We loved our Silverseas Inside passage cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage and couldn’t wait to get on board the Silver Explorer for a Broome to Darwin cruise.
Now we realise that this is a smaller ship and compromises need to be made with respect to cabin size and of course we accept this.
What we didn't expect was the poor quality of food served in the restaurant.
We were particularly disappointed with the breakfast and luncheon buffet, both in variety, and indeed the temperature of the hot dishes, which at best were only just warm, while the cold food selection never seemed to change. Prawns, oysters & seafood would have made a pleasant change. More often than not - there were empty trays at the buffet, which in one case took 8 minutes to replenish and that was just scrambled eggs!!
When sailing in Australian waters we expected seafood to be abundant at the cold selection buffet, but not a single prawn was to be found. Nor was Barramundi offered on the menu even although it's readily available in Darwin and Broome.
With one exception, evening meals in the restaurant were mediocre to say the least - not a patch on the Silver Shadow!!
On the plus side - Staff were great and always attentive, however we were involved in a man overboard incident whilst on a zodiac, highlighting a few safety issues which have all been well documented. We also had to point out that as the average age on board was 60, many of us are not as agile as we once were, and zodiacs driven hard, are particularly uncomfortable to those of us with back, hip and knee issues.
On 2 occasions I had to ask the zodiac driver (Kirsty) to slow down to a safer speed, in keeping with sea conditions.
Other minor issues included blocked toilets and on the last 2 days of our trip we actually had to vacate our cabin for an hour or two while the cause of the most awful smell emanating from our shower drain was rectified. Apparently the slight rocking motion of the ship and a faulty drain caused sewage to backflow into our shower recess.
The zodiac trips to the various Kimberley destinations, where we saw some spectacular rock formations and a multitude of the local flora and fauna was great, as was our flight over the Bungle-Bungles, and while we understand the reason for leaving Australian waters was to save Silverseas money, one can't help but wonder why you chose an island that offers nothing but a pretty beach.
When you consider that Australia has some 25,000km of pristine beaches it hardly seemed worth the 72 hours of (boring) sea time.
An Indonesian tourist destination may have been a better choice.
So, in closing, and after much discussion with our fellow passengers, would we recommend this cruise to our friends and acquaintances? On this ship, with the current chef - probably not.
Sewage backed up into shower recess several times.