Regions:Caribbean, Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Luxury Travelers.
Regions:Alaska, Australia, South America, The Orient
Good for: Seniors. Group. Luxury Travelers.
Regions:Caribbean, Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Luxury Travelers. Overall Service. Foodies.
Regions:Caribbean, Eastern Seaboard, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. First-time Cruisers. Luxury Travelers.
Regions:Antarctica, Arctic Circle
Good for: Disabled Travelers. Seniors. Luxury Travelers.
Regions:Africa, Mediterranean, The Orient
Good for: Group. Overall Service. Disabled Travelers.
My daughter and I cruised on the Silver Shadow from Barcelona to Lisbon in September. From embarkation to debarkation it was an experience of excellence! We arrived early at the pier and were welcomed aboard even though we hadn't opted for the 'early embarkation' extra. We were greeted by servers with trays of champagne and escorted to the Panorama lounge for a brief wait before being escorted to our lovely cabin. The staterooms have been repeatedly reviewed, so I will not duplicate that effort, but I have to comment on the lovely soft linens, down pillows and the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in onboard a cruise ship!
The main restaurant had very good food and an outstanding maitre d' and wait staff. When we requested a certain type of wine, our server searched it down and had it available each night of the cruise. The maitre d' was very sensitive to two women traveling together and provided us with excellent dining companions as well as a table for two when we requested it. He even arranged a dinner with the Chief Engineer. Lunch in this dining room is thebest-kept secret on board! Most people have lunch at the Terrace, which is buffet service, but the Restaurant has few guests, which leads to remarkable service and really outstanding food.
Room service was incredibly prompt and the food was always hot! We challenged the staff each day with requests not on the menu, and every request from eggs benedict to certain fruit compotes was met with aplomb and accuracy.
Shore excursions were truly exemplary. Lunch at one shore call was really a treat: We were met back at the ship by servers on the pier holding trays of rum punches with the tiny umbrellas, trays of snacks, and of course cool, damp towels! After walking onboard, we were greeted by a three-piece musical group and more canapes. Now THAT's class!
When the ship called at Casablanca, my daughter took the 12-hour excursion to Marrakesh. I opted to stay on board. When she returned she said the bus trip wasn't long at all, as they had frequent stops and a fabulous lunch. Other guests hired private guides or took the train; one even chartered a plane to Marrakesh! The next day we toured Casablanca and the Blue Mosque with a wonderful guide who provided a wealth of information about Muslim beliefs and customs. All excursions had very comfortable motor coaches with knowledgeable guides and frequent stops. In Spain, we visited Grenada and the Alhambra and stopped to smell the lovely olive trees along the way. We went to a sherry winery, sampled the wine and had a very enjoyable time. In Jerez, we saw a wonderful performance by the Andalusian horses in a very new, clean (and air-conditioned) arena.
Debarkation was so easy and seamless, but we really did not want to leave our lovely stateroom. To be sure, Silversea will be our choice in the future for cruising.
I had an enjoyable, and in some ways memorable, cruise on the Silver Wind from Villefranche to Piraeus, June 8 to 15, 2003. The food was usually good and some was excellent, the wines and wine stewards were an education, and the Silver Wind's people were top notch, but the organization of the service let me down. I found I had to make allowances for overworked room stewardesses and there were failures in the embarkation/debarkation.
Embarkation and debarkation.
This was the weakest area of the cruise. About three or four days before the start of the voyage the port authorities in Nice declared that dock space would not be available for the Silver Wind. Silversea shifted the port of embarkation to Villefranche, but I and most passengers traveling independently did not find out about the change and went to the Quai du Commerce Cruise Terminal in Nice. Silversea ran a bus from another part of the port to Villefranche, and a number of passengers had problems getting from the Quai du Commerce to the Silversea bus. There was no assistance from Silversea in getting to the bus, and even at the sitewhere the bus would stop there was only an awning and chairs. The temperature was in the upper 80s, there was nothing to drink, and there was and no help with the baggage until the bus pulled into Villefranche. The passengers banded together to assist one of our number who was recovering from a stroke.
