Overall Performance of the Company The ship was in disrepair having missed its scheduled dry dock date earlier in the year. The air conditioning was not functioning when we boarded the ship on the first day and we were not advised of the malfunction. The heat on board the ship got so oppressive that the captain had to shut down the dining rooms at night and have everyone eat around the pool for two nights. On a night requiring jackets for the cruisers, the wait staff in the main dining room had to remove their coats and their shirts were sticking to them because of the sweat as they waited on the tables. Basically, everyone sweat overnight in their beds for 10 of the 12 night cruise with daytime temperatures over 85 degrees. All this was a direct result of the company's decision to skip the dry dock date. The scheduled overhaul of the ship was one of the reasons we chose this cruise since we booked it one year in advance and the repairs were advertised to be completed many months ahead of the departure.
Many on board were requesting to leave the ship as the days wore on. Others were simply resigning themselves to eating on their balconies (for those who had them) as it was cooler outside than inside the ship.
The advertised itinerary was not completed. The captain informed us after being on the ship for one day, that he was changing a scheduled port - Tunis. In speaking with other passengers, it was the most important port on the entire itinerary (other than the starting and ending ports). We were not informed of the name of the substituted port until seven days into the cruise. Gozo (Malta) was chosen by the captain and the ship did not go there because the captain was concerned about having to use the ship's tenders. As a result, we were surprised to hear that we would be spending a second day in Valletta Malta, after we returned to the ship from a full day in Valletta. With many wonderful ports in nearby Sicily (Palermo, Messina, Taormina, etc) the captain chose to stay in Malta without much else to do except sit on the ship.
Dining and service
The idea of having to reserve a table to eat at the Pool Grill at night was not helpful for the first time cruiser on Silver Seas. Very limited seating and the food selection was no limited and not worth the trouble of eating there a second time. We tried it once - not to return.
Another restaurant that required nightly reservations was La Terrazza. We ate there once and found the "Italian" cuisine not to our liking and not very Italian. Had dinner there once and didn't go back.
Le Champagne is a small and intimate area just off the Main Dining room (known as The Restaurant). It is the one place that charge ($30) for each person and required reservations. We loved this place and ate there as often as we could get reservations. The best food, prepared the best way is served there by the best people on the staff. We would have eaten there every night, if we could have gotten reservations. The menu doesn't change from day to day, but we loved the food even if repeated.
The Restaurant did not require a reservation for dinner and the food was very close in quality to Le Champagne and the service was exceptional. The menu changed frequently and the special of the day was always special and expertly presented. We concluded that eating at La Terrazza and the Pool Grill for dinner was a waste after having so many wonderful meals at The Restaurant.
The breakfast buffet and the lunch buffet at La Terrazza is a bit above average for the cruise industry, but not spectacular. Breakfast and lunch could be ordered off the menu at The Restaurant and we tried them both and were pleased with the preparation. We had breakfast room service once and it was very good and very prompt. Our favorite place on the ship for lunch was the Pool Grill - fabulous hamburgers and other grilled items. Very casual and was open later in the afternoon as we would enjoy cocktails aside the pool with other guests.
The advertised "butler" for your room is nothing more than the typical surpervisor who watches over 8-10 rooms on a deck. Siler Seas makes a big deal out of what is a normal industry practice - actually works against their reputation when they over-use the term "butler". The cleaning folks were efficient and effective. Anything we needed was a phone call away with prompt responses to our requests.
Programs and Entertainment
We have minimal interest in both of these and the small ship cannot support a wide variety of high quality performers.
Not enough open space, too many things shoved into too small of a space.