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5 Silversea Colon (Cristobal) Cruise Reviews

As experienced cruisers we were looking for something a little different and more energetic so we tried Silver Cloud Expedition. What we got was the same old, same old only on a smaller ship. Embarkation was so-so as we were ... Read More
As experienced cruisers we were looking for something a little different and more energetic so we tried Silver Cloud Expedition. What we got was the same old, same old only on a smaller ship. Embarkation was so-so as we were uncomfortable leaving our bags in the middle of the platform unattended. After a beautiful transit through the Canal we anticipated a variety of interesting expeditions. The first day our rain forest tour at Parida Island was a 40 minute walk of which 20 minutes was spent waiting for members to catch up. The highlights were the two termite nests we saw. If we had seen any termites they would have been the only wildlife encountered. We did have to step over two muddy little streams. When we got back to the beach we found out that we had the best excursion as those who wanted to snorkel met their boat only to find out the boat had no snorkel gear. That expedition became a whale and dolphin watching ride without the whales and dolphins. Because of bad weather our next two stops were changed and we spent two days at Puntarenas. While they handled the change of schedule well there was no effort to replace the expeditions with something similar. For each of the two days we spent over four hours on buses. The first destination was a horse demonstration which was mediocre. The next was "a walk in the clouds" which was a rain forest at 5000 feet. Very interesting, lots of birds and flora. Because there was construction en route and our bus broke down on the way up we were late getting back to the ship and in danger of not making it on time. Swiss Travel, the tour operator called the police. They closed an oncoming lane for over a mile and allowed us to pass stalled traffic and make the ship on time. Everyone on the bus cheered madly. Sadly this was one of the highlights of the cruise. Very surprised that Silversea was unable (or unwilling) to come up with expedition type of options while at Puntarenas. After a nice day at sea our next stop at Isla de la Plata was a true expedition experience with zodiacs to shore and then an extensive walk on the island seeing thousands of birds including the lovable blue footed boobies. What was totally surprising was that both the Silversea expedition person and the local guide totally ignored the rules and regulations they had laid out which were similar to those in the Galapagos: don't leave the paths, no interacting with the fauna, keep a good distance between groups etc. One woman in our group approached boobies three different times with the birds responding aggressively twice and squirting excrement the third time with nothing said by the guide or expedition member. Our group of 8 spread out and ultimately we ended up with several other groups totaling about 40 people. Machala was our next destination with one of the tours through a petrified forest with over a 130 different types of birds per the brochure. Again two hours in a bus each way. In our two hour walk we saw one bird eating a snail and one squirrel so high in a tree that the only way to verify he was there was to greatly enhance the resolution of the picture I took. We fully understand that fauna come and go but to only see two living things? Seems like either Silversea didn't do their homework or the Machala tourism bureau wrote the trip description. Very unsatisfying waste of a day. Isla Lobos was another highlight of the trip as the expedition team spotted numerous whales and the Captain did a great job of positioning the ship and literally turning it in circles so that we could fully enjoy a spectacular display of humpbacks frolicking and two blue whales with their magnificent flukes. Salaverry Peru was our last stop with a short bus ride to the temples of the Moon and Sun. The latter wasn't open but the former was fascinating and an enjoyable half day but not what I'd consider an expedition experience. This turned out to be a classic cruise on a small ship. Service was uniformly excellent throughout. However, on Regent, Seabourn and Oceania their service has also been excellent so it was not a differentiator. The cabin was very cluttered and would have been far more usable if one of the chairs was removed. Everything was in very good shape and kept immaculate by our service team. The wifi was better than on any other cruise we've been on. As you can tell this cruise wasn't what we thought we were getting. The crew and senior officers were all outstanding. Silversea should not have marketed this as an expedition cruise even though Silver Cloud is an expedition ship. There was a Finnish travel agent on board with 14 of his clients who said this was the worst Silversea cruise (out of 10) that he had been on. Numerous other passengers who were more experienced than we concurred. Another passenger said Silversea is really good at the Arctic and Antarctic expeditions but hasn't figured the rest out. We'd consider sailing on Silversea again with the right itinerary but not on an expedition ship. It will be interesting to see how Silversea handles our complaint. The expedition team acknowledged the shortcomings as did the senior officers with both saying they reported this to Silversea corporate.. When we went on Seabourn sponsored tours that were awful they promptly refunded the costs. All-inclusive doesn't remove the obligation to provide the service advertised. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We've cruised with Silversea about a dozen times. Unfortunately, this one is at the bottom of the ranking list. We convinced another couple to join us. For three days after reporting it, they endured a fire alarm that went off ... Read More
