1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2011
Silver Seas makes a very big deal about service and luxury. Our experience is that they perhaps should talk less and do more. There was nothing wrong as such, but there were some oddities that made this less than five star. Upon ... Read More
Silver Seas makes a very big deal about service and luxury. Our experience is that they perhaps should talk less and do more. There was nothing wrong as such, but there were some oddities that made this less than five star. Upon arriving at the airport, we were met by a cruise rep, as arranged. She explained that we would be taken to the ship, although it was too early to board. However, we could check our luggage, then go into the city for the day. She said the cruise would be available for boarding at about 2 pm. The transfer to the port was by private car. When we arrived at the port, there were reps there as well. They, however, did not know what to do with us. The woman we spoke with suggested we wait for boarding (4 hours!). She was obviously busy with passengers leaving the ship, but even when I told her what had been said at the airport, she was clueless. After 45 minutes I saw a desk that had a checked luggage sign, and yes indeed it was where we could leave our luggage so we could tour the city. That the ship's own representative was ignorant of a service that existed within 100 feet of her was rather stunning. We finally boarded around 3 pm. No one showed us to our stateroom. The stateroom was just fine, and lived up to the claims of Silver Seas for the Spirit appointments and amenities. It was very large and comfortable, with two flat screen televisions (but outdated movies). One problem was the "desk" in the sleeping area. It was more of a ledge than a desk, very shallow, and there was very little space between it and the bottom of the bed. The hair dryer is permanently attached in a drawer there, so you have to use this space to do your hair. However, if one person sat there to do that, the other had to climb over the bed to get to the bathroom or closet. As for the walk in closet, at first I thought it was a good idea. However, I think we ended up with less space for hanging garments than we do in cabins that do not have this feature. I have read some of the reviews about services offered on this ship and by this line and let me just say that a lot of it was news to me when I read the reviews. No one indicated we could have the butler unpack or pack our luggage, least of all him. It was not clear what he would or could do, other than make sure that our fridge had the water and drinks we requested, and serve us room service if we ordered it. He offered to help us in any way, so perhaps I was supposed to make whatever demands I wanted and leave it to him to comply or not? We found a card that said we could request a choice of newspapers, but he explained that was no longer offered free of charge. The lack of information was a bit of a problem in many areas, in our opinion. The ship seemed to assume we were more aware of how it operated than we were, since this was our first experience on this line. When it came to service, again nothing was "wrong." On the other hand, there were peculiarities. When you went to the breakfast buffet, a waiter took your plate and carried it to your table. All fine and good, but an example of how the ship did these showy "service" things that were not really necessary. What was odd was that no one explained that you could request certain other items from the waiter in addition to the buffet, such as pancakes or eggs Benedict, or that the waiter would put in the order for an omelet so you did not have to wait for it. There were all these waiters watching passengers trying to do that themselves, and not saying a word about the service they offered. They just took the plate and carried it, then asked what you wanted to drink. I just found this peculiar. Perhaps no one else does. The lunch is only served until 2 pm in the buffet or the dining room, which is annoying. After that the only option is a very limited menu at the pool grill. One day I asked if perhaps I could order from the room service menu instead of the grill's menu.(I did not want to eat in my room.) I assumed that it would be available since room service was available. The staff had no idea what to do with my request, and eventually said, no, only items on the menu could be served there. My point is that many of the staff do not seem to be empowered to go the extra mile to ensure the service being touted. They have a little list they have been taught of their duties, and unusual requests seem to confuse them. The excursions were pretty typical. One was not well thought out and included a stop that made no sense, where we visited a resort for ice tea and little cakes. I think it was included just to claim the tour, which was pricey for the time involved, had X number of stops when in reality it had X minus one. A long excursion to Seville would have been better if more time had been set aside to be on our own. 90 minutes to both eat lunch on our own and shop was not sufficient in a Spanish city. Neither the cruise rep who was with us nor the tour guide offered any advice on restaurants either, which was less than helpful. (Actually, I purchased nothing on this trip because all of the excursions left so little time to do so. By the way, while in Gibralter we discovered it was a duty free zone. None of the ship's information had indicated this. Considering the high VATs in Europe, it is the sort of thing passengers might want to know, I think.) The food was very good in the dining room. More selection would be nice. Efforts were made to create distinctive dishes with unusual tastes. We were fine with this, but those who like less creativity might find it less appealing. The wine was adequate. The free pourings were all of a "light" taste--very light in some cases. I think they could do better in this area. They seem to be choosing the wines by the lowest common denominator in terms of what would be considered drinkable. So the wines had little depth or body. I think that one can request a different wine, from the bar, if the offering does not appeal. Ask for a specific varietal and it will be brought. The Italian restaurant was, again, somewhat typical, and not gourmet. Think well done Trattoria food. It did provide a change of pace from the dining room. Debarkation went very smoothly. We stayed an extra two days in Lisbon at the Tara hotel. It is a large business hotel, with large rooms but somewhat tired decor, in an upscale neighborhood some distance from the city center, with very few restaurants in walking distance. I think the cruise line uses it as an option because it is near the Ritz, which it also uses. Be warned that this hotel has the hardest beds I have ever slept in, and I am used to European beds being hard. Our flight back was fine, but the cruise line might have warned passengers about the problems with the Lisbon airport. It is not an airport where you want to cut it close. Besides a long walk to the area that has the International gates, there is a passport control that creates a huge bottleneck. We stood in that line alone for over half an hour. We made it to our plane, but there were five "no shows" in business class (out of 12 booked passengers), including at least one couple from our cruise who I knew should be there. Another couple from the cruise made it just in time. While this is an airport issue, Silver Seas should warn passengers about this, since they use Lisbon on a regular basis. We found ourselves, after all was said and done, trying to articulate why we were a little disappointed in this experience. Not unhappy, mind you, just a less than wowed. We felt it had not compared favorably with cruises taken on other luxury lines, but pinpointing why took some thought. The initial lack of service upon arriving at the ship did not help, of course. I have tried to give a picture of the little things that accumulated to give us this feeling that Silver Seas customer service and general experience was slightly "off." Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Background Information I booked this cruise while we were on the Maiden Voyage of the Spirit in December/January in order to take advantage of the 2% onboard savings and the free air program. We enjoyed the Spirit on our first sailing, ... Read More
Background Information I booked this cruise while we were on the Maiden Voyage of the Spirit in December/January in order to take advantage of the 2% onboard savings and the free air program. We enjoyed the Spirit on our first sailing, though we traveled where it was cold, and I thought a warmer itinerary would be fun. We have been on a number of Silversea sailings on Whisper, Shadow, and Wind and hope to get on the Cloud sometime soon. We have also sailed other lines We're in the travel industry and I am a Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE, Certified Luxury Specialist (CLS) and Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), as well as a former technology quality assurance lead. I seem to approach a lot of my trips from a QA perspective, and my husband often points that out to me!! This review will focus on this sailing, as I've done comparisons of the other ships, other lines, etc. before. Travel & Hotel Info We left Houston IAH on American, and Silversea was nice enough to let us have some say in our itinerary on the free flight promo. That was very much appreciated. We left on a flight leaving Houston at 10:40 a.m. and arriving in Miami at 1:25 p.m. Our only requirements were for complimentary internet, breakfast and 24 hour shuttle. We got all that, and that was about it. We stayed at a Comfort Suites in the highest end room there (lol) and walked to IHOP nearby for a quick dinner. It was nothing like any IHOP we have been to, but we ate. In the morning, we had an easy shuttle and took the next American flight into Barbados BGT, arriving around our expected time. The day of our departure, Silversea provided those with flights to Miami, JFK, and the UK a transfer at 9 a.m. to the Savannah Hotel in Barbados where we had a hospitality room (group) with towels, juice, coffee, tea, water, pastries, fruits, light sandwiches, and a couple of hot appetizers. They had an air conditioned room with board games, and we had full use of the pool and beach. Todd and I wore bathing suits under our departure outfits, and we took full advantage of the facilities. Unfortunately, they announced the departure time only to those in the main room, and the "rumor mill" time was not quite right. We stumbled into some of the group loading up and ended up with a few others on a second bus. The Savannah was OK, plenty of loungers and adequate shade, but the water off of their short beach was natural and 100% full of rocks. Some guests stayed all 4 1/2 hours in that room and did not look around. Others laid at the beach or pool. Some ate and had drinks. We sat under an umbrella by the pool and got in the water a number of times and walked around in the sand. We also had a few snacks. Arrival & Embarkation We arrived into Barbados BGT airport at 1:15. We had hoped to see a Silversea rep to direct us or at least signs since a number of Silversea guests were on our Miami flight. No such luck and no baggage assistance either inside the baggage claim or at the Silversea provided transportation. A lady was outside with a list of expected arrivals, but she did not even know her list had the cabin numbers, and she seemed almost unable to manage the group of maybe 14 people. She sent people here and yon and finally got everyone in cabs where no baggage handling was provided either free or at a cost. We all helped each other schlep our bags right into the vans. Then we waited a long time while they tried to cram another couple on, but eventually we proceeded when nobody came. We certainly did not have room for their bags. There was no water provided. We had a ride longer than the 6 of us in our particular van expected. Traffic was bad, and we inched along. When we got to the port, we were still self-directed with no rep in sight, but since we had been to Barbados before, we sort of told our group where to go and reached the tables with Silversea reps that were requesting cruise tickets. We then were put on a local bus again with no water and taken to the ship, though it was a very short distance. At that point, we had our ID cards and were told rooms would be ready. When we got to the gangway, someone took my bag and carried it up, but we were scolded for standing 2 inches from where they wanted us. I am sure newbies in front and back of us were not impressed, and nobody carried their bags or Todd's. Greeting was nice with cold towel and escort to the bar for nice drinks, nuts, chips, and party mix. No canapEs or greeting spread for the first time on Silversea. Nobody announced it, but I knew Silversea would have something nice open for everyone somewhere, and I was delighted to find that the lunch buffet was left open until 3:45. Todd didn't come up, as he wanted to wait for the butler, but I had my first of many delightful meals onboard, and I prefer the full meal to the canapes. Ship Info The ship holds 540 guests, and there were about 479 onboard or 89%. There are lovely public lounges onboard the ship. Last sailing, we loved the new main bar which was open day and night at that time and just off the lobby. Of course, it is still open for seating, and they have a big screen tv going in the afternoon, but drinks are not served in the afternoon as they were when we sailed over the holidays. One had to go to the Panorama or the pool deck or one's own cabin. This started to make those spaces where we hung out, and a lot of people used the nice space behind the Panorama or other nice shady areas