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23 Silversea Eastern Caribbean Cruise Reviews

I chose this cruise for our 30th anniversary. We chose it somewhat last minute and reserved the last cabin available about 6 weeks before sailing date. The goal was a no expense spared luxury experience. What we got was a nice trip, better ... Read More
I chose this cruise for our 30th anniversary. We chose it somewhat last minute and reserved the last cabin available about 6 weeks before sailing date. The goal was a no expense spared luxury experience. What we got was a nice trip, better than a large ship but no where near the promised level of experience. For example: 1) restaurants were fully booked by the time we got our login . We were never able to eat at le champagne in spite of personal appeal to Maitre D as it was our 30th anniversary. 2) our welcome materials custom made for us arrived at the wrong address after we had already left 3) excursions were also mostly booked by the time we got our login 4) we were given a "personal cruise consultant " who called me to introduce himself , only to tell us later that it was a mistake we were not entitled to a personal consultant at all because we booked through a travel agent 5) deck chairs were full every day at sea by noon. Requests for deck chairs were met with shrugs and then it took a supervisor to figure things out 6) assurances of "no lines " were just not Accurate 7) corporate assurances that "the butler would work things out " for us on the ship to get us our reservations were met with "I can't help with that anymore " from the butler and "it's all done on line now" 8) butler service was pointless in most cases as he claimed he was powerless to do much of anything, pretty much it's the same as maid service 9) we requested an upgrade in cabin (paid) and there was never any acknowledgement. I, confident they didn't follow Through 10) I read somewhere the minibar would be stocked and it was most definitely not. For a New Years cruise I would have expected a bottle of champagne on ice in the cabin when we arrived or some snacks but we did not have 11) several times the gym was so full the cardio equipment was all in use and there was a wait, plus no room to use free weights as too many people were crammed into a tight space I want to make clear that the shipboard experience was wonderful. I do not blame any of the personnel on board as they only can do what they are able . And they did well on board . However, the ship was VERY full and some of the policies made it less than outstanding. I am not really okay with the explanations we got which were 1) you booked late (we paid the same or more as everyone else, not sure why we should have a sub-par experience?) 2) it's your travel agents job (again more passing the buck. Not okay from a luxury cruise line) 3) i can't help you it's all done online We learned that a passenger can block book the exclusive restaurants for ever night ... there is no limit. This is a cruise line policy which is not fair to all passengers and results in sub par experiences. There should be a limit to how many times a passenger can pre book a restaurant They ran out of deck Chairs? How expensive are they? Plenty of space, maybe you all could buy a couple more chairs? anyways it's was nice, we had a nice trip but we thought our experience on the Norwegian epic in the concierge floor was superior to this and THAT is really Disappointing. We give the crew an A and we give the precruise and corporate policies an F which combined gives them a C. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My wife and I went with another married couple and we can honestly say that we all thoroughly enjoyed our holiday with Silverseas. We were warmly greeted when we came on board the ship at Barbados, and that warmth was a feature of the ... Read More
My wife and I went with another married couple and we can honestly say that we all thoroughly enjoyed our holiday with Silverseas. We were warmly greeted when we came on board the ship at Barbados, and that warmth was a feature of the attention that we received while we were on the Silver Spirit. Our cabin was spacious, tastefully decorated and boasted numerous cupboards and shelves where you could store clothes and your personal belongings. The bathroom/shower room was luxurious, with a shower that was easy to operate as well as being effective for it delivered a torrent of instant warm/hot water. Our cabin was cleaned daily to the highest possible standards - in fact, the cleaning staff did an amazing job in this respect. There is a wide variety of restaurants on board the ship to suit everyones taste and once you're sitting down, the standard of food and service in all of them was excellent, indeed, nothing was too much trouble for the waiters. Every meal was a fine dining experience since the food was beautifully cooked and presented. The entertainment on board the ship was of the highest standard. The course director, Moss, was a brillliant host, entertainer and coordinator. We saw most of the evening shows performed by the team of resident entertainers and I can honestly say that the singing, dancing and costumes were fantastic. A special word for the reception staff. They were always, polite, friendly and very anxious to resolve any issue that you might have. I couldn't fault them. I would certainly recommend Silverseas for a great cruising holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I am just off my second Silversea cruise of the year. First was Alaska from Anchorage (Seward) to Vancouver (7 days) aboard the Silver Shadow, and the latest on the Silver Spirit round trip from Fort Lauderdale (11 days). Silversea ... Read More
