27 Silversea Silver Wind Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

This story is about the first days of the cruise, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Sailing on a small cruise ship with the highlight sailing under the Tower Bridge .... On the Silver wind, I wanted so badly to cruise with this ... Read More
This story is about the first days of the cruise, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Sailing on a small cruise ship with the highlight sailing under the Tower Bridge .... On the Silver wind, I wanted so badly to cruise with this ship, the journey was nice and short; seven days, from Amsterdam to London. The ports of call: Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Guernsey, Falmouth, Cowes on the Isle of Whight, and London Tower Bridge. Silver Wind is the smallest ship of Silver Sea, only three hundred passengers can sail, the number of crew is 210, the first ship of the fleet, planned to be converted into expedition in 2020. Pieter brings us to the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, we board, and are again warmly welcomed by the cruise director and the entire crew. We do check in, and hand in our trolleys, and go to La Terrazza for lunch. This restaurant is one of the four on board; full Italian in the evening, morning and afternoon buffet. Within a minute Kevin, one of the waiters, is with us and asks what water we want to drink: still or sparkling, Silver Sea has its own osmosis system and the water is always fresh and cool. We start with a glass of champagne and say cheers to the cruise. We drink delicious white from Umbria and red from Valpolicella and go to our suite after lunch. There are no huts at Silversea, everything is suite and gives a spacious feel. At six o'clock we sail away, we turn on the IJ and sail past everything we know; the Eye, Amsterdam Tower, Pont Steiger, the Wijker and Velser tunnel, the blast furnaces of Tata Steel and the huge locks of Ijmuiden. Bye bye Holland! The pilot waves us goodbye while he steps alongside the pilot boat and we sail towards Zeebrugge. The nice thing about cruising with Silver Sea that you are always ashore in a port during the day and sail at night. At eight o'clock AM we dock at Zeebrugge, we disembark after breakfast, take the train and within fifteen minutes we walk into the old city of medieval Bruges. Bruges is so beautiful! Cobblestones, small canals, old churches, and age-old canal houses. It is full of tourists, so we take the back streets for our walk and choose an authentic Flemish restaurant De Vlaamsche Pot for lunch, we eat waterzooi and drink Trappist beer, and toast on Sunday. At 5 pm the bunches are thrown loose and we continue to sail, towards Le Havre in Normandy. We drink a welcome drink, captain Gennaro Arma introduces his team, then dinner in The Restaurant and choose a nice bottle of Saint Julien with the four courses. Chateau Lagrange 2007, how beautiful Bordeaux is when it gets older! Ace is our sommelier, the chef is called Jozef, of Dutch origine, and the journey is wonderful from the moment we boarded. Ace is our sommelier, the chef is called Jozef, of Dutch origine, and the journey is wonderful from the moment we boarded. After dinner we join the show where the Voices of Silversea give a beautiful Broadway impression, the theater is renovated and the seats and small tables are very comfortable. We will dock early in Le Havre on Monday, many American passengers want to see D-Day, they take an excursion to Omaha Beach. At Silver Sea you can book endless beautiful excursions, we as ex-aviation with thousands of destinations, arrange everything ourselves, within an hour we are on the bike, and yes, it is free, the municipality wants to promote cycling and invites everyone, therefore also tourists to take the bike. LeHavre is a city with a mix of fishing, industry and tourism, the difference between low and high tides was striking, about six meters, the river Seine starts there. It is the second port city of France. Almost completely bombed during the Second World War and carefully constructed under the guidance of the Belgian architect Auguste Pierre. In 2005 the city received the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. And you see that everywhere, the city is a picture, the bike ride a success. We hand in the bikes and thank the rental, which is next to the SNCF the railway station, go back on board and eat in La Dame, the restaurant with Relais and Chateau status. I think this one is the best because this restaurant on the Muse and the Spirit has no windows and on the Wind it has huge windows Foie Gras, caviar, lobster and rack of lamb it is overwhelming, and I have to skip my dessert additional cost for the diner is $60 per person. We leave the harbor at nine o'clock on our way to Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. The rest of the cruise remained excellent, good fresh meals, 50 open wines to choose from, and a connaisseur wine list with prices very moderate, so you can drink your grand cru or Barolo on board if you want to drink premium bottles. Highlight was the sail into the Thames with comment of a local pilot who explained a lot about the scenery we passed. The Tower Bridge openend for the Wind friday afternoon at 4 PM, all traffic was stopped and we sailed under the bridge, it was absolute the best moment of the trip. So little Silver Wind, with as always devoted and well-trained crew, we do love the ship, and are gracious to have had this experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
To begin with this review, the cruise with the Silver Wind was fabulous as always. Food was great and the service could not be better. The ship need a renovation, but that happens nex year. Dining at eveningtime we prefer The ... Read More
To begin with this review, the cruise with the Silver Wind was fabulous as always. Food was great and the service could not be better. The ship need a renovation, but that happens nex year. Dining at eveningtime we prefer The Restaurant. Meals are very good and the service also. At lunch we prefer La Terrazza outside. It's so nice to sit there with a nice view. In St Peters Port the weather was the best, so nice then to have lunch outside. Service in La Terrazza exellent! Entertainmaint was also very nice, we liked the performance of the singers. Butler en housekeeping as always, very good service! Room was very clean. You may know, me and my partner sailed more then 400 days with Silversea. Why did a rated this cruise one ball? That's because of the price. I booked suite 439 (Vista) and pay including 10% off, because more then 250 days, and 5% on board booking Euro 2.254,- You may know, the last half year before this cruise, start the price was going up to Euro 4.000,- per guest excluding flight, transfer. In the Netherlands is a website for crew members for airlines workers and touroperator workers. They can booked a lot of Silversea cruises for VERY MUCH LOWER prices. There was a couple on board they had in the past worked by KLM and booked this cruise for Euro 1.700,- for a vista suite. Three days before boarding they get a message from the operator that they got an upgrading to suite 741, yes a Medallion suite. Almost three times bigger then a Vista suite. Also including free laundry. Is this normal? Of course not!!! Possible you know that pilots working with KLM had a year income to Euro 275.000,- The may also booking this cruise for this price. I call this larceny! Okay some people get discount, but that upgrading is far from right. Ans this was not for the first time. Last march this couple did a 13 day cruise with the Silver Muse from Singapore to Hong Kong. Price for a Vista Suite USD 1.300,- Once they came on board they get an upgrading to a veranda suite. First i was interested to do a cruise with the Silver Shadow from Rome to Venice in 11 days starting at september 22 this year. Price for a Vista Suite on the Silversea website Euro 7.700,- per guest. Price on www.insidertravel Euro 2.600,- for a Vista, per guest! NO WAY that we booked this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We disembarked the Silver Wind in early June and generally had a very good cruise. The main attraction, certainly so far as my OH was concerned, was the sail in and out under Tower Bridge (note to destination lecturer - not ... Read More
We disembarked the Silver Wind in early June and generally had a very good cruise. The main attraction, certainly so far as my OH was concerned, was the sail in and out under Tower Bridge (note to destination lecturer - not "The" Tower Bridge, just Tower Bridge). We had a quick and easy embarkation and our suite, a classic veranda, was fine and looked in good order. We did find an item on a shelf which belonged to a previous occupant and which indicated, perhaps, not the most thorough of inspections before we arrived. It was not a major deal for us but we received a fulsome apology from 2 senior members of housekeeping staff. I dislike the bathroom on the Wind, in particular the bath/shower combination with a fixed shower screen and I gather that most, if not all, of the baths are to be removed when she is refitted next year – can't come soon enough, though I know some will miss them. The interactive TV in the suite was excellent, with Chronicles, restaurant menus, tour information and the newspaper all on-line, and a good selection of films. The hard copy of the newspaper disappeared on the 1st June but appeared on screen, so I assume the decision has been made to provide it online only, which saves a few trees and is fine with us. Connectivity for the TV and the internet, however, was frustrating, channels were often unavailable – particularly trying where there is a huge football game and the channel showing it is as dead as a Norwegian Blue . Apart from late at night and very early in the morning, it could be a dispiriting experience to try to use the internet. We had the standard, included, package only. Food we found, generally, to be good, with plenty of variety in the Restaurant. This was in contrast to our experience on the stretched Spirit last year when we found the Restaurant menu to be limited and repetitive, though there are of course many more dining options on the Spirit. With curries, pasta and local dishes offered on the Wind on various days in the Restaurant, we did not miss the alternative venues as we feared we would, though an Arts Café style area would have been welcome. Three courses and coffee were the norm at dinner, with no separate salad course or sorbet on offer and no petits fours. I am sure you could have had them as a special request. We did not need them. We also ate in La Terrazza, which was very good on the first night but rather mediocre later in the cruise to my mind, although OH enjoyed his dishes. I had rather expected a lasagne in an Italian Restaurant on an Italian ship to be sensational. I was disappointed. Hot Rocks in the evening has consistently