by Vanessa Lee
Cruise in style aboard this intimate and luxurious cruise line and enjoy indulgent and above and beyond service.
My butler did it – and I loved it! Took great care of me, that is. Even to the extent of drawing me a hot bubble bath, pampering me and soothing my soul. That unexpected treat, complete with candles and strewn rose petals was a perfect and thoughtful moment amongst many as I sailed on a Silversea cruise in the Mediterranean this past Spring. And I must say I took full advantage of it and lolled in my tub with a glass of champagne in hand as I considered what a wonderful and relaxing voyage this was – one that afforded me much valued time to simply recharge. That’s a rare luxury in this busy world these days.
And so this was essentially how my week unfolded onboard the lovely and elegant Silver Spirit. The cruise was a springtime sojourn from Barcelona to Rome, touching on smaller and lesser known ports in Spain, France and Italy as well as a call to famed Monte Carlo. The diverse and global itineraries offered by this cruise line are truly expansive and offer an immersive look at many well-known and popular ports as well as including visits to lesser known spots that will truly delight. A very nice blend and a chance to see places that are more off the beaten path too. And being immersed in the truly luxurious experience that Silversea is well known for and ensconced in a beautifully appointed and spacious suite, replete with my fantastic butler and a suite attendant, being waited on hand and foot – well, it’s hard not to fall in love with such a ship and cruise line.
What makes the experience so special is the staff, many of whom certainly play a pivotal and large role; they are caring, attentive, happy and willing to please. There is a true culture of service at Silversea which was eminently obvious to all and it just made an excellent cruise experience even better.
When you sail on a Silversea ship another contributing factor to your enjoyment is that just about everything is included in the cruise fare – all of your drinks, including premium cocktails and liquor, fine wines, coffees and bottled water, and of course the free-flowing champagne! Gratuities are included too – for that ever-present and attentive service which is truly a hallmark of the experience. Something very useful for those of us who just have to stay connected – 360 minutes of complimentary Wi-Fi for every Verandah suite - something I loved. Regardless of accommodation, every guest enjoys at least one hour of free Wi-Fi per day throughout the ship.
I love an inclusive experience – never having to sign a bill for a drink or worry about ordering wine at dinner, and these inclusions also add to the lively and enjoyable feel of social camaraderie amongst the guests. Along with open-seating dining and a choice of a number of restaurants, the atmosphere onboard is one of relaxed elegance in the company of like-minded individuals – something we found tremendously enjoyable and a sensibility which added greatly to our vacation experience.
Silver Spirit offers a wide variety of cuisine and special culinary offerings, most notably in the Relais & Chateaux inspired Le Champagne which is a truly superb dining experience in every way. From the choice of dishes, the service and atmosphere – everything is delectable. Wine pairings are offered and recommended at an additional charge for each course or you may simply enjoy the house wines chosen for you. As the room is very small it is often booked well before the cruise even sails so reservations are a must and the small charge to dine here is more than worth it. Another popular spot is the equally intimate Seishin serving pan-Asian delights for both lunch and dinner, again with reservations suggested and also with a charge.
One of my all-time favored dining choices on Silversea has always been La Terrazza which is open for all meals with an extensive buffet service for breakfast and lunch and regular dining in the evening. What I love most about this spot is the chance for al-fresco dining at the aft of the ship – something we took advantage of frequently in the warm Mediterranean climate. The choices are extensive for lunch with a wide variety of hot and cold options but the Italian-themed dinners are a treat – all the delicious favorites you could wish for.
And yet another winner among many, on Silver Spirit is Stars Supper Club, small tasty plates served in another intimate setting, all to the delightful accompaniment of a talented chanteuse belting out Broadway tunes, popular R&B songs and the classics, all to the accompaniment of a pianist. In this intimate venue you can enjoy both the meal and the entertainment along with just 24 other guests. It’s a delightful choice – even to pop by later in the evening, enjoy a post-dinner drink and tap along to some familiar tunes. And lastly, I loved the Hot Rocks Grill on the upper deck where you can sit outside for dinner and enjoy a very casual meal of steak, shellfish etc that you grill yourself to your own taste on your own “Hot Rock”. It’s great fun, tasty food and provides another enjoyable moment for camaraderie with one’s fellow guests.
The Silver Spirit carries 540 guests in all-suite accommodations with a spacious verandah as well and a full bathroom replete with tub and shower – so you can enjoy that rose petal, candle-lit bubble bath in the middle of the day if you’re so inclined! Each suite has its own well-stocked bar, catered to your preferences and every afternoon you can enjoy complimentary canapes delivered to your suite as you prepare for the evening’s festivities. Bvlgari bathroom amenities are offered in each suite but there are two other choices as well and I loved the fantastic storage space, the walk-in closet as well as the interactive TV. And the welcoming bottle of Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne which we enjoyed on our verandah one day with a view of Monte Carlo!
There is always something going on including a charming Afternoon Tea served in La Terrazza to the accompaniment of a pianist. A real Devon cream tea along with lovely cakes and delicious English cucumber and Smoked Salmon sandwiches and of course loose tea. But there’s also quiet space to slip away to, watch the view and read a good book. Naturally there are various venues for cocktails or casual afternoon on-deck drinks while listening to live music and after dinner each evening there is a show or some kind in the ship’s main Show Lounge. The very talented Cruise Director also entertained us one evening much to everyone’s delight.
The ship’s rich and stylish décor is the perfect backdrop to an absolutely wonderful cruise experience and one I could not recommend more. Small touches are everywhere, there’s a sense of genuine caring and one certainly feels totally pampered and spoiled. And Silversea leaves you wanting more!
Originally published in Cruise & Travel Lifestyles Fall/Winter 2016 issue.