around the ship. There are 3 hot tubs on the pool deck, and they were at 3 slightly different temperatures. I think it was on purpose and seemed thoughtful to me. The pool was used more than I have seen the pool used on any luxury sailing. We used it a few times ourselves, and I was really pleased to see Todd enjoying the water areas more than usual (not that he doesn't like them, but he never "gets around to it" much). We did not use the spa, steam room, etc. this time. I have covered these areas in my original report, along with the pluses and minuses of some of the locker areas. The ship is very easy to navigate, and our cabin 647 could not have been better positioned. We were in between two elevator banks and two staircases, and we were just about anywhere in a short moment. The library and internet cafe are mixed, and there is no divider for the internet section. The conference room is near the theatre. There is also a small card room. The medical facility is on deck 3, and unfortunately, I had to pay them a couple of visits after slamming my finger in the cabin door for nearly a full minute. Activities Activities were generally led by the cruise director and two social hostesses, along with members of the production cast. We participated in all of the team trivia sessions. Todd played in several table tennis tournaments. We attended many golf putting contests. Together, we did one shuffleboard contest, and Todd attended several others. On the sea day, I attended the wine tasting in the Panorama Lounge. This was led by one of the 3 sommeliers, Norman, and he was assisted by one of the others, Simon. There was a white and a red in the tasting. I also attended the cooking demo in the theatre. At the cooking demo, the emphasis was on fois gras. The chef made a fois gras terrine that everyone got to taste and a seared one that nobody got to taste. I had ordered this through our butler the day before, and he arrived that night with two beautifully prepared plates and a full table setup. On the sea day, they also did a bridge tour and a galley tour. I tried to sign up for the galley tour long before the deadline, but it was already full. I would not have been able to go due to my accident anyway. My accident really put a damper on the sea day and the last 1/3 of the cruise. I was on my way to arts and crafts to make a bracelet when I injured my finger in the door. Also in the arts and crafts department, they had origami lessons. There were Italian, French and Portuguese lessons, too. I believe there were card games. There were some classes from the spa on detox, acupuncture, botox, etc. There were two enrichment lectures on the sea day based on geology and Barbados. We enjoyed the things that we did, and we got some logo prizes at the end for participating. One night, we played blackjack at the casino before dinner. I won $5, and Todd won enough to pay for the two tours we did. We did not go back after that, as we were happy with our winnings. Also, there is a full exercise program and dance lessons with the ballet duo available at no additional cost. There was a captain's party on the formal night, and like last time, it was split between The Bar and Panarama Lounge. There was also a Venetian Society one night in the theatre. There was one couple that was honored for going over 500 nights. They will receive a complimentary 14 night cruise. Service The pool deck was a bit more crowded than our last sailing on Spirit due to nicer weather, and the deck staff was not as quick to remove towels. They were not usually resetting up towels like they usually do on Silversea, so we'd have to go seek a towel. Also, though there were more waiters than we have ever seen, but if you weren't sitting at the dining tables, you had to go ask for service. The pool deck service has always been over the top before, so it was a step down even though there were probably twice as many servers. They just seemed to be wandering sometimes. They were happy to do anything when asked. Some people did not think that the dining service was that great. Ours was fine to good. At lunch, it was not always easy to get wine without begging, and they rarely carried the plate to the table anymore, which is something I really enjoy them doing and something I really needed for 3 days. Breakfast service is the best we've ever had, and the other service was better than on the maiden voyage on Spirit. Our butler service started slow. We received the Bvulgari toiletries right away but wanted to try the new ones. We did get those after a few hours. It took about 5 or 6 hours to get our bags unpacked, and we had to let the butler repack a few hours before we were ready. Other than that, the butler and cabin service were exemplary. Several days, we received beautiful snacks at cocktail hour - things like huge mussels, crab dip on crackers, chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce, pate, crab claws, and meatballs. He knew that I liked limes and brought them automatically after a discussion on exactly how many I would need each day. He always kept our chardonnay stocked and our soda and ice, too. He, along with our room attendant did a wonderful job with the suite. When we ordered room service , it took so long. I tried to give up and go eat upstairs at noon when they opened and left for a tour at 12:10 (I was told the meeting time was 12:30 to make it to the tour at 1 pm) and went down to the tender. They had just left without me, and I missed the tour after getting over on the tender and finding they had left by 3 minutes after time even though they called the boat to see if I was on it. The head butler did not know this, yet he came to apologize for the delay with room service, which was caused by them calling to say they were not happy with the quality and were redoing the order. I thought that was very classy of the head butler to make a visit, unlike the shore department who did not bother to start lunch early anywhere in order for anyone to have lunch. Sometimes they served drinks in the theatre, which was something that was missing on the maiden voyage, and this was very welcome. The reception staff was also very courteous, and the bar staff remembered everything all the time and were so courteous and efficient. We always love Silversea service, and it a major factor in why we sail with them. Port & Shore Excursions We overnighted in Barbados on the ship, and I paid a couple $20 to take me around for an hour for some photos and to explain some of the historical and picturesque sights. They took me to a beach that had some hurricane damage and down into Bridgetown and some other places. It was enjoyable. Elsewhere in the review, I talked about our day in Barbados at the Savannah Hotel at the end of the cruise. The first port was Dominica. This was the only new port for us based on the originally scheduled itinerary. I went on the aerial tram tour. They brought an old rickety bus, which was not exemplary of Silversea, and it broke down 7 miles up the road. We were safe and looking at a beautiful volcano, but two ladies were uncomfortable and trying to talk everyone into going back to the ship. Twenty minutes later, we were rescued and divided into two vans that were still full but were more of the style of what Silversea should have sent in the first place. The tram ride was very interesting, and everyone crossed the foot bridge in the rain forest. There was some light climbing and hiking. Photos don't do it justice. We never got to see the 5 waterfalls like the description, at least not water falling but could hear them and saw a couple of rivers coming off of them. It was worthwhile, but I would not go again. Todd did the accessible tour. He went to Morne Bruce viewpoint and experienced a lovely view overlooking Roseau and could see the ship and also some rain forest. Next, they went to the botanical gardens and saw birds and some flora and fauna. It was small and had a lot of hurricane damage from Tomas that had just come through. There was not a lot to see except some nice views. They went on a long drive (at least 30 minutes) with nice views, first along the beach and then up a mountain in the rainforest to Jaco Falls. There was about 45 minutes there, and some of the bathrooms were not great. They walked down a steep area with a lot of rocks. Todd wanted to get in, but there wasn't much time since he had stopped to take so many pictures. At the end, both tours offered both a rum punch and a non-alcoholic beverage. Todd dined on the pool deck after his tour, and I dashed to the buffet. The people that went on the whale watching and dolphin tour mostly saw dolphins. I think the people that did the emerald pool enjoyed that one. I also went inside the market area and also toured the visitors center and walked a ways down from where the ship was docked for more photos. The next day, they flipped the itinerary around and went to St. Kitts instead of St Barths. Todd did not get to the ship. Last time we were there, he golfed at the Marriott, and I went to the casino and pool and beach there. This time, I walked quite a distance up and down various streets and viewed some old churches and other buildings, along with a brief look at the touristy shops at "The Circus". We never did go to St. Barths due to the safety issues and damage from Tomas. The captain spent a long time circling around Phillipsburg in St. Martin, but there were 25,000 people there from large cruise ships, and there was no slots, so he went to the French side where it was necessary to tender. We were a long ways out, and the tender was a 20 or 25 minute ride. That is the only thing I saw since the tour abandoned me, and we have only been to the airport there. I just got right back on the tender since I was upset. In Bequia in the Grenadines, many people just jumped on the back of the trucks sitting there for island tours. We did that last time and went to the fort and turtle farm and a beach. There were water taxis to take people to the beach, and I think Silversea organized a beach tour and also an island tour. I walked all around the waterfront as far as I could and took a number of beautiful photos and walked the little beach there. A number of people sat around at the little restaurants and bars there and had cocktails. I walked over to the vegetable markets to look around and also went to watch some local fishermen working with fish. I stayed there a while, as I was enjoying that. There were a number of people who had zodiacs docked and were coming in and out from yachts offshore to get things at the markets. The iced tea and chilled water at the tent where guests were to wait for the tender was a nice touch. Our Suite We adore the verandah cabins. The rain head shower is nice, and the shower is tall enough. Todd finds the space a bit snug, but it is fine for me. The tub is a luxury size for a cruise ship, and I love the nice rinse off spout that they installed. The cabin had plenty of storage space everywhere. There are two TVs controlled by one remote. This time, we had no issues at all with the system, and there are over 400 movies from which to chooses. We enjoyed several recent releases. Our drinks of choice were always there, we never ran out of anything, and after a very short conversation with the butler the first day, the things we did not need were removed to allow space for what we liked. We had nice fruits and orchids, and we had champagne on ice upon arrival. The verandah was very inviting in warm weather, especially since the loungers will lay back, and with footstools and a nice table, it is just a terrific place to be. Dining I enjoyed the buffets at lunch the most. The dining room was full, but they are using a sharing concept to help with this (optional). On the days that Todd did not come up, I always shared, and I really enjoyed the conversations. The restaurant was always open for course by course lunch, but I was enjoying selecting my own fruits and salad ingredients. Todd liked the meats and vegetables a lot. There were mostly cold soups at lunch, a disappointment, but there was a delicious squash soup one day. Most days, the lunch buffet has a regional theme. There is usually an Asian item (a couple of times, it was a chicken curry, and the other days, it was Thai or Chinese). There was always a carved meat, quite a few fresh vegetable dishes and a few nice dishes. One day, there was a nice boulliabase. Also on the lunch buffet are beautiful lettuces, a variety of dressings, salad toppings, a salad of the day, sushi, sashimi, gourmet cured meats, fresh pastries, a cheese trolley, gourmet ice cream and sorbet, and fresh breads. The fish was the most disappointing since it was usually dry and overcooked, but the last day, there were large, nice sea scallops. Todd enjoyed a burger a couple of days on the pool deck. Another day, he just got onion rings. We shared a pizza one day. I heard one lady say she didn't want her food anymore because it was taking too long. It can take a while since it is cooked beautifully to order, so if you want a quick bite before dashing off somewhere, this is not the venue to use. If you are hanging out, it is a lovely option, and you can get your food at your pool chair or the table. There is a full menu on the deck. There is a full menu for the room with very nice choices, and you can get the restaurant offerings during meal hours. The day after I hurt my finger, we stayed in a lot since I was in pain, and we had a nice room service lunch. The tables that they set up in the Spirit verandah suites are larger than on the other ships since there is more space. Todd had French onion soup, and I had tomato basil. I ordered a pesto pasta, and Todd ordered steak. At breakfast, you can go to the restaurant for the course by course service, it was never crowded. You can also go to the buffet. For the first time at the buffet, my waiter always asked me if I wanted to order anything such as eggs, waffles, etc., and things were prompt and beautifully prepared. They have asked Todd before, but I have never been asked. Daily, a variety of fresh fruits were carved throughout the service time, and there were other varieties of fruits and gorgeous berries. They had piles of smoked salmon and cheeses. There was ham, bacon, sausage, potatoes, beans, pastries, yogurt, and cereals. The pink grapefruit juice was so delicious that it tasted like I was drinking a grapefruit ( I was!!). We went to La Terazza one night. We had soup and an antipasto platter and salads. Todd had sliced steak, and I had wonderful osso bucco. Todd had the tiramissu, and I had the panna cotta. I didn't like it because it had nutmeg in it. Service was nice, and the restaurant was quiet and relaxing. We really enjoyed our evening there. Early in the cruise, we went to hot rocks. I ordered the veal chop, and Todd ordered a steak and a couple of shrimp. The server insisted that I order sea bass, but it was not like any sea bass I have had and was too fishy to eat and likely was not sea bass. I normally love the sea bass on Silversea. We had salads, and Todd had a baked potato. My veal chop was divine, but there was no way I could finish all of it. Todd had the same issue as last time with it cooking before he could eat it and getting too done. The restaurant is so popular now that it is hard to get in if you don't reserve early in the cruise. We had a second reservation and gave it up. We had a great evening and really enjoyed the Filipino singer that sings up to the diners from the pool deck. We enjoyed our dinners at the main dining room, though there was often no fish choice besides the daily salmon choice. I ended up ordering other things. I couldn't order vegetarian due to it always having mushrooms, but I always found something like pheasant or shellfish or something. On formal night, I asked to have my lobster prepared without butter, and I loved it. Since the shows were at 10:15, too late for us if we finish dinner at 9:30, we adjusted our schedule to 8 or 8:30 the two nights of the production shows and went to the Panorama beforehand and listened to Amadeus and the DJ music and relaxed. It actually made for a complete evening doing it that way. One evening, we dined with a couple that had been married 61 years, and we had a wonderful time with them working our way through all 5 courses. Evenings were great until I hurt my finger, and then we just watched movies after dinner. That was fun, too. I just couldn't sleep. On the night of the pool bbq, it was just hours after I slammed my finger in the door, and I just had 4 crab claws and one rib, and Todd had 3 ribs, and I was just in too much pain, so we left about 15 minutes after it started. This event is not our thing, but we liked how this time they put smaller tables for 6 or 8 vs. those long tables we have experienced on most sailings. The main dining room was open, but I was not up to it. We did not go to Seishin or Le Champagne. Seishin has two teaser menus and the main degustation menu, and you can pair with complimentary wines, wine pairings, or sake pairings, and there are different prices for each of these choices. Le Champagne is so beautiful on this ship, if I was going to go there, it would be on this ship, but many times, I know that the menus are too exotic for Todd's more meat and potatoes taste. Entertainment I found this to be weaker than it has been on other Silversea cruises since there was no guest magician or comedian or cabaret act. Last time on Spirit, they offered the shows twice in an evening, and I know that was short-lived for only one or two cruises. This sailing had two production shows, both are repeats for us from the maiden voyage 10 months ago. Only Keeva remains from the original production company, and I feel the original entertainers were better, though this group is good. The Rocketman show was not nearly as good as with the other group. Same with Dawning of Aquarius. There was a Taste of Things to Come show that was very short. It was on the pool deck. On the BBQ night, there was a show by the production company. We were not able to attend that due to my accident. There was no guest performers at all, and that is a first time for us ever on a luxury ship and was a disappointment. Several nights, they had movies in the theatre, and those were on the TV anyway. There was live entertainment on the ship and DJ sets. Any we attended were quite pleasant, but the timing was not always just right for when the people were in the particular lounge. STARS was so crowded on the nights of the lack of live entertainment in the theatre that we could not even get a seat or get to the bar, We tried several times and never stayed over 5 minutes since it was just too full. Disembarkation The butler packed for us before dinnertime, and we kept our bags in the room and put them out before the 11 p.m. deadline, keeping out a few things for our day at Savannah Hotel. I had a short breakfast because we had to be off the ship for our ride to Savannah at 9, and both the doctor and the restaurant didn't open until 8 a.m. We did not get the luggage assistance that I requested, but we did alright and easily located our bags in the terminal. We took the shuttle over to Savannah, it probably took 30 minutes. We had easily opted out of the charity donation, and there were no unexpected charges on the bill. We had the two tours and my $606 and change doctor bill. There was a sort delay of 15 minutes for passport pickup which also made it a challenge to go to breakfast and the doctor, but I managed it all. This was not our best Silversea cruise due to a few issues with the shore excursions and the handling of my accident, but it was mostly very enjoyable. Our cabin was excellent, dining service was mostly excellent (beverage service was good but not excellent in the dining rooms). The shore staff size needs increased, and they need to take a look at getting back into treating people to a more luxurious tour style. We relaxed so much all around the ship, in our balcony and in the cabin, and we enjoyed every activity we attended and wish we could have made even more, though we gave it a valiant effort. I did a blog, which is a work in progress at http://www.luxurycruiseandland.com. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
This was our first Silversea cruise, and we were very excited to "step it up" to a luxury line. The following details our experience as honestly as possible: Embarkation: Very easy. Just walked aboard after checking in. No ... Read More
This was our first Silversea cruise, and we were very excited to "step it up" to a luxury line. The following details our experience as honestly as possible: Embarkation: Very easy. Just walked aboard after checking in. No line whatsoever. Were greeted with a welcome champagne (Drappier in contrary to the brochure Pommery) and our carryon was taken from us after we had our photos and passports taken. We were escorted to our midship veranda suite by a friendly lady. Suite: The midship veranda suite was very nice and perfectly adequate space for a 14-day cruise for 2. As other's have mentioned, the suite is very narrow and long, and there is an ackward makeup desk/mirror 1 foot in front of the bed which made it quite difficult to walk by while my fiancee was getting ready. The bathrooms were nice with marble and wood highlights. The bowl sink was ok and large enough for 2 to use simultaneously but the faucet did spray water everywhere if not careful. The separate shower and bathtub were nice and the water pressure was excellent in the shower. We appreciated the choice of bathroom products and tried all of them including the heavily perfumed Bulgari, the lighter Ferragamo, and the nonscented Neutragena. The walk-in closet with armoire were good storage. The bed was very comfortable and the choices of pillows were fun. We tried buckwheat for the first time and enjoyed them. The sitting area of the suite was spacious enough for 2 and the convertible coffee table with top made in-suite dining convenient. The balcony was decent size, and the outdoor furniture was nicer than most cruiselines. We had a strange loud squeak from the wall of our suite that made it very difficult to sleep while at sea, but as soon as we complained about it, it was fixed. Butler: Our butler was very conscientious and worked hard. He occasionally missed things though esp with breakfast but always got our special requests right. For special occasions (Bday, romantic evening, etc) he did an awesome job with candles and special surprise desserts. He even had cheese and snacks waiting for us after we returned from a long shore excursion. We were especially impressed when our butler brought us a 1 liter bottle of Baileys for our room when we asked. Service: As a whole, the service was great but not as personal as I have heard about Silversea. There were a few people who knew our names, but not many. The service in the main dining room seemed rushed and they seemed overworked. Service in the other restaurants was much better. It was nice having gratuities and alcohol included; we were not hounded by servers trying to sell drinks and we didn't feel guilty to have a drink by the pool. Food/Wine: Food as a whole was some of the best cruiseship food we've had but it did not rival restaurant-quality food (except for Le Champagne). The food in the main dining room was always artfully presented and usually quite good but not as amazing as we were hoping for (we are foodies). Every dinner was accompanied with complimentary white and red wine most of which were quite good. We never felt the need to order from the Connoiseur's list. Le Champagne was outstanding but $400 inc wine pairing was steep. It did rival some of the Michelin 3-star restaurants we've been to. Seishin was somewhat disappointing eventhough the food was presented nicely. The sushi was ordinary in comparison to Nobu or other creative Japanese restaurants. Hot Rocks was excellent and we ate there twice. Cooking beautiful filets on 500 degree stones was fun. Stars was a great concept and the tapas were nicely done and well presented. La Terraza for dinner was excellent especially the filet course with a truffle sauce (we ate there twice). The decor in La Terraza seemed more intimate and inviting than the main dining room, and the service was better. La Terraza for lunch was decent though we prefer food cooked to order rather than buffet. Entertainment: As a whole, the ship seemed to go to sleep just after the main 10:15 show for the evening. We did not go to the casino, and we went to the disco once (only to find 5-6 people there). The production shows were decent but not extraordinary; definitely less impressive than other cruises. The other acts (a multiinstrumentalist and a pianist) were not very good. The ship band was pretty poor as a whole. The best entertainment was a female jazz singer and her accompanying pianist. We enjoyed them very much in Stars and their one show in the main lounge. Ship as a whole: The ship was immaculate, new, and intimate. The overall design was good except for the boutiques and casino which were hard to find. Also, the observation lounge was hard to get to. The ship was nicely decorated though art deco wasn't really our preference. Itinerary: The itinerary was excellent, and we experienced a lot of diversity over the 14 days: western europe, Morocco, Canary Islands, 6-days of doing nothing across the Atlantic, then Antiqua, Dominica, and Barbados. St Lucia was cancelled and we were rerouted to Dominca due to hurricane damage. Weather was sunny and 70's for most of the trip except for severe rain in Antiqua. Excursions: Ship shore excursions were better than others I've been on. They seemed to be well organized and interesting. We were able to find some more active excursions in the Caribbean including speedboating and snorkelling. Ziplining was offered but it was cancelled due to hurricane damage. Fellow passengers: This was our only complaint- the average age (physical and mental) of the passengers. It seemed like most people were in their 70's with some in their 80's. We were the youngest couple on board BY FAR. We enjoyed the lack of screaming kids (there were NO kids on board), but we would have liked to hang out with some more energetic and fun people. There were times where we felt as though we were on a floating nursing home, but as a whole everyone dressed elegantly and seemed polished. Would we do it again: We both enjoyed the luxury of Silversea but at our current age, I'd say NO. There are other cruiselines we'd like to try before returning to Silversea. Perhaps in 20-30 yrs, we'll be back. Who knows? :) Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
We have sailed on all of Silver Seas ships, and we have found we prefer the larger vessels to the smaller ones. Because of this, we wanted to try out the Silver Spirit so we could compare it to the Shadow and the Whisper. Having said this, ... Read More
