Silver Spirit to Tahiti

My wife and I recently completed a 12 night cruise on board Silversea’s Silver Spirit. We joined the ship in Los Angeles and sailed with her as far as Tahiti. This was the first leg of her 64 night ‘Grand Voyage’ around the Pacific. Ports of call included Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Moorea and Tahiti

 

In addition to the cruise we opted for two three day pre and post cruise stay packages at Los Angeles and at Papeete on Tahiti.

Silver Spirit is the newest and largest ship in the Silversea fleet, a 5 year old 36,000 Tonne luxury cruise  ship capable of carrying  540 passengers with a crew of 376…

 

We had booked a Veranda 6 Suite on Deck 9….

 

 

It was a spacious suite with more than ample storage space and included a walk in wardrobe…

 

…and of course included a balcony equipped  with a  table and two comfortable chairs….

 

The ensuite bathroom had a large bath, though not a whirlpool, a separate walk in shower with glass door and, once again, acres of storage space…

 

 

All suites on Silver Spirit come with Butler service, a choice of toiletries and a complimentary well stocked fridge. Whilst introducing himself our butler’s first task was to establish our preferences for alcoholic drinks and toiletries – yes, there was a choice of toiletries – Bvlgari, Ferragamo or Sebamed. In addition there was a pillow menu should one have any particular preferences in that department.

One particularly novel feature that caught our attention, or not as it first appeared,  was the two televisions: each set into the mirrors in the seating area and the sleeping area of the suite.

Considering its relative small size one feels an immediate sense of space on this ship while its decor borders on the elegant and luxurious rather than garish and extravagant.

Interestingly almost all the public rooms  are in the aft section of the ship whilst accommodation is located forward.

Silver Spirit is well laid out and very easy to navigate. There is no central Atrium as such though  the Reception and Shore Concierge desks are situated in a spacious area mid-ships on 5 Deck.

Deck space is plentiful. Centrally on the upper deck are the swimming pool, jacuzzis, a pool bar and a grill. Above the pool deck is a wrap-around sun deck which extends to the aft end of the ship while expanding forward into a covered area for al fresco dining…

 

The aft end of 8 and 9 Decks also offer spacious open areas for sun beds, deck sports and general relaxation…

*****

 

Aft on Deck 6 there is a very large spa and fitness centre…

…while a number of ’boutique shops’ and the casino can be found on Deck 8. A well stocked library and internet cafe are situated on Deck 7…

Dining.

The Main Restaurant is situated on 4 Deck and is very tastefully decorated and furnished…

*****

Full service breakfast, lunch and dinner are  served daily in The Restaurant.

La Terrazza, at the stern of the ship, is a multi purpose restaurant with an indoor and outdoor seating area. Inside, it is elegantly decorated and furnished in classic Italian style…

 

…while the ‘al fresco’ terrace area has comfortable whicker seating and tables…

For breakfast and lunch La Terrazza offers a semi-buffet service and in the afternoon it becomes the venue for high tea…

For dinner La Terrazza transforms into a speciality Italian Restaurant.

There is a choice of six dining venues on Silver Spirit. Reservations are not required in The Restaurant or at The Grill though it is advisable to make a reservation at the latter for particular table sizes.

There are 4 speciality restaurants, at all of which tables may be reserved. Two of these, Le Champagne and Seishin, carry a cover charge. The other two, where no charge is made, are  La Terrazza and  The Stars Supper Club.

La Terrazza.

Each evening, apart from the restaurant’s standard a la carte menu, there is a different featured speciality Italian family menu. On the one occasion we took dinner in La Terrazza we chose the Sapori di Casa Emiliani which included…

Prosciutto e Melone

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese...

