Itinerary: Port Everglades, At Sea, Grand Turk, San Juan, San Juan, St. Kitts, Roseau, St. John's, Gustavia, Road Town, Semana, At Sea, Key West, Port Everglades
Silversea is a cruise line with which we are very familiar, having sailed on nearly every ship in the fleet to many exotic parts of the world. In addition, Silver Spirit is a ship with which we are also very familiar. This was our third sailing aboard Silver Spirit. So one must wonder, what more could we possibly have to say about this cruise line and/or this particular ship?
A lot has changed since the last time we sailed on Silver Spirit. For one thing, she is now 49 feet longer after having been cut in half and a new section inserted. The objective for this stretch was to bring Silver Spirit closer in design and function to Silversea's newest ship, Silver Muse (and the next ship, Silver Moon). And, since our last Silversea cruise, Silversea has become part of the Royal Caribbean family of cruise lines (along with Azamara Club Cruises and Celebrity Cruises). So, we were very curious to see not only what has changed on Silver Spirit, but if we could detect any changes to the Silversea product under the auspices of big brother, Royal Caribbean.
I am pleased to report that, for all of you who have emailed me with concerns about the Royal Caribbean acquisition, you can rest easy. Silversea is still "Silversea." As a matter of fact, all indications are that Silversea will be even better (if that is possible) as a result of the Royal Caribbean deal. Big Brother has deep pockets and can fund things like new ship builds, many of which have already been announced. We could see a luxury segment war with the big players all trying to one-up each other by offering more amenities and services to attract the profitable luxury-seeking cruise enthusiast. Wouldn't that be cool?
So, this media assignment was to see what changes have taken place with Silver Spirit, one of our all-time favorite small luxury ships. In fact, we have already done thorough reviews of Silver Spirit, which you can read if you want all the detals:
So, rather than saying what has already been said, we want to focus on what's new and what's changed with Silver Spirit.
Restaurants and Lounges
The "Muse-ification" of Silver Spirit meant the addition of new dining spaces. Gone are the days of a single restaurant where everybody congregates at tables for four, six or eight people. Silver Spirit guests can now enjoy a wide variety of dining venues, menus and flavors. And, there is a greater emphasis on intimate dining with a large number of two-top tables in every venue.
The Arts Cafe
One of our favorite additions to Silver Spirit is Arts Cafe (Deck 8 aft). The quirky, colorful decor is sort of out of character for Silversea, which tends to lean more towards an understated elegance theme. We enjoyed Arts Cafe on Silver Muse in 2017 and we love that it has been added to Silver Spirit.
In addition to having a full-service bar, Arts Cafe features canapés, sandwiches and snacks throughout the day. In the mornings, you can find pastries here and, at lunchtime, there is a delicious selection of sandwiches (Rickee's favorite was the tomato, cheese and cucumber), and these cool little jars filled with all sorts of salads.
Glass mugs are used to serve a variety of hot soups. The Chicken Noodle was delicious.
At teatime, Arts Cafe offers a multi-tiered tray with a selection of sweet treats and finger sandwiches to enjoy with your choice of tea. And, you can enjoy your visit to Arts Cafe inside or out on the shaded terrace.
Spaccanapoli (pronounced 'spack-uh-nop-oly'), located on Deck 10 midship (overlooking the pool deck) is Silversea's new pizza concept and it, too, is a winner in our opinion. It is open from 11am to 11pm every day and is always casual. Outdoor dining only here.
You would expect an Italian-based cruise line to have good pizza, and you won't be disappointed with the pies served here. If you like thin-crust Neopolitan-style pizza, you are going to make a few visits to Spaccanapoli.
The crust is crunchy, and chewy, with just enough burned bubbles around the edge to make it authentic. San Marzano tomatoes are used for a rich sauce along with excellent Italian cheeses.
The menu here has something for every pizza lover. They also have a Calzone which we did not try, but saw one being delivered to a nearby table. It was large enough for two people!
Indochine is Silversea's Asian restaurant located on Deck 4 midship. Indochine occupies roughly one-third of the space from what used to be The Restaurant (my estimate, not Silversea's) with Atlantide occupying the other two-thirds. Indochine is open from 7:00pm until 9:30pm. The Indochine Bar is open at 6:00pm.
There are two different menus at Indochine, the second of which comes into play about half-way through the cruise. This gives guests an opportunity to make two visits, and have two different food experiences.
We dined here twice and I enjoyed both menus. I am more into spicy food than Rickee is, but she was able to find items that she could enjoy. The Egg Drop Noodle soup is one of the best you will find anywhere.
If you like spicy, then Indochine is your kind of place. Put your tolerance to the test with the Lamb Rogan Josh. It is the hottest, spiciest dish I have ever had on a cruise ship, and comparable to what you would find in an authentic Indian restaurant.
Read more about Indochine here.
