Cruise Ratings
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I love photography and choose my destinations based upon the best opportunities to practice my hobby. Having recently lost my husband I needed an easy way to travel to a variety of locations on my own. Silversea was offering a ... Read More
I love photography and choose my destinations based upon the best opportunities to practice my hobby. Having recently lost my husband I needed an easy way to travel to a variety of locations on my own. Silversea was offering a sensational single supplement and I always wanted to visit Rome and Barcelona, so it was the perfect solution. I was a little worried I would stick out like a sore thumb. At the last minute a friend decided to join me, so I wasn't alone after all. During the cruise there were so many friendly people I realized that it would have been fine even on my own. My main reason for going was to see the two cities, Rome and Barcelona. Neither of them were included in the tours from the ship, so I opted to stay three nights at either end. On the recommendation of a friend who is a travel agent, we booked the Rose Garden Palace in Rome and the Majestic in Barcelona, both excellent choices. In both cities we did the Hop-on/Hop-off busses, which were extremely helpful in getting an overview of both cities. Of course, we have only barely scratched the surface of all the places we visited. I especially fell in love with Barcelona. Back home now, I have plans to stay there for a month as soon as I retire. This is my third cruise. The previous two were with my husband, also on small luxury, all inclusive lines: Renaissance (before they went out of business), Athens to Istanbul and Regent, Sydney to Auckland. How does Silversea compare? I'll break it down: Embarkation was extremely fast. We did arrive at the ship quite early so we missed the crowd. Disembarkation took longer. They called luggage tag colors by groups and we were one of the last groups called. Decor: It was a little too "brown" and traditional for my taste. I am drawn more to a cleaner, more modern look. But it was really very nice overall. Food: We started out with lunch on the pool deck waiting for our room on the first day and had to send our food back. My "steak" was raw (I asked for med rare) and when they brought it back it was well done. My roommate's meatball sliders had a really odd taste to them and she didn't eat them. I was a little worried by that first experience, but it definitely improved as dinner that night was sensational at Seishin. Dinners at the Supper Club and La Terazza were not as good. But we ate twice at Hot Rocks and loved it! The food on Regent was better. Tours: We only did the included tours, which mainly consisted of a bus racing through the countryside with a nonstop narration by the tour guide. Many people I talked to said there was too much talking. It because exhausting over a several hour bus ride. They really should stop once in a while to let us enjoy the scenery, instead of plying us with the minutiae of historical facts. As a photographer I found it frustrating because we were driving so fast it's amazing I got any photos at all. There were very few stops along the way for photos. In Monaco, my roommate got nauseated because of all the twists and turns in the hills. Once at our destinations I didn't join the group, I wandered around on my own to take pictures. Service: Exemplary. Our butler, Kerley, was willing to do anything and helped us to get reservations at Hot Rocks when they were full. She cleaned the outside of our luggage the day before disembarcation. She served us breakfast in our room every morning. She kept asking us to use her for anything. When we asked for vodka and wine in our room she made sure it was stocked with whatever we asked. Tips were included in the package, but we gave her an envelope on the last day. She was trying to refuse, but we insisted. Everyone else on the ship was very nice and helpful. Passengers: At first I was worried I would be surrounded by "rich" people, lol, which I am not. At our hotel in Rome we met two women, a mother and grown daughter traveling together, who were also coming on our same cruise. We hit it off right away and all the other passengers we met were extremely friendly and just like us. Entertainment: We were too tired at night to go to any of the productions except one: a lone singer who was really bad. In fact, we were embarrassed because our eyes kept falling shut. We decided if we came back we'd sit in the back so we could slip out, but that opportunity didn't arise. Would I recommend the cruise to others? It depends on who I am talking to. I didn't recommend it to my younger brother and his wife because I felt it was too quiet and almost deserted much of the time. Even I would have liked it to be a bit more lively. There were many empty chairs at the pool area and other common areas were almost deserted. The theater was less than 1/4 full. It definitely would appeal more to the older crowd. That said, we did have an absolutely wonderful time and will enjoy reliving the trip through my photos. I posted these on another thread, but if you with to see a condensed version of them, they are here: https://goo.gl/photos/tuZNEK5FGxHZLQy77 Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Enjoyed the May 31st, 10 day cruise from Rome to Venice with some caveats. Embarkation was quick and DH and I had a lovely light lunch at the pool grill. Sail-away party was disappointing due to unresponsive servers at the pool grill. We ... Read More
Enjoyed the May 31st, 10 day cruise from Rome to Venice with some caveats. Embarkation was quick and DH and I had a lovely light lunch at the pool grill. Sail-away party was disappointing due to unresponsive servers at the pool grill. We had to hail waiters for canapés and for drinks being supposedly passed to all. Thankfully, our apprehensions as to service for the rest of the cruise were mostly put to rest. Most waiters were attentive, although a few carried a sour face and I assume were not very happy campers with their job, but, hey!, we are paying their wages. The verandah cabin in deck #5 was very acceptable and quite comfortable. Our butler, who goes by Joy, was very affable, reliable, and we could tell he was always very busy. Our housekeeper was very efficient and cordial, as well. We found the food to be very good with excellent quality ingredients. Contrary to the former reviewer, we found it under-salted! Of course, not everything was top notch all the time, but in general much to our liking. The complementary wines were on the low end side, but some were acceptable. The entertainment at the show lounge consisted of the Voices of Silversea, a group of young, talented singers with good dance moves when required. We would like not to to see the British invasion so many times (in both SS and SB, I have to add). The entertainment could be improved with more variety; a comedian and professional dancers, perhaps? This was a "transition" cruise to the new policy of included excursions for the Med cruises. There was a lack of organization in tender ports with regards to passengers lining up for tenders. I would recommend SS to clearly advertise in their itinerary brochure the SS tour tender times, in order that guests with private tours, or guests not wishing to tour, will not need to wait in line. All being said, we had a lovely time, and met many nice and interesting passengers with whom we plan to keep in touch. We find that this cruise was good value for the money, and will continue to recommend SS to our friends. Hope our observations are duly noted. 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: 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
Sail Date: September 2010
We embarked in Barcelona at around 2pm and were in our stateroom with 15 minutes of getting on the ship. Wonderful freindly reception from quayside to cabin. The stateroom was midship veranda and beautifully laid out with ample ... Read More
We embarked in Barcelona at around 2pm and were in our stateroom with 15 minutes of getting on the ship. Wonderful freindly reception from quayside to cabin. The stateroom was midship veranda and beautifully laid out with ample storage (more than we have had on any other cruise line). Really neat ideas like the mirrors which 'secretly' housed the tvs in the bedroom and sitting area. Full size seperate shower etc etc, but I have to say that the wash basin tap was a strange choice for installation. Impossible to turn on (even when you really concentrated) without turning it the wrong way or spraying yourself and the mirror. You have to try it understand what I am saying. We were waitlisted for a Silver Suite and were moved to one after three days and sadly I have to say that although there was much more space the mod cons of the veranda suite were much better than the Silver Suite which had a very strange combination of storage and ordinary free standing tvs and DVD player. The ship was hoovered within an inch of it's life all the time we were on it. Immaculate!! Crew were friendly and helpful throughout the ship and Officers were always on show. Fernado, the Cruise Director was just brilliant, absolutely perfect for the job! The food was wonderful in all the restaurants we ate in although Stars was not as good as the rest but had great entertainment to watch as you dined. We did no excursions this time but got off at each port and explored on our own which was very relaxing. We had 6 ports of call and not another ship was in dock on the same day as ours other than on embarkation in Barcelona which made a really refreshing change from the normal 4000 to 5000+ people hitting the same destination each time you dock. We expected this cruise to be good but it turned out to be way above our expectations! We are now Silversea convertees and are looking to book another cruise with them around the Caribbean late winter/early spring. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
