We sailed from Barcelona on a Sunday. It was advertised that we could board at 2pm but we arrived a bit early (about 1pm) and they allowed us right on board. We went to La Terrazza for lunch and enjoyed the buffet. The main dining room was ... Read More
We sailed from Barcelona on a Sunday. It was advertised that we could board at 2pm but we arrived a bit early (about 1pm) and they allowed us right on board. We went to La Terrazza for lunch and enjoyed the buffet. The main dining room was also open.
At about 2pm, we were invited to go to our cabins and our luggage had already arrived. We met our butler (Jonas) who presented the choice of toiletries (Bulgari, Ferragamo, or hypoallergenic) as well as asking us about our preferences (drinks, etc).
Cabin was fairly spacious. We sailed once before with Silversea on the Silver Shadow. That one had larger bathrooms and a bit larger closet - although the bathroom and closet on the Wind were just fine. The only thing we really missed was a separate shower and tub.
The TV in the cabin was centered over the desk - making it a weird angle to watch from the bed. (Easier to see from the right side of the bed versus the left side.) Speaking of TV, there are a few news channels and a few movie channels. That's about it besides the ship stuff. Really missed the TV comedies, etc that you get on Oceania and Azamara. There was a DVD player (and a large catalog of DVDs available in the library).
Refrigerator was stocked as we asked with beer, wine, water, and sodas. In talking with lots of people on the ship - it seems that you have to remind your butler to refill - which they happily do, versus them just refilling each day. We just left a note each night and it was refilled with turndown service.
We found the ship to be in good shape. (Thought it was in much better shape than the Shadow.) There were no visibly worn areas. The staff seemed to be cleaning and polishing constantly.
We did find a few areas where Silversea is cutting back. Little things really - such as paper cocktail napkins instead of cloth. Selection at the bar wasn't as robust as we remembered. (Secret is to always ask for what is available versus what you can see. They have several other brands not displayed that they will happily pour on request.) They also don't do the BBQ deck party on every cruise any longer. Just some cruises - which is a shame as that was a highlight of our previous cruise. (They blamed it on USDA regulations for buffets, but if they can do it on some cruises, not sure why they can't do it on all.)
Our only real gripe on the the cruise was the fact that they were renovating the gift shop on the 5th floor for the entire cruise. To be fair, they did send us an email two weeks before the cruise advising the gift shop would be closed for renovations and a temporary gift shop was offered in the conference room. (They also offered a discount on goods in the temporary gift shop.) Unfortunately they weren't quite clear that they would be actively demolishing and rebuilding the permanent gift shop. It was a nine day cruise and there was loud construction noise (hammers, saws, etc) for the first 7 days. From about 7am to 10pm. Really. Our cabin was mid ship on the fifth floor (deck) - so we could easily hear the noise. On many days it was too loud to sit on the balcony because of the noise. Lots of unhappy guests about the noise. In addition, there was a haze of sawdust and the smell of various paints, sealants, etc throughout the area. The Hotel Director seemed to avoid interaction with guests as he had no good answers about the construction.
We found the food on the cruise to be fantastic. (Again, better than the Shadow.) We really enjoyed breakfast in the cabin. Very stylish setup with tablecloths, etc all laid before the tray was brought in. Classy. Full menu available each day - including day of disembarkation.
We had breakfast two days in the dining room. Service was slow but food was good. Only about 10 other guests at any one time for breakfast. The grilled peach is excellent. Corned beef hash is all corned beef and no potatoes. Really good. Great eggs benedict with the eggs actually cooked perfectly.
Lunch most days at La Terrazza. The buffet is really good. Sushi selection quite nice, as was the salad bar. Especially enjoyed the cheeses offered. Each day they also had an 'ethnic' item on the buffet that was somewhat representative of the food from where the crew was from. Good Indian, Malaysian, and Filipino offerings that were very authentic.
Had lunch at the pool grill a couple of days as well. Very good service - with a menu as well as a buffet. The guacamole was really, really good - as was the fresh salsa. Loved the shrimp cocktail appetizer too!
Dinners were quite nice everywhere we went. Least favorite was the Grill. For those unfamiliar, you cook your own on hot rocks. (We didn't really like it on Shadow either.) The problem is the meat sizzles on the rock and splatters you with grease. Wear an old shirt. Dining al fresco was great. Would have much preferred they cook it for you and deliver to your table. (I'm sure they would do that upon request.)
Dinner at La Terrazza was really good. We went twice so as to take advantage of the menu change (every five or six days I think). The pasta with duck ragout is amazing. Really good ravioli as well. Great wines, great service. Love the bread too, offered with roasted garlic - although the garlic could have been roasted longer.
One night we splurged for La Champagne. We upgraded our wine. The head sommelier (Frank) was amazing. Really great recommendations and generous pours. The food was pretty good - although a few items were not up to par. The lobster bisque tasted a bit scorched. The lobster salad was great. The lobster thermidor was really good too, but a small portion. Souffle for dessert was the best of all.
Other nights we ate in the dining room. Really enjoyed it. If you aren't aware, there is an "always available" side to the menu with steaks, fish, chicken, good appetizers, salads, soups. It changes every few days - but it includes all the basics - filet mignon, onion soup, tomato soup, caprese salad, caesar salad, etc. The "other side" of the menu changes daily and included more unique dishes. Service was great. When asking about two dishes, they would offer both or do a combo. Beef wellington was among the best I've had worldwide. When they added the lobster tail with it, made it an unforgettable meal.
Entertainment was pretty good. This was the last cruise for the Artists of the Silversea. Found them to be very personable and talented. ABBA show is always a little much but enjoyable nonetheless. Cruise Director (Monya) was very new. This was her second cruise as CD. Her english was tough to understand but she had a heart of gold and would do anything for you.
On this particular cruise, we had great weather. The only issue was some winds on two days - which caused us to have to change ports. We couldn't get into Alghero - so they took us nearby but provided a shuttle into Alghero. Really enjoyable. Unfortunately we also couldn't get into Portofino due to rough seas for tendering. Went to Genoa instead. No bus to Portofino but they did offer a shuttle to downtown Genoa. Lots of disappointed guests but those who have been on rocky tenders know that this was probably best.
Overally I give Silversea an 8 out of 10 for this cruise. Had they handled the gift shop construction better, I would have given them a 9 1/2. (1/2 point for no bbq deck party!)
Top notch service, top notch ship. Would definitely sail with Silversea again.
Crowd was mix of mainly Europeans and Americans. Older crowd as expected but very nice people.