Located next door to Indochine, Atlantide is the closest dining venue to what used to be The Restaurant (pre-renovation). Atlantide is open for dinner from 7:00pm to 9:30pm. The Atlantide Bar opens at 6:00pm.
Atlantide is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Lunch menus change daily, but breakfast and dinner menus are fixed.The dinner menu, however, is extensive enough that you could easily dine here several times and never eat the same thing twice.
We had dinner in Atlantide on our first night and it was very good. Rickee had a massive caviar starter and a Lemon Meringue Tart that she claimed was one of the best desserts she has ever eaten.
While not a new restaurant, La Terrazza on Silver Spirit has been completely renovated. Everything here is brand new, and beautiful. At breakfast and lunch, La Terrazza is Silver Spirit's buffet restaurant. In the evenings, La Terrazza becomes a romantic Italian bistro. The restaurant serves breakfast each day from 00:30am to 00:30am, buffet lunch from 12:00 noon until 2:00pm. Dinner is served from 7:00pm until 9:30pm and reservations are recommended.
At breakfast and lunch, La Terrazza has one of the best buffets you will find on any ship.
The terrace behind La Terrazza is the nicest al fresco venue you will find anywhere.
We had lunch at La Terrazza several times, and were always pleased with the selection. I especially like the fresh pasta and Asian stir-fry station where dishes are prepared when you place your order
Dinner at La Terrazza is a special event with a beautiful multi-course Italian menu. The new decor really takes on a dressy, elegant feel in the evening when the lights go down and candles are placed on the tables. Reservations are recommended here, but if you show up without one, there is a good chance they will be able to find you a table.
The Caprese Salad was a softball-sized chunk of fresh mozzarella atop slices of juicy red tomatoes and drizzled with a fragrant pesto.
The pasta dishes all feature fresh, handmade pasta, and you can tell the difference. The pastas are as good as you will find in any Italian restaurant. They are good enough to be enjoyed as a main course, which I did on our second visit. The Bigoli al Cacio 'Podolico' e Pepe was my favorite. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, and the simple cheese and pepper sauce was sublime.
No meal at La Terrazza is complete without a traditional Limoncello to cap off the meal.
Read more about our experience at La Terrazza here.
Silver Note (formerly Stars Supper Club) is certainly the most unique dining concept on Silver Spirit. There is only one seating for dinner here each evening: 8:00pm.
There are a few tables for four or six, but the most common seating here is two-top tables all in a row. It is one of the only things we did not care for about Silver Note. There's only about 10 inches between tables, so even though you are technically at a table for two, it feels more like you are at one huge table for 18. We prefer the seating arrangement in Silver Note on Silver Muse.
The menu is quirky, as we remembered from our Silver Muse experience, maybe even a little over the top. Rickee's ceviche starter was a work of art, albeit a little difficult to negotiate when eating.
Guests enjoy live entertainment during dinner at Silver Note.
Reservations are required at Silver Note, and seating is very limited, so reserve early.
We had never been huge fans of Panorama Lounge on Spirit, that is, until now. The lounge has been completely renovated with new colors, furnishings and surfaces. It is a little smaller than Panorama on Muse, and that is one of the things we like about it. And, it is more intimate than Dolce Vita (formerly The Bar) on Deck 5.
In the evenings, guests enjoy live music from the Silver Spirit Trio. The bar service in Panorama was the best we found on Silver Spirit. By the third visit, our waiter knew my drink of choice.
Silversea still has the best bar service of any cruise line. Even though all cocktails, wine and beer (except for some Premium wines) are complimentary, they are very generous with each pour. My Crown Royal pour on SIlversea would be considered a double on any other cruise line.
A snack tray is offered at each table with nuts, trail mix and potato chips. At 6:30pm, waiters begin offering plates of creative and delicious canapés.
Formerly The Bar, Dolce Vita, located on Deck 5 midship, is the largest bar/lounge on Silver Spirit.
New furnishings make this a more comfortable space than what The Bar was. The space is larger and more open than before. There is a small dance floor and piano for entertainment in the evenings. Of course, bar service here is virtually the same as in Panorama; however, because Dolce Vita is a much larger lounge, it may take a little longer to get your favorite beverage here. On our voyage, Dolce Vita guests were entertained in the evenings by resident vocal pianist, Snizhana, and vocal guitarist, Daniel.
Now on Silversea, you can order anything from the room service menu and have it delivered to you anywhere on the ship. I have used this in the mornings when working on my blog at Panorama Lounge. I call Room Service at 5am and order a pot of coffee, and they deliver it to me at Panorama!
Or, let's say you might enjoy a cheese plate delivered to Dolce Vita. No problem. The only suggestion we would make would be for the ship to have one of the room service menus available in each pubic space, maybe next to the phone.
Twenty-six new Veranda suites have been added to Silver Spirit, along with six Silver Suites and two Panorama Suites. Every suite on Silver Spirit has been touched up with a new look and feel to match the design of the suites on Silver Muse. For the first two evenings on board, we stayed in a Superior Veranda (808) on deck 8 and it looked brand new.