excellent meat and fish, if you don’t mind doing your own cooking, which we rather enjoy and the best bit is that, no matter how much mess we make, someone else does the clearing up. During the day this area is the Pool Grill, where the food was adequate but where the service, on this trip, was under par. Things took ages to arrive, service was bit slapdash, i.e. tables were not properly cleaned down between guests and food dropped on the deck lay there and provided fodder for the birds. This was a coldish weather cruise, where the Grill was probably not as well used and I got the impression that staffing levels had been curtailed accordingly. Elsewhere, service was very good and charming though perhaps not quite as intuitive as on other ships. As an example, I always have expresso at breakfast and even though we very often had the same server, I always had to ask for it, it was never remembered . I could cope with this but one of the selling points of Silversea has been how quickly crew get to know passengers' preferences. The included wine was, again, generally acceptable and there was no difficulty in obtaining something other than the daily pour. Pudding wine was provided on request but was not routinely offered. The one big, and completely avoidable, problem on this voyage was the tendering process, which was lamentable. Unusually for Silversea, only one tender was in operation at tender ports, and it ran out and back on the hour and half hour. If, therefore, you missed one tender you had to wait for an hour until the next one. The difficulty was particularly acute at Gerainger where several ship tours arrived back at the quay at the same time, filling the scheduled tender to full capacity. Guests left behind were told they had to wait until the next scheduled tender, which was over an hour later. Minor mutiny ensued –can you mutiny on a quayside?-and after a lot of hoo-ing and ha-ing, the tender came back sooner than scheduled. This should never have been an issue, the ship was close to the quay so the tender journey was only a few minutes. There was absolutely no need for any hassle, the tour concierge team know how many guests are on tour and when those tours will arrive back, and so tenders should cater accordingly In Vik, we arrived at 7 am but the first tender for non-tour group guests was at 10am, the last tender back was at 11am, which left a frustratingly short time to explore the village and to walk to the famous churches there. My only other negative comment on the arrangements was that there should have been a shuttle bus into the centre of Bergen. However, perhaps my view was jaundiced by the fact that it rained on the way back to the ship and I got very wet and very, very grumpy. Entertainment- Colin Barbiere Brown was the Cruise Director and a there was a complete change round of Voices of Silversea and of at least one of the lounge musicians in London who boarded with us. Thus, the cast were putting their shows in place on the ship and so were not visible throughout the ship to engage with passengers. I did feel that we suffered somewhat from this. Colin is a polished Cruise Director, he runs a tight trivia and he performed on several occasions, with or without other musicians. It was, however, a mistake not to have some guest entertainers on board for this cruise as the performances by the Voices were to be limited and a variety of entertainment was lacking. I am aware that one does not choose a Silversea cruise for the breadth of its entertainment but some alternatives to Colin and his piano might have been welcome, excellent musician though he is. This brings me to the demographic of guests. As it was a London to London cruise, it was hardly surprising that the majority of guests were British, some 170 out of 294, I believe. A good number were older and with a degree of frailty. This meant that, in our opinion, the ship was less lively than we have experienced hitherto, especially in the evening. A couple of lumpy nights did not help, but the bars seemed to close early and I got the impression that a fair number of people didn’t get off the ship at ports. Given the average age of the guests, I suspect that some must have been surprised to be assailed by versions of Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen classics from the Voices on the last night. When it got rough, the crew were excellent older guests or those with mobility issues, some of whom were helped all the way back to their suites by crew who would not let them risk walking back unaccompanied. And yes, we had a wonderful sail out of London at night but an even more spectacular sail in in the morning, accompanied in part by 50 or so hot air balloons, flying almost close enough to touch. We know that Silversea can't take the credit for that, but it was the perfect end to an enjoyable voyage. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Silver Wind is in for a full refit in twelve months time. This is probably twelve months too late. Looking tired, the ship is saved by its excellent crew. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the cruise, probably still a good 4.5 ... Read More
Silver Wind is in for a full refit in twelve months time. This is probably twelve months too late. Looking tired, the ship is saved by its excellent crew. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the cruise, probably still a good 4.5 star experience. But that is not how Silverseas is marketed. Fellow travellers were discussing looking elsewhere. Food was good but not exceptional. Furnishings slightly raggedy around the edges. Again, nothing disastorous but not the kind of attention to detail you would expect from say Four Seasons which is the type of place Silverseas clientele typically frequent. Casino crew were downright miserable, servicing a worn room with an unfathomable set of slots. Silverseas still check all the right boxes, but the fear is that the new owners are destroying the brand by their cutting of costs. Silver Wind needs sorting out and quickly. This overdue refit can only damage the brand. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Let me begin by saying that I have cruised many times and with many different cruise lines. This is not the worst cruise line I have ever been on (that would be Costa Cruises) but it is close. We chose this trip for the destinations. ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that I have cruised many times and with many different cruise lines. This is not the worst cruise line I have ever been on (that would be Costa Cruises) but it is close. We chose this trip for the destinations. However, we were able to only stop at one of our original destinations. The rest were canceled or changed because of weather. Since this was a small ship in the Northern Atlantic, we were really tossed about.....so much so that stomach distress bags were scattered through out the ship. We were expecting so much from this cruise line because of all the high reviews. But while the cabins were nice, the rest of the ship was just ordinary for a cruise ship. We found out later that the ship will be dry docked for a complete refurbishment in a few weeks, so that makes sense. We had gotten so sick during the first part of the cruise, then were told that we would be crossing the Northern Atlantic to our final destination in Iceland over very rough waters. They then canceled another 2 ports of call because of the rough waters and were going straight to Iceland with 2 days and nights nonstop at sea. At that point, we jumped ship and bought airline tickets to our final destination in Iceland. We missed the last 4 days on the ship.....but we have no regrets that we were able to disembark when we did. Iceland is beautiful and we enjoyed the extra days on shore rather than sick at sea. If you are thinking about this cruise line be aware that it does not do well in open waters and choose your destination accordingly. If you are looking for a smaller more intimate boutique type cruise experience, look at Azamara. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Cruising with Silversea is a no brainer, everything promised was pretty much delivered. We did notice a difference in service between the Silver Shadow and the Wind, with staff in the dining areas not as attentive, and I hope this was a ... Read More
Cruising with Silversea is a no brainer, everything promised was pretty much delivered. We did notice a difference in service between the Silver Shadow and the Wind, with staff in the dining areas not as attentive, and I hope this was a one-off. Perhaps the ship was short staffed on this cruise. Yes, as other reviewers have noted, the Wind is showing a bit of wear and tear but it didn't stop us from booking the next cruise on the same ship, especially knowing it is getting a facelift this fall. We enjoyed all the ports of call without exception and the grande finale at Tower Bridge, with champagne on the upper deck and Rule Britannia blaring from the speakers, was just marvelous...hopefully the locals didn't mind the intrusion. The enrichment lectures were informative and the cooking demonstrations were fun. Colin Brown, the cruise director, should be cloned and used on all the ships, he was excellent. Oliver at the pool bar has hospitality in his DNA, maybe he should also be cloned. The Voices of Silversea didn't disappoint, and it was nice to run into Nina again. Philip and Katherine, the butler and suite attendant, are to be commended. All in all a fabulous time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The itinerary for this cruise fit our schedule beautifully. We loved the fact that we docked in some ports in the evening, able to do a bit of exploring for/after dinner, giving it almost a river cruise atmosphere. And what ports! ... Read More
