Silversea Cruises' brand new flagship, Silver Spirit, arrived this morning at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, completing her maiden crossing of the Atlantic, a 16-day voyage which began in Lisbon on January 3.

As the first new cruise ship in 2010 to arrive in Port Everglades, Silver Spirit's arrival was celebrated in grand style with escorting fireboats providing a glistening water salute, while a plane circled overhead towing a large banner that read "WELCOME SILVER SPIRIT."

The elegant, all-suite Silver Spirit will host several days of inaugural activities while in Fort Lauderdale, including an exclusive evening event on January 20 for guests sailing on the 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage that will feature acclaimed singer and pianist Michael Feinstein.

In a first for the cruise company, the invitation-only Christening Ceremony taking place on January 21 will be broadcast live on the Silver Spirit Blog on the company's Internet site, Silversea.com, starting at 10:00 a.m. East Coast time.  Following the event, a replay of the webcast will also be available on the line's website.

"It's a great honor for us to welcome our beautiful new Silver Spirit to the Americas," said Kenneth W. Watson, Silversea's chief operating officer.  "This ship is the perfect expression of the graceful elegance and comfortable ambiance found aboard our ships fleetwide, plus her 1930s Art Deco-inspired features recall the glamour of ocean travel's grandest era.  With exciting new dining options and the most spacious accommodations in our fleet -- all enhanced by the attentiveness of a butler offering guests new services and amenities to personalize their suite experience -- Silver Spirit is the new standard bearer for ultra-luxury cruising."

Among the highlights of the inaugural events is a gala fundraising dinner to be hosted this evening aboard ship by Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. and Silversea to benefit The Wolfsonian–Florida International University.  Guests include Mitchell Mart, ocean liner collector and cruise expert, and Laurence A. Miller, ocean liner archivist and historian.  Located in the historic Art Deco district of Miami Beach, The Wolfsonian–FIU is a museum that uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design.  Whether drawn from The Wolfsonian collection or on loan from prominent institutions worldwide, the exhibition program explores the active role design plays in motivating actions, expressing ideas, creating desires, and shaping identities.  The 120,000 artifacts that comprise The Wolfsonian's collections range from fine art, graphic design and political propaganda to furniture, rare books and ephemeral materials such as postcards and travel brochures. The holdings are primarily of North American and European origin, dating from 1885 to 1945.

On the evening of January 21, following the Christening Ceremony festivities, Silver Spirit will set sail on a 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage aptly themed "The Spirit of South America."  During this expansive journey, Silver Spirit is set to explore over 20 countries and 45 ports.  The ship will follow a southward course to Rio (for an unforgettable evening at Carnaval), sail around Cape Horn and through the majestic Chilean Fjords before heading to the Mexican Riviera.  Guests have the option to personalize their voyage by disembarking in Los Angeles, or sailing through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale, or continuing up America's colonial coast to New York City.

Following the Grand Inaugural Voyage, Silver Spirit will spend the summer in the Mediterranean and then reposition 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 meters), 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 recognized 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 U.S., Silversea has been voted "World's Best" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (nine times) and Travel + Leisure (seven times), and rated Number-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).