We've cruised with Silversea about a dozen times. Unfortunately, this one is at the bottom of the ranking list. We convinced another couple to join us. For three days after reporting it, they endured a fire alarm that went off several times a day and water leaking through a ceiling light fixture. I finally intervened and helped get them moved to another suite. I made it very clear Silversea had embarrassed me as well as themselves. They don't seem to care. To be fair, some compensation was made but too little, too late. That same friend was taken to task (discreetly) for wearing bermuda shorts at an on-deck venue after sunset. This, despite a group of four sitting at the bar similarly dressed (to whom nothing was said) and the specific admonition in the daily "Chronicle" that shorts were not permitted within indoor venues. I doubt my friends will sail with Silversea again. During the trip, we were informed they had "run out" of buffalo mozzarella cheese, Perrier, Pelligrino, Sapphire Gin, Tiki wine, all French rose wine and Amarula. On a six star ship?? Menu was fairly repetitious and two dinners arrived cold. Individual staff were attentive and friendly. Our cabin steward and butler were excellent but overall, where the answer to any request used to be "right away" this time there were excuses why it could not be done. In general, service was at least one tick off. And, once again, obtaining service on the pool deck was an exercise in frustration. The ship well kept but old and tired. Time to let it go. We will avoid sailing on the Wind. We are going to give Silversea about one more shot then move on. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The Silver Explorer is a nice ship with an excellent crew. The food was as good as on other Silversea ships which means it was very good. The service was outstanding. This was the least expensive cabin category and the cabin was more than ... Read More
The Silver Explorer is a nice ship with an excellent crew. The food was as good as on other Silversea ships which means it was very good. The service was outstanding. This was the least expensive cabin category and the cabin was more than adequate. However, it was extremely noisy because of the anchor which took a very long time to raise and because of the extreme noise when engines were reversed. You should avoid the area of the ship that is forward and on a lower deck unless you are prepared to tolerate the noise. That was the only thing wrong with our cabin. Otherwise it was a very good value, very comfortable and the service was outstanding.   We took this cruise mostly because it was transiting the Panama Canal but also to try the Explorer. There are some things you should know. First, this is the rainy season in that part of Central America. That means there is a LOT of rain, sometimes torrential. This made the excursion to the Mogue River and the Embera village much less enjoyable than it would have been. In fact, it was kind of an ordeal. Nevertheless, the expedition leaders made the best of it. They were very helpful. Most trips to shore from this ship are by Zodiac, often with wet landings. You will need shoes that you will be able to continue wearing after they get wet, something like water shoes or well constructed sandals. There were many passengers on this ship who had previously sailed on the Explorer. Most had been to Antarctica and we're anxious for you to know they had been to Antarctica. In any case, these passengers were fiercely loyal to the Explorer. Most passengers were friendly, interesting and enjoyable. However, this is an expensive cruise line so you will be sailing with some wealthy people. Most are nice and unaffected by their wealth but there are a few who are angry ultra conservative types who think they are better than the little people. On a small ship, it can be hard to avoid these snobs. All in all, I liked the Explorer and loved the service but I like the other Silversea ships better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
On January 29, 2004 we embarked on a 9-days cruise on Silver Whisper, which took us from Colon (Panama) to Callao (Peru). We had cruised on the smaller Silversea ships quite frequently in the past and were curious if the newer, larger ... Read More
On January 29, 2004 we embarked on a 9-days cruise on Silver Whisper, which took us from Colon (Panama) to Callao (Peru). We had cruised on the smaller Silversea ships quite frequently in the past and were curious if the newer, larger ships would also become our favorites. This was the major consideration to take this particular cruise. We had booked a midship veranda suite and the total cost was $7,942, which included an extra 5% savings, because we had already reached 100 days of cruising with Silversea. Most of the following comments are comparative to our experiences on the Silver Cloud and Silver Wind cruises we had in the past. We took advantage of the early embarkation possibility, which cost $100 per person but was well-spent money! We boarded at around 11 am, rather than in the afternoon, as usually done. We enjoyed the even more personalized welcome, the leisurely unpacking (on other occasions we had to really rush to make it to the lifeboat drill). We had our lunch and in the afternoon, after a good rest, we could watch the guests boarding the ship, while sipping champagne on our veranda. What a nice way to spend the initial day of the cruise... The increased roominess of the staterooms is really a big improvement, specially the bathroom, with the added shower stall and double basin. The walk-in closet will accommodate a reasonably large amount of clothing; there is also ample drawer space and a well-sized safe. The only size problem we encountered on the veranda: the furniture is much too large for one to move around more or less comfortably. All the amenities in the bathroom were excellent, and we especially enjoyed the above average fluffy towels. We also liked the expanded variety of classical music we could listen to in the suite. Quite an improvement indeed with very few repetitions. It was a nice touch to have put good quality binoculars in each stateroom - just like an umbrella, shoehorn, hair dryer, slippers and bathrobe, one item less to take with us next time! The Observation Lounge on the top deck can now be reached without crossing the open deck, as on Silver