1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
I would give this cruise 4 out of 5 stars. The staff was great, wonderful attitude an service. Thought the charge of 256$ for internet a little excessive. My only complaint is that the food quality was very good. For a long cruise the ... Read More
I would give this cruise 4 out of 5 stars. The staff was great, wonderful attitude an service. Thought the charge of 256$ for internet a little excessive. My only complaint is that the food quality was very good. For a long cruise the variation was like going at home to the same restaurant and menu every night. Example of the service-one of the restaurants serves tapos type stuff and have 5 fixed course each with 3 tiny servings with a tiny fork. I told the head waiter that there was nothing I wanted to eat with that tiny doll like fork. Most of the food was gourmet (not my cup of tea) and the head waiter said and did fix me all kinds of stuff not on the menu. Although I did not like that restaurant, the waiter could not have been more accommodating to satisfy me. I think the philosophy is European regarding food and we look more to the American type of variation. Overall did enjoy enough to rebook another cruise next year. For a small ship, I thought the entertainment level was better then I expected You got to know the waiters and when my wife and I would go to something like Trivia-the waiter would have our drinks in hand before we sat down. At the bar before dinner, the waiter would also have what we liked before we set down. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
This was our second cruise on Silversea, the first one was 10 years ago on a smaller ship. We had enjoyed that one and thought to return to the line after several great cruises on Crystal. We will not cruise Silversea again, I'm sorry ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Silversea, the first one was 10 years ago on a smaller ship. We had enjoyed that one and thought to return to the line after several great cruises on Crystal. We will not cruise Silversea again, I'm sorry to say. Things we liked: Cabins are wonderful, large, well-laid out and very clean. Public spaces are comfortable and very accessible. Pool area is inviting, well-serviced, comfortable. Le Champagne restaurant was delightful and food was very good. Worth the extra charge. Things we didn't like: Food was good but repetitive and dull. Dessert menu, which was largely ice cream, did not change during almost 3 weeks of travel. Always the same. Enrichment speakers, with one exception, were second rate. A community college professor (Latin American history) and a retired dean from a small college in Minnesota, who spoke on national security. Neither were particularly well known or accomplished in their fields. No destination speakers to prepare us for visits to interesting countries and sites. Particularly missing since this was sold as a trip thru the Panama Canal was anyone who could give history, context and future plans about the canal. During the transit, Canal staff was on board and did a good job of pointing out sites as we passed but little history. The lack of good speakers was especially problematic in that nothing else was substituted for activities. You know you are in trouble when "Footprint Analysis" is the only listed afternoon event on the program for 6 of the sea days. I note that passengers on the subsequent cruise reported that the ship chose not to show the Super Bowl due to cost. We were told the same thing when a group of us asked if the ship might broadcast the NFL playoff games. Can't afford it, the CD said. Entertainment was fine, especially the resident group of Silversea Artists. However, no effort to capture the local flavor or Latin american vibe of the trip with entertainers from the areas visited. In Summary, the trip seemed like a 3 week stay in a well-decorated but pretty dull country club, which could have been located anywhere in the country. No feeling of the areas visited. No sense of excitement or vitality. Certainly the larger than usual number of sea days added to the challenge but also created opportunities to add interest to the enterprise. I should note that we were not the only passengers who were disappointed in the trip as there seemed to be a continuing undercurrent of conversation about shortcomings of the trip among many first or second time cruisers. Most agreed with us that it was a pretty ordinary event and did not reflect value for the very high cost.   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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
My husband and I have just arrived home from a wonderful cruise holiday celebrating our 25th Anniversary. I am not one to "share" my thoughts on forums, but I must admit that I found it so very helpful reading the reviews that I ... Read More
My husband and I have just arrived home from a wonderful cruise holiday celebrating our 25th Anniversary. I am not one to "share" my thoughts on forums, but I must admit that I found it so very helpful reading the reviews that I thought it important to most our own thoughts on our recent cruise with Silver Seas, Silver Spirit. I am not a professional writer so I apologize in advance to the academics who find my thoughts a bit scattered :). I thought it would be helpful to compare the two Luxury ships of Seabourn Sojourn and Silver Seas Silver Spirit as they are both luxury lines within the same price point (give or take a few). Last year, in May (2013), we had the opportunity to travel the Mediterranean with our two kids (18 and 19 at the time), and as such, booked a Penthouse Suite with an adjoining Veranda Suite on Sojourn. On the Silver Spirit, we booked a Penthouse Suite and, as such, are able to compare the two - apple to apple :) Silver Spirit Embarkation We embarked from Venice and used the "People mover" to get us to the terminal. If one has never travelled to Venice, the terminal is long and there is a long walk to the last ship docked....that was Silver Spirit. Signage was very limited, and there were no representatives to greet any guests at the end of the people mover to the ship itself. With all our bags in tow, we took the 15 minute walk to the ship...it was raining, but we looked at it as the final work out before indulging in the fine foods we were expecting. We found our way upstairs in the terminal where our passports and boarding passes were looked at, then scurried on to the ship. When we arrived on the ship, the emergency drill was being held. This suprised us as check in time was clearly stated between the hours of 2-5pm, and we arrived just shortly before 5 (remember, we didn't expect the 15 minute walk from the people mover :)). We were donned with life jackets as we walked in, and given a glass of champagne....we figured out we were in the "main lobby" on deck 5. Once the drill was completed, we had to find our own way to our deck and to our room and once our bags arrived, we unpacked...no butler to be found for 2 hours. Not that we expect the butler to unpack us, we like ot do that ourselves, but at the very least to orient us to the room, the ammenities, and the ships features. When the butler did arrive, he was very nice, and apologized for his tardiness, stating that he got too busy. Hmmm...... Seabourn: When we arrived to the terminal in Civatevecchia, we were greated with white gloved representatives, champagne in hand, and a warm welcome at the terminal. We boarded the ship, directed to our rooms, and a butler and service staff represtative were almost "waiting" at the door for our arrival. We were oriented to the room, asked what our selection would be for toilettries, and were asked if we needed help unpacking. By the time we unpacked, our butler had informed us of where an when dinner was served, and where the ammenities were. We felt welcome and at home (even though it was our first time on Seabourn). Silver Spirit Dining Experience On the first night, we dined in the Restauraunt (the main dining room). It seemed a "cool approach" with the staff, almost distant like, and somewhat rushed. We are very approachable and friendly people, and we chalked this up to being the first day on board. Although I don't remember what we ate, I do remember the food being wonderful. We were a little perplexed by the fact that the wait staff only offered 1 type of red and one type of white that we "had" to try but I was prepared for this (thank you Cruise Critic posters), so I prepared my husband for this, and he gave the red a go, but asked for another "bolder" wine, which we received without a problem, and was lovely. We waited for the wait staff to smile, introduce themselves, but to no avail. It was not until Day 7 that the wait staff became a little more approachable, and were able to smile...not sure what was happening, but introductions did not start until about Day 6. The morning breakfast buffet in La Terrazza was quite nice, lots of selection, wonderful Meusli, and made to order eggs when requested. Once again, familiarity, smiles, and introductions, did not happen until about Day 6. The Dining Experiences from a food perspecitve were always excellent. We dined in La Terrazza, Pool Grill )Hot Rocks), and Seishin for lunch...all were excellent - our favourite being La Terrazza (chalk that up to our European heritage :)) Seabourn Sojourn Dining Experience On the first night, we dined in the main Dining Room. I remember sitting with my family and we were all so impresssed with the warmth of the staff, the genuine "caring" approach, and their thoughtfulness. Like Silver Spirit, the food was amazing, and there were several wine recommendations for my husband to select from. By Day 2, the staff knew our names, and the "preferences" we had - like sparkling water, extra breadsticks (definitely Seabourn has the best breadsticks :)), and how we liked our lattes. Not to mention that the Seabourn Cafe had a wonderful espresso bar where the barrista (Alex), remembered how we liked out Lattes by Day 2. Wow, very impressive! It just seemed that every day got better and better on Seabourn, and soon we were sharing laughs with the wait staff - Haley and Igor...we still remember their names... Silver Spirit Room Appointment For such a luxury line, and a Penthouse Suite, one would imagine an impeccable room. Not so on the Silver Spirit. The Penthouse suite was slightly larger than the Seabourn Sojoun, but it was drab in decor and there were nicks and scratches on the furniture that were in need of repair. The ship was built in 2009 and launched in 2010, yet it looked 10 years older than its actual date. For example, the Vanity table had several "burn" marks on it - which could have been easily remedied by a solid surface such as glass or granite. I noticed the door stops were broken, and the decor itself, although Silver Seas touts is as being Art Deco, was very pedestrian as compared to Seabourn Sojourn. The shower was spacious, but the "black" on the grout concerned me....mould? My husband who does not pay much attention to the decor details, commented on how the "bowl that holds the fruit" was so much nicer on Seabourn....wow! Seabourn Sojourn Room Appointment We were impressed from the minute we walked in the Suite...tastefully decorated, well appointed, and warm tones that made one feel warm and fuzzy. Tasteful and rich, but not overstated. The Bathroom, also very large, had a wonderful shower with curved glass (yes, expensive), but made the shower area feel larger than what it was. Extremely clean and well maintained. Overall impressions: After meeting several guests, especially those who have travelled both Seabourn and now Silversea, they commented on the very same things and we all agreed that from a ship and staff perspective, Seabourn wins our vote, in fact, if Seabourn had run this itinerary, we would have gone with Seabourn. We travel extensively, and have cruised on Princess, and Royal Caribbean, so the comparison between Silver Spirit and and Sojourn are based on what we have experience on the other lines. We certainly look at itinerary first, and then ship (a close first :)), but if one is to compare and suggest between Silver Sea Silver Spirit, and Seabourn Sojourn, Seabourn will get our vote.   Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our first (and no doubt last) cruise with SilverSeas, on the recommendation of 2 friends who were taking the same journey & had sailed with them before. This is a beautiful ship & our Silver Suite was lovely, nice size, ... Read More
This was our first (and no doubt last) cruise with SilverSeas, on the recommendation of 2 friends who were taking the same journey & had sailed with them before. This is a beautiful ship & our Silver Suite was lovely, nice size, separate bedroom with a comfortable huge bed & great amenities. However, the staff are either not trained well and/or no longer care. There were a lot of small problems from each bar and restaurant and then a rather large problem with in suite dining & the movies. The movies never worked & despite 3 complaints it was never fixed. They would stutter and pixelate about every 2 minutes for 30 seconds to a minute, so you would have to rewind to catch the bits you missed. This didn't occur on the normal television channels so was something to do with their digital streaming on-board. As far as we are concerned it was an advertised service which was not delivered. We know of at least 2 other suites which were having the same problem, so not just us. Most amusing was the reaction from reception when we complained the first time, she said "Oh really? I was able to watch that movie without any problem.". Wow, isn't that nice for her! She didn't seem to have an equally unprofessional response when we told her it was EVERY movie ALL the time. They never worked despite being told that it was fixed. Observation lounge - the waitress got one out of 4 drinks wrong 3 times in a row. Once ok, but every night for 3 nights in a row? Also they don't bring napkins with finger food (nibbles & canapes), we had to ask for them every evening. Come on folks, this is really basic stuff. The Restaurant - we were sat at the same table being served by the same waiter 2 nights in a row. Not a flicker of recognition passed his face, no big deal really. Until 5 minutes after telling us his name & that he would be our waiter for the evening, he returned to our table & recited the same script again! So not only could he not remember that he had been our waiter for the previous evening, just 24 hours ago, he couldn't even recall that he had already introduced himself 5 minutes previous. This is not luxury service, but more akin to a fast food restaurant where staff are taught to read from a script. They need to stop looking at those tablet PCs they use & try engaging with the customers in front of them! Le Champagne - you pay extra for this one. We were left for more than 5 minutes after receiving menus, no offer of a drink or even water. During the meal at one point we resorted to pouring our own wine, so not terribly attentive service & they didn't refold napkins when you left the table. Keeping in mind that this is supposedly "Relais & Châteaux, an association of the world’s finest hoteliers, chefs and restaurateurs that has set the standard for excellence in hospitality". Excellence only if you redefine the word. There was however one waitress that evening who was very pleasant & engaging & have to say the food was good. Stars - good service, but the best thing I can say about the food is that is was mediocre & utterly forgettable. La Terrazza - tried to sit outside for breakfast one day, "Certainly", they said. Then marched us around the terrace, pointing at 2 empty tables we couldn't sit at & then back in the other door. "Sorry, you can't sit outside as there are no tables available.". Hmm.... maybe you should have ascertained that before you marched us in one door & out the other, telling us in front of all the other guests where we couldn't sit? Just a thought. La Terrazza again - tried to go there for dinner on our last night. Maitre'd asked if we had reservations (we didn't) & initially refused us because she was expecting 80 guests in 30 minutes. When I pointed out that I was looking at an empty restaurant with an empty terrace that had much more than 80 covers she then decided that she was, in her words, "willing to accommodate us". We weren't comfortable dining somewhere we were obviously not welcome so declined her "generous" offer. Here's something good: Seishin - after we decided not to be "accommodated" at La Terrazza we ended up here (another one you pay extra for), no problem not having a reservation. Best meal, food & service of the trip, so we lucked out on our last night! In suite dining - we tried, they failed. We had guests for dinner, canapes & champagne on the balcony, followed by a 3 course meal in the suite. The mains arrived & then nothing. 