A friend told us of a "bargain" cruise on the Silver Wind sailing from San Juan. Therefore, we signed up for the cruise. The Silver Wind is an older ship which apparently is due for a makeover in 2020. Also, it is supposed to outfitted to sail to Norway and even the Arctic.
In any event, I had read reviews online about how it is an older ship. Indeed it is. There are a number of pluses about the Silver Wind. It is a small ship with not too many decks. Thus, it is easy to get around without thousands of people being on board.
The ship still has a nice design, and we were always able to find seating in the theater, unlike some larger ships on which we have traveled. There are basically 3 restaurants: the main restaurant, with open, anytime seating; La Dame, in which it is hard to get a reservation, and The Grill/Hot Rocks on deck 8 by the pool bar. For the most part, the food was good. The dinner at La Dame was excellent, as was the service. Dinner at Hot Rocks was also good; I like to choose the meat and cook it on the hot stone. Of course, others chose to have the chef cook their entrees. Lunch at The Grill, however, was hit or miss. My wife ordered a reuben. Anybody who knows what a real reuben sandwich is would be appalled. The sandwich had a few very thin slices of some processed meat, nothing like what a reuben is supposed to be. Even though my wife complained, the chef either didn't care or couldn't change it since the same lame sandwich was offered the whole cruise.
We were assigned to "Suite" 505. It has nice woodwork, but seemed a little on the small side. For example, there was only 6" between my side of the bed and the wall. The balcony is tiny. The door to the balcony wouldn't open. Finally, someone got it open. The next day it wouldn't open again. One of the ship's maintenance person worked on the door for an hour just to get it to open. Even after that the door still stuck.
What we should have been told -- and were not told -- is that 505 is near or above the thrusters when the ship comes into a port. If the ship is going to anchor, you are treated to the extremely loud sound of the anchor chain running out to drop the anchor. Also, tugs often push the ship near the cabin. These sounds often started around 6:00 to 6:30 A.M. If you ever plan on sleeping in, do NOT stay in this cabin. (Or in 503; it had the same noise.)
Furthermore, we could hear our neighbors on both sides talking in their cabins. While we could not hear what they said, it was distressing that there was little or no soundproofing in the walls.
The final straw was when the shower sprayed rusty, dirty water on my wife while she was taking a shower. (I went into detail above in the general review about the incident.) When I ran the hot water for a long time, sewer like water came out, covering the floor of the tub with dirt, sand, rocks and rust. Apparently, nothing of the sort happened to our neighbors. Why it happened was supposed due to maintenance work, but it affected no other cabin but ours. To add insult to injury, the cruise line never apologized, much less offered to try to make it up to us. If I want to bathe in filthy water, I can go to a flop house. I certainly would not go on a supposedly luxury cruise.
So be wise: do NOT stay in this cabin! And decide whether you really want to go on this ship at all.
San Juan has many fascinating sights: the fort, Old Town, etc.
People who went to the Baths said that it was slippery and difficult to get down to the water. Not recommended for people with mobility issues.
There were a few stalls along the waterfront where I walked on my own.
Despite the many shops, bars and restaurants at St. Barts, we elected to rest on the ship since there were no sea days on the cruise. Our friends went into to town, shopped at the wine shop and bought Louis Vuitton purses, as well as had drinks and appetizers.
This poor, small island was devastated by a hurricane in September 2017. The famous Soggy Dollar Bar has completely rebuilt, along with other establishments. There are numerous tables with covers on the beach outside. The painkiller is the most famous of its drinks and only $7. Other things aren't nearly as cheap. But after a few painkillers, who cares? People bought Tshirts, hats and other souvenirs there.