Posted on December 30, 2013 by Janet Steinberg
Silver Spirit: A 24 Karat Gilt Trip

Yes, it was guiltless!

My recent 24-karat Silversea Caribbean cruise on the luxurious Silver Spirit was pure pleasure…pure pampering…pure rest…and pure relaxation. Yet I felt not an ounce of guilt on this golden gilt trip.

SILVERCAKE
WELCOME ABOARD SILVER SPIRIT

As our ship glided away from the pier, headed for the Florida Straits and the Caribbean Sea, I knew that the 476 passengers (from 17 countries) and I were in for a special eight days.

Having sailed many times on Silversea ships, and long a devotee of Silversea's dedication to providing an extraordinary level of excellence on its fleet of remarkable ships, this cruise was to be a new experience for me. This was to be my first time sailing on the 540-passenger, all-inclusive…all ocean-view… all-suite Silver Spirit, the newest vessel in the Silversea fleet. And, true to Silversea form, Silver Spirit didn't disappoint. From the moment I stepped aboard, time seemed to stand still. All the stress…all the hustle bustle of the real world…instantly vanished from my eyes and my mind.

silverspirit
CARES VANISHED ABOARD THE SILVER SPIRIT

From the moment of embarkation, when that first flute of champagne was thrust upon me, I was pampered by a crew of 378 people from 36 countries that catered to my every whim. For eight glorious days, Silver Spirit offered the distinctive luxuries and celebrated lifestyle that one could easily become accustomed to.

Yet, on Silver Spirit, there was a new level of luxury that began with the dining experiences, and was carried on throughout the nightlife, the spa, and the shore excursions.

The Restaurant, Silversea's main dining room, sparkled with silver, crystal and candlelight. Contemporary Mediterranean and regional cuisine was served with sophisticated elegance and impeccable service. It was here that we definitely chose to dine for the Captain's Welcome and Farewell dinners.

We enjoyed a divine selection of Italy's best cuisine, served à la carte, in La Terrazza. Authentic recipes and the freshest ingredients came together with flair and passion – a flavourful expression of Silversea's distinctive Italian heritage.

The pool grill was great both day and night. At lunchtime, we enjoyed burgers or fresh-from-the-oven pizza and lighter fare. Come nighttime, and the venue was transformed into The Grill featuring "hot rock" dining under the stars. This fun, interactive cooking concept allows guests to grill their own seafood and prime meats directly at their table on a heated volcanic rock plate.

foodcarving
FOOD CARVING DEMONSTRATION AT POOL GRILL DURING LUNCH

And, of course, I shouldn't forget to mention The Bar where we socialized throughout the day over specialty coffees, tapas and complimentary cocktails.

But aaaaah, the two alternative restaurants (with minimal reservation charges) were also not to be missed.

At Le Champagne, the only Wine Restaurant by Relais & Châteaux at sea, we indulged ourselves in an evening where fine wines complemented a set tasting menu of regionally inspired dishes. In an intimate elegant setting, we were privy to an enriching, flavorful, and memorable dining experience.

Dinner began with hot and cold entrees such as Carpaccio de Thon Rouge (Red Tuna Carpaccio), Caviar & Condiments, and Foie de Canard-Compote de Fruits des Bois (Pan-fried Foie Gras with Forest Berry Compote). Entre-Deux (the second course) was a choice of exotic soups. My choice was the divine Farandole de Cepes-Essence de Truffes (Porcini Mushrooms with truffle essence).

The third course was Terre et Mer (Land and Sea). The choices included Dover sole, New Zealand Lamb, Breast of Forest Pigeon, New England Venison and several other seafoods. All of this was topped off with a Grand Marnier Soufflé, a Crepe Suzette or a Trilogy of Chocolate Lava Cakes.

lechampagne
LE CHAMPAGNE'S TRILOGY OF CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKES

Seishin, an innovative Asian-fusion restaurant where Kobe beef and a variety of seafoods vied for the attention of our tastebuds, featured a large round chef's table as its centerpiece. From our table at lunchtime, we watched the chef at work sculpting fresh sushi and sashimi. It tasted as good as it looked.

silverchef
SEISHIN CHEF PREPARES LUNCH

At dinner, we opted for Seishin's 9-course degustation menu. This began with the Amuse Bouche of Seishin's Signature Caviar Sorbet…a piece of cucumber topped with lime sorbet and red caviar. This was followed by courses of sushi, sashimi, seafood, meat, and dessert.

seishin
ONE OF SEISHIN'S 9-COURSE DINNER TREATS

The old Rainbow Room in New York City, where my husband and I had our first dance together some 25-years ago, was the inspiration for the stunning Art Deco design of the Stars Supper Club. The velvety sound of the cabaret singer conjured up thoughts of what the Gatsby era must have been like some years before my time.

Silver Spirit's Spa at Silversea is an 8,300-square-foot spa that is a sanctuary of pure bliss. With floor-to-ceiling windows, it features a resort-style pool and a ceramic-tiled Thermal Suite furnished with heated lounge chairs.

A connecting private Hammam (Turkish bath) Chamber, serves as the setting for the Private Hammam Experience, one of several unique Silver Spirit treatments. An outdoor relaxation area offers bar service so you can enjoy a complimentary fruit smoothie, champagne or cocktail while soaking in the expansive spa whirlpool.

Standard Silver Spirit suites…the largest suites in the Silversea fleet…all feature butler service, refrigerator and bar setup stocked with our preferences, European bath amenities, down duvets, fine bed linens, premium mattresses, our choice of down pillows, spa robes and slippers, personalized stationery, binoculars, and umbrellas. Optional WiFi Internet access was available in all suites, 95% of which have private verandas.

But the 24-karat gold of my gilt trip went beyond my stunning veranda suite. The piece de resistance was my butler Rodolfo Nerez from the Philippines and my suite attendant Adesh Gawale from India. (All silver Spirit suites have butler service.)

silverbutler
BUTLER RODOLFO WELCOMES US ABOARD IN OUR SUITE

Returning to my suite after a hot day touring Cozumel, I found the following note from Rodolfo on my bed: "Welcome back from your tour. We have prepared your bath for your indulgence. Enjoy this muscle-aching reliever bubble bath. Relax and enjoy the spa in you own suite." Lo and behold I found a candlelit bathtub brimming with bubbles.

When we returned from a day in Costa Maya I was once again greeted by his note on the bed that read: "Have a wonderful birthday and anniversary cruise with us. Best wishes and congratulations." Along with the note were five pink and purple "Happy Birthday" balloons and lovely white orchids.

birthday
BIRTHDAY BALLOONS GREETED ME ON RETURN FROM TOUR

At dinner came a birthday cake Rodolfo had ordered for me.

All too soon it was approaching the time to disembark. Suitcases packed, we left for our final dinner. Once again, upon our return, there a was a note from Rodofo and Adesh. This one, placed atop our suitcase, read: Your bags were cleaned with an Eco friendly cleaning solvent. We look forward to welcoming you back soon."

Tell me, how can you top that?

JANET STEINBERG is the winner of 38 national travel writing awards and a Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio.

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