I am just off my second Silversea cruise of the year. First was Alaska from Anchorage (Seward) to Vancouver (7 days) aboard the Silver Shadow, and the latest on the Silver Spirit round trip from Fort Lauderdale (11 days). Silversea run nearly a flawless high end all inclusive cruise experience. I cannot imagine Seabourn, Crystal, Regent or the others in this category being any better. I am hesitant to try them out because Silverseas is so good. The Silverseas experience starts with embarkation, which is usually a nightmare on bigger cruise lines. They manage the logistics perfectly. A color coded embarkation system is used to insure there are no lines, no waiting and your luggage is in your suite when you arrive. There you are greeted by your butler. Your butler will do stuff for you then, like unpack your clothes, but you really want to do that your self. The only thing to use him for upon arrival is for him to grab you a bottle of champagne to sip on your veranda while you sail out of port. The butler will come in handy later. Your basic Veranda suite is a marvel of design, space is utilized perfectly. There is a huge walk-closet, and enough nooks, crannies, drawers, shelves to fit everything. (Tip-your suitcases fit under the bed). The bathrooms are astounding-walk in showers, a full size tub, and marble everywhere. It all works. The suite is about 375 square feet which, given its layout, can handle a trip of up to 4 weeks, without you going stir crazy. For me, a veranda is a must, sitting out there with a bottle of champagne as you enter and exit ports is an experience like few others. No complaints, they get a perfect 10. There is one major tip about booking. After deciding on a cruise book early, so you can select the exact stateroom you want. Study the ships deck plans very carefully. You want to avoid the following-cabins near elevators, cabins that are on hallways leading to various venues, particularly restaurants, these will be subject to alien noise, like other passengers talking or singing while walking down hallways. Otherwise your rooms are quiet as tombs. Another (tip) is select a cabin mid-ship not fore or aft. Cabins in the front and rear of the boat are more subject to pitch and roll. I didn’t think this would be a factor on a winter Caribbean cruise but I was way wrong. For three days we were in the midst of 8-12 waves which caused the cancellation of the entirety of one stop, the Turks and Caicos, and the cancellation of particular excursions in other ports. No trip from Tortola across to the Baths at Virgin Gorda, 30 years ago one of the most beautiful, unspoiled beaches in the Islands. I really wanted to see if it had been ruined by development. And no golf in Punta Cana, the sea was too rough to tender (the use of small boats to get from ship to pier if the port has no dock large enough to handle even a small cruise ship). Another factor in booking your cruise early is Silversea's has an early reservation policy for its restaurants other than the main dining room, fittingly called The Restaurant. On both my ships, there was a fancier, Relais&Chateaux room, called Le Champagne, offering multi-course menu at a surcharge of $40 per person, and La Terrazza, offering an Italian menu for no extra charge. The Silver Spirit also had a pool side restaurant called the Grill, and a Japanese restaurant called Seishin, this again for a $40 per person surcharge. La Terraza was the best, it had superb pasta, even its risottos were creamy and al dente, a feat hard to pull off in a small restaurant on land, let alone a 100+ seat restaurant on the a ship. The food at Le Champagne wasn’t much better than the Restaurant, (tip-you can order 7 courses there if that’s what you want). Seishin came in #2, it had excellent sushi and sashimi, as well as real treats like Waygu beef. On a 7 night cruise I would book La Terrazza for 3 nights. I perhaps would book Le Champagne on formal night, just to be ritzier. I wouldn’t book the Grill again at all, there you cook your own food on a hot rock. Too much work. Be advised that Silverseas has a dress code for its dining rooms. On a formal night, which I find to be a nice old school tradition, about 50% of the men wore tuxedos, the other wore dark business suits which is fine. Then they have what they call informal and casual nights. Informal means a sport coat and long pants, casual means a sport shirt and slacks. Shorts are banned after 6:00 PM. They will send you back to your room to change if you have shorts on, and will offer you a sport coat if needed on an informal night if you don’t want to make the trek back to your room to get a jacket. Some may find this stuffy, I didn’t, it adds a bit of elegance to the experience. A final word on early booking. Get trip insurance, it minimizes the risks of booking well in advance and gives considerable peace of mind. Naturally all this pampering doesn’t come cheap. It is expensive. But these days no more so than high end Caribbean resorts. Places like Cannel Bay, Jade Mountain and Dorado Beach are running $1200+ a day, and this without food and alcohol. The all-inclusive approach works well. On Silverseas the Champagne they serve, for example, is the real thing, an off label of Piper-Heidsieck called Monopole, which you can drink all day if you wish. It retails for around $40 a bottle in the US. Silverseas does not go cheap and cut corners. In the dining rooms you are served lobster, filets, rack of lambs, veal, and other high end entrees. The food is uniformly very good but not great. I had better food traveling in the Queen’s Grill class on Cunard. But as a British actor who I became acquainted with on this cruise said, he was on a 4 week leg, his bar bill on Cunard was $9000 for 4 weeks. They liked free champagne at lunch. So will you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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
Sail Date March 2016
We've visited many Caribbean islands over the years, love the region for it vibrancy and warmth - the people sort as well as that of climate. But we'd never made it to Barbados. We had taken a three day cruise on Carnival - and ... Read More
We've visited many Caribbean islands over the years, love the region for it vibrancy and warmth - the people sort as well as that of climate. But we'd never made it to Barbados. We had taken a three day cruise on Carnival - and decided the large ships aren't our favorite. Vacation for us means getting away from it all and we just had the feeling on the big ship we were taking it all along with us. We had cruised on the late lamented Windjammer Barefoot Cruises and had a marvelous time but they departed the scene alas and we're a bit older than once we were. So when the combination of the destination (Barbados) and trying out an upscale cruise experience (my wife loves the idea of having a balcony as a refuge, a place to read, relax and get completely away from it all) presented itself with Silversea line's Silver Spirits cruise #5401, Ft Lauderdale to Barbados, we jumped on. So to speak. It had the added advantage of happening in January, raising some concerns