We recently sailed onboard Silversea Silver Spirit, as the ship sailed from Barcelona to Rome with calls on the French Riviera (Sete and Sanary-Sur-Mer), Monaco’s Monte Carlo, and two Italian ports: Livorno (for Pisa, Luca and Florence) and Olbia on Sardinia).
The ship may be on the intimate side with a capacity for just 540 passengers, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be searching for things to do. In fact, there’s so much going on aboard Silver Spirit that we had to judiciously plan the first few days of our voyage to ensure we’ll have time to sample everything on our to-do list.
Here are seven don’t-miss activities that we recommend you experience as early as possible in your cruise.
Hit the Hot Tub
Embarkation day can be tiring but a dip in the hot tub can be incredibly restorative. We hopped into one of the three hot tubs on the Pool Deck after enjoying a delicious dinner on embarkation night, allowing us to unwind as the stars twinkled overhead. It was a magical way to begin the cruise.
Eat at Le Champagne (or Seishin)
Silversea offers two specialty restaurants — Le Champagne and Seishin — that carry a $40 per person cover charge. These restaurants are very small venues with just a handful of tables so you must make reservations before embarkation. It’s nice to reserve one of these special occasion restaurants for your first or second night onboard. That way, if you fall in love with the cuisine, you have an opportunity to make a second reservation for later in the cruise. (The maitre d’ keeps a waitlist and does his best to accommodate everyone that wishes to dine at Le Champagne, Seishin or both dining rooms.)
On our first night, we enjoyed a romantic meal for two at Le Champagne and fell in love with a porcini mushroom flan with truffle essence starter and our lobster Thermidor entrees. A trilogy of lava cakes made with Valrhona chocolate sealed the deal. We booked another night at this restaurant for later in the voyage.
Put Your Butler Through His Paces
One of the glorious things about Silversea is that each suite is under the capable eye of a butler. He handles everything for you, from making dining reservations to laundry and pressing to serving breakfast on your balcony or a sumptuous course-by-course dinner with selections from the room service menu or The Restaurant. If you’ve booked a Medallion, Silver, Royal, Grand or Owner’s Suite, your butler will also ask if you’d like him to serve afternoon tea or canapes in your suite between 4 and 7 p.m. on request. Take him up on this! Afternoon tea selections include five of the most popular teas like Earl Grey and Darjeeling as well as five types of finger sandwiches — things like smoked salmon and cream cheese, and roast beef with horseradish. Scrumptious homemade scones — buttermilk, raison or chocolate chip — are served with clotted cream and jam along with mini pastries like strawberry tarts, roasted pineapple cheesecake and sweet chestnut mousse.
If English tea isn’t your thing, you can alternatively order a selection of Mediterranean-style tapas (we had figs in a puff pastry, tuna and sesame bites and fried coconut shrimp) or «gourmet bites» like caviar with blinis, jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce or a cheese platter.
It’s a joy to come back to your suite after a full day of touring and have some light and delicious snacks waiting for you.
Enjoy a Show
Silversea is known for musical acts that perform daily in venues as varied as The Bar, Panorama Lounge, the Pool Deck, Stars and the Show Lounge. We love music and tend to seek it out as soon as we board a ship. Silver Spirit has several acts you don’t want to miss, including the Silver Spirit Trio. This talented band plays jazz standards and other popular songs in The Bar nightly. But the surprise hit for us was The Voices of Silversea, a group of six versatile singers — three young women and three men — that perform in the Show Lounge and other venues. On the second night of our cruise, we headed to the Show Lounge after dinner to hear a medley culled from the British hits of the 1960s. Dusty Springfield and Rolling Stones songs were appreciated but the audience got personally invested in the Beatles tunes, which turned into a sing-along segment with the Voices of Silversea. A special moment.
Take an Art Tour
Silver Spirit is a veritable art gallery at sea. You’ll find works from prominent classical and contemporary artists adorning the walls from the top to the bottom of the ship. Andrew Weiss Gallery curates the art and there is often an onboard art adviser — on our cruise it was the affable Pasquale Iannetti — to tell you more about the works themselves as well as tips for acquiring any work of art for a personal collection. We spent an hour looking at the pieces from Renoir, Rembrandt, Picasso, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro, Bob Dylan and others. On our voyage, Iannetti also offered a few talks during which he gave a bit of history on artists like Picasso and Chagall. It’s definitely worth exploring this vast collection on your own or with the onboard art adviser.
Make Your Own Dinner
In the evening, Silver Spirit’s Pool Grill transforms into the «Hot Rocks» experience at The Grill. This lovely al fresco restaurant under the stars offers traditional steakhouse fare but with a twist: You cook it yourself. Waiters place a super-heated volcanic rock in front of you at the dinner table and you cook your choice of meats, seafood and vegetables. We loved the concept and are glad we did this early on in our cruise because it afforded us the opportunity to make reservations to enjoy the restaurant again later in the voyage. (If you aren’t comfortable cooking your steak to the right temperature, your waiter is available to take care of the task for you.) A variety of luscious desserts top off the meal.
Try All Around Dining
All Around Dining is Silverseas’ answer to fighting snack attacks. Even if it’s outside the restaurant opening, Silversea’s dining team will bring anything from the in-room menu to you in any public area of the ship. You don’t have to leave your bridge game to grab a burger or miss out on any of the interesting conversation in the Observation Lounge. Just use the house phone to call Room Service and they will bring you anything from the menu. That means you can have something as light as melon and prosciutto di Parma or tomato bisque, or something as hearty as grilled New York sirloin steak or a pizza — just about anywhere on the ship.