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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Booked this cruise from Reykjavik to Greenland while onboard Silver Cloud’s first Antarctic cruise (reviewed December 2018). It was great to see familiar faces among the crew. In spite of its refurbishment, the ship already feels a ... Read More
Booked this cruise from Reykjavik to Greenland while onboard Silver Cloud’s first Antarctic cruise (reviewed December 2018). It was great to see familiar faces among the crew. In spite of its refurbishment, the ship already feels a bit dated, with constant creaking and temperatures too high in the suite (spotless), but often too low in public areas (some noticeably dusty). Silver Cloud now has competition in the English-speaking market from Scenic Eclipse, coincidentally in Reykjavik at the same time for her much-delayed maiden voyage. Food was excellent as always, though portions seemed larger. Service was normally very good, but with the odd slip-up, perhaps because waiting staff have new tablets to take orders. We enjoyed every included wine; typically Silversea buys up entire vintages of less well-known varietals from small European vineyards – not the bland New World wines you get on most lines. Silver Cloud now has a Social Director (Moss) who handles zodiac embarkation and hosts fun afternoon and evening quizzes. Some other changes: thinner hand towels (fluffier towels changed less often would be preferable) and unlimited wi-fi (still slow). Thankfully, butlers no longer have to proffer a tray of toiletries when you embark. Exploring was what this cruise was about. Six “zodiac groups” disembarked with rotating departure times, but usually you could go ashore later on a shuttle service. Excursions could be pre-booked through MySilversea, but this was pointless as there was no set schedule. We enjoyed the ship’s passages through the fjords, and zodiac cruises close up to glaciers, but were uncomfortable wandering among people’s houses in small villages. For us, the highlight was two hours in Disko Bay (Ilulissat) on a small boat operated by a local company; under a cloudless sky we saw whales and vast icebergs that looked like islands. A note about clothing: Greenland in August was warmer than Antarctica in December. While we were exceptionally fortunate with the weather, make sure to take some lighter hiking gear, as you may get too hot ashore if you wear thermals under a parka. We skipped the only two “wet” landings so didn’t use the waterproof boots we’d hired at $90 – ordinary gumboots would have sufficed anyway. We would have given this cruise five stars, but for the horrible last day (not covered by Silversea’s onboard questionnaire). For our previous Antarctic cruise we booked our own flights to/from Ushuaia and wish we could have made our own arrangements this time. After vacating the suite by 8.30 am, it was “hurry up and wait, wait, wait” for the charter flight from Kangerlussuaq back to Reykjavik. After disembarking by zodiac group, an interesting bus tour on the tundra was followed by an acceptable BBQ-style lunch at a rowing club on a pretty lake. There we heard that the incoming flight was late due to weather in Iceland and ATC issues, as happens of course, but from then on everything went downhill. Waits for the restrooms at the rowing club were 30-40 minutes. It took 80 minutes for everyone to get through security at the airport, not least because both the ship and the charter company (Omni Air) allowed people three or even four large carry-on cases (in spite of Silversea previously specifying one piece up to 8 kg/ 18 lb plus a purse or laptop). Then we waited as long again in the gate holding area, most of us having to stand, until boarding after 4 pm. Yet another delay was due to the cabin crew being unable to reconcile the boarding cards and having to count passengers FOUR times. The plane itself was a very old 767, with a soggy defrosted snack well below Silversea standard. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Fabulous ship. The ship was appointed well, luxurious, clean, well serviced. The crew and management were perfect. The cuisine was remarkable. The Captain was out of the movies elegant and efficient. The expedition staff was uncaring, ... Read More