We have sailed on all of Silver Seas ships, and we have found we prefer the larger vessels to the smaller ones. Because of this, we wanted to try out the Silver Spirit so we could compare it to the Shadow and the Whisper. Having said this, ... Read More
We have sailed on all of Silver Seas ships, and we have found we prefer the larger vessels to the smaller ones. Because of this, we wanted to try out the Silver Spirit so we could compare it to the Shadow and the Whisper. Having said this, I will give you my opinion of our experiences. Cabins: First of all, the Mid-Ship Veranda cabins on the Spirit are not nearly as functional as the ones on the Whisper or the Shadow. They are very narrow and the bedroom configuration makes it very difficult for one person to get to the bathroom from the living area while the other is in the bedroom using the mirror or sitting at the foot of the bed. There is a very long narrow hall that acts as the entrance to the cabin, which is very off-putting. The Silver Suites, however, are lovely and are larger than the Silver Suites on the Shadow and Whisper. The decor of all the cabins on the Spirit is darker than that on the other two ships, which some people don't like, but the furniture and electronics (including flat-screen TVs) are very nice. We found the beds comfortable in both types of cabins. There is not enough storage in the bathrooms in either of the cabins. The sinks (two in the Silver Suites, one in the Mid-Veranda) are very large and take up almost all of the counter space, and the storage on either side of the mirrors is too shallow to hold much of anything. The faucets in both cabin bathrooms have a funky lever that operates them, which leads to many accidents until you get used to them. There are no storage drawers in the bathrooms , so you are limited to under-sink storage primarily. The "rain shower" is a nice addition in both cabin types. The veranda with the Silver Suites is quite large with a table and two chairs and two reclining lounge chairs, and the veranda with the Mid-Ship cabin is slightly larger than the ones on the Shadow and Whisper. The location of the Silver Suites on the Spirit is high and forward, which I don't like. I prefer the more central location of the Silver Suites on both of the other large ships. Common Areas: The Common Areas on the Spirit are very different from those on the Shadow and Whisper. Some areas are better, but several are a real problem. Under the real problem areas on the Spirit, the theater is number one. It has a very low ceiling, will not hold all the passengers on the ship at one time. The seating and side-arm tables are not functional at all. The stage looks like it was built for one-man shows it is so narrow and compressed looking. It is a dark and uninviting place. You don't dare put your drink down, because the side-arm tables are so small the drinks won't sit solidly on them. The forced "love seat" seating does not allow for much diversity as far as seating configurations are concerned. People who come in as a single, do not want to sit down next to someone they don't know in the "love seat" configuration, so you get a lot of wasted space. The fact that you can't seat the entire ship in the theater does away with the Captain's Welcome and Farewell as we have known it before on the other Silver Sea ships. Now the Captain must hop from one place to another to welcome the passengers. Another problem area is the main bar. It has lost any feeling of intimacy because it literally overflows into the Reception area with nothing to contain it. On the Shadow and Whisper, this was always a place to unwind in a cozy atmosphere. On the Spirit, it feels more like Grand Central Station. The Fitness Center is tiny and over-crowded. Enough said. There are some nice additions to the common areas, too, however. The Panorama Lounge has been enlarged to include lots of outside deck space with comfortable sofas and chairs. It is a lovely place to sit and read or just gaze at the sea. The pool is slightly smaller on the Spirit as they have added another hot tub. Restaurants: The main restaurant feels about the same on the Spirit as on the other two larger ships. La Terrazza on the Spirit has some additional outside seating, which is a nice addition. Stars is a waste of space. Very few people seemed to take advantage of it on our cruise, and those who did didn't go back. (Remember, I am telling you what happened on our cruise. Others may have had a different experience here.) La Champagne's space was very nice, but I felt the food didn't live up to the hype. We ate there twice, once each cruise, and enjoyed our dinners, but didn't really feel like the food was that special. On the Shadow and Whisper, we have experienced some exceptional dinners in this venue, but that may be due solely to the chefs we had at the time. The addition of an Oriental Restaurant on the Spirit appears to have been a good idea. We ate at Seishin twice also, and really enjoyed the food there. It was different, varied, and prepared quite well. La Terrazza on all ships has been good. Service: We had excellent service on the Spirit, but again, I think this can vary depending on what cruise and cabin you select. Our butler and cabin attendant when we were in the Silver Suite on the Spirit were the best combo we've ever had. The butler and cabin attendant in the Mid-Ship Veranda cabin were a bit more harried I think. They tried very hard, but there were a few slip-ups. On the Shadow in the Silver Suite last winter, we had good service, but there seemed to be some confusion as to who was supposed to do what!! This may still be a work in progress. The service in the Dining Room was a bit slow a couple of nights, but on the whole, we didn't have a problem. Some people seated at the larger tables complained about slow dinner service on several occasions. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
My wife and I have been cruising for the last 15 years and have most recently sailed with Cunard, Saga, and Regent SS. This was our first Silversea and, unlike practically all our previous cruises was very short - only 7 days and very port ... Read More
My wife and I have been cruising for the last 15 years and have most recently sailed with Cunard, Saga, and Regent SS. This was our first Silversea and, unlike practically all our previous cruises was very short - only 7 days and very port intensive. We used the flight package and everything went to plan. The transfer to the ship at Lisbon was a bit slow in leaving the airport but embarkation was fast and painless. Luggage arrived in our cabin (stateroom?) very quickly. Our cabin was a midship veranda and we found it totally to our liking. Our butler took the order for in-cabin drinks - the only minor gripe is that I could not get my usual Macallan - and any replenishment of soft drinks/ mixers was spot on. All the staff on board were excellent - particularly good at remembering our name - the CD, Fernando was absolutely first class. We did not use any of the extra charge restaurants as we feel that on a ship of this class no extra charges should be applied. Our favourite dining option was Hot Rocks Grill, followed by La Terazza. The dining room was not particularly to our liking - a bit too soulless. We did not try Stars as we ran out of time! We took 2 paid for shore excursions and although they were OK, we thought they were grossly overpriced. By far the most enjoyable trip was to the local market in Marbella with the executive chef (Marcus) and his boss (David?). A group of about 12 passengers had signed up to this (free!) trip and we all enjoyed watching the chefs buying local produce and then, later in the afternoon, cooking it for us to sample. We did not take part in any of the activities as every day bar one was a sea day. We were not really aware of any "enrichment" programme other than a pretty poor port talk. We did not use the Spa at all - no time! Disembarkation was fine, although we were dumped at Nice airport even before the check-in had opened and our flights back to Edinburgh via Heathrow were good. To sum up, we really enjoyed our first Silversea experience although we prefer longer cruises with more sea days. would we cruire again on Silver Spirit? absolutely YES! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Summary We originally booked Africa/Seychelles for December 9 on Silver Wind. In fact, I booked this in 2007. That cruise was canceled, and we booked this sailing to replace it. At first, I was very disappointed, but then I was very ... Read More
