Cruise Ratings
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
The last few holidays, we have traveled Cunard and loved it. Wanting to embark from the U.S., we decided to give Silversea a try. The marketing suggested upscale and the price certainly reflected upscale. From the outside things looked ... Read More
The last few holidays, we have traveled Cunard and loved it. Wanting to embark from the U.S., we decided to give Silversea a try. The marketing suggested upscale and the price certainly reflected upscale. From the outside things looked pretty great. Once we stepped into the cabin, we got a surprise. Start with stains on the floor, drapes, and outer bed blanket. Friends offered to cut the frazzles off the frayed and very outdated sofas. The glass coffee table was seriously scratched. The dressing table was less than one foot from the end of the bed. My husband had to climb over the bed while I dried my hair. The verandah floor was shop worn and had two plastic sitting chairs with no cushions, and table. I suppose you could have put your foot up on the table for relaxing. Our room, 626 was noisy. It had a loud vibration. We thought the food was delicious and beautifully presented. We also found it difficult to get reservations at the other restaurants. Service started out great. After New Years, the staff size decreased. And they seemed less interested in pleasing. A good training motto for staff might be, "A 1000 dollars a day for our clients means you give them 1000 dollar service for each day!" While the cruise was all inclusive, I don't drink alcohol but like virgin mojitos. After New Years, I was told the limes and mint were gone. Sorry! Food also went down hill after New Years. My biggest surprise, was the spa. The prices were right in line with Four Season, Regent Cruise, etc. The robe I was given had a big rip. And the waiting area included a few dark brown sofas and tables. Something you would find in a medical clinic waiting area. The refridg had nothing in it. The staff were chatting it up. It was not a place to relax. And….if you wanted to use the warm stone chair, whirlpool or sauna, you were asked to pay another 29 dollars. Not one thing about this spa said, "awww." We bought our tickets in March and paid 11k per person. We met other guests who paid as little as 6k. The cruise gave us 1000 to spend "in-house." Right after New Years, the internet connection (we used 250 to buy minutes) went out. It stayed out for the rest of the cruise. Some of the passengers were offered a 50 (nonrefundable credit.) Had they offered the credit sooner, I may have used it in the gift shop. I let the hotel director know right away about our room, and within the hour, he came to the cabin. Very attentive. We booked our own excursions as the excursion planned by the line were not appealing. There were some nice thing about this cruise, however the bad outweighed. We won't use it again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
This was my first time on this ship AND i will be back BUT. PRO'S I expected much more for the money we have payed and what others were talking about. The ship is beautiful spotless and alot of quiet time spaces. very nice ... Read More
This was my first time on this ship AND i will be back BUT. PRO'S I expected much more for the money we have payed and what others were talking about. The ship is beautiful spotless and alot of quiet time spaces. very nice food choices. The restaurant was our favorite. My husband liked the Italian. . Lovely lovely surroundings. CONS. I have been on the Cunard the THE GRILLS , people who have this special service recommended it. I would ssay the SIOLVER SPIRT is like a big GRILLS> BUt, i must say the butlers were not attentive meaning ours. I heard others complain. I had to ask several times for tea. I had requested and this was not meeet on a daily basis. THe restaurant s the Rock is great,but the table was not cleaned after all of the grease from the live cooking. ( this was so sad). The food was delicious but who wants to be covered in grease on the table. The restaurant again was our favorite., BUT the waiters would forget and leave you unattentive. We change several times to another table, where we recieved great seervice. I must say there uniforms were sometimees dirty. There were spots on their ties. I guess there is no inspection. I just expected premier service in the look and there attire, shamefull i would say. The music duo in the rocks or lunch by the pool was ok, we must of heard the same 10 songs over and over. God was this annoying. Sometimes it is sooh hard to sit on a cruise and hear the same songs for 17 days. The tours, was lucky because the tour people at the desk did not not now alot of information about the tours. They were very poor. I think SS should go on some of thises tours first before they send us. I am talking about the Mexico tous mainly they were AWFULL at best. The otheres were great. The mexico tours were selling us real estate and telling us to come back and buy, really. I thought that the guests should have dress a little better than sloppy attire and try to evade dressing up on formal nights. I hope IF i choose this ship things will be better. There was alot of repeated custmers that said that SS is not the same, tooo bad. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Wow. This was a tremendous cruise on a spectacular ship that gives THE BEST in quality and service. It's a small ship, 540 guests and 375 crew. The ships décor is " understated Elegance "- tasteful not tinsel. Very ... Read More
Wow. This was a tremendous cruise on a spectacular ship that gives THE BEST in quality and service. It's a small ship, 540 guests and 375 crew. The ships décor is " understated Elegance "- tasteful not tinsel. Very spacious suites at over 300 sf with a 65 sf verandah. Lovely sitting area with built in flat screen Tv. Fully stocked Bar fridge plus your personal Bar as well. King sized bed with choice of both pillows and mattress. Another built in flat screen TV. Full walk in closet with 6 drawer dresser and lots of hanging space. The spacious bathroom has a walk in rain shower. There is also a separate 6' tub and a generous vanity with the best of toiletries. There are 6 wonderful dining venues offering a wide selection of excellent cuisine and open seat dining. There is entertainment every night in the Show Lounge . In addition, the Silversea Trio plays in the lounge during cocktail hour and the beautiful Ester and Chantelle sing each night at Stars. They have a wonderful Library , where every morning the print off the various newspapers from around the world . Being from Toronto it was great to catch up reading the Globe and Mail. Another fabulous feature is the self serve laundry on every floor which features free washer, dryer, soap, ironing board etc. Brilliant! Staff is incredible! Special thanks to Atanu Chowdhury, our Butler and John Mark , our Suite Attendant ,who looked after us so well. Also Rob, Mark and Kenneth at the Lobby Bar and Miguel and John, our poolside waiters. There are just too many people to thank for making this such a wonderful journey. What an amazingly positive and enthusiastic crew. Here's the most amazing thing. we met many people during our 12 nights and we could not believe how many were on there 3rd or 4th Silversea cruise. I think that sums it up. We're hooked and can't wait for our next Silversea experience.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
