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.

Follow us this week in the Mediterranean aboard Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,402-passenger Norwegian Jade (formerly Pride of Hawaii) embarked on a 7-night roundtrip Mediterranean journey from Venice, Italy, this past weekend. One of 11 ships in the NCL fleet, this European-based vessel will be unveiling a series of 9-day cruises from Barcelona to the Canary Islands beginning in December. Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard and will be posting dispatches from the ship in this space over the next week. Image courtesy Michael Coleman

NCL to offer pizza delivery 24/7

Passengers aboard any one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s 11 ships will soon be able to order pizza 24/7.

By Michael Coleman

You’ll have to book a cruise to enjoy it but Norwegian Cruise Line announced this week it will now offer pizza delivery service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, fleet-wide.

Presently offered only aboard the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Epic, “Pizza 24/7’’ is scheduled to roll out to the eight ships departing from U.S. ports throughout July and then in Europe to Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun in August.

“Our guests have deemed the 24-hour pizza delivery onboard Norwegian Epic a popular addition to our innovative freestyle dining options,” said Michael Flesch, Norwegian’s senior vice president of hotel operations.

“We wanted to make it easy and convenient for our guests to enjoy a delicious pizza any time on our ships, whether it’s during a game of bowling, watching a movie in the Atrium or in the comfort of their stateroom.”

The tasty, 16-inch handmade, stone-baked pizzas are $5 each and are available with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce; pepperoni; or vegetarian with roasted peppers, mushrooms, red onions and mozzarella cheese.

NCL has also just rolled out Epic’s room service menu across the fleet with popular breakfast items, assorted soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts, and kid’s menu items. Room service is complimentary throughout the day except from midnight to 5 a.m. when an overnight surcharge of $3.95 is charged per order. Guests who order only beverages or pizza delivery will not be assessed the fee.

Epic debuted in June 2010. The Company has two 4,000-passenger vessels on order for delivery in spring 2013 and spring 2014.

NCL is the official cruise line of Blue Man Group, appearing for the first time at sea on Epic, as well as the official cruise line of Legends in Concert, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, Gibson Guitar, and Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids. Cirque Dreams & Dinner is also featured aboard Epic as the first show of its kind at sea under a big top.

On the web: www.ncl.com

Silver Whisper pegged for 2012 world cruise

The ultra-luxurious and recently refurbished 382-guest Silver Whisper will host Silversea Cruises world cruise in 2012. Image courtesy Michael Coleman

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

SPANISH TOWN, VIRGIN GORDA, B.V.I, March 10, 2011 — It should come as no surprise that the 382-guest Silver Whisper has been pegged by its owners to host their 2012 world cruise.

The Black Rock Grill, a convivial dining concept which enables guests to cook their preferences on heated lava rocks tableside under the stars on the pool deck, is but one culinary option aboard Silver Whisper. Image courtesy Silversea
Silversea Cruises’ intimate vessel, anchored here today in the midst of a 7-night Caribbean voyage, is aglow following a recent stem to stern makeover and may be more inviting than at any time in its 10-year-history of seamless, luxury globetrotting.

Guests will embark on the 115-night, Fort Lauderdale to Monte Carlo odyssey Jan. 16, 2012 discovering hidden jewels ranging from the Amazon and Africa to Asia and Arabia en route.

This is a cozy vessel oozing European charm and ambience and the onboard atmosphere here is relaxed and unpretentious.

Open bars, ocean view suites (most feature private teak deck verandas) complete with double vanities in the bathroom, walk-in wardrobe closets and separate sitting areas for entertaining or in-suite dining, will easily make for comfortable passage.

Butler service will be offered in every suite.

While the company’s six ships feature some 200 voyages to 450 destinations in more than 100 countries next year, across seven continents, it is Silver Whisper that has been pegged for the world adventure.

She will visit 45 ports in 27 countries stretching from the Caribbean and South America to Africa, the Far East, Arabia and Europe. Along the way guests will enjoy 13 overnight visits in various ports — look for such longer dalliances in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Bangkok; and Mumbai, India.

Silver Whisper’s cosmopolitan ambience and charm might best be reflected at La Terrazza, where breakfast, lunch and reservations-only dinner is served. Image courtesy Michael Coleman
While traversing the globe in pampered style, the ship’s culinary team will offer a host of choices in a number of venues to whet anyone’s gastronomic fancy. Dining options include The Restaurant, the ship’s main dining room (breakfast, lunch and dinner); La Terrazza (breakfast and lunch buffet, reservations-only Italian fare in the evening) and the reservation’s only Le Champagne, a specialty restaurant where dishes are expertly prepared and exclusive wines, paired with each course, flow freely.

Look for Silver Whisper to also offer a unique, under the stars dining experience on the pool deck. The Black Rock Grill, a convivial dining concept which enables guests to cook their preferences on heated lava rocks tableside, is perhaps the ship’s most casual and guiltiest of pleasures.

Rounding out the culinary component is grilled fare served daily on the pool deck, an elegant afternoon tea at 4 pm, and 24 hour room service.

Silver Whisper will spend the summer in Northern Europe and the fall foliage season in Canada and New England. In late fall she’ll return to the Caribbean and South America before ringing in the New Year with the commencement of her global journey.