Fabulous ship. The ship was appointed well, luxurious, clean, well serviced. The crew and management were perfect. The cuisine was remarkable. The Captain was out of the movies elegant and efficient. The expedition staff was uncaring, sloppy, not friendly, poor in execution of excursions. As soon as the ship handed us off to the expedition staff, it became like we at a campground. The expedition staff is indifferent without service attitude. We had no idea which landings were wet and which were dry. As we got to the port, it was clear and the ship could have told us before we boarded. Guess they enjoy their free ride and leave the clients to their own. The last day of the cruise, we left the boat on Zodiacs and were put on a bus enclosed for one hour waiting without direction. No staff accompanied us. We had no direction. Senior citizens were left to figure out where to go on the plains of windy Greenlandon excursions. It’s a miracle no one was seriously injured although a few people fell a bit. As we left the ship, the expedition guide said, “Honestly, I have not heard back from the guide company, so I hope they come.” At lunch, a buffet was set up insufficient creating a large cafeteria line. The bathroom wait was 45 minutes. The excursions on Zodiacs to see the icebergs were brilliant and beautiful. Really unmatchable. The cruise was generally fantastic. It was hard to leave the ship. Only the expedition segment was painful and disappointing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had a bucket list wish to travel to Greenland. We had been to Iceland previously and wanted to experience more of these two beautiful and remote islands. The Silver Cloud is a comfortable and sleek ship with all of the amenities of ... Read More
We had a bucket list wish to travel to Greenland. We had been to Iceland previously and wanted to experience more of these two beautiful and remote islands. The Silver Cloud is a comfortable and sleek ship with all of the amenities of the larger ships (no casino and no shows though). Awesome specialty restaurants to choose from, especially our favorite, the Grille (hot rock cooking at its' best). The crew service was outstanding in every way. Our butler and attendant were especially attentive and provided the best service we have ever received on board any ship. We enjoyed our first use of the spa services and were pleasantly surprised by how nice the service was! We also wanted to suggest that the disembarkation tour of 5 hours, was not the best use of time for us. It was too long and too confined in the rustic artic buses with all of our carry on luggage. Also, restroom facilities were very limited, which made us uncomfortable. We were really spoiled being on the ship and had a rude awakening when we disemabarked. Definitely enjoyed all aspects of the cruise until the very end and when we did our post trip hotel. We had lunch on the 5 hour tour and then our flight was delayed so much that we missed dinner completely and about 50 of us arrived at the hotel both hungry and exhausted, only to find no food available. To top it off, someone neglected to arrange for our transportation to the airport (which was included). We had to find a way on our own and it made our last day of the trip terribly stressful. Even with the end of the trip not going so well, would we do it again? Absolutely! Loved the SilverSea Silver Cloud and it's crew a lot!! Thank you for asking our opinion. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We were intrigued by the idea of a 'luxury' expedition on a 'small' ship. Unfortunately, the ship chose(despite the brochure's promise to have a maximum of 200 passengers) to embark fully booked, creating lines ... Read More
We were intrigued by the idea of a 'luxury' expedition on a 'small' ship. Unfortunately, the ship chose(despite the brochure's promise to have a maximum of 200 passengers) to embark fully booked, creating lines for everything--from dinner in the main restaurant, La Terrazza breakfasts and lunches, and boarding the zodiaks. The service was perfunctory, with some exceptions--our assistant butler was wonderful, as were many individual members of the staff. And there were some unique experiences, from the 'polar plunge' to kayaking in dry suits. The captain was welcoming and generally terrific. But the overall experience--from spending hours trying to figure out what appropriate clothing to bring(no, Silversea--not 4 pairs of gloves PLUS glove liners for a 10 day cruise; not hugely difficult-to-pack calf-length waterproof boots for what turned out to be ONE!! wet zodiac landing) to the final day--again, no details til night before,but basically a lovely almost 5 hour excursion offset by standing in way too many lines--did not in any way measure up either to my expectations or Silversea's promises. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary. We had no reason to believe that the ship was as rundown as it was. Dark dingy hallways, bathrooms that have not been touched since the launch of the ship in 1995. It was literally dangerous ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary. We had no reason to believe that the ship was as rundown as it was. Dark dingy hallways, bathrooms that have not been touched since the launch of the ship in 1995. It was literally dangerous trying to enter the tub/shower. There is no elevator above the 8th deck so getting to the spa is an adventure...not a good one. The ship is going into dry dock this fall, however it is not clear why. The Wind's owners have taken a fix it only if absolutely necessary. That means the stateroom is so very old that they replace a curtain only when it is torn, or the carpet when it obviously is disgusting. They advertise their ships as five star cruises. They are at best two or three. The food is mediocre at every level. The hors d'oeuvres served only at 6:30 in the evening, not before, were inedible. Dried out and a mystery to what they might be. Mixed nuts or potato chips at the bar, only if you asked. The meals served in the dining room are ordinary and must come from a Silver Seas commissary used by all of their ships. They are certainly not of 5 star quality...again two to three. In conclusion, everything about Silver Seas is done "on the cheap". Read Less