about the possibilities of weather interfering with travel, raising costs at the far end of the cruise (we stayed a week in Barbados after our cruise) but allowing us the chance to see it all during high season. Much of our previous travel to the region has been just outside high season, generally in mid-April including sailing around the BVI with a friend in his 35 foot sailboat, a Sabreliner. We looked over cruise lines, were highly intrigued by several especially Star Clippers, loved by friends of ours, and of course Seabourne. We had a fantastic vacation in French Polynesia a few years ago and realized after the fact that probably the best way to do that for the very first time would be to book on the Paul Gauguin, a gorgeous ship (we saw it a couple times on our trip there) and given that airfare is included a terrific way to see multiple islands in addition to experiencing the marvelous experience that ship offers. So when we came across Silver Spirit's itinerary and learned more about the ship itself, we were hooked. We flew out to Ft Lauderdale a couple days early just in case - the polar incursion that pretty much crippled transportation throughout the NE USA made that precaution seem quite a good choice; a number of passengers were delayed, some joining us in Puerto Rico on the third day into the cruise, others i presume not making it at all. Having time on our hands we spent a very pleasant day visiting Ft Lauderdale's fine art museum which happily had three exhibits up, each quite different from the other two, all of very high quality. We went down and strolled along the riverfront park area and wound up watching my alma mater's basketball team play (and happily win) a game at a sports bar quite near our at the port hotel which served excellent fresh fish as well. We took a cab over to the port on launching day - January 6th - and were very pleased with the process. There was little in the way of lines the ship's capacity being just over 500 passengers and the weather, as mentioned, having intervened even with that number. (i do believe we reached at or near 500 by the time we departed Puerto Rico so it wound up being a good test of the Silver Spirit experience.) We checked in and went to our suite (as the cabins are referred to) where we met our "butler" (seems to be what stewards are called on this line and perhaps others, i wouldn't know about that) - Rowena - and Larry who would be cleaning and tidying the suite throughout the cruise. They were very personable, very welcoming, quite professional. Rowena showed us around. Larry - who seems always to be smiling happily - was smiling happily and made us feel quite at home. The suite was beautiful. Lots of wood, mirrors in both the bed and sitting areas with television pictures as rectangles "embedded" in the center of each, a desk, writing desk and lots of cabinet space in the sitting room and of course the teak veranda/balcony beyond that. The bathroom was on our left in the narrow hallway as we entered and beyond it the walk in closest with lots of space, hangers and the room safe atop a chest of drawers at the far end. Plenty of room for the clothing we brought along - and we had three suitcases given the nine night cruise and our planned week-long stay afterwards on the island. i know, over-packing, but we hadn't been quite this way before and when all is said and done i prefer to work a bit harder getting somewhere than to find i have prepared inadequately for the bulk of my time. i figure i'll learn to conserve before we do this next time. We preferred to do our own unpacking - perhaps a mistake as i could take some lessons from Rowena who packs and unpacks on a professional basis - more on that later - but it's not much to do it oneself. We stowed two of the cases at the very back of the closet - lots of room; Rowena wound up putting the third simply under the bed, an easier solution. Having a bit of time we set off to explore our floating home for a bit before the required safety drill - attendance is taken - and departure from port which we watched from the deck off the Italian restaurant - La Terrazza - where we met a couple of passengers from Ireland in the process, mother and daughter, who quickly became our friends (and added to the family feel of our trip when we would run into them and join with them for a meal or a walkabout in one port or another). Okay, hint #1: at this time passengers have the opportunity to go to i think it was the Stars supper club (deck 7) to make dinner reservations at the various restaurants. The hint is do it as some of the restaurants are smaller and more intimate and if you don't make your reservation right at the start you might not get in. This is especially true for the line's well-advertised Le Champagne restaurant which holds about 20 people. By the time we thought to try to go there, we could only get on the waiting list and never did make it in. (Although some with whom we spoke were not all that impressed with it so we didn't worry too much about that.) Restaurants: there are several - we did not make it into all but next cruise we would try to do so. Le Champagne - deck 4 - intimate, highly advertised by the Italian cruise line, an elegant approach; there is a surcharge involved to eat here. Seishin - also deck 4 - also a surcharge to eat here. We did so twice. There are three options for dinner, each beginning with an amuse buche followed by a marvelous sashimi and sushi plate, the sushi chef located in the middle of the space preparing this, the tables - 7 or 8 iirc - around the edges of the room. At lunch there is the option of getting a bento (boxed) lunch; at dinner there are two three course meals dinners at a surcharge of $20 as well as a full 9 course degustation meal at a $30 surcharge. We tried both versions, the 9 course our first visit and the 3 course meals our second visit. We had marvelous service from MaryAnn assisted by Sharlotte and, our second visit, when i asked to have the first three-course menu but substitute the main course from the second MaryAnn just smiled and assured us it would be no problem at all. Nor was it. We very much liked this restaurant. The main restaurant is, naturally, called The Restaurant. It too is located on deck 4 (the aforementioned two flanking the entrance to the Restaurant.) We found this one good; not great, but quite satisfactory. We have some food restrictions - one of the joys brought