Silversea captures Spirit of Caribbean

Guests aboard the ultra-luxurious Silver Spirit – gleaming white ship is docked in the background - have been enjoying the best the Caribbean has to offer, this time heading out on a snorkeling adventure off the coast of Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos. Photos by Michael Coleman.

By Michael Coleman

Snorkeling the turquoise waters is but one of many Caribbean shore excursion opportunities offered aboard the 540-guest Silver Spirit.
AT SEA, Eastern Caribbean, Sunday April 1, 2012 – Island hopping under sunny skies may have been the norm for cruise passengers here in the Caribbean this past winter but guests presently aboard Silver Spirit have been in the midst of a 10-night journey not commonly enjoyed in these parts.

Silversea Cruises’ flagship, the 540-guest Spirit, oozes unpretentious luxury and features a warm, sophisticated décor in its public spaces where the overriding onboard ambience has clearly been created by its 1930s Art Deco feel.

The Suite Life

Guests are living comfortably, too. There are 270 ocean view suites in seven categories ranging in size from 312 to 1,668 square feet, 95 percent of which feature private teak balconies plus all suites enjoy the services of a butler.

Guests can enjoy seven suite categories aboard Silver Spirit including the 742-square-foot Silver Suite featuring a spacious, 118-square-foot veranda.
Food is never far from reach and choices aboard the intimate vessel abound. Guests have been enjoying six restaurants – The Grill, a casual, outdoor steak and seafood venue under the stars; La Terrazza (Italian); Seishin (Asian); and Le Champagne (fine dining) are among the runaway favorites – plus there’s an 8,300-square-foot spa, fitness center and resort-style pool to keep the calories in check.

Spirit shore excursion opportunities have made the most of this sun-drenched region – sailing and snorkeling to beach breaks and horse back riding were big hits – as guests enjoyed port calls on Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Gustavia, St. Bart’s, St. John’s, Antigua; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Road Town, British Virgin Islands.

Today, however, is where Spirit and its cosmopolitan clientele shine brightest. It’s the first of two lazy, back-to-back sea days where shipboard ambience and memorable port tales collide for enlightening banter around the pool deck.

Later this week – We’ll take a closer look at Silver Spirit.

Iconic Gustavia, St. Bart’s, was one of five port calls this week for the cosmopolitan guests aboard Silver Spirit.

Silver Spirit charts Eastern Caribbean course

Silversea Cruises unveiled the ultra-luxurious, 540-guest Silver Spirit just two years ago amidst much praise and fanfare. It was, after all, the line’s first newly-constructed vessel since 2001. This week, ship guests like this gentleman outside the vessel’s Observation Lounge, are in the midst of a 10-night Eastern Caribbean voyage and Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard. Look for Coleman’s ship dispatches here later this week.

Photo by Michael Coleman

Living the good life aboard Silver Whisper

Guests aboard Silver Whisper, presently in the midst of a week-long Caribbean journey, are enjoying the spoils of ultra-luxury travel at sea.
Images courtesy Michael Coleman

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard the luxurious 382-guest Silver Whisper this week. Here’s his latest dispatch:

ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA, March 8, 2011 — The pampering began immediately.

Weary travelers boarding the 382-guest Silver Whisper, just a few short days ago in Barbados, were greeted by a smiling, receptive crew and a glass of perfectly-chilled champagne.

It’s been all uphill ever since.

Despite a visit yesterday to jet-set-friendly St. Bart’s, the gem of the Caribbean, it’s almost a wonder why anyone would even consider debarking Silver Whisper in the first place.

All 382 guests aboard the luxurious Silver Whisper enjoy butler service.
Each and every guest enjoys the spoils of butler service. I knew mine would be particularly efficient – and pleasant — the very moment we met given the fact his name is “Sunny’’. Breakfast served on a sun-drenched balcony, daily, is just one of many butler-assisted perks as is the prompt delivery of late afternoon canapés with a setting Caribbean sun as a backdrop.

And there’s more. Much more for those enjoying the spoils of this ship. From comfortable, spacious suites to world-class cuisine, Silver Whisper has been wowing guests first since 2001 and now since a recent, sparkling refurbishment.

