We have been sailing on Silversea since 1995 and have over 240 days on board all of its ships. While the line is not what it once was--the food is nowhere near as good and the amenities of caviar, decent champagne upon arrival, and access to a full range of call brand liquor, and special Silversea adventures on each cruise are no longer available at no charge to all--we still enjoy the line. From time to time, we have had problems, most of which have been equitably resolved, sometimes without our even asking for help.
On the positive side, I never have traveled on a ship with better butler or housekeeping services than we experienced on this occasion. The wait staff was extraordinarily competent. When we complained on our passenger survey and asked to speak to the Hotel Manager about the matters mentioned below, he visited us in our suite, listened to us with respect, offered us a complementary dinner at the fanciest restaurant on board, and promised to let "Fort Lauderdale" know about all of our input, both positive and negative, via the form. I thanked him for his courtesy and told him that I would wait for a response from Fort Lauderdale before complaining on the record on line. We debarked on March 13, and as of today, April 24, we have heard nothing from Fort Lauderdale except advertisements for additional cruises.
And so it was with absolute shock that we emerged from the Valparaiso-Ft. Lauderdale trip with a very bad feeling about the line's devotion to its customers. In our years with Silversea, we have taken trips of several segments in length, and we have had accommodations ranging from the Grand Suite to the Silver Suite to the Veranda Suite. We always have been nicely treated, regardless of how long we sailed or what type of room we rented.
We never have experienced the bald-faced fawning over passengers who are traveling for more than one segment that we experienced on this cruise. We never have seen such obvious preferential treatment for people who are traveling on more than one segment. Friends have told us that they never will travel on a Silversea long-term cruise again (such as World or Discovery), because there is cliquishness and exclusivity in the air. We had never noticed this before. On this trip, it stared us in the face. We often were with friends who received these services and conveniences that were offered only to them as we looked on.
Officers and senior managers singled out people with whom we were dining for special privileges and meals that were not offered to us or others who had not traveled since the cruise began. They actually ignored us while planning special events for these people at the restaurant. One watched while someone pointed to us and said to the restaurant manager, "Not for them. They're not in our party that night." We were told by longer-term passengers about options for meals in La Terraza that are available upon request--but they weren't when we requested them. We watched our friends who had been on board from the beginning of the cruise angle for delivery of prizes to their suites, rather than having to stand in line as everyone else was directed to do.
The provisioning on this trip was pitiful. Despite advertising premium foods and beverages, the ship ran out of Pellegrino a few days into the cruise segment; never had Heinekin beer; never had a California
Chardonnay; only served broccoli that was half yellow; served fish so smelly and meatballs so dry at the Terraza luncheon that we asked the dining room manager to return them (and he came back to us and said the chef agreed and was remaking the dishes).
Venetian Society members--those who have sailed with Silversea before--always are invited to dine with officers and executive crew on their next cruise. We never were invited to do so by any of these people. Our friends who had been on longer were invited several times while we were on board. Despite the lavish accolades printed and spoken by senior staff about how valuable Venetian Society members are to Silversea, apparently passengers who book multiple segments--even those who have fewer total days on Silversea than other Venetian Society members onboard--are even more valuable.
We were very disappointed at the poor food and drink and the way we were treated on board during this $1000 plus per person per day vacation. There are an awful lot of other opportunities to obtain more value for that amount of money from gracious travel hosts. We hope that Silversea will some day make this right.