The itinerary for this cruise fit our schedule beautifully. We loved the fact that we docked in some ports in the evening, able to do a bit of exploring for/after dinner, giving it almost a river cruise atmosphere. And what ports! Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Rouen, Honfleur, and London! Each beautiful, full of history, good shopping, and lots of cobblestones. The Wind only holds 296 passengers, giving it a very intimate feel, yet never felt crowded. There are four restaurants available for dinner, and we enjoyed each and every one at least twice! Chef even prepared a special dinner for us of dover sole one night in the main restaurant. The staff and crew are delightful. After 10 days we felt as if we were leaving our "Cheers" bar, where everyone knows your name. The Cruise Director, Colin, is a trained classical pianist who entertained us, along with the 6 Seven Seas Dancers/Singers. From opera to Broadway, they were great. We had fun! Everyone bent over backwards to make certain everything was to our satisfaction. This was our third Silver Seas cruise, and I can't wait for the next one.... Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and SilverSea customer service. The crew from the butler, restaurant server, cruise director, and ship capitan were exceptional. The food quality was very good and expertly prepared. The singers were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and SilverSea customer service. The crew from the butler, restaurant server, cruise director, and ship capitan were exceptional. The food quality was very good and expertly prepared. The singers were very talented and provided good variety. The ports were all interesting and the tours provided a wide variety of options. The ship is a older vessel, but well maintained. The ship will need to be updated in the near future. The fitness center was small and could be refreshed. The service level by the crew is the highlight of this cruise. The crew quickly remembered your name and addressed you by your name. Hamburg, Germany was a particularly interesting port and St Michael church was very beautiful. I would recommend spending extra days in Copenhagen and London. We really enjoyed the theatre in London and visiting Buckingham Palace. Copenhagen is walkable and a friendly city. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The minor detail on an otherwise great cruise is that the hot tubs never really get hot enough. The international standard is 103 to 105 Fahrenheit and I felt that the tubs on "Wind" were about 100 to 101 F and that difference is ... Read More
The minor detail on an otherwise great cruise is that the hot tubs never really get hot enough. The international standard is 103 to 105 Fahrenheit and I felt that the tubs on "Wind" were about 100 to 101 F and that difference is significant .... The route was a good one. Copenhagen to London. The stops along the way were well thought out and the guides were good. Cabin service was excellent and we especially enjoyed the laundry service. We did not attend any of the theatre shows but did go to the various bars. The guitar player was very good and he had the room all up and dancing. His name was Aidan. The last stop was Honfleur and we especially enjoyed the cocktail mixing class. The instructor was excellent. The trip up the Thames River will rank as one of the most memorable of the whole cruise as the song that was played as we travelled under Tower Bridge was "Hail Britannia". It was 9 PM, and a dark night so very dramatic. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
A great cruise on a small vessel ------------------------------------------ In late August through mid September, Karen and I had a delightful cruise of the Baltic Sea region, touring nine stops in seven countries. Our cruise was ... Read More
A great cruise on a small vessel ------------------------------------------ In late August through mid September, Karen and I had a delightful cruise of the Baltic Sea region, touring nine stops in seven countries. Our cruise was with a high-end luxury cruise line that specializes in operating small ships with very high crew to guest ratios. We loved every minute of the trip, including the travel on the glass-smooth Baltic Sea, the exciting low fly-over of the mountainous and glacier-covered Greenland, the education of traveling through Russia and the other Baltic countries, and the warm relationships with formed with both the people native to each country and other travelers. Before we left for the trip we exchanged dollars for Euros (for Germany, Finland, and Estonia), Swedish Kronors, and Danish Kronors. We were out of luck for Rubles, but that did not pose a problem. I think they'll take anything Western there, but you probably won’t find anything you would want to buy. The Ship - The Silver Wind ----------------------------------- Wow! What else can I say about the fabulous tour of the Baltic Sea region aboard the Silver Wind, a ship of Silver Seas. Silver Seas operates a fleet of ten small ships, offering luxury cruises (“World Cruises”) with incorporated tours and also in-depth adventure cruises (“Grand Voyages”). The Silver Wind accommodated up to 294 guests in total with a crew of 222. It was built in 1995 and underwent a major refurb in 2018. It will undergo another refurb in 2020 to give the hull iceberg strength for more adventuresome cruising. Captain Fabrizio Rota welcomed us aboard. His crew were from 35 different nations worldwide. Our entire cruise (not including on land tours) was to be 1,295 nautical miles stopping at ten docks in six countries. We were staying on Deck 6 in Suite 641. Our Veranda Suite was 246 ft2, plus a 49 ft2 balcony. Our bathroom had a shower/tub and plenty of room, and we had a walk-on closet with a safe. We had always-on WiFi, 110v power, a fridge. and a great queen size bed. We had a personal butler 24 hours per day, and our butler had an assistant to back him up whenever he was not immediately available. Upon our boarding, he came to the room with our luggage and offered to unpack, and asked what we would like in the room (food, snacks, beverages, ...). We asked that we always have a cold Prosecco in the fridge. Thereafter, for the remained of the cruise, we always had a cold Prosecco. You could wake up at 3:00AM and dial the butler and ask for steak and onion rings, and within a few minutes, it would be served on a white tablecloth in our sitting room. We never did that, but we could have. We did have one meal in our room and it was just as described. The level of service was extraordinary in all aspects of the trip. The butler automatically shined our shoes and if we had laundry, it was taken care of. If we wanted to, there was even a laundry room where we could wash our stuff ourselves. Why? Click here to see what Travel & Leisure magazine had to say about service abord the Silver Wind. Flight and boarding ------------------------- We flew American Airlines Airbus A330-300 Business Class from Philadelphia direct to London Heathrow, where we then boarded a British Airways Airbus 320 to Stockholm. On the first leg, we had a sleeping compartment, which was private and configured to a full-length bed (we flew overnight). We arrived in Stockholm refreshed and ready to tour. See below (1. Stockhom) for our time in Stockholm. The next afternoon, we boarded the Silver Wind to begin the cruise. More about the ship and the amenities --------------------------------------------------- Every morning when we awoke, we had a daily “Chronicle” ship’s paper waiting in a mailbox by our door. It contained the weather, news and description of the day’s activities and tours, a detailed schedule for the day and special instructions for tours, menues, and info regarding the ship’s facilities. Click here for an example. Note that on page 3 of the Chronicles example is a day full of activities for those who wish to stay on board and not tour on land. The ship had everything one could want: multiple restaurants, including the main restaurant (The Restaurant), an exclusive high-end French restaurant (La Dame), barn-to-table Italian restaurant (La Terraza) which doubled in the mornings as a breakfast buffet, a pool-side grill (The Grill) and a bars here and there; a decent-sized heated pool with two spas, a health club; a theater where every evening there was a music or stage play, with a wide variety of venue; a medical facility; concierge and tour desks; a casino; a card room; a botique; and so on. Each day the Chronicles indicated the mode of dress for that evening in the main restaurant, either Formal, Informal, or Casual. The Grill was always Casual, and La Dame was always Formal, and La Terrazza was really what was being indicated. The first night was formal, most of the rest were Informal. I liked having to wear a suit, blazer, or tux to dinner; it lent an air of dignity and special-ness, in my opinion. If that is not your cup of tea, there is always dining available for those in informal dress. In the room, we had a balcony with deck chairs and a table, where we sat throughout the voyage sailing to enjoy the ride, the view, and the Prosecco. 1. Stockholm, Sweden - August 28-29 -------------------------------------------------- We arrived at Stockholm Arlanda Airport at 2:25PM, went through a very non-rigorous customs, collected our luggage, and taxied to our hotel. Hotel Diplomat Stockholm is a luxury hotel, located on Strandvägen in the city center of Stockholm. We found it to be in a great location, good facility, and great service. From the hotel, we walked across the street to the docks on Lake Mälaren, which at some point connects to the Baltic Sea. Stockholm is sometimes called “The Venice of the North" because of the wonderful waterways upon which it is built. We walked around the city for a while and stopped for dinner at a great cafe, Restaurant Prinsen - on Mäster Samuelsgatan, about five blocks from our hotel. We sat al fresco under their canopy, watching the georgeous people of Sweden saunter by. The were universally tall, blond, well-constructed, and beautiful. Karen even remarked that they were all “10’s”. We ate Kantarell Toast (a pesto of chanterelles over toast), Köttbullar (classic Swedish meatballs), and a Cajun salad with Rakor (salad with shrimp). Of course, we had several classes of Cuvée Madame Chardonnay to accompany. Yumm! A good start to our trip. The following morning, we left the hotel after breakfast to tour Gamla Stan, the original old town center located on the island of Stadsholmen and a couple of other smaller islets. It has a lot of cobblestone streets and little shops and some pretty important landmarks. We stopped to look at the Nobel Museum, named for Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and for whom the Nobel Prize is named. It is located in the old Stock Exchange building on a cobblestone square. We stopped for a coffee on the square to people watch. One gets to and from Gamla Stan over one of a few bridges. We walked over the Vasabron (Vasa Bridge in Swedish), named for King Gustav Vasa (1496–1560) whose statue is nearby. After our tour of the old city and a bit of downtown Stockholm (a delightful place), we taxi’d to the Silver Wind, and began boarding. It was painless, but we needed to get ID cards for the trip and to off- and on-board during the trip. Then we went to our room, met out butler, got settled, went up to the top deck for departure, and viola, we were sailing away for an overnight trip to St. Petersburn, Russia. 