You can find a wide variety of shore excursions in most ports, including private cars with drivers. Activity levels go from minimal (such as panoramic coach tours) to extensive (like hiking). Shore excursion details are clearly spelled out, making it easy to choose which activity best suits your interests and physical abilities. Shore excursion complaints are rare.
Cars, vans and coaches are always top-notch and local guides are highly qualified and usually, most personable. Tips for guides and drivers are not included in your cruise fare, so come prepared. A bus is rarely more than half-full, to ensure passengers' comfort.
A Silversea employee accompanies every tour to ensure all goes smoothly. Crew offers amenities, such as water, towels and umbrellas -- whatever is appropriate to the destination -- before passengers debark the ship. Onboard coaches and buses, passengers are usually given water and wet wipes. Upon arrival back to the ship, the crew stands ready, offering fruit punch or other cooling beverages, water and cooling towels.
You can make shore excursion reservations online from 120 days before a voyage until up to seven days before the cruise departure date. You can also reserve shore excursions onboard, but note that some popular excursions fill early. Once onboard, you can request to join a waitlist if a tour is full. Prerecorded shore excursion information appears on the ship's closed-circuit television. The shore concierge desk is helpful and patient.
In port, a local tourism representative comes onboard in the morning to answer additional questions. Maps are available, too. Silver Spirit offers free shuttle bus service from the cruise terminal to the town center whenever possible.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
Silver Spirit features a range of daytime activities, including bridge, language lessons, sudoku, bingo and team trivia. Many passengers sign up for bridge classes and tournaments, and play daily. Special events, such as cooking demonstrations and a British pub lunch in Dolce Vita (replete with fish 'n' chips and sheet music for sing-alongs), also unfold throughout the voyage.
In the evening, gentlemen hosts hold get-togethers with single passengers. Passengers also enjoy live entertainment nightly in Dolce Vita and in the Panorama Lounge. A cool DJ hosts late-night dance parties and/or karaoke, also in the Panorama Lounge. Post-dinner, a jazz singer in Silver Note can knock your Ferragamos off. There doesn't seem to be one set buzzy spot -- passengers explore all the lounges, often making the rounds.
The Deck 5 Venetian Lounge can accommodate all passengers for welcome and farewell captain's parties and musical acts most evenings. All seats have good views of the stage.
The Voices of Silversea, a group of three women and three men, perform here together, and sometimes, individually. On our cruise, it was a tenor singing opera from this sextet who drew the best response. This singing group is enthusiastic and talented enough, although some costumes and dance routines can seem hokey to a younger crowd. Impressive guest entertainers, such as virtuoso concert pianist or violinist, lure the biggest audiences.
When the ship is out to sea, a small casino on Deck 7 is open. Passengers come to play blackjack, roulette and slots, or join tournaments.
There are usually two lecturers onboard with distinguished backgrounds. For instance, we sailed with one professor who graduated from Oxford and wrote six books. Speakers talk about topical subjects, or offer historical facts and stories relating to the region in which the ship is sailing. For example, when cruising Norway, one lecturer spoke about World War II events in the North Sea. The speakers who are good -- and word passes around quickly -- draw crowds.
With a variety of bars on multiple decks, you can always find a corner to belly up. With the cruise fare including wines, beers and spirits, you know that these lounges are social hubs. Some passengers pick a favorite, say Dolce Vita predinner and Panorama Lounge post, and make it a nightly routine.
During the day, the busy Pool Bar always ensures a schmooze-fest. Bartenders know the latest cocktails and offer many variations of martinis. Most premium brands are complimentary. You only pay extra for wine and spirits off an ultra-premium list.
Dolce Vita (Deck 5): This new central lobby lounge is quite large, although it doesn't feel cavernous as it gets rather busy as the day progresses. It's a beautiful space, with Art Deco accents, a stunning crystal chandelier and crystal lamps. Expect many intimate seating areas with buttery-soft leather and velvety chairs, and couches that beckon. The inviting color scheme is blue and brown.
During the day, a few passengers come to read books and relax. In the evening, Dolce Vita draws both a pre- and post-dinner crowd. On our cruise, a classically trained pianist played predinner, and many passengers gathered for cocktails. Later, a singer and guitarist performed American country-ish pop songs, with good renditions of John Legend, Sam Smith and Janis Joplin tunes, too. In this lounge, the Voices of Silversea often stop by to chat up passengers. Predinner canapes are served here.
Connoisseurs Corner (Deck 8): A smoker's haven, the Connoisseurs Corner lures cigar and pipe-smokers, along with those puffing on cigarettes. It's a handsome small space, with leather seating. You can order fine spirits or wines by the glass or one of several types of cigars. Post-bridge late-afternoon, or after-dinner, some passengers venture here to smoke and sip. Earlier in the day, it's rather empty.
Panorama Lounge (Deck 9): Remodeled in 2018, this lounge features a neutral-tone color scheme with comfy couches, marble tables and sweeping ocean views. This lounge is a hangout both day and night. During daylight hours, passengers come to read and relax, both inside or on the expansive balcony outside. Canapes are served predinner. In the evening, passengers enjoy a post-dinner cocktail, slow-dancing to the Silver Spirit Trio and, later, rocking out with the DJ who spins your favorite tunes.
