Silversea Spirit
Bridgetown, Barbados to Monaco
April 2012
April 8, 2012                      We decided to spend the night at the Fairfield Inn at JFK in preparation for our
8 AM flight to Barbados.  Because it was Easter Sunday the traffic was light and the drive to JFK
uneventful.

April 9th to 12th           Our Marriott Awards Account was sufficient to redeem 3 nights at the
Courtyard by Marriott in Bridgetown.  The hotel was new and extremely well laid out.  It is not ocean
front, but had a small lap pool, and access to a nice private beach across the road.  The restaurant
was more of a snack shop, but had a fairly broad menu.  We ate there a number of times and the food
quality and service was excellent.  There is a TGIF restaurant on the grounds where we had dinner on
two nights and we did walk several blocks to a new boardwalk along the ocean front where we found
several restaurants and had a very good lunch at one named
Tapas.

We stayed in Barbados about 25 years ago - I remember well that we arrived on November 20, 1986
which was the "Great American Smoke out" and was the day I finally quit!  We stayed at one of the
major resorts which we have forgotten the name of on one of the famous beaches.  This time we
stayed in an older part of the island which is undergoing restoration.  While we didn't venture about,
there were a couple of old buildings that I found interesting for photographic purposes.  I'm sure they
will be torn down and replaced in the near future.

Everyone we met in Barbados was extremely friendly and helpful.  Our biggest disappointment with
the location of the Courtyard hotel was its location on a busy road with very narrow and difficult
sidewalks to get to the beach areas along the new boardwalk.
PHOTOS

April 12th                      Boarding the Silversea Spirit was extremely smooth with no delays.  This was
our first cruise with this company so we were not sure what to expect.  The Spirit is larger than any of
the Seabourn vessels we have sailed on with a capacity for 540 guests versus about 440 for the
larger Seabourn ships.  On this cruise segment the ship was carrying only 230 guests.  We will be
interested to see what it will be like with a full ship once we reach Lisbon.

April 13th                      Our first port was St Lucia.  Many tours were offered, however we chose
instead to stay on board.  We did walk a short distance to a pharmacy to pick up a few supplies that
we neglected to pack.  The port area was very crowded and not at all attractive.  We had a beautiful
sunset and I was able to photograph the "Green Flash" as we departed.
PHOTOS

April 14th to 18th        The next five days were sea days and we were fortunate to have sunny skies
and calm seas on our way to Cape Verde off the coast of Africa.  We enjoyed the lectures which were
given by a variety of lecturers.  The food and service we felt was very comparable with Seabourn. The
larger ship offered more dining options and space.  The waiters and room attendants on the Spirit are
primarily Philippians and Indians from the Goa region of India, versus primarily East European and
South African on the Seabourn vessels. We also had a butler with Silversea which was a nice touch.  
Our shoes were always shined and he was available for any special requests.

April 19th                      We enjoyed a 7.5 hour tour of the island of Santo Antao which is the northern
most and second largest of the 10 islands comprising
Cape Verde.  It is also one of the least
developed and most scenic of the islands. The inhabitants are a mixture of Portuguese and African
heritage and are generally tall, lean and attractive.  They all speak English with varying degrees of
skill as it is a mandatory language in school along with French and Portuguese.  The literacy rate is in
excess of 80% and roughly 90% of the population is Catholic.  
              
CAPE VERDE PHOTOS            

April 22nd
                     After another two days at sea we arrived at Las Palmas on Grand Canaria
Island which is the largest of the
Canary Islands.  With a population approaching 900,000, Las Palmas
reminded us of many of the cities on the southern coast of Spain.  It is modern and very clean.  The
island had  experienced an exceptionally dry winter and was not as green with colorful flowers as
would normally be the case at this time of the year.  We took an all day tour and as luck would have it
rain finally arrived, so our tour into the mountains was enshrouded in clouds and the views were
obscured during much of the day.  Outside of Las Palmas the roads were very narrow and several
times the bus we were on could barely get by a bus of tourists traveling in the opposite direction.  
Here is a link to my
PHOTOS of the island.

April 24th                      Tuesday we were docked in Casablanca, Morocco for the day.  We had been in
Casablanca on two previous occasions which more than satisfied our desire to visit this very large
and busy city, so we stayed on board for the day.  A number of passengers took all day tours to Fes,
Rabat and Marrakech, all of which we stayed at during an extended trip to Morocco in 2001.  Most
were exhausted when they returned as most of the day was spent driving to and from these cities.

April 25th                      Portimao is located in the Algarve area of southern Portugal.  We enjoyed
walking around the city which we had visited extensively during a trip to Portugal in 2009.  Silversea
ran a shuttle bus to the beach area.  
PHOTOS

April 26th                      Lisbon marked the conclusion of the first segment of our cruise.  There were
about 20 of us that continued on the next nine day segment from Lisbon to Monte Carlo.  The
atmosphere on board changed significantly with a near capacity guest load.  We took advantage of
the pleasant weather to stroll around the city which we had previously enjoyed during a visit three
years earlier.  Here is a
LINK to the commentary and photos of our visit in April 2009.  

April 27th                      The Spirit remained in Lisbon overnight.  We enjoyed a half day tour to the
beach resort of Cascais and the mountainous village of Sintra.  We enjoyed both and would enjoy
staying in Cascais for several days on our next visit to Portugal which will hopefully include a river
cruise offered by Viking Cruises out of Porto.  
PHOTOS of our time in Lisbon and Sintra.  We
departed Lisbon for Cadiz, Spain shortly after lunch.

April 28th                      We were up early for an all day trip to Seville, which departed from Cadiz by
bus.  We found Seville to be easier to get around than the Alhambra which we visited in the spring of
2009.  The day started off overcast and rainy, but the sun came out just as we arrived in Seville, and
we had a very enjoyable visit.  
PHOTOS

April 29th                      It was raining when we docked in Malaga.  We stayed near Malaga during a
land trip through Spain  during May 2009, and were there for a day on a previous cruise, so we just
stayed on board and caught up on reading, etc.

May 1st                          After day at sea we arrived at Palma De Mallorca.  This was our second time in
Mallorca and we enjoyed a morning tour which included a train ride to the mountain village of Soller.  
A very scenic and pleasant day!  
 PHOTOS

May 2nd                        Our port was Mahon on the island of Menorca, a first for us.  We participated in
a morning tour of the southern part of the Island and enjoyed the afternoon strolling along the
waterfront.  We spent a couple of hours and a small cafe that offered free Internet and we were able
to download our magazines and papers from the past couple of weeks to our tablet computers.
PHOTOS

May 3rd                        We anchored near Alghero on the island of Sardinia.  We had toured Sardinia
on a previous trip (
PHOTOS) so decided to relax on board and avoid the ride to shore on the
tender.

May 4th                         Our last stop was in Corsica which we had visited on several previous cruises.
This time the port was Ajaccio which was a new one for us, and is also the birthplace of Napoleon.  We
enjoyed walking around the city.  This was also the day to pack our bags after 23 days on the Spirit.

May 5th                        Disembarkation in Monte Carlo was extremely easy and smooth.  Because we
were still in the EU it was not necessary to clear customs or immigration.  Our travel agent arranged
for our transfer from the ship to our hotel in Nice which also went smoothly.