My wife and I are retired hoteliers/ restaurateurs from the UK so are not always the easiest to please as we tend to have too many opinions regarding hospitality! But having read some other very negative reviews from earlier recent cruisers on Silver Wind we were concerned that we could be embarking on a nightmare experience. However having cruised the same ship previously a few years ago in South Africa we couldn’t readily equate these to our own positive memories . So we feel obliged to try to convey our own feelings regarding our voyage which bore little resemblance to some of these previously negative rantings.
Yes that previous cruise was a warm weather one four years ago, but in a notoriously rough Indian Ocean (even in Summer) and this was to be mainly in November in northern Canada and the North Atlantic so we always knew it was going to be a cold and potentially rough trip, but you know that before you book and we couldn’t really understand how others had clearly failed to factor that into their own planning and were then blaming Silversea and expressing surprise at rough seas and missing ports. Surely these were always situations likely to happen so please don’t moan about the elements and blame the cruise line as there is clearly nothing that Silversea or indeed any other cruise lines can do about the weather!
On boarding in Montreal all went as smoothly and seamlessly as normal with Silversea, and of course, no queues. We were pleased to be greeted in reception by a number of familiar personnel including Bar Manager, Newton, who we had met on previous cruises. Also Cruise Director, Colin Brown, who as someone else stated should be cloned, as he really is one of the best that we have encountered and this was our third cruise with him in charge. He looks after all the entertainment and enrichment programmes. These included two enrichment lecturers and a superb group of Voices of Silversea who were basically six professional singers, two operatic and four more general but all with their own individual talents. Additionally there was an onboard pianist and a Silversea trio who provided background entertainment throughout the ship. Two guest entertainers, a magician and a guitarist also came on board for a few days at different times to bolster the offering as this was a 16 day cruise. We felt they were both a bit underwhelming but that is probably because the Voices on this voyage were so good. Additionally Colin, who is a classically trained concert pianist, arranged a number of piano concerts in conjunction with the two opera singers and also performed some amazing classical duets with the onboard pianist, Olga, who was also outstanding.
The crew in general were of the usual high Silversea standards. As ever mostly smiling and welcoming. Though I have to say that some of the restaurant staff (only a few to be fair) were not quite as friendly as we have experienced on other Silversea Cruises where they normally get your name quickly and address you by it from very early on, which is always impressive. Ever since the introduction of their iPad booking system a few years ago this standard seems to have fallen away somewhat unless they remind themselves by looking at your picture and name which they now get by entering your suite number into the iPad system. Maybe they were a bit tired after some seven weeks of cruising since they left London, most of which had been under some pretty appalling weather conditions!
Our Suite Butler, Parveen from India, however, did an excellent job of looking after us throughout the voyage and was always on hand to attend to our every need, and our suite attendant Christine, from the Philippines, kept our suite immaculate throughout the voyage. Reception and Shore concierge staff were also very friendly and helpful and a great improvement on some we have experienced on other voyages. The hotel manager however was rarely seen by us out and about the ship and maybe that reflected on some of the staff performance?
Captain Arma and the navigation bridge officers did a great job. They were all frequently seen around the ship and also kept us extremely well informed about weather conditions etc and, most memorably, carefully plotted a safe way around a huge storm that brewed up over the Gulf of St Lawrence by hugging the coast of Prince Edward Island and going very slowly for a couple of days to avoid the worst of the weather and keeping the ship as stable as possible. He kept all the passengers and crew fully informed at all times and despite a bit of rocking and rolling one evening the ship remained amazingly smooth, despite the gale blowing outside, and we never noticed any passengers confining themselves to their cabins with all the restaurants operating as busily as ever! He only once had to come onto the tannoy at 11pm on one evening to suggest that it was not a good idea to still be walking around the ship anymore! But it was reassuring that he was still on the bridge so late in the evening and in fact most everyone had gone to bed anyway and we actually had probably our best nights sleep so far being gently (or not) rocked into slumber. By the morning everything had calmed down and in the end that was really the only properly bumpy bit of this cruise. The storm did indeed mean us missing two ports of call but the first only for safety reasons as we had arrived and anchored, but it was a tender port and the Captain wasn’t convinced he could get everyone safely back to the ship, and the second because the local coastguard had closed the fairly narrow access channel…so the Captain had no option anyway. Talking to some of the crew it appeared that the ship had endured some pretty appalling weather all the way from London across to Iceland and then over to Canada for approx 7 weeks on the previous four or five cruises so, despite us being the last cruise out of the north for the winter, we actually probably had the best weather....so who knows? Just guess anyone should bear this more in mind if you choose such an itinerary in any year!
