 LeChampagne was a reservantion, $30 surcharge. Worth a visit. Mucho fanfare! 3. La Terrazza served buffet breakfast and lunch, High Tea from 4-5 and then dinner (reservations reqd) with an Italian flair in the evenings 4. Pool bar and Grill: Shorts and bath. Pizza, burgers, etc. Easy and good. 5. Seishin (Asian) Did not use. Reservations reqd' plus surcharge. 6. Stars Supper Club Res reqd. Fancy dress. 7. Dinner on the Hot Rock: Res reqd. Outdoor dining where you are brought your partially cooked fish or steaks you finish cooking at your table. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Silver Spirit offers comfort, class and lovely cruising amenities for a wide range of ages and nationalities. The cabins are well equipped, with plenty of storage space, full size bathtubs, very comfortable beds and luxury linens and a ... Read More
Silver Spirit offers comfort, class and lovely cruising amenities for a wide range of ages and nationalities. The cabins are well equipped, with plenty of storage space, full size bathtubs, very comfortable beds and luxury linens and a nice seating area with good reading lights. The butler service is helpful and unobtrusive and the assistant cleans early and often during the day. We always had plenty of fresh towels, ice and our beverages replenished daily. The butler makes dinner reservations and handles laundry pick up and delivery.There's also a washer,dryer and iron on each deck. The Silver Spirit dining options are all good choices, with advance reservations needed for Le Champagne, Stars supper club and the Asian room with sushi chef. The main dining room offers a changing dinner menu daily and excellent service with complimentary wines matched to the foods. La Terraza has the best fresh pasta and carpaccio with hearty osso buco and fresh fish. This dining room is much larger than the three theme restaurants, but fills quickly so reserve a table. The Italian theme is part of every evening menu. The room is used for a buffet breakfast and lunch or you can dine in the MDR. The Panorama bar and adjacent outdoor seating has excellent afternoon tea service and early riser coffee, juice and pastry available from 0630 am. The friendly bartenders and servers remember your name and drink preference. Piano music is always entertaining the guests and a great jazz singer in Stars. The shows were fun and colorful with a young team of dancers and singers. The ports we visited: Key West; Santo Tomas, Guatemala for the Rio Dulce River and Livingston village by boat tour; Belize City, Belize for Mayan temples set in a national park visited by boat and Cozumel, Mexico for great snorkeling. Check in, front desk, shore excursions & departure well managed by hotel staff. 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
Sail Date: December 2011
West Indies, December 2 -- 18, 2011. Back to back 9-day cruises Ft. Lauderdale / Barbados / Ft. Lauderdale. My wife and I are seasoned travelers and have cruised a dozen times from the big ships to The World of Residensea. We are also ... Read More
West Indies, December 2 -- 18, 2011. Back to back 9-day cruises Ft. Lauderdale / Barbados / Ft. Lauderdale. My wife and I are seasoned travelers and have cruised a dozen times from the big ships to The World of Residensea. We are also foodies who enjoy dining out at all levels and have given up on the crowds of the larger ships. Suite 1110: Our Silver Suite was excellent and spacious except for the tiny TV's. I was surprised however being put on the top deck towards the front after having told our travel agent that my wife was prone to seasickness. All four of our sea days were pretty ruff and we basically laid low in our cabin. The top floor has vibration issues we were told are associated with the HVAC system located nearby. Our suite was very noisy under way with lots of rattles. Food: The food overall was our biggest disappointment. Boring, unseasoned and overcooked, most befitting a typical 3-star chain hotel. We stopped looking forward to meals after our fourth day onboard. The only way we could get our steaks and fish cooked to our satisfaction was to do it ourselves at Hot Rocks. Seishen was good but limited in menu. La Terrazza offered great pasta but the sauces were boring. The pool deck lunches were Holiday Inn at best. I could do an essay simply on the food but I'll just say that we found the specialty dining aboard Royal and Celebrity Cruises to be much better in terms of both food and service. Service: Service was all over the board. It appeared that about half the food wait staff had not been trained in table service or even instructed to stand aside and make way of a guest walking down the restaurant isle. On the other hand our suite butler was excellent. Smoking: This issue really bothered