by advancing years - which limited us just a bit in our selection but service was excellent, the surroundings fine - think upscale restaurant 'most anywhere, and the food good. We enjoyed it - but chose other options for the rest of the cruise rather than repeat this one. The aforementioned La Terrazza - being the Italian venue on an Italian-run ship - was quite good. Indoor seating is good and there is also the option of outdoor seating, delightful at breakfast and lunch. Starting with dinner, i found the pasta quite good; our new friend and fellow passenger Art said the lamb rack was outstanding. The wine selection was okay - and they were quite happy to offer an alternate selection such as the Bordeaux i preferred to the offered Burgundy. They would have been happier still to provide one of the for-purchase selections the prices of which were in the range of "if you have to ask the price, don't bother with these." We demurred and did just fine with the included selection, my wife especially appreciating the whites while i explored the reds. For breakfast and lunch, the buffets in the La Terrazza venue were marvelous. Can't think of anything they might have done to have made them more appealing to us. Our Irish friends took the culinary tour offered on board and came away very impressed that they prepare all of the bread and pasta offerings from scratch every day, even the bread sticks. They certainly succeeded with those and most passengers we got to know wound up eating breakfast and lunch at La Terrazza. The Show Lounge - deck 5 - served smaller platters and our friends Art and Cindy just loved it. We planned to make it but never did; we will do so on our next cruise on this line because of the raves about it. There was entertainment - and we simply opted for a quieter dinner experience this voyage. The experience that i loved was Hot Rocks. You need reservations though there is no additional surcharge. This is on the pool deck - deck 9 - at the Pool Grill area (there is also a pool bar of course) or at tables on deck 10 which overlooks the pool at The Grill. Hot Rocks is called that for the obvious reason: you order a steak or the huge (and delectable) shrimp or a combination of both and your server brings your entrée to you already cooking - searing - on a lava stone that has been pre- and slowly-heated to 900 degrees. The stone is about three inches thick and perhaps 12 inches square. The server places the stone on its platter in front of you leaving room for your dinner plate between it and you and then turns the meat over so it starts cooking on the other side. It's up to you when you want to remove it from the stone to stop cooking it. They advertise that it's perfectly done just for you every time, an element that is completely under your personal control. As we eat simply at home - and far less often - the chance for simpler fare was very appealing and as the dinner itself was outstanding, we ate there twice including our last night on board. Your platter comes with baked potato with a range of toppings, vegetables and salad first course. Desserts here and throughout the ship were also quite good. There's even a choice of sorbets throughout the afternoon on the pool deck. If i've forgotten other venues it is only because we failed to try them. There's only so much and so often a person can eat no matter the variety of choices and the quality of the offerings. So, overall - was this the quality of Carlos' in Highland Park north of Chicago? No, not quite to that standard imo. But very good - high quality - very happy with the variety and the quality offered. And as throughout the ship with the service. i should add that the bar (called The Bar) is located on deck 5 just beyond reception and the shore concierge desks. Quite attractive and this is where we all went on debarkation day, at least those of us leaving the cruise in Barbados. Voyage 5401 actually continued on to Rio, to Buenos Aires, around the horn and up the Pacific Coast of South America - Chile, Peru - and on through the Panama Canal and back to Ft Lauderdale and Port Everglades. Our new friends Art and Cindy were among those doing the entire cruise, a total of 66 days long. Others were going on as far as Rio or Buenos Aires. When we left in Barbados, others boarded for the next segment of the cruise. It was in all a lovely thought and we continue to mentally follow Art and Cindy and the others on their adventure. The first couple days of the voyage are at sea, a portion of the cruise we found to be our favorite. The TV screens in the suite had camera options that included a camera facing ahead which was very nice entering each port, a second that included the relevant ship's environmental information including temperature, wind velocity, ship's speed, ocean depth beneath us, course, etc. along with cameras that showed various views including one of the pool area. Then there was a selection of channels including CNN, BBC, Fox, i think they had MSNBC, international sports, ESPN Caribbean (lots and lots of soccer, a bit of cricket, we did get one of the NFL playoff games - but not the other), etc. The veranda (at the outboard side of the suite) got some use; the ocean was a fine companion; the ship was stabilized of course - there was a bit of rocking that didn't feel like that at all, it was just that at times you did need to watch your balance a bit. i noticed there were always waiters at the buffet to assist by carrying one's platter to one's table, a precaution perhaps more for the rest of the diners than for the person who would actually eat the food. We used the first day to visit the boutiques and were surprised to find the prices quite reasonable there. There were sport coats - a light colored one and of course a blazer - as well as more formal wear. The blazer - light colored - was $179 and seemed of a quality that made that a reasonable price for it. The exercise room was well equipped and very nice. We didn't use the spa services - massages and such - but have no doubt as to their high quality as well. In the suite, i should mention the bathroom. There is a tub which was of a generous size and the shower was well thought out and organized, encased in a clear plastic enclosure with a tight-closing door and both a rain shower head and a hand held - whatever your preference it was easily arrangeable. Hint #2: in our suite anyway the water temperature varied between