We had cruised only once before on RSS as my husband prefers Do it Yourself travel. However, we LOVED everything about SilverSea.
Just a few examples of the service:
1) The staff remembers your name and greet you by name constantly. Not just a few...the majority of the staff really works at this!
2) Our butler shined my husband's shoes and wrapped them in tissue paper....EVERY night! We didn't ask for this...he just did it!
3) We hit high seas one night...the doorbell rang and they delivered ginger ale, candied ginger and soda crackers. We didn't ask for this, they just did it!
4) We celebrated our 25th anniversary while onboard and I think the whole ship knew it! Everywhere we went, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! They decorated our room while we were out that day and gave us a wonderful chocolate mousse cake after dinner.
Really, I would never cruise with another line after this experience.
The food is delicious...alot of options every meal and the service is impeccable. We loved La Terraza and the Restaurant. We did not try Hot Rocks and were not thrilled with Le Champagne. I thought it was extremely slow and pretentious....I would not spend $60 for that again.
The complimentary wine was really fine. They served my favorite Chardonnay (Caymus Conundrum) complimentary so I was happy. My husband found an Estancia 2007 Pinot he liked. If we didn't like the offer of the evening, we just ordered that. We did upgrade on 3 nights and the pricing for 2007 Cakebread Cab and a 2005 Cardinale was comparable to a retail store...less expensive then a restaurant.
Silver Sea did an excellent job in ports. Shuttle buses ran every half hour on time. We only had to tender once...again, every half hour on time. We didn't book excursions with them but I heard great reviews.
I used the gym almost every morning. It was very well equipped and usually empty. I liked that!
The average age is 60-75. We had 40% American, 40% Australian and 20% European. It was a friendly, cosmopolitan crowd. These people were succesful without being pretentious. We met some very interesting couples. There were maybe 2-3 children on board. I'm not sure why. It really wasn't a trip for kids.
Our suite was a midship veranda...well laid out and immaculate. It was very similar to our suite on the Regent Mariner except it had a bathtub. I liked the bath. The ship overall was well appointed. It wasn't as grand as the Mariner because the public areas were smaller but it was clean and fresh.
The only thing I didn't like about the smaller ship was you really felt the movement. The Tasman Sea had 22 foot swells with a 70mph wind. It was a rough 2 days. I didn't get sick as we had patches but it kept you from enjoying the ship on the sea days...Working out was not an option and the upper deck lounges were rocking and rolling too much to enjoy them.
I did LOVE the non touristy feeling of a smaller ship. No gathering in the theatre for tours...No following the Mary Poppins sign tour leader! We embarked in 10 minutes and disembarked in 15...all easy and convenient.
Bottom line, I doubt I would ever cruise on another line. This experience was just too perfect!