Wind and Silver Cloud. It is a quiet room, where continental breakfast can be had while watching the sunrise, or, later, reading a good book from the well assorted ship library. By the way, freshly squeezed orange juice has replaced the cartoned variety for good. The computer area was never crowded, not too expensive to use (for checking e-mails three times while on board, the total charge was about $15). The laundry service was even faster than on the other ships we know. Often was it returned by 3 pm the same day. Quality was, as usual, excellent. The jogging track may be somewhat shorter, however its width has been expanded, so there are no bottlenecks almost anywhere. Food was consistently good, more so when nicely served in the Restaurant, rather than in the more informal Terrace Cafe or the newly installed poolside barbecue. We did not use room service but for asking some mixed nuts to go with the afternoon glass of champagne. Maite D' Walter was of great help accommodating our particular wishes in his area of responsibility. To commemorate a special occasion we requested a special dinner - caviar, tournedos Rossini and zabaglione. It was superb. The special restaurant "Le Champagne" was an exceptional treat. The food was superlative, as was the service. It is a most worthwhile culinary experience, even if you have to buy a bottle of wine (otherwise all beverages are free of charge throughout the cruise). Menus are changed every two days. Early reservations (days in advance) are in order to secure a place in the small room. Food was prepared by chefs following an agreement between Silversea and Relais & Chateaux. The alternative dinner in the Terrace Cafe was good, but not outstanding. It was an Italian menu when we attended. Regretfully we ran out of evenings to repeat the experience and see if it became better. On the smaller Silversea ships these alternative dinners had always been memorable experiences. The Mandara spa offerings are superb, if quite pricey - a simple massage goes for about $2 a minute. We also found the shows offered and the variety of the available videos quite superior. The best musical entertainment was delivered by Duo D'Amour, we spent several evenings listening and dancing to their soft and classy music. Cruise director Ray Sollaire excelled with his top puppet show. Now to some of the details that were not so good. The quality of the wines has, in our opinion, deteriorated. The house champagne was also changed from the excellent Moet & Chandon to the little known Philiponat brand. Also, the quality of the hors d'oeuvres served during cocktail time has been reduced; almost never do you find some caviar or salmon. During the official cocktail parties (captain's evenings and repeaters' cocktails), there was just one glass of champagne but no replenishment was ever offered. The shore excursions we took were a mixed bag. By far the best was a tour to the Pachacamac ruins South of Lima and the visit to a horse farm thereafter. Here we were treated with good Pisco sours, lively music and dances, a show of paso fino horses (they are trained to move with a very smooth gait) and a quality lunch buffet of a variety of Peruvian food. Everybody had an excellent time, service was attentive and guests could even ride on those magnificently trained horses! The visit of the mud city of Chan Chan, close to the city of Trujillo and its port Salaverry, was very impressive. Even if much of the remains of this pre-Incan city are slowly disintegrating, the dimensions of palaces, streets and open spaces are awesome. The tour out of Guayaquil to visit a so-called "coastal hacienda" was very disappointing. Apart from looking at immense plantations of bananas, cocoa and other tropical plants, we were supposed to watch a working farm. But it was, regretfully, their day of rest... The farm had shrimp production going, we did not see one single of them, only one pond from afar. The lunch offered was extremely basic and they even ran out of drinking water. Cost of the 5-hours tour $110 per person. A truly deceptive experience. The "Silversea Experiences" are free excursions offered on selected cruises. All those we had in the past have all been satisfactory to excellent. Just to name a few: the visit of Chopin's museum on Mallorca, the dinner party on "Dune 7" in Walvis Bay, with great local music and the private Carnival parade in Salvador, Brazil. But on this cruise we were transferred to the Gatun Yacht Club, a facility formerly used by the Panama Canal corps of engineers. For the third time were we shown some local dancers, which had already danced for us on the pier during the embarkation and, subsequently, on the ship before dinner. There was some cold beer and soft drinks. We returned to the ship with one of the first tenders. Reading a good book on board was indeed a much better alternative. The lecturer Dr Atkins gave excellent renditions on the historical and socio-economic background of South America; he was indeed well documented on the subject. His talk on the Nazis in the area, though, was felt by many passengers as totally out of context. Given our proximity to Ecuador, Peru and Chile, a talk on the wars among these countries would have been much more appropriate. The pianist, Ms Nana Mukhadze delivered very good classical music. Those present would have had her play all evening. Once again, we noticed the mediocre quality of the baby grand piano. Silversea should really consider putting a better instrument on their otherwise excellent ships. We liked Silver Whisper very much to the point of booking our next cruise on board, taking advantage of the 5% savings that comes with this kind of advance reservations. Cruise consultant Selvaggia was indeed very patient with our various requests, which were promptly prepared for us. Silversea continues maintaining a very high level of service on their ships. We feel at home from the moment we step on board. And once again did we have cruising experience of extremely good overall quality. For further information: fleute@internet.ve Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
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