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5 Silversea Canary Islands Cruise Reviews

SILVER WIND– CRUISES 2406, 2407 AND 2408 CAPE TOWN TO BARCELONA, 27 FEBRUARY TO 5 APRIL 2014 PART 3 THE WIND-BLOWN “WIND” Review of the ports visited during Cruise 2408 from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands to Barcelona, ... Read More
SILVER WIND– CRUISES 2406, 2407 AND 2408 CAPE TOWN TO BARCELONA, 27 FEBRUARY TO 5 APRIL 2014 PART 3 THE WIND-BLOWN “WIND” Review of the ports visited during Cruise 2408 from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands to Barcelona, Spain The review of the cruise on Silver Wind can be found under our posting entitled “West African Wanderings”. What follows is a review of the ports visited on the subsequent cruise from Las Palmas to Barcelona ARRECIFE LANZAROTE MARCH 25 2014 Leaving Las Palmas at 22.00 on March 24, with some 200 new passengers, we docked in Arrecife promptly at 8.00 am, the capital of Lanzarote since 1852, the following morning. The earliest records of this city date back only to the 15th century when it was just a small fishing village. Its name derives from the black volcanic reefs where boats could hide from pirate attack. Whilst Arrecife does have a sandy beach, most tourists arriving at the airport in Arrecife will make a bee line for Costa Teguise, a purpose built 1970’s tourist resort with about four natural sandy beaches, many hotels and catering for the “British pub” scene with numerous discos and a lively nightlife. We arrived to a cloudless blue sky but the scene belied the biting cold northerly wind, and we went ashore well wrapped up. In the sheltered sunny areas, the sun was quite warm but in the shaded windy areas in the centre of town it was none too pleasant. We took the ship’s shuttle into the edge of the town adjacent to Charco de San Gines. This is a really picturesque area, its name translates to “the puddle” and it is situated on the front in Arrecife. There is a car park next to a small lake where colourful boats are moored and is reminiscent of a small Mediterranean fishing village, surrounded by whitewashed buildings and a few restaurants. Walking beyond here we went into the centre of the town and sat in the square outside the parish church, although it was too cold to linger for long, Arrecife was clean but offered limited features of interest, whilst Wi-Fi opportunities appeared somewhat limited and less than a couple of hours sufficed for our visit. Church of San Gines (the largest in Arecife) and the square named after it; the church tower does not actually lean but a wide angle lens perspective has caused the distortion! FUNCHAL, MADEIRA, 26 & 27 MARCH 2014 We docked in Funchal at 12.00, an hour early, where Fred Olsen’s very shabby-looking Boudicca and Mein Schiff 2, ex Celebrity’s Mercury now operated by TUI Cruises since 2011 after a major refit, were already docked. The long jetty for cruise ships appeared to have been extended since our last visit in 1999. Additionally, the commercial port has relocated to the south of Funchal, and the small ferry that used to take passengers across the bay also appeared to have gone. Despite being docked the closest in towards the centre of Funchal of the three ships, the town was still quite a walk and we availed ourselves of the Silversea shuttle to the centre. Although very windy out at sea, Funchal was sheltered and warm in the sun. We took a cab up to Reid’s Palace Hotel to reacquaint ourselves with this hotel which we know well, but also to check out the rooms available for a possible stay in the future. Afternoon tea was in full swing on the terrace, which resembled God’s waiting room, being packed with residents of a certain age! Unusually due to the number seated on the terrace, there was an overflow of diners seated in the lounge partaking of Reid’s famous “tea” which now costs 33 Euros per head. We walked back, downhill, into town and visited some old haunts before partaking of a beer in a café in the main square which offered Wi-Fi. With an overnight stay in Madeira, we had booked a car with Europcar for the following day. A taxi ride out of the port to the centre of Funchal is a set Euro7.50. The Europcar office, close to Reid’s Hotel, is nearer to the port, but the cab driver tried to charge us Euro10; telling him that he was overcharging us, we only gave him Euro7 for the five-minute trip, which though he was not happy, he accepted. We had brought our GPS from home and this worked fine for destinations in Madeira. Our tour started with a drive along the excellent airport highway, the runway of which has been extended since our last visit and the infrastructure much improved by large slugs of grant aid from the EU. Camacha was our first stop, a