Our travel agent suggested that we take a luxury cruise and we are very happy that we listened to her! We opted to use our points and travelled on our own.
We left a day early and stayed at Hotel Milano - a charming older hotel in the heart of old San Juan. We had breakfast on the terrace upstairs and this consisted of basic pastries, toasts, fruit and cheese slices. It was plenty for us. We did ask for a real mug as opposed to the paper cups that were set out and the gentleman working in the breakfast room was very happy to accommodate us.
Dinner was at Marmalade Restaurant and it was one of the best meals we have ever had. The room was beautiful, people watching was fun and the food was different from the regular fare, unique and tasted as good as it looked. I would choose another cruise out of San Juan just to return to this restaurant!
We had to check out of Hotel Milano at noon and our cab ride to the pier was $15. The hotel arranged for the taxi for us.
We arrived at the cruise terminal at 1230, our luggage was taken and we were immediately ushered onto the ship, champagne in hand and relaxing within 15 minutes.
We had three dinners in the main restaurant, two dinners in La Terrazza and two grilled dinners out by the pool, one being the dinner show under the stars. Our breakfasts and most lunches were eaten outside at La Terrazza. The food and the service were always fantastic.
We used our onboard credits for two massages each, one being the first afternoon, and that set the tone for the remainder of the cruise. We were relaxed from beginning to end.
We took our folding bicycles with us so that we could experience the islands on our own and because of this, we didn't do any of the excursions. The Silversea staff went out of their way to make sure that we had any help needed taking our bikes onboard and offboard - even on tenders! We couldn't have asked for more.
The terrain on the islands we visited were quite mountainous so we didn't have alot of energy for evening entertainment and staying up late. BUT the quartet in the bar were very talented and were happy to take requests. We also got to dance a few times, which always makes me happy.
We had a vista suite and found it to have more than enough room. There were lots of cupboards and drawers for our things and if I had any complaints, it was that it would have been nice to have more than one plug by the mirror. When I used my hairdryer, I had to unplug something else. We parked our bikes by the window and still had room to sit down on the chairs.
The thing I loved the most: no lineups, no crowds and no people getting up a dawn to place their books etc on their deck chair by the pool and "saving it" for the day. There was always a place to sit, no matter where you were on the ship and there was always lots of personal space.
The staff on the ship always seemed to know our names and needs. When we walked into the Panorama lounge in the morning they would greet us by name and make us our cappucinos and when we showed up at the pool bar at cocktail time, the bartenders knew I liked chardonnay and what beers my hubby liked.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We submitted our documents the day before debarkation, our bags were put outside our room by 10pm and we were all assigned colours. When our colour was called, we left the ship. Again no lineups, no mayhem, just easy, relaxed, go with the flow kind of movement. The whole cruise was like this and it didn't feel any different when leaving.
We have already booked our next Silversea experience for July 2013 on an Expedition cruise in the Arctic. We can't wait and we are absolutely thrilled to be part of the Silverseas family!