Little niceties count aboard Silver Spirit
Earlier this year, I sat on the aft deck aboard Silversea’s ultra-luxurious Silver Spirit, martini in hand, watching the sun set over Monte Carlo. The 2016 Mediterranean season still has plenty of sailings left, and Silver Spirit has more than her fair share of great voyages.
Monte Carlo is the halfway point in Silver Spirit’s six-day sampler sailing between Barcelona and Rome that also featured calls on Sete, France; Sanary-sur-Mer, France; Livorno, Italy; and Olbia, Sardinia. Silversea’s guests are well-travelled and discerning, and the line’s itineraries strike a nice balance between big-name ports of call and smaller, off-the-beaten-path locales.
On Silversea, little niceties are everywhere. If you’ve ever boarded a megaship, you’ll know that just getting onboard can take forever. With Silversea, my embarkation in Barcelona took less than five minutes from the time I arrived at the pier until I stepped onboard the Silver Spirit. A glass of champagne welcomes guests onboard, and your luggage frequently beats you to your suite.
Although she’s currently the largest ship in the Silversea fleet, Silver Spirit carries just 540 guests — most of whom will stay in suites measuring at least 376 square feet. Every suite features the services of a butler, who can unpack and pack your luggage or arrange dinner or shore excursion reservations. Your butler will also offer up three different kinds of toiletries (Bulgari, Ferragamo and a hypoallergenic brand), and nine different pillow types to complement your stay.
Silversea, of course, is famous for its inclusions. Gratuities aren’t expected. Drinks of all kinds — from simple tonic water to hand-crafted cocktails — are included in the price of the voyage. So are most dining venues onboard. The line has even rolled out inclusive shore excursions and Internet access on select voyages.
I’ve sailed a number of times aboard this beautiful ship, and returning to Silversea feels like a homecoming. Service is polished and exacting, but never stuffy.
New features abound aboard the Silver Spirit, and most revolve around culinary life. Dining room menus have been entirely redesigned with new smaller-plate selections that encourage guests to sample five, six and even seven small courses in The Restaurant. The line has also rolled out two brand new gourmet burger selections, revamped its casual Pool Grill menu, and substantially improved its nightly onboard entertainment offerings with its Artists of Silversea partnership.
One of Silversea’s coolest new onboard features aims to bring the ship closer to a private yacht. Known as “All Around Dining,” it enables you to order off of an extensive room-service style menu, anywhere in the ship, at any time of day or night — even outside of meal hours. I’ve never been hungry long enough on Silversea to feel the need to order a club sandwich in The Bar, but knowing the option is there is kind of nice.
The voyage itself was charming. A full-day excursion from Sete took us to the medieval walled city of Carcassonne, while a full-day tour from Livorno brought us to the nearby jewel that is Florence, Italy. Smaller towns like Sanary-sur-Mer delighted us with local markets and a more laid-back, less-rushed pace. Cruise ships are rare here, and locals welcomed us with a musical procession and open arms.
Silver Spirit’s Mediterranean season this year encompasses 20 different voyages departing through November. They range in length from this short six-day sampler (which, by the way, is a great introduction to luxury cruising) to the massive 16-day Westbound Transatlantic Crossing between Barcelona, Spain and Bridgetown, Barbados, that departs Nov. 5.
Next year, Silversea’s newest ship — the 596-guest Silver Muse — will join Silver Spirit in the Mediterranean. She sets sail on her maiden voyage on April 10, 2017 from Monte Carlo.