Silver Spirit Live Voyage Report: Recap from Aaron Saunders’ From The Deck Chair

Read Aaron Saunders’ excellent recap of a week’s sailing on Silver Spirit. Aaron discusses the often-under-considered value of luxury cruising and he takes on criticism about charges for the speciality restaurants that some have said “cheapens” the Silversea experience.

I have read some rather harsh criticisms of the line on message boards for offering the Relais & Chateau-run Le Champagne and the Japanese-inspired Seishin specialty restaurants for a fee, claiming the line doesn’t offer a truly all-inclusive concept by charging admission for these. I think that’s an unfair generalization; The on-board credits offered on so many voyages render that complaint moot, and even then, if you elect to remove the wine pairings from Le Champagne, the price becomes a very digestible $30 per person. They’re not twisting your arm in any way to participate in these, but you really should, at least once, because of the experience they represent.

Sailing the Mediterranean aboard Silversea's Silver Spirit. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

It’s taken me an hour and a half to write this opening paragraph summarizing our experience aboard Silversea’s Silver Spirit from Athens to Barcelona, and I think I finally realize why: it’s nearly impossible to put into words how many truly extraordinary experiences we’ve had in the past week: we’ve explored the ancient beauty of Athens, Greece; sailed away from Piraeus, gone ATV-ing on Mount Etna, enjoyed gelato in Taormina, lost outselves on the island of Capri, ate lunch seaside in Civitavecchia, experienced yacht-envy in Monte Carlo, and took in the culturally-rich nightlife of Barcelona.  All in the comfort of our floating palace, the Silver Spirit.

There's nothing quite like the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Few other vacations could even come close to topping that.  But it’s disappointing that the Silversea experience doesn’t extend to other methods of travel.  They set the bar for their onboard service so incredibly high that it spoils you for anything else.

What could be more relaxing than a cruise through the incredible Mediterranean? The excellent weather! Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Personally, I realized my time aboard the beautiful Silver Spirit had come to an end somewhere between clearing security in Barcelona Airport (an exercise in juggling your personal belongings) and my economy-class* seat on our British Airways flight to Vancouver.  In writing this, I am balancing my orange juice on the side of my laptop, and the person in front of me has just reclined their seat smack into it – again.

Can you imagine if Silversea had its own airline? I don’t dare dream; they’d never get me to leave. Continue reading.

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