30 minutes after finishing our main courses our guests had to leave because they had an early start (rather embarrassing). Eventually we called room service & said as they clearly weren't going to bring the desserts could they at least come & clear away the dirty dishes? They seemed surprised & had either completely forgotten about us or our Butler didn't pass on the order when he went off shift while we were still having dinner. The next day we did receive an apology from our Butler & his supervisor, but no explanation as to what went wrong. Then later we received a bottle of champagne in our suite. On their own each of these things would have been just a little hiccup & easily forgiveable, but this many hiccups in 6 days? This was a very expensive one week holiday & we did have high expectations, after all according to them, "And in the ultra-luxury travel market — there’s the polished perfection of Silversea.". Polished perfection? Maybe they need to be clear that they're talking about the woodwork & not the service. I can only conclude that there is something seriously going wrong with the recruitment & the service management aboard this ship. An aside: Beware - the transportation costs to & from the ship in Venice as arranged by the company take on a whole new level of gouging. Having been to Venice many times we knew the prices being quoted were beyond crazy. For example, we arranged our own car to pick us up at the port & take us to the airport, our cost for a private Mercedes people mover plus luggage - USD 63.00. What they would have charged to make the same arrangements - USD 312.00. Water taxi - their cost USD 410.00, if you made your own arrangements - USD 150.00. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Having cruised with Azamara last year and really enjoyed being on a relatively small ship this year we booked Silversea having first read of the Six Star luxury on offer. We joined the ship in Venice having spent the previous night there ... Read More
Having cruised with Azamara last year and really enjoyed being on a relatively small ship this year we booked Silversea having first read of the Six Star luxury on offer. We joined the ship in Venice having spent the previous night there as I had never been to Venice before. Whilst I enjoyed discovering this beautiful city I found the people living there really unfriendly and most unhelpful. At 1pm we checked in to the Silver Spirit and received assistance with our luggage and were offered a glass of champagne and a cold towel. The crew were helpful and did their best to please. The cabin on deck nine was well appointed and a decent size. The Butler introduced himself and I informed him that I drink mostly diet coke and could my mini bar be stocked with this. This request was ignored and I had to ask each day for diet coke through room service. Of the four occasions we used room service the order arrived correctly only once. The little touches were missing like the cabin fruit never making appearance throughout the cruise, the night time pillow chocolate being the same every night, the breakfast items were always the same where on Crystal there was always a special breakfast dish of the day. This was a port intensive cruise but the entertainment consisted of a couple of singers and a guy playing the piano. We would have liked to have had an act from a magician or comedian and some daytime activities. Whilst I appreciate we travelled in school holiday time I was just not expecting the number of children we encountered on this cruise. With the exception of Bingo and a trivia quiz there was no other organised activity and therefore the children on board took over the swimming pool completely every day allowing no opportunity for any other passenger to make use of this facility. The children were anything but well behaved and continually jumped in and out of the pool with loud shouts and screams. The other thing lacking that we had enjoyed on Seabourn and Crystal was the pool attendant. At this level and price it would have been nice to be greeted taken to the sunloungers and given towels. On this cruise you helped yourself to towels and then selected your sunlounger. Little things and touches were felt like returning to the ship even Celebrity offers a cold towel but not Silversea who offered just warm water. Generally the food in the dining was varied and acceptable although anything with chocolate was made from real very bitter chocolate including the ice cream. One night we dined in the Italian speciality restaurant which at best I could describe as average. If this restaurant was on land and I had eaten there I would not return. The portions in the restaurant were not very large and the lunch buffet was really quite limited in choice but excellent for those who like Cesar Salad everyday. We enjoyed the holiday but my choice would be Azamara for the overall cruise experience followed by Crystal and Seabourn. P.S. I requested a questionnaire form from the reception desk but they did not have any and told me to obtain one via the Butler but he did not have either. A big thank you goes to our cabin steward who was delightful and did a great job for us. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
we sailed last year on the silver whisper to the fjords of norway. that was our first time on silver seas ship. we loved it so much that we booked our next cruise while on that one. we were not disappointed. everything about the ... Read More
we sailed last year on the silver whisper to the fjords of norway. that was our first time on silver seas ship. we loved it so much that we booked our next cruise while on that one. we were not disappointed. everything about the experience was seamless. we booked 901 and 903, the grand suite and the adjoining suite for a family of 4. for us the experience of the silver seas is like being on a four seasons on water. the biggest perk of the large suite is free dry cleaning and laundry. heaven on the seas for me! check in was a breeze. we had spent two nights in venice before emarking. got on the ship at 2 and we were in our rooms within a half hour. we had the most amazing butler, catalino. nothing was impossible and he went out of his way to be accomodating to any wish. the food was similar on both cruises. we loved the japanese restaurant and champagne as well. we are not huge foodies, esp since we were traveling with two teenage boys. pizza was a huge disappointment. they must need a pizza oven to really get it right. we spent much of our time during the day off the boat. we had booked many our tours on our own. we did only silver seas sponsored tour, a cheese tasting which was terrific and well organized. croatia is beautiful, great ports, our favorite being split. diocletian's palace is not to be missed. slovenia is spectacular as well. all in all, this was another terrific cruise and we have booked for next year as well.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
I booked a 'luxury cruise' with Silversea sailing out of Venice in July on Silver Spirit. Big mistake! Our outward journey was a complete nightmare - flight cancelled, 8 hour delay , no offer of food or drink all day, finally ... Read More
I booked a 'luxury cruise' with Silversea sailing out of Venice in July on Silver Spirit. Big mistake! Our outward journey was a complete nightmare - flight cancelled, 8 hour delay , no offer of food or drink all day, finally arrived in Venice 16 hours after checking in at Manchester to find our luggage was still in Frankfurt. Arrived at ship at 9pm ( 9 hours late) so the whole of day 1 was a complete right off. We were each given a pair of paper knickers, a toothbrush and a second hand T shirt. Our luggage arrived four days later during which time we were not allowed into the dining room (or three other dining venues) due to lack of appropriate clothing, we could only dine in our cabin or by the side of the pool Our cabin was not the spacious 'suite' they advertise and our butler was conspicuous only by his absence. We were not offered our choice of drinks for our mini bar, when we asked for a bottle of Prosecco it took 24hrs to appear. I had to spend a couple of hours each day sitting in the laundrette washing, drying and ironing the only clothes we had (no help offered there) . our king size bed was two singles and not amended as requested. Food is adequate- certainly not world cuisine as advertised. There is no bottled water available on Silver Spirit - only warm, stale desalinated water. At no time are you given a wine list - you are served what Silversea want you to have - a choice of 1 red or 1 white - again not chilled = these are wines which can be purchased in any high street supermarket. Waiter seemed generally unhappy and often brought the wrong thing. Due to our lack of formal dress we were denied access to much of the amenities on the ship. They couldn't even come up with a swimming costume so that I could use the pool and seemed at a loss to try to locate our luggage. I asked if they could charge up my phone for me - this was met with a blank face and a shrug of the shoulders. I have now been home 7 weeks and have not had the courtesy of a letter from Silversea. Six Star treatment ? I don't think so. My advice - keep your hard earned money and go with another cruise line this one couldn't care less! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our second cruise with Silversea and our 8th overall on luxury cruises. We went with Silversea to the Arctic last year and decided to try them again for a cruise on the Black Sea. We were disappointed on several fronts. 1) ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Silversea and our 8th overall on luxury cruises. We went with Silversea to the Arctic last year and decided to try them again for a cruise on the Black Sea. We were disappointed on several fronts. 1) Customer service at head office It is non-existent. As in-- my travel agent e-mailed a week ago regarding a complaint (see below) and we have heard nothing. I e-mailed the Director of Guest Relations 5 days ago and have heard nothing. We have e-mailed just to receive a copy of the folio and have heard nothing! Assuming their e-mail is not broken, this is beyond me for a purported luxury company. At this point, I don't even know how to get in touch with them for a receipt. 2) Shore excursions Our itinerary originally visited the Ukraine for three stops, but this was cancelled for obvious reasons. They replaced them with 2 stops in Turkey and Sochi. These ports were very uninteresting. What's worse, are the shore excursions. In Sochi the guide could barely speak English. And when you pay for a shore excursion, your expectation is to see stuff. Not to be taken to the Radisson hotel and have a drink and snack (hello!! we are on an all inclusive ship!). When I complained to the shore desk that this was sub-par (along with most everyone who did a shore excursion in Sochi), he wrote the following in the Chronicles the next day: "The guides are locals who may have a heavy accent and/or lack on expertise in all aspects of the city" (not being able to translate from the person who was giving us the tour in Russian is not a heavy accent, it's a lack of English), "Please remember that, as travelers, it is what lies outside the window that is important, what we see, hear and experience for ourselves and see the places we are visiting for what they are and not what we would like them to be". You can only take this to mean, we will charge you the same price as a top notch tour, but expect less and don't complain. How patronizing!! 3) Dining Overall dining was fine with one exception of the maitre d' being extremely rude and not wanting to cater to a special request (steak with steamed vegetables). We were sitting with guests who are consultants in hospitality management-- they were pretty appalled. I had to hold my husband back from saying things further, given it was our last night and I didn't want to ruin it. 4) The good The ship is fine. The crew is outstanding (but I have never encountered a less than outstanding crew). The rooms are fine, except I found the shower in the bathroom awkward. We met several people on the boat who were sailing with Silversea for the first time and none would come back...neither will we. The ship was half empty so maybe others have already figured this out. There are other companies who provide the same amenities but with better customer service. This one left such a bad taste in my mouth that I will never sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Monday Embarkation very smooth, there at 12:30, got all the paperwork completed had lunch on the pool deck ( sea bass & tuna melt) All of our dinner reservation were as per requests made on web site which was great ! Toured around ... Read More
