Monday, September 7, 2009

Silversea Silver Spirit- Some Details About Dining and Design

As the Silver Spirit engages in its sea trials, the time has come to explore this ship.

First, Silversea has started a blog on its newest ship, which is scheduled to debut on December 23, 2009, the Silver Spirit. You can find the blog here: http://www.silverspiritblog.com/ .

The place to start, I guess, is the ship's focus on dining venues. It boasts it will have six dining venues, though others have said it will have up to ten. The venues include:

The Restaurant - The main dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner with exclusive menus by Relais & Châteaux.



La Terrazza - An indoor/outdoor restaurant with buffet-style dining for breakfast and lunch. In the evenings it is transformed into an la carte for venue with Italian cuisine.

Stars Supper Club - I am interested to see how well this venue works out. It is, I understand, intended to be more "old school" but with a modern touch, designed for pre-dinner cocktails and post-dinner dancing and nightclub-style entertainment with live music. If Silversea does this right it can be a real winner.


Le Champagne - This is Silversea's extra cost six-course culinary experience where fine wines are paired with a set tasting menu.



Sehshin Restaurant - In a somewhat disturbing trend (at least for me), Silversea has added a second extra cost restaurant, this one focused on Asian cuisine ranging from Kobe beef to seafood.



Pool Grill - Casual poolside dining for lunch and dinner including food from the grill and freshly made pizza.

There is, of course, another venue for dining: Your Suite. This is a very popular option, as well.

Someone posted on The Gold Standard Forum that the Silver Spirit looks like it is better designed and prettier than the Seabourn Odyssey. I am not sure how one draws that conclusion, but it is a good springboard for some of my following comments.

First, I know the "photos" are computer generated, but I am disappointed by two things right off the bat: Everythings seems so brown; and, the chairs seem to lack any style. I am interested to see what Silversea actually does with the final finishes. Understanding it has a more limited budget than anticipated (due to the economic downturn and very slow bookings), this may well still be a work in progress.

Second, I am not in favor of extra costing dining venues on a luxury cruise line. I can appreciate and accept having to pay extra for fine wines, but not food. Therefore, with a set menu, La Champagne I guess makes some sense. Expanding it to the Asian restaurant is a bit troubling. If I dine in Sehshein one time and order some nice sushi and a Kobe beef steak, the cost to Silversea might be $75.00. How does that really compare to my ordering a bit of caviar each day? (Is that extra cost now?) By comparison, on the Celebrity Equinox I paid less than $150 per day, so a $30 charge for dining in Murano (or lesser amounts in the other specialty restaurants), just makes economic sense.
I also found the comment that the Silver Spirit was better designed than the Seabourn Odyssey of interest. So I took a look at the deck plans. I am not seeing anything in layout that is better; different, but not better. For example, the casino and shops are on Deck 8 with no other reason to be there, the spa is similarly segregated from the rest of the ship, there are three restaurants converging on the same entry, etc. On the other hand, the Panorama Lounge does look like it will be a very nice venue.

Also, a point I have not made before: Why did Silversea name it ship with the same name as a Seabourn one, the Seabourn Spirit? Imitation may be a sincere form of flattery, but then again, it may be designed to confuse the marketplace. In the "spirit" of hoping for a "whisper" of good faith and no desire to "cloud" the issues, I do not want to over"shadow" the fair "wind"s desired for this new ship. So let's opine about what we know and not turn things into a Silversea vs. Seabourn thing. They are two different products and, as noted in a prior blog entry, there is very little cross-over between the lines.

I hope to receive more details on the new ship soon.

You can join the discussion on the related thread on The Gold Standard Forum.