We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary, but also because an acquaintance was actively recruiting people to join her and her husband on their sixth Silversea cruise. She was enthusiastic about the line and spoke highly of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary, but also because an acquaintance was actively recruiting people to join her and her husband on their sixth Silversea cruise. She was enthusiastic about the line and spoke highly of the travel agent she has used for many years. We ended up with a group of 18, some who had previously traveled together and others, like us, who were "newbies" to the group and Silversea. We met several times throughout the fall to discuss excursions, dining options and air travel (we flew out of different cities). Our friend coordinated everything with our travel agent and he assured her that all transfers and excursions would be booked and dining reservations made for the whole group (we agreed to meet up every night for dinner at three tables of six). Unfortunately, he died suddenly in mid November. Turns out he worked alone and had not finalized all our plans. She contacted Silversea to explain our situation and they found a travel agency willing to take over and finalize our trip.
We arrived in Santiago and found our bus with no problem. Embarkation was a breeze and I was impressed with how quickly the suites were ready. By 2:00 PM, we were in our suite on deck six. The Deluxe Veranda was very nice. We found plenty of hangers, drawer space and a lovely little jewelry box in the safe - very convenient. Bathroom small, but functional. Good water pressure, no issues with hot water. Other guests had trouble with no hot water.
We explored the ship and compared it favorably to our last cruise on Regent's Voyager. I thought the color scheme was pretty bland. I referred to it as "Fifty Shades of Taupe," and thought they could have used some pops of color. There is a forward observation lounge, with a smallish library and bar area. We ended up there often for cocktails (fabulous bartender there - Jiro). The main dining area on Deck 7 is La Terrazza and reminded us of La Veranda on Regent. We also scoped out the pool area, fitness center and large area called Dolce Vita, which we would end up visiting frequently, as it is where Team Trivia was played daily. There is only ONE computer available for guests to use. So, if you don't have a laptop or iPad you're stuck with queuing up for that one desktop next to the Concierge desk.
All in all, dining proved to be underwhelming. We ate in Kaiseki the first night and didn't realize until we were well into dinner that this was one of the two venues that charge $60/person. No one mentioned this when we were seated, nor was it posted on the menu. That was our mistake. We should have paid attention. The food was good, but was it worth $120 for us? No. Another couple ate in the French venue, La Dame, and were so disappointed they got their account credited. We then ate in Atlantide several times and on one occasion I had to return my soup, as it was very salty and another time returned my prawns, which had the consistency of mush. My husband loves sea bass and would get a good outcome one night and a completely different result the next night. All of us in our large group agreed that Atlantide needs some serious attention. Food quality varied widely, and while service was always pleasant, it was so slow. You could count on a 2.5 to 3 hour dinner. We liked Indochine very much, loved the Hot Rocks. La Terrazzo is probably the best option for dining. Breakfast was always acceptable, especially if you stuck to fresh fruits, omelettes and cereals. Loved the Arts Cafe. Good espresso drinks and I love playing the daily quiz they offered there. The pizza on Deck 11 (Spaccanopli) was good, while the lunch at the Grill again varied widely. I finally learned to ask for something off menu, such as a grilled chicken breast. My husband returned the rueben sandwich as it had almost no corned beef. Hamburgers were very tasteless. Wines were average, the kind of stuff I get at my local grocery store. After awhile we were able to get better wine by asking to try different ones and not just accepting what they were pouring that night.
Entertainment was okay, though we only attended a few shows due to the late hour. We did like the piano player in the Silver Note very much, though the dinner there was one of the worst we had. We loved playing Team Trivia with Cruise Director Vicki and enjoyed many of the lectures, though I was disappointed that there were not many on Chile itself. I was hoping for more of a destination expert.
Service was always good and the staff is extremely pleasant and well trained. We weren't big on utilizing our Butler, but when we needed her, she was right there. Due to a lot of illness on this cruise, the staff was super diligent about sanitizing and overall cleanliness.
Excursions were fair to excellent. The best excursion by far, was the one we organized ourselves, exploring Vina Del Mar and the Casas Del Bosques winery. The best one organized by the cruise line was the Falklands Islands Blue Lagoon tour.
#1. I'll never use a travel agent again who works alone, with no back up assistance. We were lucky that we were able to get another agent at the last minute, but it could have been a disaster.
#2. I'm not sold on Silversea. I never once saw officers. Other than the last night when they appeared in the tiny show lounge, they were noticeably absent. On previous cruises, especially on Regent, they are in the dining venues, wandering the ship on sea days, etc....We heard once a day updates from the captain, at noon, but he sounded like he was reading from a script. We asked for a bridge tour and were told they only planned ONE and it was full. The food is NOT locally sourced at all. We asked specifically if we would have local fish and beef from South America and were told everything was brought on board frozen, earlier in the voyage and it was impracticable to have local ingredients. We were amazed that they ran out of Pisco, which is supposedly the national liquor of Chile. They ran out on day two of the cruise and said they had no way to stock it again on the cruise.
#3. Value. For the amount we paid, we expected more. Very disappointed with the airfare situation. Only one hour of free WiFi a day? Excursions were pricey and mediocre at best. We organized three on our own and had better outcomes. Food was the biggest disappointment.
I think based on our preferences we might either try Viking Ocean next time, or go back to Regent. I'd be curious to see if other Cruise Critic members concur. Read Less