Among the cozy bars aboard Silver Whisper, The Bar, is the place to see and be seen especially for pre-dinner cocktails.

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

Follow us on the Disney Dream and Allure of the Seas this week

Cruise News Weekly staff will be boarding the two newest cruise ships in the water this week and you can follow along on our social media sites.

We’ll be boarding the brand new Disney Dream on Wednesday, Jan. 19 for a two night preview. And starting Sunday, Jan. 16, we’ll be on Royal Caribbean’s brand new Allure of the Seas for a week cruise. The Allure trip will also include a concert by top recording artist Taylor Swift on Friday, Jan, 21.

We’ll be posting live photos, information and videos (Internet connection willing) right from the ships as we check them out. Look for a full review of the Disney Dream and a follow-up story to our Review of the Allure of the Seas in the coming weeks.

Here’s where you can find our updates.
Twitter: Twitter.com/cruiseguide
Facebook: Facebook.com/cruisenews

In addition to our coverage of the Dream, you can watch the christening event live on Disney Cruise Line’s Facebook page.

Follow us onboard the new world’s largest cruise ship – Allure of the Seas

The Allure of the Seas is shown here with her sister, Oasis of the Seas. Allure is mere centimeters longer than Oasis.

Cruise News Weekly staff will be boarding Royal Caribbean’s brand new Allure of the Seas on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010 for a special two-day voyage and you can follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

We’ll be posting live photos, videos and information right from the ship (Internet access willing) as we check it out. Look for a full review of Allure in the coming weeks.

Here’s where you can find our updates.
Twitter: Twitter.com/CruiseGuide
Facebook: Facebook.com/CruiseNews

Follow us on the MSC Poesia in the Caribbean this week

We’ll be onboard and updating live via Twitter and Facebook from the MSC Poesia from Saturday, March 6 to Saturday, March 13, 2010.

Here’s our schedule:
Saturday: Leave from Ft. Lauderdale
Sunday: At sea
Monday: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tuesday: Philipsburg (St. Maarten)
Wednesday: Roadtown (Tortola)
Thursday: At sea
Friday: Nassau (Bahamas)
Saturday: Return to Ft. Lauderdale

This is also a Baseball Greats Cruise. We’re scheduled to be sailing with Amos Otis, Stan Bahnsen, Rennie Stennet, Gary Peters, Vida Blue and Rico Petrocelli. Click Here to check out all of MSC’s themed cruises.

As the Internet connection allows, we’ll be updating our Twitter and Facebook status with photos and/or video at least once per day. We’ll also try our best to answer any questions you may have about the ship.

Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CruiseGuide
Become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/CruiseNews

Princess to allow you to show off your ship to friends and family

Princess Cruises’ new Bon Voyage Experience brings back the tradition of allowing non-cruising guests onboard. The experience includes a four-course lunch. Photo by Matt Roseboom

By Matt Roseboom

In the late ‘70 and early ‘80s, when “The Love Boat” was a hit show on television, cruising was popular, but not nearly as popular as it is today. So many first-time cruisers’ expectations came from watching the TV show. Many were probably not too happy when they compared the size of their cabins with those on the show. But even before they got to their rooms, they may have been surprised to find out their non-sailing friends and family members weren’t allowed on the ship.

Being able to give your guests a tour of the ship you’re about to sail on is a tradition from the early days of cruising. Now, the same line that hosted “The Love Boat”, Princess Cruises, is bringing the tradition back, for a small fee.

They’re calling it the Bon Voyage Experience — a new twist on the departure celebration of bygone days, complete with lunch in the dining room and tour of the ship.
 
Now unique in the cruise industry, the Bon Voyage Experience will enable passengers to extend an invitation to their guests to join them onboard during sailing day for a four-course dining room lunch with wine, a ship tour and a souvenir photo. Passengers and their guests will enjoy priority embarkation and will be able to spend approximately four hours together on the ship before it sets sail. The cost for the program is $39 per person, but it can be applied toward a future Princess cruise.
 
The program will debut in March in the ports of Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, and then roll out to New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
 
“Long-time cruisers will recall the fun of the bon voyage send-off with their family and friends, and we’re excited to re-introduce a new, modern version of this experience,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.
 
After you’ve booked, you will be notified about the program through pre-cruise e-mails as your cruise date approaches. In-port guests can be booked from 120 days, up to six days before the sailing date. Once registered, guests will be able to input their security information through the line’s Cruise Personalizer.
 
But there’s reason to hurry and register if you’re interested. The number of guests who will be able to participate in the Bon Voyage Experience on any given embarkation day is approximately 50.
 
The roll-out schedule for the launch of the Bon Voyage Experience is:

– Sapphire Princess — March 6 in Los Angeles
– Crown Princess — March 6 in Fort Lauderdale
– Coral Princess — March 7 in Los Angeles
– Emerald Princess — March 7 in Fort Lauderdale
– Island Princess — March 10 in Los Angeles
– Ruby Princess — March 10 in Fort Lauderdale
– Golden Princess — March 14 in Los Angeles
– Royal Princess — March 27 in Fort Lauderdale
– Star Princess — April 10 in Fort Lauderdale
– Caribbean Princess — May 18 in New York
– Sea Princess — June 1 in San Francisco

During the Alaska season, Sapphire Princess, Golden Princess and Royal Princess will offer the program in Seattle, beginning in May.