2. St. Petersburg, Russia - August 31 - September 1 --------------------------------------------------------------------- Who in America is not curious about life in Russia - its history, its people, its landmarks, it culture, and daily life there? Well, we got to see quite a lot of Russia in two days of touring St. Petersburg. This city was commissioned by Tsar Peter the Great to be a “window looking into Europe’, built on a hundred islands in the Neva Delta (where the Neva River meets the Gulf of Finland). It is the fourth largest city in Europe, and a very interesting one at that. We started by having to enter through Russian security. Since this was a sponsored tour, no visas were required. All other tours, for example private tours, required the complicated and expensive visas to have been acquired long before the cruise began. We boarded the bus for the tour and met our delightful tour guide, a young man named Germain (rhymes with “airman”) who was both knowledgeable and charming. As we drove from the ship to our first stop, we drove through the urban, suburban, and semi-rural landscape. We saw massive numbers of similar big, boxy, unattractive apartment buildings. Germain pointed out that most Russians live in these kind of dull apartments. Typically, an apartment my have an extended family living in just a few rooms, with space at a premium. Karen and I had seen this in other parts of Eastern Europe in places that were formerly a part of the Soviet Union. The Russians seemingly built these big, ugly apartment buildings whereever they went. We began with a tour of Peterhof Palace, Peter the Great’s rival to Versailles. An hour drive from the ship, it was built in 1714-25 and remodelled in 1745-55. Though the palace was damaged in World War II by the German advance, it has been carefully restored to its prior glory, and it is truly marvelous. Never have I seen so much gold, inside and out, on walls and statues, on dinnerware and decorations, ... everywhere. It is immense and it is a reminder of a lavish time. We left Peterhof and went into the heart of St. Petersburg, crossing some of the many bridges and driving by such great landmarks as The State Hermitage Museum. The second-largest art museum in the world, it was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. It holds the largest collection of paintings in the world. We did not tour the museum, though a number of our fellow passengers did so. We stopped at St. Isaac’s Cathedral, with its opulent interior spanning 43,000 square feet and filled with hundreds of impressive 19th century works of art. Featured are the icconostasis of white marble with gold gilding, and the Royal Gate flanked by two lapis columns and ten columns of malachite. The dome alone is guilded by ove 220 pounds of pure gold. St. Isaacs is the most opulent, overly and outlandishly ornate place I have seen, even more so than the Vatican. We stopped and toured the Spilled Blood Cathedral, one of the landmarks of the city. And then we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress, touring it and especially the Peter and Paul Cathedral. The cathedral is the highest building in the city, 404 feet high. It is topped by an angel holding a cross. It is the place where all the tsars were buried after Peter the Great died. The next day we did the “Through the Eyes of Russians” tour, which included a Metro ride, a visit to a Farmer‘s market, and a vodka tasting. Few of us understand the significant political, social, and economic changes that have happened in Russia since December, 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. I wanted to see what Russia was like today, so Karen and I opted for this tour. Our first stop was for a lunch at what seemed to be a typical Russian restaurant. We were served a lunch that was, I believe, ‘westernized” for the benefit of the tour group, but included Russian touches. The place was a little dingy, most of the staff was not unpleasant, but there was no attempt at good cheer. The went through the motions, I believe. Then on we went to the entrance to the Metro. Then things got interesting! First off, the Metro is a hundred meters under the surface. A hundred meters! As we entered the station, we were ill-prepared for what lay ahead. The Metro was began in 1941, but then Germany invaded. Work resumed after the war and it opened in 1955, linking all five stations in St. Petersburg. We got onto an escalator and rode down a steep incline for a long, long time. Just as the excalator ride ended on a little platform, we stepped forward to another escalator for another equally long ride down. When we stepped off, the station platform was simply amazing. It was perfectly clean, very ornate, and beautiful. This must be one of the best subways in the world. Our guide showed us several parts of the platform system, complete with statues, paintings, and history lessons. At one point, I nudged Karen and whispered, “See that rough looking guy in the crowd? He has been following us and I know he is either a thug or a ‘watcher’, and has military bearing.” I pointed him out to our guide, who ’fessed up that the guy was “security” the cruise hired to watch over us. I was happy that I can still spot a former Spetsnaz in a crowd. We went from St. Isaacs to a Farmers Market, an aspect of the trip I was anticipating. I wanted to see what and how product was displayed and compare what I learned to my experiences at home. Was I disappointed! We arrived at Kuznechny Food Market, where we were supposed to find friendly people and sample some of the food. Not so friendly and no samples, and the place was not particularly clean, nor did the food (meat, produce, dairy, etc) look appetizing. One the other hand, when we walked outside of the market we could clearly see the famed Soviet era Hammer and Sickle on the front of the building. We then walked over to the vodka tasting venue a few blocks away. It was a restaurant and we filled it to capacity. There was a small band playing music and singing, all in a effort to engage our tour. We all played along and had some fun doing it. We were served some canapes and several rounds of “vodka”, each flavored with different spices. I would have preferred some plain vodka and didn’t really enjoy the flavored kinds. But it was an attempt to cater to our tastes in their experience, and all in all, it was a fun time. The servers at this venue were cheerful, as well. Finally, back to the bus and the ship for one of the really good on board dinners. While driving to the ship, we passed a docked Russian submarine (see photo). As we did throughout the trip, we relaxed a bit upon return with some Prosecco, either on our balcony looking over the water, or on the upper deck with friends we met on board. Then dinner and a bottle of good wine. Then some evening entertainment - perhaps a theatrical musical in the theater. Those were done by the working crew, who doubled as entertainers, and they were very good. And at evening end, to bed. Sleeping on board was very easy... it was quiet, dark, peaceful, and smooth. 3. Tallinn, Estonia - September 2 ------------------------------------------- Tallinn, Estonia is located on the Gulf of Finland, directly across from Helsinki, Finland. Since St. Petersburg is on the Gulf of Finland as well, our overnight voyage was on that very placid body of water. Tallinn is the oldest Northern European capital city, with a rich history - much of which being occupied by a foreign dominators. Starting in 1219, the Danes first, then the Germans, Swedes, and Russians, in an uninterrupted span until the end of World War I (1919). Finally, with Russia in wreckage, Estonia declared its independence, which was then usurped by the Soviet Union just prior to World War II, who (except for three years of Nazi occupation) suppressed all forms of Estonian national pride for the next 50 years. Estonia was finally able to regain independence in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. Finally, the Estonian Parliament charted a path to join the European Union, throwing off the years of Soviet dominance and direction. It has been an EU member since 2004 and in 2009 joined the Eurozone. We were excited to see this little gem of a city. We were driven up the hill from the ship to Old Town, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. The charm is evident everywhere. As we walked through Old Town, we passed the gate to the Estonian Parliament - so accessable. We sat on the massive wall surrounding Old Town and viewed the overall city. We toured the 19th century Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox symbol of the centuries of Russification endured by Estonia. 4. Turku, Finland - September 3 ------------------------------------------ We sailed into Turku, Finland on another beautiful day - did I mention the weather we had? We had perfect weather the whole trip: low 60’s to high 70’s, clear skies, calm seas, and sunshine. Great touring weather. I knew something special awaited us as we sailed into this, the 2011 European Capital of Culture, and Finland’s oldest town. It was founded in the 13th century and was Finland’s capital until 1809. At that point it was absorbed into the Russian Federation and the capital moved to Helsinki. It is located on the Aura River, which reaches into the Archipelago Sea. Turku is on the point of Finland where the Baltic Sea, the Archipelago Sea, and the Gulf of Bothnia meet. Just entering the city and the port was a wondrous experience. Sailing boats and ships everywhere along the Aura, the charm of Turku is immediately evident. There are ten bridges in Turku across the Aura in this city of 175,000. The city seems dominated by its large university presence and is a tech center. In 1827, 75% of the city was destroyed by a great fire, so many of the older areas were burned, which affects it history and caused it to be rebuilt at that time. It is a curious mix of old and new, and is a great place to visit and walk. Our first tour stop was at the Orthodox Cathedral. We stopped at a Loustarinmäki Handcraft Museum, which is in reality a village remaining and maintained from about 1775. The entire village is an open air museum, with all the characteristics of the original time. The streets are rough cobblestone, the buildings are well-worn wood and most structures ajoin one-another. Each of the buildings seems to house a business and a home for the owner. There is a printer, painter, tobacconist, etc. Extremely interesting. We toured the fascinating 12th century Turku Castle, the largest surviving medieval building in Finland. The structure includes the Medieval “keep” (päälinna) and Renaissance “bailey” (esilinna). The keep is a square fort with two square gateway towers with 16 foot thick walls. In the Middle Ages the castle was surrounded by a moat conjoining with the River Aura, the castle effectively lying on an island. We saw many other sights in beautiful and interesting Turku, but we had to leave and return to the ship for another great evening. 