We have sailed on all of Silver Seas ships, and we have found we prefer the larger vessels to the smaller ones. Because of this, we wanted to try out the Silver Spirit so we could compare it to the Shadow and the Whisper. Having said this, I will give you my opinion of our experiences. Cabins: First of all, the Mid-Ship Veranda cabins on the Spirit are not nearly as functional as the ones on the Whisper or the Shadow. They are very narrow and the bedroom configuration makes it very difficult for one person to get to the bathroom from the living area while the other is in the bedroom using the mirror or sitting at the foot of the bed. There is a very long narrow hall that acts as the entrance to the cabin, which is very off-putting. The Silver Suites, however, are lovely and are larger than the Silver Suites on the Shadow and Whisper. The decor of all the cabins on the Spirit is darker than that on the other two ships, which some people don't like, but the furniture and electronics (including flat-screen TVs) are very nice. We found the beds comfortable in both types of cabins. There is not enough storage in the bathrooms in either of the cabins. The sinks (two in the Silver Suites, one in the Mid-Veranda) are very large and take up almost all of the counter space, and the storage on either side of the mirrors is too shallow to hold much of anything. The faucets in both cabin bathrooms have a funky lever that operates them, which leads to many accidents until you get used to them. There are no storage drawers in the bathrooms , so you are limited to under-sink storage primarily. The "rain shower" is a nice addition in both cabin types. The veranda with the Silver Suites is quite large with a table and two chairs and two reclining lounge chairs, and the veranda with the Mid-Ship cabin is slightly larger than the ones on the Shadow and Whisper. The location of the Silver Suites on the Spirit is high and forward, which I don't like. I prefer the more central location of the Silver Suites on both of the other large ships. Common Areas: The Common Areas on the Spirit are very different from those on the Shadow and Whisper. Some areas are better, but several are a real problem. Under the real problem areas on the Spirit, the theater is number one. It has a very low ceiling, will not hold all the passengers on the ship at one time. The seating and side-arm tables are not functional at all. The stage looks like it was built for one-man shows it is so narrow and compressed looking. It is a dark and uninviting place. You don't dare put your drink down, because the side-arm tables are so small the drinks won't sit solidly on them. The forced "love seat" seating does not allow for much diversity as far as seating configurations are concerned. People who come in as a single, do not want to sit down next to someone they don't know in the "love seat" configuration, so you get a lot of wasted space. The fact that you can't seat the entire ship in the theater does away with the Captain's Welcome and Farewell as we have known it before on the other Silver Sea ships. Now the Captain must hop from one place to another to welcome the passengers. Another problem area is the main bar. It has lost any feeling of intimacy because it literally overflows into the Reception area with nothing to contain it. On the Shadow and Whisper, this was always a place to unwind in a cozy atmosphere. On the Spirit, it feels more like Grand Central Station. The Fitness Center is tiny and over-crowded. Enough said. There are some nice additions to the common areas, too, however. The Panorama Lounge has been enlarged to include lots of outside deck space with comfortable sofas and chairs. It is a lovely place to sit and read or just gaze at the sea. The pool is slightly smaller on the Spirit as they have added another hot tub. Restaurants: The main restaurant feels about the same on the Spirit as on the other two larger ships. La Terrazza on the Spirit has some additional outside seating, which is a nice addition. Stars is a waste of space. Very few people seemed to take advantage of it on our cruise, and those who did didn't go back. (Remember, I am telling you what happened on our cruise. Others may have had a different experience here.) La Champagne's space was very nice, but I felt the food didn't live up to the hype. We ate there twice, once each cruise, and enjoyed our dinners, but didn't really feel like the food was that special. On the Shadow and Whisper, we have experienced some exceptional dinners in this venue, but that may be due solely to the chefs we had at the time. The addition of an Oriental Restaurant on the Spirit appears to have been a good idea. We ate at Seishin twice also, and really enjoyed the food there. It was different, varied, and prepared quite well. La Terrazza on all ships has been good. Service: We had excellent service on the Spirit, but again, I think this can vary depending on what cruise and cabin you select. Our butler and cabin attendant when we were in the Silver Suite on the Spirit were the best combo we've ever had. The butler and cabin attendant in the Mid-Ship Veranda cabin were a bit more harried I think. They tried very hard, but there were a few slip-ups. On the Shadow in the Silver Suite last winter, we had good service, but there seemed to be some confusion as to who was supposed to do what!! This may still be a work in progress. The service in the Dining Room was a bit slow a couple of nights, but on the whole, we didn't have a problem. Some people seated at the larger tables complained about slow dinner service on several occasions. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
This is a boutique ship and the newest one offered by Silversea. Pro's: - only 500+ passengers - very well appointed and well planned suites, even the Vista suites have ample room, closet space, and well planned and ... Read More
This is a boutique ship and the newest one offered by Silversea. Pro's: - only 500+ passengers - very well appointed and well planned suites, even the Vista suites have ample room, closet space, and well planned and appointed bathrooms - vanity, but bring your own extension cord with extra plugs - wonderful system for converting coffee table to dining room table - free movies on demand, all categories, over 500 - wifi - your very own butler - almost everything is included (wine and spirits, water, etc.) - pampered service everywhere! - La Terraza breakfast and lunch buffets, nothing hurried, staff assist with plates, pre-set tables with linens - it's size allows the ship to have premier docking slips in ports, in Venice the ship docked right on the Venice Lagoon - never, ever crowded - anywhere! Con's - European style late start to dining hours, earliest is 7PM, main dining room is 7:30PM - very late breakfast opening - 7:30 PM, hard to eat and make an 8AM private tour if one wants to make the most of the day - no casual option for dinner, would be nice to have a buffet option for those who just want something light, don't want to dress up, and don't want room service - very bad system for continuing passengers (2+ week cruisers) as you're not allowed to book anything (excursions, hair appts., dining room reservations) in advance once you've embarked. The longer you're on the ship, the more difficult this is to reconcile as you can't book anything for future weeks, online or otherwise. Your embarkation stops all your online reservation privileges putting those who have not yet embarked and may be cruising for only one week, ahead of you in terms of appointment times and preferences. You can book via phone or at the venue once embarkation for that week begins. Note: Staff do try to help and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. - Main Dining Room, not very inviting, food could be simpler Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Maiden Voyage-South America Embarkation-Buenos Aires 16 days to Valparaiso South American embarkation ports can be very difficult to reach. We originally planned to connect via DC, due to East Coast weather leading up to our departure ... Read More
Maiden Voyage-South America Embarkation-Buenos Aires 16 days to Valparaiso South American embarkation ports can be very difficult to reach. We originally planned to connect via DC, due to East Coast weather leading up to our departure was not looking good, we changed our plan to Lima, Peru instead. You should be well advised that most South American countries accesses $131 per person entry fee to US citizens, if not visa. Our flight on Lan Chile was late out of Los Angeles which resulted in broken connection in Lima, nice long layover which was not a good start. We spent 3 extra days in Buenos Aires prior to our sailing, we generally plan few extra days to avoid unplanned events. Embarkation at BA Cruise Terminal was chaotic due to 5 ships in port, Silversea representatives were no very active in assisting arriving passengers. They were happy to stand with clipboard, but not too involved, unless approached by passengers. We finally found our way through customs and immigration, then to shuttle bus to our ship. Once dockside, we entered the ship, then to lobby for registration and to our cabin. We were greeted by our butler and our room Stewart, they were pleasant and greeted us with a smile. Our luggage arrived shortly there after and our butler asked if we wished to have him unpack our bags and stored. Very nice touch, but my wife insisted on doing it herself. Our Mid-ship Veranda cabin was very spacious, approximately 376 square feet, full bath, large separate shower with rain shower head, walk in closet, two full size mirrors with built in flat screen TV and separate sitting area with curtain divider. Very nice in room movie feature, there are 378 films loaded in the system which allows you to browse and watch film of your choice. This was our first experience on Silversea, have cruised mostly on all inclusive mid-size ships. The staff and their service level matches our experience with similar class ships. We were always addressed by our name, everywhere we went, our needs were anticipated most of the time. There were instances when we had to repeat our request, especially during rush hour in the main dinning room. Our favorite dinning venues were Main Dinning room, Pool Grill and La Terrazza for lunch and breakfast. Main Dinning room menu was to our liking, Pool Grill for stone steak dinner(amazing). Two for fee specialty restaurants did not interest us, simply because of negative feedback from those who sampled them. Seishin Restaurant was not authentic enough and La Champaign over rated. I have not encountered extra fee for dinning on any other all inclusive ships, but I am sure there is a market for this type of service. We sampled the Star Supper Club, music too loud and was not impressed with their bite size menu, novel idea though! One other issue on this ship is their smoking policy. The Panorama Lounge allows smoking on one side, it might as well be the entire lounge. It was suffocating for non smokers and we had to escape to main bar area on deck 5, but it was always packed with people and hard to find available seating. They also allow smoking in cabins which really surprised us for safety reason. When we walked through the hallway on our deck, we smelled strong cigarette smoke coming from several cabins. There was never a mention of no smoking policy in cabins. Regent Seven Sea for example does not allow smoking anywhere except in the smoking lounge or out on the deck area. There are couple of small things worth mentioning. In the Panorama Lounge, the doors leading out to the deck has large door handles on the inside, but small knob like handle on the outside which makes it difficult to grasp and open? Internet Cafe is situated in a small area and not easy to find. The Main Showroom is large enough with very small stage and they do not offer beverage service at anytime, so we carried our own from the bar. The quality of entertainment was sufficient, not impressive. Now about our voyage! Ocean is rough in this part of the World , no matter when you travel, this was their summer. It was windy and rough seas, especially first couple of days sailing to Port Stanly. Our second day at sea was roughest I have experienced with ship this size. It felt like the ship was planning during the night, the sound of hull smashing against the water was loud and unsettling. It lasted most of the night. What can you say about Port Stanly? It is wind swept pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere. I guess most cruise-ships make this call, because there isn't much else around. We were there for several hours mingling with those adventurer who were getting ready to depart on Antarctic expedition on Russian trawler. We departed for possible Cape Horn encounter, but weather was so rough our Captain decided against the venture and instead ducked into Beagle Channel toward Ushuaia, Argentina. Then the CNN reported about 8.8 major quake in Chile, our destination. We had 9 days, before our scheduled arrival in Valparaiso, so crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. At the same time our thoughts were with those who perished and injured by the quake, feeling little guilty with our comfort in luxury. We participated in ship sponsored shore excursions, prices ranged from $100 to $2000, very expensive as with others. There were to complimentary excursions included with the cruise, the Silverse Experience which is a nice touch. We purchased 3 other excursions and they were interesting and quality of lunches and service was in line with ship's standard which included wine and beer with every meal. We sailed through the Chilean Fjords to Punta Arenas, Puerto Chacabuco, Puerto Montt and finally Valparaiso. Captain kept us informed of condition in Valparaiso as we approached our final destination. The damage was minimal in Valparaiso as well as Santiago. We scheduled ourselves to stay in Santiago for 3 days which turned out to be good move on our part. Those extra days allowed Lan Chile to return their operation back to near normal, our flight home was operating as scheduled on the 11th. On our last day in Chile, we were struck with 7.2 after shock on the 23rd floor of Marriot which rattled our nerves, but just in time for our departure. The airport ticket counter area was in the tent, because the second floor above the counter area had collapsed and 3 hours before departure, we were allowed into the terminal to our departure gate. We were happy to feel those wheels of our plane clear the runway! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Summary We originally booked Africa/Seychelles for December 9 on Silver Wind. In fact, I booked this in 2007. That cruise was canceled, and we booked this sailing to replace it. At first, I was very disappointed, but then I was very ... Read More
Summary We originally booked Africa/Seychelles for December 9 on Silver Wind. In fact, I booked this in 2007. That cruise was canceled, and we booked this sailing to replace it. At first, I was very disappointed, but then I was very excited about the new ship. We booked for the ship, not the itinerary. Due to the weather and the hassles we had getting to/from the destination, we look forward to sailing Spirit next fall in the Caribbean. We are travel agency owners, but we have paid full price for all of our Silversea sailings. I'm a Certified Lifestyle Specialist - Luxury Travel and a Certified Travel Industry Executive. I approach things from a very analytical view because of what I do. Hence, you will find below a rather lengthy piece. Those that don't want to read all of this should just read this summary and then read the section headings to find the areas that are of interest. I felt since this was a new ship that I needed to try to cover everything I could remember. Dining - There are a number of restaurants. Not all are available without paying extra, and all but the main dining room require reservations. The main dining room for dinner does not have as much variety as it should, though they will allow you to order special requests a day in advance. Simple things can be accommodated on the same night, and you can order from the room service menu in the main dining room and from the dining room menu in the cabin. The restaurant managers were all absolutely top notch and just went way out of their way to make every meal a joyous experience. Some meals were memorable, all were delicious. Ingredients were very fresh, and enough complimentary wines were available to please most guests. Public Rooms - The lounges are cozy, and we liked the layout of the ship. Cabins - Our only complaint is with the number of plug-ins. The cabins are very nice and comfortable, and we enjoyed our 11 nights there. The balconies are bigger and easier to open, but be sure they are locked and that your cabin attendant has locked the door, as they do slide open. The shower is tall enough for most any man, and there is a rain shower. Entertainment - We loved the live entertainment in all venues. The organized activities were all excellent, too. There just were not as many as I would have liked. Spa & Fitness - We did not do any classes or treatments. I am just basing this rating on the layout and the pricing. The offerings are more extensive than you will find on the other ships, and they have a number of treatments to make them quite proud. Family & Children (By Age Group) - There were just a couple of children that were not teens, and they were well supervised and seldom seen. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I enjoyed them. Shore Excursions - All of our tours were organized by professionals and escorted by staff. It was a little confusing how the rep was always at the location where we were to end up, rather than at the beginning of our journey (ship departure) directing us where to go. A couple of times, poor judgment was used regarding the weather, and at times, there were no umbrellas for people that did not bring the ones from their cabin. We enjoyed everything we did. The Casablanca cooking tour should have had a real cooking element but was enjoyable. Given our circumstances, I thought the staff worked very hard to give us as many choices for experiences as they could have. Embarkation - They led us to believe that boarding at noon started in 2010 and that we absolutely could not get on at noon. In fact, they did have noon boarding. We arrived at 2:15 and got on, but we had no assistance with bags and no welcome drink. We were properly escorted to our cabin. Service - We had issues with dinner service the first two nights, and our butler service was in need of improvement. Around the ship, we found a number of people that did not seem as empowered as we have seen on all other Silversea cruises, though they did their best to be accommodating. In many cases, our expectations were far exceeded, and there was not a single time where a slight service gap really made a significant difference in our overall cruise experience. Value-for-Money - It was a lovely cruise where we were so comfortable, well fed, and well entertained. I just felt it was overpriced due to a few situations. It was not something I felt strongly about, so I gave this a 4 rating. Rates - Rates were high due to the holiday sailing and the honor of it being the maiden voyage. However, the maiden honor was scarcely celebrated. Things were not quite ready, though everything was at about 97%. People seldom ever love Christmas/New Year's holiday rates on any vacation. I feel that Silversea has created a unique product with Spirit. It has some of the elements of the other Silversea ships, but it is something different. Those that like luxury will find it here. The "basic" suites are outstanding, and the silver suites and above are spectacular. Some of the best managers at sea are running the ship, and I feel they will continue to send it to new heights as it matures. Precruise We flew coach on Continental from Houston IAH to Barcelona via Newark on December 21. This was right after a huge blizzard on the east coast, but we timed it well enough to not get stranded. We were delayed for two hours getting into Newark, though. We lucked out because our flight to Barcelona happened to be on the same plane as the one from IAH even though it was a different flight number and crew. They still boarded in a somewhat timely manner, and we only arrived at Barcelona 42 minutes late at 9:42 a.m. We did not have video on demand, and the movies we could select from on the TV screen were all family/kid type shows plus TV. Still, we managed to find things to watch and killed the time in between the two meals. We had no issues in customs and got a taxi to our hotel on Las Ramblas for about 30 Euros with a non-English driver. We caught 3 glimpses of Silver Spirit on the way to the hotel. I had booked Hotel Continental on Las Ramblas for the one night due to free stuff and location. We used the internet extensively in our room and the lobby both. We only had one European converter, so we had an interesting time swapping back and forth trying to keep our batteries charged on all our devices. They also have free food and drinks there - tapas, pastries and breads, ice creams, cereals, coffees (including espressos and lattes), sodas, tea, beer, and wine, all 24 hours a day. The rooms are basic and quite pink, but you do get a tub. We would not stay more than one night, but the location was very good, if only the weather had been. We did a lot of walking here to see some of the buildings and architecture that people go to see in Barcelona, but we did not see everything because it was cold and rainy. Embarkation and Cabin We were well aware that Silversea would begin allowing boarding at noon in 2010, and I had called two or three times to ask about early boarding before our sailing. I was told it would be impossible because there would still be inspections. Silversea added a 2 day non-revenue sailing before ours (which to some of us cheapened the "being the first to sail" factor of our trip). Because of that, they allowed boarding at noon, but then they did not tell very many people. We suspected this might be the case, but we still had not made it to the cathedral, so we walked there from our hotel and then got a taxi to the ship and boarded at about 2:15 and were then told that, of course people were boarded at noon. Very few were on board, but as we were on only a few minutes, more started to come. Those with enough nights could board at 10:30, and most did. Since we were there before 3, there was no champagne greeting (I did see this after 3), snacks or anything, and we did carry our own carry-on bags with no offer of assistance. We were shown to our suite right away, however. We were in balcony cabin 606, a forward cabin on the port side. We were immediately impressed with the cabin. We looked around everywhere, noticing all the detail. The bathroom was very nice with a separate shower and tub. The shower is taller than the other ships, and there is a rain head. The tub was nice, but on the first use, we had no hot water at all, so we had to call. The floor was wood with a marble trim around it. There was a large white basin sink. The faucet took some getting used to in order to prevent splashing up the mirror. There was a shaver plug and shelves to put things on. The one thing I thought was a little odd was the toilet paper layout and also the hand towels just sit on the counter, as there is no rack for them. The Bvulgari setup was there. The bed from what we measured with the covers was 6 ft. 5 inches long and 5 ft. 9 inches wide. My husband is 6 ft. 3 inches, and his feet were over the bottom much of the time, and I am 5 ft. 6, and even mine were over sometimes when I scrunched into the pillows and covers. We never complained to ourselves, as the bed was very comfortable. We never were offered a pillow menu, but we did have one soft and one firm pillow each. That is what I put in the comments online before the cruise. The couch is longer than on all the other Silversea ships, and this is the biggest thing I wanted changed since Todd is tall. The table in the sitting area is a little longer, too. There are two cabinets that have sitting stools on them - one in the sleeping area and one in the sitting area. Each house a TV. The one in the sitting area has the mirror with a TV that stays a black square when off. The one in the bedroom goes invisible. We loved having two TVs, but they worked with one remote. When we would turn on one and then the other, the one in the bedroom would stick on whatever channel or function we had been in. We would have to call for a reset/reboot. This happened to many passengers, but they were going from cabin to cabin interviewing those with the issue to try to sort it out and track a pattern. We loved being able to check our statement on the TV, read about the shows and lecturers, etc. However, there were 56 movies, no newer releases like before. We had probably seen almost 50 of them. Also, what they show of where the ship is going was interesting but not as informative as the old system. We always watched recorded enrichment lectures in the past, and these were never shown. There are lamps in the walls on either side of the bed and other lamps on either side of the couch. There is also recessed lighting in the ceiling, and we liked how you could turn this and that on to change the amount of lighting even though there were no dimmers. Some of ours did not work, but another call, and they were there after some time to change bulbs. In fact, they were going door to door for that, too. A very nice change in the room is the draperies between the sitting and sleeping area. Instead of tying back, they slide along a track and can be completely opened or closed. You can really block out the light if you want to sleep, and you can get them totally out of the way when you want the cabin to seem spacious and serviceable. I was so pleased with it because it really changed how much I was able to sleep. We also really appreciate how thoughtful they were in setting up the balcony door and making it completely easy to handle. It is a must to keep it locked. In high winds, they will open. Also, a number of guests, we were the first that we knew of, had one or two incidents where the cabin attendant would leave the door totally open. If you took hours to discover (we discovered it at 4 a.m.), you may have high winds and freezing cold coming in by the time you wake up and figure it out. The balcony is larger than the other ships in verandah, and the chairs are very nice and adjustable, the table is larger, and there are two footstools. Since we were in such rough waters some of the time, there was often a lot of salt on our glass, and often we could not see out, and other times it was so cold we never opened the drapes. There are two plug-ins in the sitting area - one American and one European. Silversea has added a lovely clock that is so useful, but it takes up the only American plug in that area. Bring a strip. We were constantly unplugging the clock. It does have a battery backup, and it holds the time for a long time. There is another plug of each type in the sleeping area at the dressing table. We found ourselves constantly having cords draped over the bed or across the sitting area since the plugs were on the opposite side of everywhere we wanted to sit or lay down. The suites have doorbells, and the attendants and butlers need to learn to use them! We were burst in on as early as 7 a.m., and some guests (including our neighbor across the hall with 406 nights) were even bursted in on in their undergarments with the privacy sign on. At some point, they just stopped doing our room altogether, which was annoying when we would have the service ticket up for 6 or 7 hours. I am sure a couple of conversations to the cabin attendant could fix this, but it should not be necessary. Silversea opened La Terazza until 4 p.m. for lunch, a nice touch vs. having to run to the pool grill. We had a full meal and were soon relaxed and well-fed. Room Service We used this 3 times. We tried breakfast, lunch (Todd only), and dinner. The menu is extensive and similar to the other ships. You can get about anything you want from them (dial 800). The breakfast menu still has the guest one and guest two side, a lovely touch that avoids a lot of confusion. Todd's mango was quite green, but his omelet was well prepared. I had boiled eggs, cereal and a mixed fruit plate. Everything was perfect. When Todd