Summary We originally booked Africa/Seychelles for December 9 on Silver Wind. In fact, I booked this in 2007. That cruise was canceled, and we booked this sailing to replace it. At first, I was very disappointed, but then I was very excited about the new ship. We booked for the ship, not the itinerary. Due to the weather and the hassles we had getting to/from the destination, we look forward to sailing Spirit next fall in the Caribbean. We are travel agency owners, but we have paid full price for all of our Silversea sailings. I'm a Certified Lifestyle Specialist - Luxury Travel and a Certified Travel Industry Executive. I approach things from a very analytical view because of what I do. Hence, you will find below a rather lengthy piece. Those that don't want to read all of this should just read this summary and then read the section headings to find the areas that are of interest. I felt since this was a new ship that I needed to try to cover everything I could remember. Dining - There are a number of restaurants. Not all are available without paying extra, and all but the main dining room require reservations. The main dining room for dinner does not have as much variety as it should, though they will allow you to order special requests a day in advance. Simple things can be accommodated on the same night, and you can order from the room service menu in the main dining room and from the dining room menu in the cabin. The restaurant managers were all absolutely top notch and just went way out of their way to make every meal a joyous experience. Some meals were memorable, all were delicious. Ingredients were very fresh, and enough complimentary wines were available to please most guests. Public Rooms - The lounges are cozy, and we liked the layout of the ship. Cabins - Our only complaint is with the number of plug-ins. The cabins are very nice and comfortable, and we enjoyed our 11 nights there. The balconies are bigger and easier to open, but be sure they are locked and that your cabin attendant has locked the door, as they do slide open. The shower is tall enough for most any man, and there is a rain shower. Entertainment - We loved the live entertainment in all venues. The organized activities were all excellent, too. There just were not as many as I would have liked. Spa & Fitness - We did not do any classes or treatments. I am just basing this rating on the layout and the pricing. The offerings are more extensive than you will find on the other ships, and they have a number of treatments to make them quite proud. Family & Children (By Age Group) - There were just a couple of children that were not teens, and they were well supervised and seldom seen. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I enjoyed them. Shore Excursions - All of our tours were organized by professionals and escorted by staff. It was a little confusing how the rep was always at the location where we were to end up, rather than at the beginning of our journey (ship departure) directing us where to go. A couple of times, poor judgment was used regarding the weather, and at times, there were no umbrellas for people that did not bring the ones from their cabin. We enjoyed everything we did. The Casablanca cooking tour should have had a real cooking element but was enjoyable. Given our circumstances, I thought the staff worked very hard to give us as many choices for experiences as they could have. Embarkation - They led us to believe that boarding at noon started in 2010 and that we absolutely could not get on at noon. In fact, they did have noon boarding. We arrived at 2:15 and got on, but we had no assistance with bags and no welcome drink. We were properly escorted to our cabin. Service - We had issues with dinner service the first two nights, and our butler service was in need of improvement. Around the ship, we found a number of people that did not seem as empowered as we have seen on all other Silversea cruises, though they did their best to be accommodating. In many cases, our expectations were far exceeded, and there was not a single time where a slight service gap really made a significant difference in our overall cruise experience. Value-for-Money - It was a lovely cruise where we were so comfortable, well fed, and well entertained. I just felt it was overpriced due to a few situations. It was not something I felt strongly about, so I gave this a 4 rating. Rates - Rates were high due to the holiday sailing and the honor of it being the maiden voyage. However, the maiden honor was scarcely celebrated. Things were not quite ready, though everything was at about 97%. People seldom ever love Christmas/New Year's holiday rates on any vacation. I feel that Silversea has created a unique product with Spirit. It has some of the elements of the other Silversea ships, but it is something different. Those that like luxury will find it here. The "basic" suites are outstanding, and the silver suites and above are spectacular. Some of the best managers at sea are running the ship, and I feel they will continue to send it to new heights as it matures. Precruise We flew coach on Continental from Houston IAH to Barcelona via Newark on December 21. This was right after a huge blizzard on the east coast, but we timed it well enough to not get stranded. We were delayed for two hours getting into Newark, though. We lucked out because our flight to Barcelona happened to be on the same plane as the one from IAH even though it was a different flight number and crew. They still boarded in a somewhat timely manner, and we only arrived at Barcelona 42 minutes late at 9:42 a.m. We did not have video on demand, and the movies we could select from on the TV screen were all family/kid type shows plus TV. Still, we managed to find things to watch and killed the time in between the two meals. We had no issues in customs and got a taxi to our hotel on Las Ramblas for about 30 Euros with a non-English driver. We caught 3 glimpses of Silver Spirit on the way to the hotel. I had booked Hotel Continental on Las Ramblas for the one night due to free stuff and location. We used the internet extensively in our room and the lobby both. We only had one European converter, so we had an interesting time swapping back and forth trying to keep our batteries charged on all our devices. They also have free food and drinks there - tapas, pastries and breads, ice creams, cereals, coffees (including espressos and lattes), sodas, tea, beer, and wine, all 24 hours a day. The rooms are basic and quite pink, but you do get a tub. We would not stay more than one night, but the location was very good, if only the weather had been. We did a lot of walking here to see some of the buildings and architecture that people go to see in Barcelona, but we did not see everything because it was cold and rainy. Embarkation and Cabin We were well aware that Silversea would begin allowing boarding at noon in 2010, and I had called two or three times to ask about early boarding before our sailing. I was told it would be impossible because there would still be inspections. Silversea added a 2 day non-revenue sailing before ours (which to some of us cheapened the "being the first to sail" factor of our trip). Because of that, they allowed boarding at noon, but then they did not tell very many people. We suspected this might be the case, but we still had not made it to the cathedral, so we walked there from our hotel and then got a taxi to the ship and boarded at about 2:15 and were then told that, of course people were boarded at noon. Very few were on board, but as we were on only a few minutes, more started to come. Those with enough nights could board at 10:30, and most did. Since we were there before 3, there was no champagne greeting (I did see this after 3), snacks or anything, and we did carry our own carry-on bags with no offer of assistance. We were shown to our suite right away, however. We were in balcony cabin 606, a forward cabin on the port side. We were immediately impressed with the cabin. We looked around everywhere, noticing all the detail. The bathroom was very nice with a separate shower and tub. The shower is taller than the other ships, and there is a rain head. The tub was nice, but on the first use, we had no hot water at all, so we had to call. The floor was wood with a marble trim around it. There was a large white basin sink. The faucet took some getting used to in order to prevent splashing up the mirror. There was a shaver plug and shelves to put things on. The one thing I thought was a little odd was the toilet paper layout and also the hand towels just sit on the counter, as there is no rack for them. The Bvulgari setup was there. The bed from what we measured with the covers was 6 ft. 5 inches long and 5 ft. 9 inches wide. My husband is 6 ft. 3 inches, and his feet were over the bottom much of the time, and I am 5 ft. 6, and even mine were over sometimes when I scrunched into the pillows and covers. We never complained to ourselves, as the bed was very comfortable. We never were offered a pillow menu, but we did have one soft and one firm pillow each. That is what I put in the comments online