“May I draw your bath?” asks the butler all decked out in his coat and tails as I enter my stateroom on board Silversea’s Silver Spirit.
Indeed, the all-suite, all-inclusive Silver Spirit provides every cabin guest with a butler and a junior attendant that cater to the needs of a well-heeled passenger list that expects extraordinary service and gets it on this over-the-top cruising experience. With a low passenger-to-staff ratio of about 1-to-1, your clients will enjoy not having to wait in lines for dining venues or activities, and, incidentally, all tips are included in the truly all-inclusive fare).
The amenities begin long before clients arrive on board for their voyage. For example, shore excursions, salon appointments and dining reservations—even requesting just the right pillow—can be made in advance, but no worry if they aren’t selected before the cruise, as butlers are at the ready. They will also keep the cabin mini-bar stocked with passenger’s favorite wine, liquor, champagne and soft drinks, all included in the cruise fare.
Butlers also help with unpacking and packing, tend to the laundry, shine shoes and serve passengers dinner in their cabins. Miss your daily newspaper? Silversea’s newspaper service helps clients keep up with current events by providing a daily newspaper. In fact, there’s a list of 280 periodicals from 50 countries in 30 languages.
“While most cruise ships keep getting bigger, there is something uniquely satisfying about the luxurious small-ship experience offered on Silver Spirit,” says Kristian C. Anderson, Silversea’s sr. v.p. and general manager. “Our fleet of intimate ships offer the perfect setting for guests to mingle and form long-lasting friendships as they traverse our planet. When agents book a Silversea voyage, they will have great peace of mind knowing that their clients will have an unforgettable vacation experience. Our cruises are truly voyages of a lifetime.”
The Art Deco Silver Spirit, carrying just 540 passengers, offers a refined elegance—not glitzy, but cozy and comfortable. It has roomy public areas and amenities that rival mega-ships in the industry, including six dining venues, an expansive 8,300-sq.-ft. spa, a resort-style pool, four whirlpools, a beauty salon, a library, a game room, a fitness center (there are even personal trainers), Internet cafe, shuffleboard, table tennis and boutique shopping.
Public areas are located aft and cabins are located forward, keeping the noise level to a minimum for late sleepers. Relaxing public places include the Connoisseur’s Corner where cigar
enthusiasts can sip their favorite cognac, puff away in privacy on plush leather seating, and select premium cigars from a glass enclosed humidor. Recalling the supper clubs of the 1930s, the Stars Supper Club, a new addition on Silversea, offers tasty bite-sized regional and seasonal delicacies and live musical, nightclub-style entertainment and dancing.
Speaking of relaxing, the spa, the biggest in the Silversea line, features nine spa treatment rooms, two saunas and two steam rooms. Suggest the private Hammam Experience, an Arabian body scrub ritual performed by a therapist in a private Hammam Chamber. For clients wanting an ultimate splurge, recommend the thermal suite, which can be rented daily or weekly and includes a daily scrub of choice, vanilla, lavender, tangerine, chocolate or peppermint. For true wellness guests, Silversea offers seminars on aromatherapy, acupuncture and nutrition.
Suites on the Silver Spirit are the largest on the Silversea fleet, ranging in size from 312 to 1,668 sq. ft. and 95 percent have private verandahs. Luxurious and roomy, all suites have a sitting area, marble bathroom with vanity, full-sized bath and separate shower. They also feature walk-in closets, robes, slippers, and two flat-screen TVs. An excellent value to recommend to clients is the Silver Suite category at 742 sq. ft. with a living room (with convertible sofa to accommodate an additional guest), separate dining area and verandah.
Dining on the Silver Spirit is superlative, well above the norm on cruise ships: Think seared mustard seed swordfish, braised veal shank with creamy polenta, herb crusted lamb rack, and whole-roasted guinea fowl.
La Terrazza, surrounded by picturesque ocean views, provides the setting for the bountiful breakfast and lunch buffet, except it’s not a typical buffet experience. Servers wait to carry clients’ plates and escort them to luxurious white linen clothed tables. Beverage orders are graciously taken by waiters and wine is poured freely by wine stewards. In the evening, La Terraza is transformed into a chic Italian restaurant focusing on authentic cuisine that embraces the slow food movement.
