Live Voyage Review: Silver Spirit, Panama Canal 2013 – Part 4
This afternoon, we conclude our three days of consecutive Mexican touring before heading farther south towards Costa Rica. I’ll use this moment to tease our upcoming report exploring yesterday’s and today’s ancient ruins, but our focus for this Live Voyage Review part will be Acapulco, Mexico and the Silversea difference.
The Silversea Difference
Before (cliff) jumping in to our report from Acapulco (after all, this is the home of the famous cliff divers), I wanted to take a moment to highlight some things that have struck us as impressive Silversea touches. Remember our initial report of the poor condition of the outer deck-rails? Well, it just so happens that yesterday we arrived at our suite with a notice outside indicating that they had just been refinished, and sure enough, our rail is now spick-and-span. Well done!
Also, longtime followers of my writing will know that I am not a particular fan of typical cruise ship photo services, the roaming of intrusive photographers at dinner time especially. Onboard Silversea, there is none of that: no official ship’s photographer and no photo sales department. What you do have are crew members who kindly offer to take photos of you and your traveling companions with your own camera for free. I like that!
What’s more, our in-suite butler rocks as I have previously reported, having brought us delicious popcorn for our movie unprompted for instance and shining my shoes for formal night. Just the other day, he must have also seen our sunglasses on the dresser because he later placed them atop two fresh Silversea branded eyeglass microfiber cloths. And our laundry always comes back nicely wrapped and sealed with Silversea logo stickers. These are classy extras that go a long way!
Acapulco, like Mexico in general these days, is booming. The expansive bay of the city remains the highlight of cruising to this destination, and while the port facilities themselves seem unchanged in years, they appear to be newly used for Volkswagen auto imports and boat storage.
Our tour took us to La Concha beach club – a resort extension of the famous Las Brisas hotel – from the northern side of the bay, where Silver Spirit was docked, to the southern part. Traffic is a great concern to the city currently as they embark on a massive repaving project, replacing the aging asphalt of the roadway that encircles the bay with reinforced concrete. Surprisingly, shutting down one entire side of the street at a time and reducing the remaining side to trickles of two way traffic did not interfere with our day’s itinerary.
My parents both rave about Las Brisas, having stayed there years ago themselves, so it was very interesting for me to see what all the hype was about. The hotel facility itself sits high above the bay, but the accompanying beach club resides at the very level of the bay and requires passing through a private gated community of beautiful homes to reach.
Once there, a jaw-dropping aquatic play and lounging area awaits. Rather than a standard chlorinated pool, La Concha features two salt-water pools that let the bay water naturally flow in and out of a man-made corral, the effect of which is extraordinarily unique.
This was the setting for a fun cooking demonstration at an open-air kitchen that sits right at the edge of one of the pools. Our chef, who incidentally comes from a cruising cuisine background, gave us a live show before, most importantly, letting us taste his creations, varying from ceviche and guacamole to beef fajitas. Yummy!
After our tasting lunch, we headed to the top of the mountain directly above the resort to visit an indoor-outdoor church and monumental cross that towers over the city a la Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The cross is massive in person, and the glare of the light shining high above made the scene that much more dramatic.
The church itself appeared ready to host a wedding in the coming hours as it was shrouded in lavender fabric. While modern in construction, the chapel is modest in ornamentation and peaceful in atmosphere. A flowing waterfall and fountain that extends from the raised entrance to the foot of the structure perfectly frames the spiritual area.
We were late to arrive in Acapulco since the pilot that was to meet our ship took an unfortunate dip in the water just before stepping onboard and had to be taken to the hospital. Thankfully, we are told he is okay. Because of our delay, we were granted an extended stay in port that allowed us to leave at night with a beautiful view of the illuminated city surrounding the bay. It was a perfect sendoff!
Continue on to Part 5: Huatulco, Mexico and Silversea Entertainment…