Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Silversea Silver Spirit - Some Discussion of Design

On The Gold Standard Forum there is a bit of discussion about the conclusion by one member of the "press" (Anita Durham-Potter - expertcruiser.com) "From what I've seen -- when finished -- Spirit is a lot prettier and better planned than Seabourn Odyssey."

I have taken issue with that opinion because it is simply a bald statement unsupported by facts or examples. I am not saying it isn't true, but that I think the public is entitled to something more than hype or conclusions. This lead me to the following forum post which I want to share, with slight modification:

Noting that it is extraordinary for a cruise line to give the "press" access to sea trials and to allow them to photograph the various public spaces, a "red flag" most certainly has been hoisted. My question is "Why?" It is, alas, a question based upon a long history and many experiences where unfinished work (Anita Durham-Potter says 65%) does not accurately reflect the finished product (good or bad). Soft goods are very important.


Also, my concerns over everything being brown apparently are well-placed. Unless there are extraordinary soft goods, fabrics, and furniture this could be a real issue. Again the question is "Why?" A lack of contrasts and compliments tends to reflect immature (simplistic) interior design or a "offend no one" approach. Maybe some people will like it. But a monolithic approach to color usually is a warning that things are lacking in spatial design as well.

Most importantly, I don't need anyone "telling" me there is good design. I need someone to "show" me or "explain" it to me. Anita Durham-Potter has discussed suite amenities, but nothing of substance. (And, BTW, a butler cleaning my glasses? "Pretentious" is not a strong enough word to describe it. I do not think, even in the superyacht industry, asking a person to wipe anything personal to me is appropriate...for the person or myself.)

Now, as to substance, I can talk a bit about BAD design as I see it. I have taken one of Anita's photos to explain.




- The shower is small and I have concern for any larger and less mobile guests. Shaving legs??? And with the showerhead on the back wall, it means you are blessed with staring at the wall rather than having any feeling of openness. (Seabourn Odyssey, just as an example, has the showerhead on a side wall, so you can look out of the shower and feel a bit more open. Note: I have commented on its showers being a bit tight, too.)

- The storage shelves are too far from the vanity and look sufficiently close to the shower door to create a possible problem with being hit upon entry/exit and/or a drying towel knocking things off of them.

- The oversized vessel sinks are nice, but there is no real estate for toiletries.

- The faucets are quite utilitarian.

In another photo it looks like the access to the bathroom will be quite narrow as it conflicts with the bed. (As there are only two cots present and the one closest to the bathroom is sans mattress I must withhold judgment, but express my concern.)



I don't want to be seen as bashing the Silver Spirit, which is not yet complete, but I have an excellent source who is very critical of the furniture, fabrics and fittings, and the photos tell me a lot. Maybe that is why I am called "Iamboatman"...because it is more than being about "the cruise" and "selling it" to me.

Seabourn paid my way to go on the Inaugural of the Seabourn Odyssey, but I called it as I saw it...and Seabourn knew I would and I did. The fact that I was very impressed is not hype, I gave very detailed reasons why. I did the same as to the Celebrity Solstice/Celebrity Equinox. All I ask is that those that have access to the Silversea Silver Spirit give facts not hype.

Now, the reality of it is that "brown" is not going to horrifically offend and may well not be boring in the end and the bathroom is not going to make or break a ship or a cruise. Further, until the ship is further along, the ultimate overall design cannot be fully evaluated. My comments are not intended to "bash" the ship or Silversea, but rather to show how unsubstantiated comments are so easily dismissed or discounted.

Also, please keep in mind that I firmly believe the real "software" - the staff and crew - make the most difference and are the most critical factor when evaluating a ship. Cuisine is important too. That is why I am very much looking forward to my cruise on the Seabourn Spirit. If not for those things, it probably would be seen as nothing more than an older ship that is past its design prime.

So I will continue to provide facts, information and opinion on the Silver Spirit and I will not allow my ultimate desire for a having more luxury products to sell cause me to encourage you to book a particular ship because of some short term benefit to me...or even just wishful thinking.

In the meantime, best of luck bringing the Silversea Silver Spirit to market as a first class luxury cruise ship!