pretty village, still half asleep, only a few kilometres east of Funchal. It is famous for its apple festival and also is known as the village of basket makers, and is in fact the centre for Madeira’s willow craft industry. This encompasses the making of furniture, hats, ornaments, kitchen utensils, wine holders and of course... baskets of all sizes and shapes. All in all, over 1000 different articles are on show. The town also has a very unusual church in that it is very modern and seems not to fit in with this particularly typical Madeiran village. After a brief stop, we set off for Santana, a small village on the north east coast of the island which is characterised by its small thatched triangular houses; these small houses built of natural stone and thatched with straw have served the locals for centuries as stables and dwellings. Triangular house in Santana Then we headed south east along the coast, to what turned out to be a no through route to Porto da Cruz, so we had quite a detour. Here there is a small cove with a shingle beach and a small hotel, as well as cafes and restaurants. One of its hidden gems is the old sugar cane factory, which is still operating the same way as it did when it started with sugar production in 1927. It boasts a 26 meter tall tower and when it's working you might even see steam coming out! Retracing our steps to get back onto the main road, we next headed to Machico, which is near the airport and sports a small beach. This is a relatively large town and, from the historic point of view, is probably the most interesting on the island as it was the landing point of the discoverers of Madeira. Having had no refreshment since breakfast, we stopped off at a café in the square, opposite the parochial church, Igreja Paroquial de Machico, built in the 15th century, and the municipal town hall. As was to be expected, prices for our refreshment were cheap. From here we set off for Monte, stopping off along the way at the viewing point at Miradouro do Pinaculo for the view across Funchal bay. Monte is a village perched high up in the hills overlooking Funchal, four miles away, and was formerly a health resort for Europe's high society. Funchal bay, with Silver Wind at anchor, taken from the viewing point at Miradouro do Pinaculo A cable car now links Monte to Funchal, and it is also from here that you can traverse the two kilometre ride back to Funchal in about ten minutes on the famous toboggan run. Originally a fast means of transport for the villagers of Monte it was inaugurated in 1850, and still continues today but only as a tourist attraction. From here we drove back to the Europcar office in Funchal. None of the ship’s tours offered what we had done, some of the roads being unsuitable for coaches. We had crossed some spectacular countryside and visited places largely unspoiled by tourism. All this for under Euro80 for the car and fuel! CASABLANCA, MOROCCO 29 AND 30 MARCH 2014 Originally the 29th March would have seen Silver Wind in Agadir, but due to the adverse weather conditions, it was deemed prudent to make for Casablanca and spend two days at this port instead of just the one. The price of a ship’s privato for three people was only slightly more than a shore trip, so on the first day we replicated the latter but without the downsides of getting on and off a coach, waiting for late returnees and so forth. We did an orientation of the Hassan II mosque and a quick photo stop before making the hour-long drive to Azzemour. Along the way it was interesting to observe the new property developments in progress, all pointing to wealth in the country. The purpose of the visit was to see the old medina, dating in part from the era of Portuguese settlement. It lies at the mouth of the Great Oum er Rbia River and the best view of the town is as one approaches from the Casablanca direction. We began a walking tour, threading the narrow streets, with mainly older women in traditional dress going about their business, when a heavy shower curtailed matters and we hastened back to our car. Azzemour From here, the drive to El Jadida took about 20 minutes, and is some 100 kilometres south from Casablanca. The Portuguese built this major fortified town with its ramparts fronting onto the Atlantic Ocean. Today, El Jadida, a world heritage UNESCO site, is old town, new town, with a sizeable modern settlement outside the old city walls. We had limited time available to explore the old part of town, with its typical narrow streets. We did however visit the cistern, where the 10 dirham admission fee payable only in local currency, was a disappointment, perhaps because it is not a patch on the one in Istanbul. One benefit is a reasonable toilet! We did, however, enjoy the parts of the old