Live Voyage Review: Silver Spirit, Panama Canal 2013 – Part 1
Welcome aboard the Silver Spirit from Silversea Cruises!
You’ll have to please forgive the delay in Silversea reporting. I’m getting over an unfortunate cold that I picked up in between my travels, but thankfully I seem to be recovering just as swiftly as I was originally overwhelmed.
We embarked onboard the Silver Spirit on Monday with an unusual multistep check-in process. After presenting our cruise documents at the pier and receiving our key cards, we then proceeded onboard. SIlversea doesn’t employ the ubiquitous SeaPass system, so our keycards were instead cross-referenced to our passports before being escorted to the reception area. Here then we abandoned our passports (to receive them later in the cruise per standard protocol) and had our photo taken and tagged to our shipboard account. The overall process was not long but could be streamlined as it has on other cruise lines.
Once onboard, it is clear that the Silver Spirit is a clean, beautiful ship on the outside and full of elegant refinements on the inside. It was particularly interesting to encounter Don Fluke as our cruise director, having recalled him from Celebrity Cruises years ago. At the sail-away reception around the pool deck, he came out to introduce the enrichment lecturers and the cast of six stage performers, who sampled an operatic piece to my surprise. It is quite refreshing to see a cruise line take a more classical approach to its entertainment, and I can’t wait to see more.
Certainly our discovery of Silver Spirit’s venues continues, but we have already had the great pleasure of dining casually for lunch and formally for dinner in La Terrazza, as well as enjoying the pool grill for pizza and the Panorama Lounge for sandwiches. We’ve even had room service once already for a dinner in our suite – the focus of this first part of our Live Voyage Review.
Most cruise ships have outside staterooms with inside cabins in between, however, the Silver Spirit has only sea-view suites, meaning they are as long as half the ship’s width minus the central corridor, or corridors depending on the deck. That arrangement facilitates our room, for instance, to be a sizable 376 square feet in size with a veranda, and there are even much larger suites available beyond this. What’s clear is that we could easily spend all 16-days of our Panama Canal cruise in our quarters with zero complaints.
In fact, we have been tempted to partake in room service more frequently because of our heavenly suite. Also, our room steward and butler are just spoiling us rotten. Room service is accommodated by a convertible table that cleverly expands with a custom topper for meals, and our butler provides full set up of each course with ice cream waiting behind until just the right moment to avoid melting. He even saw that we were watching a complimentary on-demand movie and surprised us by bringing by a bowl of warm popcorn. What a treat!
The room itself is incredibly well outfitted too. The bathroom is massive with a full tub plus a full shower – one that you can actually turn around in without obstacles – that includes a soothing rain head. The wide sink basin is dramatic in appearance, but a his-and-hers sink arrangement might have been a better use of the space. Handsome marble and wood cover the bathroom floor and trim out the remaining edges, and plentiful lighting illuminates the space. Plus, fine Bulgari toiletries up the ante on pampering.
Just beyond the bathroom is a walk-in closet with an abundance of hanging space and dresser drawers. And then begins the bedroom and living room where even more shelving and cabinetry is available. While some of these rooms accommodate thirds, I think they could even take a fourth with enough impressive storage to spare. The bedding is downright plush, and a pillow menu with eight choices is the cherry on top. The wall opposite the beds is filled with mirrors and makeup lighting plus a flat-panel television that remains hidden behind until turned on. The living room also has one of its own that is always in view.
The living room has a couch that could sit four comfortably plus a separate chair and stool all surrounding a glass-topped coffee table – the same one that converts to a larger dining table. Lighting here and throughout the suite is not lacking, and the entertainment system even has a special access panel at the desk’s backsplash to plug in your own inputs as desired. And of course, our butler keeps our mini-fridge well stocked with our beverage requests, and he even came by to polish my shoes before our formal dinner last night.
Last but not least is the spacious veranda itself which impressively sports genuine teak decking. The outdoor furniture is comfortable but rather caked from salt accumulation, and the fading wooden deck-rail is in need of a fresh coat of lacquer. All in all, the suite accommodations onboard are absolutely wonderful in their exceptional design and complete comfort.
Continue on to Part 2: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico…