My husband and I have previously cruised on Royal Caribbean; we've gotten comfortable with the layouts and are very happy on the huge Oasis and Allure. . .we've been thrilled by the superb entertainment on the large Royal C. ships.
We chose this cruise, on the Silver Cloud, when an alumni assn. offered it; the reasons we chose this cruise: we enjoy Caribbean cruises, but were eager to see some ports new to us - ie Dominica. We had been to St. Barts before but were eager to return there as well. We were eager to try a "luxury" cruise line, with the all-inclusive fare structure; while we enjoy Royal Caribbean, we get tired of having to sign a check for every glass of wine, expresso or drink. We also were eager to see how the meals were on the "luxury" lines; we find the food on Princess and Royal Caribbean to be acceptable, but we stick to entrees that are pretty simple, or to the ample buffets.
The Silver Cloud, holding under 300 passengers, could get us into the smaller ports - we liked this. We found the excursions to be well-organized; we thought "river tubing" in Dominica was an unforgettable adventure - I can recommend that highly.
Our suite: was small but workable w/ separate living area, and good size
balcony. Silver Cloud advertised bathtubs in all bathrooms - something we want - and sadly, the ship had been reconfigured to turn all the tubs into showers! Too late we found that there were a few staterooms w/ tubs but our travel agent didn't seem to know about that! The suites were comparable to the upgraded suites we get on Royal Caribbean - the one exception being that the mini-bar here is stocked free of charge w/ any and all beverages.
The breakfast buffet was excellent; as the ship is small, they can prepare omelets or eggs to order - as well as make pancakes, etc. as you would wish.
I found the lunch choices - the dining room, the buffet, or the pool deck - to be acceptable. I was after a good hot dog or burger all week - found an anemic hot dog on the pool deck and a very average burger in the dining room, which I ordered even tho it was not on the menu. Dinners were just acceptable - too many steaks and chops for us; not enough shellfish and what there was was average. Way way too limited in vegetarian options. Just not enough flavor to foods - or not enough imagination in presenting unusual entrees!!! Decent
wine - Bogle, etc - flows freely. Sadly, desserts just always missed - either prepared too far in advance, or attempts at something complex which just fell flat. Next time, if I were to select Silversea, I'd do more room service. Room service is very quick and very well done since we had our own butler.
We found that for us - we miss the high quality entertainment of the mega-ships, and we'd like more choices for dancing. Dancing was often offered after 11 pm only. We like more activities - although w/ one port every day we were ok. I think I'd have alot of trouble w/ days at sea on the Silver Cloud.
It's important for folks selecting the Silver Cloud to know that you need to be able to walk up a 30-step metal staircase to get on/off the ship at most ports. We'd never encountered this before.
The staff was friendly and tried to accommodate my requests. I did feel the dining room staff was either very new, or not well trained. . .
I like the luxury category - but need a larger ship.