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Embarking Silversea’s beautiful Silver Spirit in Barbados
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.”
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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