5. Västervik, Sweden - September 4 ------------------------------------------------ We were fortunate to embrace the scenic beauty of the Västervik Archipelago from a unique perspective on a local boat ride to Hasselö Island. A local fisherman was our guide on the boat ride as we rode through the archipelago. We landed on the island of Hasselö, population about 36, though it swells to about 500 in the summer. Once primarily a fishing village, it is now focused on tourism, carpentry, and services. Once we landed, we mounted a little wagon pulled by an ATV for our tour of the island. It actually was a great way to see things - we were close, in the open air, and could talk to and hear the local man driving the ATV. He talked to us about the island historically and now, and pointed out great views and local landmarks. He drove us around Hassalö and then over a little bridge to the island of Sladö, population 5. Hassalö has a small cluster of homes, and every house and dock shed on the island is painted barn red with white trim. I guess they all got together and bought the paint. Everything is well kept. When we had finished the tour of the island, we stopped at the restaurant near the dock where the boat that had brought us was docked. We were delighted to have coffee and a delicous cake that the proprietor had made, and as we ate a surprising thing happened. A local man came to our table and asked if he could sit with us and chat. He was, like (apparently) all Swedes, was very fit and handsome, with a great-looking and neatly trimmed beard. He wanted to talk about America, but as a local resident, he was perfectly happy talking about life on the island(s). His wife, a professional, recently came to the U.S. to work, and he would soon be following. He had some questions. During our charming conversation, we learned that he planned to take his hunting rifle to New York so that he could later do some hunting. We warned him about immigrating with a weapon. All in all, it was a great way to meet and learn about the local people. Once we returned to the Silver Wind and it was underway, we were - as usual - sitting on our balcony enjoying a glass of Prosecco, when we saw the red Pilot boat come alongside and the pilot jumped from our ship to the Pilot boat. It was clear that everywhere along the Baltic shores, the archipelagos required the use of local pilots. The 50,000 islands, rocks, and skerries are a navigational hazzard. 6. Rønne, Bornholm and Svaneke, Denmark - September 5 Now I have to confess: just prior to the beginning of the trip I came down with a case of pneumonia. Since it was the weekend, I went to a local clinic rather than my excellent personal doctor, and they gave me some kind of anti-biotic. A few days into the trip, I was still sick and I went to the ship’s doctor, who gave me another. I was feeling pretty weak the day we landed in Roenne, so Karen went on the tour without me. I stayed on the ship, got a massage, hot tub, sleep, and generally slummed. So I missed this particular day, and what I have here is from Karen and the guidebooks. Forgive me. I did well the remainder of the trip, I think. At least Karen didn’t leave me lying in a pool of self-pity on some rock. Back to the trip. Rønne is the largest town on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, with around 13,000 inhabitants. It is a historic and scenic town, established approximately in the year 1000. It was largely destroyed by Russian bombing of German positions during WW II, but was painstakingly rebuild in its origina tradition. It had early on established itself as a herring fishing village, but over the centuries that declined. The production of ceramics replaced fishing and remains so today. Karen opted for a tour that included Svaneke village and a tasting at the brewhouse. On the way there they was some beautiful shore and forest views, and Karen climbed a forest lookout tower to get a better view. On the way, there as a stop to see an ancient ship hull. She walked through the village and shops, and then went to the Brewhouse where many different beers were set up for tasting. Sounded deligtful to me. 7. Warnemünde (Rostock) and Kuhlungsborn, Germany - September 6 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, speak of disappointments that turn into pleasures, we learned that our tour booked for this day was cancelled due to the German Bundestag (Parliament) meeting in our expected venue for that day. We had planned to take a train to Berlin, and tour the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall, Charlotten Palace, Kurfurstendam Avenue and the Victory Column in Tiergarten Park, Gendarmenmarkt Square, an exclusive organ recital at the Berlin Cathedral, and capped off with a three-course lunch at the rooftop restaurant on the Reichstag. But, noooo, the German government had business to conduct, so the Reichstag was closed and out tour was cancelled. So, we chose instead to tour the Mecklenburg countryside and the Narrow Guage Railroad. Who knew how much we’d love that day? We docked at Warnemünde in what was formerly East Germany, sitting on the estuary of the River Warnow from which it gets its name. It is a suburb of Rostock, and is a place where many tourist ships dock. We opted for a the “Mechlenburg Countryside and Narrow Guage Rail” tour. A great choice, it turns out. There was, of course, a brief bus ride through the countryside, and then we stopped in Bad Doberan to walk around and find the “Molli”, the name of the narrow guage railroad that runs from Bad Doberan to Kuhlungsborn along the Baltic Coast. What fun. We sat on the train with some friends we made on the cruise and we all had a ball. The train was clean, interesting, open, and was almost like a Disney “Small, Small World” ride, but real. It was build in 1886, and runs around 10 kilometers. Within Bad Doberan the line runs through the street, and later along a linden tree-lined avenue. Between Heiligendamm and Kühlungsborn the tracks run parallel to the Baltic Sea beach across fields. One of my favorite stops on this entire trip was Kuhlungsborn. This quaint seaside village with a long white sandy beach on the calm Baltic coast is a very busy resort town whose existence seems to be to make tourists happy. It has a series of great small hotels and wonderful restaurants. We were treated to coffee and cake at a wonderful beachside hotel restaurant. We then walked down to the beach and were entertained by a one-man band, but the real entertainment was the beautiful white sand beaches. It was a wonderful place to be. After a while kibitzing with our friends and enjoying the ambiance, we ambled up the tree-lined lane and down the cobblestone street to view the many shops and restaurants. Were it not for the ever-expected crowds, this would be a great place to spend a summer. 8. Travemunde and Lübeck, Germany - September 7 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- We sailed into Travemunde in what was once West Germany, close to the westernmost edge of the Baltic Sea, almost directly south across the Baltic from Copenhagen. Travemunde is the part of Lübeck that contains the port, being directly on the Baltic. When referring to Lübeck, my understanding is that one is generally including Travemunde. The Hanseatic City of Lübeck (Hansestadt Lübeck) is the largest German port on the Baltic Sea and the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, and is situated at the mouth of the river Trave, giving it the name of its port Travemünde. In the 12th century, Lübeck, together with nearby Hamburg (which I have visited for business in the distant past), founded what became the powerful Hanseatic League of ports and trading towns. Unlike fellow Hanseatic Cities of Hamburg and Bremen, it lost its "Free State" status and was incorporated into the German federation. History found a sweeter side for Lübeck - it is globally known for the finest marzipan. The old town (Altstadt) of Lübeck , although considerably damaged during the Second World War, was rebuilt in its medieval times form. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city center's medieval skyline, mainly composed of seven Gothic-style church towers, is still intact. Lübeck is surrounded by parts of the old city walls with two of the original four city gates left. Most notable is the Holsten Gate (Holstentor) which was the motif on the German banknote of 50 Deutsche Mark prior to reunification, when the bills were redesigned. We had joined the cruise’s tours at every stop so far, so this day we opted to conduct our own tour of Lübeck. We started by walking off the boat along the docks into Travemunde to the bus terminal. There we boarded the bus for the brief ride into the old city of Lübeck. We got off and asked where to pick up the bus for the return trip, and we were told to go to the street by the Holtsen Gate. Okay, we had the schedule and a few Euros. No problem. We walked through parts of the old city and quickly found ourselves in front of the Lübeck Cathedral, and next to it the Niederegger Arcade & Square. Within the square, we saw the old town hall (“rathaus”) and directly behind it a brewery, with the Cathedral in the background. We sat just outside the Niederegger Arcade across the street from the famous Niederegger Marzipan store and had a cappacino and watched the passersby, just “chillin”. We went into the store, and holy cow, how much marzipan is there? We wondered through the arcade and through the square, and then deeper into the old town, where we happened upon a sign for “observation deck”. It is located in a remodeled St. Peters Church, and the deck is accessed through a combination of stairs and elevators. It gives a great view of the entire old city and across the river to the east (Lübeck old city is an island in the midst of the river). We then began our return to the ship. We walked through some of the charming streets loaded with shops (most for the tourists, I believe), and tried to find the bus stop near the Holsten Gate. We stopped several people to ask, and finally a taxi drive pointed out were we could find it. We were a little worried that we would miss it because of the amount of time and walking we expended to find it. But it turned out fine. All aboard and back to Travemunde and the ship. As we walked to the boat from the bus station in Travemunde, we the whole view was a marina on our side of the river, and working docs on the other side. Another wonderful day! Then a glass of Prosecco (what else?), shower, get presentable, a fine dinner*, followed by another fun musical in the theater. Then we had to face the final sailing sunset of our cruise. Our last night aboard. We joined our friends for a "stone grill" in the Grill, where a very hot stone is placed in front of you and you grill your order. The order can be whatever you like: steak (filet, strip, New York, ...), shrimp, lobster, lamb, and so on, or steak and shrimp or two steaks. When I say whatever, I mean whatever. That and fine wine or other beverage, including specific wines that you'd like. Very upscale all the way. 9. Copenhagen, Denmark - September 8 - 9 ---------------------------------------------------------- The magical ride aboard the Silver Wind was at an end. We had breakfast and our luggage was taken to dockside where we got a taxi and proceeded to the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel for an overnight stay. We were able to tour Copenhagen most of that day and much of the following day. The first stop was while