Silver Spirit Cruise Review
Like other cruise lines that feature port-intensive itineraries, Silversea offers shore excursions at most ports of call. Typically, passengers can choose among several different tours, which might range from a 3-hour city walking tour to an all-day excursion. (On our cruise, the most ambitious shore trip was a 9-hour coach tour from Málaga to the Alhambra in Granada.)
Unlike many cruise lines, Silversea usually keeps its groups small, which means that buses are less crowded and guides don't need to herd 40 or 50 guests.
On selected shore excursions, passengers of Silver Spirit are given Quietvox devices and headsets. The system consists of a small radio receiver (a little larger than a granola bar) and a lightweight earpiece that plugs into the receiver via a USB connector. We tried the device during our Alhambra excursion, and it proved useful: Thanks to the radio connection, we could hear the tour guide more easily in crowded or noisy places, and we didn't have to miss the guide's insights if we hung back to grab a photo or to look at something that interested us.
The shore concierge staff can also arrange private half- and full-day tours by private car or van. (One advantage of booking through Silversea, instead of on your own, is that the ship is less likely to depart without you if your driver has a flat tire or gets stuck in traffic.)
If you've cruised with mass-market and mid-priced lines, you've probably experienced the annoyance of needing to hire a taxi or find public transportation from a remote pier to the city center. One of the luxuries of a Silversea cruise is having a free shuttle bus in ports (such as Palma de Mallorca or Málaga) where the pier is more than a five- or 10-minute walk from the sights. Air-conditioned coaches normally run every 30 minutes in both directions, with a break for lunch.
In some ports (such as Alghero, Sorrento, or Porquerolles), shallow harbors or inadequate piers make it necessary to go ashore by tender. This can be a nuisance if you're cruising on a large ship, where you may be required to obtain a "tender ticket" from the reception desk and sit in a lounge while waiting for your group to be called.
On Silversea, there are no tickets and no waiting: You just go to the tender deck and board the next boat, which usually leaves within a few minutes. On shore, Silversea sets up a tent or awning where you can get out of the sun and enjoy a bottle of water while waiting for the next boat.
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