We have been putting off a cruise for years even though most of our friends do it and love it. Neither I or my wife are interested in being trapped at sea with 3,000 strangers and their children so when I found this particular itinerary and this cruise line (and the reasonable price) we decided to give it a go. Now we're hooked.
We are not very interested in the Caribbean and have already visited the ports around southern Europe by car. So this itinerary looked interesting. Starting in London (right on the Thames by the Tower Bridge) visiting the Scottish isles, and Iceland at a leisurely pace of 9 nights.
The Silver Cloud is the perfect size, less than 300 passengers, but large enough for most of the comforts one would expect. The line's descriptions we found accurate and now our impressions:
First, we have NO complaints. We are grown-up seasoned travelers and tend to roll with the situation.
Everything went smoothly, everything in our comfortable suite worked, our butler was a very helpful young man who did his best to anticipate our needs (each butler serves 15 suites -- some people seem to think they should have the guy all to themselves.)
Of course dining and drinking is a highlight of cruising. and we were very pleased with the quality and service. We tend to avoid buffets anywhere as the offerings are usually mediocre at best and are turned off by the behavior of too many "greedy" diners intent on getting their "money's worth." So most of our meals were taken in the main dining room -- fine service and B+ cuisine. Hint: while most diners were elbowing each other at the breakfast and lunch buffets, the dining room was half empty, quiet and elegant.
I've read complaints about the condition of the ship. Yes she needs some TLC and is scheduled for a face lift this year. Other than being a bit dated, we found her graceful in middle age. Living in a Nevada casino town, we are long past interest in cabaret style entertainment, and of course the dreaded buffet. We took in one show and it was enjoyable enough.
True, the included wines are rather generic but acceptable. If you simply must have a premium quaff, use some of your on-board credits. The bars are decently stocked with upper-tier brand booze.
In summary, we are pretty well decided on another trip on the old girl next year.