June 2016 - Martha King. Susan and I sailed on Silversea's Silver Spirit on a 12 day cruise through Turkey and Greece. To say this trip exceeded our expectations is an understatement. While I had been on a couple of cruises, Susan had never cruised before. Suffice it to say, Susan arrived for her first cruise a little apprehensive and doubtful she would love cruising.
Silversea is not a "mass market" cruise experience; it is more like a luxury hotel on water. Silversea's small ships give you an intimate, personal experience. These cruises are designed for discerning travelers who want to discover amazing destinations while indulging in lavish surroundings, unparalleled service, and delicious food. A sanctuary at sea!
Silversea's Silver Spirit caters to less than 700 passengers.
ARRIVAL TO THE SILVER SPIRIT
The Silver Spirit has a maximum capacity of 608 passengers and 412 crew. The ship was not full, so the passenger to crew ratio was almost 1:1. Our itinerary began in Athens and when we arrived at the port in Piraeus, we were immediately greeted by a Silversea crew member. The check-in process was seamless and in less than 10 minutes we were on board. We were welcomed with a glass of champagne and escorted to a lovely table on the pool deck for lunch. This is a stark comparison to my previous cruise check-in experience which was chaotic and unorganized.
Our lunch on the pool deck was great and the menu offered delicious options with a varied cocktail and wine list. No buffet lines and no "additional" charges for our drinks - it's all included in the cruise cost. After lunch we were escorted to our beautiful Verandah Suite. The suite was spacious and included a sitting area and a large balcony. And the bathroom - WOW! The bathroom had a soaking tub, separate shower and huge vanity. We were blown away!
The Verandah Suites are lovely and spacious. We loved having a glass of wine on our balcony as we pulled out of port. These rooms can also be configured with 2 twin beds, which is what we had in our stateroom.
Butler Service. Silversea's distinguishing hallmark from other luxury cruise lines is that EVERY suite gets a butler. As our butler greeted us, he told us we would unpack our luggage, arrange any dinner reservations we may want, change shore excursions as needed, and assist in any way he could. And then he popped open a lovely bottle of Champagne and served us on our balcony. This is the moment Susan went from "non-cruiser" to "I'm a believer!"
Champagne? Yes, please! We could seriously get used to this!!
Muster Drill. Next up was the muster drill, which happens on every single cruise and will acquaint you with the emergency procedures on board. Plus, you get to wear these nifty orange vests for about 15 minutes...
Orange is the new black!
DINING ON THE SILVER SPIRIT
When King & Whitson Travel books your Sliversea cruise, we take care of every detail, from booking shore excursions to making dinner reservations. The restaurants on board the Silver Spirit are all wonderful and we experienced each and every one.
La Terrazza is the Italian restaurant serving a selection of Italy's best cuisine. For example, La Terrazza uses buffalo mozzarella from Naples, organic balsamic vinegar and olive oil from Umbria, and air-dried ham out of Parma; and the pasta is made daily right on board. La Terrazza is open for casual, buffet-style breakfast and lunch with indoor or al fresco dining on the outdoor terrace. During the evening, La Terrazza transforms into an à la carte traditional Italian restaurant.
Dining room at La Terrazza
Seishin is a small restaurant featuring innovative Asian fusion cuisine. We really enjoyed watching the chef sculpting fresh sushi and sashimi, and we loved the Kobe beef and spider lobster.
One of our favorite restaurants was The Stars Supper Club. The Art-Deco inspired decor of this venue elegantly recalls the supper clubs of the 1930s. The live jazz music was incredible. Susan was thrilled to channel her inner "Betty Draper" and have a complete "Mad Men" experience! The "small bites" were fabulous and the wine pairings were perfect.
CHEERS!! Enjoying dinner at The Stars Supper Club.
The Stars Supper Club is cozy and intimate with delicious "small bites", fabulous cocktails and live music.
Le Champagne is a Wine Restaurant by Relais & Chateaux and the only one on the sea. This restaurant features a six course dining experience paired with wine from some of the world's most distinguished wine regions.
The Pool Bar and Grill features a casual menu with options that include light fare for breakfast and grilled meats and fresh-from-the-oven pizza for lunch. For dinner, the top deck is transformed into
The Grill is an intimate, al fresco eatery featuring a fun, interactive Black Rock Grill experience. A preheated volcanic rock is brought to your table, allowing you to cook such delicacies as steak, pork, lamb, salmon, fish or prawns exactly to your liking right at your own table. We loved this experience and the food was divine!
The Restaurant is the ship's main dining room and offers contemporary, international cuisine. The menu features regional specialities unique to the voyage destination. We had such an amazing meal at The Restaurant and the service was outstanding. They offer open seating which means there are no assigned dining times and no assigned tables. You are free to dine when, where, and with whom you please.
Entertainment. The Silver Spirit offers fantastic entertainment options each evening, ranging from full-scale production shows and classical soloists, to cultural lectures and feature films. Also on board are a casino, library with a wide range of current titles, several bars, fitness center, and card room.
Spa. One of our favorite experiences was spending time in the spa. The Silver Spirit has an 8,300 sq ft spa which offers a variety of invigorating treatments including facials, massages, and body wraps. They even have an acupuncturist on staff to advise and offer treatments for such problems as chronic back pain. The ceramic tiled Thermal Suite is an exclusive spa area furnished with heated lounge chairs. We enjoyed some of the best massages we have had anywhere in the world!
Observation Lounge. Located on the back of the ship, this is the perfect place to watch the sunset and enjoy a cocktail. Mark, our server, surprised us with a French martini, now our favorite new drink!
GREECE & TURKEY ITINERARY
Our itinerary was incredible and included 3 ports in Turkey and 7 ports in the Greek Isles, including Santorini and Mykonos. You can find our blog about our excursions and adventures in beautiful ports. We loved our cruise with Silversea and did not want to leave! We were especially sad to leave Janaka, our butler. He was so kind and anticipated our needs before we even knew we had them. For example, one afternoon we returned from a long day in port to find a chilled bottle of Prosecco in our refrigerator. When we called to thank Janaka, he said, "You are quite welcome! The bottle that was in there seems to have evaporated!" Yes, that is exactly what happened!
Farewell, Janaka - we will miss you!
If the idea of a cruise brings nightmare thoughts of long lines, crowds, bad food, and mediocre service - THINK AGAIN! Silversea is truly a five star luxury experience you will never forget. (Even Susan is looking to book cruises for her family's next vacation!)
We were able to see 10 incredible ports in Turkey and Greece and only unpack once. We enjoyed many wonderful shore excursions in these ports, and then returned each day to gracious hospitality and lavish amenities. The Silver Spirit was indeed our sanctuary at sea!