before the cruise. The couch is longer than on all the other Silversea ships, and this is the biggest thing I wanted changed since Todd is tall. The table in the sitting area is a little longer, too. There are two cabinets that have sitting stools on them - one in the sleeping area and one in the sitting area. Each house a TV. The one in the sitting area has the mirror with a TV that stays a black square when off. The one in the bedroom goes invisible. We loved having two TVs, but they worked with one remote. When we would turn on one and then the other, the one in the bedroom would stick on whatever channel or function we had been in. We would have to call for a reset/reboot. This happened to many passengers, but they were going from cabin to cabin interviewing those with the issue to try to sort it out and track a pattern. We loved being able to check our statement on the TV, read about the shows and lecturers, etc. However, there were 56 movies, no newer releases like before. We had probably seen almost 50 of them. Also, what they show of where the ship is going was interesting but not as informative as the old system. We always watched recorded enrichment lectures in the past, and these were never shown. There are lamps in the walls on either side of the bed and other lamps on either side of the couch. There is also recessed lighting in the ceiling, and we liked how you could turn this and that on to change the amount of lighting even though there were no dimmers. Some of ours did not work, but another call, and they were there after some time to change bulbs. In fact, they were going door to door for that, too. A very nice change in the room is the draperies between the sitting and sleeping area. Instead of tying back, they slide along a track and can be completely opened or closed. You can really block out the light if you want to sleep, and you can get them totally out of the way when you want the cabin to seem spacious and serviceable. I was so pleased with it because it really changed how much I was able to sleep. We also really appreciate how thoughtful they were in setting up the balcony door and making it completely easy to handle. It is a must to keep it locked. In high winds, they will open. Also, a number of guests, we were the first that we knew of, had one or two incidents where the cabin attendant would leave the door totally open. If you took hours to discover (we discovered it at 4 a.m.), you may have high winds and freezing cold coming in by the time you wake up and figure it out. The balcony is larger than the other ships in verandah, and the chairs are very nice and adjustable, the table is larger, and there are two footstools. Since we were in such rough waters some of the time, there was often a lot of salt on our glass, and often we could not see out, and other times it was so cold we never opened the drapes. There are two plug-ins in the sitting area - one American and one European. Silversea has added a lovely clock that is so useful, but it takes up the only American plug in that area. Bring a strip. We were constantly unplugging the clock. It does have a battery backup, and it holds the time for a long time. There is another plug of each type in the sleeping area at the dressing table. We found ourselves constantly having cords draped over the bed or across the sitting area since the plugs were on the opposite side of everywhere we wanted to sit or lay down. The suites have doorbells, and the attendants and butlers need to learn to use them! We were burst in on as early as 7 a.m., and some guests (including our neighbor across the hall with 406 nights) were even bursted in on in their undergarments with the privacy sign on. At some point, they just stopped doing our room altogether, which was annoying when we would have the service ticket up for 6 or 7 hours. I am sure a couple of conversations to the cabin attendant could fix this, but it should not be necessary. Silversea opened La Terazza until 4 p.m. for lunch, a nice touch vs. having to run to the pool grill. We had a full meal and were soon relaxed and well-fed. Room Service We used this 3 times. We tried breakfast, lunch (Todd only), and dinner. The menu is extensive and similar to the other ships. You can get about anything you want from them (dial 800). The breakfast menu still has the guest one and guest two side, a lovely touch that avoids a lot of confusion. Todd's mango was quite green, but his omelet was well prepared. I had boiled eggs, cereal and a mixed fruit plate. Everything was perfect. When Todd ordered during the day, he ordered French onion soup and another course. Everything arrived hot. On the breakfast, it did arrive within our selected time (we asked for 6 to 6:30, and it came at 6:30. At the airport, we talked to a couple that put 7:30 to 8 on their ticket every day, and they would come before 7 a.m. even when they wrote on there to not come before 7. When we ordered dinner, we ordered a mix of the dining room items and the room service items. Our butler asked how long he should wait to come get the trays. I said 40 minutes, and after an hour and a half, I was calling and chasing him down to get all those dishes out. The dinner was quite nice, and they do a lovely setup. If you like, they will do it course by course, but we just wanted it all delivered. We had whatever we wanted - soups, appetizers, salads, entrees served at the right temperature and maybe in 30 or 35 minutes from ordering. Butler and Cabin Attendants Our suitcases were in our closet after we got back from eating our first lunch. This is different from the usual where they have always been on the bed. In fact, there were two clunky luggage racks in the room that remained there during our entire stay. When we met Nikhil , our butler. We asked him for the unpacking. He got a female cabin attendant to do it for us. She looked discouraged when she saw all of our stuff, but she did a fabulous job of putting things pretty much where we would have. We told her to put Todd's things up higher because he is tall. She asked if she could put the suitcases under the bed. Everything was set up beautifully. We also asked Nikhil for some other toiletries of one of the other brands. Those never came, and after two or three requests, we gave up. The attendants did replace the Bvulgari when it was getting empty. We also arrived to pretty much an empty refrigerator. We did note what we liked and mentioned the preferences I had done online before departure. In fact, those took 3 or 4 days to arrive, and the butler admitted that came from my online request and not his efforts. We did eventually get him to understand exactly what we liked by about the 9th day of the 11 day cruise, and we were serviced enough throughout by either tracking him down or by calling room service (who then paged the butler). It was not a big deal, but it really was all we needed besides the packing and unpacking. Todd became ill about 7 days into the cruise. When Nikhil saw how sick Todd was, he offered many times to call the doctor, and he did begin to check on us for requests after my mid-cruise comment card came out. At the end of the cruise, Nikhil did all of the packing, and he did a very, very nice job. He did not come when he was supposed to (he asked for a specific time), but the job was great, and we were so happy to have the service. Nikhil indicated that all of the butlers went through the guild training and that he had a masters degree in hospitality. He was charming and nice, and I am sure after he gets used to Silversea and the way of the company and the guests, he will surely get his service level up. He indicated he had 15 cabins. The butler on the other side of the hall seemed to be out and about a lot, and the lady across the hall seemed to always be concerned about her laundry arrival time and the impacts it had on her schedule. She tried to do something about it every day, and eventually, she got it worked out. Our cabin attendant seemed to not come to do the cabin until about 4:30 if at all and then it was almost time to turn down the bed. We only got chocolates about half the nights, and the Chronicle daily newsletter often did not come until 10 p.m. or even sometime in the night. I am sure we made it difficult by being in the room a lot, but we did have out our service ticket a lot and even called once for service. Pool Deck Service The pool did not open until around the 3rd day of the cruise, and we learned that there was a crack in it that had to be repaired. It was also the 2nd day when the hot tub worked, but after that, it was great. Temps were about 97. They did have to drain them the day that we were supposed to go to Tangier when the weather was bad and the waves were quite high. I went there in spite of the cold weather, and once the guys saw me, they would come around every few minutes to see if I needed anything. Rex at the pool bar area always would start getting ready for me or most any guest when they walked up, already expecting what they were going to order but asking to make sure. With the addition of the pool grill restaurant on deck 10 some days into the cruise, they were happily staying open downstairs until 9 or so. A welcome feature in the temperatures we had