This experience really was six-star service at sea (try saying that ten times). Seriously, as an aficionado of luxury travel this is the kind of service what I've been waiting for.
Well, your prayers have been answered with the new flagship Silver Spirit from Silversea Cruise Lines that debuted one year ago. Designed to hold 540 passengers, this luxury ship, outfitted in handsome dark wood, offers silken service and cashmere care, to put all other luxury cruise ships to shame.
We were quite happily ensconced into a spanking new Silver Suite, #1101, which is the first time we have ever stayed in a oversized suite on a cruise ship (as opposed to a typical cabin or stateroom). What a difference it makes! This beautiful suite featured a huge living room/dining room area, a large walk-through/walk-in closet, marble bathroom with two double sinks, separate marble toilet area, a Jacuzzi tub, a large bedroom that can be outfitted with two twins or a king-size bed, and two flat-screen TVs.
Daily fresh flowers and fruit were also provided in our suite, and there's even a DeLonghi coffee and cappuccino maker. Another terrific suite you may enjoy is #801, the Spirit's Grande Suite. It is similar to the Silver Suites, except that the entire suite is outfitted in light blonde wood, giving it an even more handsome appearance. If you desire a bar set up in your room, just say the word and a premium collection of full-size bottles will be there, complimentary. Amaretto di Saronno, Cherry Heering, top-shelf vodka and gin-the gang's all here. As one passenger told us, "I asked for a bar setup with cognac, and I got all that, plus Courvoisier."
One fabulous feature that Silversea offers on the Silver Spirit is the impressive Pillow Menu. Your butler can offer you the traditional popular pillow;, the Prominent medium-firm, the Pronounced with extra neck support, Memory Foam, the Buckwheat to relieve body aches, an Aqua Plush made of polyester down, the Fairfax with firm down, and our favorite, the 20x60 Body Pillow. It is covered in silk charmeuse with hidden pockets for scent sachets of chamomile or lavender. It will cradle you in a cocoon of comfort. Now that's class!
All accommodations on all of Silversea's ships include butlers, and we have to tell you that we fell in love with ours, the amazing Karthik. Karthik, who regaled us with stories about his life back in Sri Lanka, performed all kinds of wonderful services every day, from re-stocking our refrigerator with almond milk, Greek yogurt and diet ginger ale, to making dinner reservations, bringing us hors d'oeuvres, and assisting in whatever else our combined hearts desired. Brilliant!
Food, Glorious Food
One way that Silversea Cruises really sets itself apart is in its dietary Wellness Options. The menus even list calorie and fat contents. The average weight gain on a cruise ship is one pound per day. It's wonderful, then, that this particular ship offers so many alternatives that will not go directly to your hips.
Many of these offerings are quite simply, outstanding. Take the cauliflower and parmesan veloute served with an herb crostini. This delicious creation weighs in at just 131 calories per serving, and just five grams of fat. You could also order, for example, an entrée of sautéed scallops and shrimps with wok-fried vegetables. This was just 140 calories per serving, with just three grams of fat. And if those don't delight, for your main course every night in The Restaurant, you can choose simple lowfat dishes that are always available: grilled salmon, shrimp Fra Diavola, grilled lamb chops and char-grilled chicken breast, to name a few.
The Silver Spirit will accommodate practically every dietary request, be it sugar-free, gluten-free, kosher, vegetarian and vegan. All passengers can simply order what they desire in the pre-boarding stage of their trip. When you're on board, you can make a request 24 hours beforehand. We asked for simple things like lowfat carrot cake, and low-oil ratatouille, which Chef Jerome prepared specially for us. He admitted, however, that sometimes guests make requests that he can't quite believe, like the recent order for fresh jalapenos with cream and chocolate. "And yes, we did make it," he told us.
The menus for lunch and dinner feature gastronomic pleasures by Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef Jacques Thorel, who owns L'Auberge Bretonne in France. On one night, for example, these offerings included sautéed veal sweetbreads, herb and parmesan cannelloni and breast of pigeon with foie gras. Other restaurant options aboard the ship include Le Champagne, a Relais & Chateaux dining experience. Dinners are $200 per person with wine included, or just $30 per person without wine. We also enjoyed "Hot Rocks," in which you can grill your meat or seafood right at your table. No matter your preferences, dining aboard the Silver Spirit is a tour de force.
You've Gotta Be Taut
For all the beautiful people out there who would like to be even better-looking, you'll be thrilled to know that the Silver Spirit has a Medi-Spa onboard. Alberto Rodriquez, a Medical Doctor who trained in Miami and Mexico, or "Dr. Alberto" as he is called onboard, can assist you with facial fillers to improve your appearance. In fact, he told us that he regularly treats about one patient per day, per cruise. Offered are Restylane and Perlane, derma fillers for the lower face made with hyaluronic acid, as well as Botox and Dysport to stop wrinkles for the upper face. "They're all fast, safe and with no downtime," Dr. Alberto told Debbi.
The Spa at Silversea, at 8,300 square feet, is a place of great tranquility and various pampering treatments. Debbi had a 100-minute Exotic Coconut Wrap and Milk Ritual Body Wrapture that she highly recommends. This lovely treatment starts with a scrub of fresh coconut to cleanse your body of dead skin and improve circulation. Next is a 15-minute wrap in which your masseuse massages your head and scalp. Then comes a shower plus a 75-minute massage with Elemis warm Nourishing Milk. Really, is there any better way to spend your time aboard a ship? For $239, this treatment is nothing but pure pleasure.
This state-of-the-art spa also features Creative Nail Designs-new Shellac nail polish that guarantees against nicks, chips and smudges for an amazing 14 days. Debbi was very impressed that this spa carried this new treatment, which is still not even available in many land-based spas. If you have pain, migraines, insomnia, high cholesterol or anxiety, the spa also offers acupuncture. The first session is $150 for 50 minutes.
Located in the spa area is a well-used Fitness Center outfitted with LifeFitness treadmills with cardio theater, elliptical machines, weight-lifting apparatus and weights. Also offered is individual personal training, yoga, Pilates, ab classes, and nutritional consultations, to name a few.
For Your Pleasure
The Silver Spirit is a "whole in one," which also offers great shows from talented performers, who performed one show dedicated to the music of Elton John and another based on the Sixties. We were especially struck by the incredible performances of the ships duo: singer Mickki Brown and pianist Eric Niessner. Individually they were incredible, and together, they were mind-blowing. We have said this before and we will say it again, for most of these performances we would have gladly paid admission.
We also wish to highly recommend the ziplining excursion that we took in Castries, St Lucia. This five-hour, $109 adventure was a delightful trip through the rainforest, complete with tram ride, and nine ziplines that even included a Tarzan rope swing.