Poor Decisions Darkens the Silver Cloud: Silver Cloud Cruise Review by bajadenny

Silver Cloud 3
Member Since 2010
286 Forum Posts

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Poor Decisions Darkens the Silver Cloud

Sail Date: September 2012
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
Overall Performance of the Company The ship was in disrepair having missed its scheduled dry dock date earlier in the year. The air conditioning was not functioning when we boarded the ship on the first day and we were not advised of the malfunction. The heat on board the ship got so oppressive that the captain had to shut down the dining rooms at night and have everyone eat around the pool for two nights. On a night requiring jackets for the cruisers, the wait staff in the main dining room had to remove their coats and their shirts were sticking to them because of the sweat as they waited on the tables. Basically, everyone sweat overnight in their beds for 10 of the 12 night cruise with daytime temperatures over 85 degrees. All this was a direct result of the company's decision to skip the dry dock date. The scheduled overhaul of the ship was one of the reasons we chose this cruise since we booked it one year in advance and the repairs were advertised to be completed many More months ahead of the departure.

Many on board were requesting to leave the ship as the days wore on. Others were simply resigning themselves to eating on their balconies (for those who had them) as it was cooler outside than inside the ship.

The advertised itinerary was not completed. The captain informed us after being on the ship for one day, that he was changing a scheduled port - Tunis. In speaking with other passengers, it was the most important port on the entire itinerary (other than the starting and ending ports). We were not informed of the name of the substituted port until seven days into the cruise. Gozo (Malta) was chosen by the captain and the ship did not go there because the captain was concerned about having to use the ship's tenders. As a result, we were surprised to hear that we would be spending a second day in Valletta Malta, after we returned to the ship from a full day in Valletta. With many wonderful ports in nearby Sicily (Palermo, Messina, Taormina, etc) the captain chose to stay in Malta without much else to do except sit on the ship.

Dining and service

The idea of having to reserve a table to eat at the Pool Grill at night was not helpful for the first time cruiser on Silver Seas. Very limited seating and the food selection was no limited and not worth the trouble of eating there a second time. We tried it once - not to return.

Another restaurant that required nightly reservations was La Terrazza. We ate there once and found the "Italian" cuisine not to our liking and not very Italian. Had dinner there once and didn't go back.

Le Champagne is a small and intimate area just off the Main Dining room (known as The Restaurant). It is the one place that charge ($30) for each person and required reservations. We loved this place and ate there as often as we could get reservations. The best food, prepared the best way is served there by the best people on the staff. We would have eaten there every night, if we could have gotten reservations. The menu doesn't change from day to day, but we loved the food even if repeated.

The Restaurant did not require a reservation for dinner and the food was very close in quality to Le Champagne and the service was exceptional. The menu changed frequently and the special of the day was always special and expertly presented. We concluded that eating at La Terrazza and the Pool Grill for dinner was a waste after having so many wonderful meals at The Restaurant.

The breakfast buffet and the lunch buffet at La Terrazza is a bit above average for the cruise industry, but not spectacular. Breakfast and lunch could be ordered off the menu at The Restaurant and we tried them both and were pleased with the preparation. We had breakfast room service once and it was very good and very prompt. Our favorite place on the ship for lunch was the Pool Grill - fabulous hamburgers and other grilled items. Very casual and was open later in the afternoon as we would enjoy cocktails aside the pool with other guests.

Cabin Attendant

The advertised "butler" for your room is nothing more than the typical surpervisor who watches over 8-10 rooms on a deck. Siler Seas makes a big deal out of what is a normal industry practice - actually works against their reputation when they over-use the term "butler". The cleaning folks were efficient and effective. Anything we needed was a phone call away with prompt responses to our requests.

Programs and Entertainment

We have minimal interest in both of these and the small ship cannot support a wide variety of high quality performers.