driving to the hotel we asked the taxi driver to stop at the Little Mermaid, an ubiquitous attraction (just below). He then drove us through Amalienborg Slotsplads, the famous square which is home to the Danish royal family. Who knew that for the price of a taxi ride to the hotel, we could get a great little tour and see some sights we may have lost? There were a number of other highlights from that short ride, but our walking tour also included some of them. We checked in and began our walk through Copenhagen. Copenhagen is located on a strait, the Öresund, that connects the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and which separates Denmark from Sweden. Malmo, Sweden, is just across a narrow part of the Baltic, 26 miles east by road from Copenhagen. The city, about 1.6 million people, is located on the eastern shore of the island of Zealand, partly on the island of Amager and on a number of natural and artificial islets between the two. Our hotel sat directly on the edge of the Öresund, and gave us a spectacular view of the strait and the part of the city on the other island. As we walked we came across the spectacular Nyhavn district, a beautiful canal street lined with many shops and restaurants, and all along the canal, bow to stern, small to medium sailing vessels. Absolutely charming. We left Nyhavn (reluctantly) and walked a few block further to the Amilie Garden, where I sat and Karen wandered a bit. I was watching the new Opera house across the strait, a beautiful sight - as are the gardens. Directly opposite of the Opera view is a look into the Amilienborg square. Amalienborg. The “Slotsplads” is very impressive, with four nearly identical classical palaces (and we are told rococco interiors) around the square and King Frederick V on horseback in the center. We walked over to Amilienborg and witnessed the Queen’s guard on his march to guard her residence palace. We then walked through the square and came to Marmorkirken, the “Marble Church”, the church of King Frederick V. I sat on the steps for a while, while Karen explored. A couple sat down with me, and we began to chat. They were touring from South Africa, and we compared notes. I have to say that Copenhagen was delightful for meeting new people easily and breaking into great conversation. Karen came back and we continued to chat for a while. We decided to taxi back to the hotel (a long, long walk), and as part of the drive, we went trough Kongens Nytorv, a very large pedestrian square. Just near where Hotel D'Angleterra is located, there is a very large bicycle docking station. So many bicycles! We arrived at the Marriott and watched from our window as a fascinating water polo match was played directly in front of our window across the strait in the very cold waters. It was 60 or 65 degree weather, and the water had to be much colder, and they were in the water like it was a heated swimming pool. We asked the hotel concierge to direct us to a good restaurant within walking distance (which is very different for Europeans than it is for Americans), and they pointed us to Restaurant Karla (get Google to translate the page) on Dante Place (“Dantes Plads 1”). It is directly across from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, a major art museum that holds the collection of the founder of Carlsberg Breweries. The restaurant is small, intimate, and had a very local client base. We each ordered from the prix fixe menu for a fulll-course meal, centered on herring or plaice. It was delicious 10. Iceland and Greenland Flyover ---------------------------------------------- We boarded the Icelandic Air flight home and settled into our Business Class seats. After a stop to change planes in Reykjavik, we flew to Philadelphia and home. We flewo over both Iceland and Greenland and flew low and got good views. It is ironic that Iceland is green and Greenland is icy. It had been a wonderful trip, one that I would recommend to anyone. But, as always, it was good to be home again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I love Silversea and have always had great experiences, met interesting fellow passengers, and still can’t believe how fabulous the service always is. Nothing is ever too much to ask for. Silversea is known for its itineraries. On ... Read More
I love Silversea and have always had great experiences, met interesting fellow passengers, and still can’t believe how fabulous the service always is. Nothing is ever too much to ask for. Silversea is known for its itineraries. On every trip I take there is always at least one unusual port and often more than one. The food and wines have been steadily improving...from very good to exceptional. I think dinners are truly gourmet in the Main Dining room. Breakfasts are offered in both the MDR and,buffet style in the Terrasse. I prefer a cabin service breakfast or an Early Riser continental breakfast in the beautiful Panorama Lounge. Lots of excellent choices! As to solo travel, SS really tries to accommodate singles. Cocktail get togethers and singles’ tables make getting to meet other singles much easier. You just have to be open and friendly. While I do think the Wind could use a little sprucing up, she is a wonderful,intimate vessel and has a very loyal following. (She will be going into dry dock within the next three months for refurbishment.) The overwhelming concern so many of The Wind’s fans is that she will probably be taken out of the “Classic” fleet and made into an Expedition vessel. I believe there will always be a niche for small luxury shops. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Once Aboard, it took an inordinate amount of time to receive our luggage (approximately 2 hours). The suite was very small and some of the plumbing did not work: could not regulate hot and cold water in the sink, drain in the tub (2x), ... Read More
Once Aboard, it took an inordinate amount of time to receive our luggage (approximately 2 hours). The suite was very small and some of the plumbing did not work: could not regulate hot and cold water in the sink, drain in the tub (2x), then a loose faucet in the sink after the repair. Only 3 outlets in the entire cabin and 1 was already utilized by the clock. No loutlets in the bathroom except for an electric razor. For the most part the entertainkent consisted of 6 fairly talented young performers (unfortuaately one got incompacitated toward the end of the voyage). One night in the beginning, there was only a terrible movie on 2 little screens and only 4 people in the audience.. We like to dance and there was no dancing until the middle of the voyage and in the bar only.(i believe because a complaint was made by some of the passengers.) The ship missed aGdansk Poland because of Engine problems The last straw was that our "confirmed" seat assignment on Swiss Air was changed without any notification. We were fortunate to find a ticket manager to help us get better seats but not the ones we were assigned. Some of the tours were good and some substandard. For example: in St. Petersburg we were on the canal ride and sat outsided but the sound system was inaudible. Some were boring; some exxcellent. In Latvia the guide was poor. We were on Oceanic previous and was convinced by the travel agent that Silver Seas was a step up. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I was told it was a 5 Star cruise line. This ship is past due for updating which I understand will happen this November. However, I found the cabin staff poorly trained or beginners. The food menu was very shallow. Several meals did not ... Read More
I was told it was a 5 Star cruise line. This ship is past due for updating which I understand will happen this November. However, I found the cabin staff poorly trained or beginners. The food menu was very shallow. Several meals did not have anything of interest beyond a steak or hamburger. The desert offerings were very poor. With only a few nights exception, ice cream was the only interesting offer. Staff works hard to call you by name and are very friendly. Good iterinerary and shore excursions were good except one in HELSINKI (The tour that toured via sail boat was unpleasant). Quality of entertainment was good but surprised that there were several times when there were not activities on the ship for several hours while at sea. They could have bingo, "bag toss" with crew or other activities. Surprised that they upcharge for La Dame dining. First visit experienced very slow/poor service and they offered a scond visit which went well to correct the complaint. I think the new owners have some work to do in order to compete with Seabourn or Regent. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My husband has been wanting to take a cruise around the British Isles. I liked the itinerary of this one and it fit into our summer schedule. I had thought that the Silver Wind had been refurbished recently, so was surprised that ... Read More
My husband has been wanting to take a cruise around the British Isles. I liked the itinerary of this one and it fit into our summer schedule. I had thought that the Silver Wind had been refurbished recently, so was surprised that nothing had been done since 2008, ten years! The ship was definitely shabby, and not in a chic way. The decor was very dated, the carpeting in the public corridors was old and stained. Our cabin was dreary and the layout of the bathroom was the worst i have ever encountered. The food was quite ordinary and nothing like the quality and variety of the cuisine on the Crystal cruise that we took in April. The entertainment in the theater was excellent. I was very impressed by the quality of the singers and their high level of talent in both singing and dancing and in all round entertaining. We didn't partake of any of the other activities. The services provided by our butler Dipak and our steward, Sumesh, were first class. In The Restaurant we sought out the tables serviced by Olesia (?) from Odessa because she was such a delightful and efficient and helpful server. The restaurant staffs were good but often seemed a bit overwhelmed by the fact that everyone, of course, tends to arrive en masse. I suggest that you might rethink your "dress code" which, in today's world, is quite out of date. Granted, we have spent most of our cruising days on expedition ships which are informal. But that you can be hustled into a jacket or tie should you appear in the only dining room that doesn't require a reservation seems quite fusty and silly. My husband is 89 years old and always appears well dressed, almost always with a jacket. However, he swore off ties when he retired from Wall St. and only wears one under duress, not when he's traveling for pleasure. As to the shore excursions, they were fine. You can't be held responsible for the fact that if you've seen one sheep, you've seen them all. The disembarkation was handled in an organized and efficient manner. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary. We had no reason to believe that the ship was as rundown as it was. Dark dingy hallways, bathrooms that have not been touched since the launch of the ship in 1995. It was literally dangerous ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary. We had no reason to believe that the ship was as rundown as it was. Dark dingy hallways, bathrooms that have not been touched since the launch of the ship in 1995. It was literally dangerous trying to enter the tub/shower. There is no elevator above the 8th deck so getting to the spa is an adventure...not a good one. The ship is going into dry dock this fall, however it is not clear why. The Wind's owners have taken a fix it only if absolutely necessary. That means the stateroom is so very old that they replace a curtain only when it is torn, or the carpet when it obviously is disgusting. They advertise their ships as five star cruises. They are at best two or three. The food is mediocre at every level. The hors d'oeuvres served only at 6:30 in the evening, not before, were inedible. Dried out and a mystery to what they might be. Mixed nuts or potato chips at the bar, only if you asked. The meals served in the dining room are ordinary and must come from a Silver Seas commissary used by all of their ships. They are certainly not of 5 star quality...again two to three. In conclusion, everything about Silver Seas is done "on the cheap". Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