were lovely blankets, and the guys set up plush towels and comfy blankets all over. Many days, they had no customers except 4 or 5 at the bar, either die hard outsiders or smokers. Then on a couple of sunny days, maybe they had 20 people. We had lunch out there one day. It took a little while to get pizza, etc., but everything was made completely to order. We loved how fresh everything was, and the pizza was perfect. The last thing Todd said was that he wished we had eaten up there more often. The Restaurant It is possible to have all meals here a la carte. While I usually like a la carte best, our itinerary was so port intensive, and we had a lot of tours. It worked out better for us to do the buffet, and we enjoyed the view in La Terazza. The first night at dinner, nobody in our section got a menu for about 40 minutes nor was water served, and tables were not properly set. Some of the sections seemed to be operating, but ours was at a standstill even though there was wait staff around. After that night, things got better every day, and by the end of the cruise things were going very well with the service level we are used to on Silversea. There were a variety of wines being served. Some of them were from Spain, the region where we spent a good part of the cruise. We stuck to chardonnays after tasting some of them because that is just our preference. We found they had about 5 or 6 different complimentary chardonnays on the ship. There was an Italian, a couple from California, and I don't recall the others. All were tasty, so we just always said any chardonnay. Most of the menus had 3 appetizers. The intermezzo section typically had 1 soup, one salad, and one pasta. We often ordered the soup and the salad, and when they did not suit, sometimes we'd just order green salad for me and Caesar for Todd. We ordered the room service soups once. There was always a sorbet, and we had them every night. For the entrEe, there were 4 choices - a fish dish, a couple of meat dishes, and a vegetarian dish. There were 2 or 3 desserts. We seldom had dessert, and they only brought petit fours on two nights. Maybe we did not wait long enough. I imagine that was it. For the dinners, perhaps 9 of the 11 nights, they had sea bass for the fish. A couple of times, they put down sea bream, but then they would have sea bass anyway. One night, they had a seafood stew, and on Christmas they did not have a seafood dish. On Christmas, they had a holiday menu with set courses except for the entrEe. I had the goose that night. There was a holiday dinner on New Year's Eve, too. On both holidays, we had fun party favors at the table. They also gave a few prizes for the holiday of significant value. We did not win. All the food was very good, but I found more variety at lunch than dinner. It was always possible to customize, and there were never any mistakes in anything we ordered. A memorable dish I had was osso bucco, something I look forward to when I see it. The mashed potatoes were also some of the best I've ever had. In general, all the vegetables were prepared just exactly right. I did not find too much salt in the food, either. Todd's favorite was the Black Angus beef he had on one of the first nights. He thought it was just beautifully prepared. The restaurant is very nice, and we never saw any issue with crowding. Requests for sharing and private tables seemed to all be honored, and dinner was always a highlight of the day. Antonio was great with everyone, were the entertainers and waiters that seated guests. La Terazza Breakfast We had breakfast here a number of days. A couple of days, we had room service breakfast, and a couple of days, we skipped breakfast. Each day would start with charming greetings by Jonathan and/or Darlene. Todd ordered an omelet a few days, and it always came out fairly quickly. I ordered hard boiled eggs one day. They said 15 minutes. It was 30, and I asked to take them to the cabin. They were done perfectly, but the next time, I ordered them from room service. We did not see anyone order pancakes or waffles, and they were not offered. I imagine you could. I always got a nice portion of delicious fruits. Someone was always carving lovely fruits such as grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple, watermelon and other melons, and mango and papaya. They also had beautiful berries out on the buffet, along with dried fruits and nuts and some premium canned fruits. There were other fruits such as lychee. Sometimes there were whole fruits, also. They had hot and cold cereals, various breakfast meats, beans, eggs, Asian style items such as fish, and European style meats and cheeses. There were also a number of pastries. I am sure I am leaving many things out. Lunch La Terraza serves most of the items from the a la carte restaurant but in buffet style. We had lunch here a number of times. We enjoyed the soups. They had several seafood soups. Each time, the seafood was added fresh to order. This was the same with several soups, ingredients were added fresh after someone ordered. There was an Indian soup one day. There was always at least one grilled fish, a carved meat, two types of pizza (one day, there was calzone), a variety of vegetables, and other entrees. Some items were veal parmesan, quiche, beef wellington, seafood stir fry. There were many others. Every day, there was a large platter of sushi and sashimi and some Asian salads. The Seishin sushi chef prepared all the sushi and sashimi. It looked just as fresh as downstairs in the restaurant. Something I enjoyed were the various green salads. There were so many nice toppings and a delicious Italian dressing. I would get another great serving of fresh fruits daily. One day, they had a seafood platter that Todd really enjoyed with great onion rings. Another day (I think New Year's Day), there was a seafood buffet with crab legs, clams, mussels, and shrimp. In fact, I was able to get clams on several occasions. Those were a real highlight for me. They also had other dishes for the non seafood eaters. We are not big dessert eaters, but they had a variety, including sugar free. One day, Todd had the homemade ice cream. There were always 4 varieties (not always the same). I heard one guest say they only had the zero/zero at The Restaurant, but someone went and got it for him without him even asking. He was quite happy. They also had a variety of lunch meats (I missed the coppa even though there were other great meats) and fresh breads and beautiful looking cheeses. Service up there was really great at lunch. The food was good, and the staff was great. In general, lunch was my favorite meal on the ship due to all the fresh things I was able to get and because of the nice variety. Dinner We had dinner here one night, and we always intended to go back. Service here was wonderful. It is amazing how wonderful people like Marcello just go from one meal to the next and never look tired or unhappy and seem so concerned about all the guests. We started with a very nice antipasti platter that we shared. It had 9 items (pretty much the whole appetizer menu) in sampler sizes in a beautiful dish. I had a salad in a crunchy bowl, and Todd had scampi. Then I had sea bass, and Todd had the beef dish. For dessert, he had tiramisu, and I had an amazing chocolate sorbet with fruits. Instead of the regional theme menus, La Terraza has gone to one menu with more selections. We enjoyed the menu immensely. Our only real disappointment here is that they do not offer a soup. I would also like to see a different veal dish from Milanese since I am not one to eat a lot of fried foods. Food is always subjective, but our experience was extremely good. Galley Lunch This was held in The Restaurant on Christmas Eve. Since it was held after the champagne tasting, there were already a lot of people in the room. We were sitting with Cruise Critic online messageboard member NJBelle and her husband and daughter, and we saw a long line, so we waited quite a while. There was still a line, but we went up anyway. It moved along. The area was a bit tight because Darlene was putting people through in lines on both sides. People then had to criss-cross. This did cause us to get full plates to avoid the line again, and then some things got cold. My favorite is always the ethnic foods. This was no exception. I love the pancit since I grew up eating it when we lived in the Pacific. The Naan was disappointing. They had a beautiful carved beef entrEe. There were piles of seafood. They had veal, fish, chicken, even burgers. There were huge salads. The desserts were served on a table out in the restaurant. I just got a few of the garnish berries, and Todd did not have dessert at all. I enjoyed the meal. Todd did not as much, but he had his plate full before he got to what he really likes because he just did not look ahead due to the people. The Pool Grille Restaurant One night, well into the cruise, they decided to try the grille with the captain and some staff and a few guests. We missed that. The next day, we were having lunch at the pool grill, and we did see the restaurant manager accepting reservations. We signed up for 8 p.m. While the restaurant is al fresco, and the weather was not great on this cruise, he did indicate