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4 Madeira (Funchal) to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have been on 10+ cruises with Royal Caribbean and P&O with the children and nearly always had a good time - this was to be our first cruise without the children so we wanted to pick an "upmarket, no children, fine ... Read More
My wife and I have been on 10+ cruises with Royal Caribbean and P&O with the children and nearly always had a good time - this was to be our first cruise without the children so we wanted to pick an "upmarket, no children, fine dining" cruise line for a change. The Silversea advertising is full of pictures of glamourous, beautiful people, all in their 40s, with little mention of children so we thought we'd give it a try. We have just got back from easily the worst holiday of our lives. My feedback form on the ship ran to two pages of small writing, but in the interests of brevity, here are the highlights: 1. Silver Cloud is old and tired, creaky, needing a lick of paint in places. It is a small ship, with very limited facilities (5 seats in the library where you can read the only copy of a newspaper on board), a bridge room, a 2 table casino and a cafe that was never open when I wanted a coffee and a cookie (and no cookies when it was open). 2. At 49 years old we were the youngest on board by about ten years, and the average age was mid 60s. Vaste majority on board had mobility issues. The UK and Europe Silversea advertising makes no mention of a focus on pensioners, but the US advertising which we saw on board talks about "Silversea Senior Cruises" - wish we'd known. We had to wait 15 minutes to board the ship while we waited for crew members to help an elderly gentleman disembark down a very steep and moving gangway - the poor guy - any other ship we've been on would have found a way of getting him on at sea level or used the gantries. And the Cruise Director (David) telling us all to "wrap up warm as it is a little chilly, maybe an extra cardigan" and to "hold on tight to handrails" wore a bit thin after a while. 3. The cabin was ok - a bit dated and in need improvement, but on a par with balcony cabins on other ships. However, see "Cabin Review" below for a list of the 6-7 problems with the detail 4. The one good aspect of the whole cruise was our butler (Rodney) who was excellent, attentive, nothing too much trouble, sensitive when my wife had sea-sickness. 5. Really annoying was the noise in the corridor outside our room - no sound proofing at all, and the strong hinge on the cabin doors meant they all slammed automatically. On other ships there has always been a dampener to make the sure the doors close, but not violently - this kept us awake constantly. 6. Most of the food was OK, the main Restaurant decent food and service, the Terraza ok, and Le Champagne actually pretty decent food - not michelin star, but enjoyable. However - in every single meal on board during 6 days at least one plate of hot food was served cool or cold - if they invested in a plate warmer they'd make a big difference. 7. The whole experience felt starved of investment, cheap, really a bit sad. Even the badly photocopied daily menu we had delivered to our room (which was barely legible - seriously can't they even photocopy or print something?) was wrong on two occasions. the air freshener in the bathroom was so old it smelt rank. The toilet paper was so thin/cheap it disintegrated. 8. We booked 2 excursions and they were cancelled due to lack of interest. The only entertainment on board was a bridge lesson in the afternoon, a violinist for 30 mins in the evening, and a talk from some historian on Rasputin. You get the idea - terrible in nearly every way, and there is no way Silversea can compete with other cruise lines if this is anything to go by. We will try Seabourn or Radisson next time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Sailed on the ISLAND ESCAPE last week it was poss the worst holiday i have ever had,if you are booked on this ship in the coming weeks while you are eating your corn flakes or egg and bacon on deck 10 have a good look at the chairs you are ... Read More
