Silver Wind 20.09. - 18.10.2007
Itinerary: 1 Part. London, Vigo, Lisbon, Funchal (Madeira), Las Palmas (Canary Island), Porto Grande (Capo Verde), Barbados, 2. Part Bequia (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), Georgetown (Grenada), Castries (St. Lucia), Gustavia (St. Barths), St. John's (Antigua), Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands), St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands), Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos Islands), Key West, Ft. Lauderdale
Embarkation: My mother and a friend joined the ship in London/Tower Bridge on September 20. I "Replaced" the friend on September 27 in Las Palmas. Embarkation in London went very easy for the two of them. They had arranged for early embarkation, arrived at the Pier at around noon (Taxi Driver needed 2 hours to find the ship, it would have been a 10 minute walk from the hotel) and took the tender to the ship. While docked in London there is always a tender service since the ship is docked to a museum ship. Their suite was ready and right after having lunch in the restaurant they could start unpacking.
The Ports: Since I haven't been on board I can't say much about Vigo. But to the other two places I've missed this time I've been before. Lisbon is a wonderful city and for sure there are a lot more things to see then you can do in one day. Same for Funchal on Madeira. Well I can't say the same thing about Porto Grande/Mindelo on Capo Verde. I was very disappointed. There was nothing to see. After the 4 day crossing we reached Barbados. Very British for me, very different to some of the other Caribbean Islands. Bequia - beautiful, small, great for divers and sailors. Georgetown - busy city. Spice market is worth seeing and buying. We brought lots of spices home. Castries - the city itself is not much. But the island is just beautiful. Don't go to the volcano. That is too touristy and just a rip-off. Gustavia - a mixture out of French and Swedish. You can still find Swedish street names. Very exclusive shopping. Some of the shops have still been closed due to pre-season time. Otherwise a very beautiful place. St. John's - city is in a big need of renovation. We did a tour of the island with a private taxi driver. He showed us lots of places you normally don't get to see. Virgin Gorda - Silversea offers a Silversea Experience there. At a beach called Prickly Pear the organized a Beach Barbecue. We loved it. They work very had to carry all the stuff ashore. They offer grilled food, salads, desserts and all the drinks you can also get on board. Artur, one of the waiters even served the drinks in the water. A local band played Caribbean music, people were dancing, playing beach volleyball or just relaxing at the beach. I am sure everybody (including the crew) had a wonderful time. St. Thomas - how disappointing. I was sure if I'd see one more jewelry store I would probably scream. One shopping street. And every single shop is at least partly a jewelry store. You are looking for a pharmacy? Go through the jewelry store and you'll find it in the back..... Grand Turk - The island belongs to Carnival Cruise Lines. They've build a little shopping village at the pier, including a restaurant, a pool and a beautiful beach area. That is about it. There is not much more to see on the island but it is nice to go swimming. Key West - With two other ships in port this place is just to touristy for me.
Ship's Tours: Since we always did our own thing (by taking taxis) I can't say much about the tours. On the second part several tours had to be cancelled since they did not reach the mini-mum of participants. We've had 260 passengers on the crossing to Barbados and only a little less then 200 on the second part.
Entertainment: I usually don't go to the shows to often but I have to say they had one or two really good Guest Entertainers on board this time. Especially to mention Rudi Macaggi (Variety) and David Howarth (Piano). I was never really into Piano concerts. But I have to say David Howarth is an exceptional talent. But I know anyway they will bring back the Production Shows as they used to have before.
The Crew: The Crew was amazing. Working hard, always friendly and smiling and we've never heard "no". Our room was always taken care off by two girls from the Philippines. And they were almost flawless. In the restaurant Maitre D' Jorge and his Headwaiters and Waiters did an excellent job trying to make everyone happy (hey you can't please everyone, there is always someone trying to find something to complain about). When we entered the Main Bar in the evening Darwin the Bartender made sure that within an instant we received our usual drink. Colin (first part) and Judie (second part) have been excellent Cruise Directors. They did a great job and also their Staff Chris, Kinga and Deniz. The only exception on the sip was un-fortunately the International Hostess. Mona was rarely seen. If she behaved in an arrogant way. Sometimes more like a passenger then like someone working on board. Captain Arma did a great job in maneuvering. When we left Capo Verde to cross the ocean we had a tropical depression ahead of us. So he altered to course to provide a smooth and easy crossing. I've only heard some people complain that you never see any officers around. After dinner only the Hoteldirector, the Chef and once in a while the Captain. That's what the other people said. I know it is different then it used to be. But I am sure they are busy with other things, to run the ship smoothly.
Food: Well all I can say - this was for sure the best we've had in a long time on Silversea. Executive Chef David and his crew are fantastic. Even in the busy time before coming to the United States (this is extremely busy because in the US Ports usually once the United States Personal Health comes on board and if they would check their own restaurants as they check the ships, you could close 70% of American restaurants) they prepared wonderful dishes. We loved most of the fish dishes but also the pasta and meat dishes have been wonderful.
Passengers: We experienced two totally different cruises as far as the passengers concerned. On the first part let's say all passengers seemed to be well travelled and fit totally into the ambience we know from our previous more then 400 days. The clientele on the second part was totally different. Younger but also some of them not really adapted to what we think Silversea stands for. Especially concerning the dress code. We had for example somebody showing up in the bar in the evening at 7 in shorts and a shirt. Even after being told several times to take the drink to his room he refused to leave. It took two people telling him off at the end. But we still met very nice people and had a wonderful time.
Disembarkation: Since we did US Immigration the day before in Key West the disembarkation went extremely well. It still took a while till the ship had been cleared due to the strict rules the US Customs have. All passengers had to get off the ship by 10 am, we collected our luggage and our private pick-up was waiting in front of the terminal.