Bocconcini di Vitello…

 (Veal stew with garlic sautéed Artichokes)

and to finish, Cannolo allo Zabaglione

(Crispy Puff Pastry with a Marsala Custard)

Seishin

 

Specialising in Asian fusion cuisine and exquisite oriental creations,  Seishin is an intimate restaurant  that has space for no more than 30 guests who can expect to eat a variety of regional dishes with flavours from Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. Dishes are mainly prepared in one’s line of sight at the central chef’s table…

 

The cover charge is variable depending on the section of the menu chosen – relative to the  number of courses taken. There are two ‘Seishin’ Teaser menu’s at $20 per person or the full Degustation  at $40 per person. It goes without saying that my wife and I chose the multi course Degustation option which included a Sushi and Sashimi platter…

 

Oysters and Sea Urchins

Miso Glazed Mahi Tuna

and the restaurant’s Signature Dish, Tepan Wagyu Beef

 

The second speciality restaurant to level a cover charge is Le Champagne…

Claimed as the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea Le champagne is again an intimate experience with the  distinct atmosphere of a classic French restaurant. With a cover charge of $40 per person expect to stay the full six courses, madness not to, they include…

Marbled Foie Gras Terrine…

Poached Oysters Gratin

 

and choices of Entre Deux of Normandy Style Dover Sole

 

…and Rack of Lamb

 

 

The ‘Stars Supper Club’.

 

Exclusively aboard Silver Spirit, the ‘Stars Supper Clubemulates the romance and glamour of decades past with its  Art Deco design inspired by the old Rainbow Room in New York.

Another of Silver Spirit’s intimate venues with limited seating (Reservations highly recommended) where passengers can swing and sway to live jazz…


…while sipping cocktails and nibbling on tasty small plate selections from around the globe…

*****

The ‘Stars Supper Club’ is open for dining between 8.00 and 10.00 pm for those with reservations and then continues as a club venue after 10.30 with a selection of more live jazz.

The final piece in the Silver Spirit’s dining jigsaw is The Grill. Poolside convenience during the day but once  the stars come out, and providing the weather is warm, this popular eatery is transformed into an interactive dining venue…

…where seafood and prime cuts are grilled table side on heated volcanic rock plates…

 

Entertainment and Enrichment.

There is a good selection of bars and entertainment venues on board Silver Spirit though it was very obvious that Silversea place less emphasis on variety of entertainment. The main venue for entertainment is the Show Lounge…

an attractive theatre style venue with all seating of the ‘double Banquette’ variety…

The backbone of the evening shows was provided by a production team, ‘The Artists of Silversea’,   six very talented singers who, over our 12 nights on board, gave a total of 5 production shows and two individual shows. Another very talented visiting singer, Alfreda Gerald,  did two shows and the ship embarked a local Polynesian group for two nights deck entertainment.

A trio of musicians regularly played dance music in The Bar

…while the resident pianist provided a variety of musical entertainment in the Panorama Lounge

Often used for hosting smaller  parties was the excellent Observation Lounge forward on Deck 11…

 

With so many sea days Silversea certainly got their enrichment programme spot on. There were three  lecturers on board and during the initial 7 sea days I attended all but one lecture of the two presenters that appealed to me,   Dr. Mark Elovitzs series on Geo-Politics…

…and those of the outstanding Destination Consultant, Niki Sepsas

 

The Itinerary

We opted for a three day Silversea pre-cruise stay in Los Angeles and organised our own three day post cruise extension in Tahiti. Flights from London to Los Angeles with Air New Zealand and transfer to the Intercontinental Hotel in Beverley Hills were courtesy of Silversea’s package.

*****

*****

And so we joined Silver Spirit and, after 7 glorious days at sea we arrived at the Marquesas Island of Nuku Hiva

We had made an advance reservation for a private full day FWD Tour of Nuka Hiva and were more than satisfied with the excellent services provided by Kevin Ellis at http://www.nukuhivatours.com

 

Nuku Hiva boasts some well preserved archeological sites of ancient Me’ae. These ceremonial sites consisted of stone platforms, walls, and pavements and are  located in secluded spots. The remains of chiefs and priests were often kept at these sites. Kevin took us to the largest of these sites and gave us a thorough briefing on all aspects of their history…

The site of Kamuhiei is a  testament to the historical treasures of Nuku Hiva and we were most grateful for the time spent there.

There was a sea day between Nuku Hiva and our next port of call, the largest atol in Polynesia, Rangiroa

Entering the Atol through Tiputa pass, sailing against the rip current, was well worth the early start to the day.

We hired bikes from a local hotel in order to explore Rangiroa – being an atoll it is very flat. We were, however, pleased to find a quiet beach spot, with crystal clear waters, for a swim before returning to the ship…

Next up was the island of Moorea. Here we hired a car in order that we could explore and circumnavigate the whole island at our  leisure…

…including a visit to the Belvedere Lookout…

…which affords views over Opunohu and  Cook’s Bays. That’s the Silver Spirit in the distance,  anchored in Cook’s Bay.