All furnishings are new. The new color scheme is lighter and much more contemporary than before. If you did not know better, you would swear you were on Silver Muse. Big improvements have been made to the suite's technology. The interactive HD television has been moved from behind the mirror(s) so, now there is one large television mounted in the living room, but visible from the bed.
The suite now features more power outlets and (finally) USB charging ports! An alarm clock with charging plate on top is a welcome addition.
On day three of our sailing, we were moved into one of the new Silver Suites on Deck 10 (1015). There were two Silver Suites added to Deck 10, two on Deck 11 and two on Deck 8. The Deck 8 suites also have the option of converting to a two-bedroom suite by opening up to an adjoining Veranda Suite. The six new suites that were added to Silver Spirit reflect the same color scheme as those on Silver Muse, with the light grey color scheme giving these suites a more contemporary, fashion-forward look.
The new luxury mattress is very comfortable, and all bedding is top quality. The desk is large enough to hold a laptop (by relocating the books and folders) and now offers more than enough in the way of electrical and USB outlets.
The bathroom is the crown jewel of the Silver Suite with a dual-sink vanity, tons of storage space and top quality Bvlgari amenities.
The shower stall is as good as you will find on any cruise ship, or hotel for that matter.
Silver Suite guests also benefit from additional perks, such as complimentary laundry, wet cleaning and pressing throughout the cruise (a really nice benefit on a longer cruise). You also get bumped up to Premium Internet service when in a Silver Suite.
We did notice quite a bit of mechanical noise in suite 1015, likely due to its location. Just behind the bedroom wall of the suite is the Spaccanapoli kitchen, which is basically open to the pool deck. When there is a band playing at the pool, you will hear it clearly in 1015. We have stayed in other Silver Suites on Silver Spirit and never experienced any noise issues, so we are sure it has to do with this specific suite. Perhaps some additional soundproofing is in order?
The improvements to all of the suites on board Silver Spirit elevate the accommodations to the top of any in the industry. The Silver Suite remains our all time favorite cruise ship accommodation. If we were doing a world cruise on Silversea, we would choose the Silver Suite.
The pool deck is larger after the lengthening with a much larger Grill dining area. There are three hot tubs at one end of the rather large pool. There are plenty of comfortable loungers on Decks 9 and 10.
Silversea appears to be putting an increased emphasis on quality entertainment. They recently announced six new theatrical performances in conjunction with Luna Ross Productions. On our sailing, we enjoyed some excellent vocal performances by the Voices of Silversea.
In addition to the troupe of resident performers, we were also treated to excellent guest performers, like Flemenco guitarist, Adam Westcott.
And of course, Silversea continues to provide some of the best enrichment lectures of any cruise line. On our cruise, all of this entertainment was being capably delivered under the auspices of veteran Cruise Director, Jimmy Kovel, and his excellent cruise staff.
We sailed with Mr. Kovel on Silver Muse in 2017 and were pleased to see he still has his sharp wit in tact, most noticeable during Silversea's legendary Team Trivia sessions. One evening, the cruise staff invited everyone out on the pool deck for Death By Chocolate, a massive chocolate-lover's buffet complete with singing and dancing.
Silversea Shore Concierge
We booked four excursions for this cruise. Three were booked through the MySilversea website a few weeks prior to embarkation, and one was booked directly with the Silversea Shore Concierge desk (Deck 5 midship). When we arrived at our suite on the day of embarkation, all of the tickets for pre-booked excursions were waiting for us on the desk.
We enjoyed all of the excursions and felt like all were a good value. The Culinary Walking Tour of San Juan was one of the best we have ever enjoyed on a cruise. And, when we decided at the last minute to do a kayak excursion in Semana, Dominican Republic, the Shore Concierge Desk was more than willing to accommodate us.
Since our last Silversea cruise, the company now offers guests in all suites complimentary unlimited "standard" WiFi Internet access. This is a very nice perk that we are starting to see on more and more luxury and premium cruise lines. Guests staying in Silver Suites and above benefit from complimentary Premium Internet, which claims to have higher speeds. We had the opportunity to try both standard and premium during our 13-night sailing. With Standard Internet, sites like YouTube, Vimeo or any sites that stream video are blocked. You can access YouTube and others with the Premium Internet, but the speeds are still too slow to really utilize them. The Premium Internet package was selling for $244 on our 13- night cruise, or $29/day. If you only want to check/send email and maybe look at your stock portfolio, standard Internet should work fine.
When you step aboard a Silversea ship, you feel like you have arrived. It's like riding in a Rolls-Royce, flying First Class on Singapore Airlines, or staying in a suite at The Peninsula Hong Kong. It's just a feeling, there's no other way to describe it. We have been sailing with Silversea since 2002, and have watched the company grow and continue to improve. We enjoy, and appreciate, quality and good service. When only the best will do, Silversea always delivers.