Fitness room

Not enough open space, too many things shoved into too small of a space. Less

Published 10/15/12

Cabin review: VI434 Vista Suite

Quiet location, large window, walk-in closet was sufficient for 12 day trip. Peeling wall coverings were distasteful.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Flamenco Show

Booked a flamenco performance at the Palau Nacional de Musica through their website. Got front row, side box seats that were virtually on the stage for $40 each for a 90 minute spellbinding performance.

Gaudi Walking Tour

Only saw the structures from the outside. We had a to go back to two of them later and buy the tour for the inside. It was close to waste of time to take this tour, except it gave us the idea to not visit Casa Batll. It also reinforced our decision to visit Parc Guell.

Gothic Quarter Walking Tour

Great tour of the oldest section of the town. A most informative guide was the key factor.

La Sagrada Familia

Stood in line for 90 minutes to book an 11 am tour conducted by the church management staff. Our guide was superb for a one hour walking tour. He was very good at pointing out small and interesting details of this enormously important effort that has been on-going for over 100 years. Overwhelming splendor of the architecture.

Really a waste of fuel to come here. The ship was docked for only five hours and it was a lengthy process to get everyone in the shuttle buses to ride to the old city area. Real time on the ground was less than four hours. Two old forts are the attraction of the town. The visitor must be ready to walk up many, many, many stairs to visit the two forts. This town is very confusing for the non-Greek visitors. We had three different maps that labeled the same streets with three different names and then the name on the sides of the buildings were all in Greek language and Greek lettering - none of which matched any of the three maps - two of which came from the city's tourist information booths.
Read 508 Corfu Reviews

Walled old city is a must visit. Walking the wall is the thing to do. After that, there are churches and museums, but most are anticlimactic after the wall walk.

Grand Master's Palace

Very interesting, especially with a guide who can emphasize the things that are important.

Hagar Qim Temple

We booked the guide directly through his email address. He was very expert in the history of Malta. He was able to sort out fact from fiction and folklore for us. We had a tour of the island that included a walking tour of Valletta, the gardens, the museum of archaeology and St. John's co-cathedral. He provided the transportation to Marsaxlokk Bay, the Blue Grotto, Mdina and Hagar Qim Temples. He provided a very interesting city walk in Mdina where we grabbed some take out food from a local restaurant. We were met promptly at the ship and he provided a 8 hour tour for a less than 1/2 the price of any of the ship's excursions, which went to only 1-2 places and were for only 4 hours.

La Valletta Walking Tour

Interesting and hilly place to investigate.

Marsaxlokk Bay

Small fishing village with touristy stalls selling kitsch.

Mdina Walking Tour

Very interesting old city with lots to explore. Museums and churches were interesting.

Museum of Archaeology

Really interesting place to visit especially when you can go to the sites of Tarxien and Haga Qim Temples where the artifacts were found. A guide in this museum is necessary to explain what you are seeing.

St. John's Cathedral

Simply an amazing display of wealth.

City Tour

We visited the Cathedral and the old castle. Our guide supplied wonderful narratives about the importance of the two sites. We were able to have a lovely tapas lunch with our guide in the old city area. Our guide arranged for walking tours of Palma, Valldemosa and Deia with transportation included for eight hours. She was very informative and cost a fraction of the ship excursion which did not offer the three sites, together in one tour. They offered only one per excursion and they were conducted at the same time of day for four hours each.

Deia Walking Tour

Very small place that has been made famous by the artsy crowd and the extremely rich. It is a long drive outside of Palma and not much worth seeing.

Valldemosa Walking Tour

Wonderful town that celebrates the most notable visitor, Chopin, who wrote may of his works right there. You can attend a short concerto of his works while you visit the museum. Beautiful town that is rich with heritage and interesting stories when you have a personal guide.

Wonderful location. We spent three days prior to boarding and one day after boarding in the city. It was just enough time to walk all over the city and Murano/Burano.
Read 1149 Venice Reviews

Nice little place with an interesting old city area, complete with Roman ruins and very old churches. Clean and tourist friendly.
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