While the QM2 is reported to have space for 3056 guests and 1253 crew, the Silver Spirit is built to carry 540 guests and a crew of 376.
Silver Spirirt visited Hong Kong for the first time on Monday at the halfway stage of her inaugural 119-day world cruise, which began in Los Angeles.
With a guest-to-crew ratio of 1.4 to 1, Silver Spirit passengers also enjoy one of the highest space ratios at sea with 6700 cubic feet per guest.
According to a media release, the Art Deco-inspired Silver Spirit ''sets new standards in luxury cruising and guests onboard will enjoy an unmatched level of pampering and personalised service.''
Guests can enjoy a butler assigned to every suite; complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship; 24-hour room service; stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, ''and all gratuities.''
After Hong Kong the Silver Spirit sails on to Vietnam then visits Bangkok (March 30-April 1) and Samui (April 1); Singapore (April 3); Malaysia (April 4-5); and Phuket on April 6 followed by Sri Lanka, India, Oman, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Portugal and the Channel Islands.
One aspect of interest will be the reaction of passengers to Phuket's pointedly expensive tuk-tuks and taxis.
This time last year, Phuketwan was sent email correspondence between a cruise company management and a Phuket restaurant, which ends with the cruise management expressing the intent to complain directly to Phuket's governor.
Here we republish the edited exchanges that first appeared on Phuketwan on March 14 last year:
From the cruise line: ''We were happy to promote your lovely restaurant and we did get a few good comments from a few guests who visited your venue. We would have liked to send you more people, but unfortunately the taxi situation in the Phuket Port is terrible.
The local drivers who were in the port all work together with the same attitude and that is to totally rip-off tourists. These drivers were not pleasant to deal with at all, and for the next visit we are suggesting that the ship anchors off Patong Beach instead of docking in the Phuket Port.''
From the restaurant: ''Yes we all know the taxi driver situation in Phuket is horrific. Those same drivers will probably be the same ones in Patong, too, but at least from Patong it is not such a long drive and people can also opt for not going anywhere. Unfortunately we don't have a pick up service, either.''
From the cruise line, intended for the governor: ''Following our vessel's recent visit to Phuket, we would like to bring to your attention the extreme challenges faced in the Phuket Port with regard to taxis. The drivers on standby in the port quoted ridiculous fares from the start and it was clear that they were aiming to really extort money from our Residents, Guests and Crew.
We were informed that the drivers are part of the local community and are the only taxi vehicles allowed to pick-up from this area and that the port has no control over this. After we spoke with our Thai crew members on the ship about the proper rates that should be charged, we then attempted to negotiate more decent rates.
At one point the situation became quite unbearable and some of the drivers became verbally abusive when it was mentioned that their rates were ridiculous and way too high for us to consider.
It came down to the fact that the drivers refused to even consider to take the business if their rate wasn't paid and they simply preferred to sit down and wait for another hopeful customer whom they could overcharge, even after they were warned that we would not give them any further business.
From this point onwards, the front office team recommended private transfers to be booked through the contracted tour company and no further taxi bookings were made.
Thank you for your time and we trust that this situation will be looked into further as it is totally unacceptable and extremely bad for tourism.''
An initial complaint by the cruise line company to the Tourism Authority of Thailand brought no response.
A representative from the restaurant asked the cruise line whether the email exchange could be passed on to Phuketwan, and the cruise line manager agreed.
One year on, Phuketwan will be keen to see whether the QM2 and the Silver Spirit dock at Phuket's deep sea port or in Patong Bay, and whether the tuk-tuks and taxi drivers have improved their attitude over the past 12 months.