My wife and I have cruised 20+ times on various lines - twice before on Silver Spirit. Our TA organised BA flights to LAX and 1 night at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City. We had transfers arranged and arrived at LA cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 20+ times on various lines - twice before on Silver Spirit. Our TA organised BA flights to LAX and 1 night at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City. We had transfers arranged and arrived at LA cruise terminal about 12.30 and were checked in and on board by 12.35! After lunch in La Terrazza we were advised that the cabins were ready about 2.30 and luggage arrived soon after. All very painless. We were in a V6 cabin on deck 8 and apart from being too narrow between the bed and the vanity table,it was fine. While we do not really make much use of the butler service, Mark was anxious to please and did everything we wanted. Nearly all the staff remembered our names from day2 and were all very pleasant and helpful. We did ship excursions at Rangiroa, Tahiti and Bora Bora - nothing particularly great and, as usual, somewhat overpriced.The guest lecturers were rather a mixed bag but mostly interesting. Overall, we enjoyed the food on board. We were rarely in the Main Dining Room - not because of the food but because it was almost always nearly empty and there was little "buzz". La Terrazza and The Grill (Hot Rocks) were much more popular. We had one meal in Le Champagne which was fine but we did not particularly feel like rushing back there. We did not eat in Seishin - it appeared to be empty most of the time. It is probably worth mentioning that the ship was only slightly more than half full and this accounts for the empty spaces. Rather to our surprise, the entertainment was much better than expected - the singers performed most nights and put on some excellent shows. Overall, we had a most enjoyable cruise to places we had not seen before. It was a disappointment not being able to land in Raratonga but as there were lots of tender islands, perhaps we were lucky it was only one! The flight home from Auckland (via Sydney) with Qantas was long but comfortable - New Zealand is about as far away as it is possible to get from Scotland - 24 hours flying time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
We set off from home at 04.50 on 1st March from Manchester airport on the 07.20 shuttle to Heathrow. From here we caught the 10.25 BA flight to Los Angeles, touching down at 13.15, local time, 8 hours behind the UK. LAX appears unique ... Read More
We set off from home at 04.50 on 1st March from Manchester airport on the 07.20 shuttle to Heathrow. From here we caught the 10.25 BA flight to Los Angeles, touching down at 13.15, local time, 8 hours behind the UK. LAX appears unique to us in being the only airport where planes are required to be towed onto the stand - jobs for the boys!!? Parked within 50 yards of the stand, the first tow truck that was attached broke down, so we had to wait about ten minutes for a replacement! The Captain (a lady) advised us that this was perhaps no bad thing; because the airport terminal congestion had eased by the time we were able to disembark the plane. The Immigration hall was still packed with people and we made our way to one of the interminable queues with around at least 100 passengers in front of us, each queue being situated in front of four immigration desks. By the time we could see these booths, we found that only two were manned and soon afterwards, one of the two staff, just got up and left! A notice displayed on the booth read "The face of our country", to which we wryly observed that it was more accurate to say the invisible face! Eventually we were reassigned to a different queue, and finally passed through immigration to collect our baggage, which had been removed from the carousel and put on the floor in a haphazard manner, necessitating walking round the whole perimeter of the carousel to locate each item! We then queued again to pass through customs which involved handing over our declaration form stating we were not in possession of more than $100,000, did not have any food, had not visited a farm in the past 7 days and had not handled any animals! By now over two hours had elapsed since the plane touched down!! Outside the terminal we found the airport hotel shuttle pick up point and waited about ten minutes for the Marriott bus to arrive. Check in at the hotel was swift and we were given a 7th (top) floor room with a king sized bed. The room was very spacious and had all the facilities we needed. We had chosen this hotel specifically because we knew from Google Earth street view that it was easy to walk to and from the airport. This gave us the flexibility of either catching the hotel shuttle or walking, and we timed one walk at 13 minutes from leaving our room to arriving at terminal 1. On the 2nd March we were back at the airport for a 7.20 am flight to San Francisco's Oakland airport. Here we had already booked an open topped bus tour of the city, which lasted two hours. The weather was fine, dry and reasonably sunny, although only around 15C. We then wandered round the central part of the city and took a short cable car ride; the cable cars are one of the main features for which SF is renowned. During our city tour we saw the famous Golden Gate Bridge, whose colour is more akin to the Forth rail bridge in Scotland, red rather than golden. We returned to the airport for our flight at 19.05 arriving back at LAX at 20.25, walking back to the hotel. On the 3rd we were back once again at LAX for the Flyaway coach link ($7) to Union Station to catch Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner to San Diego, a journey of two hours 50 minutes. We were advised to do this, rather than flying, because the railway hugs the coast for part of the route, and therefore is scenically attractive. San Diego was a little disappointing and we certainly saw quite a bit of it, by taking two different trolleys (trams) criss-crossing the town. We also walked round the famous Gaslamp quarter, which proved to be underwhelming when set against its high rating. Restaurant food was expensive so we waited for our return train journey for food. The train station, known as Santa Fe Depot and dating from 1915, was a short walk from the waterfront, but there were no cruise ships in that day. We were surprised that on the return journey the train was packed and standing, with so many day-trippers returning to Los Angeles from the various beach resorts along the way. On the 4th, with a bit of a lie-in for the first time since arriving in LA, and seeing the hotel room in daylight, we checked out at 11.am. Our review of the Courtyard by Marriot LAX has already been published on Trip Advisor. Although there were metered taxis in the street outside quoting USD60 but subject to whatever the meter actually recorded, we had arranged transport with the concierge for $65, and arrived at the cruise terminal around 11.45am. Embarking commenced as usual at 12 noon and we had some lunch and made some future dinner reservations. Lifeboat drill is now enforced and you are dragged out of your cabin if you are not at your muster station, so "dearly beloved" has now had to change the habit of a lifetime and attend!! We had not finished unpacking before it was time to go to the Panorama Lounge for our prearranged gathering of Cruise Critics. The next day was at sea and, and as we predicted the weather was cold and cloudy. Matters improved on the 2nd sea day, although the temperatures were far from tropical. However I suppose we were being slightly over optimistic to expect anything else at the beginning of March!! The ship was virtually full with 500 passengers (single occupancy means that it is rare to hit 540 capacity). Silver Spirit is of course the largest of Silversea`s ships and we have always felt it was less intimate and the passengers less friendly, and this time proved no exception. On several occasions when passing passengers in the corridors one felt one was invisible, when they neither smiled nor acknowledged you, and whether or not they spoke English, a smile is universal and costs nothing! However with regards to the officers and crew, nothing is too much trouble and they have worked extremely hard to provide an excellent level of service. We sailed with