Silver Cloud is a SMALL ship, about 300 passengers. Great for really getting to know people, but perhaps a bit small otherwise - small buffets with limited options, etc. But they did well with what they had. Checkin was a breeze -- we literally walked aboard at noon, when "everyone" arrives. The entertainment group was outstanding -- a 6-person group that did songs from the 50s-80s, Beatles, Broadway, even opera! Chef cooking demonstrations ALWAYS began with a glass of pink champagne for everyone, AND the opportunity to taste ALL the "creations." Seafood was outstanding (my dining choice), and (big surprise) WONDERFUL french fries (think McDonalds) as a standard option on the dinner menu. We had fun, enjoyable tours, all booked through the ship.
It's a bit more formal than many other cruise lines -- yes, they still have the formal, informal, casual nights -- but the casual buffet dining for breakfast/lunch has you check in with a maitre-d and get seated BEFORE going through the buffet line! This is the ONLY cruise line of 6 we've been on that has this. (Silver Whisper, which we'd cruised previously, does the same). They also serve you in the line; we prefer serving ourselves.
One big complaint we had with the buffet dining was their hours of operation. Sea days they opened at 0800 for breakfast! Tour days at 0730, even when there were early tours! Even worse -- NONE of the 3 dining facilities (pool, buffet, main dining room) opened for lunch until at least NOON (main dining room 1230)!! People with 1215 tours were out of luck unless you got room service (seriously?) or had bouillon soup in one of the bars!
You're supposed to be able to get change at the front desk, but it didn't work for us. We wanted $5s and $1s for ONE $20 bill, and at NOON on St. Kitts, the receptionist had NO $1s or $5s, and only 2 $10s (which we took); she said she couldn't call anyone and wouldn't have anything until 7 PM when the next shift came in! My husband went into town to a casino to get the cash for tips! Really? This is luxury? He noted on the way back that the Emerald Princess, docked on the same pier was handing out cool face towels to returning passengers and had a big "welcome back" sign, and the plastic potted palms; the Silverseas gangway was barren except for one staff member slumped over his podium looking bored to death.
The ship may have been understaffed, because on "big" events like the galley lunch and the Captain's Farewell, they would shut down/minimize other functions to shift the workers to the bigger events. Specifically, the buffet was shut down the day of the galley lunch; though the restaurant was open, they used a short a la carte menu. For the Captain's Farewell, the main bar was closed and the servers moved to the other venue! We'd planned to meet a couple for drinks before the show, but couldn't use it!
My personal issue -- the ship was actually soliciting charity donations to for a Silverseas executive's personal organization. Bad enough when I'm on vacation, BUT they said they were CHARGING OUR ACCOUNT $1/day/pp UNLESS we took the time out of our vacation to go to the front desk and tell them we didn't accept that!! Unbelieveable! Cost wasn't the issue; the presumption was offensive!!
Over time we've found we love smaller ships, especially those all-inclusive. Silverseas is very good, and we'll undoubtedly sail again, but given a choice, we'd take Regent ANY DAY.