us. Smoking cigars seemed to be allowed on suite veranda's making using ours difficult at times. One port side (left) of the pool deck nine is smoking and the staff did not enforce the ships no cigars rule on the aft portion of deck nine which basically polluted about 50% of the deck space on deck nine and ten. We found ourselves with sore throats after day four. Space: On sea days we found a lack of deck space for chairs and shade even though our two cruises were only at 75% to 80% occupancy. Towels were scarce at times and the pool food and towel crew seemed to offer the worst service on board. Restaurants all had low ceilings and the décor seemed dated for such a new ship. The Musak in some public areas reminded us of a 60's dentist waiting room. Dress: Sun and surf make for warmer body temps in the evening plain and simple. To have formal nights in a hot tropical climate made no sense to us. Overall: Our first cruise on Silversea was a big disappointment and we'll likely be our last on the line. We had hoped for a good experience and were prepared to sign up for a 2012 Med cruise if we liked it, but that won't be happening. We paid a very premium fare but received below average food and service. Every meal we had ashore including our return flight to LAX on Virgin America was better than was offered onboard the Silver Spirit. 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: 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: 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: October 2011
Having so much enjoyed the transatlantic crossing last year I decided to repeat the cruise this year. Although we again started in Lisbon and finished in Barbados, Silversea were sufficiently prescient to include 4 different ports of call ... Read More
Having so much enjoyed the transatlantic crossing last year I decided to repeat the cruise this year. Although we again started in Lisbon and finished in Barbados, Silversea were sufficiently prescient to include 4 different ports of call out of the 7 visited (Madeira, La Gomera, St Lucia and Les Saintes). I made my own flight arrangements (Business Class to Lisbon and BA First home from Barbados)and was able to use my BA Miles which worked out considerably cheaper than the Silversea Business Air add-on. Embarkation at Lisbon could not have been easier or more efficient. I had travelled from the airport by taxi for a mere 18 Euros! As last year we were blessed with good weather from the start. Also the seas were calm for the whole crossing. Of the six days at sea the first and last were brilliant, with rather more cloud (and the occasional tropical shower) on the middle four days. On the first morning at sea, en route to Madeira, I organised a CC get together in the Panorama Lounge for those who had posted on our pre-cruise 'thread'. This was well attended with 15 of us showing up and then keeping in touch throughout the cruise. A very nice congenial group. My cabin was excellent (midship verandah cabin on deck 5) - very quiet and wonderfully spacious for single occupancy. I can imagine that two people might find it a bit of a squeeze because of the oft-mentioned narrowness of the entrance. My steward and stewardess were excellent and could not do enough for me although my wants were small. Just early morning tea which arrived every day at 8am thanks to the delightful Jerry who then opened the curtains and allowed me to 'come to life'. I am not an early riser so cannot comment on those who were pounding the decks at 5am! Housekeeping in the cabin and throughout the ship is excellent. My cabin was kept spotlessly clean and Jerry even took my shoes without being asked, polished them, and returned them wrapped in tissue paper. Such luxury! Throughout the whole ship cleaning and polishing seemed to be a constant occupation for crew members. The public washrooms were kept vigilantly clean. Full marks! Fellow passengers were very civilised and pleasant. There were a few passengers I knew from last year with whom it was good to catch up again. Several crew members were also on board again and all seemed somehow to remember me. Quite an achievement when you think of the numbers of passengers who pass through in the course of a year. The service in all departments was efficient and courteous. The only problems arising are at breakfast and lunch in La Terrazza and in the Dining Room in the evening if these venues are full. The staff then seem stretched (but still charming despite appearing slightly over-worked!). My daily routine did not vary greatly. Breakfast was always in La Terrazza which is mainly self-service unless you wish to order eggs (which I did on two days only and my single Egg Benedict was perfectly cooked and presented on both occasions). The buffet selection