There are 194 ocean-view suites ranging in size from 287 to 1,435 square feet and some 80 percent of all suites feature private teak balconies. Suites include twin-to-queen-sized beds, walk-in wardrobe closets, sitting areas with writing desks, dressing tables with hair dryers and plush robes and slippers. Italian marble bathrooms, complete with double basin vanities, feature choice of Salvatore Ferragamo, Bvlgari or Neutrogena bath amenities. Suites also include full baths and separate showers, refrigerators and cocktail bars, remote-controlled flat screen televisions with DVD and satellite reception, a personal safe, fresh fruit and flowers.

Idyllic St. Bart’s was one of several port calls this week aboard Silver Whisper. Guests are set to enjoy St. John’s, Antigua, today followed by calls on Marigot Bay, St. Martin; Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
If one does venture away from his/her butler and the friendly confines of well-appointed suites, Silver Whisper will still pamper the mind, body and soul.

The Spa at Silversea, operated by Steiner, offers massages, facials, aroma stone therapy, teeth whitening and for those truly inclined a 150-minute anti-arthritic healing ceremony. Later, the ship’s sommelier might offer any number of complimentary wine selections pairing the best of the vine with a host of culinary options.

Taste buds, meanwhile, will not be ignored in the aptly-named The Restaurant, the ship’s main dining room, or in reservations-only La Terrazza (Italian fare) or Le Champagne, a specialty restaurant where one might indulge in a Relais & Chateaux lobster spectacle.

Guests have also been enjoying onboard boutique shopping, a beauty salon, fitness centre and sauna, production shows, casino, an Internet Café and WiFi service from stem to stern.

Lounging on comfortable pool-side chairs, where wait staff remember your name and perhaps more importantly your drink preference, has for years been a Silversea staple. As is the open bar concept, an essential component when island hopping under sunny skies here in the Caribbean.

In Port Today: Silver Whisper docked at sunset in Bridgetown, Barbados

Silversea’s Silver Whisper docked at sunset in Bridgetown, Barbados, Friday, March 4, 2011.

The 382-guest, ultra-luxurious vessel is in the midst of a seven-night Caribbean voyage. She calls on Castries, St. Lucia; Gustavia, St. Bart’s; St. John’s, Antigua; Marigot Bay, St. Martin; Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard and will be posting dispatches from the ship beginning next week.

Photo by Michael Coleman

Cruise lines played Santa to underprivileged Caribbean and Latin American children

By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

Fourteen cruise lines teamed up with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association to bring a merrier Christmas to underprivileged children in the Caribbean and Latin America. For the 15th year, The Holiday Gift Project treated underprivileged children with gifts delivered by crew members from the FCCA member cruise lines.

The participating FCCA member cruise lines were Aida Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Lines, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., Norwegian Cruise Line, P & O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Seabourn Cruise Line.

Underprivileged children in the following communities received holiday gifts through The Holiday Gift Project program:
Acapulco, Mexico
Antigua
Aruba
Bonaire
Belize
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cartagena, Colombia
Colon, Panama
Costa Maya, Mexico
Cozumel, Mexico
Curacao
Dominica
Eluthera, Bahamas
Ensenada, Mexico
Freeport, Bahamas
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands
Grenada
Guatemala
Mazatlan, Mexico
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Nassau, Bahamas
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Progreso, Mexico
Rotan, Honduras
Samana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
St. Kitts
St. Lucia
St. Maarten
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
St. Vincent
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Underprivileged children from Caribbean and Latin American foster homes and other care institutions were invited onboard the participating cruise ships for a holiday party in their honor.

More than 7,000 children were expected to receive gifts through The Holiday Gift Project, but gifts are not all that was offered to help underpriviliged kids – in 2008, Captain Hempstead of Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas presented checks valued at $2,000 each to the Rainbow Children’s Home, Youth Empowerment Foundation Project, and the Eslyn Henley Richez Learning Centre in Tortla, B.V.I.

Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong can be reached at of FloridaCruiseAndTravelersMagazine.com

Onboard: ‘La dolce vita’ aboard Costa Atlantica

The 2,114-passenger Costa Atlantica docked today in Nassau, Bahamas. Atlantica offers a taste of Italy in the Tropics, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, through April. Photo by Michael Coleman

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard Costa Atlantica this week as she sails a seven-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Here’s his latest dispatch:

NASSAU, Bahamas, Friday Jan. 8, 2010 — Passengers aboard an Italian cruise ship bid the pastel pink colors of this sunny Bahamian capital and their bustling straw markets arrivederci this afternoon.