Sailed on the ISLAND ESCAPE last week it was poss the worst holiday i have ever had,if you are booked on this ship in the coming weeks while you are eating your corn flakes or egg and bacon on deck 10 have a good look at the chairs you are sitting on,and wonder how long the in ground dirt has been on them,have a look around the bottom of the large windows and ask yourself the same question,have a look at the ceiling panels all a long the corridors, the buckets catching water from leaking pipes, the large fans paced along corridors trying to remove the stale smells, I my self became ill on the day 3 which kept me in my cabin for 2 days and 2 nights,my wife then came down with it for 2 days, my brother and his wife where next,we then found out that a lot more passengers where ill, on the SAT every one had to leave the ship so that it could be fumigated,they even laid on free coaches to make sure every one went a shore. I am not some one who would normally write a holiday review but for any one booked on this ship you need to no what you are going to get,as some who works in the cruises industry, if this ship sailed from a uk port it would be stopped by the PORT HEALTH Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We just spent 13 glorious nights aboard Navigator.  This was our 2nd time on Navigator and our 5th overall Regent cruise.  We were originally booked for the May 8th Voyager sailing which was to go from Fort Lauderdale to Reykjavik, but ... Read More
We just spent 13 glorious nights aboard Navigator.  This was our 2nd time on Navigator and our 5th overall Regent cruise.  We were originally booked for the May 8th Voyager sailing which was to go from Fort Lauderdale to Reykjavik, but the pod problem occurred and the cruise was cancelled by Regent.  It wasn't the easiest thing for Regent to switch over our booking, but our TA kept on them and all arrangements were made to our satisfaction (they even included air on the return from Athens; I had asked for this because if we were to book the Monte Carlo-Athens segment alone, economy air was included).We visited 7 countries in 13 days, beginning in Funchal, Portugal then on to Malaga, Valencia, and Barcelona, Spain; Villefranche, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Rome, Sorrento, and Taormina, Italy; Kusadasi, Turkey; and Santorini & Athens, Greece.  Overall the weather was fabulous with the exception of some clouds and rain in Valencia and Barcelona.  The Navigator is still a wonderful ship, but I believe what really makes it wonderful are the staff and crew.  We were called by name the entire voyage.  "No" was not in their vocabulary.  Even maintenance people who were occasionally in the hallway lit up with smiles and went out of their way to greet us.  Service at all dining venues was superb.  (I can only speak for dinner & lunch in the Compass Rose, dinner in Portofino, and lunch at the Pool Grille).  We would dine in several different sections of the Compass Rose, and those who had waited on us previously in other sections would visit our current section to greet us.  We felt so spoiled by the end of this cruise, I cannot even tell you!  I think it has a lot to do with "treat someone how you would like to be treated" and it comes back tenfold.  We always see complainers and you know, life is just too short for that.Capt. McNeill was our captain for the 2nd time - so glad he was - he was every bit as congenial as we remember him.  Always out and about, greeting guests and crew with that perpetual smile.  Our sailouts were accompanied by his signature bagpipe music.  I always get teary eyed at this! We were assigned an F suite - 862 - in the aft.  Not our first choice, but due to the last minute nature of our booking, we gladly accepted it.  We figured the vibration would be bothersome, but it was such a non-issue!  The most vibration we felt was in Galileo's - where it also felt like the ship was at a constant list.  I understand that the ship has issues with plumbing and electrical, but we experienced no problems, nor did we hear about any from our fellow guests. We participated in our first Liar's Club which featured some of the Theatre at Sea celebrities.  We were busting a gut, laughing so hard!  We aren't "show people", but we did catch the finale of the Theatre at Sea and it was fabulous.  Patricia Neal's rendition of "Send in the Clowns" really got to me - the tears were rolling down my face.  What a treat to be able to see her perform. Embarkation and disembarkation were efficient and effortless.  Housekeeping was consistently perfect - that is the one part of cruising that I so often take for granted because they seem to have it down to such a "T" that I don't even think about it.  The Seven Seas Society parties (we got to partake in two!) had champagne flowing and nonstop generous portions of caviar with all the trimmings.  The Cruise Consultant encouraged us to ask whatever questions we wanted to and didn't stop until the last question was answered.  The casino was even nice to us this time around!  I think we either broke even or were about $20 down, which is a definite FIRST for us on a cruise ship.  They seem to have different slot machines than I recall from our last time on Navigator - the poker ones have multiple choices of games, plus you are able to place larger bets than I remember.  It defaults on one dollar, so if you are low roller like me, watch out!  I had to manually change the machine to 25 cents. I must say that the highlight of this cruise was the food and beverage.  