Sail Date: July 2008
We embarked in Reykjavik, Iceland, a lovely city, on a clear summer day with temperatures well into the 70's, after following SS's Arctic packing list for long underwear, layers, and sweaters, wondering if we would have occasion ... Read More
We embarked in Reykjavik, Iceland, a lovely city, on a clear summer day with temperatures well into the 70's, after following SS's Arctic packing list for long underwear, layers, and sweaters, wondering if we would have occasion to use any of our polar gear. We were on a quest to follow the path of the Vikings from Iceland to Greenland, to Vinland, and also to visit remote areas to view glaciers, icebergs, and wildlife,especially polar bears, on Zodiac boats, but with the sumptuous comforts of Silversea. My husband and I had not been on an expedition cruise before,and were very excited to be on the Prince Albert during its inaugural year. Embarkation was smooth, and our cabin, in the "Explorer" class, was roomy for an expedition ship. We had a problem with our TV reception which was soon rectified by the engineering staff, but exemplified the minor "kinks" on the ship which was brought into the SS fold rather quickly and which has some continuing small issues that are still being addressed. More on that later. The ship was fully booked for this cruise, with approximately 120+ passengers. The passengers were a very congenial, sociable group and we were able to meet most over drinks, lunch or dinner. Being such a small group, there was a feeling of intimacy on the trip, with the frequent sighting of familiar faces. The crew and expedition staff were also most professional and welcoming. Waiters, bartenders, room stewards, masseuses, and all onboard soon identified passengers by name and recognized preferences. The level of service was excellent. Our first day was a sea day, crossing the Denmark Strait en route from Iceland to Greenland. Seas were relatively smooth. Captain Paul Heslop, who introduced himself and his crew, steered us safely to Greenland. There we visited Skoldungen Fjord,a remote and beautiful spot,and took a hike over spongy tundra after venturing out for our first Zodiac trip. The scenery was breathtaking; unfortunately the native insect population was out in full force to welcome us and feasted on the unsuspecting visitors! SS had apparently not anticipated the "welcome" by the local insect populace, as several unlucky waiters were sent ashore to set up a champagne table for the passengers to sample while waiting to board Zodiacs back to the ship. They had no takers, as all were busy swatting away the attacking hordes and envying those prescient passengers who had worn head nets. This unfortunate scene was not repeated, and SS must be given points for trying to live up to its "every desire fulfilled" motto, although insect repellant rather than champagne would have been welcome. From there we headed for Prins Christian Sund, enjoying beautiful weather. The Sund cuts through the Southern tip of Greenland, and provided very smooth sailing and spectacular scenery: mountains, glaciers, and icebergs. We again embarked on Zodiacs and were able to proceed close to pristine waterfalls, calving glaciers, and icebergs galore. THe glaciers and icebergs were often a "windex"-colored aquamarine. There was not a sign of humans except for our small bunch. As we were often told by ship's staff, this was an "expedition", not a cruise, and the landscape did not disappoint. Throughout the cruise, in our time at sea, or between Zodiac tours, the expedition staff gave informative, interesting lectures about topics which were pertinent to our trip. They were all interesting and entertaining; my only criticism would be that sometimes they were a bit too detailed and academic for the general audience that was the passengers. The other "entertainment" onboard was the ship's keyboard artist, Daryl, who did an excellent job entertaining passengers after a long day of Zodiac adventures, and even encouraged some dancing on the small dance floor. We visited villages in Greenland as well as ruins of Norse settlements. We had the opportunity to do some more hiking, and happily, the insects were not an issue. All stops were very interesting, and we continued to have sunny weather, although it was cold enough at times on the Zodiacs to justify the packing list of Arctic gear. Greenland showed itself to be a stark, formidable, and beautiful land. The expedition staff and local guidesoffered commentary at all stops. While