Silversea boasts “all your needs are being taken care of for you – sometimes before you even ask.” On two of three Silversea cruises I have taken as a Venetian Society member that promise has not been met. In the future I will ... Read More
Silversea boasts “all your needs are being taken care of for you – sometimes before you even ask.” On two of three Silversea cruises I have taken as a Venetian Society member that promise has not been met. In the future I will purchase a large suite on a different line, save money and find promises kept rather than forgotten. The definition of customer satisfaction is that expectations are met. Silversea is overpromising and underdelivering which is the recipe for customer dissatisfaction.
This time, we cruised Silver Shadow Vancouver-Anchorage (Seward) AK, 7/26-8/2/2018, paying $17,800 for Silver Suite 719.
For that amount of money, a comparable suite aboard Celebrity costs $7,400 less and includes virtually the same services (free premium beverage package, free gratuities, free internet and $300 on-board credit). Plus, Celebrity sails a larger ship which handles Pacific Ocean waves and headwinds with a much smoother ride, offers more dining options, vastly better entertainment and more “things to do” on board.
Silver Shadow, 610 feet long, was unstable in even two-meter swells. And, aboard other lines I have sailed (Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Cunard or Norwegian) the entertainment and dining options are vastly greater and, in the case of entertainment, clearly superior.
Silversea’s entertainment was painful to watch and listen to. The Voices of Silversea were of poor quality, at one performance the entertainers even holding their written songsheets so they could remember the lyrics. The bar pianist/vocalist Ramon relied heavily on his computerized synthesizer orchestral backing and was difficult to tolerate. Background afternoon tea and bar pianist Natalia, however, was quite fine.
The boarding experience was wonderful, there was almost never a line to stand in, the food was quite good, the suite spacious if tired and in need of freshening up (even though the ship was refurbished in 2017). I asked for, and consistently received, a bottle of prosecco on ice in our suite. I was also offered and asked for, but sometimes did not receive, canapes and fruit each evening.
Butlers made the primary difference in passenger reaction to this cruise. First time Silversea cruisers in Suite 729 had what they described as “a fantastic butler” who was able to secure seemingly impossible reservations at La Dame (to which they invited us to come along as all La Dame tables will seat four diners), created personalized welcoming messages and towel sculptures every night and delivered service that often exceeded their expectations. He and their room steward were happy, properly solicitous and eager to please.
Our butler was unable to secure La Dame reservations, delivered no special touches, was difficult to pin down with answers to questions and delivered service that always paled in comparison. Other passengers to whom I spoke indicated widely varying degrees of delight or disappointment with this "butler inconsistency" feature on this cruise.
Pre-cruise reservations at specialty restaurant La Dame were impossible to get (even when we went online within 5 minutes of reservation availability time), for both us and for our traveling companions in Silver Suite 729 and for many others to whom we spoke. I called Silversea and even wrote a letter to the Head of the Miami Office, Mr. Mark Conroy, expressing frustration on this point. Both the calls and the letter went unanswered or unreturned.
After all of that, the $60 per person cover charge for La Dame was poorly spent as the food in the Main Dining room was, we all agreed, superior. The service and ambiance in La Dame, however, was excellent.
On board, a Silversea representative apologized to the 729 customers and offered to host a private reception in their suite (to which we were invited) but, amazingly, he failed to show up.
There is a dress code in public areas (“For Gentlemen: JACKETS (TIE OPTIONAL) after 6:00pm [capitals theirs] but it is not enforced. As an example, several gentlemen would show up in La Terrazza or the Main Dining Room without required jackets—one in an untucked sports jersey with a large number 13 and the name ‘Lucky’ on the back—and a “loaner” sports jacket would be delivered to them and draped over their chair back. They were not asked to wear the jacket as if the dress code was for the gentleman’s chair rather than the gentleman himself. Silversea should decide that they should drop the dress code or enforce the dress code; one or the other.
To date, I have spent 168 nights at sea during 17 cruises. There is much better value to be had on every other cruise I have taken (with the clear exception of low-cost Carnival). Our next cruise is on Cunard followed by Celebrity. I won’t miss Silversea nor do I suspect, based upon past unanswered communications, they will miss me. By the way, this “review” was written only upon post-cruise email request from Silversea; I get no delight in complaining without being asked. Read Less