Captain Arma last November on the Wind, and he invited us to dinner on the first informal evening. We found out later that he is responsible for choosing his own table, and prefers to dine with people he knows. Cabo San Lucas - this was a tender port, but only about 5 minutes to the pierside. We did not have a trip until the afternoon, so just walked along the promenade lined with shops and restaurants. Most of the shops were selling souvenirs and the cafes had loud music blaring out, reminiscent of a Mexican Benidorm! Walking to the end of one side, we came to a weighing machine, which stated that the marlin hanging from it weighed 120 lb! Round the corner the fishermen were selling the catch of the day, mainly mackerel, which were huge and resembled large salmon. They were also gutting the marlin, and the pelicans were trying their hardest to pinch the roe, without much success as it was too heavy for them to break off. As we came into the pier, there were several large seals, one in particular was hanging onto the stern of a returning fishing boat, and was desperately trying to get in, with both flippers and half his body on the back of the boat!! There were several round the fishermen gutting the marlin and were vying with the pelicans for any morsel they could get. Other passengers ventured further afield on foot and said the town became less tacky and more refined so our view of Cabo as sleazy was based on a limited exposure. Our whale watching trip started by getting on a catamaran in the harbour with about 75 other Silversea passengers, so the boat was not full. We headed out into the Pacific, and not into the Sea of Cortez, which we had expected, but to travel the full length of the Sea of Cortez would have taken several days. The boat could, though, have headed towards the mouth of the Sea of Cortez, where the land-based passengers saw more whales than we did! We were well looked after during our trip and had no complaints about onboard facilities serving us margaritas and/or soft drinks. We saw a few whales, but those who did a cookery course at a local hotel saw more including calves. The tip therefore is to research a waterfront hotel and go there if you want to whale watch!! Acapulco. We were due in here at 12 noon, but in calm water, the pilot fell off his boat between that and ours, and had to be fished out and hospitalised with two broken ribs! This caused a delay of 90 minutes until a fresh pilot could be found. This worked to our advantage because we did not sail until 22.00 instead of the planned 17.30, for which we were most grateful. They are currently rebuilding a new cruise terminal, so the approach to the old town was fraught with diggers, cranes, and holes in the road. However we managed to reach the old town and walked round the market district, taking in the shops and street vendors, before finding an Internet cafe for US$1 for one hour! We took a cab to a cafe right round the bay on top of a promontory with a very good view of the whole bay and our ship. We had been recommended to visit Senor Frog's bar but at 5.45pm it was dead. This seemed to sum up Acapulco, where several other bars to which we had been recommended had closed down due to lack of business. The local taxis are mainly old style VW beetles, in varying states of decrepitude. Ours was no exception. The driver said it dated from 1992, but its rust and lack of power on the hills suggested maybe 1972! We finished the day in Acapulco by going to Quebrada to see the divers who have one performance around 1 pm, and three shows later at night in the dark. They charge 40 pesos (USD4) to watch the performance, paid in advance to a guy selling tickets. People dispersed when the ticket seller came round. Our vantage point was a public viewing area built on one side of the small bay where the divers jump from a different side. There was piped music and a Spanish commentary. The youngest diver was 7 years old, about which his proud grandmother, who was standing next to us, informed us. They dive from three different stages from the cliff, and reach these by climbing up the cliff face from the sea. Although being told the performance would be at 7pm, then 7.20pm, the show actually started at 7.40pm. This performance is quite impressive, not least because of the height of the cliffs from which they jump, but also due to the narrow gap between the cliffs into the sea. Overall, Acapulco disappointed. The fact that this had once been the resort of the great and the good was remarkable, until one remembers we are talking about the 1950's and 1960's, and time moves on. This was no glitzy resort but bore the hallmarks of a tourist destination from which the tourists (foreign, at least) had gone. This is perhaps a shame because at no time did we feel threatened or intimidated. What was surprising was how few locals had any command of the English language. Huatulco. After a day at sea, we reached here, a pretty resort with nine bays, popular by virtue of its close proximity to Mexico City. We got a taxi (USD5) from the jetty to La Entrega Beach where one can leave one's belonging with one of the beach bars for the price of a beer. Being Sunday the beach was packed. We had taken our snorkel gear because this beach has a small offshore reef and is popular with divers and snorkellers for this reason, but we found the water to be very cold and didn't in fact snorkel at all. Puerto Chiapas. This was our final port in Mexico, which is very close to the Guatemalan border. Here we took the shuttle (USD10) per person round trip, for the 50 minutes ride to Tapachula. This is the largest town in the area and the shops gave the impression of a degree of prosperity. There was quite a contrast between the locals here and those in Acapulco, the former being slimmer and apparently more affluent, the latter being invariable well overweight and down at heel. Again, we found an Internet cafe, which charged USD1 for one hour. Back at the attractive port area we perused the few outlets in the terminal, buying some coffee. Close by was a bar/cafe with a large pool and a great R&R spot for the ship's crew. We had a Mexican dish and got a free beer, which was not expensive. Puntarenas. This is the Pacific port in Costa Rica where we had arranged a trip on the Monteverde tourist train through the rain forest in the mountains. The coach needed remedial surgery on route - administered by the driver after receiving a spare part by special delivery, whilst we sat on the coach for about an hour. The drive was very scenic as we climbed to over 3000 feet with a marked drop in temperature, having left the port at 8.15 with temperatures already at 91F!! After lunch we had a ten-minute ride on a miniature railway followed by a 30-minute walk through the rain forest canopy. Whilst we heard some birds, we saw nothing, the usual story - the fauna are at their most prolific early in the morning and late in the evening. We then retraced our steps by train and coach to the ship. The trip was worth it for the drive but not for the train ride or rain forest walk. The lunch venue is part of the railway setup and fully accessible and modern, although the food was nothing to write home about. We had a sea day before a full day transit of the Panama Canal, the highlight for most passengers, but we were fortunate to have done this before. We had an exceptionally interesting and informative lady guide brought on at Miraflores, who gave a running commentary until we finally reached the Caribbean side and she left by launch back to Panama. Cartagena. The following day we arrived in Colombia's popular Caribbean port, also a port we had previously visited. With nothing extra we wished to see, we stayed on board and enjoyed a very hot sunny day by the pool. Santa Marta. The day after, we reached Columbia's main coal exporting port, further east from Cartagena. Fortunately there was only limited activity in the dock area because