town that we saw. There were no beggars, no hassle from vendors and the place was cleaner than many places in the UK. We would have welcomed the opportunity to spend longer here. El Jadida old town We returned to Casablanca along the fast highway, the trip lasting a little over four hours due to traffic congestion in the city. The second day in Casablanca started from the ship’s shuttle drop-off point in United Nations Square, where we negotiated a taxi ride to the Hassan II mosque. There are two principal types of cabs, small, mainly red cars that are limited to three people and are supposed to charge a fare based on the meter. The others are larger white or cream cars, usually old Mercedes that can take four, sometimes more, and are more expensive. Non-Muslims can visit the mosque on days except Friday at 09.00, 10.00, 11.00 and 14.00 on payment of an admission fee, for which Euros are accepted. We returned by cab to United Nations Square (it is, we are told, about a 20 minute walk) and wandered round the nearby medina. Returning to the ship for lunch, we came back to UN Square to take the tram (trolley in American parlance) to Ain Diab beach, which is at the end of one of the two tram routes. Tram stop in United Nations Square, with the medina in the background. On the left are the barriers that permit access and egress from the platform, with a security guard observing the photo being taken! On both the outward and inward journeys, the trams were full with locals enjoying a day off, on Sunday. Interestingly despite being an Arab country, they have embraced the western weekend, and most shops are now not open on a Sunday. In the past, Sunday was a day of work, with Friday being the day off. The Casablanca trams started operation in November 2012, the route is 30 km long, with 49 stops, and Y-shaped, and there are further lines planned for the future. The tram stops all appear to be manned, so access to the platform can only be gained by passing through the ticket barrier, which has a member of staff in attendance to assist, especially foreign tourists! The fare is six dirham for a single journey plus one dirham for the rechargeable card; and are bought from self-service machines that only seem to take Moroccan coins, and not Euros. The machines can display instructions in English if a local person is not on hand to assist. The ticket barrier is negotiated by placing the ticket on a touch pad. Tram frequency is roughly at seven-minute intervals and the vehicles are very modern and air conditioned. The destination of the tram is displayed on its front and on TV monitors on the platform. The ride to Ain Diab beach took about 30 minutes. Being a Sunday with fine weather, the beach area was very busy with Casablanca residents, the local cafes and vendors doing a brisk trade. We retraced our route to UN Square and caught the ship’s shuttle to Silver Wind. Ain Diab beach The areas of Casablanca we visited felt safe, were as clean as anywhere these days and offered a good perspective on a modern, progressive city in an Islamic country. MALAGA, SPAIN 1 APRIL 2014 We docked early at around 07.00 in Malaga, located in a berth adjacent to the ferry terminal and an easy walk into town. In fact, we were close to the cruise ship shuttle drop-off area for those on large vessels which berth at the end of a long mole, and presumably are charged for the privilege. Some time after our arrival, MSC Orchestra, 92,000 tons and 2,550 passengers, and a Costa ship, even larger, arrived and were located right out at the end of the mole. Our location was on a new waterfront development, turning left takes one into the town centre of Malaga, whilst turning right took one towards some cafes and retail outlets with apartments and the road along to the lighthouse with the mole beyond. The cruise ship terminal adjacent to our ship generated a free Wi-Fi signal, though at least one of the cafes also had this facility but only for patrons. A five-minute stroll took us to the edge of Malaga old town, which was largely pedestrianised. We spent several hours exploring and found quite a diversity of shops, some offering expensive clothing and footwear cheek-by-jowl with others selling tourist tat. One shop sold the very expensive Iberico ham and it was fascinating to observe how this was carved into small shavings; the smell inside the shop was magnificent, but the price was more than off-putting! Back street close to the cathedral in the old town Some of the architecture was worthy of note, even for someone with no particular interest in the subject. This was especially so for parts of the cathedral. We were told that Malaga is trying to stamp its mark as a cultural centre by expanding the number and type of museums, whilst one can even