Monday Embarkation very smooth, there at 12:30, got all the paperwork completed had lunch on the pool deck ( sea bass & tuna melt) All of our dinner reservation were as per requests made on web site which was great ! Toured around the ship and our rooms ready at 2:30 Marlon our butler showed up within minutes of entering suite Mini bar was stocked with all my requests made prior the my silversea web launch. Very nice sale away out of Barcelona Tonight was casual nite and we dinned in la terrazzo , great meal and awesome service Tuesday Room service for breakfast very well done, arrival in Sete, very overcast and threatening rain etc DW had a spa appointment this morning, so I hung around the suite and read on the balcony. SS had a first time voyagers meet and greet in the observation lounge which was well attended Had lunch in the "Restaurant" a lovely 2 hrs relaxing meal. Got ready to go ashore for walk around and it started to rain so we retired to the panorama lounge Tonight is formal night which we are looking forward to. We went to the bar for some pre dinner drinks where we meet 3 other couples and had interesting conversations which extended into dinner and we were able to get a table for 8. Great dinner with very large lobster tails! Lots of action in the panorama lounge after dinner Wednesday Arrive in Cannes this morning where we overnight. I cannot believe the yachts in the harbor !! Other than cruise ships there are about 15 yachts some have helicopters parked on them and space for 20' + runabouts inside the hull, was told that one was Tom Arnold's Breakfast in the suite once again another fabulous setup by Marlon, he really seems to enjoy his job on SS and his wife works on board as well. Lunch today was the buffet in la terrazza .. Very nice lunch great selection fresh greens for salads sushi cold meats and hot foods This is a tender port so we meet in the theatre then head out for our French wine tasting tour, where we visited two wineries, where we learned about their history an sample the wines. Tonight we go to the grill for supper, it's a neat concept, I had the salmon and wife had the filet steak, everything was good and wine was flowing. After dinner we made our way to the panorama lounge for some drinks and dancing. Thursday Late night last night, and when I stuck my head out the balcony it was pouring rain, so we just rolled over to catch some more zzz's We had planned on heading ashore to wander around but with the rain on and off we decided to stay on board and enjoy the ships amenities. Off to lunch in la terreza again. Enjoyed playing bingo and trivia this afternoon and even won some silversea bucks ! Dinner tonight is in STARS, it was fabulous, not sure how they equate the menu to STARS, but the food and service were awesome and the entertainment was great Friday Once again we enjoyed breakfast in our suite as we arrived in Ajaccio Corsica. Not much planned for today, took a short walk in town and checked out the market. Returned to the Spirit for a slow leisurely lunch in the pool deck and relaxed for the afternoon. We decided to celebrate my 50th birthday today as we have the Grand Prix Gala dinner tomorrow. We returned to our suite to get dressed for dinner and when we walked in Marlon was finishing setting to a birthday surprise for me. I almost fell over! He had set up a table by the patio door, with a birthday cake made from towels and silver ribbons, flanked by candles and a tuxedo made from napkins! All I could say was WOW! We had reservations at la champagne, so we dressed up in formal attire and headed off for dinner and it was worth every cent of the $30pp surcharge. After dinner we went to the panorama lounge for a couple of night caps and upon returning to our suite the napkin tux had been replaced by a nice chocolate cake. About 3:00 am we arrived in Monaco and we could hear the music from parties ashore ( we were sleeping with the door open) Saturday We awoke to a beautiful view of Monaco and more large yachts anchored all around us along with a couple other cruise ships. Once again breakfast in our suite, then off to tender into town. The seas were pretty rough getting on the tender, but boy are the crew ever good at it. Since it was GrandPrix weekend a lot of roads were closed off but we had made reservations at Stars-N-Bars Restaurant to have lunch and watch the qualifying from there. When we returned to the ship, there was a hot bubble bath waiting for DW. Gala dinner tonight and the pre-dinner meet and greet was in the Panorama Lounge with ex formula one driver Allen Mc Nish. I had a very enjoyable chat with him. Dinner in La Terreza followed. Sunday Tendered in to Monaco for the race. Lots of people in the streets. Seats were pretty good; we had a good view of the cars after they came out of the tunnel and around to the swimming pool. Typical MONACO grand prix, with a safety car on the first lap  It was awesome to be in Monaco for the race .. a big tick off my bucket list. We left Monaco around 11 pm under a starry sky. Monday Our last day of the cruise, and a beautiful morning as we docked in Elba, where Napoleon was exiled to. We took a SS excursion to the eastern part of the island, very narrow and windy roads in a large coach. At one of the stops we had the best cappuccino I have ever had. Sad evening as we packed up our belongings and placed them out in the hall. Tuesday Disembarking was very smooth, we gathered in the bar to await out call, where we boarded a bus into Rome. All in all it was a 6 star experience for us, and we have booked another cruise on the Spirit for December.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
We have only done a few ultraluxury cruises before, including with Silversea, so we are not as experienced as many on these boards and perhaps my expectations were too high. Overall we had a very nice time, with a few annoyances and ... Read More
We have only done a few ultraluxury cruises before, including with Silversea, so we are not as experienced as many on these boards and perhaps my expectations were too high. Overall we had a very nice time, with a few annoyances and disappointments. This was an anniversary cruise for us, focussed on the Monaco Grand Prix, as we are big Formula One fans (we DVR and watch all the F1 races at home) We booked 8 months ahead of time to assure we would get space and tickets to the race that were being organized by Silversea, so we would not have to worry about the hassle of getting to/from seats at the track or having to fend for ourselves at what we expected to be a very crowded event with potential for disorganization and "mob scene" we wished to avoid. We had made our own arrangement in Barcelona for four night before the cruise, as I could not get timely pre-cruise hotel information from the Silversea booking agent despite several attempts. Barcelona is awesome, we plan to go back for more days. EMBARCATION: flawless, no lines even though it was just 1.5 hours before latest check-in time, painless passport check, pleasant and welcoming staff starting right at the port when the cab dropped us. SHIP: The Spirit was clean, smooth and comfortable everywhere and everything seemed to work. Public areas were uncrowded and low stress. The African themed art hanging in some of the hallways was, to me, pretty ugly and uninspired, but other than that the decor was tasteful and elegant. I have a back and muscle problem so the soft and comfortable dining chairs in all the indoor and outdoor venues were especially appreciated. SUITE and SUITE SERVICE: Our 365 sq-ft (counting veranda) V5 suite was and remained immaculate through the cruise. Our butler Jerry and his cleaning helper Larry (really) introduced themselves almost immediately, and they efficiently filled and refilled our unusual mini-fridge stocking requests. My towel gluttony request for always having six bath towels on hand was honored. The bed was nice and soft, the bathtub and separate shower and bath toiletries (there is a choice, I chose Bulgari) were perfect. The retractable clothesline over the tub was welcome for small items, though we also used daily laundry service regularly and our clothes were only lost (and then quickly found) once. The veranda lounge chairs were ergonomically just right for positioning my difficult back and legs. We used room service for appetizers a few times and it was prompt, food was tasty. In addition, after a particularly long excursion, the butler surprized us with an unexpected array of appetizers as well, anticipating we'd be tired and hungry. Internet wi-fi was slow and expensive as it always is on cruises, but way better than on our last SS cruises (Alaska, South America). For $250 we got the 1000 minute package and the speed was fast enough to get a reasonable amount of work and communication done and still have leftover minutes. DINING: surprizingly, a mixed bag. Our favorite was the Stars Supper Club, where we ate on formal night (you can be informal there) and were pleasantly surprized with sequential tasty small bites and a sultry singer. La Terrazza outdoor deck dining on the buffet food was efficient, uncrowded and reasonably tasty for breakfast and lunch, and dinner the first night was exquisite, though table service (coffee) was spotty in the mornings. The 3 dinners and 1 breakfast we had in the dining room were mostly just good enough, nothing wow like we'd had on the Silver Cloud. The gratis white and red wines poured were mostly the Silversea label which I did not care for, so we just ordered and paid extra off the Connoisseur menu. Seishin was interesting, tasty sashimi, though the waitress struggled for several minutes with the mechanics of how to open a bottle of special wine we'd ordered (after having first brought the wrong bottle). But she also noticed I was using my hand fan, because the room was hot, and immediately set off to get the AC turned up. Breakfast in the room always arrived on time and with what we ordered, though the offerings of European style "lunch meats" that were there and all over the ship were tasteless. SERVICE: Mostly good, though there was one lady at reception who did not seem to like her job and who had some attitude problems, and some of the (mostly Filipino, not uncommonly talking Tagalog to each other in public areas) wait and cleaning staff seemed tired, especially towards the end of the cruise. One annoying episode was where we'd ordered a Connoisseur wine we did not finish that we wanted to take back to our suite to store for the next day (we always bring the air removal pumping devices for this purpose). The waiter insisted on sending someone to bring the wine to our suite, rather than letting us just carry it ourselves (it really isn't that heavy!). We waited a half hour in our suite, putting off going to sleep as we anticipated a door knock, and the wine did not appear, so I got redressed and set out to track it down. No one seemed to know where it was, until finally, it appeared, late (the next night we knew better, and just carried the wine back ourselves :) ENTERTAINMENT: the only show other than in Stars we went to was opera night, where a mezzo named Victoria Morgan moved me to tears with the beauty of her voice singing Carmen, but one of the male singers was just so-so. PORT AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: -- some guides were great, some not so good, all excursions we did (except for the separately organized F1 race) were good and worth the price, with clean buses and functioning AC, and though the toilets on the buses were routinely locked, the bus driver on one excursion stopped and opened up the toilet for a desparate passenger, which was nice. SETE: all-day excursion to Carcassonne, interesting. About a one hour drive in a comfortable bus with AC, then you see a charming hillside medieval walled town. The local guide who gave a brief tour was terrible (heavy accent, plus the heavy wind this area is known for did not help), though he tried. There was time for a leisurely early lunch of cassoulet (we chose Le Jardin De Templier near the Basilica). It was nice we had enough time for a local lunch, as opposed to just a stroll to buy souvenirs, and time to tour the fortress. A Russian Orthodox choral group happened to be performing in the Basilica, lovely. CANNES: two days -- wonderful. One day we did an excursion to St. Paul de Vence and Chateau de Saint-Martin for wine tasting . Though St. Paul was cute (warning -- steep walking!), the trip to the beautiful Relais and Chateaux location of Saint-Martin alone, where excellent wines and appetizers were served on a gorgeous view patio, was worth the excursion fee. No herding, no mad rush. The only disappointment was that we could not buy the wines we'd just tasted on site. The next day we went on the Nice and Perfumerie Fragonard excursion. This was well-organized but it is a long drive, lots of traffic (included time to buy wholesale quality perfume after a tour of the production facilities). When we stopped in Nice, after some traffic, a guest asked the local guide about toilets and the guide said there were none other than going into a cafe to buy a coffee , "that is just the way things are done here." After we'd wandered around a couple minutes we found immaculate, staffed public pay toilets at the nearby Seven Continents Square (hard to miss), so I mentioned this when we got back on the bus, for the guide's future reference for guests. She defensively said, "Yes, they are there, but I did not mention this because you have to pay 50 cents!" Perhaps local excursion guides should be advised that it is likely Silversea pax would not mind paying 50 cents for a clean toilet?? :) AJACCIO: On embarkation, we were told the Clos Capitoro Wine Tasting excursion out of Ajaccio was cancelled, so we rebooked into the Walking Tour and Fesch Museum option. Then that tour was also cancelled the night before, and none of the remaining tours appealed to us so we set out walking the lovely town on our own (which actually turned out fine). The Fesch Museum is worth a visit, do not miss the Corsican art in the basement which was our favorite. MONACO, 2 days. EXCUSIONS TO NICE AND EZE -- Medieval Eze is beautiful (VERY steep to walk up to!), but unfortunately we were too early in the day, and did not have enough time to have a leisurely lunch in one of the excellent (and expensive) local dining venues. Had just enough time (45 min) for a stroll, drink, and pictures, or a quick purchase. MONACO GRAND PRIX PACKAGE -- Key issue: You will not have VIP seats or service at the race! Two nights before the race we were issued F1 package swag bags which consisted of a cheap mini-backpack with F1 programs, ear plugs, some cheap binoculars, a tiny plastic rain poncho, and our lanyards and tickets. We were given a detailed orientation RE how to get to and from the ship to the track. Access would be only to the races that day (Sunday), not Saturday's qualifying, no pit walk, no special access, just regular grandstand bleacher seats for Sunday, is