I couldn't believe how many choices we were given at both restaurants.  I don't recall that extensive a selection on either our previous Navigator or Voyager cruises.  Not only were there lots of choices, but they were unique and creative.  I am still salivating over my quail stuffed with seasoned foie gras.  The portions were just right so that it was easy to order 3, 4, or even 5 courses.  The temperature was always perfect and the presentation such that you don't want to "ruin" its beauty.  The tempo of each meal was ideal, as well.  We never waited for more than a few minutes between courses (normally it was a matter of seconds), but the waitstaff was keen enough to notice if anyone in our party had gone to use the restroom, and in that case, the next course would not be served until the guest arrived back.  And, of course, the napkin was half-folded and placed on the guest's chair while gone, and quickly replaced in the lap upon return.  Oh, we were so spoiled... And on to the beverages.  The bars were well-stocked and well-maintained, to say the least.  Let me give you an example.  I am somewhat of a perfectionist and observed that one particular bartender, Christophe ("Chris") from France, had the most perfect bar I have ever seen.  Every bottle had to be in its correct spot, and each was faced forward and spaced apart perfectly from its neighbor.  Trays held exactly X amount of red wine glasses, X amount of white, and X of port glasses.  Of course, these glasses were spotless because during his down time, Chris wipes them down with a napkin.  The refrigerators held 10 each of the most popular beers (we only know because we asked - ha!), 3 poured glasses of chardonnay and 3 of pinot grigio, so that when a guest ordered them, they were ready to serve.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  It seems I have skipped around a lot and for that I apologize.  I wanted to get my thoughts down while still fresh in my mind. After disembarkation (I, kicking and screaming), we spent 2 nights at the Grande Bretagne in Athens.  We'd been there twice and it's probably our favorite hotel of all.  Our return flight was on USAirways, who just started a daily nonstop flight to Philadelphia.  It was 11 hours long, but it was SO convenient not to have to stop somewhere else in Europe first (i.e., Frankfurt or Munich, via Lufthansa.  We left at 11:45am Athens time and were at our doorstep in Fort Worth by 10:30pm.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We were due to fly out from London Gatwick to Funchal in the morning, but the heavy snow fall resulted in many flights being cancelled. Fortunately our Thomson flight to Funchal in Madeira, though late, took off without too many problems. ... Read More
We were due to fly out from London Gatwick to Funchal in the morning, but the heavy snow fall resulted in many flights being cancelled. Fortunately our Thomson flight to Funchal in Madeira, though late, took off without too many problems. On arrival in Funchal we were met by Thomson representatives and taken by coach to the Celebration. Before and during the journey we were given our boarding welcome packs including a map of the ship and details of the entertainment that night. Seeing our ship from a distance was a heart-throbbing moment. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. The whole organization by Thomson was brilliantly done. Besides being security checked as we got onto the boat, we were pleasantly surprised that we were given handwash gel to cleanse our hands. Considering our previous concerns of stomach sicknesses on other cruises, this was a great reassurance. We soon found our way around the boat - the restaurants, bars, entertainment areas, gym, library, cinema, etc. Our cabin, an outside twin, was small, but we had all that was needed for our 1 week stay. A longer cruise would have required a larger cabin. Every evening the ship's newspaper was delivered informing us of the port of call for the next door, tours that could be booked, as well as activities and entertainment on board the ship. Also, theme nights in the restaurants were detailed. For example, the 24-hour restaurant hosted a British night, an Indian night as well as a Spanish night during the week. The food was very good, much varied and served with a smile. The staff on board worked incredibly hard, and the prices in the shops were surprisingly cheaper than those at the duty free shops in the airports or other shops at the ports of call. The arranged tours at the ports of call were generally interesting and varied, suitable for the energetic or less mobile ones. Value for money of the tours was variable, however. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009

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