find traces of the presence of the Phoenicians as well as the remains of the Moorish castle. For an active person, Malaga has a lot to offer. MELILLA SPAIN, 2 APRIL 2014 This is one of two Spanish enclaves in North Africa, the other being Ceuta, and is surrounded on its landward side by Morocco, with three security fences preventing access from the latter. There are constant attempts by illegal immigrants to gain access to this Spanish city, and indeed some appear to have succeeded. However it is becoming increasingly popular with cruise lines as they struggle to find new ports of call. For a relatively small settlement, the port area and marina are quite extensive. At the small dock entrance near where Silver Wind was moored, local tourist staff gave out Panama-type hats, maps and provided information. They told us about the green ‘train’, which offers a truly extensive tour of Melilla, lasting for 40 minutes, for Euro3. We met some passengers who had just done this and they were effusive in their praise. The train parks just a short walk from the port gates in the direction of the town and, on the day of our visit, departed at 10.00 and 11.00 but not again until 17.00. We were driven up into the old walled citadel and round its streets, along the seafront and all round the main parts of Melilla. The only problem was that the commentary, through one small speaker in each carriage, was inaudible. Save your money on a ship’s tour and go for the green train! At the end of the tour, we walked into town in search of postcards. The place has a very Spanish feel architecturally and, of course, Spanish is the language spoken and the euro is the local currency, although Arab costumed men and women were much in evidence. The information office did not have postcards but helpfully directed us to a photographic shop which produced its own. Main square Surprisingly, there was no over-abundance of cafes in the centre. In any event, the weather was cool and fairly cloudy so we walked leisurely back to the ship in under 15 minutes. Don’t expect too much from Melilla and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a pleasant place, where the fortified old town has been well restored and where the modern town is clean, if a little uninspiring. It was from here that General Franco used this city as a staging ground for his nationalist rebellion in 1936 which started the Spanish Civil War, and there is still a statue to him prominently featured, the only one to survive on Spanish soil! CARTAGENA, SPAIN 3 APRIL 2014 The cruise ship terminal here is adjacent to the marina and relatively exposed. Certainly on the day of our visit, the wind along the quay nearly blew you over! Holland America’s Noordam was moored behind us. A short walk outside the port gate, we found the taxis and took an expensive ride to the FEVE railway station, though (perhaps embarrassed at the fare) the driver took us round the corner to see the main RENFE railway station. This is a minor architectural gem, having been designed by a pupil of the famous Spanish architect, Anton Gaudi. RENFE railway station The FEVE (a rough translation being rail carriage in Spain by narrow-gauge vehicles) is a State-owned operation and the 11-mile route from Cartagena is the sole surviving FEVE line in southern Spain. It operates a frequent local service at cheap fares (Euro2.70 return to the end of the line) and is well patronised, although mainly by the older generation, both men and women, who probably do not drive. The route weaves through the undulating countryside, which gave us vistas of former activity, both pre-industrial, and vestiges of buildings long since cleared and left to the ravages of nature. The end of the line was Los Nietos, a beach settlement of modern properties. The strong wind and low temperatures deterred us from walking the maybe half a mile to the beach, so we waited until the same little train did the return journey back to Cartagena. Los Nietos from the FEVE station We opted to walk back to the ship, not least because it was downhill. The road appeared to be a perimeter route outside the old city, whose walls were on our right. The headwind as we walked was so fierce and this deterred us from venturing out after lunch to explore the town of Cartagena itself. BARCELONA, SPAIN 4/5 APRIL 2014 Arriving at this turn-round port for an overnight stay on 4 April at 13.00, we were disembarking the following day. The weather was slightly kinder and the temperatures a little higher, but still not what one would expect at this time of the year in Barcelona. We both know Barcelona well, and whilst it has a great deal to offer for the tourist, from Gaudi’s architecture, the Sagrada Familia, the Guell Palace to Las Ramblas and further afield – Montserrat, unfortunately, we had an appointment with several suitcases. We spent the afternoon packing after 41 days away from home and flew out of Barcelona the next afternoon.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Over the past ten years we have cruised many times on the Silversea fleet, sailing on the Whisper, Shadow and the smaller Cloud and Wind. With the launch of the new larger Spirit in 2010 we often found ourselves in conversation with fellow ... Read More