After arriving in Villefranche (where Silversea personnel worked full time, one-on-one, with the passenger who was recovering from a stroke) we left our luggage on the bus and walked with our hand baggage to the cruise terminal. Passengers who knew of the change in port and went to Villefranche directly told me there was no one from Silversea to help them with luggage on their arrival. We sat in Villefranche without refreshments until being loaded on tenders. Silversea took our luggage from the bus and sent it out to the Silver Wind by tender. On the Silver Wind, and after a long pause, champagne and snacks appeared in the Terrace Cafe, but there were far too few staff to serve efficiently. A senior staff person on the Silver Wind described the embarkation as a "nightmare," and he enlightened a group of us to another problem the Silver Wind had to contend with: Unloading previous cruise passengers and luggage by tenders.
The disembarkation procedures were the normal ones. Passengers were asked to wait in the public rooms until their groups were called. But the public address system did not function in one of the public rooms, the 5th deck bar. The passengers there did not find out that some of their groups had been called until one of the passengers inquired at the disembarkation desk, which was aware there were problems with the public address system in the bar and at other locations. Once ashore things went smoothly..
I attribute the embarkation/disembarkation problems to a crew unused to working together. I believe that the next time something like this happens someone will think of getting more people in the cruise terminals to redirect passengers and to handle their luggage. Someone will think of providing refreshments - at least water and juice - at the terminals and possibly on the bus. And the crew will have food and drink ready when the passengers arrive aboard.
The Silver Wind
The Silver Wind is a lovely ship. It is small enough to get around in easily. There is only one bank of elevators and the ship doesn't need more. Furnishings, rugs, curtains and so forth were not replaced during the dry dock period that ended earlier this year, but they are all well-maintained. There are signs at the free self-service laundry asking passengers not to loiter there or be noisy out of respect to fellow passengers in neighboring cabins. I did not notice a problem, but I would try to avoid a cabin in this area since I assume there have been complaints in the past. The gym has been relocated to deluxe accommodations on the 8th deck facing a bank of floor to ceiling windows. There are three treadmills, three traditional stationary bicycles, two reclining bicycles, and a full range of free weights, but only one fixed-weight machine for upper and lower body workouts. I would like to see more machines for arms, legs, abs, and pectorals.
by my standards the Vista cabins are spacious, with a walk-in closet, a bathroom with full bath, a sitting area with a desk, sofa, table and chairs, and a sleeping area with a vanity, end tables, and beds. There is fresh fruit in the room every day, and the mini-bar is stocked any way you want it. The corridors in the cabin areas have been planned to avoid the perspective-monotony of large ships, where the view is of converging corridor angles and rows of diminishing doors. Putting the doors at an angle to the corridor helps avoid the institutional view. The public rooms are tastefully done. The Restaurant is pleasant and welcoming, the Terrace is well laid-out, and the 5th deck bar has the right atmosphere and music for the pre-dinner drinks I appreciate.
Food and drink
Before sailing on the Silver Wind I spent four days in Nice, dining at well-recommended restaurants, two of which have a single star from Michelin. On some nights dinner aboard the Silver Wind beat the best of those restaurants. On two nights it was not as good. From what I had, or could cadge off other's plates, I would rate the quail, wild boar, and swordfish as excellent, with the roast veal only a little behind them. The duck did not work; either the sauce or attempted glaze was poor in my opinion (and that of other diners). One night I had lobster and it was tough. The soups, and particularly the creamed soups, compared well with anything on land as did the bread and baked goods. Possibly the desserts lagged in comparison with the Nice restaurants I ate at, but I can see that persons with slightly different tastes might well disagree with me and, in any case, I had cheese and port two or three times.
The cognac served after dinner was Courvosier VSOP, and the port was Sandeman's tawny and ruby red. Sherry was Harvey's, and included Bistol Cream. Other cognacs, ports and sherries were available for a fee. I am not much of a champagne drinker, but what I had of the Philippnnat Royal Reserve seemed good enough. Other passengers I spoke with were indifferent to the recent change in champagnes by Silversea since their preferences were for yet other champagnes such as Krug or Piper-Heidsieck, or for a line of Moet other than the one formerly served free on Silversea. No one suggested Philipponnat Royal Reserve was inferior champagne.
