I have cruised many times, but do not enjoy the "Bigger is Better" theme personified by most of the cruise companies. I saw an ad for huge reductions on Silver Seas last March and we took advantage of the 75% reduction.
The cruise was an amazing experience. The Silver Spirit is their newest ship,(2009) and holds 500 passengers and 375 crew. It is advertised as 6* and does live up to its promise. We booked the least expensive suite,(the Vista) on deck 2. This cabin does not have a veranda, as 90% of the cabins do.
We were contacted one week before the cruise to see if we wanted an"'upgrade"- for $1000.00 more.
AS a former travel agent, I was not familiar with this practice, as to me and upgrade is just that, the passenger is upgraded at no further cost.
Upon arrival at the pier, we had been upgraded to the 8th deck and were situated right beside the Owner's Suite. Our cabin did not have a balcony, but on this ship, it was not an issue, as the pool deck was so close, on deck 9.
There were a couple onglitches on this ship. Our shore excursion in Montenegro was extremely poor and quite dangerous. We did bring this to the attention of customer service and were redounded our money.
The decor of this ship was a bit disappointing. The colours to me appeared dated, very 70's looking and the art was not interesting.
However, everything else was amazing. The food was delicious(except beside the pool) and the crew was wonderful. As we had a $500.00 onboard credit, we enjoyed some amazing wine suggested by the charming sommelier, Carl and shopped in the small boutique.
The evening entertainment here was superlative. Angela and Woody, in the lovely Stars lounge serenaded us to everything from Cole Porter to Stevie Wonder and were the highlight of this amazing cruise.
Personalized attention from our butler, Acula was much appreciated.
Silverseas is a class act. We met the most amazing passengers from all over the world. I cannot wait to take another Silverseas cruise.
When I boarded I had to wait 30 minutes to enter my stateroom as it wasn't ready for me. On disembarking I was to fly Delta 0133 at 11.20 am from Athens. The Guest Relations Officer insisted I use the chartered bus at 8.45 am (which didn't leave until 9.00am). There was a massive traffic jam and the result was I missed the Delta flight. There was nobody from Delta or SSeas to help except they told SSea (but not me) they had made a flight and hotel booking for the next day as an excuse for not paying the air ticket I had to purchase to fly home. First class cruise line?????
My cruising experience has been a pattern of progression. My first it was a weekend Bahamas cruise on Royal Carribean. After watching the belly flop contest I learned about Celebrity's promised "more upscale experience." It was then Millennium, followed by an Azamara to Silversea.
My lady friend and I found a great 7 day Caribbean bargain and decided to see if the "all inclusive" experience was worth all the hype. I'll make this simple. Silversea, down to the slightest detail up to the top is a marvelous experience. Onboard Silversea Silver Spirit even the simplest quick lunch is first-rate. Speaking of dining its consistently at the 4.5 - 5 star level in terms of quality -the entire experience. The "suite" staterooms are just as luxurious as the cruise line claims; marble sinks, tubs, and flooring; impeccable bed and bedding; and the stateroomâ€™s amenities.
Spirit is their "larger" ship but not even close to a mass market sized. You'll see the same staff rotating around from serving and tending position each day. Service is very personable as youâ€™ll get to know the same crew youâ€™ll see every day. The entertainment was varied and done well butwith a ship this size it was obviously limited compared to a mega ship. If numerous entertainment venues are an important option for your cruising experience you'd be on the wrong cruise line.
The greatest distinction of all inclusive cruising is the wondrous absence and silence of the "chit chase". I must confess I enjoy my libations during cruising. It is comforting to not have the round trip chit delivery with the beaming face with pen in hand. Not to mention the solace of very little sticker shock of the "settlement statement" at the end of the cruise, and the tip collection at the end as well -all that mostly gone. Itâ€™s very nice.
Service is also an important expectation and cruising pleasure for me. For example I would be dozing on an outdoor cushioned round rattan chair. As soon as my eye lids parted I'd have an ice water with lemon in front of me -instantly if not telepathically. In short Silversea indubitably lives up to its touted claims of elegance, quality and impeccable service.
But there is one aspect about our Spirit experience I want to convey: the clientele aboard this ship. My girlfriend and I found a 7 day bargain â€“if you could call it that. Generally we would not cruise a cruise line like this. We are both doing well and for the most part were able to â€œfit inâ€. We had fun. But make no mistake; most the cruisers we met and got to know are very well made people. On any given evening the ladies were wearing $5,000-$15,000 worth of stones and many of them wouldnâ€™t have any problem adding that much to their jewelry box in one day either. The men were probably lower key on the self-stature posturing. But their wives wouldnâ€™t let you forget that at times when they were together. These are CEOs, large business owners, and government affiliated types a tad above city councilman. Personally I respect success, am politically and geographically knowledgeable so I had some interesting conversations while sitting at the bars. But after 5 or so days I felt like I was at the country club in the VIP lounge with the same people daily. Also keep in mind that people of this standing may not be jolly social butter flies or closing down the dance floor â€“if the ship even offers it. Picture a senior director for the IRS with an advanced degree in finance and you get the gist. But I donâ€™t necessarily want to be on a mass market cruise with kids running around everywhere and parties flying until 6AM either. After several days I found, at times, I was having more fulfilling conversations with a couple of the bartenders.
Spirit is Silverseaâ€™s larger ship thatâ€™s trying to bring a wider variety of ages aboard. But most were 50 . I am told their smaller ships have a higher ratio of older cruisers aboard them. Their ships are also suitable for the solo traveler that wants to be left alone with a book but showered in exceptional service and fine dining. All being said if an unforgettable luxurious cruising experience is what you yearn for you will not be disappointed by any of their ships.