it was a Sunday. We opted not to do any of the two ship's shore excursions, but availed ourselves of the Silversea's shuttle out of the container port area to the edge of the town. There were plenty of taxis here and a few market stalls. From here we used the locally provided map to walk along the road with a pleasant beach to our right and the town, laid out on a grid plan, to our left. We walked through a well-maintained park towards the heart of the town. The town itself appeared reasonably prosperous and well kept in the main streets which were bustling with people, roadside stalls, and many shops were open in 5th Avenue - actually named 5th Street. Unfortunately they would not accept US dollars, which was a shame as there were some nice clothes in some of them. Prior to visiting the shopping area, we came to a large square, at one corner of which stood the Cathedral in which the main Sunday service was just finishing. It was a very plain but attractive church with a stained glassed little annex, with both side doors and the main entrance open to the elements. The music was also interesting and was not of the hymnal type, but very modern, in a show tunes type style. Local women wore attire above the knee and tops without sleeves, contrary to the advice from our ship regarding conservative dress if visiting the cathedral. After realising that we could not spend any money and having seen most of the main streets, we returned to the ship. After two further sea days with the weather continuing to be generally hot, but sometimes windy, we disembarked the ship in Fort Lauderdale. Silversea arranged facilities for a hospitality room at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, for those flying out that evening from Miami. This worked very well because it gave us another day swimming and sunbathing before our flight at 21.45. The organisation of the Silversea ground staff from getting onto the coaches at the quayside, to being taken to Miami airport was first class and extremely well organised. Silver Spirit Review This is the biggest of, what Silversea calls, the line's traditional fleet and it has the worst passenger/crew ratio. Generally, the ship's condition was very good, though our V6 grade cabin, 917, had bad carpet staining beyond routine cleaning and the settee had stuffing showing and looked worn. There was also staining on carpets in the corridors, particularly on deck 9. We feel that the ship is long overdue refurbishment, as some internal areas are looking decidedly shabby. We also found the bed mattress to be unacceptably hard, despite being given the "soft" side, and various doctoring by our butler and his assistant. The lights over the writing desk flickered due to a loose connection but this was fixed, as was a badly squeaking bathroom door. Our butler and his assistant did everything required of them. All the staff worked hard to provide the highest standard of service. I am sure that if we asked them to lie down so we could walk all over them, they would!! Nothing is too much trouble. We try to be civil and polite and friendly to these people because they work long hours, every day for typically an 8-month contract. The same cannot be said for an increasing number of passengers. One guest relations manager told us that, when he leaves the sea, he plans to get a dog and call it Hey You. This will enable him to say to the dog "Hey You, come here", a familiar cry directed at him by passengers! Such passenger rudeness is total unnecessary and a disgrace. Captain Arma splits his time between this ship and Silver Wind, and we had sailed with him on that ship last November. We found him friendly and approachable. Martin was the Hotel Director, deputising for the ebullient and charming Paulo, who returned from leave at the end of our cruise. Don was the cruise director and he handled the afternoon trivia quiz with diplomacy, even when one team exceeded the limit of 8 by an extra member and 2 'observers', and several other teams "cheated". Despite this, our 'little' team of up to only 6 won several times. We didn't watch very much evening entertainment, partly because poor dining room service precluded this on 3 occasions. Anyone coming to this line for nightlife will be disappointed because the bars and lounges are largely empty by 11pm, reflecting the age profile of many passengers. Entertainment is one of many areas where Silversea has made cutbacks. The troupe of entertainers they do employ are not good all-rounders, and they need to bring back the Jean Ryan company who we saw first on the Silver Spirit, who were infinitely superior. Dining Room We took breakfast, lunch and dinner here on various occasions. There are some menu items at breakfast that come from this galley and it is sensible to dine here to enjoy them at their best. Breakfast food and service was very good. Lunchtime service was excellent, probably because, like breakfast, few opt to dine here. The food was generally also very good, though the Oriental stir-fry dishes (a welcome option) were very bland. Dinner was something of a curate's egg. Sometimes the service was faultless, sometimes there were inexplicable long waits; this is unacceptable on a line like Silversea, who proclaim they are 6th star. Sometimes the food was very good, sometimes it definitely wasn't. We dubbed this the artichoke cruise because this vegetable appeared in some form virtually nightly! Previous voyages have majored on spinach or asparagus. The beef Wellington served on the first formal night was cold and rejected for a hot version, which was provided graciously. When dining on a table larger than for four, it was inadvisable to have fish as the main course because it would be overcooked. We always ordered extra vegetables with our main course but it was difficult to get the galley to cook these beyond blanching. Desserts were invariably very good and the sorbets fantastic. The restaurant manager, Marcelo, was charming and very helpful. In addition to the main dining room, there are 5 other dining venues. La Terrazza. This was extremely popular and advance reservation necessary. There are 3 menus, which rotate every 3 days. The service was as good as staffing and galley allow. Possibly the worst meal we had here was as part of the Captain's invitation table. Those who chose the ravioli found it congealed, stuck to the plate, and impossible to cut with a fork. The main course fish was served overcooked and dried out. If the galley can't get it right for the Captain's guests, what can one expect normally? We had a total of four dinners here and some food was better than others. One night, the venison stew was good but the 'catch of the day' was not. Sometimes the pasta was good, sometimes not. By virtue of being extremely popular, and so full every night, the waiters were constantly rushing and this gave the impression the venue was under-staffed. Marcello still managed service with humour and efficiency, though. We lunched here on 2 occasions and neither were sufficiently memorable to recall now. We like the opportunity offered to take breakfast outside here. This facility proved popular with passengers but restricting the large tables set for only just 2 effectively reduced capacity, and when very busy, necessitated us asking if the occupied table would mind company. Eating outside brings the drawback of a long walk to and from the food service area. The range of food was good, though omelettes were pre-cooked, thereby rendering them rubbery and cold, so we specified lots of '"extras" to ensure we got a freshly cooked one. Stars Supper Club This shares a galley with La Terrazza and serves a multi-course tasting menu from 8.30pm. Entertainment in the form of a jazz singer and pianist accompanies the food and there is a small dance floor. The menu does not change and was well prepared and presented. Mickey, the singer has been the resident singer since the Spirit was launched. Even