We just returned from a dream cruise onboard the Silver Whisper. From start-to-finish, this cruise was nearly flawless. Let me start with the finish, for I feel that the way in which debarkation is handled speaks volumes for a cruise line.
. My husband and I (hi ~~ we're Jim and Cindie) usually call this day "Mad Cow Day." ~~All of those formerly friendly employees suddenly can't seem to see you. Ask for something simple like an extra cup of coffee and they usually react to you as if you were Patrick Swayze in "Ghost." The passengers...many who are tired, bloated, and anxious to get home are herded like cattle into narrow hallways while waiting for their color to be called. Mad cows have behaved better! There were no mad cows on this cruise and the entire staff remained friendly and helpful to the very end. I was pleased that we could order room service on the final morning. (If only we hadn't accepted one more offer for a "final nightcap" we might have remembered to hang out our breakfast order.) We did enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the Terrace. We waited for our color to be called while sipping coffee around the pool. Absolutely civilized.
Silversea arranged a wonderful tour of Greece on the way to airport. Once at the Athens airport, representatives were waiting with carts for our convenience. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. It's all in the little touches.
We thought we had done something wrong...missed a step. Where are the long lines? We just walked straight onto the ship only to be greeted by a waitress offering champagne. Really now. Love at first sight.
We are not by any means new to cruising. We stopped counting at our 30th cruise. This was our first smaller ship cruise (definitely not our last.) We were very pleased with our stateroom, a standard verandah on deck nine. We are Crystal fanatics, so we were hoping that our stateroom would at least be as good. Surprise. Even better. The size of the verandah was impressive and the fact that Jim and I could both be in the walk-in closet without any (unintentional) bumping and squeezing was amazing. The bathroom was a comfortable size. I was impressed enough that I closed the door, balanced myself on the tub and began shooting some photos of the twin sinks and all that beautiful marble. It's too bad that I wasn't aware that our room service order was being delivered at that same time. (It would have been kind if Jim had alerted me.) I'm sure the waiter wondered about what I was doing in the bathroom, all alone, snapping photos. (Our camera is on the loud side.) Oh well. I'm sure they have a lot of stories to share with their fellow crew at the end of each day. The linens were divine, ~ in fact all appointments in the room were of high quality.
Our Stewardess, Zuzana from Slovenia, was a dream and was also a psychic. We rarely needed to ask for anything...she always seemed to know in advance what we wanted. How we miss her!!!
The service in general was outstanding. Everywhere. We only encountered one surly waiter. We arrived for breakfast at 8:45 a.m., and the dining room was nearly empty. Breakfast was listed as being served until 9:30, so we felt like we were there in plenty of time. I guess the considerate thing to do would be to go up to the Terrace, but it was getting toward the end of our cruise, and we hadn't yet tried the dining room breakfast. This waiter let us know that he did not appreciate our curiosity, nor our presence.
Dining was a pleasure. We thoroughly enjoyed the "La Cucina Italiana" nights in the Terrace Cafe. I highly recommend signing up for these. They are open for reservations at 8 a.m. for that particular day. You begin in the "Le Champagne" Lounge with drinks and appetizers. The Chef and Wine Steward discuss the menu and the accompanying wines. It is a very lively and intimate setting. As we were traveling just the two of us, the atmosphere provided for a pleasant and easy way meet people.
We were also pleased with the Restaurant. Initially, I found the meals a bit bland, but I confess to be a sassy, saucy girl (the last word is a s-t-r-e-t-c-h!) from California. I'm used to dining on our local ethnic cuisines, Italian, Mexican, and Chinese food. My palate is tuned to spice. Once I adjusted, I enjoyed most meals thoroughly.
A highlight was the Barbeque Night. The pool and upper deck were transformed into a party/feast. We sat with some delightful people from Michigan and sipped and dined to the sound of the Silversea Quintet and watched the sunset. Spectacular.
We found the clientele onboard to be very friendly and from a wide variety of backgrounds. Very international. We met some incredibly nice and interesting people. Of course, there are the exceptions. At the pre-cruise hotel in Rome we were nearly assaulted by a mean-faced woman (we call her "Jaba") who worked her way to the front of the Cashier's Desk line by pushing and swinging her orange umbrella. Dangerous lady. She tried to boot her big butt ahead of a woman with long blonde hair...turned out to be Anna Kournekova (sp?) who was playing in the Italian Open. Anna is not only tough on the court, she did a great job keeping this woman at bay, unlike most of us on the ship. Anwyay...this woman was obnoxious and annoying the entire 12 days. Out of 300-something passengers, though, only one...not bad!
The crew and staff were wonderful. Captain Corsaro is the perfect Captain. Professional, yet friendly and naturally outgoing.
The entertainment was good. Our favorites were John-Paul Alman (what a voice! And quite possibly one of the nicest people we've ever met), the dancers Wendie and Zoe (talented and sweet), and finally...Colin Salter. Colin made his debut as a lounge act on this cruise and we loved it. We laughed so hard...we will never be able to hear the song, "Copacobana" again without picturing him singing with his Barbie doll props...(do not miss this show!) If you meet him onboard, for fun, call him "Mr. Slater." He loves that.
Okay...I'm getting a bit carried away here...
To sum up this review: We will (God willing, of course!) be sailing Silversea again. We're very interested in trying the Silver Cloud or Silver Wind the next time. Despite the long flight from Athens to California, we've returned home feeling refreshed. Silversea offers an easy, relaxed pace. I honestly cannot remember standing in a line...the shuttle buses and tenders were always on time and blissfully uncrowded. I could go on and on, but then...as you can see, I already have. I am very excited for those of you with upcoming cruises. You are in for a delightful treat.