The reason I wrote this review is to give another perspective on a more positive note.
All though the Silver Cloud is an older ship and may be a little worn, and may not have the glamour and glitz as the newer larger ships, she makes up for it in other ways. I felt this sense of intimacy onboard. Because its a smaller ship with less passengers, you get a feeling of family onboard. I made so many wonderful friends on this ship, its like a family reunion. Just an awful lot of kindness.
I can't say enough about the staff and crew. They are top notch all the way. Excellent, professional, courteous and so very friendly.
The Gym facilities were awesome. All state-of-the-art equipment and every clean and always open.
The food was excellent. The presentation was always exceptional and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every meal. The breakfast buffet was slightly boring but when you're in a rush to get off the ship while you're in port, this was the place to go. But again, they could kick it up a notch on the breakfast selections and cook the eggs a bit longer.
The cabin was larger than most cabins on the bigger ships. Yes, it may be worn but the the space makes up for it. The beds were so comfortable and loved the linens. Our Seward was great...always had our fridge filled with champagne and our cabin was always cleaned and turned down service every evening was right on time. I believe service is more important to me than a worn bedspread...which I never even noticed. I was too busy enjoying my ocean view.
What I was especially impressed with this cruise ship/line is where we were able to dock. Because she is smaller we always had the prime docking spot. For example while in St Petersburg, we were docked 1/2 mile down from the Winter Palace on the Neva River. The NCL Jewel and Celebrity Century were docked at Neva entrance right in the heart of the ship yard which is approx 1 hour car drive from the city. We could step off our ship and walk right into the city. The guests onboard the Jewel and Century had to take a 1 hour drive everyday to the city and look at the view they had...a shipping yard, with lifts and containers and the spell of diesel fuel. I was so grateful to be onboard the Silver Cloud and the view that I was able to see for those 3 days in St Petersburg.
The shore excursions I took were only in St Petersburg. The prices were very reasonable and the excursions were great. We had great Tour Guides and I couldn't have been more pleased.
The Silver Cloud may be expensive but when you consider that the fare includes all of your gratuities and alcohol, it is worth it. It was wonderful to have a bill at the end of my cruise for $45 for internet use. To add to that, the wines we had onboard every evening were fantastic. Excellent choices and a fine array of selections.
I have been on larger cruise lines and you feel like cattle... especially during the meal times, and the embarkation, debarkation processes. I prefer the slower pace, quieter, personalized service and intimate setting that the Silver Cruise Lines has to offer.
Only negative note...they need to update the decor which I heard they were going to do. Afterall, she is over 10 years old.