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Silver Spirit arrives in Las Palmas, Canary Islands
Today, Silversea’s Silver Spirit is docked in the port of Las Palmas, Canary Islands; a popular tourist destination for British and German travellers, and the perfect place for Silver Spirit to take on new passengers, provisions and fuel.
The largest city on the island of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas was described by Fodors – perhaps a touch unfairly – as “a dirty port city, overrun by sailors, tourists, traffic jams, diesel-spewing busses and hordes of shoppers.” The diesel part is certainly true; the sheer number of fishing vessels, military craft, passenger ferries, cargo ships, mothballed trawlers and cruise vessels located here makes Las Palmas a ship-lover’s paradise, if a smelly one.
As it was Sunday during our call on Las Palmas, the vast majority of shops weren’t open. Kim and I still amused ourselves by disembarking Silver Spirit and walking around this unique city for the entire day, getting lost among its side-streets and attractions, including beautiful Playa de los Canteras, located just a 10-minute walk from the cruise ship terminal.
Ambling around the city, it’s easy to see why Las Palmas attracts so many tourists: the combination of warm weather, diverse amenities and Spanish charm lure many to the rocky shores of the island of Gran Canaria. In that respect, Fodors was right: it can be crowded, particularly around areas like the marketplace. However, if you don’t need faux leather wallets, bad sunglasses or bootlegged DVD’s, you can safely pass the market by, opting instead to stroll the beaches or visit the city’s historic district.
After about five hours ashore, it was back to the spacious paradise that is the Silver Spirit. We were in port with another, much larger cruise ship, and although I cut my teeth on mainstream cruising, I was certainly glad to be aboard a Silversea ship, where my every whim is taken care of before I have even thought of it.
We enjoyed a relaxing hour poolside, where waiters Orlando and I Ketut made sure we were well looked-after. It was getting chilly as yet another midday storm rolled through, so I asked if I could have a Cappuccino. Sure enough, five minutes later it was sitting in front of me. It’s the kind of anticipatory service that, I think , keeps both crew and passengers happy.
Speaking of keeping people happy, I should also make a point of mentioning the great internet access here onboard the Silver Spirit; not only is it allowing me to file these reports each and every day, but it’s also faster and more reliable than I would have expected, considering our voyage spent a lot of time in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Many people still need to be in touch with family and friends, and there are plenty of working professionals here onboard the Silver Spirit that need to stay connected, however sporadically, with work. Guests can opt to use their own wireless devices or one of the computer workstations provided in The Library on Deck 7.
If you just want to check an email or two, you can opt to pay-as-you-go for $0.50 cents per minute. For those (like me!) who intend to do more regular surfing, three separate time packages are offered: 100 minutes for $45; 250 minutes for $85, or a generous 1,000 minutes for $250.
We were also able to get connected via our Apple iPad, though Silversea does take pains to note that due to the iPad’s design, signal strength may not be as consistent or reliable as it is on a laptop computer. Still, considering both myself and other cruisers likely remember a time where internet access aboard ships was an impossibility, being able to email family, check work schedules and the like from the mid-Atlantic is pretty cool!
Leaving Las Palmas was like some kind of surreal dream; the weather here seems to change by the hour, and our sail-away from the island of Gran Canaria was graced with moody skies and bouts of brilliant, vibrant sunshine that spilled across the decks of the Silver Spirit, drawing guests like myself out of the Panorama Lounge on Deck 9 and onto the open decks to revel in the majesty of Mother Nature.
Can I be completely honest? I wish I worked here, for Silversea. Today, Lionel the F&B Manager presented Kim with a nametag with her name on it – a gesture that did not go unappreciated, as last night Kim was mistaken for an employee at the Restaurant and reveled in the experience. I can see myself wanting to do that for someone else – to go the extra mile to make their vacation truly memorable and special.
Tonight, we dined with new friends – one of the greatest joys of any cruise. They’re huge Silversea fans, and great people on top of it. To me, their fantastic company has just further enhanced the experience Kim and I have had here in the past ten days.
I hope that these blogs have convinced people to try a transatlantic crossing aboard this great line, but if I haven’t, please stick around because I feel like the port of Casablanca will be a real treat for everyone here onboard the Silver Spirit, along with the Portuguese ports of Portimao and Lisbon.
Old advertisements for Cunard Line used to say, Getting there is half the fun. But as our transatlantic voyage aboard Silversea’s Silver Spirit begins to draw to a close, I can safely say that on this trip, getting there wasn’t just fun – it was the experience of a lifetime.
Our Live Voyage Report from aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Spirit continues tomorrow as we spend one final day at sea before calling on the mystical port of Casablanca, Morocco on Tuesday. Stay tuned – Portimao and Lisbon, Portugal are coming up as well!
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