ordered during the day, he ordered French onion soup and another course. Everything arrived hot. On the breakfast, it did arrive within our selected time (we asked for 6 to 6:30, and it came at 6:30. At the airport, we talked to a couple that put 7:30 to 8 on their ticket every day, and they would come before 7 a.m. even when they wrote on there to not come before 7. When we ordered dinner, we ordered a mix of the dining room items and the room service items. Our butler asked how long he should wait to come get the trays. I said 40 minutes, and after an hour and a half, I was calling and chasing him down to get all those dishes out. The dinner was quite nice, and they do a lovely setup. If you like, they will do it course by course, but we just wanted it all delivered. We had whatever we wanted - soups, appetizers, salads, entrees served at the right temperature and maybe in 30 or 35 minutes from ordering. Butler and Cabin Attendants Our suitcases were in our closet after we got back from eating our first lunch. This is different from the usual where they have always been on the bed. In fact, there were two clunky luggage racks in the room that remained there during our entire stay. When we met Nikhil , our butler. We asked him for the unpacking. He got a female cabin attendant to do it for us. She looked discouraged when she saw all of our stuff, but she did a fabulous job of putting things pretty much where we would have. We told her to put Todd's things up higher because he is tall. She asked if she could put the suitcases under the bed. Everything was set up beautifully. We also asked Nikhil for some other toiletries of one of the other brands. Those never came, and after two or three requests, we gave up. The attendants did replace the Bvulgari when it was getting empty. We also arrived to pretty much an empty refrigerator. We did note what we liked and mentioned the preferences I had done online before departure. In fact, those took 3 or 4 days to arrive, and the butler admitted that came from my online request and not his efforts. We did eventually get him to understand exactly what we liked by about the 9th day of the 11 day cruise, and we were serviced enough throughout by either tracking him down or by calling room service (who then paged the butler). It was not a big deal, but it really was all we needed besides the packing and unpacking. Todd became ill about 7 days into the cruise. When Nikhil saw how sick Todd was, he offered many times to call the doctor, and he did begin to check on us for requests after my mid-cruise comment card came out. At the end of the cruise, Nikhil did all of the packing, and he did a very, very nice job. He did not come when he was supposed to (he asked for a specific time), but the job was great, and we were so happy to have the service. Nikhil indicated that all of the butlers went through the guild training and that he had a masters degree in hospitality. He was charming and nice, and I am sure after he gets used to Silversea and the way of the company and the guests, he will surely get his service level up. He indicated he had 15 cabins. The butler on the other side of the hall seemed to be out and about a lot, and the lady across the hall seemed to always be concerned about her laundry arrival time and the impacts it had on her schedule. She tried to do something about it every day, and eventually, she got it worked out. Our cabin attendant seemed to not come to do the cabin until about 4:30 if at all and then it was almost time to turn down the bed. We only got chocolates about half the nights, and the Chronicle daily newsletter often did not come until 10 p.m. or even sometime in the night. I am sure we made it difficult by being in the room a lot, but we did have out our service ticket a lot and even called once for service. Pool Deck Service The pool did not open until around the 3rd day of the cruise, and we learned that there was a crack in it that had to be repaired. It was also the 2nd day when the hot tub worked, but after that, it was great. Temps were about 97. They did have to drain them the day that we were supposed to go to Tangier when the weather was bad and the waves were quite high. I went there in spite of the cold weather, and once the guys saw me, they would come around every few minutes to see if I needed anything. Rex at the pool bar area always would start getting ready for me or most any guest when they walked up, already expecting what they were going to order but asking to make sure. With the addition of the pool grill restaurant on deck 10 some days into the cruise, they were happily staying open downstairs until 9 or so. A welcome feature in the temperatures we had were lovely blankets, and the guys set up plush towels and comfy blankets all over. Many days, they had no customers except 4 or 5 at the bar, either die hard outsiders or smokers. Then on a couple of sunny days, maybe they had 20 people. We had lunch out there one day. It took a little while to get pizza, etc., but everything was made completely to order. We loved how fresh everything was, and the pizza was perfect. The last thing Todd said was that he wished we had eaten up there more often. The Restaurant It is possible to have all meals here a la carte. While I usually like a la carte best, our itinerary was so port intensive, and we had a lot of tours. It worked out better for us to do the buffet, and we enjoyed the view in La Terazza. The first night at dinner, nobody in our section got a menu for about 40 minutes nor was water served, and tables were not properly set. Some of the sections seemed to be operating, but ours was at a standstill even though there was wait staff around. After that night, things got better every day, and by the end of the cruise things were going very well with the service level we are used to on Silversea. There were a variety of wines being served. Some of them were from Spain, the region where we spent a good part of the cruise. We stuck to chardonnays after tasting some of them because that is just our preference. We found they had about 5 or 6 different complimentary chardonnays on the ship. There was an Italian, a couple from California, and I don't recall the others. All were tasty, so we just always said any chardonnay. Most of the menus had 3 appetizers. The intermezzo section typically had 1 soup, one salad, and one pasta. We often ordered the soup and the salad, and when they did not suit, sometimes we'd just order green salad for me and Caesar for Todd. We ordered the room service soups once. There was always a sorbet, and we had them every night. For the entrEe, there were 4 choices - a fish dish, a couple of meat dishes, and a vegetarian dish. There were 2 or 3 desserts. We seldom had dessert, and they only brought petit fours on two nights. Maybe we did not wait long enough. I imagine that was it. For the dinners, perhaps 9 of the 11 nights, they had sea bass for the fish. A couple of times, they put down sea bream, but then they would have sea bass anyway. One night, they had a seafood stew, and on Christmas they did not have a seafood dish. On Christmas, they had a holiday menu with set courses except for the entrEe. I had the goose that night. There was a holiday dinner on New Year's Eve, too. On both holidays, we had fun party favors at the table. They also gave a few prizes for the holiday of significant value. We did not win. All the food was very good, but I found more variety at lunch than dinner. It was always possible to customize, and there were never any mistakes in anything we ordered. A memorable dish I had was osso bucco, something I look forward to when I see it. The mashed potatoes were also some of the best I've ever had. In general, all the vegetables were prepared just exactly right. I did not find too much salt in the food, either. Todd's favorite was the Black Angus beef he had on one of the first nights. He thought it was just beautifully prepared. The restaurant is very nice, and we never saw any issue with crowding. Requests for sharing and private tables seemed to all be honored, and dinner was always a highlight of the day. Antonio was great with everyone, were the entertainers and waiters that seated guests. La Terazza Breakfast We had breakfast here a number of days. A couple of days, we had room service breakfast, and a couple of days, we skipped breakfast. Each day would start with charming greetings by Jonathan and/or Darlene. Todd ordered an omelet a few days, and it always came out fairly quickly. I ordered hard boiled eggs one day. They said 15 minutes. It was 30, and I asked to take them to the cabin. They were done perfectly, but the next time, I ordered them from room service. We did not see anyone order pancakes or waffles, and they were not offered. I imagine you could. I always got a nice portion of delicious fruits. Someone was always carving lovely fruits such as grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple, watermelon and other melons, and mango and papaya. They also had beautiful berries out on the buffet, along with dried fruits and nuts and some premium canned fruits. There were other fruits such as lychee. Sometimes there were whole fruits, also. They had hot and cold cereals, various breakfast meats, beans, eggs, Asian style items such as fish, and European style meats and cheeses. There were also a number of pastries. I am sure I am leaving many things out. Lunch La Terraza serves most of the items from the a la carte restaurant but in buffet style. We had lunch here a number of times. We enjoyed the soups. They had several seafood soups. Each time, the seafood was added fresh to order. This was the same with several soups, ingredients were added fresh after someone ordered. There was an Indian soup one day. There was always at least one grilled fish, a carved meat, two types of pizza (one day, there was calzone), a variety of vegetables, and other entrees. Some items were veal parmesan, quiche, beef wellington, seafood stir fry. There were many others. Every day, there was a large platter of sushi and sashimi and some Asian salads. The Seishin sushi chef prepared all the sushi and sashimi. It looked just as fresh as downstairs in the restaurant. Something I enjoyed were the various green salads. There were so many nice toppings and a delicious Italian dressing. I would get another great serving of fresh fruits daily. One day, they had a seafood platter that Todd really enjoyed with great onion rings. Another day (I think New Year's Day), there was a seafood buffet with crab legs, clams, mussels, and shrimp. In fact, I was able to get clams on several occasions. Those were a real highlight for me. They also had other dishes for the non seafood eaters. We are not big dessert eaters, but they had a variety, including sugar free. One day, Todd had the homemade ice cream. There were always 4 varieties (not always the same). I heard one guest say they only had the zero/zero at The Restaurant, but someone went and got it for him without him even asking. He was quite happy. They also had a variety of lunch meats (I missed the coppa even though there were other great meats) and fresh breads and beautiful looking cheeses. Service up there was really great at lunch. The food was good, and the staff was great. In general, lunch was my favorite meal on the ship due to all the fresh things I was able to get and because of the nice variety. Dinner We had dinner here one night, and we always intended to go back. Service here was wonderful. It is amazing how wonderful people like Marcello just go from one meal to the next and never look tired or unhappy and seem so concerned about all the guests. We started with a very nice antipasti platter that we shared. It had 9 items (pretty much the whole appetizer menu) in sampler sizes in a beautiful dish. I had a salad in a crunchy bowl, and Todd had scampi. Then I had sea bass, and Todd had the beef dish. For dessert, he had tiramisu, and I had an amazing chocolate sorbet with fruits. Instead of the regional theme menus, La Terraza has gone to one menu with more selections. We enjoyed the menu immensely. Our only real disappointment here is that they do not offer a soup. I would also like to see a different veal dish from Milanese since I am not one to eat a lot of fried foods. Food is always subjective, but our experience was extremely good. Galley Lunch This was held in The Restaurant on Christmas Eve. Since it was held after the champagne tasting, there were already a lot of people in the room. We were sitting with Cruise Critic online messageboard member NJBelle and her husband and daughter, and we saw a long line, so we waited quite a while. There was still a line, but we went up anyway. It moved along. The area was a bit tight because Darlene was putting people through in lines on both sides. People then had to criss-cross. This did cause us to get full plates to avoid the line again, and then some things got cold. My favorite is always the ethnic foods. This was no exception. I love the pancit since I grew up eating it when we lived in the Pacific. The Naan was disappointing. They had a beautiful carved beef entrEe. There were piles of seafood. They had veal, fish, chicken, even burgers. There were huge salads. The desserts were served on a table out in the restaurant. I just got a few of the garnish berries, and Todd did not have dessert at all. I enjoyed the meal. Todd did not as much, but he had his plate full before he got to what he really likes because he just did not look ahead due to the people. The Pool Grille Restaurant One night, well into the cruise, they decided to try the grille with the captain and some staff and a few guests. We missed that. The next day, we were having lunch at the pool grill, and we did see the restaurant manager accepting reservations. We signed up for 8 p.m. While the restaurant is al fresco, and the