The on-board experience fell way below the pre-sale marketing hype. For example, the "personal butler" turns out to be a (beautifully uniformed) steward shared with a large number of other cabins. The "fridge stocked with your personal choices" was empty on arrival, and took hours, and a complaint, before it got stocked with even soft drinks. We could go on........
Our "veranda suite" (719) was disappointing, and badly designed with little stowage space. Very dated 90's decor. Chipped and marked suite furniture. Only ONE use-able electrical outlet!! Very dated bathroom with half-length (unusable) bath. Faded mirrors, etc, etc. Massive walk-in wardrobe, mostly floor space, which wasted the cabin space. Maintenance poor - mildew on bath grouting and bath seal, weatherstripping broken on outer door causing wind noise, etc. Flat screen TV with most channels taken up by company sales rubbish - BBC World News replaced with silly "Shopping Partner" TV sales blog.
Public spaces in better condition, but the same dated decor. Gym very small and smelly. Pool quite small and no swim jets. Two hot tubs but no way of turning the jets onto high speed!!
Foodwise, the ship aims high but fails to deliver. The main restaurant menu is a dysfunctional disaster laid out by an amateur. We ate there once and had the worst meal we'd had for years - tough steak and shoe leather escalope; we refused to go back. The Italian "La Terraza" has the same fixed menu every evening - no specials. The cuisine here is done from a different kitchen; the menu here is better but the food on the plate unimaginative and true Italians might cringe. The $30 premium La Champagne has a six course well put together "taster" menu, but lack of attention to detail is its downfall e.g. gritty scallops, over-salted lobster bisque, overdone lamb which when sent back was recooked exactly as badly!! Great South African Maitre D!! The best evening food was in the most unlikely place, with the Pool Grill offering freshly grilled prawn or a choice of steaks, done to perfection by a German Chef who clearly knows her stuff.
The inclusive drinks wines are poorly chosen - the sort of GBP5 a bottle stuff that you can get in a supermarket, which is a big let down. No choice offered unless you asked. The inclusive champagne is the rather awful Heidsick Monopole. The premium wine list is good but overpriced, and possibly not well looked after - we saw Lynch Bages in a neon lit and warm display cabinet in La Champagne, displayed at a 45 degree angle so the cork would have been drying out.
The mostly Filipino bar and waiting staff are delightful. They try hard, and deliver with a smile. Aloof Italian Captain and officers who had perhaps tired of Costa jokes, and who didn't mix with the passengers.
Silver Cloud itself badly needs a refit, and the prices need to come way down to make it good value for money. The "brand preservation" tactic of keeping prices up but offering a huge on-board credit isn't worth that much when what you can use it for is so hideously overpriced!