that the heaters warm it up 10 degrees F. We were advised to dress casual. We dressed as if we were inside since it was an informal night and we came from the show. That was a particularly cold night, and only one other person was brave enough to dine there. He loved the food and was happy he did, but his family went inside and ate at the restaurant. They situated us right under a heater, but we did wrap ourselves in pool deck blankets. We did alright. The menu consisted of a variety of meats - several cuts of steaks and a veal chop. They also had shrimp. Todd ordered a ribeye, and I ordered a strip steak. We ordered shrimp to share. First we had salads. The steaks arrived sizzling on the plate, rare. The shrimp arrived raw, and it easily cooked in just minutes. I cooked a few shrimp at a time. The meats are served with baked potato, but you can get fries. I ordered fries. Todd ordered a baked potato, but it was too cold to eat when he was ready. It was not on the sizzling plate. We each had a few fries. We had fruits for dessert. The restaurant is serviced from the same area where they prepare the pool lunches, and the guys cart everything upstairs. The wine, water, everything comes from the pool bar, so they keep it open until around 9 (maybe later now that the restaurant is popular). The food was delicious, but if I ordered a steak again, I would get a filet. These other steaks were way too big, and they cooked beyond medium since it keeps cooking while you are eating. We had plenty, and the food quality was high. I believe even full, the service will remain fabulous because it is not a big place. I'd like to see scallops added. The concept of the entrEe is that you are brought the item on a sizzling plate, and you have control over the doneness. It is not like cooking over a campfire, a hibachi or anything else. You simply let your meat sizzle as you eat. The most intense amount of cooking is turning it over to keep it even. One of our favorite lunches was from the pool grill. We wish we had eaten on the pool deck more often, in spite of the outside temperature. Some days were certainly nice enough. I had pizza and salad. I ordered a shrimp cocktail that did not arrive. Todd had a burger. Everything is cooked to order, so allow time for that. STARS Stars Lounge is located off to the side of La Terraza. It has seating for 24 guests. There is also a full service bar there. In the evenings with a little bit of additional seating. I really liked it here and was here about 8 or 9 evenings for at least a while. Todd was here several, as well. It works as a place for a full meal, a gourmet snack, or just a lovely cabaret lounge. The entertainers, Alfreda and Vladimir put on a live show every night. It was always different since it was live. They seldom took breaks, and Alfreda always chatted from table to table before her show and during the breaks. Vladimir accompanied her and was always right on. When we first went, the menu had tasting portions for each letter in STARS. There were people doing the entire tasting of 15 items. Later, they added a pasta tasting set, also. The way it works is that you get 3 items per letter ordered that are served together and are a couple of bites each. For instance, there is one that I got a few times that has fois gras, a frog leg, and a scallop. Everything was top quality, and the presentation was beautiful. If you don't want any of those items, there are nibbles on the table. There are some incredible flour tortilla chips. They also have olives, incredible breadsticks that are like munching on cooked pie dough (yes!). There are some dipping sauces. One has a lot of fresh garlic. It did take a bit of time to get the ordered items, but we never arrived there hungry, anyway. Darlene, the manager was doing a wonderful job hosting and running the restaurant, in spite of always coming off a full day and evening at La Terraza. She is to be commended. The Other Lounges The Bar on Silver Spirit is just off the lobby on Deck 5. This is a new concept for Silversea, as The Bar has always been aft. We found that guests either loved it or did not like it at all. We loved it. We were there every day because of trivia, and I would stay afterward for the appetizers. There was food of some sort most of the time. In the mornings, there were pastries, orange and grapefruit juice and coffee. At first, they were running out of pastries, but a quick talk with Helmut, and that was corrected for the rest of the cruise. I would have loved to have seen a tray of fruit. After that, they served bullion . There were sandwiches and a full menu with even paninis during the day. Later on, there was a full tea service. At the cocktail hour, there were gourmet canapEs such as pate, shrimp cocktail, fois gras, tempura, etc. The issue was, none of them were ever served warm. Helmut said they were not allowed to serve them hot. I never did know the reason, and I think this should be changed. Throughout the day, they had a tub of hot mixed nuts, and they also had the usual baskets of nuts, chips, pretzels, and chex mix type items. Service at the counter was fine after the first day, but at the lounge seats, sometimes the servers stood at the back and did not seem to realize they should be circulating. Other times, the service was impeccable. Amadeo played piano tunes here at night before dinner and after dinner. The Panorama lounge was a location to hear Mark play the piano, and at 11 p.m., DJ Luc played a variety of tunes, including requests. As this caught on, there was a lot of dancing. I had good fun dancing up there a couple of nights. During the day, there were also refreshments served here at a variety of times, sometimes similar to the restaurant, and on one side, they do allow smoking. We only made it to the observation lounge to look around. It is a modern room. As you walk in, there is a screen that shows the live route the ship is going (same as the TV). There is also a great telescope up there. The view is spectacular, and I am sure this will be a popular spot for coming into port, sunsets, etc. The ship has the Connoisseur's Club lounge across from the casino. This is a clubby sitting area where cognacs and such are available and smokers can come. They were leaving the doors to the casino and the hallway open. The show lounge is not designed to hold all guests, but it was never full. It has a main stage and two side stages. I loved the way they used all three stages. Sometimes my eyes were just mesmerized traveling around the room to not miss anything. The room is all one level, but the seating is tiered so that everyone can see. The rows are too close together, so if someone crosses their foot right next to you, it will overlap. The benches for two are cozy for some, but we did fine. Sometimes we each sat on one side since there was usually plenty of space. They do have a place to set drinks, but it is barely wide enough. No drinks are served, so you have to bring your own. I asked a number of times anyone who would listen if they would just bring a small variety (like they usually do at the captain's party) and have the greeters hold them. They seem worried they will not please everyone, so they have taken on the solution of not doing it at all. I imagine the design will remain controversial to a lot of guests, but the seats are comfortable, you can see from everywhere, all guests were accommodated on our sailing. It is tight in the back, and you have to walk around the lighting, and there would not be much space for wheelchairs, walkers, and the like. There is no ramp side for handicapped that I saw, and the steps are very tiny (like 2 inches each), and they are constantly telling everyone to watch their step. Seishin This is a reservation only restaurant. While it was advertised they would have bento box lunches and a la carte, in addition to the degustation menu, during our sailing, this had not yet occurred. However, the restaurant manager was hoping this would happen, and she also was open to doing lunches when interest was high. We toured here more than once, though we did not dine here. We watched some preparation, and I sampled a couple of sakes. Dining here is 9 course, with a lot of raw. There is a chef that does the raw part in the middle of the room, and there is another chef that does the teppanyaki and other hot dishes in the back. The current price is $40 for the degustation with the sake pairing, and then there is a wine pairing option with the Le Champagne pricing. The entrEe for the degustation is waygu beef. The room accommodates 24. They had 22 to 24 a night in there, and 3 nights were sold out the first hour of the cruise. Le Champagne The room built for Le Champagne was well thought out and beautiful. Regional menus were offered. The one that looked the most interesting to me was the Tour of Italy. It featured a lemon veal scallopini. They had a caviar focus and an asparagus night. There were a number of others. The price here is $200 per person currently for the degustation menu and wine pairing if booking while on the ship. There is an option for $30 where no complimentary wines are served. To have wine, one must order from the manager's list. A number of guests were noting that some of the wines