The wines served with dinner were for the most part new to me, and I profited from the experimentation. Of even greater benefit to me, however, were the comments from the wine stewards. They were uniformly well informed, and the cruise's Dutch sommelier was awesomely knowledgeable. He could match the best of the sommeliers I have spoken with ashore.
The best coffee and espresso aboard was served in the restaurant in my opinion. I thought the Terrace Café coffee was weak enough that I drank tea when I was at the Café for breakfast. I had espresso at the Terrace Café once and one in the bar, and as far as I was concerned once was enough in either location. The espresso was one of the reasons I did not go back to the Terrace Café, the other being that I thought the food in the Restaurant was as good as the theme food in the Café.
The level of service on the Silver Wind was high, but not better than I have received on other lines. The major lapse in service involved organization of the embarkation/disembarkation and was noted above. Due to the number of cabins the room stewardesses had to handle, they did not usually get around to my room until after 11:00AM. The stewardesses were hard working and, I felt, possibly overworked.
The bridge tour by Captain Gennaro Arma is not to be missed. This is for the captain's delightful personality as much as the tour. Colin Brown is a standout as a Cruise Director. He is always around, always available, always informative. Antonio, the Maitre d'Hotel, recalled the tables I preferred and saw that I got them. How he did that for an entire ship I don't know. Our dining room stewards were excellent, and other stewards were efficient in giving away drinks at the pool, the bar, and the theatre.
Every cabin was taken on this cruise, but not every bed, and there were about 250 to 260 passengers aboard. I liked my fellow-passengers. They ranged in age from minus a few months (we had at least one pregnant passenger) to around 80. We had about half a dozen teenagers and so far as I could see they were well behaved. There were plenty of 20- and 30-somethings, but the typical passenger was in the late 50s or around 60 I would guess. A plurality of passengers came from the United States, but not, I think, a majority. The United Kingdom had the next largest share of passengers. There were many from Australia, and lesser numbers from Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, and Switzerland. I was surprised as how few Canadians were aboard.
Women dressed pretty much the same on casual and informal nights: dresses, blouses and slacks, and some pantsuits. On informal nights men wore jackets but most did not wear ties. On formal nights about ninety percent of the men were in dinner clothes, and the rest were in dark business suits. Most women wore cocktail dresses on formal nights but there were plenty of dressy pantsuits balanced by evening gowns.
I don't expect much in entertainment on cruises. On this cruise I found Colin Brown to be the entertainment highlight. He put on a one-hour program of piano music by Beethoven, Schumann, and other composers. It was a comfortable time, like listening to an old friend who is also a fine pianist. On one piece, I think it was by Grieg, Colin was accompanied by a guitar player who appeared solo on other nights. The piano and guitar combination was terrific. I think it was a mistake to squeeze Colin's program into the beginning of the dinner hour on the last night of the cruise. He should get prime time on a better night.
I walked out on dance duo called the Argentinian Devils.
The cruise was originally scheduled to stop at Katakolon, the port for Olympia, but we were told the historic sites in Greece were closed for a few days by a guides' strike. Katakolon is an uninteresting destination in itself, and I was hoping we would get an extra day in Sorrento instead of a stop in Katakolon. The Captain told me there was some concern the passengers would be bored by another day in Sorrento (possibly the first time that bored and Sorrento have appeared in the same sentence). Silversea redirected the Wind to Pylos, Greece which has some interest, including an old fort. It was a good effort by Silversea to make the best of a situation beyond its control, but in Athens the next day all the sites were open except for the National Archeological Museum, which was in the midst of being refurbished for the 2004 Olympics. No one I spoke with had heard of a guides' strike or of the historic sites being closed. I think someone misinformed the staff on the Silver Wind, which dutifully misinformed the passengers.
We boarded the Silver Whisper in Barcelona and sailed for seven days on the Med., winding up in Rome. From the moment we stepped aboard, was handed a glass of champaigne, and was shown to our stateroom, I knew we had arrived. The Silver Whisper holds 380 guests and almost all have the "Veranda Suite". It is about 270 square feet, a perfect size. Extra large bathrooms, walk-in closet, spacious bedroom, comfortable living room, and nice veranda, through the double sliding glass doors.
