Silversea's Silver Spirit Debuts

| Jan. 22, 2009

Silver Spirit is christened in Fort Lauderdale and begins life as a top of the line luxury cruise ship.

The beautiful new Silver Spirit from Silversea Cruises fresh from the Ship Yard

A gaggle of cruise journalists were on hand to witness one of the most significant events in luxury cruising in a decade - the inauguration of a brand new class of luxury cruise ships from Silversea Cruises, arguably the luxury cruise leader. The godmother, Silvia Lefebvre, sister of Silversea chairman Manfredi Lefebvre, presided over the festivities with the traditional words, "I name this ship Silver Spirit, God bless her and all who sail upon her."

With those words she cut the ceremonial ribbon with the unusually large ceremonial scissors ribbon holding the ceremonial bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne. The bottle swung widely against the hull of the ship, despite a steady 30 mph crosswind, and smacked heartily against the bow. Unfortunately, the bottle didn't break. Call it the ceremonial curse of Camilla whose bottle did not break when she christened the Cunard Queen Victoria in 2008. In any case, just as with Camilla, a deckhand pulled up the rope and swing the bottle mightily against the bow, smashing it to pieces.

Click here for a video of the "Silversea Silver Spirit Champagne Christening Ceremony."

By the way, in the tradition of European cruise lines, this was a "Christening ceremony" with a blessing given by a priest. Many of the more Anglo-based cruise lines have started referring to the to the ceremony as a "naming ceremony" since the British Government has decided to take the religious component out of ship inauguration festivities. Father Thomas W. Falkenthal, director of the Apostleship of the Sea for the Archdiocese of Miami had the honors of blessing the ship in this service.

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Father Thomas W. Falkenthal   A Guardsman with the flag of Silversea   Godmother, Silvia Lefebvre
The crew cheers from above   Silversea CEO Amerigo Perasso   Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre

Rest assured, that event has absolutely nothing to do with the vessel itself which is the epitome of beauty and style in luxury cruise ships. We toured the ship thoroughly and sampled its excellent Relais and Chateaux cuisine, and found it all to be better than expected. Silver Spirit has all the intimacy of the smaller ships, even at 36,000-tonnes and a capacity of 540 quests. The decor is subdued but classic with bronze railings over glass panel and redwood accents.

The suites are among the most lavish in the cruise world, and there more of them per passenger on this ship than on any other luxury vessel. Most popular are the "Silver Suites" with their separate bedrooms, living rooms and bathrooms that go on forever. With a large walk-in closet, a separate room for the toilet, a jacuzzi-style bathtub and a separate rain shower, these suites are the price and joy of Silversea, so popular that they gave Silver Spirit 26 of them. There are also two Grand Suites and two Owner's Suites.

All suites feature: Pommery Champagne upon arrival, fresh fruit and flowers, beverage cabinet stocked to your preference, European bath amenities, fine bed linens, your choice of pillow, plush robes and slippers, personalized stationery, daily news summary, and twice daily suite service plus turndown nightly. The Owner's Suites are among the largest at sea: 1668 sq. ft when you add on an extra bedroom with adjoining verandah suite. The Grand Suite is 990 sq ft, or add an adjoining stateroom. The most popular Silver Suite is 742 sq. ft and has a separate bedroom, living room and extensive bath facilities.

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Owner's Suite Balcony   Espresso machine Vista Suite   Standard Suite Amenities
Owner's Suite Table Setting   Suite Bathrooms   Ipod Player Vista Suite

Every stateroom is a suite however. Even my simple Verandah Suite has a generous walk-in closet, a tub and a rain shower, granite counters and two televisions. The televisions are the most state of the art I have ever seen on a cruise ship. They are mounted within the mirrors, a large 36-inch model directly in front of the bed, and and a 31-inch model across from the sofa. In truth, while I saw the smaller television I never even saw the one across from my bed because it disappears when it is not turned on.

Relais and Chateaux Dining on Silver Spirit

We had a chance to sample The Restaurant on Silver Spirit and my lamb was roasted to perfection. Large chops on the rib were the perfect pink color you would expect to see when Gordon Ramsey of Hell's Kitchen, for example, holds up a perfectly executed chop and says "well done," to a budding chef. Not that the chop was well done, it was rare, but it was a "job well done," without a doubt.

But The Restaurant is just one of the more exciting dining venues onboard. very enticing by appearance (although we did not get a chance to try the food), is a new addition to Silversea, the Star's Supper Club which features a mouth-watering tapas menu. The room is open early as a nightclub with a wonderful soul balladeer, and the action continues through the night with the tapas and wine flowing until midnight when the kitchen closes. The selections include tastes of lamb, caviar and other delights.

Click here to see the Star Supper Club Menu

Another ultra-enticing dining option is the Seishin Restaurant for Kobe beef, sushi and seafood. There is a small fee to dine here. Le Champagne is present, as on the smaller Silversea ships. This is a six-course culinary experience where fine wines and spirits are paired with a tasting menu of several courses. This is a true gourmand experience with a price tag to match. Of course, the food and spirits you experience do not come cheaply to the cruise line. Truffles, caviar, foi gras and other very rare dishes are accompanied by the world's most famous vintages kept on board in the ship's stellar wine cellar.

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The Stars Supperclub   Seishin Restaurant   Observation Lounge Bar

La Terraza is the buffet style restaurant also with extensive table service. The buffet itself is in a separate room to reduce the "buffet" feel of the dining room. You can get up to visit the on selection or a waiter will bring it to you. If you prefer eggs benedict or a special omelet, for example, you just ask your waiter to have it prepared for you. There is no standing in line. The pool grill is a similar experience to La Terraza, but with a smaller menu of grilled foods.

The main theater "Show Lounge" is beautiful with great sight lines and a fantastic sound system. It is very intimate even for a ship with over 500 guests. The casino is the biggest Silversea has ever had by far, with several tables games and several rows of slot machines. The panorama lounge has live music for dancing with "social ambassadors" for the ladies. For the gentlemen there is the Humidor, a fine cigar bar with accompanying brandies an scotches. Don't forget, on Silversea all of the liquor is included in the cruise fare, unless it is a particularly rare vintage in which case there will be a reasonable surcharge.

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The Showroom   The Casino   StarClub Showroom

Think of Silversea, especially this newer and bigger Silver Spirit, as a repository of some of the world's finest indulgences available to you. If you care to enjoy in some of the rarest wines, spirits and food in the world you will have to pay a little extra, but it isn't mandatory.

Overall, it is plain to see that Silver Spirit will be Silversea's most exciting cruise ship yet. Yes it has more passengers but it still has all the aspects of intimacy one expects from Silversea. The larger vessel offers two exciting new dining rooms, the Supper Club for Spanish-style tapas, and the Sheinsei for Japanese cuisine. The ship has a beautiful showroom and a much larger casino. In the end this takes luxury to a whole new level.

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