Silversea Silver Spirit Cruise Review
Guest arts and travel writer, Vivien Devlin, reports back on Silversea cruises newly stretched Silver Spirit.
The new, streeeeetched Silver Spirit is a creative, culinary-inspired spiritual awakening
On 21st January, 2010, my partner Ken and I attended the glamorous christening ceremony of the recently launched Silver Spirit prior to the Grand Inaugural Voyage around South America. Accommodating 540 guests with wider choice of restaurants, this was a radical new look compared to the other Silversea ships. As I wrote at the time :
Silver Spirit brings a fresh, cool wind of change … more of a contemporary designer hotel, albeit with art deco roots, inspired by the golden era of cruising. She is certainly a larger lady, but no less chic and sleek. A welcome concept is the butler service providing impeccable, personal attention, Dining under the Stars has been a sailaway success - who would have thought that a Hot Rock steak with a baked potato would be a hit - and Stars New York-style supper club for cocktails & jazz cabaret.
Eight years on, time for the Silver Spirit to have a facelift to rejuvenate the design and dining for today’s discerning world traveller to emulate her sister ship, Silver Muse.
The pre-built segment being added to Silver Spirit
This was an extraordinary engineering project taking just two months from start to finish: 5th March 2018, she entered dry dock in Palermo to be literally sliced in two, to insert a pre-built 49 foot extension in the centre. This created space for eight restaurants, thirty four new suites and following a complete refurbishment throughout, the “new” streeeeetched Silver Spirit set off on her first voyage on 6th May 2018.
Silver Spirit, post stretch
First impressions as we step on board in Copenhagen are amazing from the glossy white exterior – (and no, you cannot see the join where she was welded together.!) – to the softer colour palette of the décor. Dolce Vita Bar is dressed in brown leather and aqua blue velvet while the Panorama Lounge is transformed into a smart cocktail bar. Its outdoor deck is furnished with blue and white Cirrus seating (JANUS et Cie), the perfect spot to watch the wake of surfing waves.
The JANUS et Cie design on Silver Spirit
The significantly enlarged Sun Deck has a shallow water “beach” surrounding the swimming pool, three Jacuzzis, comfy loungers, and under a sail-like canopy, the buzzing Pool Bar & Grill. On sea days, this is the sociable, happy hub of the ship, with guests gathering for a midday Bloody Mary, lunchtime burgers and healthy salads, through to a sundowner glass of fizz and then sizzling steak or salmon for dinner at the ever popular Hot Rocks.
The new pool deck on Silver Spirit
Guest capacity has increased to 608 with the fleet of new cool, contemporary staterooms (Owner’s, Silver, Veranda categories), although all original suites are refreshed in shades of cappuccino, mushroom, silver-grey. The previous hidden mirror TVs have been replaced by a swivelling, wall mounted HD screen: news channels, movies, music, daily activities, cruise ports & itinerary. Luxury amenities - bathrobes, slippers, soft towels, fragrant toiletries, (Japanese Green Tea range from Bvlgari, Ortigia Sicilian lemon and flowers) while your butler organises pillow choices, mini-bar beverages, laundry, shoe cleaning, in-suite breakfast and dinner reservations.
Veranda Suite, Silver Spirit
The former main restaurant has been removed to create an international culinary journey on board while you sail around the world. No table bookings required in Atlantide and Indochine where you may “dine when you like with whom you like”, with their own classy cocktail bars - Gin Martini is said to be the most requested aperitif.
The Restaurant, as it was, now transformed into Atlantide and Indochine
Silversea cruising is all about an all-exclusive wining and dining experience including a quality selection of wines, champagne, cocktails and spirits with the option of a connoisseur list of vintage wines and speciality spirits. Advice on hand from seven sommeliers, the team of bar tenders and creative mixologists who will shake up your favourite serve or concoct a refreshing tipple to suit your taste.
Atlantide is elegant and plush: rust velvet chairs with tables a deux and large booths, Villeroy & Boch plates, Italian Mepra cutlery. The extensive menu, which changes every five days, may offer foie gras, Baltic salmon, Argentinian steak, New Zealand lamb, lobster, spinach ravioli with truffle. Lunch here is refined and relaxing too, over three to four courses, if you wish.
Next door, the more casual, ocean-themed, Indochine reflects Marco Polo’s travels along the spice route of Asia: sweet and sour prawns, Aloo Gobi, Thai green chicken curry, ginger and kaffir lime crème brulee, and to drink .. Singapore Sling, wine and oriental beers.
Silver Note on Silver Spirit
The spaciously re-designed La Terrazza, with outdoor patio ideal for alfresco breakfast and lunch, transforms into an Italian trattoria at night (Insalata di Polpo, Risotto al Taleggio, Veal Ossobucco). Next door is the Silver Note Jazz Club for imaginative, tasty tapas …..but unfortunately, large pillars and wall-facing chairs prevent a view of the cabaret show and (unlike the Muse), there’s no bar with stools for a nightcap served with a side of sultry jazz.