1. The food was generally not of the quality expected. Bread was consistently poor quality and at times was stale. We would actually buy our own bread at bakeries at the ports of call and bring it for breakfast. The selections of wines at ... Read More
1. The food was generally not of the quality expected. Bread was consistently poor quality and at times was stale. We would actually buy our own bread at bakeries at the ports of call and bring it for breakfast. The selections of wines at dinner was generally mediocre. It seems that considering the quality of food available at the various ports of call that the food and wine could have more closely resembled what was available on shore. 2. Schedule of surface transport including shuttles and tenders was generally inconvenient and showed little consideration for the passengers. For instance in Honfleur although the ship disembarked at 10 PM, the shuttle stopped at 5 PM. It was extremely difficult to obtain a taxi at this port and there was no effort by the ship's staff to help with arranging transport back to the ship after the last shuttle. This was a similar problem in Bordeaux on the evening of disembarkation; and in Saint-Malo and in La Rochelle. 3. Laundry facilities were inadequate for the number passengers. In addition locking the laundry room at 10 PM and not opening it until 8 AM was extremely inconvenient. 4. The wireless quality was poor and intermittent. Purchasing the premium Wi-Fi was no better than standard. 5. This service provided by the shore concierge for independent activities was not very helpful. We expected that this service would be equivalent to that provided at a five-star hotel. 6. The excursion for dinner at Château Smith Haut Lafitte was disappointing. The food was not good. Neither of us could take more than a few bites of the veal. It was dry and tough to chew. For such an expensive outing we had expected an excellent meal and a better experience. 7. Extreme temperature fluctuations in our shower were uncomfortable and potentially dangerous with surges of hot water. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My Wife and I and two friends chose this cruise because of the destinations. Leaving Lisbon, Oporto La Coruna, Bilbao, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Belle Isle, St Malo and Honfleur. All the Cities and villages we ever wanted to visit. ... Read More
My Wife and I and two friends chose this cruise because of the destinations. Leaving Lisbon, Oporto La Coruna, Bilbao, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Belle Isle, St Malo and Honfleur. All the Cities and villages we ever wanted to visit. For our Anniversary I had upgraded to a larger suite (601) which was at the front of the ship. My wife was delighted and the suite was OK except the Bathroom was a little Archaic with the hose hanging over the Bath, and no shower curtain, so the water went onto the slatted wooden floor. The Ship looks badly in need of a refit and the Staff said one was due in 2020 (not before time). Whilst all the Staff were superb, the facilities on board were old - the Table Tennis was rammed up against the inside bulkhead, and the shuffleboard deck was so old that it had almost faded away. The food was very good on the whole but in the Italian Restaurant there was very few changes each day so its almost Deja Vue each day. The Excursions which some Cruise Liners supply free of charge, were very expensive,and it depended on the quality of the Guide to make or break the visit. Loved the Venues but not on this Ship - not for me another Silversea Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
A different cruise, working along the coast from Hamburg to Lisbon. Even with two weeks, our time in each port was not enough—except in Antwerp and Bordeaux, where we had two days. The food was first class. However, with a cruise like ... Read More
A different cruise, working along the coast from Hamburg to Lisbon. Even with two weeks, our time in each port was not enough—except in Antwerp and Bordeaux, where we had two days. The food was first class. However, with a cruise like this I would have offered more menu items typical of the region being visited at each port. For example, the three ports along the Spanish coast have many wonderful food offerings, each typical of the culture. Most of the excursion guides were excellent; knowledge of the history, culture, and daily life. It is the nature of the beast, but after showing us an interesting neighborhood, they would say "look around; but you have 15 minutes before we move on." We were particularly impressed by visits to commercial markets—the one in Coruña was fabulous. That visit was followed by a visit to a nice tapas bar, where we had the local wine and freshly-prepared tapas. The crew was amazing—after one day we felt like family. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We were interested in the ports of this cruise since this was an area we had not seen before. We have been on at least 5 other cruise lines and found the food to be superior to any we have experienced. We were impressed that the food was ... Read More
We were interested in the ports of this cruise since this was an area we had not seen before. We have been on at least 5 other cruise lines and found the food to be superior to any we have experienced. We were impressed that the food was so consistently good at all the restaurant locations as well as the cabin service. The chef is a master and the wide vaiety of choices as well as the preparation of each meal was just outstanding. The service was excellent from our butler to the wait staff to all persons we encountered throughout the ship. Some of the ports were not as interesting as would be ideal. The excursions were the only items in which we were a bit disappointed. The excursion experience could be improved. Most of the guides were difficult to understand and not particularly good at their tasks. We liked the tour in Bilbao to the Guggenheim; that was excellent. The tour to Mt St. Michael was also a very good guide, but most of the others were average. The onboard experience was unequaled compared to the other cruise lines we have taken and every employee was obviously very well trained. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Chose from Tower Bridge so no flying. Excellent enbarkation but waiting staff organisation disorganised for first few days. When we left at 6am no hot drinks available. 3 days into the 14days the restaurant had run out of Pouilly Fume, ... Read More
Chose from Tower Bridge so no flying. Excellent enbarkation but waiting staff organisation disorganised for first few days. When we left at 6am no hot drinks available. 3 days into the 14days the restaurant had run out of Pouilly Fume, Sauvignon blanc and Pinot Grigrio. Plenty of other wines but not to our taste, luckilly plenty of champers. Cabin staff excellent and cabins good. Ship seems a bit tired and old fashioned. Normally we would have expected short talks on next port of call, history things to see and how to get about on your own. Sadly lacking. This our second cruise on this ship, the first was excellent but this not so good and we would think carefully before using Silversea again - it all depends on destinations . Having said that we had an enjoyable time with excellent food. There was a cruise director on the ship but I have no real idea what he did apart from telling us the gang plank was down, what time to get back. Oh he ran a trivial pursuit quiz eack afternoon. One last thing, the on board lectures about world politics were very good. Reading through the above I seem a bit negative but our previous cruise on Silver Wind was so good so maybe this was a glitch. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Food and complementary drink very good. Good variety of four restaurants, though the best, for which an extra 40$ per head was charged, apparently had the same menu every night. The wines provided free were good and the wine list for ... Read More
Food and complementary drink very good. Good variety of four restaurants, though the best, for which an extra 40$ per head was charged, apparently had the same menu every night. The wines provided free were good and the wine list for additional wines was interesting and reasonably priced. Embarkation and disembarkation efficient, little waiting, plenty of meeters,greeters and porters. Excellent service from cheerful and willing shipboard staff. No attempt by ships officers to socialise. Excursions good but overpriced. Very smooth ship, no vibration. Excellent lifts, no waiting. No lectures prior to each destination country. One very good lecturer on world affairs, gave four talks. No lectures on arts, culture, etc. Good and comfortable theatre space, but largely wasted. The only evening entertainment was provided by a group of five young singers, who, however talented, could not be expected to entertain a well travelled set of passengers for 14 nights. And over-amplified to the point of distortion. Seemed a low cost provision. The differences between this ship and others we have been on lay mainly in the food and free drink,but the overall cost was at least twice the daily rate of previous ships. Good but vastly overpriced, particularly when excursions are added which, in most of our previous cruises, have been included. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