We were shortly greeted by our Suite Waitperson, and she stocked our suite bar exactly as we requested, including Hennesy VSOP, and kept it stocked throughout the trip. We had Champaigne, fresh flowers, and chocolates to greet us.
Here is should be noted that all champaigne, wines, liquers, drinks,at any time are included in the price. Everything is premium brand and whatever you want, whenever you want it, is free.
There is also no tipping for anything on the Silverseas line, so if you want a six course meal brought to your room, a course at a time, (like we did) there is no tipping. Not at dinner, notwhen you leave the ship. Speaking of dinner - in the main dining room, you go when you feel like eating, anytime between 7:30 and 9:00. When you arrive they will ask if you wish to dine alone, with two others, or four others. Whatever your desire, they will accomodate you and you can meet new friends, or dine alone. They of course have other dining rooms and buffets if you so desire. They also have special regional dining rooms that serve French or Italian on certain evenings that you can sign up for in the morning. They also have 24 hour room service that they challange you to test them on. Champaigne and caviar at midnite? We did!
This was the most relaxing trip we had ever been on. Plenty of activities and shore excursions, the one to the winery in France was awsume. But to just kick back and relax on that beautiful ship and enjoy your stateroom veranda while gliding across the Med. was incredible.
The entertainment was a little below average for a cruise, but it was light and enjoyable. Just a little something before you went to bed, to put a smile on your face.
The price is such that there are very few children. Most of our fellow passengers were older, relaxed, and very pleasant to be with.
I have checked the reviews for other ships, and I think that we will stay with Silversea until a reviewer can convince us otherwise.
Villefranche to Nice, Sept 21, 2003
This was my first Silver Sea cruise and my 41st cruise. Most prior cruises (recent) have been in suites on Holland America and Celebrity cruise as well as crossing on the QE2.
In my honest opinion, Silversea had the most slipshod corporate office of any cruise line still inexistence. This cruise was booked a year in advance and had its itinerary changed once and embarkation port changed three times. I had my own airfare so it was always a tense moment whenever Silver Sea faxed a new change.
I had purchased a transfer from the Silversea hotel (the Negressco) to the latest port (Villefranche), unfortunately no one ever showed up at the hotel for the transfer. Also, the promised Silversea representative at a desk in the lobby never showed. The Hotel put me in a cab to the ship the next village over.
Upon arrival at the pier (a small pier) there was no signage as to check in and no one form Silversea to instruct passengers what to do. This was a tender embarkation and passengers were told to leave their luggage, get on atender and head for the ship. Check in was posted on the tickets at 2:00, but once on the tender, the ship radioed that it was not ready and that passengers would be held. It was now 2:15 and tenders headed over to the ship but passengers were directed to the Panorama lounge, as the cabins were still not ready. At 3:00 we were allowed into our cabins.
The cabins were lovely, recently redone to match those on the newer ships and in great condition. The bathroom was all white marble with a deep full size tub. The cabin was outfitted with a TV, VCR and mini fridge. Closet space was plentiful with a full walk in closet and lots of drawers. The cabin truly felt like a fine hotel.
The dinning room was lovely, like a fine shore side restaurant. The food on the first night was hit or miss. Nothing really bad, but the fish was fishy and the salad boring. The main course and desert were wonderful with all else forgettable.
The second night the food was prepared by Michel Roix, a guest celebrity chef form London and the dinner was wonderful. The next night I opted for the deck BBQ that was very well done.
Breakfast in the casual area was a complete miss with ever order not received correctly, I would order well done, it would come runny, I would order poached, it would come fried. Some of this was due to language barriers, but I felt like some of the crew did not really care enough if they got it right.
I eventually, on one morning, had to get up go to the headwaiter and give him back my plate and I left and had something to eat in port. I had given it all two chances both were incorrect. In port in Italy I had the best meal! In all, it was destiny. Thank you Silver Sea for driving me off your ship so that I could have a wonderful meal overlooking the harbor in Portofino.