on the list were not available. Daytime Activities In general, there were less activities on this cruise than any Silversea cruise we have experienced. The itinerary was very port-intensive. The day that we did not get to go to Tangier, they put on a movie, but almost nobody knew about it. I only knew because they made it a "Name that Tune" question in the game at night. They did not have shuffleboard because they had not yet painted the lines. They did not have the golf putting because they did not have the equipment in yet. It was set to arrive the day we got off the ship. They did have some bridge games. Every day except the last night and the first night, they had team trivia. We played all nine nights that it was held. Only once did our team not place in the top 3. There were a few spa lectures on acupuncture, stress, body analysis and such, but the timing never worked for me. They did not have organized needlepoint at tea, but you could ask for a complimentary kit, I found out. One or two ladies just did theirs at tea time anyway. There were at least a couple of meets to guess distance traveled. There were no food demonstrations, and I always look forward to those. They did have a champagne tasting in The Restaurant on Christmas Eve right before the galley brunch. There were also port lectures and history/war lectures. Unfortunately, they did not put these on the TV. I hope they will do this in the future like we have always had on the other ships. The spa had conditioning classes, along with yoga and pilates. One afternoon, one of the Japanese guests did a lovely dance show in full costume. Nighttime Activities On this sailing, they were having a lot of the shows at both 6:45 and 10:15. We always went at 6:45 and attended every day. When the show is later, Todd often does not go, so I really enjoyed this pre-dinner option. There were 3 production shows. One was called Aquarius Dawning. It had music mainly from the late 60s. We enjoyed that one a lot. Another was a tribute to Elton John's music. Yes, Darren did an Elton John impersonation, but mostly, it was a tribute to a variety of his music. Even the ladies sang. Even the Lion King was featured, along with some costumes. The third was Euro 2010, a tribute to the show itself. We enjoyed that, also. At 10 pm one night, there was a Moroccan show with a local group. This was in Casablanca. I really enjoyed this. One of our trivia players did not like it at all because of his hearing aids. Guests were engaged in audience participation. I wish I had been sitting near the aisle. Another night, there was a local Flamenco show. This was very good, too. It was not as good as the show we saw on our tour in Cadiz. There was a group onboard at the beginning of the cruise that was in the Taste of Things to Come show and also did their own two shows on one night. This was Il Divo Forever. They were from Uraguay and Cuba but met in Iceland. Another night, there was a cabaret singer. Iris Williams. She sang a variety of songs from artists such as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. The boat was rocking that night, and she handled it quite well and gave a lovely performance. One night, they just had a Star Trek movie. We were in port that night, so no casino. One night, they had a Name that Tune game in The Bar with Amadeo playing the tunes on the piano. This was a team game. My team came in 2nd or 3rd. There was a mix of songs, including movie themes and songs from all sorts of decades. There was a section where the rhythm and to be named, and another where the composer had to be named. The captain's party was held in both The Bar and the Panorama, as was the Venetian Society party. There was entertainment in the lounges, and on some nights (7 out of 11), the casino was open if we weren't on an overnight. Other Public Areas On deck 8, there is the shops. There is a variety of logo items, jewelry, and designer ware. There are a very few pharmacy items. Also on deck 8 is the casino. This is larger than on all the other Silversea ships. Most notedly, there are quite a few more slots. They generally opened a half hour after coming into port and closed while in port. We played roulette once and eventually lost, so we mostly stuck to black jack and won almost every session. Tables also close during dinner. The day we arrived in Lisbon (which was supposed to be a sea day), they opened only for a couple of hours and only slots. The pool deck is very nice with 3 hot tubs and nice loungers with padded headrests. There is a row of double loungers that have thick cushions. All along the deck on the sides, there are loungers. Back behind the panorama lounge, there are other seats and even covered cabanas. Deck 10 has more seating and a track. These all have smoking areas. The library and internet center had a lot of books, mostly hardback. Gone are the DVDs, you just watch the movies on TV. They still had the suduko, daily quizzes (they ran out before 9 am almost every day), and crossword. The internet did not work a couple of days near the beginning of the cruise, and the guy running the center was seldom every in the center. He was available by page. Since he was with people all the time he was up there, I was surprised he was hardly ever around. On 5, they have the tour concierge desk now and also reception. Reception is the "go to" area for start for any issues, to pay bills, etc. There was a lot more "I am not allowed" than I have ever heard, but generally, they handled everything I ever needed. The infirmary is on deck 3, and the prices for nurse and doctor are posted there. They will also come to the cabin, but they charge more for that. The butler can arrange this. The spa had a number of treatment areas and new things like bamboo massage and herbal massage. They also have a Chinese medicine doctor and offer acupuncture. One of the guests we spoke to had this done and was quite pleased. Also available is Botox, and a number of people had it done. I don't need that yet. I didn't see a lot of specials except for multi-treatment packages. The aerobics room looks like it could not handle more than a handful of guests. It had hand weights and other equipment (no step) and a big screen. You could pick a routine from it, also. There was new equipment in the cardio room, and they had loaner headsets. A number of the machines are hooked to satellite, but it was not yet working. They were doing body composition analysis in this room for $40. There is a thermal room that was available for $25 per day or $150 for the cruise or $250 per couple. You could do your own aromatherapy and also sit on the hot stone seats (short) and also use the outdoor hot tub and lounge area. There was also a relaxation room. All areas had bottled waters and bottle juices available. The thermal area had its own sauna and steamroom. There was also a free sauna and steamroom, but both sets were unisex. It was an odd trot from the locker area to the sauna and steam, and over there, there was no hanger for robes and little room to move around. Generally, the steam room could handl 3 guests. The sauna had two benches for sitting or laying down, and it was oceanview. If someone laid on the bottom shelf, you could not lay on the top without making them move. The forward elevators did not work for several days in the rough weather. We just kept walking to the next set. Tours and Ports I booked tours with Silversea online in advance, and given the weather, I wish I had not done this. Our first scheduled tour was in Barcelona. This was the vineyard tour. It was canceled due to weather, but we did not do another tour since we had walked around a lot on our own the previous day. I had caught a mini cold from walking in the rain, so we just enjoyed the ship, all new. While walking around, we saw many restaurants, and there was everything for sale outside, even mice. In Malaga, we did a tour that went to a cathedral and a couple of castles. We had a spectacular view of the bullring and the ship and all of the water. We did the whole tour with umbrellas, and everyone wanted to come back early. The cathedral was just beautiful inside. All the architecture was amazing all around us, and we could not believe how much space was used in the town and how stacked the buildings were. There was also a shuttle, and some people went shopping. In Cadiz, we did the walking tour and Flamenco and Tapas. We really thought this was a highlight. I had walked all around the day before, but I did not know what I was seeing, and I did not go to quite as many places. It was windy up by the Atlantic. The Flamenco show was exceptional. Everyone was served local meat, cheese, and bread. We all got two drinks - either cava, red or white wine, lager or soft drinks. It is amazing how much work those dancers do, especially the men. Everyone had a great seat. Before the show, we were taken to a flower market and given time to go around on our own. We found a flea market and a fish and farmers market. We could not believe the variety of items available there. If you come here, be aware of the lengthy siesta time in the afternoon. Five guests did the cooking school here and actually got to cook. The cooking tour is the only tour I heard of that was not escorted