the two shower heads. If you started with the rain shower head, directly overhead, and then wanted to switch to the hand held to direct the spray while you shampooed or such, the initial spray of water would be cold for a second or two and then significantly hotter than the rain shower. It was important to turn the temperature down before switching and then adjust a bit up after a couple seconds to feel. There is a sign posted that cautions you to always test the temperature before stepping in. If you're used to hots that don't really get hot, think again - when they say "hot" on the Silver Spirit, they truly mean hot. It was a marvelous surprise to us. Combine that with amenities by Bvlgari and the suite and bathroom were quite up with our anticipation of what such ought to be on a luxury cruise. The ship's shore excursions: we signed up only for two - the Rain Forest excursion in Puerto Rico and a snorkel and scuba excursion in St Barths. (see below) A separate word - from what i've written under port reports below about St Maarten. St Martin (smallest piece of land in the world divided between two nations: the port and Phillipsburg are in Sint Maarten and are Dutch; the northern area of the island are St Martin and are French. We spent a marvelous week once in the French Village of Grand Case and highly recommend that.) Phillipsburg is a duty free port with outstanding shopping particularly for jewelry and watches. Silver Spirit carries with it a designated ship's shopper. On our cruise it was Phillip. He's a Californian and he was expert, thorough and always available. Landing in Phillipsburg (a coincidence? well, okay, but it did seem rather apt), St Maarten, we cruised the shopping area and when anyone heard the name of our ship (they ask when you enter a shop such as Diamonds International) they would say, "Oh, you're with Phillip." Quoted prices dropped significantly once it was established that you were with Phillip and he made the rounds of the shops and seemed constantly available to consult or assist anyone from the ship. Prices in port seemed quite good for expensive items. But such items are individual enough i really couldn't tell you. Phillipsburg and St John Antigua however have widespread reputations for being excellent ports for the purchase of jewelry - especially diamonds - and watches if you are into such things. Phillip was definitely one of the ship's very useful features and a number of our shipmates commented very appreciatively about him and his services. Disembarking came. You can choose your preferred disembarking time but are asked to clear your suite (the ship is nearly entirely suites with verandas) by 8:30 in the morning. Rowena assisted with the packing - in my case she did a lot more than simply assist. We all applied the provided tags to our luggage - each color corresponding with the requested disembarkation time in what appeared to be half hour intervals - in the hallway outside our door when we went to bed, retaining only what we would need for the morning and our carry-ons. In the morning we left our carryons in the room while we went and settled up at the reception desk, reclaimed our passports, had a last breakfast at La Terrazza, reclaimed our carryons and joined our friends in The Bar area to await the call for our group to disembark and reclaim our luggage at customs. Disembarkation was easy and straightforward. A bus took you - again by color designation - to where your luggage was waiting and customs was quite a simple process. i'm sure i've forgotten something but that's a whole lot already up above so a short summary. My wife had wondered how she would like it, on the ship with 500 others, upscale food and service all the time, etc. Short answer, she loved it. Silver Spirit was about her favorite vacation ever - and when that includes 14 days in French Polynesia (Tahati and all that), that's saying something. The number of people was enough that we found great companions and i hope lasting friends - and enjoyed running into friends in whatever port we happened to be - and yet small enough that we rarely felt we were in a crowd. Food was very good, breakfasts and lunches superior. The suite was more than simply comfortable - we certainly do miss it. The service was wonderful - so many going out of their way obviously their hope was to please you. Lovely experience. Would we prefer one of the line's smaller ships? (Silver Spirit is their largest - others carry up to 380 or fewer passengers) Perhaps so. We look forward to finding out one day. But this was pretty terrific - and in our case the itinerary was perfect.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
we had the ROYAL SUITE #702. right up at the front of the ship. it was a BEAUTIFUL room. lots of space, very comfortable (during the day ONLY). at night every time the ship went up in down in the water we heard what sounded like a ... Read More
we had the ROYAL SUITE #702. right up at the front of the ship. it was a BEAUTIFUL room. lots of space, very comfortable (during the day ONLY). at night every time the ship went up in down in the water we heard what sounded like a refrigerator being thrown down a stairwell (the nights at sea). ear plugs helped diminish the noise enough to sleep. each morning that we would arrive into a port (about 5am'ish') we would hear the anchor falling into the water with its heavy chain behind it. NO NEED FOR AN ALARM CLOCK!!!! IT SOUNDED LIKE WE WERE BEING BOMBED!!! this would happen 4 or 5 times at each port. just an absolute terrible place to put the luxury cabins!!!! for this reason the ship is terrible designed! the food was terrible!!!!!!!! desserts, pastries & ANYTHING chocolate - were worse HORRID!!!! we sustained ourselves on ham & cheese sandwiches. the chocolate ice cream them served was ZERO CALORIE and came in a container, other ice creams where made on ship. ZERO CALORIE on a vacation?????? specialty restaurants: le champagne - OVER-RATED! la terrazza - chef boyardee is better out of the can! the grill - guests cook their own food at the table, WHAT A MESS!!!! i did not go on vacation to cook for myself. i've tasted better food from high school home economics students! entertainment - NOT SO MUCH!! exact same show we saw on a previous cruise. the cruise line owners have a charity foundation and early on in the voyage they take the liberty to charge your shipboard account for a donation to their foundation. VERY TASTELESS & TACTLESS!! they leave a brochure in your cabin informing you about the foundation and then state if you do not want to make a donation please see the reception desk to make an adjustment. i am on holiday and now i have to take my time to make an adjustment to my shipboard account?!?!? this happened on our last voyage as well. when i got home i tried to research the foundation and it is not even registered in the USA - donor beware! we have traveled on silver seas before and greatly enjoyed it! this was a great disappointment! if it were not for the staff and the people we met we would have disembarked and found our own way home! just an absolute disappointment!!!! as a guest you can tell that the management just does not care! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