I had a wonderful cabin attendant, really the best. Bartenders were friendly and made a great drink, though waiters were a bit standoff-ish (luck of the draw). The cruise staff varied form wonderful to arrogant. The cruise director and social hostess were lovely and very nice, the concierge very arrogant and condescending (the front desk took photo copies of my cab receipt for re-imbursement for the transfer, the concierge called me in my cabin to tell me that they could not accept copies only originals and that I needed to get him originals in order to get reimbursed - like I was printing receipts in my cabin. Also never, never received an apology from Silversea on or off the ship)
This is my year to try all the top cruise lines. by years end I will have sailed on Silversea, Seabourn, Radisson and Residensea. I will decide after sailing all of them, which gets my repeat business.
Maybe I arrived in Nice with too high of expectations, but noting more than Silverseas brochure states. I was appalled by inept shore side service and a corporate office that does not return calls, changes itineraries at a whim and charters ships so close to sail date (my April 04 Whisper sailing was cancelled for a charter as well).
· The other passengers: Just lovely! · The physical ship: Cabins were great! · The ports
· Horrendous shore side service · Inconsistent food · Inconsistent service
Go with lowered expectations, enjoy your Silversea cruise and I hope my next sailing with them is better than my first.
Just returned from our 2nd SS cruise - last was 4 years ago on the Silver Wind & was fabulous. I was a little nervous about trying to do it all over again, but had an absolutely incredible cruise and the Silver Whisper is even more gorgeous - and at 30% of, we were very happy!
Boarded in Barcelona (see my 'Barcelona Notes on Google Groups rec.travel.europe if you are going there). Shown immediately to our balcony suite - WOW!! We booked a reg. balcony suite - the mid-ship ones are more expensive, but we were only 2 doors away from the higher priced ones & I don't see any reason to pay more. Suite #641 - veranda had tons of privacy as bottom-to-top metal wall to the right between us & other cabin and no one in cabin on other side. Beautiful bathrooms - all marble, double sinks, separate shower & regular sized tub. Soft plush huge towels. And those fabulous Bulgari eau tea vert toiletries - it's been my fav spring/summer scent since the last cruise!
Large mirror with shelf in hall between bath & closet. Walk-in closets even larger- full wall & double rack for hanging clothes - my only complaint is that since there is a larger drawer built into the floor, there is no full length hanging space for formal gowns - almost, but about 4 inches too short. Shoe rack & 6 or 7 drawer cabinet with safe on top. Fluffy robes & full length mirror on door.
Cabin itself seemed pretty similiar to the Silver Wind - so well designed - comfy big bed, bedstands with drawers on either side, built in well-lit vanity & stool. Sitting area with loveseat, 2 chairs & table. Built-in fridge, desk & more shelves/drawers. TV on top on swivel platform & bar set-up in opposite shelf. Tons of storage space.
Veranda with sliding door, 2 chairs & footrests, table.
Our cabin girls came in & introduced themselves - Ulrike & Julia - just darling & so sweet. They were a big part of what made the cruise so special - so friendly & out-going. Asked us about any special requests & what we wanted bar stocked with - asked for vodka (they asked if Absolut ok - absolutely!), Pouilly Fuisse wine, cokes & tonic water. No problems! Also, wonderful fruit plate always filled in room.
Ship didn't sail til 11pm, so we got off & had another great dinner in Barcelona. 1st day sea day - had Balinese Bliss massages in lovely spa - got away with only buying some de-tox bath stuff! Very nice rooms & don't feel crowded at all. Were given our own email adresses, so spent some time in library on one of 8 computers contacting home. Formal night & sat with ship's doctor - very interesting - caviar & excellent poached lobster for dinner.
Casino is nice, but only other complaint is how unfriendly dealers were. They really don't need to be so stiff & cold. An English mother & daughter were cleaning up on the slots - all the time, but didn't see a whole lot of luck at any of the tables. Darling little 'Grappa Bar' off the casino turned out to be our hang-out.
Other guests were very friendly & fun - age group much younger than last SS cruise - probably partially due to fares coming down.
Docked in Malaga & took the tour to Granada & the Alhambra - excellent guides & a nice, but too long lunch afterwards (typical for Spain). Gibralter the next day, where I'd never been. We hired a local tour guide to take us over the Rock & to see the monkeys, absolutely amazing huge caves with stalagtites & -mites - so beautiful & the defense tunnels & caves - cute little town & wish we'd had a little more time there to shop as we heard the prices were great - unlike the rest of Europe!
