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Cruise Ship Information

Silver Spirit is a super-luxury cruise ship operated by Silversea Cruises, a privately owned luxury cruise line. The sixth and largest ship of the Silversea fleet, she entered service in 2009.

Silver Spirit is fitted with 270 ocean-view suites, providing the largest suites of the fleet. She also features six different restaurants, a spa measuring 8,300 square feet (770 m2) and the Stars Supper Club with live music, dancing and night-club style entertainment.

On 23 December 2009, Silver Spirit departed on her maiden voyage from Barcelona, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal. Following this sailing, she undertook her maiden transatlantic voyage from Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. On 21 January 2010, Silver Spirit embarked on her inaugural voyage, a 91-day voyage around America.

Atmosphere on board

Silver Spirit, launched by Silversea Cruises in 2009, continues the line's tradition of classic luxury, offering an experience that's cozy and comfortable while remaining elegant. The line has added more variety in its dining with two restaurants only found on this ship: Seishin, featuring Asian cuisine, and Stars Supper Club, with sampler tapas-style menus and cool jazz entertainment. Silver Spirit also has a spacious spa that includes a ceramic-tiled thermal suite.

With 540 passengers, the ship is considerably larger than Silversea's other vessels, which accommodate between 132 and 382 passengers. Silver Spirit is an all-suite ship, with every cabin offering butler service. Fares are all-inclusive and cover gratuities and beverages (except for the truly premium brands): wine, liquor, beer and soda. What the ship doesn't do is promote art auctions, spa treatments, shopping talks or shore excursions.

While our sailing was fully booked, it never felt crowded. Public facilities were spacious and never filled to capacity. Lounge chairs were plentiful at the pool, and there was no wait to use computers in the Internet cafe.

It's the extra niceties that make a Silver Spirit cruise above the norm. For example, the Internet cafe is staffed with a technician with regular hours who assists passengers with not just the Silversea computers, but with their iPhones, iPads and other tech toys.

That being said, there are still a few quibbles. While beautifully appointed with cozy upholstered love seats and good sight lights, the show lounge lacks Broadway-style revues, interesting set designs and multiple costume changes.

And while Silver Spirit has endeavored to provide dining variety with restaurant choices, seating in the alternatives is limited. La Champagne has 24 seats, as does Seishin, resulting in waitlists for most specialty restaurants; even 70-seat La Terrazza needs advance notice. If your heart is set on a venue, make reservations ahead of time, just as you would for a more mainstream ship.

Many of the passengers on Silver Spirit were couples celebrating special occasions. They tended to choose tables for two, of which there are many in the dining venues and even in the theater, with its loveseats for two. For passengers wanting to mix and mingle, there was plenty of opportunity to participate in group activities like bridge, bingo, team trivia and shuffleboard.

What you'll love about this ship is the feeling of freedom. Silver Spirit passengers don't have to wait in lines for activities or dinner, or listen to myriad ship announcements in their cabins. There are no first seating, second seating rituals. You dine when you feel like dining. Special requests are honored, and with butler service in all suites -- unique to Silver Spirit -- you'll never have an annoying knock on the door by attendants wanting to service cabins. You can relax, knowing all your needs are taken care of. What more could you want in a vacation?

Family with Kids/Teens

While the Silver Spirit permits children onboard, there aren't any specific facilities or programs for children or teenagers.

Past Passenger Programs

Silver Spirit offers an Internet cafe, or you can use your own laptop or tablet to access the Internet via shipwide Wi-Fi. In either case, you must buy a package of minutes. You can get 100 minutes of online access for $45, 250 minutes for $85 and 1,000 minutes for $250. There's also a well-stocked library filled with DVD's, books and newspapers.

The Card Room on Deck 6 provides a great meeting place for bridge players. The shore concierge desk and passenger relations manager are also based on Deck 6.

The duty-free boutique on Deck 5 offers a nice selection of perfumes, as well as designer handbags, sportswear, costume jewelry and incidentals like memory cards for cameras and suntan lotion. For those in the market for real baubles, the H. Stern boutique offers a mesmerizing selection of diamonds and gold, including many modern pieces.

There's a self-serve Laundromat on Deck 4. The medical center on Deck 3 has regular hours, plus an onboard doctor is available at any time for emergencies.

