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Eating our way through the Silver Spirit and our Third Day at Sea
Ten laps around the jogging track situated at the base of the funnel aboard Silversea’s Silver Spirit are equal to one mile’s worth of walking, and today gave me the impression I might need to up the number of laps I make.
This morning, I was able to photograph some of the stunning new dishes available in Le Champagne, Silver Spirit’s onboard French specialty restaurant. Located just off the starboard side of the main Restaurant on Deck 4, Le Champagne has been a Silversea staple for years, and the if you haven’t sailed in the last few months, the line has been quietly making some changes to the restaurant that make it more accessible and original than ever.
To start, Le Champagne not only sports a new menu, but a new structure. Formerly, a full Degustation menu was available that featured multiple courses, each of which was paired with its own rare or unique vintage wine. While the concept was a success, the sheer amount of food and wine presented in a single sitting didn’t lend itself well to repeat visits. Some people had been critical of the relatively high cost of the full Degustation menu, but I honestly never saw that as a drawback, since most Silversea voyages come with generous onboard credits and even then, by all accounts the experience was worth the price of admission.
While this new menu is as extensive as ever, the standard price of admission is now $30 per person, and that includes the complimentary white and red wines on offer that evening. A full wine pairing menu is available for those who appreciated the former Degustation menu, but Le Champagne’s new structure makes this excellent restaurant more accessible to everyone onboard.
One of the most striking dishes is, without a doubt, the Risotto a la Feuille d’Or, or Gold Leaf Risotto with actual, edible gold leaf garnish. In fact, the presentation on each of the dishes was so well executed that you’d almost feel guilty sticking a fork into it and running a veritable work of art.
Here’s a glimpse at just a few of the dishes on this enticing new menu:
Caviar and Condiments
1-oz. Portion of Signature Farm-raised Ossetra Caviar
Buckwheat Blinis – Jersey Potatoes – Traditional Condiments
Bouillon de Sole au Camembert
Dover Sole – Camembert Bouillon
Bisque de Homard
Lobster tail bisque served at the table
Sole de la Petite Peche
Normandy-style Dover Sole
Nage de Turbot et Langoustines
Greenland Turbot – Langoustines – Lemongrass Infused Jus
Poelee de Filets de Pigeon
Breast of Forest Pigeon – Artichoke and Morel Ragout
Souffle au Grand Marnier Centenaire
Grand Marnier Centenaire Signature Souffle
Today, I was just photographing the dishes in Silver Spirit’s spotless galley under the direction of Executive Chef Ricardo Dotti and Restaurant Manager Debbie Bredell, but Kim and I will have get to experience the menu firsthand on Wednesday night; a fitting conclusion to our five days at sea before our adventures ashore in Porto Novo, Cape Verde, on Thursday.
I’ve said before that I’m not a Foodie Fanatic, but I do have to appreciate the depth and variety of dishes onboard the Silver Spirit. Even our lunch today at the casual Pool Grill was superb, with meals cooked-to-order or a casual buffet of cold salads, meats and desserts. Portions are excellent, ensuring you feel full without feeling stuffed. Even so, I’ve enjoyed so much spectacular food in the past four days that I think a few extra laps around the funnel is in order…
On the navigation front, Silver Spirit’s Captain Pontillo is impressing us with a smooth crossing characterized by clear skies, blue seas and amazing temperatures. During his Noon Address, Captain Pontillo told us we’ve sailed 1,042 nautical miles since leaving St. Lucia, with a distance of 1,043 nautical miles remaining until we reach our anchorage at Porto Novo around 8am on Thursday morning. The temperature is only 1 degree cooler today, at 25 degrees Celsius, while the sea temperature remains the same at 26 degrees Celsius. The depth under our keel is roughly 13,000 feet, and we’re sailing along at a comfortable 16.3 knots, on average.
For those who have never crossed before, I should point out an important factor that even I never took into consideration: time changes. Because Silver Spirit is continually steaming on an easterly course, we are crossing into new time zones, necessitating the advancing of the clocks on three separate evenings. Tonight, they go ahead by another hour, the last such change we’ll make before reaching Porto Novo. On Westbound crossings, the inverse is true: hours are subtracted from the time on certain days in order to align with Eastern Standard Time upon arrival in North America.
Many readers have asked how Kim is doing, and I am proud and thrilled to say she’s loving her crossing! But the only people I can credit with that are the amazing crew of the Silver Spirit, who have gone out of their way at every turn to tell her how enjoyable these wonderfully endless days at sea are, and who always stop and chat or join us for a drink or just wave hi in the hallway. If I listed every single crewmember that has been phenomenal to us, I’d probably have half the crew printed here! That kind of genuine care and concern is a real hallmark of the Silversea experience.
Even if Kim never crosses the Atlantic by sea again, I know she will fondly remember her crossing aboard the Silver Spirit, already a favorite ship of hers, but perhaps moreso now because of her “second family”, as she likes to say, here onboard.
For myself, I hope this is the first of many, many trans-oceanic crossings I will make in my lifetime. It’s an absolutely amazing way to travel, and a tantalizing glimpse of how travel used to be, before there were planes and instant messaging, cell phones and internet, fast food and faster life.
Tonight, we dined outdoors on Deck 10 at The Grill, which features Silversea’s signature Black Rock Dining. We’ve done this deliciously entertaining dining option on our last two Silver Spirit voyages, and it’s a lot of fun!
Here’s how it works: you choose your choice of meat or fish (or both!) from The Grill menu, along with a salad to start with and either red or white wine to accompany it. After appetizers are consumed and trotted away, out comes your selected Entrée situated atop a slab of black volcanic rock inset into a large wooden cutting board. Three different kinds of sauce (mushroom, red wine, and peppercorn) accompany your meal, along with a skewer of vegetables and a delicious baked potato. You then proceed to grill your meal to your liking, all under the stars and with live musical accompaniment.
Tonight’s dinner was spectacular as always, but it was made even more prominent by an eerie sky that was patchwork blue in appearance, marking the first time since our departure from Barbados that we’ve had anything less than clear, brilliant-blue skies.
It costs nothing to dine at The Grill aboard the Silver Spirit, though you will want to have your butler make reservations for you, as it’s been one of the most popular venues each evening. Personally, I’ve enjoyed it each and every time I’ve dined there, and it was a pleasure that Kim and I could do so again this evening.
It’s funny how shipboard routine takes hold on the sea days, for after taking in a musical tribute to Billy Joel on the Pool Deck (9), we walked further aft to the Panorama Lounge to listen to the amazing music of Alfredo, the lounge’s resident pianist and vocal chameleon. This has been our custom every evening, and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. If you are scheduled to sail on the Silver Spirit soon, seek Alfredo out – he’s tremendous, and the Panorama Lounge is one of the most comfortable and relaxing onboard.
It was here, while sipping on an after-dinner drink that I realized: I never did do my laps around the funnel today!
Our Live Voyage Report from aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Spirit continues tomorrow, as we sail the Atlantic Ocean, bound for Porto Novo, Cape Verde. Our days at sea will give us more time to report on Silver Spirit’s public spaces, with new rooms and decks highlighted each day!
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