by Silversea, but the guests just loved the tour. In Gibraltar, we went on one of the Rock of the Apes tours. This was another huge highlight. We were taken out by a lighthouse where we could see both Africa and Spain while we were standing in the U.K. The rock was an interesting sight, and after we drove up, we were placed in the environment with the apes as they ran free. We had many photo ops . We went inside for the cave tour, and it was very interesting. After the tour, I stayed in town to look around while Todd went back to the ship. There were a variety of British restaurants and pubs and many shops. Some were not open when I arrived due to it being Sunday, and then they opened later. In general, it was a good idea to have US dollars here (I did not), as they were giving the same exchange rate for Euros and USD. Since I was paying in Euros and already had lost on that deal from USD, I took a double hit. I only bought some cough syrup (12 EU) and a couple of magnets. I took a cab back to the ship for 2 Euros, but he would have taken 1 pound or 2 US dollars, also. In Casablanca, we each did a different tour. Todd did the sightseeing tour. They went inside the mosque on Todd's tour. On ours, we just saw the outside. Both went to the farmer's and fish market. Here I bought some of the Argan oil body lotion. Our guide stayed with us at all times. We went to a cooking school. First we were given some delicious juice that tasted like tangerines. Next, we were seated at a long metal table. The students demonstrated making various cookies and biscuits and beef and chicken dishes. The cookies were served with mint tea during the demo. Later, all the prepared dishes were served buffet style after we completed a hand-washing ritual that was a photo op. at the end, we had more cookies and tea on the rooftop. We had several sightseeing stops and a trip inside of a local store to buy African items. We also had a stop to a local herb place where they sold many herbs, lotions, potions, mixes, etc. for medicinal purposes and spices for cooking. Many were demonstrated. Then they were offered for sale at a one time price. I bought some other local hand crèmes. I'm really enjoying them. Both of our tours went by Rick's Cafe, a tribute to the movie that was actually filmed in Hollywood. Tangier was canceled due to the ship entering hurricane category 2 waters. We saw land in the distance, but we never entered the harbor and sailed on to Lisbon a day early after several hours of just laying down seasick and a rocky evening. Our tour in Lisbon included about 1 and a half hours on a river boat around the Tagus river. We were given local ham and cheese sandwiches and pastries, along with orange juice that tasted like Tang. This was a very pleasant way to see the river and get excellent pics of all the monuments and of Silver Spirit. Next, we took a motor coach all around town and got out for a couple of photos and saw a lot of the architecture. This was very relaxing. Dress Code The dress code on the ship during the day was resort casual. Since it was generally around 53 degrees F or 12 C much of the time, people had on long sleeved shirts, sometimes sweatshirts or sweaters, and long pants. I saw more people around in their robes than on any other cruise. Some wore them up to the hot tub. I have seen this before, but there was more of that on this cruise since it was cold. Also, people wore robes to the spa since the dressing room setup was not as desirable as on the other ships. Swimsuits are needed in the sauna and steam due to the unisex setup. During the day, I saw more jeans than ever, and with the weather, I wore them a couple of times myself and was happy to be in them! At night, we had 3 formal nights. It was a holiday cruise, and I think people enjoyed the dressup. We had 3 or 4 casual nights, and the rest were informal. Todd wore long-sleeved shirts on the casual, sometimes with a jacket, sometimes not. On the informal nights, he wore various dress shirts and a jacket and usually a tie. Some wore ties, and others did not. On New Year's Eve, there were a few gowns, but mostly, people dressed like on other Silversea cruises where there are a mix of tuxes and suits for men and a mix of dresses and nice pant outfits for women. Everyone looked nice all the time. Staff and Other Guests Around 60% of the staff came from other Silversea ships. We saw many familiar faces. Our cruise director was Fernando, and he brought Alessandra with him. It was great to see them. Crystal was the other international hostess. Fernando was ill for half the cruise, and Alessandra stepped in much of the time and did a wonderful job, as always. We saw wait staff and managers, all sorts of people that remembered us, and that we remembered. One exception is the production team. They were hired with contracts until August and had rehearsed for about a month and a half in Fort Lauderdale. There were 3 men and 5 women. Included is a ballet couple from the Ukraine. We did notice a difference in the service level of the new people from the seasoned Silversea staff. It was not from lack of interest or trying. By the end of the cruise, they had taken it up several notches. Even the experienced Silversea staff had some glitches with the new ship, but they were swift to act. There were 462 guests. There were 159 from the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) and 86 guests from Japan. There were some from Hong Kong and a number of Europeans and people from Canada. There were very few children, and none of them bothered anyone that I know of. We also were told that around 85% were returning Silversea guests. Holiday Celebrations At first, I thought they weren't really doing much for the Christmas holiday. They did, actually do some nice things, but there was not a lot of advanced notice. They had a mass on Christmas Eve. I went to this, though I am not Catholic. The next day in the early evening, there was a non-denominational service, but it was not mentioned the day before. There were a good number of attendees at the mass, including a number of the staff. There was a holiday show with mainly carols. This involved singing and piano and was held in the show lounge. On Christmas Eve, they had the galley lunch. On Christmas Day, there was an Italian family dinner in La Terazza and a set menu in The Restaurant, with the choice of entrEe. Seishin and Le Champagne were both open. On New Year's Day, they opened Seishin at lunch and had a Japanese New Year's party up there. Also on New Year's Day, they had a seafood buffet at lunch at La Terraza. On both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, at dinner, there were party favors at all the tables. On New Year's Eve, the lounges all had parties starting at 11 p.m. We booked in for STARS for 9:30. Dinner went until 9:40. Many that reserved did not show up at their correct time, and their tables were held. There were pluses and minuses to that. CEO Ken Watson attended the party at STARS. Alfreda added Motown and even disco to her offerings for the night. The entertainment staff all brought around champagne, and there were party favors - noise makers, hats, streamers, and balloons all over. There was dancing, and even Todd danced a little in spite of having a stomach ache and cough that was going around the ship a bit. After 12:15 when he went to the cabin, I went up to the Panorama lounge to look around. There were just a few people left. Inaugural Significance On this sailing, there was not a single sail away party, not even the first sail away. We were given a tote bag and two baseball caps, and we also got a paper certificate each noting our sailing on the maiden voyage. Little mention was made and not a lot of fanfare. Even the in-room sail away champagne was never even put on ice. When we opened it ourselves, they took it away before we even drank it. Debarkation and Trip Home We had a nice breakfast in our room and left the ship at 7:30 a.m. since we supposedly had an early flight in Lisbon. We were able to get a cab at the ship. We went in a Mercedes with an English-speaking guide who took us all the way inside the airport with our bags and made sure we were OK. He only wanted 37 Euros. On the Continental flight, we had video on demand. I watched 3 movies. The flight was full. We were served two meals again. We arrived to Newark two hours late. This caused us supposedly to miss our flight. We had already been confirmed for another flight in Lisbon as they expected us to miss it. We had to recheck our bags, and then we killed a bunch of time in Newark before we finally boarded for the 6:45 flight (we had originally been going to be all the way home by 7:20 Central). The flight was full, and we were set to go. They never shut the door, and all of a sudden, they said there was a security issue and to stand by. Eventually, we were deplaned, as were all planes in the terminal, including our original flight that had been delayed due to mechanical issues. We ended up being rallied down to the baggage claim. We were in Newark 8 hours, but eventually we got out that night and got home at 3:18 a.m. Read Less
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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