Dining on Silver Cloud is delightful, with numerous options depending on your mood and cravings. For a small ship accommodating less than 300 passengers, diners can choose among four venues on any given night (including the standout exclusive-at-sea Relais & Chateaux restaurant, the only onboard dining venue carrying a supplement), or even opt for an in-room course-by-course menu, delivered by the on-call butler.
No matter where you dine, there's a complimentary selection of red and white wines available, with aperitifs, digestifs and specialty coffees aplenty. Note there's also a for-fee caviar menu that can be enjoyed in the cabins or at the restaurants, touting four types of caviar (ranging from $40 to $75). The high-quality food, which is consistently above average (if not always necessarily gourmet) in taste and presentation, is one reason cruisers choose Silversea over other lines.
The Restaurant (Deck 4): The Restaurant, an expansive and elegant room defined by peach hues, rose-colored columns, wooden floors, golden accents and panoramic ocean-facing windows, is the main dining venue on Silver Cloud. All three meals here are served a la carte. Friendly, attentive waiters deliver delicious multicourse gourmet meals with a Mediterranean influence.
For dinner, there's a standard menu that's always available, along with a lengthy list of daily chef's specials. Passengers can order as much as they please from a menu broken down by crudo bar selections, appetizers, soups, salads, pastas and mains. Entrees include selections from the sea (like crayfish-stuffed baby squid), from the fields (perhaps glazed leg of lamb) and from the garden (which features vegetarian options like gratinated polenta gnocchi). There's a selection of gourmet burgers, too, while, cheese lovers will appreciate the extensive cheese menu, brimming with nearly two-dozen offerings (Brie, Manchego, etc.). Dessert menus feature an assortment of gelati, frozen yogurts and sorbets, along with a handful of desserts du jour (like rum baba, a rum-moistened cake with fresh cream), including sugar- and gluten-free options.
Lunch menus highlight appetizers (like marinated crabmeat or a gorgonzola tart); "intermezzos" that typically include salad, pasta, soup and sandwich options; a special carving of the day (slow-roasted goose or whole roasted white fish); a selection of entrees (grilled lamb chops, paella); as well as an Asian specialty (like chicken korma).
Breakfast options include freshly baked breads and bagels, pastries, cereals, pancakes, waffles, French toast and "from-the-griddle" selections like omelets, corned beef hash and hash browns.
No reservations are required and seating is open; there are two dozen tables for two, and solos are hosted by the ship's senior officers. Breakfast is generally served from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (with some exceptions, depending on in-port schedules); lunch is from noon to 1:30 p.m.; for dinner, passengers may arrive anytime between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
La Terrazza (Deck 7): La Terrazza is the setting for open-seating buffet breakfasts and buffet lunches. You don't need reservations for these meals, you'll never wait for a table or on long lines since people come at different times. There's plenty of ocean-view seating inside, but on a sunny day, the dozen or so tables with wicker chairs that overlook the ship's wake, on the restaurant's namesake outdoor terrace, are among the most coveted.
The breakfast spread has all of the usual players (eggs, cereals, yogurts, etc.), while the lunch buffet includes stations for green salads, cold salads, sushi, pizza, cold cuts and cheeses, a carving station and a selection of hot mains (like Cajun turkey or chicken quesadillas). There's a dessert bar, too, and an occasional pasta station. Expect set hours for breakfast buffets (usually running till 9:30 or 10 a.m.); lunches last a couple of hours, typically from noon until 2 p.m.
Buffet staff is on hand to assist with plating dishes, and the wait staff is otherwise available to carry food trays to tables and take drink orders. They can also put in requests for off-menu, made-to-order pasta or pizza dishes; simply tell your waiter your preference, and the galley can accommodate nearly any request of this kind.
There's also a late afternoon tea service here, often with keyboard accompaniment. Order from a selection of black, oolong, green and white teas, while snacking on finger sandwiches, decadent mini-desserts and, naturally, scones with cream.
Come evenings, La Terrazza transforms into an a la carte restaurant (with seatings from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) that features scrumptious Italian cuisine in the tradition of Slow Food. The dinner menu of delights -- Pecorino pie, handmade tagliatelle, veal, tiramisu and panna cotta -- changes every three days. Each of the four courses (antipasti, pasta, main and dessert) is paired with the perfect Italian wine. This specialty restaurant (at no extra cost) is a must for at least one night, but many cruisers find themselves there several times, given the intimate, quality dining experience. Reservations are recommended (but not necessarily required), as the capacity is limited to 50 people.
The Grill (Deck 8): For casual lunch fare served poolside (usually from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), the Pool Grill serves up a selection of burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizzas and grilled specialties, which pair well with the surrounding ocean views and a frothy cocktail or homemade ice tea from the adjacent pool bar in hand. Top lunch off with a sundae, prepared with your choice of toppings.
Come nightfall (7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.), and weather permitting, the alfresco space is reinvented as The Grill, which offers passengers the chance to cook their own prime cuts of meat (like filet mignon or pork chops) and seafood (like salmon steak or prawns) on heated volcanic rocks at their white tablecloth-covered table under the stars. Some passengers enjoy the novel experience of cooking their own meal, while others would prefer to leave the work of cooking on the volcanic rocks to Silversea's excellent chefs or waiters. Dinner reservations are suggested.
Panorama Lounge (Deck 8): The pretty and quiet Panorama Lounge, set at back of the ship high up on Deck 8, is the spot for early- or late-riser continental breakfasts (usually available from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.), and light lunches/snacks featuring bouillon (from 11 a.m. to noon) and sandwiches (from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Room Service: Silver Cloud's 24-hour room service is notable, as the dishes served in the main restaurant for lunch or dinner can be ordered in. Choosing to spend the night in your cabin doesn't mean you need to forego the gourmet experience. Dinner orders can come all at once or be served in courses -- the butler simply asks when you'd like him to come back. For other times of the day, an array of burgers, pizza, salads, soups and appetizers is available 24/7. The extensive room service breakfast menu, with both continental items and cooked-to-order dishes like omelets, corned beef hash and souffles, is a great alternative when you want to spend a little more time in your cabin getting ready for a port call.
Le Champagne (Deck 4); $40: The experience is even more exclusive at Le Champagne, the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea, open for dinner only. Only 20 diners per night can enjoy the exquisite six-course meal here, with an emphasis on regional flavors and ingredients.
Fitting to its name, your feast kicks off with a flute of Champagne once you're seated in the sophisticated and slim dining room, touting some half-dozen tables with leather seats and additional booth-style seating. The tasting menu starts with a selection of hors d'oeuvres (like king scallops and foie gras cones), cold appetizers (red tuna carpaccio or caviar), hot appetizers (perhaps edible gold-leaf risotto), an "entredeux" (lobster bisque, porcini mushrooms with truffles, etc.), the main entree (rack of New Zealand lamb, Dover sole) and, finally, dessert (like chocolate lava cake).
Most wines are included in the surcharge, but any upgrades in the wine selections will cost extra. Reservations are required.