The main dining room serves breakfast and lunch, and for early risers, the pool bar and grill and Panorama Lounge offer a wellness breakfast. Meanwhile, clients can dine under the stars on deck at The Grill, an intimate, alfresco eatery that features an interactive Hot Rock dining experience—a preheated volcanic rock is brought to the table, allowing clients to cook their steak, veal, salmon or prawns to their desired temperature at their table. Cold outside? Don’t fret, there are heaters above the tables.
Clients can also dine, for an extra charge, at Le Champagne, which offers a menu created by the Grand Chefs of Relais & Chateaux and where fine wines complement regionally and seasonally inspired dishes; or Seishin, featuring Asian fusion.
Along with a luxury cruising experience are extraordinary shore excursions. In fact, this destination-focused cruise line features knowledgeable historians that present destination lectures on all cruises. The Rome-Barcelona itineraries include a truffle-hunting tour in Tuscany with the Savini family, a four-generation truffle producer. Clients will enjoy a guided tour searching for truffles in the Tuscan countryside with a chance to learn about the truffle selection process and cooking techniques. The excursion is followed by a lunch accented by tasty truffles and recipes to take home. The Flavors of Alghero tour in Sardinia, meanwhile, features wine tasting at the Leda’ d’littiri Estate and a visit to the olive orchards in Alghero. Your clients will enjoy visiting the picturesque estate, touring the winery, and relaxing at artistically arranged tables while pairing wines with cheeses. There are also customized private vans, and guided tours are available in every port.
Among the new Silver Spirit offerings in 2015 are sailings from Barcelona to Rome with varying ports of call in the Western Mediterranean including Florence, Alghero, Porto Mahon, Portofino and Ibiza. Five-day sailing from Barcelona to Rome, May 2, starts at $2,350; 7-day sailing from Rome to Barcelona, May 7-14, starts at $3,350; and a 9-day sailing from Barcelona to Rome, May 18-27, starts at $6,950. Pre- and post-cruise extensions are available at select hotels and resorts.
What travel agents are saying…
Matthew Eichhorst, president of Expedia CruiseShip Centers, which assists a network of 180 travel franchise locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, recently took a group of 40 top-producing travel agent franchisers on a Silver Spirit cruise.
“It was our Presidents Circle annual reward trip and the cruise was absolutely amazing,” Eichhorst says. Adding that the “food was amazing. The hot rock experience at The Grill was an
awesome experience off the back deck.”
Although what Eichhorst says he enjoyed most about the ship was the excellent service. “The onboard service was fantastic,” he notes. “The entire cruise staff really made you
feel that they were invested in their guests having a great experience. I liked the crew-to-guest ratio. No matter where we were on the ship, whether in the dining room or at the pool, there was always someone there to help us.”
Eichhorst also took his family on the cruise. “My children, ages 7, 12, and 17, enjoyed the cruise. Even though the ship is not geared for children, the staff bent over backwards to make sure everyone had a good time.” Jeremy Harrington, an Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchiser in Vancouver, is a Silversea frequent cruiser, most recently on the Silver Spirit. She notes, “The Silver Spirit is lovely and the biggest of their ships with more space and extra restaurants.
“What I liked most about my recent cruise was the butler service. Every suite has a butler, but most people don’t know how to use a butler. They think he is just for packing and unpacking. The butler is there to make your life more comfortable and easy. When I get on board and my butler is waiting for me, I tell him what tours I want to go on, what dining reservations
I want and he makes all the arrangements. Also, before I go on a shore excursion, I tell the butler what time I will return and he has a bottle of champagne on ice and a bath drawn with rose petals waiting for me.”
Harrington also says the shore excursions are exceptional on the Silver Spirit. “They use high-quality buses and well-informed guides. Silversea also offers free shuttles to town in most ports.”
Silversea: (877) 276-6816; silversea.com