Having sailed most of the larger cruise lines, the smaller lines Seabourn, Windstar as well as Silversea, we were looking for a Caribbean itinerary that fitted the dates of a wedding anniversary of very close friends who wished to travel with us. They hadn’t been on a ‘luxury’ cruise before so we felt that any of three lines we knew would fit the bill. Silver Cloud came up with the dates, allowing us a few days in Barbados before the cruise .
The tone was set as we alighted from the taxi at Barbados Cruise Terminal. As soon as the taxi driver put one suitcase to the ground (with the Silversea label) a beaming Ray , who we learned was a pool side waiter, appeared as from nowhere, completely took charge of the luggage and we followed to a Silversea desk in the hall, immediately given our documentation and shown to the shuttle to take us to Silver Cloud. Once aboard we were given our room keys, told the suites weren’t available until 2 p.m. and advised to have lunch. This whole process only took minutes, no lines to wait in whatsoever, this was the same whenever we left or re boarded the ship.
Our friends were keen to have a quick look around, we viewed the Restaurant, all ready for the evening, the tables looked elegant with the silver service and crystal and the tables not too close together. We walked up to the pool deck for a pre lunch champagne, here we again met the ever smiling Ray who, from that moment, remembered our preference for Pommery every day, and then on to Terrazza for a lovely lunch. Whilst there we confirmed our pre booked reservations for later in the cruise.
I must mention the Safety Drill before leaving Barbados. Having travelled on 13 different cruise lines, the 3 drills we have experienced with Silversea have been the most thorough of all, giving us every confidence. Well done there!
During the cruise we tended to have breakfast and lunch in Terrazza , usually we were able to get a table outside. The food was consistently good. If we fancied something and it wasn’t on the buffet or menu we only had to ask. The answer being ‘if its on the ship you can have it’. We found the freshly made pizzas excellent, with whatever topping you chose, yes, you had to wait 15/20 mins but this is no different to going to a decent pizzeria at home, and you could always have another glass of wine whilst you waited. Dinner in the Terrazza was just as good, with the menu changing during the middle of the ccruise. This restaurant at night is calm and relaxing and a little more casual. We dined there on 4 occasions. Each time the food was well presented and delicious, but don’t trust them when they say the pasta course is small or you won’t have any room for anything else!
We enjoyed all our dinners in the Main Restaurant . I am surprised at how they manage to cook a medium/rare Filet Mignon and deliver it to the table in perfect condition, juicy and pink in the middle, absoulutely delicious. All dishes are beautifully presented, as should be in a 5 star restaurant, highlighting the main ingredient with a side garnish of a vegetable, and in the case of the steak the fashionably 3 chunky chips stratigically placed. Extra vegetables or salads of all kinds are highlighted on the menu to order seperately should you wish. I appreciate food and presentation is subjective but we have found that if any preference of cooking etc. is brought to the attention of the staff any dissatisfaction is usually resolved.
On one formal night we chose the Lobster and enjoyed it so much we asked if it would be repeated. We were told ‘no’ but advised to put in a special request 24 hrs in advance. This we did and once again had an excellent dish.
We tried many of the wines on board, all were good, but not everyone was to all our parties tastes. We were always able to request a substitute of one we had enjoyed earlier, perhaps in another location or the wine steward recommended a different wine to accompany the food we were eating and would happily go to the stores for it.
Our suites were extremely comfortable and well looked after by Vipin our Butler and Sharonlyn our Suite Attendant. The suites on Silver Cloud do not have some of the more modern touches of Silver Spirit ,but we didn’t need 2 televisions on at the same time, and the refurbished bathroom with the rainforest shower was super. Our friends were very impressed with the way Vipin delivered their morning tea on the dot, every morning.
The housekeeping on the rest of the ship was, as you would expect, to a very high standard, spotlessly clean and well maintained with very shiny brass work. Its hard to believe this ship is 20 years old.
As far as entertainment goes Silversea is not a line to sail if this high on your agenda. The group of 6 singers do a reasonable job but this is very low key. As our dinners tended to stretch, through enjoyment of company and food, we only took in 2 shows , which were only ‘OK’ but usually gravitated to the Panorama Lounge after dinner where they had a terrific pianist, Perry, and were able to dance if we felt in the mood. The crowd who gathered there at that time were always relaxed and fun.
There were lectures about the ports every day which I understand from other cruisers were very informative ( not about selling the tours) but as with the cookery demonstrations, quizes and bridge sessions we didn’t attend, prefering to enjoy our time on deck. Again we did not use the gym, we rather walk the deck in the early morning sunshine, some regulars felt this small, but as with the small library , some things I believe have to be ‘lived with’ on a small ship. As with all public rooms , the pool deck never felt crowded, even on sea days and you could always get a sun bed.
Was there nothing wrong with Silver Cloud?
Not really, only nitpicking points.
The first formal night was very busy in the Restaurant and our particular waiter seemed quite stressed and disinterested in us and our first 2 courses were rather slow, perhaps he was having an ‘off’day, as we found waiters in all restaurants, ever smiling and helpful.
We also missed (ever so slightly) the Observation Lounge that the other ships have. This was always a peaceful haven for a pre- dinner drink and gave a good forward outlook.
We have decided we would not do the ABC islands again as they are a long way west and fairly barren, when more dramatic and beautiful islands in the Windward and Leewards could have been visited, but this is our opinion only and no fault of Silversea .
I do wish Silversea would give guidance to first time guests of how to use the Butler, that the wines offered by the waiter are only ‘suggestions’ and that other complimentary wines are available and that if you don’t see something on a buffet etc ask.
Finally , the staff on board, all of them, from the friendly and personable Captain to the security staff who greeted us back on board each day. What a great advert for Silversea, ever attentive, smiling and welcoming,
If an itinerary catches our eye again we would not hesitate to return to Silver Cloud. Our friends are now clearly fans of Silversea.