allowing for her heavy cold at the start, she gave the impression of being bored with her role. During a previous sailing on the Spirit, a different artist was superior. Le Champagne We did not eat here this time, having sampled the revised $30 cover charge and the new menu on the Wind last November. Seishin Unique to the Spirit, this venue offers Japanese cuisine, subject to a cover charge. The original Japanese chef has been replaced permanently by a Filipino (cutback?), and the food was interesting and well presented. The three female waiters coped well. Deck Food We often took lunch here because we spend a lot of time around the pool. The menu has not been changed for years and needs a revamp. On sea days a mini barbecue is put on and this adds variety, though the very basic salad choices were very disappointing and could easily be enlarged. In the evening this galley runs the Hot Rocks venue of dining under the stars. The menu is limited and focuses on steaks, though salmon, prawns and pork chops are also on the menu. The concept is to cook your own main course on a hot stone, which is brought to your table for the purpose and is a concept which was popular in the UK 20-30 years ago in mid-range restaurants but has long since died out. Frankly, this is not fine dining on any measure, does not fit with the original Silversea concept of ultra luxury and shows how Silversea is now catering for a different demographic. It was amusing to watch other passengers stuffing their faces with large slabs of meat, clearly oblivious to the Relais et Chateau marque to which Silversea belongs. Brown Rolls The availability of these became something of a saga! We were told company policy lays down that Silversea only provide these at dinner, where they were always in short supply. For breakfast and lunch, a brown loaf is offered, already sliced by the crew so it is dry and unappetising. Eventually a special bake was prepared for us but 'hidden away' in case other passengers ate them first! Ultimately, brown rolls debuted for everyone at breakfast in La Terrazza on the last morning of the cruise prior to disembarkation! The good news part of this saga is Silversea work hard to never say 'no' to meet reasonable requests from passengers, which we gather is not true on rival Seabourn and (from our own experience) not the case on Oceania. Disembarkation This was handled very well by Silversea, both in terms of baggage handling and the transfer arrangements to the Hyatt Pier 66 hospitality room and late afternoon journey to Miami airport, as previously stated above. The same could not be said for US immigration, which, like our arrival at Los Angeles on the 1st, was an appallingly protracted process. Silversea kept passengers on board in comfortable surroundings, in order to minimise the time spent standing in line in the terminal, though inevitably some passengers had already started to queue alongside the outside deck prior to their luggage coloured tag label being called. Some passengers had taxis waiting for them on the quayside, but didn't manage to disembark till after 11 am. One wonders if their taxis waited! We won't be returning to the USA any time soon because of these delays at immigration which are lamentable for a technologically-advanced country. Passengers Of the roughly 500 on board, there were 183 from the USA, typical for a voyage starting or ending in a US port. Next by number were 88 from the UK and there were roughly 55 German speakers (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). Only 14 were staying on for the following cruise. A significant proportion of the passengers were plain rude; they would pass you in a corridor without even a smile, as if you were invisible. This is another indicator in the changing demographic on board these days. It never ceases to amaze us how many passengers have little appreciation of the ports of call and no clear understanding about the return flight arrangements. They just leave this to their TA in blind faith that the 'travel professional', who is always described as 'brilliant', knows best. From long experience of TAs, this is very risky because, often, their knowledge is inadequate and we frequently come up with better alternatives than the TA, when taking account of the circumstances of the passenger. Our favourite quote from this cruise came during a dialogue over where in the world we have sailed with Silversea. One of the sectors is the Middle East and a passenger enquired whether this was China! Still, it's probably cheaper on a cruise than in a care home!! Sadly, the number of passengers of this sort appears to be increasing and one marvels at Silversea taking care of them, always with a gracious smile; another Silversea plus. There is no doubt that the Spirit is regular Silversea passengers' least favourite ship, and surprisingly a number said they would not sail on her again. We would certainly think hard before choosing the Spirit again, which is a shame because we like Captain Arma, Paulo (hotel director) and many of the crew, all of whom try their best to serve passengers well. The problem is the dining arrangements do not work consistently and to the standard of the other 4 traditional ships. Two further comments, which are seemingly not within the remit of either the officers or the crew. Dress code Quite rightly, Silversea have a strict code to which they ask their passengers to adhere. On a formal night, one couple was seen entering the theatre, the lady in a heavy knitted sweater, accompanied by her husband with a baseball cap on his head! We have heard alarming rumours that Silversea are intending to relax the dress code, removing the requirement for male passengers to wear jackets in La Terrazza. Unfortunately most passengers seem incapable of understanding what "smart casual" means, and quite frankly they are an insult to those passengers who do. There were several occasions when jacketless men appeared in public rooms and were not censured. It would seem Silversea are letting this ride. Smoking policy Once again Silversea are specific on where passengers can and cannot smoke. This also was not adhered to. With the advent of the electronic cigarette, which does contain nicotine, passengers were surreptitiously smoking all over the ship and were not told this was not allowed. There was often a smell of cigarettes from some passengers' balconies, and some passengers blatantly smoked on deck in non-designated areas and were not stopped. If Silversea have both a dress code and a smoking policy, then it needs to be adhered, to regardless of whom the passenger might be. The title for this review refers ostensibly to the above two issues, the state of the cabin and internal decorations, and the inconsistency of the food, but in no way to the standard of the service provided by the crew. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Embarkation The Silver Spirit was docked at the main cruise terminal at Port San Pedro and was the only ship there. Check in and emigration was swift and painless. Reception sign in, photo taking and credit card hand over were all ... Read More
