Live Voyage Review: Silver Spirit, Panama Canal 2013 – Part 8
Our fantastic Silversea cruise is quickly drawing to a close, and I must admit that I’m rather melancholy about having to disembark in two days time to return to land life. The Silver Spirit has treated us incredibly well, and we have even stayed onboard the last few ports just to soak in all she has to offer, from her heavenly suites to the spacious venues, all situated easily within reach onboard the intimate vessel.
Seishin and Le Champagne
Dining is a hallmark on Silversea in the main dining room alone, but the culinary experience is elevated to a whole other level at Seishin and Le Champagne, the two specialty restaurants that charge a nominal fee of up to $30 per person. Seishin serves up creative Japanese fusion dishes that are exotic and tasty and Le Champagne, the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea, offers seasonally and regionally inspired dishes highlighted by fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Both dining rooms are limited to just 24 seats each and are warmly-colored octagon-shaped venues immediately off from The Restaurant. The focal point of Seishin is a central sushi bar where the chef prepares a number of dishes, and similarly in the middle of Le Champagne is a glass-enclosed wine room.
Seishin offers three course options including a featured 9-course dinner, our selection. While the number of dishes might at first seem overwhelming, the meal really is just right with many of the smaller courses combined on to one plate, as is the case with the sushi and sashimi, for instance. The evening begins with an amuse bouche of caviar-topped sorbet that anticipates the exotic food to come.
I enjoy sushi and sashimi including the wonderful variety served here, but even I had not ventured to try some of the things on Seishin’s menu until this very cruise. For instance, I had heard mixed things about sea urchin previously. Still, I’m game to try anything, and I’m glad I did. The taste was extraordinary, especially atop coffee-infused mashed potatoes. Even the oysters were surprisingly tender and very tasty.
A standout was the miso-glazed cod that was a flavor explosion as was the lobster served in a consomme soup. The wagyu beef was a fantastic dish to conclude the evening at least until our final sorbet dessert came. And as with every meal onboard, the house wines have been exquisite to wash the great food down with.
Le Champagne was just as good as Seishin if not slightly more so. Here the menu is not set save for the assorted hors d’oeuvres that come as a wonderful sampler including foie gras in a pastry cone and a porcini cappuccino. The remaining five courses are chosen from a number of enticing offerings. I selected a colorful appetizer of tuna carpaccio followed by king scallops. The seafood openers were expertly plated and just as tasty.
I was amazed by the soups which included a solid variety that was entirely new to me. Porcini mushroom with truffle essence came as a sort of cross between a souffle and a custard, and the effect was out of this world. The flavor was rich beyond belief, and I could have easily left happy finishing that course alone.
Lobster thermidor was the entree I had to look forward to, and the sheer size of the tail that the concoction was served in was monstrous. The rich dish was a fine testament to Silversea cuisine, and I loved every bite. Of course, the delicious grand marnier souffle that awaited us for dessert was the veritable cherry on top to a fantastic meal.
Another highlight of our cruise has been the poolside barbecue that was spread out during an extended evening in port before sailing away from Cartagena, Colombia. An array of tables was positioned about the two decks surrounding the pool, and any remaining space was allocated to an abundance of buffets, carving and sautee stations, barbecues and dessert bars.
Plenty of food carvings decorated the serving lines, and Alvin and Angie, the excellent pianist and singer known as The Duo, entertained until the Artists of Silversea performed one of their main productions poolside. The show, titled Decades, was a medley of pop songs through the ages from the likes of Sonny & Cher to Adele. Most of the numbers were winners, and all the costumes were spot on to the singers represented.
The food and entertainment were definitely crowd pleasers, and the evening finished off with a fun dance party led by the talented Silversea singers immediately following their show. The evening also featured a parade of the fantastic Silver Spirit staff onboard, affording them due applause from the very appreciative guests. It was nice to see many of them stick around for the show and dancing too.
The Bar and Connoisseur’s Corner
To conclude this final Live Voyage Review until our signature Post Voyage Review and Video Ship Review to follow in the coming days, I wanted to highlight two other great venues onboard. The Bar is one venue that delightfully screams art deco, and as an absolute fan of that artistic era, this is easily a favorite space of mine. It conveniently sits adjacent to guest relations and just one deck above The Restaurant, making it a perfect venue for pre- or after-dinner drinks.
Swing-era black and white photographs decorate the walls, geometric waterfalls etch glass partitions and rich woods offset pastel-colored upholstery. A dance floor also sits in the corner that features live piano melodies. Although a dedicated smoking room that I ordinarily would avoid, the Connoisseur’s Corner is set between the fine casino and boutiques onboard and is equally rich in decor. Red leather chairs, dark woods and low lighting make the space magically moody and reminiscent of vintage ocean liners.
Stay tuned for our extensive Post Voyage Review and Video Ship Review in the upcoming days…