weather was not great on this cruise, he did indicate that the heaters warm it up 10 degrees F. We were advised to dress casual. We dressed as if we were inside since it was an informal night and we came from the show. That was a particularly cold night, and only one other person was brave enough to dine there. He loved the food and was happy he did, but his family went inside and ate at the restaurant. They situated us right under a heater, but we did wrap ourselves in pool deck blankets. We did alright. The menu consisted of a variety of meats - several cuts of steaks and a veal chop. They also had shrimp. Todd ordered a ribeye, and I ordered a strip steak. We ordered shrimp to share. First we had salads. The steaks arrived sizzling on the plate, rare. The shrimp arrived raw, and it easily cooked in just minutes. I cooked a few shrimp at a time. The meats are served with baked potato, but you can get fries. I ordered fries. Todd ordered a baked potato, but it was too cold to eat when he was ready. It was not on the sizzling plate. We each had a few fries. We had fruits for dessert. The restaurant is serviced from the same area where they prepare the pool lunches, and the guys cart everything upstairs. The wine, water, everything comes from the pool bar, so they keep it open until around 9 (maybe later now that the restaurant is popular). The food was delicious, but if I ordered a steak again, I would get a filet. These other steaks were way too big, and they cooked beyond medium since it keeps cooking while you are eating. We had plenty, and the food quality was high. I believe even full, the service will remain fabulous because it is not a big place. I'd like to see scallops added. The concept of the entrEe is that you are brought the item on a sizzling plate, and you have control over the doneness. It is not like cooking over a campfire, a hibachi or anything else. You simply let your meat sizzle as you eat. The most intense amount of cooking is turning it over to keep it even. One of our favorite lunches was from the pool grill. We wish we had eaten on the pool deck more often, in spite of the outside temperature. Some days were certainly nice enough. I had pizza and salad. I ordered a shrimp cocktail that did not arrive. Todd had a burger. Everything is cooked to order, so allow time for that. STARS Stars Lounge is located off to the side of La Terraza. It has seating for 24 guests. There is also a full service bar there. In the evenings with a little bit of additional seating. I really liked it here and was here about 8 or 9 evenings for at least a while. Todd was here several, as well. It works as a place for a full meal, a gourmet snack, or just a lovely cabaret lounge. The entertainers, Alfreda and Vladimir put on a live show every night. It was always different since it was live. They seldom took breaks, and Alfreda always chatted from table to table before her show and during the breaks. Vladimir accompanied her and was always right on. When we first went, the menu had tasting portions for each letter in STARS. There were people doing the entire tasting of 15 items. Later, they added a pasta tasting set, also. The way it works is that you get 3 items per letter ordered that are served together and are a couple of bites each. For instance, there is one that I got a few times that has fois gras, a frog leg, and a scallop. Everything was top quality, and the presentation was beautiful. If you don't want any of those items, there are nibbles on the table. There are some incredible flour tortilla chips. They also have olives, incredible breadsticks that are like munching on cooked pie dough (yes!). There are some dipping sauces. One has a lot of fresh garlic. It did take a bit of time to get the ordered items, but we never arrived there hungry, anyway. Darlene, the manager was doing a wonderful job hosting and running the restaurant, in spite of always coming off a full day and evening at La Terraza. She is to be commended. The Other Lounges The Bar on Silver Spirit is just off the lobby on Deck 5. This is a new concept for Silversea, as The Bar has always been aft. We found that guests either loved it or did not like it at all. We loved it. We were there every day because of trivia, and I would stay afterward for the appetizers. There was food of some sort most of the time. In the mornings, there were pastries, orange and grapefruit juice and coffee. At first, they were running out of pastries, but a quick talk with Helmut, and that was corrected for the rest of the cruise. I would have loved to have seen a tray of fruit. After that, they served bullion . There were sandwiches and a full menu with even paninis during the day. Later on, there was a full tea service. At the cocktail hour, there were gourmet canapEs such as pate, shrimp cocktail, fois gras, tempura, etc. The issue was, none of them were ever served warm. Helmut said they were not allowed to serve them hot. I never did know the reason, and I think this should be changed. Throughout the day, they had a tub of hot mixed nuts, and they also had the usual baskets of nuts, chips, pretzels, and chex mix type items. Service at the counter was fine after the first day, but at the lounge seats, sometimes the servers stood at the back and did not seem to realize they should be circulating. Other times, the service was impeccable. Amadeo played piano tunes here at night before dinner and after dinner. The Panorama lounge was a location to hear Mark play the piano, and at 11 p.m., DJ Luc played a variety of tunes, including requests. As this caught on, there was a lot of dancing. I had good fun dancing up there a couple of nights. During the day, there were also refreshments served here at a variety of times, sometimes similar to the restaurant, and on one side, they do allow smoking. We only made it to the observation lounge to look around. It is a modern room. As you walk in, there is a screen that shows the live route the ship is going (same as the TV). There is also a great telescope up there. The view is spectacular, and I am sure this will be a popular spot for coming into port, sunsets, etc. The ship has the Connoisseur's Club lounge across from the casino. This is a clubby sitting area where cognacs and such are available and smokers can come. They were leaving the doors to the casino and the hallway open. The show lounge is not designed to hold all guests, but it was never full. It has a main stage and two side stages. I loved the way they used all three stages. Sometimes my eyes were just mesmerized traveling around the room to not miss anything. The room is all one level, but the seating is tiered so that everyone can see. The rows are too close together, so if someone crosses their foot right next to you, it will overlap. The benches for two are cozy for some, but we did fine. Sometimes we each sat on one side since there was usually plenty of space. They do have a place to set drinks, but it is barely wide enough. No drinks are served, so you have to bring your own. I asked a number of times anyone who would listen if they would just bring a small variety (like they usually do at the captain's party) and have the greeters hold them. They seem worried they will not please everyone, so they have taken on the solution of not doing it at all. I imagine the design will remain controversial to a lot of guests, but the seats are comfortable, you can see from everywhere, all guests were accommodated on our sailing. It is tight in the back, and you have to walk around the lighting, and there would not be much space for wheelchairs, walkers, and the like. There is no ramp side for handicapped that I saw, and the steps are very tiny (like 2 inches each), and they are constantly telling everyone to watch their step. Seishin This is a reservation only restaurant. While it was advertised they would have bento box lunches and a la carte, in addition to the degustation menu, during our sailing, this had not yet occurred. However, the restaurant manager was hoping this would happen, and she also was open to doing lunches when interest was high. We toured here more than once, though we did not dine here. We watched some preparation, and I sampled a couple of sakes. Dining here is 9 course, with a lot of raw. There is a chef that does the raw part in the middle of the room, and there is another chef that does the teppanyaki and other hot dishes in the back. The current price is $40 for the degustation with the sake pairing, and then there is a wine pairing option with the Le Champagne pricing. The entrEe for the degustation is waygu beef. The room accommodates 24. They had 22 to 24 a night in there, and 3 nights were sold out the first hour of the cruise. Le Champagne The room built for Le Champagne was well thought out and beautiful. Regional menus were offered. The one that looked the most interesting to me was the Tour of Italy. It featured a lemon veal scallopini. They had a caviar focus and an asparagus night. There were a number of others. The price here is $200 per person currently for the degustation menu and wine pairing if booking while on the ship. There is an option for $30 where no complimentary wines are served. To have wine, one must order from the manager's list. A number of guests were noting that some of the wines on the list were not available. Daytime Activities In general, there were less activities on this cruise than any Silversea cruise we have experienced. The itinerary was very port-intensive. The day that we did not get to go to Tangier, they put on a movie, but almost nobody knew about it. I only knew because they made it a "Name that Tune" question in the game at night. They did not have shuffleboard because they had not yet painted the lines. They did not have the golf putting because they did not have the equipment in yet. It was set to arrive the day we got off the ship. They did have some bridge games. Every day except the last night and the first night, they had team trivia. We played all nine nights that it was held. Only once did our team not place in the top 3. There were a few spa lectures on acupuncture, stress, body analysis and such, but the timing never worked for me. They did not have organized needlepoint at tea, but you could ask for a complimentary kit, I found out. One or two ladies just did theirs at tea time anyway. There were at least a couple of meets to guess distance traveled. There were no food demonstrations, and I always look forward to those. They did have a champagne tasting in The Restaurant on Christmas Eve right before the galley brunch. There were also port lectures and history/war lectures. Unfortunately, they did not put these on the TV. I hope they will do this in the future like we have always had on the other ships. The spa had conditioning classes, along with yoga and pilates. One afternoon, one of the Japanese guests did a lovely dance show in full costume. Nighttime Activities On this sailing, they were having a lot of the shows at both 6:45 and 10:15. We always went at 6:45 and attended every day. When the show is later, Todd often does not go, so I really enjoyed this pre-dinner option. There were 3 production shows. One was called Aquarius Dawning. It had music mainly from the late 60s. We enjoyed that one a lot. Another was a tribute to Elton John's music. Yes, Darren did an Elton John impersonation, but mostly, it was a tribute to a variety of his music. Even the ladies sang. Even the Lion King was featured, along with some costumes. The third was Euro 2010, a tribute to the show itself. We enjoyed that, also. At 10 pm one night, there was a Moroccan show with a local group. This was in Casablanca. I really enjoyed this. One of our trivia players did not like it at all because of his hearing aids. Guests were engaged in audience participation. I wish I had been sitting near the aisle. Another night, there was a local Flamenco show. This was very good, too. It was not as good as the show we saw on our tour in Cadiz. There was a group onboard at the beginning of the cruise that was in the Taste of Things to Come show and also did their own two shows on one night. This was Il Divo Forever. They were from Uraguay and Cuba but met in Iceland. Another night, there was a cabaret singer. Iris Williams. She sang a variety of songs from artists such as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. The boat was rocking that night, and she handled it quite well and gave a lovely performance. One night, they just had a Star Trek movie. We were in port that night, so no casino. One night, they had a Name that Tune game in The Bar with Amadeo playing the tunes on the piano. This was a team game. My team came in 2nd or 3rd. There was a mix of songs, including movie themes and songs from all sorts of decades. There was a section where the rhythm and to be named, and another where the composer had to be named. The captain's party was held in both The Bar and the Panorama, as was the Venetian Society party. There was entertainment in the lounges, and on some nights (7 out of 11), the casino was open if we weren't on an overnight. Other Public Areas On deck 8, there is the shops. There is a variety of logo items, jewelry, and designer ware. There are a very few pharmacy items. Also on deck 8 is the casino. This is larger than on all the other Silversea ships. Most notedly, there are quite a few more slots. They generally opened a half hour after coming into port and closed while in port. We played roulette once and eventually lost, so we mostly stuck to black jack and won almost every session. Tables also close during dinner. The day we arrived in Lisbon (which was supposed to be a sea day), they opened only for a couple of hours and only slots. The pool deck is very nice with 3 hot tubs and nice loungers with padded headrests. There is a row of double loungers that have thick cushions. All along the