Embarking Silversea’s beautiful Silver Spirit in Barbados

The best "home-away-from-home": Silversea's 2009 flagship, the Silver Spirit. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

I’ve been here twice before.

The first time I was here, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Surely there must have been some mistake. This couldn’t possibly be real.

But it was.

It was as if this entire place was created just for me, based on my innermost wishes, and after nine days here, it was time to leave.  I didn’t want to go; the experience was so breathtaking and out of the ordinary that I felt a profound sense of loss at even the mere thought of leaving. It wasn’t just your intrepid blogger getting choked up; I saw more than one teary-eyed guest that December morning in Fort Lauderdale.  As the saying goes, “all good things must end.”

Luxury cruise ship, or your own personal yacht? Silver Spirit really can feel like both. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

But five months later, I was back.  Privately I worried that, with some of newness of this place behind me, the experience would lose the shine of its initial, Christmas Day-esque excitement. Instead, it was every bit as spectacular as the first time.  Seven days later, it was once again time to leave, and again I felt pangs of regret.  I’d love to think it would cease to exist without me, but the fact is, it’s delighting travellers year-round.

I’m not talking about some exotic, sun-splashed destination, but I am definitely referring to a type of paradise: Silversea’s luxurious flagship, the 2009-built Silver Spirit.  With her sharp white hull, flared bow and bi-level superstructure, she cuts a commanding profile at sea or in port. But her clean lines and carefully tapered decks hide the world of elegance that exists inside.  Public rooms are decorated in a mix of modern, old-world and Art Deco themes that are designed not to make your jaw drop, but your shoulders.  It’s one of the most relaxing ships out there, period.

For an intimate ship, Silver Spirit boasts some impressive design features, like this soaring atrium staircase located amidships. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

The Silver Spirit and I just clicked. I fell in love with The Bar, the Silver Spirit’s swank Art Deco lounge located just off the main reception area.  Nothing beats sitting in one of the plush, tri-colored chairs in here and enjoying the evening ambiance and sounds of the resident pianist.  Then there’s Stars, the amazingly popular combination supperclub and jazz venue.  Or the Spa at Silversea, the largest in the fleet, complete with restorative thermal loungers and a private aft deck. Or the outdoor Black Rock Dining experience, where your food is grilled right before your eyes on your very own slab of volcanic rock, paired with fine wines, served under the stars…

Dining aboard Silver Spirit is a true pleasure. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

But usually, you can find me up on Deck 11, all the way forward, in the Observation Lounge. With sweeping windows that look over Silver Spirit’s bow and a room littered with books on travel, maritime history and non-fiction, it’s like the library in my fantasy house.

Our spacious Silver Suite aboard the Silver Spirit. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

When I first started cruising in 1998, my Dad sprung for an Oceanview suite, which was quite a tight squeeze for two adults and two teenage kids. But the experience to me was as magical as if we’d had the Penthouse suite. Later, when I started sailing on my own, I could only afford the bottom-of-the-barrel inside stateroom. If I was lucky (sometimes), I’d get bumped to an Oceanview room, where I could sit for hours and marvel at the ocean surging by.

These experiences make me appreciate our current home aboard the Silver Spirit all the more: a spacious, elegant Silver Suite.

Something You Could Get Used To: dual sinks, a giant jetted soaker tub, a separate shower, and a separate toilet area. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Measuring 742 square feet (118 square feet of which is devoted to a relaxing balcony), these jaw-dropping suites include a full sitting area with a couch and coffee table, a full dining area, a full desk (which is a huge life-saver for yours truly!), a separate bedroom area, separate toilet, separate shower and full soaker tub along with a dual vanity.

Our bedroom features sliding doors that can separate it from the main living area, and a walk-in closet. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Then there’s the walk-in closet, where my fiancée Kim and I can spread our clothing for the next two weeks out and avoid the usual pushing and shoving that ensues for the few drawers in most staterooms. I should point out, though, she usually wins.

A full sitting area and a desk are provided in each Silver Suite aboard the Silver Spirit. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

I’ve seen the Grand Suites and Owner’s Suites onboard the Silver Spirit, but I still think these Silver Suites are some of the best designed accommodations onboard. Not too big, but certainly not too small, they’re the perfect mix of spaciousness while still letting you feel like you’re onboard a ship.

Our balcony: your own private oasis. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

In typical Silversea fashion, getting to this point – sitting in our Silver Suite with barely a care in the world – was effortless. Even when our taxi driver somehow managed to bypass the main terminal and take us right to the gangway – sans keycards – the crew of the Silver Spirit thought fast and came up with a solution to please everyone.

