Silversea Spirit Cruises the Meditteranian
From Venice to Athens
By: Sandy Katz - Nov 23, 2015
Every day on the Silversea Spirit was special because the six star cruise features a butler with every suite. Oki attended to our every need. He is an easy going, well-trained Indonesian gentleman with a flare for caring for his guests.
All our shore excursions started early so ordering breakfast to arrive at our suite was the best option. The white linen table treatment was an Oki special.
Our dining arrangement set the pace for touring days that were relaxed and unhurried.
A benefit of cruising on a smaller ship is being able to nurture friendships because you tour with these new friends, dine together and share entertainment.
There were many dining options on Silversea Spirit with several distinctively different culinary experiences offered: Le Champagne serves a menu of regionally French inspired dishes created by Chefs of Relais & Chateaux-Topped my dinner off with Grand Marnier, Centenaire Signature Soufflé. Seishin (Sushi & Sashimi Bar)- provided Asian fusion dishes with a Seishin Teaser and Green Tea Sorbet. The Grill was an interactive dining experience where you cook your own food on heated lava rocks featuring Prime cuts of meats. La Terrazza offers casual, buffet-style breakfast and lunch and an all Italian dinner menu. The Restaurant features modern Mediterranean and regional cuisine.
The Stars Supper Club welcomed us back often since the menu changed nightly and the entertainment was superb. The menu featured sample size portions of a variety of seasonal and regional delicacies inspired by the four corners of the world we. A pianist and jazz singer entertained nightly.
Each night the Artists of the Silversea, a six person ensemble of young and energetic performers entertained us. We much enjoyed when the music of ABBA came alive as the ensemble recreated the original sound and iconic look of this legendary '70s Swedish pop group. At this interactive show, the audience was on its feet, singing and dancing along with the cast.
The Ports of Call had something for everyone: Our cruise docked in Venice for two nights giving us enough time to explore the enchanting city. What a thrill to take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal where 12th – 18th-century palaces were built by the city’s richest families. This island city of Venice is the perfect place to wander along narrow streets which end with unexpected bridges and stunning alleyways. Venice has many evocative squares including Piazza San Marco in the heart of the enchanting city. There is an orderly procession of arcades marching toward the fairy-tale cupolas and marble lacework of the Basilica di San Marco. We were covered with pigeons as a professional photographer captured the moment.
Zadar, Croatia is a coastal gem on the verge of becoming a tourist hot spot. Our walking tour showed the old town to be bustling and beautiful with marble pedestrian streets housing Roman ruins, palaces, museums, libraries, medieval churches and archives. This Roman-era city reveals a historic blend of renaissance, Romanesque and medieval architecture as well as modern retail shops, cafes and bars. Our tour brought us to a marvelous cheese tasting experience on Pag island as well as a visit to the Lace Museum.
Dubrovnik, Croatia meant a lot to me because we had friends there. They gave me a beautiful poster of the walled city. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offered so many fascinating places to visit including the Dominican Monastery and Cathedral where we viewed a collection of Renaissance paintings. Our tour took us to the Crvik family winery for a tasting. Then we went to Konavle Valley where the gracious host served a delicious lunch of local specialties and a performance of Dalmatian music.
Our half-day sightseeing tour of Montenegro and its environs embraced the beauty of the Adriatic Coast. A photo stop at the Sveti Stefan Viewpoint captured this seafront hamlet, a fortified fishing village turned into a charming resort town. We continued to Budva which is considered one of the oldest settlements in the Balkans and most popular seaside destination in Montenegro. The Budva City Museum offers a unique insight into rulers through the years.
Corfu, Greece is known as the greenest of the Greek islands and home of over three million olive trees. Our tour brought us to the 13th –century Paleokastritsa Monastery which is still inhabited by monks. There is a small garden and a Greek Orthodox Church with a small museum which features icons and books. Next stop brought us to beautiful village where we enjoyed local snacks and a folklore show. We finished with abrief guided tour of Corfu.
Chania, Crete has a charming Archaeological Museum housed in the Venetian Church of San Francesco which displays pottery, sculpture, mosaics and coins that date from Neolithic times to the Roman era. The Municipal Market has 76 shops and it’s the architectural jewel of Chania
Nafplion, Greece is dominated by the towering Palamidi Fortress. Your stop at Karonis Wine Shop brings you to the specialist on Greek wines. During your visit, sample a variety of “mezzes” and the favorite of the Greeks, “ouzo”
Our cruise ended in Athens where we picked up transport to the airport. Next time we will visit the Acropolis. It is best to have an excuse to come back to the Mediterranean.
Each day on the cruise we looked forward to coming back to our comfortable suite to rest and relax. Afternoon tea-time was special since we can’t experience this in Charleston. The Silversea tea collection featured my favorite tea: jasmine pearls. The finger sandwiches and pastries included home-made scones that were divine.
We could never pass up the gourmet bites and tapas during pre-dinner cocktail hour. My favorites, caviar with Blinis and smoked salmon on Pumpernickel bread, were always on the menu.
One of the most outstanding dining experiences was a BBQ at pool-side. Never did I ever see such a lavish buffet! And the presentation was a work of art. This is where I got hooked on Virgin frozen strawberry daiquiris.
A highlight of the cruise was meeting Leeza Gibbons when she presented a lecture “Hit the reset Button on your Life.”
Silversea Cruise information is available at www.silversea.com
Travel writers Sandy and Gerry Katz who wrote and photographed this story are based in Charleston.