Silversea Hosts Christening Ceremony For Silver Spirit
(21 January 2010) Silversea Cruises' elegant new Silver Spirit was christened in a formal ceremony held dockside this morning at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. In a first for the company, the event was broadcast live on the internet and a replay of the webcast will soon be available for viewing on the Silver Spirit Blog at Silversea.com.
Echoing the Art Deco interior design elements of Silver Spirit, a completely transformed pier greeted more than 450 invited visitors, who included local dignitaries, members of the trade and media, as well as members of the Venetian Society (Silversea's past-guest loyalty club) and guests sailing on the Grand Inaugural Voyage. Guests entered Pier 25 terminal through a specially designed gold-framed entranceway recalling the style and glamour of the 1930s -- a motif also serving as the inspiration for the decorations and images that adorned the terminal within and which took guests on a stunning visual journey as they proceeded to the event's red-carpeted staging area alongside Silver Spirit.
The lilting classical music of a brass and strings ensemble serenaded guests as they took their seats. The ship's godmother, Silvia Lefebvre, sister of Silversea chairman Manfredi Lefebvre, presided over the festivities. Besides gracious, heartfelt speeches and the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle against Silver Spirit's hull, the ceremony included a blessing of the ship by Father Thomas W Falkenthal, director of the Apostleship of the Sea for the Archdiocese of Miami.
Amerigo Perasso, Silversea's president and chief executive officer, said: "Today is a proud day for Silversea as we celebrate the christening of our new ship and what is the culmination of much effort and planning. From her sophisticated Art Deco interior design and extra-spacious suites to a host of new amenities and services, Silver Spirit embodies the innovative spirit of our company and is a dramatic step forward for our award-winning concept of ultra-luxury cruising."
In a brief departure from an otherwise celebratory tone, Silversea's chief operating officer, Kenneth W Watson, acknowledged the recent tragedy in Haiti, and announced that the company had made a charitable donation to the American Red Cross on behalf of Grand Inaugural Voyage guests. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Haitian people during this very difficult time," he said.
Godmother Silvia Lefebvre christened the ship with a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne. A replica of the champagne bottle will be auctioned off as a memento during Silver Spirit's Grand Inaugural Voyage to benefit the Maruzza Lefebvre d'Ovidio Foundation, a non-profit organisation spearheaded by Silvia Lefebvre. A major part of its energy and resources is dedicated to the diffusion of palliative care for children, babies and adolescents affected by incurable disease.
Leading up to the champagne christening was a special duet performance of "The Prayer" by vocalists from the Florida Grand Opera's Young Artists Programme. Julia Ebner has performed in various roles as soprano with numerous ensembles throughout the US including the Syracuse Opera, Opera North and the Tri-Cities Opera. The featured tenor, David Bailey, recently received his masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music and has performed with such renowned ensembles as the Skylight Opera, Charlemagne Orchestra in Belgium, and the Utah Festival Orchestra.
Spirit will set sail this evening on a 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage exploring over 20 countries and 45 ports throughout the Americas, then spend the summer in the Mediterranean before repositioning to the Caribbean for fall and winter cruises.
At 36,000 tons, and accommodating just 540 guests, this intimate ship has the largest suites in the Silversea fleet -- with 95% featuring a private veranda -- and one of the highest space-to-guest ratios at sea today. The onboard decor lends a sophisticated 1930s Art Deco ambiance to the public spaces, highlights of which include an indoor/outdoor spa measuring over 8,300 square feet (770 square metres), a resort-style pool, four whirlpools, and a choice of six dining venues including Seishin, showcasing Asian-fusion cuisine, and the innovative Stars Supper Club, offering trendsetting menus and all-night entertainment.
Silversea Cruises is recognised as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit -- all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents.
In the US, Silversea has been voted "World's Best" by the readers of Condé NastTraveler (nine times) and Travel + Leisure (seven times), and ratedNumber-One luxury cruise line by high-net-worth consumers in the 2008 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI). International awards include "Best Innovation in Products and Services" from the Italian Innovazione Marketing Oggi Awards (2009); "World's Leading Small Ships Cruise Line" from World Travel Awards (2009); "Five Star Diamond Award" from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (2009); "Number One" small-ship line in the Readers' Choice" survey conducted by Britain's Condé Nast Traveller magazine (2007); "Best Luxury Cruise Line" by Spain's Cruceros & Destinos magazine (2008); "Best Luxury Cruise Line" by Australia's Luxury Travel & Style Magazine (2009); and "Best Luxury Cruise Operator" according to Asia's Travel Weekly (2008).
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