Pool Bar (Deck 9): Easily the most popular bar on balmy days, the Pool Bar always has the cheeriest bartenders, who are happy to prepare whatever you fancy. Expect popular beverages, such as Skyy vodka and Maker's Mark, to be complimentary. This convivial bar is a great spot to meet fellow passengers.
Tor's Observation Library (Deck 11): The Observation Lounge was renamed Tor's Observation Library. It's a great haunt to curl up with a book or just exhale and enjoy the sweeping views. It's a very quiet room; passengers seem intent on reading and glance at you if you talk or bang away at a laptop.
The design is pretty, mostly navy blue with pops of red. Chairs and sofas are particularly comfy. Many books are available to borrow, including assorted travel guides, Clive Cussler novels and the works of Shakespeare.
At 6 p.m., the bar opens for cocktails. Chatting starts then, but the room still stays fairly subdued. Note that some passengers bring in beer or wine from other lounges -- there are four other venues to find alcohol during the day -- to enjoy before the bartender shows up.
With the expansion of the Deck 9 pool area and the sun deck on Deck 10 during the 2018 lengthening process, it's easy to find a chaise around, or overlooking, the large, rectangular pool with three hot tubs. Plexiglas partitions line the railing on both decks, buffering the wind. Servers often swing by for drink orders.
The jogging track on Deck 10 includes a trunk filled with cold water bottles and signage saying eight or 10 laps equal 1mile, depending upon whether you run the entire deck or cut short a portion. You may briefly jog through the pizza eatery, but passengers don't seem to mind.
There's also table tennis and shuffleboard for devotees.
Expect a 24-hour staffed reception desk, an excursion desk and a cruise consultant's office on Deck 5. There's also a card room that doubles as a conference room on the same deck.
Also on Deck 5, the Boutiques provide upscale retail therapy when the ship is at sea, with lots of fine jewelry, handbags and perfume on display. Sales personnel are gregarious, not pushy, and it's fun to browse here and chat them up. Sundries, such as aspirin or sunscreen, are kept in the stockroom, out of passenger sight. Ask your butler for a list or ask at the shops.
On Deck 9 port side, a craftsman awaits passengers who wish to have Preludio Capri sandals, handmade in Italy, custom-designed. You choose the style and size, and then pick from a variety of straps and embellishments.
The medical center is on Deck 3 with clinic hours. Medical assistance is also available by appointment, or as needed, 24 hours.
Self-service launderettes are located on all passenger decks and feature complimentary Miele washing machines and dryers with soap, an iron, ironing board and laundry baskets. (You can also request laundry, pressing or wet cleaning via your butler for a fee.)
The Zagara Spa (standard fleetwide) on Deck 6 takes a New Age-y mind-body-spirit connection approach to treatments. Pick a treatment to suit your mood -- do you need to relax, restore, revitalize or rebalance?
The Deeper than Deep Hot Stone Massage, designed to relax and rebalance, definitely delivers. Other treatments include a warming bamboo muscle melt, nourishing coconut poultice massage and reflexology. There's even an amethyst crystal sound bath healing treatment.
And, yes, you can get polished, wrapped or detoxed, and even try acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine consultations. You can also undergo medi-spa procedures, such as Restylane dermal filler and DYSPORT wrinkle treatments.
Many facials are offered, from cellular-boosting treatments to BIOTEC Firm-a-Lift, meant to do exactly as it's titled. Therapists use Elemis products, which are also for sale. On busy port days or in the early mornings, the spa often offers special reduced pricing.
Adjacent to the spa, the small beauty salon, awash in marble, offers several services. The salon staff use some high-end products, such as Phyto, for hair conditioning treatments. Manis, pedis, nail shellac, waxing, teeth-whitening and mud foot therapy are among the multiple offerings. Treatments are not limited to women; gentlemen's grooming includes mini-facials and shaves and beard trims.
The next-door Fitness Centre is divided into three areas; two indoors and one out. The main moderate-sized gym features all-new Technogym equipment, from treadmills and bicycles, to lat and rowing machines. In the separate weight room, expect all new weights, both in kilos and pounds.
Complimentary classes in yoga, stretching and more are led by a fitness instructor who also offers private lessons. Fitness classes take place in the weight room; be sure to note the schedule as there's no weightlifting allowed if a class is in session. (You can use some weights in the treadmill area, however, but space is limited if the gym is crowded.)
The third workout area is outdoors, just outside the Fitness Centre. Here you find four spinning bikes and a wooden case that holds mats (both for yoga and stretching) and weighted balls. This small outdoor area is a lovely spot to stretch or spin during nice weather.
Silver Spirit passengers definitely work out -- no doubt, inspired by culinary indulgence. The busiest times are in the morning and late afternoon and all day on sea days. You may have to wait to use a treadmill or other cardio machine at the busiest times, depending upon the crowd onboard. Midday, and long tour days, are the best times to have the gym to yourself.
The sauna and steam rooms are coed, which is not beloved by passengers who prefer such areas remain gender-separate.
Silver Spirit, like all Silversea ships, isn't designed for families with small children. There are no kids clubs, special programs or babysitting available year-round, although some summer and holiday cruises may provide a youth counselor to host kid-friendly programs. Children must be at least 6 months old on most itineraries, and at least 1-year-old for an ocean crossing.
Silversea can also limit the number of children under the age of 3 for any sailing, as desired. You mostly see older, well-behaved children onboard. If there are any little ones, their parents are mindful and respectful of other passengers.