We flew to San Juan on the morning of our trip since it wasn't far so I can't comment on local hotels. The ship does dock in Old San Juan which is close enough to walk around a little if you have time and is a pretty place with ... Read More
We flew to San Juan on the morning of our trip since it wasn't far so I can't comment on local hotels. The ship does dock in Old San Juan which is close enough to walk around a little if you have time and is a pretty place with lots of history. Boarding was very easy and relaxed.
All of the food we had was good to excellent on this trip. We dined in all of the restaurants more than once including Le Champagne. My daughter really enjoyed the Hot Rocks grill by the pool at night. I thought is was fun and a very nice casual experience for days that we were a little tired from all of the sun and fun. The main dining room was nice, not too large but not crowded, and formal nights were beautiful as many guests did choose to dress up on this cruise. Here's the part where I say that Silversea is definitely a bit more formal on all evenings than some of the larger ships so keep that in mind if you are not someone who likes to dress for dinner and settle in for several courses. There are "informal" evenings but this is still upscale casual attire expected. Personally I enjoy this type of dress code but I realize it's not for everyone.
I think the good food was made even better by the staff. I felt a cohesiveness on this ship that is sometimes lacking in the service industry. It really seemed like they were all working together and truly enjoyed making us happy.
Entertainment--yes, it's minimal but very good. There were six singers who performed nearly every night with a different spin on the show, even an opera night to showcase two amazing opera singers. All of these folks were excellent entertainers but the fact that they also go on excursions and participate in games with the passengers makes their shows more special. There are also some pool games, trivia, golf putting, etc. that occur. These aren't on the level of the bumper cars and rock climbing some of the larger ships but rather a nice opportunity to fellowship with other passengers.
We stayed in a mid-ship veranda suite for this cruise. While there were a few signs of the Wind being an older vessel, I was surprised at how well-kept she was. Also, I understand she is going to dry-dock soon so any rough edges should get taken care of. I have nothing bad to say about the suite except that I should have paid attention to the fact that the pool deck was right above us and the crew has move the chairs around late at night and early in the morning. Keep the noise in mind if you are a light sleeper. The linens were nice, the veranda was just large enough to relax on, and the bathroom was functional and clean. On the subject of our suite, our butler, Gideon, was AMAZING! From his politeness and efficiency to the thoughtful surprise snacks he and our cabin steward, Fritz, left us when our excursions made us miss teatime. What a wonderful pair they were!
Honestly, we only chose this cruise because it fit the week we had off but I would go again. Some of the excursions were very good, some not as exciting but the weather was nice and it was a great way to see several islands that are difficult to get to by plane. In fact we had some of the islands to ourselves as the only ship or one of two in port on the first few days.
We did hit a few islands on Sunday and Good Friday so that limited our excitement on those days but mostly just the shopping areas were closed.
St Thomas: Most shopping and the mountaintop ride was closed as a local resident told us they only open for large numbers of tourists and we were alone at the dock that day. We did take a kayak, hike, and snorkel excursion. Not too relaxing but very pretty beach area.
Dominica: Maybe my favorite as it is not yet too touristy and still retains the island character that has been lost in some places. It's very lush and the water is very dark and deep here so the views are stunning. They also have whales surrounding the island much of the time.
Antigua: We took a tour around the island and did see some beautiful views but the buzzword here is "beaches". Some of the most beautiful beaches we saw and a nice catamaran ride was one of our favorite activities.
St. Barts: Unfortunately, I didn't book an excursion as there weren't many offered and I read that you can just show up and enjoy it--no, actually I did and I've been trying to forget that one. It was the semi-submarine ride. I don't think anyone on our tour enjoyed that and it is severely claustrophobic so book that only if you aren't bothered by cramped, hot spaces and if you have young children that will be fascinated. I would recommend having a plan for St Barts. The area around the tender dock was very crowded and the little town quite busy. There is a beach that is supposed to be within walking distance but we were a little turned off by the initial crowds and chaos so we decided not to pursue this. I wish I had planned better as I'm sure the island is very pretty but it's just not easily accessible if you don't have a plan. There is shopping right by the dock but it is similar to what we have at home so nothing terribly unique or Caribbean.
St Kitts: Enjoyed this island. There is a shopping area at the dock that reminds of an outlet mall but once you get past that, there is a lot of local flavor. There were several ships in port so more crowded that some of the others. We went ziplining and to the batik studio and enjoyed both. The people were nice and the island was pretty.
St. Maartin: This was the most crowded as their were 5 ships in port and some were very large. We were so thankful to be on the Silver Wind. We had no lines on and off and no lines for our excursion. I actually took pictures of the half-mile long lines from the other ships. We did an art tour which was pleasant but the best part was that we drove around the entire island and got a great overview. This was more of a busy and populated island than the others with a very developed dock area and fewer easy-to-get-to beaches.
Tortola: We were here on Good Friday so much was closed. It was a pretty island with lots of hills and winding roads. We took a history tour but our guide turned it into a sightseeing and beach break since most everything he was supposed to show us was closed.
As another reviewer put it, this is not really a cruise for children. I did travel with my grade-school age daughter but I would guess that she is the exception rather than the rule for this type of travel. If your child needs to be entertained or doesn't like to sit quietly at dinner and eat adult-type food, then this environment might not work for them. The crew was lovely to my daughter but there just really isn't much for kids to do. That being said, it's exactly the reason some travelers will enjoy these ships. The atmosphere is quietly elegant and focuses more on relaxation and fellowship with other passengers than shows and recreation.
For us, time to unwind and read a book with a glass of champagne that magically appears anytime we want it, is the definition of luxury. If you are looking to be entertained by robot bartenders, magicians, and diving shows, or if you want to stay up all night dancing, this probably isn't your cruise. There's nothing wrong with that but sometimes our expectations drive our experiences and you will be disappointed if you are looking for these types of activities.
Also, this is a small ship which makes many things very convenient but does make the voyage a bit more difficult for some especially in choppy waters if you are prone to seasickness.
Disembarking in Ft Lauderdale was easy and far too quick as it was like leaving a crew who felt like family for many of the passengers. Not to mention the great people who were our fellow travelers. From the deck crew to the hostesses and cruise director, and the captain himself, we enjoyed meeting each of the crew that made our trip so special. It wasn't perfect all the time, but it was good enough that we are looking forward to our next Silversea adventure. Read Less