My husband booked this cruise as a surprise based on the ports of call and the fact that this cruise line promoted itself as having ultra luxury ships. We expected Four Seasons/Oberoi hotel service, food, treatment - we were expecting ... Read More
My husband booked this cruise as a surprise based on the ports of call and the fact that this cruise line promoted itself as having ultra luxury ships. We expected Four Seasons/Oberoi hotel service, food, treatment - we were expecting ultra luxury. We were disappointed even prior to boarding. Whilst our luggage had been taken very promptly by the porters, we were told that we could just roll our carry-on luggage on and off the tender. No-one told us we would need to stand in the cold wind waiting for the tender and then once off, climb a set of stairs and ramps prior to boarding the Silver Wind. All very awkward and difficult. We felt sorry for the female crew who were there trying to offer their assistance. Disembarkation had the same pitfalls but at least it was a little easier carrying hand luggage down rather than up stairs. My husband had booked the Royal Suite (2 bedrooms) which was located at the front of the ship - this turned out to be directly above the anchor area which is an extremely noisy location when docking at or leaving ports. The beds in the suites, however, were extremely comfortable - the kind of bed you would like to take home. It was just unfortunate that there was very little space underneath to store suitcases. A major issue when in a normal suite. The food offered in the restaurants was bland and boring. I was also disappointed that it was extremely difficult to get any changes to a dish - I asked for some green peas one night (I knew they had them on board) but the effort was not worth it. Considering that there are less than 300 passengers on board a little more flexibility would be expected. Most evenings there was a show on in the theatre and whilst all the performers were very talented and had great credentials, it got extremely tiresome. How many numbers can you sing from "Phantom" and "Les Miserables"? Some variety in the type of entertainment would have been welcomed. Shore excursions covered all types of activities and the ones we joined worked well. Most of the time we took private tours which gave us freedom and flexibility to do what we wanted. The good thing is that being on such a small ship, it is easy to disembark at ports - no long queues. The exception to this is in St. Petersburg where immigration is slow and has passengers lined up almost back to the ship. Not so bad except when it rains. This would have been a great opportunity for Silver Seas to show some empathy for passengers - a few umbrellas brought out would have been greatly appreciated. Just a little touch that all "luxury" accommodation would ensure was the norm. All staff were good but the service we received from our cabin team was excellent. Friendly, helpful and always wanting to do more. Exemplary. Did we have a good time - yes. The ports were excellent. Would we travel on Silver Seas again - considering the amount of money we paid and what we received, I don't think so. Value for money on some of the other cruise lines is definitely better considering there was nothing to make the Silver Wind stand out except its size. There was certainly no "wow" factor with anything on board. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Decided to sail again with Silversea. This was our 10th cruise with the line. We keep coming back to Silversea because of the outstanding crew. The service is incredible! In just a few days the employees know you by name. The Butlers are ... Read More
Decided to sail again with Silversea. This was our 10th cruise with the line. We keep coming back to Silversea because of the outstanding crew. The service is incredible! In just a few days the employees know you by name. The Butlers are the best and treat you like royalty and they somehow know your every need/want before you do. The itinerary was excellent. Each port offered some very unusual and unique excursions. We sailed from London (Tower Bridge) to Copenhagen,Visby, Stockholm, Tallin, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Rostock, Kiel Canal, Amsterdam and back to London. It is thrilling to sail through Tower Bridge and down the Thames... the beauty of sailing on a smaller ship. Loved every excursion ... my favorite was attending the Russian ballet in St. Petersburg...speechless and a memory I will always cherish. Dining is superb with a variety of restaurants. The Hot Rock Restaurant is my favorite. It is located on the pool deck and is a most delightful way to spend your evening. You grill your own choice of meat or fish on a hot rock ... fun and delicious! Excellent, clean and cheerful cabins with a large verandas. The only area I found weak was the evening entertainment. The singers were fine solo in their own cabarets. Due to the different genres ... together they didn't click and I found it hard to listen. An evening in the bar is a better choice ... one would find the atmosphere classic and the music excellent. I'm ready to sail again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
It would be easy to start by simply saying we were over sold by a cruise consultant who disappeared 3 months before our Cruise ... It would also be easy to argue we are inexperienced , however thats far from the truth ... but the whole ... Read More
It would be easy to start by simply saying we were over sold by a cruise consultant who disappeared 3 months before our Cruise ... It would also be easy to argue we are inexperienced , however thats far from the truth ... but the whole experience by both comparison , experience and expectation was underwhelming ... Yes the ports were terrific , and the experience albeit unique were difficult . The Suites , yes we sail always with two this time 601 & 603 , they were noisy , uncomfortable and less than private ... Our Butler and Maid were outstanding and tried so hard to please but the product is average .... 5 or 6 Star this is not , it fades into comparison with some areas on larger cruise lines and regardless of the inclusive , small ship environment the luxury is just not there .. We booked a year in advance and I had wanted this to be a super experience for my wife and I , we are travellers of great experience , 1,000's of Flights , hundreds of hotel rooms and almost 100 nights of Cruising , Cunard , HAL , Norwegian , etc .. always in Grill , Horizon or Pinnacle Suits ... 601 & 603 were our choices on the cruise , the Royal Suite & the adjoining , deck 6 ... at the bow of the ship , unfortunately that was where our mistakes began ... next to the anchor ... so all night crew entered and returned via a door to the outside walkway and anchor bay , bang , bang ... then on arrival in port or any time the ship slowed , reversed or docked the noise is incredible ... starting many mornings at 5.00am ... maybe I should have volunteered to swab the deck .. This made for an average experience from day one ...Issues with air-conditioning , embarkation from Tower Bridge , quality or lack of with room service food , an issue with" Do Not Disturb" not fit for publication , some pretty average fare in both the main dining room and La Champagne ... Yes we had a delightful dinner (dried up Pasta) with the Captain and very well received dinner with the Head of Hotel Daniel Illas .. who is a committed , experienced and aware individual ... but even that coupled with an issue or two related to poorly explained shore excursions couldn't really have me say this met expectations ... Would we come back ... I doubt it , our experiences in other places and on other ships have left the Sliver Wind languishing with little wind and certainly only a tarnished relic of what may have once been a Silver Star experience ... Sorry not any more ...not for almost $60,000... Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
My previous experiences on the Silversea line ships were pleasant. The ship was comfortable. The food was excellent and the locations we were docked in were all close to the centre of cities except Copenhagen. The absence of classes and ... Read More
My previous experiences on the Silversea line ships were pleasant. The ship was comfortable. The food was excellent and the locations we were docked in were all close to the centre of cities except Copenhagen. The absence of classes and prepaid liquour packages was appreciated. We went on prebooked shore excursions in most ports and found them to be well planed and educative. Our cabin butler was extremely helpful and always had a small snack prepared when we returned from the day long excursions. The best meals were served at the dining facility on the pool deck. What was a disappointment was firstly the lack of cleanliness of our cabin. This does not mean our room maid did not clean our cabin daily in a satisfactory manner rather it was the lack of cleanliness that was deeply ingrained - the nuts and chip remains and sweet papers that remained wedged between the seat cushion and back of the lounge chairs in our cabin, the half inch wide strip of dust that remained around all the base of the cabin walls, the mildew that covered parts of.the sealing around the shower/bath. The cabin need a thorough clean something that was unlikely to be achieved when we alighted at 10am at Tower Bridge and the next passengers arrived at 1pm. Secondly the cabins themselves are starting to show their age. One should not hear the passengers in the adjacent cabins - talking, coughing, using the toilet or watching TV. Also showers in baths in my view are dangerous especially in a structure as unstable as a ship and especially for passengers whose age was very similiar to my own. A simple shower would be much safer. Thirdly some waiters in the buffet left much to be desired. I am not sure if it was the dispute between them two of them at one lunch -who was responsible for which tables, or the way we were ignored at breakfast when we did not wish to be served coffee before our breakfast commenced - we requested tea later after we had eaten our main dish. This in fact never came in the 2 weeks we had breakfast. I had to get up from our table to ask a waiter directly. This is substandard service and reflects either a lack of training or awareness by some waiters. I addition the waiters in the cocktail bar need to be educated on the difference between a jacket and a coat. This has been omitted from their education. Overall while the ship experience was 4 star the cabins with the exception of the beds which were most comfortable, were 3 star at best. Not as good as my previous Silversea boats. I may again travel with Silversea but not on this boat nor on their new larger boats.Their intermediate sized boats are the most comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Silver Wind Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 3.8
Dining 5.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 5.0 4.0

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