Welcome Aboard show on the Pool Deck! Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

One of the greatest pleasures of sailing with Silversea again is running into crew members you’ve met on previous voyages; today, we’ve already reconnected our butler from our last voyage from Athens to Barcelona; the Spa Manager who dutifully showed us around Silver Spirit’s lavish Spa once again; and four of our favorite bartenders from past voyages. Even Paolo, Silver Spirit’s kind and energetic Hotel Director is sailing with us again – or perhaps that’s the other way around!

While most people would show you the food, I want to show you the furnishings: The Restaraunt is a stunning display of china and stemware chosen specifically for Silver Spirit. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

It took no time at all to settle back into a comfortable shipboard routine that is decidedly Silversea. Dinner in The Restaurant on Deck 4 was up to the same high standards as our past voyages, but with a few unique twists: menus have been redesigned to offer a set of menu items running down the left-hand page that change a few times throughout the course of the voyage. Items down the right hand side change daily, and tend to reflect local specialties or interests. Items can be mixed and matched as you see fit. It’s a great idea that spices up the nightly menu selections, yet still allows guests to choose their favorite items every evening if they wish.

Getting ready to depart the pier in Bridgetown, Barbados at 10pm. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

After a leisurely dinner served by Charnae, one of the most capable and energetic waitresses I’ve ever met, it was up to Deck 9 and the Panorama Lounge for music prior to our 10pm sailaway. As with all Silversea voyages, meeting new friends is one of the best pastimes, and our two hours in this relaxing, aft-facing lounge didn’t disappoint.

There’s fourteen glorious days ahead of us, and I hope you’ll cruise along with me here each day. Tomorrow, we’re headed to the beautiful city of Castries located on the Windward island of St. Lucia. The beauty of its landscape and the kindness of the people here left their mark on me during my first visit in December 2010, and I’m looking forward to setting foot ashore here once more.

Gearing up for tomorrow! Our Silversea Chronicles (nicely redesigned, I should mention) lets us know what's coming up for the next day. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

After that, the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean beckons us, just as it has called on mariners for hundreds of years.  On Friday evening, we will set an easterly course and experience something truly magical: a transatlantic crossing to Europe. Just like “the old days”, long before jet aircraft raced along the skies above us. Rather than turbofan engines hurtling us through the air, the powerful engines of the Silver Spirit will turn the shafts connected to her enormous dual propellers that will bite purposefully into the sea, churning it into a frothy white mess and allowing this magnificent ship to thunder across the ocean, course purposefully set, her bow slicing through the sea ahead.

There’s a type of majesty to it, and as much as I love to fly, it really does seem to me that this may very well be the only way to cross.

I used to tell family and friends I was sailing aboard the Silver Spirit.  Now I simply say I’m going home.

Sunset aboard Silversea's Silver Spirit on April 12, 2012. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report from aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Spirit continues tomorrow, as we spend a day in port in Castries, St. Lucia before setting out across the Atlantic Ocean, bound for the Cape Verde Islands, the Canary Islands, Morocco and Portugal.

 

8 Responses to Silver Spirit Live Voyage Report – Day 2

  1. Vanny says:

    You know what would be an interesting post? An interview with your fiancee, Kim! Would love to hear her thoughts, too!

  2. David Schaller says:

    We just disembarked in Barbados. Please say hello to Hari in the Observation Lounge and Reynaldo in the Restaurant for us. Enjoy your cruise. I wish we could have stayed on!

  3. mark says:

    i wish that u will enjoy your cruise here at silver spirit…
    im looking forward to serve you with pasion…

    chef mark b.mate

  4. CocoC says:

    My husband and I are planning to sail on the Spirit for the 2013 Christmas New Year’s cruise and were wondering which Silver Suite to book.

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong Silver Suite; they’re all very good. If you are at all prone to feeling the “motion of the ocean”, I’d book one of the Deck 10 suites, as they are slightly lower to the waterine than those on Deck 11. But frankly, my Deck 11 suite suits me just fine!

  5. […] Unusual to know what a Transatlantic Crossing is &#406&#1110k&#1077? Follow Avid Cruiser contributor Aaron Saunders on his Live Voyage Report from Bridgetown, Barbados &#1072&#1089r&#959&#1109&#1109 th&#…. […]

  6. […] handed a glass of champagne. I even ran into two crew members I’d sailed with two years ago when I crossed the Atlantic onboard Silver Spirit, which was a wonderful […]

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