Live Voyage Preview: Silver Spirit, Panama Canal 2013
It’s with great excitement that we announce today our next Live Voyage Review onboard Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit. Starting next Monday, March 4th 2013, Popular Cruising – myself and my mom – will set sail on a glorious 16-day cruise from Los Angeles, California through the Panama Canal to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This sailing will mark our 52nd total cruise but our very first onboard Silversea Cruises, and we can’t wait to share the journey with you first hand.
Silversea Cruises is well known in the world of ocean cruising for its all-inclusive ultra-luxury experience, and the 2009-launched Silver Spirit is the newest in its fleet. The intimate 36,000-ton ship carries 376 crew members to deliver said luxury to a privileged 540 guests for a remarkable dedication to personalized service. Silversea describes it as “the enormous advantage of small.”
Of course, a smaller package does not preclude a grand affair. The art deco design of the Silver Spirit houses many dining and entertainment options as well as all-suite accommodations, 95% of which sport balconies. For instance, butler service is available to everyone, a sizable terraced theatre hosts a variety of production shows with live music, and an impressive six distinct dining venues are featured onboard.
These venues range from The Restaurant (main dining room) to the specialty Le Champagne – the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea. Italian fare is served in La Terrazza and a cabaret atmosphere sets the mood at Stars Supper Club. Asian cuisine is enjoyed at Seishin Restaurant, and guests can try their hand at cooking their own meats casually and al fresco at The Grill by night. Room service is also available 24 hours a day including excellent dinner service delivered course-by-course from The Restaurant.
Additional all-inclusive benefits of Silversea extend to complimentary beverages – from soft drinks to spirits, wine and beer – offered ship-wide at any time plus complimentary gratuities as part of your cruise fare.
You can never go wrong with 16-days of blissful cruising (itinerary illustrated and listed below), and when it happens to include passage through the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal, then you are truly in for a treat. In fact, the canal is currently being reworked in a historical expansion project that will allow the transit of much larger commercial vessels and cruise ships. I’m not certain how much of the new construction will be visible during our journey, but the trip through the existing locks is in itself an unforgettable experience.
Prior to reaching the canal, Silver Spirit will call on four Mexican ports. We have visited some of these locations before but will explore all of them more in depth during this cruise with Silversea’s shore excursion program. In Cabo San Lucas, the San Jose Art District City Tour will take us to the colonial city of San Jose del Cabo where we will encounter a historical mission and gander at the local artisans’ work. Concluding our visit will be a stop at the Baja Brewing Company for a welcome beer and pizza tasting.
In Acapulco, we will partake in a Cooking Lesson at La Concha Beach Club – one in the line’s signature Silver Shore Collection – with the anticipation of seeing some of Acapulco’s famed bay views from both the Las Brisas Hotel and the Chapel of the Peace where a 128-foot high cross is featured. Certainly, culinary demonstrations of Mexican cuisine also await including the preparation and sampling of ceviche, guacamole, cactus salad, steak tacos and fish fillets.
An archaeological exploration in Huatulco is next with a jaunt to Copalita and the Zapotec ruins which have been recently opened to the public and referred to as the “Tulum of the Pacific Ocean.” Eventually conquered by the Aztecs, the site – including pyramids, foundations of homes and a ball field – are found in a dense jungle that sits above a lagoon. Although still partly under excavation, the site and museum are now open to tourist exploration.
Similarly, we will explore Mayan ruins in Puerto Chiapas as part of the Izapa Ruins and Chocolate Discovery tour. Izapa is interestingly believed to have possibly been the point of origin of the famed Mayan Calendar – the very focus of recent apocalyptic speculation. But it was also a source of cacao production, thus this tour’s segue to the “Chocolate City” – Tuxtla Chico – where the cocoa bean to chocolate process will be demonstrated.
We will enjoy our remaining stops at Costa Rica and Colombia as well as seven fantastic sea days at leisure. Be sure to join us for our Live Voyage Reviews beginning just next week and feel free to ask any questions you may have about Silversea Cruises or the Silver Spirit in the comments section below. We’ll be happy to answer them!
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