Over the past ten years we have cruised many times on the Silversea fleet, sailing on the Whisper, Shadow and the smaller Cloud and Wind. With the launch of the new larger Spirit in 2010 we often found ourselves in conversation with fellow travellers when the question 'have you sailed on the Spirit and what is your opinion of it'? Was raised, well with varied answers we decided to try the Spirit ourselves and make our own mind up. Late October we embarked on a ten day voyage from Barcelona bound for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Initial impressions were very good, the ship makes good use of the additional space and the public areas all benefited from being that little bit larger. In particular the La Terraza restaurant benefits greatly from a larger buffet servery and outdoor terrace. Throughout the ship fixtures, fittings and furnishings all met the high standards expected from Silversea. The veranda suites are about 12" narrower than the Whisper & Shadow which is a shame, they are however longer, the balcony slightly larger and the bathroom is very much improved. The food and service was very good throughout the ship and all it's restaurants, although there was a feeling shared by others that the food fell short of sister ships. Oh dear! Who on earth purchased the cutlery? Particularly the forks! The design makes them very uncomfortable and difficult to use, a compliant shared by many fellow passengers. Maybe if you are using the forks 'American Style' as a spoon they are ok but as a fork the do not function! The Show Lounge (theatre) looks impressive however the design differs from its sister ships. The Spirit lacks the two level layout, with access from two decks and seating on two levels found on the other ships. Also the seating layout is new, gone are the tiered benches with free standing chairs and tables. They are replaced with tiered rows of twin seats, similar to those you are more likely to find in the back row of your local cinema! I think it fair to say this seating arrangement did not draw universal approval! So alas, it is no longer possible to enjoy a drink or two with same canapes as you no longer have the tables or indeed the space. Out on deck the sun loungers were excellent and easy to use. Not so the unfortunate use of a 'plastic' material used for the outside dining tables. The 'plastic' must be porous in some way, with many of the tables being disfigured with dark wine glass stains. It seemed that the surface had absorbed red wine and the stains appeared impossible to remove. Coincidently there is a similar problem with the three Jacuzzis, each of which is badly marked with what appear to be rust stains which have penetrated the plastic material surrounding the Jacuzzis making them look unclean. The actual body of the Jacuzzis also show dark markings which detract from the appearance. We were surprised to find the Captain' Welcome Reception, normally held in the Show Lounge (theatre), had been pared back to a brief 15 minute affair in the bar. An even greater surprise was the absence of the Captain's Farewell Party. "Time to Say Goodbye" In our experience this "Signature Event" has always been a highlight of the cruise -- for both crew and passengers! All in all the staff were very good indeed with many being Excellent and displaying all of the exceptional qualities we have come to expect of from Silversea crews. However ,I think it fair to say that overall the Spirit is lacking in the passion and pride so very well demonstrated on the sister ships. On board entertainment predominantly in the Show Lounge was a disappointment. The song, dance and variety shows we were expecting were replaced by a succession of 'tribute song acts' with some very poor costumes for the singers. We assumed the performers were working to performances created by their Producer but it has to be said they were pretty dire! Disembarkation did not go as smoothly as it could have done, hampered by lack of clear communication from the cruise director, with some passengers, us included, experiencing unnecessary delay and problems having our baggage properly transferred from ship to the terminal. So would we go again? Well if it was to a destination we particularly wanted to visit and other ships in the fleet were not operating there yes we would. We do however feel the Spirit -- good as it is -- still has a way to go to exude the warmth, pride and care of the Shadow and Whisper which will remain as our first choice.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We have cruised fairly extensively for nearly 20 years but this was the smallest ship we have experienced. We arranged our own travel to Capetown as Silversea had used up all their "block" before we booked. We stayed one night ... Read More