Lisbon next - I hung out in the old town while hubby golfed with pro at what he said was a great course - $350, tho, which seemed rather steep. Some other guests did it on their own for much less. Next time! Oporto was a wonderful old town built on very steep cliffs & we enjoyed lunch at a charming cafe by the river, then did a port winery tour.
Next day, La Coruna, where we took the tour to Santiago de Compostela - would go back there in a heartbeat. Darling old town with teency cobblestone streets & great - looking seafood restaurants. Another excellent tour - SS even made a donation to the Cathedral so that the priests would perform aspecial ceremony - lighting a 6 ft tall silver oil lamp, pulling it up to the ceiling & then pushing it so it swung from ceiling to ceiling over our heads, controlled by 8 priests holding the rope - truly spectacular!
Sea day, then St. Malo. We decided to do Mont St. Michel on our own as hate the early departure times of tours. Had a terrible time finding a taxi - even the local port agent couldn't get one for us. Evidentally all 6 were already in Mont St. Michel. After 2 1/2 hours & total frustration - I've always wanted to go there & agent finally told us it wasn't going to happen, found a taxi & fought over it with a French woman & I finally just got in & the driver was more than happy to take us there & wait 2 hoursfor us. Boy, was it worth it - so glad we perservered!
Honfleur next, where we disembarked 3 days early to go to Paris. 9 nights was just perfect. SS staff did all kinds of amazing things for us - I consulted with the head chef re: a special birthday dinner served in the suite for us. Caviar, giant shrimp cocktail, Greek salad, broiled lobster tails & my husband's favorite, vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce & Spanish peanuts. Champagne & a special Mersault ($48 additional) with dinner. They had already dropped off a beautiful chocolate ganache flourless cake for him earlier. Frangelico after-dinner drinks.
The galley tour was fabulous - at least 10 different stations - caviar, proscuitto, sushi, 30 kings of cheese, unbelievable desserts - kept going back for more. Only time we truly pigged out.
Our last night, one of our new friends, a couple from England arranged a special dinner with the Maitre D' for 6 of us - nothing on the regular menu, sauteed foie gras (my new addiction), roasted gambas shrimp, a delicious layered lamb dish, special wines, salads, can't remember dessert, but all wonderful. No problems at all arranging that morning evidentally.
We usually give shows a miss, but had 2 stand-out acts - "Space Violins" - 2 young gorgeous Polish sisters who play everything from bluegrass to rock on their plexiglass electric violins. They did their first show at the deck BBQ dinner & danced & played around the promenade on the deck above the pool, then had a too-brief part of another show. The other show we loved I can't remember the Italian name, but was a cross between Cirque de Soleil, amazing ballet & acrobatics - best show & most elegant I've ever seen on a ship. Definitely worthy of Vegas!
Gym was big enough & excellent equipment. Took several classes - a power pump, stretch & Pilates (only one with a charge - $10 additional, so is Yoga) to try & burn some calories.
If they didn't have the wine we wanted at a bar, they would go & get it - was never too much to ask for anything. Only somewhat weak spot it that this was supposed to be a wine education cruise - a class on champagne & several expensive private tours that we didn't do. Had a wine & cheese night on deck, but not the education/tastings I had been hoping for.
Although no tipping policy, gave the bartender we had spent a lot of time with & cabin girls nice tips - they were rather reluctant, but of course kept in the end!
All in all, the best cruise ever - we are already looking at next year's sailings to go again as soon as possible - due to children & work, need to put some time in between sailings, but would get on again tomorrow if I had the chance. It's so nice not to worry about charges, tipping, drinks costs, who buys, etc. So romantic, elegant without being stuffy & fun - was really hard to go to our hotel in Paris & have to pay for things - $20 for 2 teas & $9 for a 7 oz bottle of tonic (we'd brought the reminder of our 1.5 liter bottle provided by SS with us) - yikes! The Silver Whisper is an absolutely beautiful ship & you will be so pampered, reality is very hard to deal with!
I now have a problem. After experiencing Silversea's Silver Whisper for seven nights how can I go better? I have now reached the pinnacle of luxury cruising!