Embarkation The Silver Spirit was docked at the main cruise terminal at Port San Pedro and was the only ship there. Check in and emigration was swift and painless. Reception sign in, photo taking and credit card hand over were all completed with a minimum of fuss, and as it was just after midday, no queues. The ship Generally the ship is in good condition. There are however signs of wear if you look closely. The rattan style chairs at the back of the Panorama have worn arms where the rattan has broken. If one looked closely at the chairs in the restaurants it is possible to see where they have been banged and chipped. This was more obvious in the suite, where both the glass topped table and the desk had very obvious marks in the wood. The carpet in the suite was obviously worn in one or two places. Interestingly the Spirit had a dry dock for a couple of weeks towards the end of 2012, but to be honest I could see no sign that anything had been done to the interior. The 'splashy' sinks are still there, and has been said elsewhere all the odd design failings are still in place. The public areas were kept very clean, but again if you look closely they are all showing slight signs of wear. Guests & Staff For the leg from Los Angeles to Papeete we had around 400 guests on board. In Papeete 23 left and about an additional 80 got on, leaving us with just over 450. As we had a number of solo guests this left very few empty suites. Guests were a good cosmopolitan mix, a large number of Brits (120+), some other Europeans, a few Australians, some Canadians and more than 50% from the US. Most guests were over 60, a handful of others ranging from mid 20's to 40', and there was one Italian family with an 18 month old toddler on board. The only poor behavior observed was from a lack of understanding (or possibly arrogance) by the father of the toddler. He had the child in the pool, although it was not toilet trained and unfortunately the staff were too scared to intervene. Only when the Hotel Director was made aware of the situation did it stop. On more than one occasion the child was brought into the main bar where Trivia was being played and had a screaming fit, again with a total lack of interest from the father. The father was also the only person onboard ship who chose not to conform to the dress code. There were two Gentlemen Hosts on this voyage and they worked quite hard. They were not only available for dancing in the afternoon and evening but seemed to have been roped into a number of day time activities by the CD. There were also two International Hostesses onboard, but they did not seem to much apart from escorting people in and out of the theatre in the evening. Pool Deck It is worth noting that when the weather is warm and the ship was at sea the pool deck becomes very crowded. It is only slightly larger than those on the Shadow or Whisper and put more than 300 people in the sun and it really shows. The sun beds were even extended to the back of the Panorama. MDR Ate here most evenings and generally the food was very good. The Executive Chef Jerome Foussier set a high standard across the board. Did not have any bad meals, but occasionally had something on a cold plate, this was resolved by always asking for a hot plate for my main. Had a couple of Indonesian meals and a really memorable Indian meal one evening. Marcelo the Brazilian MD ran a very tight and well controlled room. Cosmin was the head sommelier, and apart from running out of one red that I liked always made sure that there were plenty of alternatives to the wine of the day. One of the other junior sommeliers did try and sell me something from the Connoisseurs list, but he was easy to ignore. Generally the wines onboard were good, the NZ SB Dashwood was available, although it was running out towards the end of 31 days. There were two French SB's and one Chilean SB. The 'La Flor' Cab Sav was plentiful. For the chardonnay lovers The Crusher was available, and there was a reasonably nice Chablis. La Terrazza Ate breakfast here most days. It was the usual buffet style, plenty of fresh fruit and there were always strawberries available. There was fresh mango and papaya after our calls in French Polynesia and on some days raspberries and blackberries were at the serving section. On the other days there were always some available via your waiter. Service was always very good. Ate lunch here some days, especially if it was nice enough to sit outside. The food was generally good. Only ate twice in the evening, once outside and once inside. For the first time on Silversea I had a subpar duck ragout. The main reason for avoiding La Terrazza for dinner was the ever present Italian toddler whose parents had a dedicated table for all meals, and who occasionally let rip in the evenings. Pool Grill On a number of days the grill was supplemented at lunch by an extended BBQ, with some excellent food provided. The fresh water Madagascan prawns were delicious. Hot Rocks was never closed, even when it was cold and windy outside, and there was always someone there by 6:59 waiting to get fed. When we ate there we had excellent food and service, and we just love the hot rocks. On the leg to Papeete there was a night when it seemed that everyone wished to eat outside and they managed to cope with 115 covers. Again the staff did an excellent job. Le Champagne Had dinner here once and although the menu has not changed now for over a year the food and service was very good. The lobster was good and the souffle outstanding. Seishin Since our last trip on the Spirit Seishin now opens for lunch. There is sashimi, a wide selection of sushi and a hot fish basket. This became my favorite place for a light lunch. We also ate the full menu on a couple of evenings and particularly enjoyed the Wagyu beef. Stars Supper Club. The first time we ate here I though the menu was a little odd, but on subsequent dinners, there had been a change and the menu worked very well. I thought Mikka Brown was a little tired and didn't quite hit the spots this time. Bars The main bar was run in an amazingly efficient fashion by Chester, well supported by his assistant Vishkal. Rommel & Bass ran the Panorama and Zack the Pool bar. We never used the bar in the Casino, which is now really no longer viable without the smokers and I never got to the Observation Lounge when the bar there was open. The main bar was very busy before dinner but most people ended up in the Panorama after the shows. Bulter and assistant Both were excellent, Wilson was from Goa and left the same day we did and his English was very good, and way much better than some. Henny our lovely assistant was on the Shadow with us last year. Enrichement Apart from the cooking demonstrations we did not attend any of the lectures. We watched some of them on the TV on repeat. The lecturers themselves were nice, but it's not really our cup of tea. I thought Corey Sandler does a very good job and is well worth having onboard. We had sailed with Herb Keyser before and to be honest its time they get someone younger. Bridge The bridge lecturer, George King was outstanding, and he was an excellent teacher. At times he had 40+ people attending his sessions and most sea days we had 9 or 10 tables for the afternoon duplicate sessions. His lovely wife Sally was always there to help and fill in. Silversea should certainly use them more often. Trivia Trivia was very well attended, pretty competitive and well run by the CD, Kirk Detweiller. It was held in the main bar with somewhere around 100 guests participating. Entertainment I thought the Artists of Silversea were the weakest of the groups we had seen so far. This might have been due to their coming to the end of their contract or possibly the way they were used by the CD. They were not particularly sociable. One of the things that was missing were early evening single or duo shows in the Panorama, probably down to the fact that less than half of the guests would be able to get in. Once again shows started off at 10:15 and after grumbles from the 'oldies' eventually ended up at 9:45, which made it hard to get there for most of the show. Cooking As this was an L'Ecole des Chefs voyage we had David Bilsland onboard. There were a number morning cooking demonstrations, all of which were excellent. David ran 3 cook and learn lunches in Stars, again they were excellent and the food memorable. David also ran a market visit in Papeete which was a lot of fun. Ports & Tours The highlights of the trip were Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Christmas and Fanning Islands and a side trip from Maui to Lanai. Generally the shipboard tours were well run and provided reasonable value for money. The only port where the weather was