Yes apparently the ship had had some sort of mechanical issue in Montreal a couple of cruises before our one that delayed departure by two or three days but to be fair to Silversea everyone on that one was reimbursed a third of their fare for that incident. Yes the ship is twenty three years old now and showing a bit of age externally but that will be sorted out when it dry docks shortly. The interior however was as clean and smart as ever with the public areas having been spruced up last year. Apparently the staterooms will be getting a “Muse-ification” refurbishment update during the upcoming dry dock in December. The suite bedrooms (or at least our one) actually seemed in pretty decent shape decor wise despite previous critical comments made on other CC Silver Wind reviews, though the TV system could certainly do with an update which is apparently happening with a more modern system being installed. For some reason it appears the update will not include the bathrooms which doesn’t make a lot of sense as the bathrooms are probably the weakest thing on Wind being rather on the small side with a rather small in length bath (not great if you are reasonably tall). However it does have an excellent power shower in addition to a hand shower, but it is one that you have to climb into the bath to use so not the easiest perhaps for some less mobile guests.
We have also travelled twice on Silver Spirit in the past couple of years and have always particularly enjoyed that ship but mainly due to its larger size and thus the greater choice of dining options. Having said that Wind is half the size of Spirit and you benefit from a very cosy clubby atmosphere on board. We were on Wind for 16 days this time and didn’t really get bored with the Menus as they changed pretty much daily (every few days for La Terrazza) and the pool deck hot rocks grill, which we also love, was pretty much out as an option (even though it was still available with rugs and heat lamps) given the very cold weather in Canada and the northeast US.
We actually got the chance to do a shipboard visit to see the newly stretched version of Silver Spirit when it came into Montreal a few days prior to our cruise on Wind and we really liked the updated decor and new restaurants that have now brought Spirit very much up to Muse standards.
Anyway all in all it was an enjoyable and interesting cruise on Silver Wind and I would suggest others should quite simply ignore some of the earlier terrible reviews posted on cruise critic which in our mind really seem to have stemmed from experiencing some dreadfully bad weather rather than the ship itself! We would certainly be very happy to cruise on this ship again and can reassure others to go for it if they might be having any doubts.
The suite bedrooms (or at least our one) actually seemed in pretty decent shape decor wise despite previous critical comments made on other CC Silver Wind reviews, though the TV system could certainly do with an update which is apparently happening with a more modern system being installed. For some reason it appears the update will not include the bathrooms which doesn’t make a lot of sense as the bathrooms are probably the weakest thing on Wind being rather on the small side with a rather small in length bath (not great if you are reasonably tall). However it does have an excellent power shower in addition to a hand shower, but it is one that you have to climb into the bath to use so not the easiest perhaps for some less mobile guests.
Interesting old town, plenty of historic buildings and museums etc. The park around Mont Real is worth a visit on a nice day for the views. Plenty of shopping in the “underground city”
Outstanding old town near the cruise terminal. Lots to see and do. Quite hilly to get around.
The town itself is small and not that much to do. Nice place to wander around. The cruise up the Saguenay River to get there is the high point. Very Fjord like.
Baie Comeau itself is rather dominated by the paper mill created by the Chicago Tribune founder but do visit the English Marie-Amelie where there are some wonderful frescos by Guido Nincheri that were funded by the newspapaers magnate who dedicated it to his wife Amelie. Now deconsecrated and owned by the city. Charming waterfront walk (20 mins)from the ship into town around the Bay.
Again looked nice from brochures but couldn’t land due storms.
Interesting old town with a musical and wartime connection (many Atlantic convoys sailed from here during WW2)
Another interesting city with lovely old town near the cruise dock and plenty of shoppoing
The sail in is outstanding on a nice day. The ship docked in Brooklyn (normally in downtown Manhattan) which wasn’t ideal but only a 15 minute Uber ride to 9/11 memorial which is a must see if you haven’t been before.
Beautiful colonial town, worthy of a full day just wandering around. Very big market almost opposite cruise terminal
Looked nice but never landed due rough seas!
Lead to believe very interesting but awful weather meant we got soaked walking the “longest boardwalk”