what we should expect. We were told our seats would be mostly in the K2 section grandstands, "near the checkered flag" (though it turned out we could not see the checkered flag from our seats, as it was up and behind us). We'd been told at booking, and that night, that there would be a "former F1 driver" at the upcoming cocktail party, but we were still not told who it would be until we got the late night newsletter on our bed, where a wiki printout of the bio on Allan McNish awaited us. McNish had started in only 17 F1 races, so technically he was indeed a "former F1 driver" and Silversea did not lie, though his greatest fame was actually that he was a 3-time American Le Mans Series champion. Then the night before the race a special, formal cocktail party in La Terrazza, with excellent canapes and champagne and almost everyone dressed to the nines. A lot of the pax there seemed less interested in F1 than in just being where they thought they should be so they could tell people about it when they got home, but many were hardcore car buffs, and it was nice to meet fellow afficionados. This was followed by an entertaining talk given by McNish, who was a great speaker and we were happy to meet him even though we'd never heard of him RE F1 racing until this trip. Then we had a special dinner with not extra special food at La Terrazza with fellow F1 fans. Then came the actual race on Sunday: we tendered in early to allow time to walk up the hill to the track. The streets were a zoo, full of souvenir shops and tourists as well as high end boutiques, some ladies in outrageously gawdy outfits as you'd expect, but mostly just casual attire like we'd been told to wear. No drivers or celebrities viewed. Our grandstand seating (no backrests), out in the blazing sun was indeed in K2 and, as noted, we could not see the checkered flag. Toilets were few and far away dirty portable units with LONG LINES (3 stalls, one broken, for hundreds of women), so we were afraid to eat or drink anything though the drunken Aussies behind us (not SS pax) kept climbing over us in the bleachers to go get more beer. Overhead announcements were hard to hear and the display board showing driver standings had big delays. As we sat for a few hours, uncomfortable, trying to focus on the race, we longingly gazed at others in town who were luxuriating watching the race from commercial service yachts and hotels, drinking champagne and eating lunch in real chairs, (presumably with access to clean toilets), thinking that if we'd paid a few hundred dollars more (we looked it up), we could have been there instead of suffering on our bleachers. For $1500 per person, we (perhaps unrealistically) expected more, and would not do this again, as we are not interested in bragging rights for just having been there (when we got home, we then watched the race on TV:) PORTOFERRAIO -- we took the tour across the island first, and then toured Napoleon's old villa, nice views and some interesting history. Could have skipped the island tour and just toured the villa on our own. DISEMBARKATION smooth, no problems, took the bus SS had organized to the airport SUMMARY: overall an entertaining cruise, with mostly excellent service on an uncrowded ship, though we probably would have picked a different Silversea cruise (or bought our own GP tickets with better seats) if we'd known the Grand Prix experience was going to be so uncomfortable relative to the price. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
My partner and I had a great time on an all too short 7 days Caribbean cruise. this was our second SilverSea and certainly the better of the two we have been on. There had apparently been turnover of staff and many of the staff on-board ... Read More
My partner and I had a great time on an all too short 7 days Caribbean cruise. this was our second SilverSea and certainly the better of the two we have been on. There had apparently been turnover of staff and many of the staff on-board came onto the ship the same day that we boarded. That created a few dips in the service, especially around the pool where we watched a number of tables waiting for service. Did we mind waiting, not at all. The drinks were flowing, the music was playing. All was good! The only day of the cruise that it rained, was the night of the deck party so it was cancelled. (Couldn't they have tried that again another night...maybe not?) So no deck party this cruise. The Cruise Critic meet and mingle was fun and Duct Tape- We love you! The Ports were nothing to write home about except for St. Baarts which was fantastic. The shows were ok, nothing great but the supper club singer was amazing! We'd go in after dinner and just listen to her. Crazy good! Food, ok, the breakfast buffet could use a little work but overall was impressed with the experience. Why why why Silversea do you have formal nights (2) in the Caribbean?? Take a page from others and drop the tuxes and go casual! Cabin stewardess and Butler were just Beyond- huge kudos to those folks! Overall- We liked it and felt it was a great experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
After 50+ cruises on the Big Boys RCCL, NCL, Celebrity and Disney ... it was time to experience what Silver Seas is all about. We opted for a Silver Suite. If you read the brochure before hand, it says the Butler unpacks for you and makes ... Read More
After 50+ cruises on the Big Boys RCCL, NCL, Celebrity and Disney ... it was time to experience what Silver Seas is all about. We opted for a Silver Suite. If you read the brochure before hand, it says the Butler unpacks for you and makes your dinner reservations ... neither true. Frankly unbeknownst to me most passengers had already signed up at the specialty restaurants. We went to departed from Fort Lauderdale for Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize City and Key West. All forgettable places to visit. Tee Shirt shops and bars. Unlike larger ships, this vessels seemed void of stabilizers and rolled terribly. The Food was average at best. The Service was inattentive. The Entertainment was sophomoric. We're in our early 50's and the average age of the other passenger was near 80 (at best) so be prepared for walkers and oxygen tanks. Stars entertainment was good but the food terrible. Le Champagne .. after slipping a $50 to the manager got in and the food and service was very good. Worth the $30 pp cover. The Italian place sucked and we didn't dare to eat the sushi. The casino was the size of a large walk in closet. This was not the dream cruise we were so looking forward to.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
We have been sailing on Silversea since 1995 and have over 240 days on board all of its ships. While the line is not what it once was--the food is nowhere near as good and the amenities of caviar, decent champagne upon arrival, and access ... Read More
We have been sailing on Silversea since 1995 and have over 240 days on board all of its ships. While the line is not what it once was--the food is nowhere near as good and the amenities of caviar, decent champagne upon arrival, and access to a full range of call brand liquor, and special Silversea adventures on each cruise are no longer available at no charge to all--we still enjoy the line. From time to time, we have had problems, most of which have been equitably resolved, sometimes without our even asking for help. On the positive side, I never have traveled on a ship with better butler or housekeeping services than we experienced on this occasion. The wait staff was extraordinarily competent. When we complained on our passenger survey and asked to speak to the Hotel Manager about the matters mentioned below, he visited us in our suite, listened to us with respect, offered us a complementary dinner at the fanciest restaurant on board, and promised to let "Fort Lauderdale" know about all of our input, both positive and negative, via the form. I thanked him for his courtesy and told him that I would wait for a response from Fort Lauderdale before complaining on the record on line. We debarked on March 13, and as of today, April 24, we have heard nothing from Fort Lauderdale except advertisements for additional cruises. And so it was with absolute shock that we emerged from the Valparaiso-Ft. Lauderdale trip with a very bad feeling about the line's devotion to its customers. In our years with Silversea, we have taken trips of several segments in length, and we have had accommodations ranging from the Grand Suite to the Silver Suite to the Veranda Suite. We always have been nicely treated, regardless of how long we sailed or what type of room we rented. We never have experienced the bald-faced fawning over passengers who are traveling for more than one segment that we experienced on this cruise. We never have seen such obvious preferential treatment for people who are traveling on more than one segment. Friends have told us that they never will travel on a Silversea long-term cruise again (such as World or Discovery), because there is cliquishness and exclusivity in the air. We had never noticed this before. On this trip, it stared us in the face. We often were with friends who received these services and conveniences that were offered only to them as we looked on. Officers and senior managers singled out people with whom we were dining for special privileges and meals that were not offered to us or others who had not traveled since the cruise began. They actually ignored us while planning special events for these people at the restaurant. One watched while someone pointed to us and said to the restaurant manager, "Not for them. They're not in our party that night." We were told by longer-term passengers about options for meals in La Terraza that are available upon request--but they weren't when we requested them. We watched our friends who had been on board from the beginning of the cruise angle for delivery of prizes to their suites, rather than having to stand in line as everyone else was directed to do. The provisioning on this trip was pitiful. Despite advertising premium foods and beverages, the ship ran out of Pellegrino a few days into the cruise segment; never had Heinekin beer; never had a California Chardonnay; only served broccoli that was half yellow; served fish so smelly and meatballs so dry at the Terraza luncheon that we asked the dining room manager to return them (and he came back to us and said the chef agreed and was remaking the dishes). Venetian Society members--those who have sailed with Silversea before--always are invited to dine with officers and executive crew on their next cruise. We never were invited to do so by any of these people. Our friends who had been on longer were invited several times while we were on board. Despite the lavish accolades printed and spoken by senior staff about how valuable Venetian Society members are to Silversea, apparently passengers who book multiple segments--even those who have fewer total days on Silversea than other Venetian Society members onboard--are even more valuable. We were very disappointed at the poor food and drink and the way we were treated on board during this $1000 plus per person per day vacation. There are an awful lot of other opportunities to obtain more value for that amount of money from gracious travel hosts. We hope that Silversea will some day make this right. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2014
First time on Silversea; most comparable cruise we have been on was Seabourne, so that is the best comparison. We took a mid-ship veranda which was very comfortable: king bed, full-size couch, separate closet, shower and bathtub, toilet in ... Read More
First time on Silversea; most comparable cruise we have been on was Seabourne, so that is the best comparison. We took a mid-ship veranda which was very comfortable: king bed, full-size couch, separate closet, shower and bathtub, toilet in separate room. We boarded in Rio, traveling to Paraty, Santos, Puente del Este, Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Silver Spirit is approximately 4 years old and accommodates 550 guests; on the trip the loading was approximately 500. Positives: * Cruise director was one of the best we had every met; made the entire trip fun. Seemed to work more than 15 hours each day. * Food was excellent across the restaurants; service was not consisten. * Veranda room was bigger than comparable room on Seabourne * Speciality restaurants Palazzo and Pool Grill (not charging additional money) were excellent and many guests gravitated there for dinners * Butler service was excellent; we were well looked after several times a day * Gym not large, but adequate; track on 10th level (10 laps = 1 mile) * Entertainment was good (a group of 6) who tried hard; most events were well attended * We traveled over SuperBowl Sunday; cruise director managed to buy the tv rights and 200+ guests had a wonderful evening on the sea watching the SuperBowl, with delicious snacks Negatives: * Dining Room service was terrible for breakfast and lunch; staff not interested in serving us. One breakfast we sat for almost 2 hours. We gave up on the Dining Room and ate in the buffet restaurant (Palazzo) instead which was excellent. * Specialty restaurants charging $30 per person per meal were not worth the additional cost, in our opinion. Food was not significantly better. * Internet was ridculously expensive. Best deal was 1000 minutes for $250 and then 250 minutes for $85. Almost twice as expensive as Seabourne. Also many complaints by passengers about difficulty to log on and log off, despite an "internet concierge." * Many private cocktail parties curtailed use of bars in the early evenings * Concierge desk rarely helpful; worst staff we encountered on the ship * Silversea wants each guest to make a contribution to a Silversea charity run by the family; you need to opt out of your contribution is automatically added to the bill * Very little notice about bridge and kichen tour; concierge refused to make a second tour despite many guest requests. As noted above, concierge more interested in creating impediments than granting requests. * Enrichment lectures were very uneven. One of the guest lecturers, a former Ambassador in South America many years ago, was not very informed and was criticized by guests. * The barbecue, which prior guests told us was a highlight, was cancelled because of a rain forecast. Seemed to us that the barbecue could have been held on another night with good weather. * Ship excursions were very expensive! Many guests traveled on their own. Ports: Many of the ports that Silver Spirit used on this trip are container ports, requiring a bus trip (provided for free) or a long walk to the actual port terminal. * Rio de Janeiro (2 days) -- so much to see; continual worries about pickpockets and personal safety in certain areas; traffic was terrible! * Paraty -- very little to do; very poor city, difficult tender. Most guests left after an hour or two to return to the ship. Another port would have been much more fun, or two days in Puente del Este! * Santos -- nice port city with good shopping and gateway to Sao Paolo * Puente del Este -- beautiful beaches, great shopping; Bevery Hills meets South Beach; friendly people * Montevideo -- interesting city with beautiful beaches, great architecture and fun shopping; friendly people * Buenos Aires (2 days) -- wonderful city which holds its own even with economic difficulties. Wonderful to spend an evening there   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2014