does not vary and it was disappointing to see that the big bowl of mixed berries has now disappeared and berries are now only available on request. This was one of a few 'economies' which Silversea seem to have implemented. The others included no butter or marmalade on the table (again, on request only). Lunch I enjoyed every day except one on the Lido deck, by the pool. I just want a simple light lunch and the caesar salads and toasted sandwiches were perfect. Service was excellent. I often do not bother with Tea, but the offering in La Terrazza at 4pm was so good that I could not resist. Proper leaf tea correctly served and delicious finger sandwiches and pastries. I dined either in the Main Dining Room ('MDR') or La Terrazza, always with friends although one night I took 'pot-luck' in the MDR on a table for 8 and it was fine. Service in the MDR tends to be leisurely, particularly if the room is full and I detect a slight disconnect between the waiting staff and the galley. The food in the MDR is somewhat bland and unexciting but I am not a great 'foodie' and if the company and conversation are sparkling (which they usually were) then I tend to be less bothered about the food. Sometimes requests for side orders (necessary because there are never enough vegetables with the plated main courses) were forgotten either by the waiting staff or the galley and a quick return trip to the galley had to be made. There is no doubt that the best plan is to order off-menu a meal ahead. As a result I had perfect rack of lamb one evening (which never appeared on the menu throughout the cruise) and on another evening a friend and I had grilled dover sole (on the bone) which was the best I have ever tasted. On another evening 6 of us had pre-ordered (the day before to give time for preparation) roast goose. It was absolute perfection. They must have cooked two geese for us because between us there were 3 legs and 3 thighs! That evening the chef even devised for us (without being asked) special first and second courses (fois gras pate and a seafood risotto). So things can be done. It just needs a polite request and a 'thank you' afterwards! Out of three dinners in La Terrazza two were exceptionally good and one mediocre. So, on balance, quite acceptable. The wine poured at meals were generally quite good, though on several evenings I requested an alternative which was never a problem. There was a very good NZ sauvignon blanc, an excellent Australian shiraz (until we drank it all!) and some good Californian and French reds. For entertainment I enjoyed our daily game of 'trivia' in the afternoon in the Panorama Lounge. It was great fun as none of our team took things too seriously. This was run by the excellent Cruise Director, Susan Wood. She is charming, efficient, highly visible and very friendly. I liked her very much. Before and after dinner in the Panorama Lounge the pianist/singer Amadeo was excellent. A couple of evenings we went into 'Stars' after dinner to hear Angela and her accompanist. Lovely renditions of Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc. I just wish that diners who have finished eating but who are showing no sign of taking any interest in the show would move on after dinner to another bar. We has to 'shush' them more than once. I am not keen on 'production' shows but did go one evening to the Theatre to listen to John Bowles, a talented singer, and on another evening to listen to a different 'John' who did a rather amusing (was it supposed to be?) Liberace impersonation! Only one port of call was new to me (having done a number of crossings in the past) - La Gomera in the Canary Islands. I took a Silversea extended half-day tour which was excellent. The island is very dramatic and quite unspoilt. At other ports I either stayed on board or 'did my own thing'. At Barbados disembarkation was efficient and I took another extended half day tour which ended at the airport where our luggage awaited. All very civilised and well planned. Then to the BA Lounge and ferried to the plane a few minutes before departure. I slept most of the way home. Lovely. This was just what I needed - a relaxing holiday with little to do apart from read during the day and have sociable, pleasant evenings. Not for me the 7 day cruises with a different port every day. I like cruising to be what it used to be. Leisurely and relaxed. Full marks (almost!) to Silversea for managing to fulfil my expectations once again. 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
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
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
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
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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