it goes without saying that passengers must by carefully "herded" at remote landings to ensure that all are safe from local fauna, such as polar bears (we had an armed local fellow onboard for that portion of the trip), and that no one is left in uninhabited areas, it did seem that, in the towns, villages, archeological sites, and recreated Norse settlements (the local versions of Colonial Williamsburg), that there was a bit too much of the school teacher mentality of "keeping with your group". Sometimes husband and I just wanted to wander about to soak in the local ambience. While we certainly weren't stopped from doing so, there was a bit of an overabundance of groupthink, but this was the inaugural season, and I am sure it will be worked out. Having said that, there were occasional "group" lapses. We went on the "long" hike in a Nunavut, Canada, port, and were told to stay with our group, which was accompanied by 2 Parks, Canada, staff, with rifles, as well as expedition staff, as the local black bears had adopted Grizzly bear behaviors, and would, we were told, stalk and kill people. Nonetheless, when the long hike became a vertical hike and was a bit much for the majority of the group, the rifles continued with the small group that made the summit, leaving the rest of us apparently unprotected until their return. Fortunately, no stalking was encountered. It may have been that the folks ahead could oversee all, but it was a bit disconcerting as the group, in this case, did not stay together, but was considerably spread out. In Nunavut, Canada, we saw numerous polar bears from the Zodiacs, which was awesome. Also saw impressive bird cliffs. Expedition leader Combrink and Captain Heslop are to be commended for varying the planned itinerary to take advantage of local information of polar bear locales to enable us to see them. Every effort was made to ensure that all passengers saw the wildlife. The passengers were divided into 4 groups for Zodiac disembarkation, but, if a spectacular polar bear sighting was encountered, the disembarkation was flexible to help to ensure that all saw the wildlife. While some groups had more sightings than others, everyone saw numerous bears and ship staff did its best to accommodate all. We did hear that there was a prospect of viewing a walrus "haul-out", which we did not see, that, while not on the published itinerary, was within range. We don't know what considerations may have affected the decision to stick with the planned itinerary, but local knowledge of locations of wildlife, we hope, will be carefully considered for future voyages. Unexpectedly, we were able to view aurora borealis on 2 nights, which was a great treat! The stops in Labrador and Newfoundland toward the end of the trip were quite enjoyable with much information about the fishing industry and informative local guides. Again, however, SS should be aware that not everyone is always looking for the guided tours. Silversea did take advantage of local offerings, and we saw drum dancing, Inuit throat singing, and had a snow crab feast. Food onboard was very good, although lunches often outshone dinners, especially when it came to dessert offerings. Also, duck and suckling pig at lunch were superior to some dinner entrees. However, dinner was a very pleasant experience, with good wines, excellent service,and great company. One memorable dinner featured Captain Heslop (or his staff-not sure who was actually responsible) negotiating a "slalom" course through a field of icebergs as all enjoyed fine cuisine. What an experience! And I must make a special mention of sommelier Karolina, who was indefatigably pleasant and always offering her creations immediately in the reception area, such as a marvelous hot chocolate (with a variety of possible alcoholic embellishments!) as the chilled passengers returned from a Zodiac tour. Even on this excursion ship, there was a very adequate fitness room and a wonderful masseuse, whose attentions were very much appreciated. There was also a beauty salon which seemed to be much engaged, although we did not use that particular ships service. I heard some comments from fellow passengers that the ship was still a "work in progress" as to details in the public areas like paint and spackling around some window areas where previous configurations had obviously been changed, and had not been completely rectified. However, I think some of that has to be expected during an inaugural season, and undoubtedly SS will be handling many of these matters between NYC and Florida, when no passengers will be onboard. We are disappointed to note that the Prince Albert will not be returning to an Arctic itinerary, as we thought there was much to explore in this region that we could not see on this cruise. We hope that SS will return to this area at some time, as we much enjoyed our trip, and, despite some minor issues, would definitely travel with Silversea on an expedition trip or otherwise, again. Read Less
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