Since 1994, Silversea has been a partner of Grands Chefs Relais et Chateaux sharing the same values of the art of living, haute cuisine and hospitality. For a moderate dining fee, ‘La Dame by Relais et Chateaux’ presents a bespoke Parisian experience (L’Escargots, Bouillabaisse, Le Boeuf, Fromages, Fraises et Chocolat), with paired fine wines.
This 15-night voyage is exploring the undulating coastline, fishing ports and scenic fjords of Norway all the way to Nordkapp far in the Arctic circle, the most northerly point of Europe at 71.10.21 N degrees. This is the 'Land of the Midnight Sun' in summer - quite a phenomenon to witness such an expanse of light sky in the wee small hours.
Between shore excursions en route (ocean kayaking, Lofoten Islands, troll heritage, Sami reindeer crafts), plenty time to relax, read, attend enrichment lectures, (Arctic Explorers, travel photography), ballroom dance lessons, a Martini masterclass. Also a special “L’Ecole de Chefs” with a tour of Torget Fish Market, Bergen to see giant King Crabs, Wolf Fish, smoked whale, entertaining cookery demonstrations and tastings of apple cake, Gravlax, Bronost cheese, artisan bread and Akvavit to learn more about Norwegian culinary culture.
Spaccanapoli is the all day Pizzeria on deck 10 above the Pool Deck – the perfect change from too much haute cuisine on the high seas. The Pizzaiolo is sous chef Nicola Pagliari from Naples, Italy – so expect the real McCoy. The sourdough is made from flour with green apple and yogurt, giving a subtle flavour to the dough which is hand folded thinly and baked for three minutes in the oven at 350C. A choice of Napoli pizzas (Marinara, Margherita) and Tradizione (Fungi Porcini, Se formaggi) but you are free to pick and choose various ingredients to create your own. Perhaps Proscuitto & Ananas!
Arts Cafe, Silver Spirit
New venues, menus and fresh produce are the key stars of the show - 99% of food is ship- made, with two bakers producing all bread, croissants, bagels, baguettes and rolls working day and night shifts. Pastries galore at the Arts Café – the innovative Coffee Shop on deck 8 with a library of books on art, design and fashion. This is an alternative lounge for breakfast, (scrambled egg Paninis, fruit smoothies), lunchtime sandwiches, afternoon tea and cakes, canapés and bar drinks, with an outdoor terrace too.
The team of international chefs allocated to each galley is essential for an authentic experience. In Seishin, Homer Amada trained at the prestigious Nobu in Manilla renowned for unique, modern Japanese dishes. With its theatre kitchen, tables set with red mats, chopsticks on a black marble shell, sample octopus, crab, shrimp and vegetarian Sushi rolls, Tuna, scallop and salmon Sashimi with garnishes of pickled cucumber, ginger and wasabi, all colourfully arranged on a slate platter. At night, with mood lighting and silver snakeskin place mats, a small fee is charged for an intimate dinner to sample such dishes as Wagyu Kushiyaki, Miso soup, Black Cod, Green tea ice-cream.
Seishin on Silver Spirit
Keep fit on board at the Fitness Centre with daily stretching and movement classes or take a brisk walk or sprint around the jogging track – 10 laps is a mile. A Silversea cruise is also about indulgence and pampering to soothe the senses; escape to the tranquil oasis of the Zagara Spa, named after the sweet orange blossom of the Amalfi Coast to chill out with an anti-ageing facial, or therapeutic, seaweed wrap. Personal training, pilates, yoga, health & wellness seminars, Hair Salon & beauty care.
And so the day unfolds in active or leisurely fashion. The only decision to make is which restaurant to choose tonight! A diverse range of evening musical entertainment around the bars and after dinner theatre showtime with the talented resident Voices or world class guest performers.
Silver Spirit Cruise Summary
After sailing with Silversea for nearly 20 years, their intimate Italian cruising concept has never failed to wow. The Silver Muse and now the re-imagined Silver Spirit exemplify the inspiring new direction for the cruise line without losing sight of its trademark 6 star standard of hospitality with an almost 1:1 guest/staff ratio. This creative evolution complements their sense of tradition with an enhanced cosmopolitan house party lifestyle.
Silver Spirit has now matured and grown into a sassy, sophisticated, fashionable young lady. She is a (slightly) larger lady but once again, no less chic and sleek. A signature cocktail was invented to celebrate her first voyage around South America and the Silver Spirit is still a perennial favourite on board. Cool, classic and refreshing, it hits the spot like a luxurious, leisurely Silversea cruise.
Silver Spirit cruises around Scandinavia on varied itineraries until the end of August 2018, then sailing to London to set off on a transatlantic crossing to New York and Canada, followed by island hopping cruises around the Caribbean through autumn and winter.
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