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Silver Cloud Expedition Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
51 reviews
2 Awards

It looks like Royal Caribbean is ruining Silversea Antarctic cruises

Review for Silver Cloud Expedition to Antarctica
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Venturing out
6-10 Cruises • Age 70s

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Sail Date: Feb 2022
Cabin: Veranda Suite

I’ve been reviewing the Silver Cloud and Silver Explorer reviews. The overall startling thing I’ve noticed is that people reviewing cruises before Royal Caribbean bought Silversea pretty uniformly had wonderful experiences whereas those who traveled after Royal Caribbean took over had generally dismal experiences.

My once in a lifetime Antarctica cruise was one of the latter. There were so many problems it’s hard to include all of them. Perhaps the biggest disappointment were the poor decisions and handling of the cruise, the COVID outbreak on the cruise, and even the after cruise experience. Apparently the leadership on the ship was in constant contact with “the main office” as one spokesperson said and I bElieve it was with RC headquarters. The first terrible decision was to even set sail. The passengers didn’t know and weren’t told that there were active COVID cases quarantining in board when we embarked. Many cruise lines, whose ships had similar circumstances, have been cancelling cruises or at least debarking their patients. It wasn’t until the second day that they announced that 1/3 of the crew had tested positive for COVID. The whole situation was made worse by the secretive way they handled problems, including hiding bad news. Often we had to get information from the internet(!) and some staff to know what was going on. I believe the the final count of quarantined staff was about 100 ( out if I believe 220). And after a couple of days we noticed passengers disappearing into what turned out to be quarantine. Obviously, many of us had been exposed. For example we spent some time with our butler in our cabin on the first day while he explained things. He disappeared the next day because he tested positive. Note that these were rapid antigen tests which have a higher rate of false negatives than the PCR tests, which mean we all were likely exposed more than we realized. Although we would have qualified as a “close contact” of our butler we were never called in for testing or checking on symptoms. And it turned out the quarantine area was right next to the self serve laundry. Moreover after seeing styrofoam boxes stacked in the hallway for our next door cabin, we had to guess that that was because there were COVID patients quarantining there. This was never told to us until I read that the quarantined folks were mixed in with the passengers on the internet.

The staff shortages greatly affected the experience of the cruise to the point that it would have been substandard for any cruise ship, much less a ship that advertised and charged for luxury. The chefs were on quarantine ( we only surmised this because the food was the worst I’ve ever had in a cruise ship and miraculously got better once the initial staff were let out of quarantine on about the 11th day. Not only the chefs but the recreation director, the musicians, the videographer and photographer were all on quarantine so there was virtually no entertainment. The worst part though was the Expedition staff, which are the main part of a cruise to Antarctica, were depleted by about 2/3rds. At the final goodbye assembly I counted about 26 total expedition staff. For the majority of the cruise we saw about 7-8 of them. They didn’t have enough staff to actually guide us on outings. They seemed to have only enough to operate a few Zodiacs to ferry us to and from the beach where we were left to wander around by ourselves until we got tired and went back to the ship. As in all areas, the staff that were there were excellent but there was no way they could adequately cover what the full complement could do. Other advertised COVID protocols like daily temperature checks, cleaning of common areas and hand sanitizer stations were sporadic at best.

Cabin Review

Veranda Suite

3 Helpful Votes
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