Joining the ship in Istanbul the concierge greeted us alongside the Cruise Director, both dressed immaculately in full tails. Check-in was over quickly and we found ourselves embarking the Silver Whisper to assemble of stewards who immediately took our hand luggage from us and replaced them with a glass of chilled Moet et Chandon champagne. Although this was the first of many a glass of complimentary Moet throughout the cruise, the first glass was special.
The first thing that I noticed is the elegance of the ship. The environment does not jump out and ‘wow' you with some flashy atrium or huge showlounge. The ship is simply a class in its own. My veranda suite measured in at a very comfortable 345sq/ft. Once again a welcoming bottle of Moet on ice invited me in to the sitting area of the suite. Large walk-in closet with enough space for an army of tuxedos. Marble washroom, complete with separate shower and bath, toiletries by Bvlgari. Private veranda, TV/VCR, roomsafe, robe and slippers, fresh fruit all awaiting my arrival. My Croatian suite steward welcomed me immediately and informed me of all the onboard facilities and services.
One thing missing however was the hoards of bulletins and flyers to promote and convince you to run straight to the boutiques, casino or beauty salon and spend, spend, spend..something I welcomed with great relief. In fact, during the whole cruise I never heard any "sales pitching" from any onboard concessions, no photographers and thankfully no Art Auctioneer!! One this ship I was forced to relax, and I didn't complain. The daytime activities also reflect the atmosphere. Gone are the belly-flop competitions, limbo poles, bingo and horseracing. In place are daily quizzes, shuffleboard, lectures and even Italian lessons. Despite the size of the ship we were treated to two full production shows with singers and dancers that would rival the Royal Caribbean and Princess ships of similar size. We enjoyed two cabaret shows, one magician, a piano entertainer and even a fantastic puppet show from the Cruise Director. The showlounge has more seats than passengers on the ship, therefore you are always guaranteed a view for the show. In the evening of Rhodes we were treated to a top deck barbeque and local Greek dancers. In The Bar we had live music from the Silver Quintet, the Panorama Lounge had late night entertainment with Colin Salter, an Australian entertainer no-one should miss. Nothing was forced on you, and with complimentary drinks flowing I had more fun in the evenings on this ship than many of the larger ships.
The highlight of the cruise however had to be the food. I have never eaten finer food in my life. "Salade de Salmon au ble noir", "Stuffed Chicken Breast with Fois Gras and Chilled Celery-Pistachio Sauce", "Curried Clam Soup with Apples" and "Crispy Duck with Candied Turnips and Spiced Plums" to name a few dishes. Silversea are recognised within the "Relais and Chateaux" awards and have collaborated with them to produce some fantastic dishes. The head sommelier always recommends a red or white wine to compliment the cuisine, but there is an extensive wine list of 75 wines (45 of these are complimentary). The service was equal to the food. A simple raise of the eyebrow is all you need for a waiter to appear next to you! The dining at Silversea is open. No reservations are needed, and not once did I have to wait for a table. Alternatively you could dine in the Terrace Café which provided a different themed menu each evening. I chose the Oriental evening and experienced some of the best sushi I have tasted. Its limited to 50 passengers and starts prompt at 7.45pm and is worth one evenings worth of enjoyment.
As you roam the ship in the evening other lounges invite you in. The small casino has just the three tables and a dozen slots, enough for the few budding gamblers testing lady luck. "Grappa" bar next to the casino offers a quiet retreat with a wonderful collection of Erte paintings overlooking the bar. "The Champagne Bar" boasts an impressive collection of wines and champagne, sponsored again by Moet. The cigar lounge created by "Davidoff" maybe wasn't my scene, but I had to be impressed by the contents of cigars and the best Louis XIII brandies offered. Even the late night shopper was kept busy in the Bvlgari shop drooling over the wonderful jewellery in the display counters.
I haven't spoken about the ports as this is a review of the ship itself, but ports are a bonus on a Silversea cruise. The ship is the destination itself. You cruise on Silversea to relax and to be utterly spoilt. The beauty of the ship is its elegance, attention to detail, service, food and importantly no constant pestering from the concessions. There is simply no better cruise line if you want to be treated like someone special for a few days and pretend you're royalty. Go on, spoil yourself!!!!!