Our early evening departure from Moorea…

…for the short 2 hour steam to Tahiti meant we had our final evening on board at the islands capital, Papeete.

We had arranged our own 3 day post cruise extension on Tahiti: a studio apartment which gave us views back across to the island of Moorea…

We did a full day round the island tour of Tahiti using a local tour company that was excellent value for money and  included visits to all the major tourist sites and a waterside picnic lunch. Sites included Papeete’s Hotel de Ville, a magnificent replica of Queen Pomare’s mansion which perfectly captures the spirit of the colonial South Pacific…

and, yes, another Marae site…

 

Summary

This was our first cruise with Silversea and our overall impression was that it was good value for money. From the moment we received our joining instructions…

…we were aware that we were about to experience something of good quality and  that continued through to our pre-cruise hotel in Los Angeles. We were, however, singularly unimpressed with our arrival at the ship. Check-in was, to say the least, shambolic and suites were not available for occupation till around 2.00 pm though there were a number of food outlets available.

Our suite fully met our expectations: it was an excellent size, practical, comfortable and equipped with excellent amenities right down to a pack of headed note paper.

Each accommodation deck had its own laundrette which amazingly were hardly ever used.

The quality and choices of  food throughout the ship proved consistently high.  Requests for ‘off menu’ items were not a problem giving fair notice while requests for additional daily items were promptly met. My wife and I are no lovers of cruise ship buffets but found the semi-buffet routine on Silver Spirit made the experience more than civilised.

Onboard services were excellent – the ‘Shore Concierge’ actually being outstanding – and, despite there being only a few Brits on board, the library produced full British national newspapers on a daily basis. The internet gave good connection speeds and internet packages were more than competitively priced. Tender services were amongst the highest level we have experienced.

Entertainment is of course a personal preference and one thing Silver Spirit lacked was any variety. In our case that was no big deal. What was on offer was of a particularly high standard and most evenings there was interesting company for social chat and engagement.

We experienced some frustrating moments with waiters, mainly on the pool deck but often in one or two of the bars. Orders were consistently forgotten or wrongly served and probably the most consistently used word we heard from waiters was ‘sorry’. These really are small criticisms however, the staff are either not trained well or require further ongoing training. Whatever, one does not expect to experience these minor frustrations at this level of cruising.

We also found our butler service mediocre: less pro-active and more reactive. Silversea can certainly take a lesson on butler service from Cunard.

We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. It was good to experience yet another high end cruise ship and the overall experience matched our expectations.

Would we cruise with Silversea again? The simple answer is yes but there are still a number of other fish in the sea.

Silver Spirit sails into the Tahiti sunset…

10 responses to “Silver Spirit to Tahiti

  1. Sorry is a favourite word from two of my grandchildren . Great review but how do you two pack away all that food, must be all the walking. Seriously , glad you all had a great trip.

  2. Great review Richard you brought back wonderful memories reminding us of our world cruises across the Pacific, the photography as usual is great the photo’s of the food made my mouth water.
    The ship certainly had plenty to offer and seemed very luxurious thank you for sharing .

  3. I Love the Pacific Islands and your photos brought back wonderful memories. A great review as always and stunning photos.Well done.

  4. Thank you for this great insight into another cruiseline you tested.
    Wonderful pictures and great impressions shared.
    Have many more enjoyable voyages and our best regards to your wife!
    Camilla

  5. A very well executed review. We were on the same cruise but went on to Auckland. The cruise director Don and his 2 staff were ineffective and non interactive and the first 7 days at sea were devloid of any fun things to do around the pool particularly. The ship is a little dark in some areas and the decor a little dated but it was a good cruise and your comments were accurate.

  6. Like the last poster, we did Los Angeles to Auckland. Enjoyed reading your review and particularly seeing the great photos. Agreed with almost all your comments – our embarkation took less than 5 minutes – an absolute breeze! We do enjoy sea days and are not at all bothered by lack of fun and games at the poolside. A thoroughly enjoyable cruise and Silversea were up to our expectations.

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