When Silversea Cruises’ new Silver Spirit reaches Fort Lauderdale this week, the 540-passenger vessel will show travel agents and media, and ultimately guests, a few things that no other ship of its size has shown before: stateroom televisions hidden behind mirrors and controlled by a single remote; six restaurants (luxury contender Crystal has more, but its ships are larger); service enhancements, including luggage cleaning, complimentary laundry and dry cleaning, and two free hours use of worldwide phone and internet.
Also new (drumroll, please): Silver Spirit has introduced butler service in every suite. The service is being expanded fleetwide. As Silversea President & CEO Amerigo Perasso stated at a press conference last month, “Silver Spirit is not a two-class ship.”
Silver Spirit is, however, “an evolution of what Silversea is all about,” says Ken Watson, Silversea’s COO. Certainly, few competitors in the luxury segment have added to their fleet over the past decade as much as this brand. Silversea introduced four ships during that time period, so there are no huge gaps between the newest ships in the luxury line’s fleet and the oldest ones.
Silver Spirit increases Silversea capacity 38% (or 60,000 pax), over the course of the year. Approximately 55% of those guests will be new to Silversea.
And while Spirit could potentially help bring down the average age of the Silversea guest, which is 58 years old, Perasso is quick to emphasize, “We’re not unhappy with our demographics….Our passengers are very passionate; they are truly savvy; they know the world.”
Ambiance & ‘Foodatainment’
Perhaps the most popular public room on Silver Spirit is the Reception/Bar area. On a sailing from Monte Carlo to Barcelona, the room was the hub and meeting point of the ship, and nowhere is the Art Deco design of the ship put to greater effect. Italian architect Giacomo Mortola (think Queen Victoria and several Princess ships) sought to achieve “inspiration from history’s most romantic travel era” by using Art Deco design elements that evoke a sophisticated 1930’s ambiance throughout Silver Spirit.
That’s certainly true of the 1930s-style Stars Supper Club, inspired by Rockefeller Center’s famed Rainbow Room. You’d have to be passing by on a gurney to resist walking into Stars.
Defying categorization as a dining room, Stars is what Silverseas Culinary Director Rudi Scholdis calls “foodatainment.” The entertainment and food concept starts at 9 p.m. and goes into the late hours.
Food is bite-sized flavors representing all of the corners of the world where Silversea sails, but vying to outdo the food is a jazz vocalist known simply as Alfreda. From her soulful rendition of “When You Wish Upon A Star” to her sultry interpretation of “Killing Me Softly,” the Morganton, North Carolina native quickly owns the room.
“We would love for people to go for a fresh pasta dish in Le Terrazza and then come to Stars for some foodatainment to hear some great jazz music with some funky food,” Scholdis says.
Silver Spirit will feature two, reservations-only restaurants that carry a service charge. Seating 24, Seishin (Japanese for “spirit”) carries a $40 cover charge for the 11-course degustation menu that includes such specialties as Beluga caviar sorbet, sushi, sashimi, carpaccio of king scallops and more. Seishin’s main physical feature is the rounded and centered food prep station known as la table du chef.
Adding premium Sakes to the degustation menu is an additional $40 per person, while the wine pairing menu goes for $200 per person each. Also seating 24 and situated across from Seishin, Le Champagne offers dining for only $30 per person and a wine-pairing menu for $200.
Le Champagne represents the “closest a ship can get to a Michelin-starred restaurant shoreside,” Scholdis says. Two years ago, Silversea’s 10-year-relationship with Relais & Chateaux was elevated to that of a full culinary partner, which means that Relais & Chateaux has granted Silversea the privilege of being among Relais & Chateaux’s Grand Chefs, an exclusive group to be sure.
One other venue new to Silversea is the evening Pool Grill. Scholdis created a concept called the Black Rock Grill, which involves cooking on hot lava rocks, at guest tables. “There’s more and more demand from our guests for casual dining,” he says. “The Pool Grill will be casual throughout.”
As for burning off those calories consumed, don’t worry: Silver Spirit also boasts Silversea’s largest spa.
WATCH LIVE WEBCAST OF CHRISTENING CEREMONY
Tune in to the Silver Spirit Blog Thursday, 21 January, at 10:00 a.m. US East Coast time to watch live streaming video of the invitation-only Christening Ceremony for Silver Spirit.
This time-honoured tradition will feature Silver Spirit Godmother Silvia Lefebvre D’Ovidio, the sister of Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre D’Ovidio, christening the ship with a balthazar of Moët & Chandon (the equivalent of 16 bottles).
A smaller replica of the champagne bottle will be auctioned off as a memento during Silver Spirit’s Grand Inaugural Voyage to benefit the Maruzza Lefebvre D’Ovidio Foundation, a non-profit organisation spearheaded by Silvia Lefebvre D’Ovidio. A major part of its energy and resources is dedicated to the diffusion of palliative care for children, babies and adolescents affected by incurable disease.
Also planned for the Christening Ceremony is a special duet performance of one of the world’s most beautiful songs, “The Prayer,” by two vocalists from the Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists Program.