I had the opportunity to sail on luxury Silversea Cruises a couple of years ago in the Baltic and I had looked forward to introducing it to my husband. I think he said it best … I never want to sail on those "other cruise lines" again. He was spoiled and loved it! The ship was lovely with roomy cabins, great service and superb cuisine. I can't say enough wonderful things about the ship and its crew. One of the finest ways to cruise luxury is with Silversea on their smaller ships. The cruise experience is the exact opposite of cruising on the "big" ships. You don't have the crowds of people and the shore excursions are a cut above the competition.
This time we sailed on the Silver Shadow from Ft. Lauderdale to Barbados making stops in Nassau, Dominican Republic, Tortola, St. Martin, Guadeloupe and St. Lucia. I took the opportunity to see some resorts and/or sightsee on each of these Caribbean islands.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
We arrived a day early and spent a night in the newly renovated Westin Ft. Lauderdale. The rooms are a good size and well appointed. The bathrooms are nice but small; you can barely move around and there isn't any room to put out your toiletries. The hotel is across the street from the main beach and they have a bridge on the third floor above the street giving you direct access to the beach. The convention center and additional rooms are located next door and that is also connected via a bridge. They have an informal restaurant by the pool and the main restaurant near the lobby. Food was "standard". We were advised by the concierge desk to walk a couple of blocks down the street to a great restaurant called the Casablanca Café. The restaurant was charming and the food was excellent.
Nassau, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The Cove Atlantis - The rooms are quite large with private access. If you stay at the Cove you have access to the entire Atlantis resort, while the lesser properties do not have access to the Cove. The Cove is excellent for adults with a beautiful adult-only pool which is monitored by the employees. You have to prove you are 18 or older to get into the adult pool.
The Reef Atlantis - This is a condominium property. The condos are beautiful and well appointed. Obviously this property is excellent for families since they have full kitchens and dining facilities.
We also visited the casino and the water park. I can see why families like the resort because the kids can find so much to do. But the main resort and casino has so many people about that it becomes overwhelming.
One & Only Ocean Club - I wanted to stay here! It has a Colonial architecture and the rooms are ALL suites with butler service. The rooms are decorated with Mahogany woods and nice linens. The resort has beautiful facilities and the Versailles garden is out of this world. I have seen pictures of this garden for weddings and it is indeed a beautiful spot. On the lawn they usually have several hammocks tied up between palm trees for clients use and the beach is beautiful white sand.
During our visit to Tortola we visited Peters Island Resort - The resort has their own ferry boats that take clients and employees back and forth about 6 to 8 times a day depending on the season. The ferry ride takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes and the main deck is enclosed with air conditioning. We were treated to lunch which was excellent along with a site inspection of two of the villas and the regular rooms. The villas are large with every conceivable amenity included and all have breathtaking views. The resort’s spa is gorgeous with a private pool and looks out over its own beach. They have two categories of rooms: Beachfront or Ocean view. I prefer the Beachfront junior suites because they are larger with the Jacuzzi tubs and all rooms have a great view of the beach. The Ocean view rooms view the harbor and are smaller with standard bathrooms. The island has many areas to hike and explore along with every kind of water sport imaginable. You truly feel you are staying on your own private island due to the "smallness" of the resort.
We ended the cruise in Barbados and we stayed one night at The Fairmont Royal Pavilion. The property is located on a beautiful white sandy beach, with a swimming pool and tennis courts. All of the 72 guest rooms have a view of the ocean and the 3 bedroom villa is located at the back of the property overlooking the pool. The three bedrooms in the villa all have separate entrances which allow them to use the rooms when the hotel is full. During our stay they were sold-out and we were given the upstairs suite. It was spacious with a sitting area and large bath but the villa desperately needs to be renovated while the guest rooms were lovely. Dining in the main restaurant and cuisine was excellent.
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