bad was the day we arrived in Hilo, and it absolutely threw it down for most of the day. Luckily we took the Volcano Park tour and avoided most of the bad weather. The next day the ship visited Kona on the other side of the Island and it was sunny all day. The ship stayed overnight in Papeete but the overnight in Bora Bora was cancelled (before we embarked). This was a shame for the crew as they have very few chances to get off in the evenings. There was also a late stop in Honolulu to enable a deck BBQ. Both the visits to Kiribati caused problems. The ports are tender only and in Christmas Island the two tenders were restricted to about 50 pax each as the lagoon was fairly shallow, with about ½ a meter clearance below the bottom of the tender at one point. This lead to very long queues and waits of more than 2 hours to get off. A large number of guests gave up and did not bother to get off. The main criticism was that no one from the ship appeared to have considered this being a problem in advance and it was very poorly handled. The next day at Fanning Island was worse, the regular morning rain squall blew up and made visibility poor enough to suspend the tender service. The Captain then decided that as we were running into bad weather later that day to cancel the service completely, and we left 3 hours early and with glorious sunshine bathing the island. Weather It turned out to be colder than expected, and although it was the rainy season in the South Pacific we were pretty lucky about missing most of the rain. We had two rough days after leaving Fanning Island, swells up to 4 meters and 50-60mph winds, and for part of one day the lifts were all stopped. We also had a further couple of rough days after leaving Maui and it was mostly unseasonably cold for the 5 days back to LA. One point that those booking Silver Suites should consider is that when the weather is rough every time the ship hits a swell the bump travels all the way to the top of the front of the ship. Some people complained that they got no real sleep on the rough nights. Wildlife We saw very few birds anywhere away from the Islands, but we did see large numbers of whales around Maui. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
In 2009 I posted a review of the Silver Cloud which caused quite a stir. Essentially I said that it was presumptuous on the part of Silversea to associate themselves with Relais & Chateaux property because their food was poor, and ... Read More
In 2009 I posted a review of the Silver Cloud which caused quite a stir. Essentially I said that it was presumptuous on the part of Silversea to associate themselves with Relais & Chateaux property because their food was poor, and worse, they were cutting corners while trying to maintain a veneer of quality. What I did not reveal in the review, but did in subsequent blogs,is that I am a partner in a Relais & Chateaux property and that I am acutely aware of their accreditation standards. In that review I was also very clear that the service on the Silver Cloud was superb, and that the experience of cruising on Silversea was supported by their service. For this reason, we embarked again on the Silver Spirit to cross the Pacific. The Spirit is a beautiful ship. Nautical architects could argue endlessly over the preferred location of the public areas, but the fact remains that the areas flow very well. Quiet spots are found all day long ( including the pool area) and the dining rooms ( reserved or not) were always comfortably full but never crowded. The midship veranda cabins, however, were another story. They comprise the great majority of the suites on the ship and they are absurdly narrow, almost claustrophobic despite their stated square feet. And the shame is that had they sacrificed a couple of cabins per deck to enlarge each remaining cabin, the Spirit would have set the standard of luxury cruising because the "bones" of the cabin are great. The bathroom is spacious, with an excellent shower. The veranda is finally usable ( ie. meals for two), and the TV system works very well. Associated with the cabins is the butler service. This was introduced shortly after our last cruise, and while I was skeptical at the time, I am now firmly convinced that it is an expensive effort which delivers far less satisfaction than offering better quality wines. Although courteous, our butler had nothing to do other than serve breakfast in tails, and leave some canapes before cocktails! Seriously, why demote the cabin steward in favour of a butler, who at great expense, delivers no appreciable difference in service? The food on the ship covered the gamut, from excellent to indifferent. La Terrazza finally returned to its trattoria roots and served some very good fresh pasta, and more importantly, they changed their menus from time to time. Their breakfast buffet was an efficient way to get people fed, but it was not imaginative nor was it refined. The advantage was that you could eat on the aft deck, which food aside, was worth the effort. The Main Restaurant was consistently good, but to be clear, no meal was at the standard of a Relais & Chateaux property in France, Italy, or for that matter, in the US. The Champagne, on the other hand, was excellent and well worth the $ 30 supplement. The same could be said of Seishin. The chef spent 14 years in Japan, and the attention to detail was evident. The dishes were refined , beautifully presented and very good indeed. Now for the rest. Running a cruise ship line is a business like any other. Tradeoffs are inevitable, but great care must be taken to not devalue the brand you have built. In Silversea's case they must balance their " all inclusive" mantra with superb service, and I strongly believe that they have the skewed it in the wrong direction. The service has gone " over the top" ( ie butlers) and the mainstay of food and wine have suffered. The fish is still frozen ( why offer a frozen branzino?) and the wines are deplorable. For example, the featured red wine at the Terrazza is Col di Sasso by Banfi, a $6.00 wine at US distributors. Why, particularly when you are paying approximately $ 900/day for a full pension? In my opinion, this equation needs to addressed quickly before the brand is damaged. My comments may suggest that we had a bad time. On the contrary, we had a great cruise, and will probably choose Silversea again, but I am concerned that the company believes that instead of leading the industry in quality and service, they are merely measuring what they have versus the competition and matching it. This is not a formula for success. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Once we got off the plane and were greeted by the ground staff at LAX, we knew we were on Silversea! The representative stayed with us until we collected our luggage and then put us in a taxi to take us to the pier, but not before ... Read More