deck on the sides, there are loungers. Back behind the panorama lounge, there are other seats and even covered cabanas. Deck 10 has more seating and a track. These all have smoking areas. The library and internet center had a lot of books, mostly hardback. Gone are the DVDs, you just watch the movies on TV. They still had the suduko, daily quizzes (they ran out before 9 am almost every day), and crossword. The internet did not work a couple of days near the beginning of the cruise, and the guy running the center was seldom every in the center. He was available by page. Since he was with people all the time he was up there, I was surprised he was hardly ever around. On 5, they have the tour concierge desk now and also reception. Reception is the "go to" area for start for any issues, to pay bills, etc. There was a lot more "I am not allowed" than I have ever heard, but generally, they handled everything I ever needed. The infirmary is on deck 3, and the prices for nurse and doctor are posted there. They will also come to the cabin, but they charge more for that. The butler can arrange this. The spa had a number of treatment areas and new things like bamboo massage and herbal massage. They also have a Chinese medicine doctor and offer acupuncture. One of the guests we spoke to had this done and was quite pleased. Also available is Botox, and a number of people had it done. I don't need that yet. I didn't see a lot of specials except for multi-treatment packages. The aerobics room looks like it could not handle more than a handful of guests. It had hand weights and other equipment (no step) and a big screen. You could pick a routine from it, also. There was new equipment in the cardio room, and they had loaner headsets. A number of the machines are hooked to satellite, but it was not yet working. They were doing body composition analysis in this room for $40. There is a thermal room that was available for $25 per day or $150 for the cruise or $250 per couple. You could do your own aromatherapy and also sit on the hot stone seats (short) and also use the outdoor hot tub and lounge area. There was also a relaxation room. All areas had bottled waters and bottle juices available. The thermal area had its own sauna and steamroom. There was also a free sauna and steamroom, but both sets were unisex. It was an odd trot from the locker area to the sauna and steam, and over there, there was no hanger for robes and little room to move around. Generally, the steam room could handl 3 guests. The sauna had two benches for sitting or laying down, and it was oceanview. If someone laid on the bottom shelf, you could not lay on the top without making them move. The forward elevators did not work for several days in the rough weather. We just kept walking to the next set. Tours and Ports I booked tours with Silversea online in advance, and given the weather, I wish I had not done this. Our first scheduled tour was in Barcelona. This was the vineyard tour. It was canceled due to weather, but we did not do another tour since we had walked around a lot on our own the previous day. I had caught a mini cold from walking in the rain, so we just enjoyed the ship, all new. While walking around, we saw many restaurants, and there was everything for sale outside, even mice. In Malaga, we did a tour that went to a cathedral and a couple of castles. We had a spectacular view of the bullring and the ship and all of the water. We did the whole tour with umbrellas, and everyone wanted to come back early. The cathedral was just beautiful inside. All the architecture was amazing all around us, and we could not believe how much space was used in the town and how stacked the buildings were. There was also a shuttle, and some people went shopping. In Cadiz, we did the walking tour and Flamenco and Tapas. We really thought this was a highlight. I had walked all around the day before, but I did not know what I was seeing, and I did not go to quite as many places. It was windy up by the Atlantic. The Flamenco show was exceptional. Everyone was served local meat, cheese, and bread. We all got two drinks - either cava, red or white wine, lager or soft drinks. It is amazing how much work those dancers do, especially the men. Everyone had a great seat. Before the show, we were taken to a flower market and given time to go around on our own. We found a flea market and a fish and farmers market. We could not believe the variety of items available there. If you come here, be aware of the lengthy siesta time in the afternoon. Five guests did the cooking school here and actually got to cook. The cooking tour is the only tour I heard of that was not escorted by Silversea, but the guests just loved the tour. In Gibraltar, we went on one of the Rock of the Apes tours. This was another huge highlight. We were taken out by a lighthouse where we could see both Africa and Spain while we were standing in the U.K. The rock was an interesting sight, and after we drove up, we were placed in the environment with the apes as they ran free. We had many photo ops . We went inside for the cave tour, and it was very interesting. After the tour, I stayed in town to look around while Todd went back to the ship. There were a variety of British restaurants and pubs and many shops. Some were not open when I arrived due to it being Sunday, and then they opened later. In general, it was a good idea to have US dollars here (I did not), as they were giving the same exchange rate for Euros and USD. Since I was paying in Euros and already had lost on that deal from USD, I took a double hit. I only bought some cough syrup (12 EU) and a couple of magnets. I took a cab back to the ship for 2 Euros, but he would have taken 1 pound or 2 US dollars, also. In Casablanca, we each did a different tour. Todd did the sightseeing tour. They went inside the mosque on Todd's tour. On ours, we just saw the outside. Both went to the farmer's and fish market. Here I bought some of the Argan oil body lotion. Our guide stayed with us at all times. We went to a cooking school. First we were given some delicious juice that tasted like tangerines. Next, we were seated at a long metal table. The students demonstrated making various cookies and biscuits and beef and chicken dishes. The cookies were served with mint tea during the demo. Later, all the prepared dishes were served buffet style after we completed a hand-washing ritual that was a photo op. at the end, we had more cookies and tea on the rooftop. We had several sightseeing stops and a trip inside of a local store to buy African items. We also had a stop to a local herb place where they sold many herbs, lotions, potions, mixes, etc. for medicinal purposes and spices for cooking. Many were demonstrated. Then they were offered for sale at a one time price. I bought some other local hand crèmes. I'm really enjoying them. Both of our tours went by Rick's Cafe, a tribute to the movie that was actually filmed in Hollywood. Tangier was canceled due to the ship entering hurricane category 2 waters. We saw land in the distance, but we never entered the harbor and sailed on to Lisbon a day early after several hours of just laying down seasick and a rocky evening. Our tour in Lisbon included about 1 and a half hours on a river boat around the Tagus river. We were given local ham and cheese sandwiches and pastries, along with orange juice that tasted like Tang. This was a very pleasant way to see the river and get excellent pics of all the monuments and of Silver Spirit. Next, we took a motor coach all around town and got out for a couple of photos and saw a lot of the architecture. This was very relaxing. Dress Code The dress code on the ship during the day was resort casual. Since it was generally around 53 degrees F or 12 C much of the time, people had on long sleeved shirts, sometimes sweatshirts or sweaters, and long pants. I saw more people around in their robes than on any other cruise. Some wore them up to the hot tub. I have seen this before, but there was more of that on this cruise since it was cold. Also, people wore robes to the spa since the dressing room setup was not as desirable as on the other ships. Swimsuits are needed in the sauna and steam due to the unisex setup. During the day, I saw more jeans than ever, and with the weather, I wore them a couple of times myself and was happy to be in them! At night, we had 3 formal nights. It was a holiday cruise, and I think people enjoyed the dressup. We had 3 or 4 casual nights, and the rest were informal. Todd wore long-sleeved shirts on the casual, sometimes with a jacket, sometimes not. On the informal nights, he wore various dress shirts and a jacket and usually a tie. Some wore ties, and others did not. On New Year's Eve, there were a few gowns, but mostly, people dressed like on other Silversea cruises where there are a mix of tuxes and suits for men and a mix of dresses and nice pant outfits for women. Everyone looked nice all the time. Staff and Other Guests Around 60% of the staff came from other Silversea ships. We saw many familiar faces. Our cruise director was Fernando, and he brought Alessandra with him. It was great to see them. Crystal was the other international hostess. Fernando was ill for half the cruise, and Alessandra stepped in much of the time and did a wonderful job, as always. We saw wait staff and managers, all sorts of people that remembered us, and that we remembered. One exception is the production team. They were hired with contracts until August and had rehearsed for about a month and a half in Fort Lauderdale. There were 3 men and 5 women. Included is a ballet couple from the Ukraine. We did notice a difference in the service level of the new people from the seasoned Silversea staff. It was not from lack of interest or trying. By the end of the cruise, they had taken it up several notches. Even the experienced Silversea staff had some glitches with the new ship, but they were swift to act. There were 462 guests. There were 159 from the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) and 86 guests from Japan. There were some from Hong Kong and a number of Europeans and people from Canada. There were very few children, and none of them bothered anyone that I know of. We also were told that around 85% were returning Silversea guests. Holiday Celebrations At first, I thought they weren't really doing much for the Christmas holiday. They did, actually do some nice things, but there was not a lot of advanced notice. They had a mass on Christmas Eve. I went to this, though I am not Catholic. The next day in the early evening, there was a non-denominational service, but it was not mentioned the day before. There were a good number of attendees at the mass, including a number of the staff. There was a holiday show with mainly carols. This involved singing and piano and was held in the show lounge. On Christmas Eve, they had the galley lunch. On Christmas Day, there was an Italian family dinner in La Terazza and a set menu in The Restaurant, with the choice of entrEe. Seishin and Le Champagne were both open. On New Year's Day, they opened Seishin at lunch and had a Japanese New Year's party up there. Also on New Year's Day, they had a seafood buffet at lunch at La Terraza. On both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, at dinner, there were party favors at all the tables. On New Year's Eve, the lounges all had parties starting at 11 p.m. We booked in for STARS for 9:30. Dinner went until 9:40. Many that reserved did not show up at their correct time, and their tables were held. There were pluses and minuses to that. CEO Ken Watson attended the party at STARS. Alfreda added Motown and even disco to her offerings for the night. The entertainment staff all brought around champagne, and there were party favors - noise makers, hats, streamers, and balloons all over. There was dancing, and even Todd danced a little in spite of having a stomach ache and cough that was going around the ship a bit. After 12:15 when he went to the cabin, I went up to the Panorama lounge to look around. There were just a few people left. Inaugural Significance On this sailing, there was not a single sail away party, not even the first sail away. We were given a tote bag and two baseball caps, and we also got a paper certificate each noting our sailing on the maiden voyage. Little mention was made and not a lot of fanfare. Even the in-room sail away champagne was never even put on ice. When we opened it ourselves, they took it away before we even drank it. Debarkation and Trip Home We had a nice breakfast in our room and left the ship at 7:30 a.m. since we supposedly had an early flight in Lisbon. We were able to get a cab at the ship. We went in a Mercedes with an English-speaking guide who took us all the way inside the airport with our bags and made sure we were OK. He only wanted 37 Euros. On the Continental flight, we had video on demand. I watched 3 movies. The flight was full. We were served two meals again. We arrived to Newark two hours late. This caused us supposedly to miss our flight. We had already been confirmed for another flight in Lisbon as they expected us to miss it. We had to recheck our bags, and then we killed a bunch of time in Newark before we finally boarded for the 6:45 flight (we had originally been going to be all the way home by 7:20 Central). The flight was full, and we were set to go. They never shut the door, and all of a sudden, they said there was a security issue and to stand by. Eventually, we were deplaned, as were all planes in the terminal, including our original flight that had been delayed due to mechanical issues. We ended up being rallied down to the baggage claim. We were in Newark 8 hours, but eventually we got out that night and got home at 3:18 a.m. 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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