It would much quicker to mention the few things that weren't perfect, but this cruise deserves a full report. From start to finish we were impressed with efficiency of the staff. Their level if service is so high, and yet is ... Read More
It would much quicker to mention the few things that weren't perfect, but this cruise deserves a full report. From start to finish we were impressed with efficiency of the staff. Their level if service is so high, and yet is accompanied by what feels like genuine warmth. Getting on board was as smooth as it could be. I don't think I will ever forget jigging down the corridor to have a sneaky peek at our room before many people boarded! I was so excited. The room was spotless, thanks to Wendy, and well designed. I loved the twin sinks and the walk in wardrobe. Each visit to the main restaurant was a delight. Each and every meal was like eating in a Michelin-starred restaurant. We liked that Roger described the wine of the day, with a little info on where it came from. Not once did I need to ask for my water or wine glass to be replenished. My husband drinks Diet Coke. He likes it without ice or lemon. Those waiters remembered this from our first day aboard. I don't know how the do it, but they are professional, friendly and efficient. Every night we visited the little intimate Groucho bar for pre dinner drinks. Albert greeted us by name, prepared our favoured tipple and acted as the perfect barman and host, a truly charming person. We met some wonderful people, one couple I hope we will remain friends with. There were just a few not so wonderful travellers, those who treated the staff as if they were their own personal servants...it made us cringe. Poor Alan the waiter, but he dealt with it with complete dignity. Impressive. One or two people seemed to be paying staff to hold sun beds for them, this is quite wrong when some people were unable to find places to be out of the sun. Guests, you should be ashamed of yourselves! One of the excursions in St Lucia deserves a mention. We were taken in a mini bus to a hotel, a long and bumpy journey. We were given an ok lunch then an 'opportunity' to see the rooms in this luxury hotel. We were then left to sit outside for about an hour until it was time to leave. It was very hot, we weren't offered a drink, or use of the pool. The swim off the catamaran was ridiculously short. We paid a lot of money for what was essentially a sales opportunity for the hotel. We felt conned. Big time. Other than these annoying issues, we would thoroughly recommend Silversea. A wonderful trip that we will never forget. In case you're reading this, a huge thank you to the wonderful people that made this very special holiday very very special. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This review is months overdo, but it had to be written. I'll try to keep this brief & to the point. Background: My husband & I were celebrating our Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. As a surprise, we sent my parents on their ... Read More
This review is months overdo, but it had to be written. I'll try to keep this brief & to the point. Background: My husband & I were celebrating our Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. As a surprise, we sent my parents on their 1st SS cruise a few years ago and they're hooked! They urged us to sail Silversea. So glad they did! They joined us on this cruise (their 3d) and celebrated our Anniversary with us!We arrived in Barbados on a rainy day. Silversea provided transport from the Terminal (effortless). Once we gave the shuttle driver our bags, we didn't see them again until we arrived in our stateroom after check-in. Embarkation: no line, no wait, no hassle! Staff met us at the gangway with umbrellas in hand. We enjoyed a 'Welcome' glass of champagne while we checked in. Our stateroom (V5, 730, mid-ship veranda) was absolutely beautiful! Marble bath with tub & shower (with glass shower door, NOT a shower curtain!). Bulgari & Ferragamo toiletries. Very comfy bed (we were happy with the standard pillows, although a pillow menu is available). The veranda was our favorite spot to relax. Large enough to enjoy coffee & breakfast each morning. Our cabin adjoined my parents' cabin. The wall separating our verandas has a door that can be opened so we were able to sip cocktails together on our verandas! Our butler, Christley Gladson, was absolutely wonderful! He was so attentive, pleasant and worked very hard to cater to our every whim! He treated us like family! Adesh, our room steward, kept our room immaculately clean and did so quickly. As quickly as he came into the stateroom, he was gone! In fact, the entire crew (with the exception of one or two) went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and at home. It should be noted, that the crew are not and do not deserve to be treated like personal servants. They are hard working people, working hard to provide outstanding service to all on board. And they're doing so as a means to provide for their families. They deserve to be treated with dignity & respect. They have names; learn them & use them! Talk to them. Get to know them. And if the urge to be an demanding elitist starts to creep in, think of the Golden Rule: would we want to be treated in that manner?The ship itself is beautiful. Classy. We felt like we were on our own private yacht. The lounges were comfortable. The bartenders made great cocktails (the vodka tasting was lots of fun!) We thought the food was excellent. We really enjoyed Hot Rocks. I was disappointed that we weren't able to get into Le Champagne. Loved the