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3 Silversea Silver Cloud Expedition Africa Cruise Reviews

The Silversea expedition ship Silver Cloud may be old, but it’s totally modern, attractive and comfortable. My wife and I had a wonderful 34-day cruise in spring 2019 from Capetown to Lisbon, stopping at 17 places in western Africa. Our ... Read More
The Silversea expedition ship Silver Cloud may be old, but it’s totally modern, attractive and comfortable. My wife and I had a wonderful 34-day cruise in spring 2019 from Capetown to Lisbon, stopping at 17 places in western Africa. Our suite was great, as were the staff and the public areas. Food ranged from good to very good, sometimes excellent. There were shortcomings. Three scheduled ports were dropped before we left because of security issues. People booking this cruise in the future need to know they may not get all the ports they paid for. Also, not all the ship excursions were well-run and supervised. And the enrichment speakers could have been better. The Ship. Built in 1994 and heavily refurbished in 2017, the Cloud looks like a real ship. It’s almost perfectly maintained. Painters were frequently seen doing touch-ups, a sign of a well-run vessel. Suites have pleasant, usable balconies, two chairs, a sofa, a coffee table and a desk, and small but utilitarian bathrooms with a shower. Storage space was okay. We asked to have one chair removed, as it crowded the room and wasn’t needed, but the staff refused. Soundproofing between rooms was inadequate. Basic wifi was free and worked well most of the time. Air conditioning was okay. We had Room 622—a perfect location. The pool area had sufficient lounges, but one of the whirlpools was too cold and sometimes closed and complaints failed to correct the situation. The captain, Vincent Taillard, and the ship officers were cordial but standoffish. The social director, Moss Hills, was delightful. And quietly famous. Years ago, with another company, he helped lead the successful abandonment of a sinking cruise ship. The Food. We’re critical people, and we mostly enjoyed the meals. A few dishes seemed too edgy. The breakfast buffet could have used more variety. And, like seemingly all cruise ships, the Cloud featured awful frozen hash-brown potato patties. A reuben sandwich at lunch was terrible. How about some simple recognizable grilled sandwiches? Overall, we had good choices and found the food at least good and sometimes excellent. I had fillet mignon four times—really good each time. Wine and cocktails flowed freely. We enjoyed every glass of wine we drank, although we realize they don’t serve $40-a-bottle wine. Room service food was good. Waiters were good. The Restaurant, where you don’t need reservations, was the best. La Terrazza, which features Italian in the evening, lacked variety. The Grill, on the outdoor deck, features a grill-your-own meat on a hot volcanic rock. We went once. Never again. I guess some people like the concept. We don’t. Why not just have a good outdoor grill/barbecue? There is a specialty French restaurant that requires a steep extra charge. The Expedition. The Cloud fell short here. Admittedly the itinerary was ambitious, including places were many ships never go, in a difficult environment. We wanted to experience the sights and culture of west Africa first-hand. We did. Every port offered a least one shore excursion covered by the ship fare. Some were great. Some were okay. Some sadly lacking. Some didn’t deliver what was promised when we reserved. Guides were sometimes poor. Supervision from the ship expedition staff was too-frequently lacking. The expedition leader, Nicki D’Souza, was not up to the task. Silversea needs to hire people from Tauck to demonstrate how to run tours. We had one great speaker—a former top assistant to Nelson Mandela. But where were the black professors, journalists or politicians from west Africa? Not on our ship. Conclusion. We’re not sure we’d book the cruise again. It’s really expensive. The missed ports and the shaky shore excursions were irritating. We could and should have gotten more for our money. But we accomplished a lot of our goals and we learned and we had fun. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the unusual West African ports of destination. Also, Silverseas is supposed to be a "luxury cruise." What a disappointment! From our hotel in Ghana- where they were supposed to meet the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the unusual West African ports of destination. Also, Silverseas is supposed to be a "luxury cruise." What a disappointment! From our hotel in Ghana- where they were supposed to meet the passengers, throughout the cruise- one issue after another. In Ghana we were promised staff to help with getting on buses and to the port. The paperwork in our rooms wasn't correct- it even said "sample letter" on it..... total disorganization getting on the buses- we were left to our own devices. Our luggage was supposed to be picked up from our room. It never was. We heard later that passengers who trusted that to happen NEVER did see their luggage again.... on and on. The ship had problems throughout with both plumbing and AC issues. Our room was hotter than hell, literally. We moved rooms 3 times on the ship. I kept begging for them to just pick me up a fan when we were in port. Even asked the bus driver if he would just stop briefly for me to get a fan when we saw some.... nothing.... For 6 nights I suffered unable to sleep...... Doesn't seem particularly "luxury" to me. Hallways smelling like sewage, rooms without AC. We asked before booking if pirates were an issue in the areas we would be traveling. We were assured that there was no chance of pirates on the West Coast of Africa. Then, after we boarded and were out to sea, we had a letter put on our bed stating that we were in a high pirate caution area, and that we couldn't open our balcony door or curtains, and that the deck restaurant would be closed for the next 4 evenings. All of the other restaurant curtains were tightly closed, and windows and sliders to the deck were taped up with paper covering them. I felt like I was in England during the second world war bombings! They even told us that if pirates were to board the ship to come to the main lobby and lay in the middle covering our heads! For the love of Pete! This WASN'T what we signed up for! Many of the tours were disorganized. Rude tour leaders. It goes on and on and on..... We expected the excursions to have more explanation regarding the area we were going to see, some info on the demographics regarding the people, income, history, etc. We were, once again, disappointed. Days at sea were a total bore. There could have been many more activities offered than were. My husband found a shard of glass in his food one day at lunch. The food, at best, was adequate. No better than an NCL large ship would be, just FAR more expensive. They comped us a few free dinners at their upscale restaurant. I don't think this even begins to compensate for the total lack of "luxury" compared to the price of this cruise. I wrote a letter to Silverseas over 3 weeks ago. I never got any sort of response. Not even an auto-prompt type that said "thanks for your letter." I emailed again a week ago, asking if they received my original letter. Still nothing.... REALLY? I will say, their staff was amazing. They greeted you by name from the first day. They were wonderful. I'm generally very disappointed in Silverseas, and even MORE disappointed in their lack of follow up when there was a problem. I gave them time to address the issues, and make things right, but obviously, customer satisfaction is not important to them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have a preference for smaller ships and choose our holidays based on destinations. Because we have travelled to over 150 countries, a priority for us in choosing a cruise is whether there are any new, relatively unknown destinations on ... Read More
We have a preference for smaller ships and choose our holidays based on destinations. Because we have travelled to over 150 countries, a priority for us in choosing a cruise is whether there are any new, relatively unknown destinations on the itinerary. We chose this particular cruise because it was advertised as an expedition cruise with several new destinations for us. However, we got the impression that the Silver Cloud was having an identity crisis as it felt like it wasn't truly an expedition cruise but more like a classic cruise. Yes, there were expedition staff on board giving lectures but many of the staff were junior and relatively inexperienced. Recommendation: senior lecturers should mentor or offer 'dry runs' for the junior staff to help them develop a cadence and polish to their presentations. The size of the cabins were ideal, except that it felt cramped with the sofa and 2 chairs. Although dress code was advertised as casual on most nights, the majority of people dressed for dinner as if it were a classic style cruise. Entertainment was unexpected, but pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Silver Cloud Expedition Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.3
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 2.0 3.6
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.9
Service 5.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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