We've visited many Caribbean islands over the years, love the region for it vibrancy and warmth - the people sort as well as that of climate. But we'd never made it to Barbados. We had taken a three day cruise on Carnival - and ... Read More
We've visited many Caribbean islands over the years, love the region for it vibrancy and warmth - the people sort as well as that of climate. But we'd never made it to Barbados. We had taken a three day cruise on Carnival - and decided the large ships aren't our favorite. Vacation for us means getting away from it all and we just had the feeling on the big ship we were taking it all along with us. We had cruised on the late lamented Windjammer Barefoot Cruises and had a marvelous time but they departed the scene alas and we're a bit older than once we were. So when the combination of the destination (Barbados) and trying out an upscale cruise experience (my wife loves the idea of having a balcony as a refuge, a place to read, relax and get completely away from it all) presented itself with Silversea line's Silver Spirits cruise #5401, Ft Lauderdale to Barbados, we jumped on. So to speak. It had the added advantage of happening in January, raising some concerns about the possibilities of weather interfering with travel, raising costs at the far end of the cruise (we stayed a week in Barbados after our cruise) but allowing us the chance to see it all during high season. Much of our previous travel to the region has been just outside high season, generally in mid-April including sailing around the BVI with a friend in his 35 foot sailboat, a Sabreliner. We looked over cruise lines, were highly intrigued by several especially Star Clippers, loved by friends of ours, and of course Seabourne. We had a fantastic vacation in French Polynesia a few years ago and realized after the fact that probably the best way to do that for the very first time would be to book on the Paul Gauguin, a gorgeous ship (we saw it a couple times on our trip there) and given that airfare is included a terrific way to see multiple islands in addition to experiencing the marvelous experience that ship offers. So when we came across Silver Spirit's itinerary and learned more about the ship itself, we were hooked. We flew out to Ft Lauderdale a couple days early just in case - the polar incursion that pretty much crippled transportation throughout the NE USA made that precaution seem quite a good choice; a number of passengers were delayed, some joining us in Puerto Rico on the third day into the cruise, others i presume not making it at all. Having time on our hands we spent a very pleasant day visiting Ft Lauderdale's fine art museum which happily had three exhibits up, each quite different from the other two, all of very high quality. We went down and strolled along the riverfront park area and wound up watching my alma mater's basketball team play (and happily win) a game at a sports bar quite near our at the port hotel which served excellent fresh fish as well. We took a cab over to the port on launching day - January 6th - and were very pleased with the process. There was little in the way of lines the ship's capacity being just over 500 passengers and the weather, as mentioned, having intervened even with that number. (i do believe we reached at or near 500 by the time we departed Puerto Rico so it wound up being a good test of the Silver Spirit experience.) We checked in and went to our suite (as the cabins are referred to) where we met our "butler" (seems to be what stewards are called on this line and perhaps others, i wouldn't know about that) - Rowena - and Larry who would be cleaning and tidying the suite throughout the cruise. They were very personable, very welcoming, quite professional. Rowena showed us around. Larry - who seems always to be smiling happily - was smiling happily and made us feel quite at home. The suite was beautiful. Lots of wood, mirrors in both the bed and sitting areas with television pictures as rectangles "embedded" in the center of each, a desk, writing desk and lots of cabinet space in the sitting room and of course the teak veranda/balcony beyond that. The bathroom was on our left in the narrow hallway as we entered and beyond it the walk in closest with lots of space, hangers and the room safe atop a chest of drawers at the far end. Plenty of room for the clothing we brought along - and we had three suitcases given the nine night cruise and our planned week-long stay afterwards on the island. i know, over-packing, but we hadn't been quite this way before and when all is said and done i prefer to work a bit harder getting somewhere than to find i have prepared inadequately for the bulk of my time. i figure i'll learn to conserve before we do this next time. We preferred to do our own unpacking - perhaps a mistake as i could take some lessons from Rowena who packs and unpacks on a professional basis - more on that later - but it's not much to do it oneself. We stowed two of the cases at the very back of the closet - lots of room; Rowena wound up putting the third simply under the bed, an easier solution. Having a bit of time we set off to explore our floating home for a bit before the required safety drill - attendance is taken - and departure from port which we watched from the deck off the Italian restaurant - La Terrazza - where we met a couple of passengers from Ireland in the process, mother and daughter, who quickly became our friends (and added to the family feel of our trip when we would run into them and join with them for a meal or a walkabout in one port or another). Okay, hint #1: at this time passengers have the opportunity to go to i think it was the Stars supper club (deck 7) to make dinner reservations at the various restaurants. The hint is do it as some of the restaurants are smaller and more intimate and if you don't make your reservation right at the start you might not get in. This is especially true for the line's well-advertised Le Champagne restaurant which holds about 20 people. By the time we thought to try to go there, we could only get on the waiting list and never did make it in. (Although some with whom we spoke were not all that impressed with it so we didn't worry too much about that.) Restaurants: there are several - we did not make it into all but next cruise we would try to do so. Le Champagne - deck 4 - intimate, highly advertised by the Italian cruise line, an elegant approach; there is a surcharge involved to eat here. Seishin - also deck 4 - also a surcharge to eat here. We did so twice. There are three options for dinner, each beginning with an amuse buche followed by a marvelous sashimi and sushi plate, the sushi chef located in the middle of the space preparing this, the tables - 7 or 8 iirc - around the edges of the room. At lunch there is the option of getting a bento (boxed) lunch; at dinner there are two three course meals dinners at a surcharge of $20 as well as a full 9 course degustation meal at a $30 surcharge. We tried both versions, the 9 course our first visit and the 3 course meals our second visit. We had marvelous service from MaryAnn assisted by Sharlotte and, our second visit, when i asked to have the first three-course menu but substitute the main course from the second MaryAnn just smiled and assured us it would be no problem at all. Nor was it. We very much liked this restaurant. The main restaurant is, naturally, called The Restaurant. It too is located on deck 4 (the aforementioned two flanking the entrance to the Restaurant.) We found this one good; not great, but quite satisfactory. We have some food restrictions - one of the joys brought by advancing years - which limited us just a bit in our selection but service was excellent, the surroundings fine - think upscale restaurant 'most anywhere, and the food good. We enjoyed it - but chose other options for the rest of the cruise rather than repeat this one. The aforementioned La Terrazza - being the Italian venue on an Italian-run ship - was quite good. Indoor seating is good and there is also the option of outdoor seating, delightful at breakfast and lunch. Starting with dinner, i found the pasta quite good; our new friend and fellow passenger Art said the lamb rack was outstanding. The wine selection was okay - and they were quite happy to offer an alternate selection such as the Bordeaux i preferred to the offered Burgundy. They would have been happier still to provide one of the for-purchase selections the prices of which were in the range of "if you have to ask the price, don't bother with these." We demurred and did just fine with the included selection, my wife especially appreciating the whites while i explored the reds. For breakfast and lunch, the buffets in the La Terrazza venue were marvelous. Can't think of anything they might have done to have made them more appealing to us. Our Irish friends took the culinary tour offered on board and came away very impressed that they prepare all of the bread and pasta offerings from scratch every day, even the bread sticks. They certainly succeeded with those and most passengers we got to know wound up eating breakfast and lunch at La Terrazza. The Show Lounge - deck 5 - served smaller platters and our friends Art and Cindy just loved it. We planned to make it but never did; we will do so on our next cruise on this line because of the raves about it. There was entertainment - and we simply opted for a quieter dinner experience this voyage. The experience that i loved was Hot Rocks. You need reservations though there is no additional surcharge. This is on the pool deck - deck 9 - at the Pool Grill area (there is also a pool bar of course) or at tables on deck 10 which overlooks the pool at The Grill. Hot Rocks is called that for the obvious reason: you order a steak or the huge (and delectable) shrimp or a combination of both and your server brings your entrée to you already cooking - searing - on a lava stone that has been pre- and slowly-heated to 900 degrees. The stone is about three inches thick and perhaps 12 inches square. The server places the stone on its platter in front of you leaving room for your dinner plate between it and you and then turns the meat over so it starts cooking on the other side. It's up to you when you want to remove it from the stone to stop cooking it. They advertise that it's perfectly done just for you every time, an element that is completely under your personal control. As we eat simply at home - and far less often - the chance for simpler fare was very appealing and as the dinner itself was outstanding, we ate there twice including our last night on board. Your platter comes with baked potato with a range of toppings, vegetables and salad first course. Desserts here and throughout the ship were also quite good. There's even a choice of sorbets throughout the afternoon on the pool deck. If i've forgotten other venues it is only because we failed to try them. There's only so much and so often a person can eat no matter the variety of choices and the quality of the offerings. So, overall - was this the quality of Carlos' in Highland Park north of Chicago? No, not quite to that standard imo. But very good - high quality - very happy with the variety and the quality offered. And as throughout the ship with the service. i should add that the bar (called The Bar) is located on deck 5 just beyond reception and the shore concierge desks. Quite attractive and this is where we all went on debarkation day, at least those of us leaving the cruise in Barbados. Voyage 5401 actually continued on to Rio, to Buenos Aires, around the horn and up the Pacific Coast of South America - Chile, Peru - and on through the Panama Canal and back to Ft Lauderdale and Port Everglades. Our new friends Art and Cindy were among those doing the entire cruise, a total of 66 days long. Others were going on as far as Rio or Buenos Aires. When we left in Barbados, others boarded for the next segment of the cruise. It was in all a lovely thought and we continue to mentally follow Art and Cindy and the others on their adventure. The first couple days of the voyage are at sea, a portion of the cruise we found to be our favorite. The TV screens in the suite had camera options that included a camera facing ahead which was very nice entering each port, a second that included the relevant ship's environmental information including temperature, wind velocity, ship's speed, ocean depth beneath us, course, etc. along with cameras that showed various views including one of the pool area. Then there was a selection of channels including CNN, BBC, Fox, i think they had MSNBC, international sports, ESPN Caribbean (lots and lots of soccer, a bit of cricket, we did get one of the NFL playoff games - but not the other), etc. The veranda (at the outboard side of the suite) got some use; the ocean was a fine companion; the ship was stabilized of course - there was a bit of rocking that didn't feel like that at all, it was just that at times you did need to watch your balance a bit. i noticed there were always waiters at the buffet to assist by carrying one's platter to one's table, a precaution perhaps more for the rest of the diners than for the person who would actually eat the food. We used the first day to visit the boutiques and were surprised to find the prices quite reasonable there. There were sport coats - a light colored one and of course a blazer - as well as more formal wear. The blazer - light colored - was $179 and seemed of a quality that made that a reasonable price for it. The exercise room was well equipped and very nice. We didn't use the spa services - massages and such - but have no doubt as to their high quality as well. In the suite, i should mention the bathroom. There is a tub which was of a generous size and the shower was well thought out and organized, encased in a clear plastic enclosure with a tight-closing door and both a rain shower head and a hand held - whatever your preference it was easily arrangeable. Hint #2: in our suite anyway the water temperature varied between the two shower heads. If you started with the rain shower head, directly overhead, and then wanted to switch to the hand held to direct the spray while you shampooed or such, the initial spray of water would be cold for a second or two and then significantly