We have cruised fairly extensively for nearly 20 years but this was the smallest ship we have experienced. We arranged our own travel to Capetown as Silversea had used up all their "block" before we booked. We stayed one night at the Table Bay Hotel and would recommend it very happily. Embarcation was a very simple matter - taxi from the hotel - 5 minutes to the ship and abouit another 5 minutes to board and have photos taken etc. Our cabin (suite)was very clean and tidy - the only downside was the rather small bathroom. Our butler fixed us up with toiletries and, more importantly, stocked the bar with our requirements. No champagne! We thought it must have been an oversight but it seems there was no champagne on board - we certainly did not receive any. Our balcony was a bit tight and showed signs of wear and tear. The staff on the ship were excellent and many remembered our name. The entertainers tried hard but it would be unreasonable to expect top class entertainment on such a small ship. Dining,of course, is very important on any cruise and we really liked the main Dining Room. La Terrazza was up and down a bit - we had dinner twice there - once was very poor the other very much better. Hot Rocks was good fun and most enjoyable. The big disappointment was Le Champagne - we went once and had the North American Dinner. The main course was prime rib which was exactly the same as we had eaten in the MDR the evening before - not fine dining, in our opinion. We cancelled our second booking and noticed that Le Champagne had 0 customers on several nights and only 2 or 4 on others. It certainly was not worth the $130 which we paid. A rethink by Silversea is overdue. We took two ships tours - one in to the desert in Namibia which was first class and one in The Gambia which was awful. Both tours were grossly overpriced. The shuttle buses which were laid on at all the ports were very good - some even had local guides to give a commentary on the way in to town.The tender experience at Porto Novo was a bit lively to say the least! It was so rough that the Captain had to suspend the service for a while. the passengers were (nearly) all good fun and good company. The makeup was UK76 US44 Europe54 Canada10 Australia12 other 5 so the ship was about 2/3 full which made for a very comfortable cruise. We have now had 3 cruises on Silversea - would we go again? Yes - but probably not on Silver Wind or Cloud as we prefer a larger ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We chose this cruise strictly for itinerary. Our whole vacation, taking 3 months, included Seabourn Quest Fort Lauderdale to Cape Town, 2 weeks in South Africa and Zambia with Kensington Tours, this cruise up the coast to Gran Canaria, ... Read More
We chose this cruise strictly for itinerary. Our whole vacation, taking 3 months, included Seabourn Quest Fort Lauderdale to Cape Town, 2 weeks in South Africa and Zambia with Kensington Tours, this cruise up the coast to Gran Canaria, ferry service to Tenerife, flight to Malaga, and the container ship Coral to Savannah! This cruise was simply the best way we could find to get from Cape Town to anyplace with freighter service to North America. And what a find it was! We'd never been on SilverSea before, but will be back! Great people, beautiful ship, we couldn't have been happier. Dining was superb, Main, La Terrazza and Hot Rocks. We don't drink, so La Champagne wasn't tempting. Even though alcohol is free aboard, the staff soon learned we preferred not, and didn't pester us. There was a decent selection of non-alcoholic wines and beers for those so inclined. Fresh pasta, superbly prepared fish, fresh fruit, great service and friendly people made for wonderful meals every time. Entertainment and enrichment was much better than we'd expected on a ship this small. And the best theater of any ship we've been on. Cruise director Colin Brown and his staff had a wonderful mix of big and small activities throughout the day, including our favorites of bridge and water volleyball. And the breadth of topics, and depth of knowledge, by all the lecturers was incredible. Cabin was exactly what we were expecting. Bathroom a little small, but more than adequate. Ample storage space. Big picture window. We like to be