Once we got off the plane and were greeted by the ground staff at LAX, we knew we were on Silversea! The representative stayed with us until we collected our luggage and then put us in a taxi to take us to the pier, but not before reminding us that the fare and the tip were all taken care of. We walked up the gangway and were enthusiastically welcomed with hot towels and champagne. One step over to reception to turn in passports and have our ID photo taken and then we were escorted to our suite. The new Spirit is beautiful. It is modern yet the colors and furnishings are muted and elegant. This is a completely different experience from the other Silversea ships and is a wonderful alternative. We were in a verandah suite and were prepared that it would be "different" from other Silversea ships. Yes, the verandah suite is narrower, the hallway is only wide enough for one person at a time and the staff is challenged to get their large serving trays through, but it is not a negative. The suite itself is roomy and the furnishings are perfectly proportioned to the room. One can't help but get a kick out of the televisions that magically appear from behind the mirrors in the sitting area as well as the sleeping area. There is tons of storage with lots of nooks and crannies. The walk-in closet seems smaller than on other Silversea vessels, but it is certainly adequate. Also in the closet is a "chest of drawers", that is wide and deep as well as a safe. The bathroom is lovely. The marble and wood floors are elegant as is the wood cabinetry. While some miss the double sinks, we love the large vessel sink (we're not in the bathroom at the same time anyway!) There is a full sized tub as well as a large shower with both a conventional hand held shower as well as a rain shower from the ceiling that is absolute heaven. The teak verandah is larger than on other Silversea ships and has two very comfortable chairs that convert to full loungers, two foot stools, and a nice sized table. The bath sheets were fluffy and the bed linens were silky. Our outstanding cabin stewardess, Gemma (the best we have had on any Silversea ship), changed the sheets every day because she didn't like that they wrinkled! We personally preferred the new Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries to the Bulgari and the former Aqua Di Parma. There have been numerous blogs and posts about the "growing pains" endured by past passengers as the Spirit gets its act together. Like anything new, sometimes you don't know what doesn't work until you use it. Unlike those who have sailed before us, we found the Spirit to be absolutely up to par with all the other ships in the fleet. The service has been outstanding, the crew amazing and positive, and the new venues different and fun. The Spirit is different from others in the fleet and how fortunate that we have another choice. We did have a service issue with our butler, but it got resolved on the second day of the cruise. Our butler was new to the ship; he embarked with us in LA. He was a disaster after our first breakfast and we knew this was not going to work. We decided to deal with it immediately, rather than give him a chance to get oriented - after all it was our vacation and we are not here to train him. After 3 incidents of poor service (although he was polite and apologetic) we called reception and left a message with Oliver who oversees all butlers. We were impressed that not more than 5 minutes after our call, Oliver was at our suite and asked if he could come in and speak with us. He wanted to hear every detail and never made an excuse. He told us our experience was unacceptable and informed us that he was going to assign a seasoned butler to take care of us for the remainder of our journey. He also told us that he would have our former butler more closely shadowed to insure he gets up to speed quickly. We were really impressed with Oliver. And our new butler, Emilia, was FANTASTIC! I must also say that every time we saw our "former" butler he still greeted us with a smile and a warm greeting every time he saw us in the corridor. Every crew member has been friendly, calling us by name and giving perfect Silversea service. It seems that they are, indeed, stretched too thin, but they are working very hard to accommodate all passengers. We have enjoyed the food and would rate it from mostly very good, some excellent, and a few misses. We tried every dining venue. The main dining room is not well designed and lacks the elegance other Silversea ships. The ceiling is also very low which gives it a more casual feel. It is difficult for the wait staff to maneuver around the dining room in very narrow paths, and gone is the carving trolley—no room. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to get the cheese trolley around after dinner so waiters often try to ask you to order cheese rather than select it. We have breakfast in our suite almost every morning and it has been very nice, but I think that has more to do with our butler than the dining room. We are not big on buffets and were only in La Terraza a couple of times for breakfast and only once for lunch. However, those experiences were very good ones. The pool grill was great for casual poolside lunches. We found La Champagne to be an extreme disappointment both in the menu and the quality of the food. However Marcello is an amazing maitre d' and his wine selections are stellar—and reasonable! La Terraza at night was outstanding on all three occasions when we dined there. The food, service, and ambience were great. We really tried to like Hot Rocks Grill! It is just awkward to have a hot, sizzling stone in front of you while eating. We liked being able to cook our entrees (we both had filet mignon and tiger prawns) and keep them warm, but our faces were steaming from the heat off the stone and we were always afraid we were going to burn ourselves! But it sure is a great concept—I just wish it worked better. Stars was great. There was plenty of food and it was creative, fun, and original. The entertainment in Stars was outstanding. Seishin was another disappointment. The sushi and sashimi were good, the rest of the dishes were poor. The lobster was in a consumE and lacked flavor and the Kobe (Wagyu) beef was a huge disappointment. This was our third time through the canal but our first time taking any of the ships excursions. We were extremely pleased with the excursion staff. They were ever-present and helpful. The pool deck was always full (the weather was great) but never felt crowded. There appeared to be room for everyone. We never had a problem getting a table at the pool for lunch either. The service at the pool was excellent and there was always someone around to check on you. All of the public rooms were very nicely furnished and comfortable. We spent time each day in the Panorama Lounge and very much enjoyed the outside sitting area there as well. Again, there was always plenty of room and there was always a friendly server nearby. We also enjoyed the Observation Lounge on deck 11. The computer center/library is indeed small, but we never found it to be a problem (I had my own laptop, so I can't say whether or not there were enough computers available.) We were in The Bar every evening before dinner and had great drinks and conversation before dinner. Sometimes it was crowded, but it was never a problem. The real problem was that we never got to dinner before 8:30 so we never made it to any of the shows! Yes, there is the early show at 6:15, but we didn't want to get dressed just to go to the show. That was just our choice. I can't speak from personal experience, but I heard that some of the guest entertainers on board were excellent, while the production shows were weak. Disembarkation was a breeze. It was well organized, unhurried, and there were lots of Silversea staff both on the ship and on the shore to assist people. This was our first time using Silversea air and transfers and we were very impressed with how the transfers were handled. There were representatives with us on the bus to the airport and they managed the luggage, and secured (and tipped) porters. In summary, we had a grand experience on the new Spirit. We think that she is a wonderful alternative and a new and different Silversea experience. In our humble opinions, they should do away with the "specialty" restaurants if they are going to continue to charge a premium ("reservation fee") - the food was not special enough to warrant an extra fee. However, we really liked having so many choices in dining. The staff is stretched a bit too thin (perhaps management will be looking at this for the future), but every crew member had the Silversea "spirit" (pun intended) and provided the kind of excellent service we expect from this line. Read Less
Silver Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 2.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates N/A 4.0

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