Cruising on The Silver Spirit
The Ports of call? The islands of the Caribbean, by land and by sea. Irma Bay sets sail
As there is no land mass between Barbados and Africa to interrupt the roiling Atlantic, drinks cliffside at The Crane hotel on the easternmost side of the island is as good a place as any to contemplate our upcoming cruise, sailing the next day from the capital, Bridgetown. But fears of high seas are for naught, as we will be traversing the far gentler Caribbean through which the tropical island chain from Jamaica in the north down to Trinidad and Tobago due south are strewn like emeralds.
The thought of a Caribbean visit may call to mind a monolithic fly-and-fry all-inclusive set to a reggae soundtrack but, as a result of their diverse indigenous populations and centuries-old histories as pawns in the battle for New World domination by European powers, each of these micro-countries has, in fact, a unique social and cultural footprint. Island hopping is an ideal way to experience their diversity, but doing so by air – what with a gauntlet of airports and nail-biting puddle-jumper landings – does not make for a tranquil vacation. Voyage 5307 on Silversea’s Silver Spirit cruise ship is just the answer.
For one thing, there’s a tropical languor built into the seven-day itinerary: two full days at sea, dropping anchor at only four ports. For another, the intimate and hyper-luxurious approach on the Silver Spirit. The ship accommodates a maximum of only 540 guests, the cabins are chic and most come with private balconies and canapé- and champagne-laden butlers, who are happy to unpack and pack you, have the run of the place. A smorgasbord of cuisine from classic French to Japanese is available in a slew of beautifully appointed restaurants, and the mostly mature crowd is happy to dress up for the occasion after a day of A-list level spa-ing.
It all harks back to another time, when the word travel was synonymous with glamour, elegance and a genteel remove.