Spa! I enjoyed three different spa services on 'Sea Days'. We used the gym. It was small but the equipment we typically use was there. We enjoyed a private shore excursion in Dominica. Comfortable vehicle, knowledgable tour guide. A very nice day. While in San Juan, we invited friends of ours who live there to join us on board for lunch while we were in Port. Christley set up an en suite cocktail party for us (classy!) and we enjoyed lunch at The Restaurant. Our guests had a great time! We've read the thoughts of other CC reviewers regarding dress code infractions on the part of other passengers, smoking in non-smoking areas, etc. We didn't notice anyone disregarding the smoking policy. In terms of the dress code, we really couldn't have cared less who wore what when. We were too busy enjoying ourselves to find fault with fellow passengers! We read & understood SS's dress code and packed accordingly. We're not nit-picky people. Some reviewers complained about the quality of the food, this wine or that was unavailable, etc. Really, people? What is NOT to love about this cruise? Yes, the price tag for cruising SS is steep and a certain level of service is expected (and, in this reviewer's opinion, more than met!) Frankly, if certain passenger's standards are THAT high, perhaps they'd do better to consider purchasing their own yacht. Then they can guarantee that their extremely high standards are met to the letter. We're booked to sail Silver Spirit again in December '13. We can't wait!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Easy helpful courteous boarding. Good size comfortable suite. First night in main restaurant Silversea tried to con me. We asked if we could order wine by the glass and the waiter brought us a box of spectacles. We asked someone else - ... Read More
Easy helpful courteous boarding. Good size comfortable suite. First night in main restaurant Silversea tried to con me. We asked if we could order wine by the glass and the waiter brought us a box of spectacles. We asked someone else - the wine waiter I think - if we could order wine by the glass and he too said no but handed me 2 wine lists - one with stratospheric prices and the other with so-called special good deal prices. I asked if there were any wines we could order by the half bottle and he said no but they would keep what's left for our next visit. I managed to find an ok bottle of wine for $60. The next day I found out that there are loads of complementary wines and that this is part of the inclusivity of Silversea. Clearly the wine waiter was expected by his bosses to persuade passengers to trade up to paid-for wines. I don't mind that as an option but I think it's grubby to try and get me to trade up by deceit. I handed a letter of complaint to the reception and they apologised and knocked off the $60. I'm sure there was some small print info where I could hjave learned this in advance but Silversea have shovelled more bits of paper in front of me at the outset of this voyage than the total papers I got when buying a house. Information not only has be churned out, it also has to be received. All the restaurants were too noisy. Not just the musak. The main noise was the clattering of plates and cutlery by the staff into one of the numerous serving islands that seemed to be within ear splitting distance of every table. The waiters had no sensitivity in this regard - they would be more at home in a cheap cafeteria. It used ot drive me nuts the way the waiters would try to carry my plate if I was waalking to my table from a buffet. I'm not a cripple. They need to develop enough sensitivity to back off when a guest seems comfortable continuing his journey unassisted. On one occasion when at my table I picked up a pepper pot top add some more pepper to my dish a waiter rushed over to try to take it out of my hand so he could do it for me. I know cruise operators have a lot of elderly guests who might enjoy this degree of rescue from the unbearable hardship of adding more pepper to their meal but waiters need to be trained to differentiate between types of guests in terms of self-reliance. Allowing smoking on deck is unacceptable and in the case of cigars, such smokers should be sent to a cigar-fumed chamber for aversion therapy. Seriously, developed countries have for the most part conquered this obnoxious social habit which is so unpleasant to anyone within a few feet of these wretched people and it is about time Silversea followed suit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We have completed our third fall sailing on the Silversea Spirit. The Ship and Crew make for a perfect get away from it all. In fact we are booked again this fall. The ship sails from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We ... Read More
We have completed our third fall sailing on the Silversea Spirit. The Ship and Crew make for a perfect get away from it all. In fact we are booked again this fall. The ship sails from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We always enjoy spending a couple of days ahead of the cruise in Fort Lauderdale. The shops along Los Olas make for a perfect late afternoon. We love to walk the beach and just let the ocean settle in. We stayed at the Hilton Beach Resort which is a wonderful hotel located centrally to the beach. The hotel is only 10 minutes to the port. The Silversea experience starts with check-in.....It is a quick and painless process, far different from the large ship experience. In minutes you are on board. We also love the opportunity to bring a friend abroad to show off the ship and really enjoy an afternoon on the ship. We picked the same Cabin as our first voyage, Suite 707. I just love the suite and the service. Yes I could get used to butler.....but really is just a bonus to be enjoyed on-board. The rooms are perfectly sized for a 10 or 20 day voyage. The Balcony includes two chairs and a small table and unlike many ships you can stretch your legs and really settle into a great book as the ocean goes by. We had breakfast on the Balcony on most sea days. In fact you really don't need an alarm clock, just order tea, coffee or a full breakfast ensuite.....it arrives at the appointed time, every time. We love the Hot Rocks Grill at night. In fact we eat there whenever possible. You do need to get your reservations early for the speciality restaurants, but at this place it is not a problem. Hot Rocks with excellent