Vanessa with Brad Ball, VP Public Relations in La Dolce Vita Lounge
The bar before
The Restaurant before
Newly revitalized La Dolce Vita Lounge
The new Arts Café
New pool deck
I first sailed Silver Spirit at her launch in January 2009 – and as much as I enjoyed her then I must say that her recent refurbishment and lengthening has totally transformed this ship. She was always a one-off if you will – the only ship in her class and frankly I always felt she was missing that certain “je ne sais quoi.” Certainly the service and the onboard experience was wonderful and elegant but she never seemed to quite hold her own against her more attractive fleet mates.
When the flagship Silver Muse arrived in Spring 2017, it was clear that this new class of ship for Silversea was quite beautiful and that the décor and design was appealing and modern. So, the powers that be made a great choice – to not only lengthen and slightly increase the number of guests on the Spirit but also to undertake her “Museification” (Silversea’s expression).
More restaurants have been added, (there are now eight) and there is a much lighter and more lively feeling. The charming and popular Arts Café which debuted on Muse is also now on Spirit as is the casual on-deck pizza spot, Spaccanapoli – with the best pizzas and ice cream. Gone are the darker fabrics and wood throughout – even the corridors are lighter and airier. We now have a gorgeous new femme fatale for the oceans and seas -- colour me impressed. Think Italian elegance and boutique hotel-style cruising.
As part of Silver Spirit’s transformation, a new 49-foot middle section was added along with a small guest increase to 608. On a ship of this size, the normal number of guests would be around 900 to 1000 so this is a very important point. There’s a true sense of space now which is everything – both in the public rooms and the suites (always just a delight to sail in one) and to also have one’s own butler – you know how much I love a butler! Remember that Silversea offers an almost 1:1 staff to guest ratio – it shows and your luxury guests appreciate and expect this too.
I have sailed on the Spirit a few times but when I toured her recently in Quebec City and enjoyed a tasty luncheon on board I was able to see just how many changes, some very small but still noticeable, had occurred.
Deck 4 now offers four restaurant choices including the two “main” restaurants, Atlantide and Indochine. La Dame, which is tiny and beautiful, offers just 26 guests a foodie experience for a $60 cover charge. To round things out, there’s Seishin for Asian cuisine with a cover of $40. One change I was not too keen on is the Silver Note Supper Club, where they have taken out the bar to make room for more table seating. But all else seemed terrific and well done – including some changes in the ever-popular La Terrazza – my perpetual favourite for casual and al fresco dining. The pool deck now seems absolutely huge – this is where that 49 feet in the middle of the deck really makes a difference – in fact the space is remarkable.
Also with the Silver Moon and Silver Dawn coming in the next few years – this Muse Class will be more homogenous and guests’ expectations will be met with a lovely foursome of sisters. Silversea has also recently announced the development of an “Evolution Class’ with yet another two new ships, the first arriving in 2022 after the Moon and Dawn. And Silversea isn’t stopping there: a new expedition vessel, the aptly named Silver Origin, will sail in the Galapagos year round, replacing the existing Silver Galapagos in March 2020 – a mere 16 months away.
In other expedition news (this segment is absolutely bursting at the seams with so many new small ships announced), the Silver Discoverer will be retired at the end of 2019 and then the Silver Wind will become a hybrid ship as is her sister Silver Cloud – she will be a “classic fleet ship” that will morph into an expedition ship in just over a year.
The change has been hugely successful with Silver Cloud and with the upcoming drydock for Wind this December, I am happy to advise that I will be sailing on her in January and can report back on yet another refurbishment for Silversea which is going gangbusters in that department – all thanks to new resources stemming from the recent purchase of 67% of Silversea by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Luxury and expedition ships are making their mark for this all-inclusive lifestyle brand. For your Canadian clients there is Canadian pricing with a great subsidized exchange rate as well as extensive offers for your guests – many of which include free or reduced air and as a bonus, complimentary Wi-Fi for every guest is now the norm.
Silver Spirit leaving the dock
Vanessa Lee Columnist
An internationally-known luxury cruise expert, Vanessa is publisher and editor of Cruise and Travel Lifestyles magazine. She appears with Nina on the bi-monthly video Cruise Factor.