hotter than the rain shower. It was important to turn the temperature down before switching and then adjust a bit up after a couple seconds to feel. There is a sign posted that cautions you to always test the temperature before stepping in. If you're used to hots that don't really get hot, think again - when they say "hot" on the Silver Spirit, they truly mean hot. It was a marvelous surprise to us. Combine that with amenities by Bvlgari and the suite and bathroom were quite up with our anticipation of what such ought to be on a luxury cruise. The ship's shore excursions: we signed up only for two - the Rain Forest excursion in Puerto Rico and a snorkel and scuba excursion in St Barths. (see below) A separate word - from what i've written under port reports below about St Maarten. St Martin (smallest piece of land in the world divided between two nations: the port and Phillipsburg are in Sint Maarten and are Dutch; the northern area of the island are St Martin and are French. We spent a marvelous week once in the French Village of Grand Case and highly recommend that.) Phillipsburg is a duty free port with outstanding shopping particularly for jewelry and watches. Silver Spirit carries with it a designated ship's shopper. On our cruise it was Phillip. He's a Californian and he was expert, thorough and always available. Landing in Phillipsburg (a coincidence? well, okay, but it did seem rather apt), St Maarten, we cruised the shopping area and when anyone heard the name of our ship (they ask when you enter a shop such as Diamonds International) they would say, "Oh, you're with Phillip." Quoted prices dropped significantly once it was established that you were with Phillip and he made the rounds of the shops and seemed constantly available to consult or assist anyone from the ship. Prices in port seemed quite good for expensive items. But such items are individual enough i really couldn't tell you. Phillipsburg and St John Antigua however have widespread reputations for being excellent ports for the purchase of jewelry - especially diamonds - and watches if you are into such things. Phillip was definitely one of the ship's very useful features and a number of our shipmates commented very appreciatively about him and his services. Disembarking came. You can choose your preferred disembarking time but are asked to clear your suite (the ship is nearly entirely suites with verandas) by 8:30 in the morning. Rowena assisted with the packing - in my case she did a lot more than simply assist. We all applied the provided tags to our luggage - each color corresponding with the requested disembarkation time in what appeared to be half hour intervals - in the hallway outside our door when we went to bed, retaining only what we would need for the morning and our carry-ons. In the morning we left our carryons in the room while we went and settled up at the reception desk, reclaimed our passports, had a last breakfast at La Terrazza, reclaimed our carryons and joined our friends in The Bar area to await the call for our group to disembark and reclaim our luggage at customs. Disembarkation was easy and straightforward. A bus took you - again by color designation - to where your luggage was waiting and customs was quite a simple process. i'm sure i've forgotten something but that's a whole lot already up above so a short summary. My wife had wondered how she would like it, on the ship with 500 others, upscale food and service all the time, etc. Short answer, she loved it. Silver Spirit was about her favorite vacation ever - and when that includes 14 days in French Polynesia (Tahati and all that), that's saying something. The number of people was enough that we found great companions and i hope lasting friends - and enjoyed running into friends in whatever port we happened to be - and yet small enough that we rarely felt we were in a crowd. Food was very good, breakfasts and lunches superior. The suite was more than simply comfortable - we certainly do miss it. The service was wonderful - so many going out of their way obviously their hope was to please you. Lovely experience. Would we prefer one of the line's smaller ships? (Silver Spirit is their largest - others carry up to 380 or fewer passengers) Perhaps so. We look forward to finding out one day. But this was pretty terrific - and in our case the itinerary was perfect.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
we had the ROYAL SUITE #702. right up at the front of the ship. it was a BEAUTIFUL room. lots of space, very comfortable (during the day ONLY). at night every time the ship went up in down in the water we heard what sounded like a ... Read More
we had the ROYAL SUITE #702. right up at the front of the ship. it was a BEAUTIFUL room. lots of space, very comfortable (during the day ONLY). at night every time the ship went up in down in the water we heard what sounded like a refrigerator being thrown down a stairwell (the nights at sea). ear plugs helped diminish the noise enough to sleep. each morning that we would arrive into a port (about 5am'ish') we would hear the anchor falling into the water with its heavy chain behind it. NO NEED FOR AN ALARM CLOCK!!!! IT SOUNDED LIKE WE WERE BEING BOMBED!!! this would happen 4 or 5 times at each port. just an absolute terrible place to put the luxury cabins!!!! for this reason the ship is terrible designed! the food was terrible!!!!!!!! desserts, pastries & ANYTHING chocolate - were worse HORRID!!!! we sustained ourselves on ham & cheese sandwiches. the chocolate ice cream them served was ZERO CALORIE and came in a container, other ice creams where made on ship. ZERO CALORIE on a vacation?????? specialty restaurants: le champagne - OVER-RATED! la terrazza - chef boyardee is better out of the can! the grill - guests cook their own food at the table, WHAT A MESS!!!! i did not go on vacation to cook for myself. i've tasted better food from high school home economics students! entertainment - NOT SO MUCH!! exact same show we saw on a previous cruise. the cruise line owners have a charity foundation and early on in the voyage they take the liberty to charge your shipboard account for a donation to their foundation. VERY TASTELESS & TACTLESS!! they leave a brochure in your cabin informing you about the foundation and then state if you do not want to make a donation please see the reception desk to make an adjustment. i am on holiday and now i have to take my time to make an adjustment to my shipboard account?!?!? this happened on our last voyage as well. when i got home i tried to research the foundation and it is not even registered in the USA - donor beware! we have traveled on silver seas before and greatly enjoyed it! this was a great disappointment! if it were not for the staff and the people we met we would have disembarked and found our own way home! just an absolute disappointment!!!! as a guest you can tell that the management just does not care! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Overall Assessment--Supremely Satisfying Trip. This is my first attempt at a cruise review, so inadequacies may be obvious. Embarcation in Barcelona was seamless. Silversea accommodated us as we had arrived early due to a mistiming of our ... Read More
Overall Assessment--Supremely Satisfying Trip. This is my first attempt at a cruise review, so inadequacies may be obvious. Embarcation in Barcelona was seamless. Silversea accommodated us as we had arrived early due to a mistiming of our taxi.So full marks there The Vista suite was very adequate. We have had balcony cabins before on Silversea( both Spirit and Cloud), but found it unnecessary because the deck availability was more than enough, just a preference. Bed was superb. The pillows were so so, but that will always be the case for us. The maid was thorough. The 'Butler' we hardly saw which speaks to that particular service on this trip. We can remember eating as well as this in a first class hotel in Sorrento, in the Hilton Nailert in Bankok and in the now closed Sans Soucis in Toronto. Suffice it to say we feel this is world class cuisine. The staff are superb. We had the most magnificent waiter called Jojo. It will be the highlight of your journey if you get him. He has a BSc in Hotel Management and it shows through. Having said that it is only fair to state that the staff are all so good , pleasant and courteous in an extremely demanding social interface. The passengers were a very interactive and friendly group. Our last voyage on the Spirit was during her maiden Transatlantic crossing in 2010, and the passengers on that voyage were a more detached even perhaps arrogant group, but none of that this time thank goodness. I make no comment on the ports of call as they do not interest us. Our attention is focused on the sea days and the vessel. She handled a moderate "Battering" on this voyage very well, and I had no complaints. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
The title was chosen since the Silversea cruise could be divided into two parts from Barcelona to Funchal and then the trip to Fort Lauderdale. The Twice part is an ending comparison with the two Atlantic crossings this year, the Spring ... Read More
The title was chosen since the Silversea cruise could be divided into two parts from Barcelona to Funchal and then the trip to Fort Lauderdale. The Twice part is an ending comparison with the two Atlantic crossings this year, the Spring one on the Seabourn Pride and the Silver Spirit. The cruise started in Barcelona where we arrived the day before to see some of the sights and also get acclimated to a 6 hour change in time zones . We could have used a few more days to see the city. The embarkation went very well with one exception; the taxi took us to the wrong pier. Her mistake but she had the meter running so we paid for it. Surprising to us our cabin was ready so we left our carry-on luggage and went for our first lunch at La Terrazza. It was almost impossible for you to bring your plate to your table since the staff practically took it out of your hand. The buffet was well done and had a very good selection, especially if you like sushi. One problem occurred when I asked about the available wine. The response was we have one for white and one for red as well champagne. I asked what others were available, and the response was that if I did not like this one they would bring me something else. Most of the times this took 5 minutes to find a substitute wine. Based on recommendations from Cruise Critic, we went to make our reservations at the specialty restaurants. There were about 15 people on line but they had only 2 sample menus for each restaurant so you got about a minute to look at each one. Also it was not clear how many reservations you could make. In the end we got two at the Grill(aka Hot Rocks) and La Terrazza, and one each at Le Champagne, Seishin and Stars. We also got waitlisted for additional times at these restaurants. Our cabin was the standard veranda suite that was about 300 square feet on Deck 8. The cabin size for more than enough for 2 people and had plenty of storage space. The couch was uncomfortable, which is typical for a cruise ship. The only issues in the cabin were the shortage of electrical outlets but the two TV monitors are great. The balcony contained two adjustable chairs and a similar table. We really liked the marble and granite bathrooms, which included a full sized tub, and a separate, glass shower cubicle. The luggage cam very promptly and we met our butler and cabin attendant. We then placed our beverage order for 2 bottles of liquor that we actually used only one of them since there were plenty of places to drink. The fridge was stocked with a variety of soft drinks and water. When we told the butler what we liked for soft drinks, he filled the refrigerator with the chosen beverages. But he did fail to remove the unwanted brands, which was not a big issue but he had to replenish the requested items more often. Finally I would like to complement the cabin staff, they were always available to meet your needs and our cabin was made up quickly. We had the meet and mingle party in the Observation Deck. Silversea did a great job in hosting the event and we met a number of people that we got to know really well for the rest of the voyage. The average age of the passengers was definitely over 60, which is what we expected. Our first dinner on the ship was at La Terraza and the menu featured many great items. Unfortunately we never saw that menu again since they periodically change the menu about every three days. The food was done right with the exception of the liberal use of salt in all dishes. This was true in all restaurants and we soon learned to have them put the sauces on the side and not to season meat before we cooked it at the Grill. Again we went through the same game with the wine. I had to taste it and reject it first. Since it was an Italian restaurant, you would have thought they would offer an Italian wine as the featured wine. They did find a Chianti that was above average and we enjoyed a few more bottles later in the cruise. The second night dinner was in the main dining room (The Restaurant) and my meal was the Beef Wellington that was done perfectly. Unfortunately my spouse’s steak was very salty and over-cooked. They quickly replaced it with a Beef Wellington. In most cases when there was a problem the crew responded very well and quickly addressed the issue. At the end of the first few days I would have rated it as the best MDR on any ship. More on this issue later. My spouse used room service for breakfast on all days while I used it only sparingly. The service was prompt on all days and early on several days when the butler explained that people were specifying the same time for tours so we won (?) and got the food early. If you ordered hot items it was 50/50 chance it was not hot on arrival. We stopped ordering toast since it was always cold and hard. The bread untoasted was the best approach. I will do a quick review of our and some of our fellow passengers experiences with the other restaurants and room service. The Grill, starts with a basket of tortilla chips and guacamole dip. There is achoice of a couple of salads and then you get to cook your meat and fish on a hot slab of volcanic stone. As mentioned earlier the first time we ate at the Grill the meat was over-seasoned but the next two times we requested and got the meat with no seasoning. The meat dishes are accompanied by a small and actually the right sized baked potato and a skewer of veggies. The veggies seem to arrive cold so they spent some time on the hot rock to reheat them. There were a few choices for the desert course that were not anything special. It was consistently the best restaurant on the entire cruise. The Grill for lunch was ok but only when they had special setups. The standard burgers were ok but the sandwiches were horrible. The choices of deserts