Costa Atlantica and her 2,114 guests are nearing the end of a seven-night, three-port Eastern Caribbean itinerary which concludes tomorrow morning in Fort Lauderdale.

It’s been nothing but Italian style and revelry since boarding the vessel one short week ago, from pasta and more pasta to classical music, on stage performances and toga parties.

St. Thomas, San Juan and Nassau, like the plethora of onboard culinary choices, may now be gone but not soon forgotten. Atlantica passengers were treated to more dining and varied menu options than one could possibly enjoy in just a week.

Standard pool-side offerings – burgers, hot dogs, Tex Mex — gave way to carving and buffet stations throughout the day and night.

Two dinner seatings — 6 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. in Tiziano Restaurant — in turn gave way to additional servings of late night pasta and desserts served both in the lobby and on the pool deck under the Caribbean stars.

The Club Atlantica Tuscan Steak House, Costa Atlantica’s reservations-only, $30 per-person specialty restaurant, features a merging of Italian and international flavors. Photo by Michael Coleman
The ship’s reservations-only specialty restaurant, Club Atlantica Tuscan Steak House, features excellent wines and the merging of Italian and international flavors for an additional $30 per person. Choosing from among a host of homemade pastas and sauces, meat and fish, clearly made this venue worthy of a second visit.

Passengers seeking a more relaxed dining venue could do so nightly in the Botticelli Restaurant on Deck 9. Pasta offerings and salads are common fare.

And, as one might expect from a cruise line with a deep Italian heritage, Pizzeria Napoli on Deck 9 is a big hit. Four no-charge specialty pizzas are offered from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Servers draped in aprons and bow ties featuring the colors of the Italian flag — red, green and white — were quite busy each evening in this popular venue.

For those keeping close tabs on their diet/calories, Atlantica also features a Wellness Restaurant, next to the main dining room on Deck 2.

The varied gastronomic offerings also reflect Costa Atlantica’s international passenger base. Italian, French, German, English and Spanish guests leave tomorrow having lived, albeit briefly, Costa’s “love, laughter and la dolce vita (sweet life).’’

A Venetian atmosphere permeates throughout Costa Atlantica thanks to design elements featuring Carrara marble, Murano-glass accents and in-laid mosaic tile. An impressive replica of Venice's famed, three-centuries-old Caffe Florian in St. Mark’s Square, is located on Deck 3 and is a popular onboard venue for tea, pre-and post-dinner cocktails. Photo by Michael Coleman

In Port Today: Carnival Liberty in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

ocho rios, jamaica

Passenger’s enjoying a seven-night Western Caribbean voyage aboard Carnival Liberty had 33 shore excursion opportunities to choose from in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, yesterday (Dec. 10, 2009). Many, however, opted for fun in the sun on Ocho Rios Bay Beach. Carnival offered more than 100 shore excursions to guests during the week which included port calls in Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island; and Ocho Rios. Passengers will enjoy a sea day tomorrow before returning to Miami on Saturday.
Photo by Michael Coleman

Follow us onboard Carnival Liberty this week

miami departure, dec. 5, 2009 (2)

Officers stood watch on the bridge of Carnival Liberty as she departed Miami, Saturday. The 2,974-passenger ship, trailing fleet-mate Carnival Destiny, has just begun a seven-night Western Caribbean voyage to Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard and will be posting dispatches from the ship this week.

Photo by Michael Coleman

Port Postcard: Trunk Bay in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

dec 2, 2009 (1)

One of the world’s most beautiful quarter-mile, white-sand beaches, Trunk Bay in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, played host today to guests aboard Holland America’s Eurodam. The beach break was one of 22 shore excursions offered by the ship in St. John and neighboring St. Thomas. Guests aboard the vessel have a day at sea tomorrow en route to Holland America’s private Bahamian island — Half Moon Cay — Friday. The ship is in the midst of a seven-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary.
Photo by Michael Coleman

Follow us onboard Holland America’s Eurodam

eurodam
Passengers enjoy a bird’s eye view from Holland America’s Eurodam, Saturday at sunset, as the ship departed Fort Lauderdale. Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas is in the background. The 2,104-passenger Eurodam has just begun a seven-night Caribbean voyage to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard and will be posting dispatches from the ship this week.
Photo by Michael Coleman