Originally chose this cruise as it left from Istanbul and having worked with ships through the Turkish straits for nmany years had always wanted to go through myself. However with the security situation this year they moved the start to Athens which was the biggest let down of the holiday but understandable and at least they took the decision early. It proved a good decision, on the day we flew to Athens, Istanbul airport was closed dues the bombs there! Booked through 6 Star Cruises, who's transfers and the hotel booking in Athens were immaculate.
Boarding was very swift, almost no one else there at that time as we came from our hotel by taxi. After lunch all luggage was happily in the room for unpacking.
On this cruise we hadn't seen much point in booking excursions, just did one (on Corfu where there was limited shore time for such a large island).The excursions there were seemed very expensive and I didn't hear too much glowing praise so maybe this was a good choice. At almost every port of call we were lightered to or docked in the port so didn't need tours to have a good day out. Lightering worked very well and we never had to queue more than a couple of minutes.
Food I thought was very good, better than Regent the previous year. The Japanese is really good but only worth one evening paying due the limited menu, and I would skip the French completely anther time for the main dining room as there is too much fat/cream in the food, but the (inclusive) Italian, grill, and the main dining room were excellent quality and had grreat choice on the menu. We always got good tables, quickly and service was excellent. Recommend going to the Japanese for lunch of Shasimi and Sushi at no extra charge if you don't watn to pay the extra $40 a head for dinner. For drinkers like us there were excellent wines at the table, plus cocktails in the bars, where they seemed happy to make anything even stufff not on their lists. Live entertainment was OK , the performers excellent but I have to say not really what I was into. They showed the Euros final in Paris on the big screen and the semi finals in conference rooms with bar service which was an excellent touch. The cruise director's show was best, he's a great guy and his regular trivia quizzes are good fun in the late afternoon., though the points awarded are rather mean - you need 80 for a base ball cap and the list of prizes list actually very poor!!
We didn't go to many enrichment lecturers but saw them all on the ships TV and they were very good and helpful with each port.
The one bad event happened to me in Koper where some mad old lady local dumped a bucket of water containing god knows what over me in the main square by the cathedral from a 3rd floor window. I went back to the ship to change, reporting the issue to the shore and ship staff and filled in and filed a report but little happened and I have no idea really if the incident was followed up by the police. Silversea did not handle this well.
Liked the forward and observation lounges for cocktails before or coffee etc after dinner.
Room were comfortable, plenty big enough (we were in 755), the facilities OK though these days the TV should be much larger and the fridge actually cool. The butler was a good guy, thugh we didn't use him too much, and the cabin attendant was a really nice man. All the crew seemed very friendly and happy and I thought that the ship on the whole is very well run. Public rooms good too.
WORST THINGG ON SHIP - without a doubt the awfully slow wifi, so antiquated, really needs some investment,, should be so much better on such a small ship given what you are paying. First stop ashore was always a coffee bar with free wifi, always so much faster in every country. Most days could not download the Times in less than 20 mins, a pain when you are on a limited time budget for the voyage.
Overall loved the ship and would use Silversea again, but would prefer say Regent for an itinerary where tours were necessary.
2 July 2016 - Mykonos, Greece (lightered)
Nice luxurious island, excellent for a stroll about the town and viewing the shops and the windmills. Lightering point short stroll away.
3 July 2016 - Monemvasia, Greece (lightered)
Catch a (cheap) shuttle (pay) bus to/from the city gates (about 1.5 miles away) from lightering point. Too far to walk in the heat and dangerous on the narrow road. Very unique and interesting World heritage town. but to fill the full day ashore go swimming after or go back to ship for lunch and air con.
4 July 2016 - Zakinthos, Greece (lightering)
Rather boring town on medium sized island. Not much to see, could easily be dropped from the cruise itinerary for somewhere more interesting like in Albania. Best plan to go swimming. Top site seems to be a 40 year old shipwreck that spoils a rather nice looking secluded white beach. Ship did a short detour on leaving so we could see this famous site. Best way to see it is that way with a Bellini in your hand!
5 July 2016 Corfu - docked
Ship is docked a good way from the port exit and the town, if not doing a tour you need to take a bus or taxi. Did tour to Achillion Palace (well worth seeing, loads of history especially if you have been to Vienna and seen the other side of the links to the Austro Hungarian empire) , with a stop to see famous Mouse Island and the planes landing below you at the airport. Then onto Corfu town. Would have liked more time in the town but so hot walking around at midday a bit tough.
6 July 2016 Kotor, Montenegro - 7 July 2016
Fabulous sail in/out, get up early and sit with coffee on your balcony, you will see both sides as ship stays overnight . Ship initialy lightered but then docked at 5pm for an overnight stay. Unfortunately a thunder storm rolled in and spoiled any chances of an evening ashore. Geat waled city, wish we had seen more but the above menioned incidnt rather spoiled it for us.
7 July - Dubrovnik (lightered)
Arrived after the great early sail out from Kotor and breakfast. Lightered but again strait to town, no walking at all to be in the old city. Very crowded, much better later in the pm which with a late evening sail out we happily could do. Prices very expensive though.
8 July 2016 Hvar, Croatia - (lightered)
Nice island small town, not a lot to see though, best to go swimming after a look around the shops and the cathedral, or go on a tour to Split
9 July 2016 Koper, Slovenia (docked)
Docked right by the city so easy walk in. Great views from bell tower. A quieter city than many of the others (maybe as it was Saturday and all locals at the beach). Worth looking around and good shops.
10 July 2016 Venice, Italy -and overnight
Worth getting up v early to see the great sail in past San Marco etc.
Short walk to shuttle boat from cruise docks to 2 bridges up from an Marco, very convenient start point for what ever you want to do. Having been a few times before we were happy to wander. though marvelling at the extortionate prices they try to charge (saw coffee at €10 for example). Really nice to view from ship but a port best seen in off peak season, especially in winter. 5 ships in the day we docked. Too many people.
Disembark - Transfer - Flight - Venice
Venice airport a dump, glad we were in a lounge, and as usual BA were late (3 hours on London-Athens leg and 1.5 hours on this return).
Well located room, very short walk to lifts and stairs, on same floor as the dining room ad library/pc room, used for breakfast, buffet lunch and Italian dinner. There was.plenty of room to unpack, hanging space and draws, after we discovered the cases went under the bed. Bit strange the safe wasn't attached to anything though....
Bed extremely comfortable and good size. Fridge well stocked. TV's too small and no fun at all watching movies on, stuck to those downloaded on my iPad. Balcony excellent size and gave great views on some sail ins/outs.Showers good, never used the bath..
First night ruined by over 3 hours delay on BA flight. Hotel Grande Bretagne in a great location, city srtill as interesting and chaotic as ever. Great new museum at the Acropolis. Strongly recommend dnner on the roof top of the Electra Hotel, much better value than the Grande Bretagne and an even better view and just a short walk away!
Fantastic sail in./ out.
Lovely old town but too many people in high season
Lovely old town, easy to walk to and in. Good value shopping
As always visually spectacular but not a lot of fun in the summer crowds