were terrible and the selection of ice cream was limited. By far the best pool side grill is on Oceania. The choices are freshly cooked and the ice cream choices are numerous. The one problem with the pool deck is that one side of the deck is reserved for smokers and you can smell the smoke even when you are a distance away. It is time to ban all smoking on ships. Le Champagne is a Relais & Châteaux restaurant but unfortunately it does not measure up to other R&C restaurants. The menu at Le Champagne changes periodically during the cruise. Le Champagne is an intimate, dark and elegant space on Deck 4 across from Seishin and next to The Restaurant. We were able to find a good Bordeaux wine to drink at the restaurant. The rack of lamb was great but the lobster was terrible. One of the courses arrived cold and it was not the salad. Several days later a group of our friends ate the restaurant and the service was terrible and they also experienced cold food. It was so bad that the cruise line refunded their guest reservation fee is US$30 per person. We cancelled our waitlists for the restaurant. With STARS, Silversea attempts to re-create the atmosphere of an art deco-inspired supper club with a singer and piano player. The menu is a set, multi-course collection of unique items in tapas-style served three at a time. There were 5 courses and also they offer an additional small plate of pasta if you want it. One of us had the pasta and the other did not need it. The staff did a great job in getting sauces for one of use separated from the entrée. This created a table full of small dishes. It was an unique experience but one we chose not to repeat since we found several items that neither of us liked. We did like the show so we came again later on another evening. SEISHIN RESTAURANT Seishin specializes in Japanese food. The Sushi preparation station is in the middle of the restaurant where you can watch the dishes being created by the Sushi chef. We elected to have the Teaser menu and since my spouse does not eat raw fish the restaurant put together a special Teaser menu for her by combining items from each Teaser menu.There was a $20 pp reservation fee for Teaser menus. Again we went only once. However the best kept secret is that Seishin offers a complimentary sushi and sashimi bar for lunch. It is GREAT for sushi and sashimi lovers. I ate there six times and always enjoyed it. What was amazing was that the restaurant was also always empty for this lunch treat. The only negative point was that they ran out of Asahi beer. This restaurant had the best service staff. Maybe since there were very few guests. This brings me to the changing point for the two cruises comment. Starting in Funchal the ship started to run out of items some that could be expected on a 16 day cruise but others were crazy. How could an Italian restaurant on a cruise ship owned by an Italian family run out of Parmesan cheese with 7 days to go. They seemed to make no effort to replenish any items at the ports of call. The food also seemed to increasingly seasoned to a very high level. The soup in La Terrazza was so salted that it was inedible. It just happened that the chef was making his rounds and when we quietly told him about the soup he just shrugged his shoulders and walked away. He only wanted to hear complements and not problems. The Restaurant also became middle of the road in both quality and service. We were told we could not order an alternative wine without tasting the offered one. I tried to explain that I had already tasted that one and did not like it. I asked who told him to do this and he said the head sommelier. Since I had met the sommelier at two wine tastings I knew what the waiter told me was correct. The two wine tastings were humorous. At the first one we tasted only one wine which they were selling on their alternative menu. I think he must have heard the complaints so the next tasting had two wines one of which was available on the complementary list and the other was one they were thinking of adding to that list. I have been accused of being a “wine snob” but I found the pitch from him that their exclusive wine list was a real bargain compared to what passengers would pay at their retail stories. I challenged him on that point since he had a Bordeaux on the list for $240 that can be bought for $100 in the US. But more importantly he was selling the wine from an average year at a premium price when better years were easily available from the same Chateau. There are people that insist you should not order fine wines on ships since the motion of the ship harms the wine. In the end we were able to narrow down the list of complementary wines to two whites and four reds that were enjoyable. It was interesting that none of these wines were featured at any meal on the ship but had to be requested. Also interesting is that there were no Spanish wines on the available list even though we started in Spain and also made most of our ports in Spain. The wine from Portugal was one of better reds available. The second half of the cruise also reflected less quality in the service in the restaurants and the bar areas. Many sea days do challenge the crew but this was greater than expected lapse in service. Based on our previous cruises we did our own touring at all ports on our own. The only exception was the tour of the Alhambra from our stop in Malaga. Silver sea did a great job on this tour. We had two buses that were about half filled so it was a manageable number. The tour guide on the bus was entertaining but he tended to repeat himself constantly. The guide for the Alhambra was first rate and she really knew how to keep the group under control. Even though it was off-season it was full of tourists and tour groups. The restaurant for lunch was first rate with plenty to eat. The dessert was passable but I was not hungry after the previous courses. I think the tour could have been shortened by dropping the drive through Granada since all you saw was some buildings from the bus. Once again there are passengers who do not read the description of the amount of walking and they had limited mobility so that they should have skipped this tour. Silver sea did a good job of providing information on the ports of call but neglected to tell you where free Wi-Fi was available in the town. The ship internet rates were high but luckily we were able to use the smallest package for the days at sea between Funchal and Bermuda. By doing our homework we found places with free or low cost internet. In Barcelona our hotel was only 10 minutes from the Apple store and McDonalds worked in Valencia although you had to buy something to get the code for the internet and the bathroom. The library on the ship was first rate and also provided an area to exchange books among the passengers as well as their own books. Even on sea days it was not crowded most of the time. The Fitness Center was small and a selection of equipment that worked and other items. I found it never crowded and saw the same few people in the morning every day that I went. My spouse was totally disappointed in the Spa. She found the need to wear a bathing suit instead of just a large towel to be stupid in the steam room and sauna. On a trip with many sea days, the entertainment becomes more of a necessity than on a port heavy cruise. . We attended a few of the lectures but they were a mixed bag of presentations including a few that had technical difficulties. The entertainment was provided by six singers whose voices were above average for a cruise line. Two of the shows were very good while two of them were subpar. The worst one was the sing along to Elton John songs. They picked the wrong songs that had too many lyrics and the lyrics on the screen did not match the song. It looked like a grammar school show. The Casino was a joke; they ran two blackjack tournaments that only a couple of people showed up. The highlight of the day was team trivia with about 30% of the passengers participating. As usual too many took the game too seriously. The cruise director did a good job in controlling the group. The real disappointment was the lousy gifts for the points won at that and other games. When we pooled our points we had enough for a t-shirt. Unfortunately the size we wanted large was unavailable so we got a small for our daughter. The t-shirt was a piece of junk. It was a Hanes underwear shirt with Silversea on it. We decided to use it as a rag rather than giving it to her. This is what you got for 110 points. On another cruise line we got a great shirt with a collar for 10 points. Since drinks were included our review will include an assessment of the bars we visited. The pool bar suffered from having the smokers around it but you could get a drink easily. However there was a limited selection of beer. The bar in the Observation deck was the best one and served great drinks and nibbles. Unfortunately it was not the place to be during rough seas. The Bar was generally crowded and also the waiters brought the wrong drinks. Arrival at Fort Lauderdale was fine but slow in getting people off the ship and then a long wait at customs. Only two agents available initially and then a third one was added. There was no wait for a taxi and we got to the airport faster than people who used the cruise line transfers. In summary the cruise was very good and the best part was the people we met. We found them to be fun loving and felt very comfortable with most of them. Now for a comparison of Seabourn and Silversea for the same size of ship. Where they were equal I did not evaluate them. Cabin – about the same but you felt more closed in on the narrower Silversea room. Cabin furniture – Silversea since the balcony furniture was better and better TV size Main Dining Room – better on Seabourn but one of the best meals on Silversea Specialty restaurants – better on Silversea but you have to pay extra for two of them Pool Grill - Silversea Sushi – clear winner is Silversea, none available on Seabourn Buffet – slight edge to Silversea except conversion to dinner better on Seaborne with different themes Alcohol – generally gave you the same brands, easier selection process on wines on Seabourn Pool Deck Furniture – better on Silversea Excursions – Silversea but limited data here based on a few tours Spa – clear winner is Seabourn Entertainment – a few better shows on Silversea but more consistent good performances on Seabourn Internet – clear winner is Seabourn, 20% of the price of Silversea Fellow Passengers – very similar but edge goes to Silversea on these two cruises Crew Helpfulness – slight edge to Seabourn, Silversea crew tended to focus on frequent travelers   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
A group of 260 young Latin American sales agents created a nightmare environment for us on Silver Spirit. Loud and boisterous by nature, their rowdy revelry turned the ship into a floating fiesta. From 17 South American countries, their ... Read More
A group of 260 young Latin American sales agents created a nightmare environment for us on Silver Spirit. Loud and boisterous by nature, their rowdy revelry turned the ship into a floating fiesta. From 17 South American countries, their company, Herbalife, had treated the mainly 25 to 40 year olds to an all- expenses paid luxury cruise which they were determined to enjoy to the full. Unfortunately for the independent guests this meant that instead of the “ultra luxury cruise and relaxed elegance with each guest joining a sophisticated onboard community” as suggested in the brochure, we endured a week which was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Silver Spirit is beautiful and is tastefully furnished. Suites and bathrooms are very spacious and the attentive and friendly crew go out of their way to help. Quite unexpectedly on one occasion our cabin steward had checked what time we would return from an excursion and had prepared a bubble bath for us. The food in the buffet and the restaurant was good, and the entertainment provided by five classically trained singers was to our taste. Unfortunately, due to the way in which some of the Herbalife group impacted on the atmosphere and ambience of the ship we were unable to fully appreciate and enjoy our surroundings. Calling to each other and blowing their whistles during the safety drill, leaning over the rails above our balcony, shouting and whooping on what should have been a magical sailaway out of Venice at 11.30 pm, and letting their suite doors bang shut as they called goodnight to each other well after midnight was just the start of things to come. Feeling extremely angry and very upset, we spoke to the customer relations manager the following day who assured us that this type of group booking was quite normal and suggested two areas of the ship that we could use if we needed to find some peace and quiet! He obviously had no power to resolve the situation but did arrange for us to talk to the Corporate Sales Director who just happened to be on board (she was lucky that in that she had not had to pay for the privilege). When we met her two days later things had become even worse. Twenty two out of the thirty two suites on our deck were occupied by the group who continued to shout in the corridors and allow their suite doors to bang shut until 3am. Their behaviour in the tenders was very rowdy with attempts to distract the driver, and some of the group totally ignored the evening dress code, turning up in the restaurant in jeans, tee shirts and bodywarmers. Apparently the ship had exhausted its emergency supply of jackets to lend to them. Although the director shared our concerns and was apologetic about the problems that this large group had caused, she blamed Herbalife for not having better prepared their employees for life on a luxury cruise ship. Further into the cruise, we were unable to use the pool area on our only afternoon at sea, due to it being dominated by Herbalife who generated a high level of noise including squeals and shouts from their children as they jumped and dived into the pool. On the night of the barbeque we heard banging and squealing outside our suite at 11.45pm and found two children aged approximately 3 and 7 years running around in the corridor unsupervised. It should have been blindingly obvious that having such a group, comprising almost 50 percent of the guests would change the dynamics from an intimate club-like environment to that of a noisy carnival. Whilst we appreciate that corporate sales are necessary for all cruise lines, this group booking was totally out of proportion to the size of the ship. If it was not possible for Silversea to charter the whole of one of their smaller ships to this group, they should have informed independent guests on Silver Spirit of the situation, allowed them to assess the possible impact of the group booking, and if necessary offer them an alternative. We have cruised 18 times with 7 cruise lines and have never experienced such a horrendous and distressing holiday. Our first Silversea cruise was on this ship last year when we had a wonderful time. We were completely delighted with the standards of service, the luxury, the lifestyle and the sophisticated atmosphere. We met interesting international fellow guests in an elegant and intimate environment and unreservedly recommended Silversea to all our friends. Whilst we did meet some lovely people this time, the sophisticated atmosphere was sadly lacking and for the considerable amount of money we paid for this cruise we feel that we have not received good value. We did not expect to have such a noisy group of fellow passengers inflicted upon us. We will not cruise with Silversea again unless they can assure us that the situation we found ourselves in on this occasion will never be repeated. Our two letters to them have been unanswered as have numerous telephone calls to their office when we were told “Customer Service not available” (how true that is) We wonder whether the company acknowledges that what we experienced was in any way unusual. We paid a high price to discover that Silversea’s promise that “every voyage is a rare experience, a journey to be treasured” is not a guarantee. We got much more than we bargained for. Caveat emptor. Unfortunately due to all the problems mentioned above we can only give one star for both value for money and overall experience.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