Fitness And Spa

Silver Spirit has a sizable saltwater pool (large enough for laps) and two hot tubs on Deck 8. The deck space is more than ample for sun-lovers. On sea days, there's usually a rousing game or two of pool volleyball. Just above the pool deck on Deck 9 are a walking track and a small gym housing elliptical machines, treadmills, free weights and yoga mats. The gym provides terrific views. A variety of fitness classes is offered daily. You can also try your hand at paddle tennis, or practice putting at the onboard green.

For those who prefer pampering to pumping iron, the Spa at Silversea is a sight for sore muscles. There are a full hair salon, including nail services, and nine treatment rooms to fulfill your every rejuvenating fantasy. You may want to try a warm stone or Swedish massage, reflexology or an anti-aging facial. Each changing room has a sauna and steam bath.

Food & Dining

Dining on Silver Spirit is heavenly, with numerous options depending on your mood and cravings. The high-quality food is one reason cruisers choose Silversea over other lines.

The Restaurant is the main dining venue on Silver Spirit. Friendly, attentive waiters serve delicious multi-course gourmet meals with a Mediterranean influence. There's a standard menu that's always available, along with a lengthy list of daily chef's specials. All three meals are served a la carte. Dinner reservations aren't required; passengers may simply arrive any time between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

La Terrazza is a smaller a la carte restaurant that features scrumptious Italian cuisine in the tradition of Slow Food. The dinner menu of delights -- Pecorino pie, handmade tagliatelle, veal, tiramisu and panna cotta -- changes every three days. Each of the four courses is paired with the perfect Italian wine. This specialty restaurant (no extra cost) is a must for at least one night, but many cruisers find themselves there several times, given the intimate, quality dining experience. Reservations are required, as the capacity is limited to 50 people. La Terrazza also serves buffet breakfast and buffet lunch. You don't need reservations for these meals, and there is never a wait for a table since people come at different times.

The experience is even more exclusive at La Champagne, the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea. Only 20 diners per night can enjoy an exquisite six-course meal. There's a $30 surcharge per person, plus the cost of any upgrades in the wine selections. You must reserve ahead of time.

In 2012, the Pool Bar and Grill was expanded and transformed into The Grill, which offers passengers the chance to cook their own steak and seafood on heated volcanic rocks at their table. Some passengers enjoy the novel experience of cooking their own meal, while others would prefer to leave the work to Silversea's excellent chefs.

Room service is not to be missed. Many of the main courses served in the restaurant are also featured on the room service menu, so choosing to spend the night in your cabin doesn't mean you need to forego the gourmet experience. Dinners are served in courses -- the waiters ask when you'd like them to come back -- and they're divine on starry, balmy nights in the privacy of your balcony. For other times of the day, or a midnight snack, the usual array of burgers, salads and appetizers is available. Room service breakfast is also a standout, and it's a great alternative when you want to spend a little more time in your cabin getting ready for a port call.

Entertainment

The gamut of usual shipboard activities is offered during the day, from lectures and language lessons to dance classes and bridge. The most popular pastime is the daily trivia competition.

Evening entertainment features "The Artists of Silversea," a troupe of three female and three male singers/entertainers who perform everything from Beatles hits to opera. The quality of the entertainers is fairly high for a ship of this size, and the cruise director also performs along with the group. The multi-tiered Venetian Lounge provides a pleasant setting for these evening shows or movies with unobstructed views.

The most popular spot is The Bar, a bustling art deco saloon, where folks meet and mingle easily before and after dinner. The barkeep will call you by name and remember what you drink after one visit. On many evenings, the Silver Spirit Quartet performs there; it's a great place to dance.

The pretty, well-designed and user-friendly Panorama Lounge is a great place for just sipping drinks, listening to music or simply sitting and watching the sea go by. At night, a pianist plays and sings there.

There's also a tiny casino that gets good table action, but not too much slot play.

The highlights of Silver Spirit's shore excursions are the knowledgeable guides the cruise line contracts. Excursions run the gamut from half-day city orientations to cooking classes and winery outings. A Silver Spirit staff member accompanies every shore excursion to make sure everything is running smoothly.

The shore concierge conducts briefings on ports a day or two before docking, going over the excursions provided by the line and how passengers can tour on their own. At each port, a local expert comes aboard just after docking and can provide maps, restaurant recommendations and information on taxis.

Fellow Passengers

Silverseas' generally 40-and-older passengers are well-traveled and sophisticated. The ships attract an international clientele, with the majority being American and European

Tipping

Included in your fare, though additional services provided by a butler or concierge may deserve extra consideration at your discretion.

Our recommendation