I have been selling cruise holidays for a few years now and what always strikes me is how once a client has cruised once, they almost always come back and book another or sometimes, book three in a row!
These guests tend to be very well travelled and the kind of people who could choose any holiday, anywhere; but they choose cruising time and time again.
I was therefore keen to know what all the fuss was about and have a clearer understanding of why my clients choose to cruise over a ‘fly & flop’ holiday. Hence, I was over the moon when I was offered a once in a lifetime trip to experience Silversea.
We embarked Silver Spirit in the impressive city of Fort Lauderdale in Florida, which is, in itself, a fantastic destination, boasting a huge stretch of white sandy beach, great restaurants and bars and of course a great shopping mall. I would highly recommend at least a 2-3 night pre-cruise stay here to settle yourself into holiday mode!
Silver Spirit is the newest and largest ship in the Silversea fleet and I was wowed by its beauty, class and tasteful décor.
Embarkation was hassle free and we enjoyed a 'welcome' glass of Champagne while we checked in. Then it was time for lunch which we enjoyed on the outside deck of La Terazza, served buffet style, and offering every choice you could wish for alongside free flowing wine. I couldn’t help but feel a little smug as I looked across at the huge cruise liners, also in the port. Although much smaller in size, it was obvious we were on the most exclusive ship of them all and I felt very privileged.
After lunch we checked into our Veranda Suites which were on deck 6. I was really surprised at how spacious our suite was; I always had the impression that the suites on a cruise would be on the small size…how wrong I was. The space had been designed really well and had all the amenities you would expect. The balcony was also a really good size with two reclining chairs and a table. There were also suites on the ship without balconies; and while this may not bother some guests, I found it a definite bonus to have a balcony, especially for taking in the stunning new views when you wake up in the morning.
We were also lucky enough to take a peek at one of the sumptuous Silver Suites which are very palatial. I would highly recommend these, especially for a longer voyage. But do book early as these are the first to sell out on popular voyages.
Each suite had its own personal butler who took care of everything I could wish for; including unpacking my suitcase, bringing me a morning coffee and just making my whole experience effortless.
That afternoon it was time to hit the pool deck ready to sail. The atmosphere was wonderful and everyone so excited for what lay ahead. Cocktails in hand, we set sail for Key West.
The following day we enjoyed a day in Key West, which was a really lovely, quirky little town. We visited the botanical gardens and then enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at leisure, some of us hitting the shops, some the beach and some retreated back to the ship. It’s important to note that on Silversea, you can do pretty much anything you want or nothing at all! Most guests enjoy the many shore excursions on offer, while some decide to explore independently, but there are also guests who never leave the ship and who would blame them?!
That night it was a ‘formal evening’ where all the guests dressed up in their finery and gathered in the bar. Of course for some, this isn’t a favourite part of their trip, but for me there is something really special about getting my glad rags on and it was lovely to see some of the beautiful dresses that the ladies wore. The men didn’t scrub up too badly either!
Our evening was then spent dining in La Champagne which suited the dress code perfectly.
La Champagne is the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea and reservations are a must.
The food was exquisite, as was the service, and overall it felt like we were dining in a top restaurant in London, not in the middle of the sea. It really was a truly incredible dining experience and not to be missed.
It was then on to the show lounge to enjoy a performance of ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’, featuring the music of Motown, which really was so much fun. The entertainers were superb and put on such a great show every evening, and these were certainly one of the highlights for me and something I really looked forward to after dinner.
The next day was ‘at sea’ and what a fantastic day it was. We relaxed around the pool deck, dipped in and out of the heated Jacuzzi and took a long relaxing lunch where we enjoyed Silversea’s legendry ‘double dog’ (2 hot dogs in a bun!).
For those looking for a bit more to do, then you are spoilt for choice with a variety of activity and entertainment options on offer; such as the fitness centre and the 8,300 square-foot spa where you can indulge in a wide range of therapies including facials, body wraps, massages and even acupuncture.
After our long lazy day, we enjoyed my dining highlight of the cruise: ‘Hot Rocks’. We met at the pool deck, enjoyed a few cocktails and were then seated at a beautifully presented table under the stars. The Hot Rocks dining experience allows guests to cook the meat to their liking and the menu is a meat-lover’s paradise. Rib-eye steak, filet mignon, veal, pork, lamb, prawns, and salmon are all on the menu. It was absolutely perfect and a definite must-do for guests on Silver Spirit. Then it was off to the show lounge for another excellent performance. This time it was soloist Melissa whose voice was angelic. A perfect end to a perfect day!
The following morning we docked in Grand Cayman, an island popular with the US market and not somewhere I knew a great deal about or would probably think of visiting. Now this is where cruising really comes into its own; if I hadn’t been on this cruise, I may never have experienced Grand Cayman, yet I can honestly say it was the destination highlight of the whole trip for me and I would return in a heartbeat.
We decided to spend the whole day on the spectacular 7-mile beach of soft white powder sand which seemed to go on for miles and miles. It was just beautiful. The atmosphere was young and friendly and a lot of the crew from the ship were on a day off, enjoying a well earned break on the beach. We had a fabulous lunch right by the water while funky chill out music played – it couldn’t have been more perfect. We all agreed that it was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday.
Sadly this was our last evening and so we headed for even more fine dining at the Italian à la carte restaurant La Terraza. Like the past three evenings, we weren’t disappointed, with the service being impeccable and the choice of food just fantastic. The highlights were the fresh pasta and antipasti platter, not forgetting the infamous Italian desserts!
Afterwards, in the show lounge, it was sixties night which was a lot of fun and topped off our last night perfectly.
The next morning we docked in Falmouth, Jamaica and it was time to say goodbye to Silver Spirit. But I’m sure it won’t be a long farewell as I’m definitely a cruise convert and I cannot wait until my next Silversea experience!
If you want the best service, world-class food and an incredible cruise experience then Silversea is for you! What are you waiting for?!
Claire’s highlights were:
5-star world class dining
Visiting new places you may not travel to independently
Never having to sign for a meal, cocktail or glass of Champagne
Meeting different people from around the world and the camaraderie
Value for money