Seabourn Quest 2012 cruise vs. Silversea Spirit 2013 cruise We took the Seabourn Quest 2012 11-day cruise from Rome to Barcelona and a 2013 Silversea Spirit 7-day cruise from Athens to Istanbul. Bearing in mind that we are dealing with ... Read More
Seabourn Quest 2012 cruise vs. Silversea Spirit 2013 cruise We took the Seabourn Quest 2012 11-day cruise from Rome to Barcelona and a 2013 Silversea Spirit 7-day cruise from Athens to Istanbul. Bearing in mind that we are dealing with the top of the high end, and that a comparison in this league is perhaps splitting a few hairs, here is my attempt to make a head to head comparison: 1. Embarkation process: Equally flawless from arrival to completion with lunch served while suites were being prepared for early arrivals, but with some minor differences noted: when you arrive your cabin on Quest, your luggage is sitting on a mat on your bed, whereas on the Spirit your luggage is waiting at your suite’s door. However, the Spirit has a "butler” assigned to all cabins, who offered to unpack us (we declined the offer). (Butler service on the Quest is limited to the highest end suites.) One troublesome gaffe on the Spirit (which I guess could happen anywhere), is that one of pieces of our luggage did not arrive to our room, despite bearing the preprinted Spirit label with suite number on it. We immediately alerted our butler, who repeatedly assured us that the "hotel manager” was on the dock dealing with it and that most likely was delayed for additional security screenings due to containers of liquids in the piece. Then, after 90 minutes of such "assurances”, another guest graciously brought the missing luggage to our suite, advising that it was mis-delivered to his suite. It would be better if they used bar code scanner labels to know where luggage is during movement. Notwithstanding this gaffe, I give a tie vote to the embarkation process. 2. The Ship: Upon first entering the Spirit, my first impression was that (perhaps because it is older), it was dark (using dark woods), as compared to the Quest which presented a lighter and more open experience. As one descends to the lower decks on the Quest, the hallways get narrower, following the taper of the hull, consistent, however, with maintaining uniformity of suite size on all decks. Also, a significant issue to watch out for on the Quest is that some of the suites on the lower decks had portions of veranda walls in metal (instead of the usual glass), effectively serving to block some of the exterior views from those cabins. A niggling design annoyance on the Spirit was that one person could not pass another at the foot of the bed because of the narrowness created by the Spirit building in a second vanity table coming out from the wall opposite the foot of the bed. Otherwise, appointments within the suite were equal, though the Spirit had a bathtub (which the Butler or housekeeper once left with a surprise bubble bath for my wife!), whereas (I think) the Quest did not have a tub (which we do not use anyway). Due to the brighter presentation of the Quest, and the annoyance of inability of us to pass each other at the foot of the bed on the Spirit, the edge in my vote goes to the Quest. On the other hand, while we were midship, higher than middeck on both ships, the sense of any movement, docking, or dock departure was simply undetectable on the Spirit, whereas I did get seasick one night on the Quest. (That, however, may be more a function of routing on open seas, than ship.) However, this should be balanced by the fact that at the time of our booking, Silversea’s pricing for virtually the same 2013 cruise offered by Seabourn (not on Quest), was much more aggressive, which can serve to assuage petty annoyances! (Seabourn’s substantially higher pricing at the time may have reflected it having sold out of the mid-range suites, and the fact that Silversea was running a sale at the time of our booking.) Finally, we experienced some substantial vibration in suites on the aft end of the Spirit that we never experienced anywhere else on the Spirit, so I would book mid or forward on Spirit. 3. Food: Food on cruises is a very big deal to me, so my commentary is perhaps skewed in relation to other factors. The food is excellent on both ships. Now for the whining: The (outdoor buffet) breakfasts on the Quest are deeper in variety, such as interesting daily specials made to order. And one more niggling point about breakfast: it is almost a sacrilege to me for the Spirit to have such wonderful servings of smoked salmon, with cream cheese and capers, and yet no bagels upon which to enjoy it. (I certainly respect readers’ right to deemed me "spoiled”, or to not even know what a bagel and lox is; suffice it to say, the Quest had bagels to go with the smoked salmon, which I enjoyed at many breakfasts.) At (outdoor buffet) lunch, this issue got deeper on the Spirit. There was plenty of good food, but simply not at the depth of quality and selection (and expense to the ship) as on the Quest. For instance, on the Quest, the chef continuously put out individual chilled glass bowl servings of plump shrimp cocktail. Nothing like that on the Spirit. There was more selection of high line food on the Quest’s outdoor lunch buffet, and fellow gourmands (who sailed both cruise lines) concurred with me that there appeared to be relative economizing on the Spirit’s outdoor lunch buffet. (Of course, perhaps over the last year, Seabourn performed some belt tightening of which I would be unaware (no pun intended)). Dinners on both ships’ restaurants were equally excellent, though the standing menu filet mignons on the Spirit were so thin that they appeared to curl up a bit in cooking. The Spirit had more restaurants (+-6 vs. +-4), but two of them on the Spirit were extra charge restaurants, in comparison to there being (I think) no surcharge-restaurants on the Quest. 4. The staff: equally excellent, well-selected, well-trained, and held to " and infused with -- the highest standards of gracious hospitality. Some staff on each ship recalled what alcoholic beverage I had the previous day and automatically brought it over to me the next day " all to the credit of both cruise lines. The Butler on the Spirit, in each case on his own, took my shoes out one night during dinner to be shined, another afternoon had tea sandwiches in our suite upon our return, and on another day had strawberries with chocolate sauce and bubbly on ice awaiting our return to the ship (as though we needed more food!). (That said, as happens anywhere, there are some minor exceptions: the maître d’ at the Italian restaurant on the Spirit needs to be retrained to pick his head up from looking down, and respond to greetings; and a tour director on the Quest shouted at a staffer in the presence of my wife.) Edge to the Quest for the minor luxuries of more staff taking the trouble to learn our names and preferences, which added personalization; though some folks may prefer the feature of the Butler on the Spirit, who was extremely gracious, but whom we really didn’t use since everything generally was executed well, thus not needing his help, though all his special treats were indeed nice. 5. Excursions. Pricey, but well-executed on both ships. (We were advised that Seabourn dropped one tour operator about whom several guests complained.) Dinner at Ephesus, Turkey (illuminated) library ruins (Quest, included), or nighttime concert there (Spirit $179 p/p), is a life-experience not to be missed. 6. Enrichment: Winner is Seabourn; it had pre-port arrival briefings by both a local expert, as well as by a Phd who explained the geopolitical considerations of the port into which we were next to dock. This provided input both practical and intellectual. In contrast, the Spirit had a speaker talking about her book of interesting places to see in the world " none of which had a thing to do with the ship’s itinerary, and there were no other speakers providing local briefings on the Spirit (though both ships maintain local expert-desks for answers to questions / suggestions.) Finally, during such briefings, the Seabourn briefing room / auditorium had servers serving drinks, together with a place to put the drink. The Spirit, had no servers (though you could find a bar on the opposite end of the same deck and bring your drink back to the auditorium where, alas, the drink holders (it that is what they were) were too small to hold a drink glass. Sniff! 7. The bottom line: assuming rough parity in price, I would go "Seabourn” again, because weighing unequally the factors that mean more to me, it is worth a bit of a premium, but not a price gouge. All-in, we are indeed privileged and happy to be on either ship line.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
This cruise was a final chance to find the right cruise line, one that was luxury but had a great group of people with a mix of ages. We had experienced large ships previously and so settled on the Silver Spirit which had a maximum of 550 ... Read More
This cruise was a final chance to find the right cruise line, one that was luxury but had a great group of people with a mix of ages. We had experienced large ships previously and so settled on the Silver Spirit which had a maximum of 550 passengers. From the time we embarked to disembarkation the staff on the ship we remarkable, the food was great, the all inclusive fare worked well. Little touches such as speciality coffee, having breakfast on the balcony, and a very attentive butler made this trip first class. All of the restaurants were good, but we found Le Champagne had quality food and good service but disappointed in the menu selections, our favourite was Seishin Restaurant which we frequented at lunchtime as well. Wine selection was reasonable and we enjoyed a number of wines we would not have chosen ourselves. The room was as advertised, large and very comfortable...the only issue being the distance between the end of the bed and the dressing table. This had been raised by other reviews but it wasn't a major problem, and we wouldn't have enjoyed a shortened bed. The smoking policy and areas were well managed, and it was not an issue for us during the cruise. Overall a great experience, and we booked on board for another back to back 18 day cruise for next year.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We had nearly filled out the Silversea questionnaire and the ratings, but decided to write a letter to the hoteldirector instead. We also nearly decided to book a cruise in the middle of the cruise period, but at the end we decided ... Read More
We had nearly filled out the Silversea questionnaire and the ratings, but decided to write a letter to the hoteldirector instead. We also nearly decided to book a cruise in the middle of the cruise period, but at the end we decided against it. Why you could ask and I will try to give an answer that is more than putting dots in a questionnaire. Of course we also listened to other friends of ours or people that we met on this cruise. The opinion of my wife and myself is that we will not sail on this ship anymore, even with a fantastic Captain and a very very excellent cook! The best point of Silversea remains the totality of the crew, my compliments, but if it is the Cloud or Spirit, we still remained very impressed with nearly all crew members...a 9 -- 10. BUT....the crisis has seemed to also effect Silversea. When arriving in the suite, no Champagne in a bucket, which looks so welcoming and gives a special feeling of luxury, also not on the balcony suites, we heard. The only reason I took a low Suite is because my wife gets seasick fast, this voyage no problem at all. I am glad I did it this trip. The mini bar was sparsely filled, when we asked for a bottle of Prosecco from Valdobiadene, we got that and the bottle of Chardonnay that we asked for. The restaurant was much better than on the Cloud and therefore we visited it more thant La Terrazza which we preferred on the Cloud. The shuttle bus in Ponta Delgada every 30 minutes, crazy,the distance was very very short easy with only minimal extra cost is every 10 or 15 minutes, it was a 6 minute drive. People were waiting in the pouring rain! The guy was sitting on his rear end waiting 15 -- 20 minutes in front of the ship or at the collecting point, Don't forget the average age!! Of one couple we know, and they were irritated, as they had a birthday which they had filled in in the pre voyage information. Silversea forgot it completely but they got an email from Seabourn! The entertainment was average and below standard for a 5 star ship. I found the entertainers on the Cloud much better. The boring man telling about humour was ....just boring. So we decided to not book on the ship, and the 5 % we missed too bad. If we go back to Silversea it will be on the smaller ships, or the medium sized ones that we have no experience on. So concluding, did we have a nice voyage, yes very nice , but the extra star in the "Complete guide to Cruising and Cruise ships", I do not find correct, for me it should still be a 4 +, like the Cloud. I wanted a 5 star and I will try that somewhere else. Does that mean I will never be back, absolutely not we will travel with the company sometime somewhere. 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
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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