close to the water, and happily trade a balcony for a lower window. Only went on one shore excursion, in Namibia, and it was average. No better or worse than any other bus tour on any other ship. Passengers were the friendliest of any ship we've been on. This being our first SilverSea cruise we don't know if that is typical or not, but it sure was fun. Made several friends we hope to keep. Having just been on Seabourn Quest, we couldn't help but compare the two. Quest is new, Silver Wind isn't, and it showed. She's not a dowager by any means, but she is a little worn in places. However, to more than balance that out, the old style theater on Wind was a welcome treat. Pool is much bigger and deeper than Quest, and also salt water, so that was a big plus. Food was so excellent on both ships I can't rank them. Same for service. Entertainment was quite a bit better on Wind, even though she's a smaller ship. Bottom line - we WILL cruise SilverSea, and Silver Wind, again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My wife and I spent six days on the Cloud from Tenerife to Barcelona in April 2010. By way of background, we were originally supposed to be sailing on the Shadow in the Caribbean but rearranged at the last minute due to the volcanic ash ... Read More
My wife and I spent six days on the Cloud from Tenerife to Barcelona in April 2010. By way of background, we were originally supposed to be sailing on the Shadow in the Caribbean but rearranged at the last minute due to the volcanic ash leading to our flight being cancelled so we hadn't particularly researched the specific ship or itinerary. We are in our early 30s (so much younger than the Silversea average) and this was our first time on Silversea so I can't comment on whether standards have slipped etc. Overall, we had an excellent time and would recommend this line/ ship to anyone. Sure, there were a few minor niggles, but nothing that would affect our decision to sail Silversea again. The only major negative was a mix up with the booking (due to our late change onto the cruise) such that there was real confusion when we arrived so that they thought we weren't even booked on the ship and then they couldn't find our cabin, but this was resolved quickly and efficiently (although our cards showed us as US and not UK citizens!) and isn't entirely surprising given the large number of changes the volcanic ash must have caused. We had a midship veranda cabin and thought the cabin was a good size and well furnished/ equipped although the bathroom was a little tatty and could probably do with a refurb, although it was fine. Food was on the whole very good; very varied menu and good quality ingredients in the main dining room, although a little less repetition of the same vegetables accompanying main courses would have been good. Had a meal (Burgundy menu) in Le Champagne which we thought compared favourably with Michelin star restaurants in London. We didn't have the matching wines but had an excellent bottle of red ($130) and were still given the champagne, dessert wine etc, so much better value than paying $200pp. Enjoyed La Terazza and also ate at the pool grill, room service etc. With room service, we were particularly impressed at the way that the table was formally set up, even for breakfast every day. Used the gym, which was well equipped for the size of ship. We didn't go to much of the entertainment, although what we saw was good. We particularly enjoyed Mario in the piano bar and used to go and listen to him most nights after dinner. We also thought the cocktail choice was excellent. As others have said, what sets this line above the average is the staff. Every need is literally anticipated before you even realise you have it. Our butler even procured a bowtie for me when mine broke just before formal night. And in the main restaurant on formal night, the sommelier (who remembered us from champagne) brought us a special wine with our foie gras. What we also enjoyed was that the staff were genuinely warm and friendly (possibly because most Silversea guests treat them with respect and therefore receive it back) rather than being subservient. Our fellow passengers were a mixture of Americans, Brits and other Europeans. Everyone was friendly and we had some enjoyable conversations. Whilst we were the youngest guests on the cruise, we didn't feel that this affected the way anyone treated us, rather we felt that by joining the Silversea family we were automatically accepted as part of the club! So overall, an excellent cruise, we'd definitely try Silversea again, although maybe next time on one of the slightly larger ships for some variety. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
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