fish and meats is the perfect ending to a day sailing the emerald isles of the Carribbean. They have a nice two piece combo playing down below, providing smooth listening music and take requests. The Main Dining Room is excellent also. When you want a full upscale meal you can't beat this venue. One thing I like about Silversea is the smaller portions. Some ships provide quantity....Silversea focuses on quality. You can see the hand of the Executive Chef in preparing dishes that just pop, none of the bland food they often pass off as dining. I really loved the relaxing approach from the waiters and the ability to join others or dine alone. The fellow passengers are a real mix of cultures and ages. Lots of British and Americans to mix with. You really have fun with everyone. My problem is remembering everyones name. You won't find many children or teenagers on board, and frankly the result is a positive country club like atmosphere. Things to remember. Its all-inclusive which means you can relax and enjoy the premium service on board. The Fitness Center is a don't miss on the days you want to get a work out. The shore tours desk offers a wide range of tours from sailing the island of St. Bart's to just kicking it on your own with good advice on what not to miss. Islands to remember: St. Kitts, I love this understated and not overbuilt cruise ship stop. Grand Turk for ones birthday at Margaritaville is not to be missed. The beach is perfect the water is sparkling and you are only steps for the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Travel to the Port: We drove over cruise morning with another couple from the West coast of Florida to the Port which was 270 miles (4 hours). We parked in a Park & Go lot just before you enter the port on the left. It was about ... Read More
Travel to the Port: We drove over cruise morning with another couple from the West coast of Florida to the Port which was 270 miles (4 hours). We parked in a Park & Go lot just before you enter the port on the left. It was about $11/day but could be less if you went on line before and printed a coupon. You park...a van goes to your car and unloads your luggage and takes you to the ship...easy and less than Port Parking. Personal Background Information: My wife and I are in our early 70s and in good health. We have cruised 15 times but always on larger ships. We felt we wanted to try a small boutique luxury ship and Silversea had good reviews. This ship can handle 450 which is much smaller than 2,000 to 3,000 monsters. It is all inclusive which means food, liquor, wine, gratuities are in your base cruise price. The only extra charge are the tours you select and shipboard Internet service. There is also a surcharge for 2 of the 5 restaurants (later). Stateroom #932:We had a mini suite with a balcony (2 chairs and 1 small table)which we rarely used because our cabin was next to the pool, pool bar and pool grill. If you could book this cabin or one nearby you will be pleased with the convenience. The service with our butler (Anil Kumar Mahla) and room attendant (Jocelyn Ochavillo) were first rate. Free washer, dryer and soap just across the hall from us. Fox and CNN was available on our 2 flat screen TVs. Remotes took a while to get used to because TVs we set in the mirrors,The bath room had a full sized tub and a separate shower (with a rainfall fixture overhead...very nice touch).Large walk in closet. We took large suitcases and still had more than enough storage. Privacy curtain between the bedroom and sitting area was handy if I wanted to read and bride wanted to sleep.Room service was available 24/7. Bride liked breakfast in cabin but I went to "The Restaurant" in the mornings to be served. Days at sea: We both took professional bridge (card) lessons in the mornings and my wife played duplicate bridge in the afternoons. Always enough lounges. Nice libraries and numerous areas to sit around and relax. Although there was only one small child on board there were many couples in their 40s, 50s and 60s which surprised us. Still, not a cruise for families with small children. Dress aboard ship: This is not a blue jeans or muscle shirt crowd Two formal nights for tuxes or coats/ties. We took tuxes but did the tie option instead. Warm weather not condusive for tuxes. Four informal nights: Coats and slacks, no ties. Four casual nights: Nice shirts and slacks, no coats. Cocktail Lounges/Bars: We were very pleased with the entertainment and piano bars. The snacks offered during cocktails usually left much to be desired. Service was exceptional everywhere on the ship. Restaurants: There were 5 which I will discuss below: 1. The "Restaurant" was the main dining room and served breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations not required and food selections were regular restaurant fare. 2 LeChampagne was a reservantion, $30 surcharge. Worth a visit. Mucho fanfare! 3. La Terrazza served buffet breakfast and lunch, High Tea from 4-5 and then dinner (reservations reqd) with an Italian flair in the evenings 4. Pool bar and Grill: Shorts and bath. Pizza, burgers, etc. Easy and good. 5. Seishin (Asian) Did not use. Reservations reqd' plus surcharge. 6. Stars Supper Club Res reqd. Fancy dress. 7. Dinner on the Hot Rock: Res reqd. Outdoor dining where you are brought your partially cooked fish or steaks you finish cooking at your table. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
After cruising on over a half dozen cruise lines over twenty years, we finally chose to try Silversea and reserved a very expensive top category suite. Regrettably, we didn't feel that this cruise would be considered a ... Read More
After cruising on over a half dozen cruise lines over twenty years, we finally chose to try Silversea and reserved a very expensive top category suite. Regrettably, we didn't feel that this cruise would be considered a "luxury" experience. While the majority of the ship's staff did appear to try to please passengers, we simply didn't believe the cruise lived up to its "luxury" price. Check in at the pier required standing in line 25 to 30 minutes. We had to sit in a shuttle bus to get to the ship until the bus was full. Then, once aboard, we were told that our suite would be ready in an hour-and-a-half. We never met the ship's hotel manager or captain. Apparently, there was no Captain's Dinner on the sailing. The welcome "event" for first time passengers was held in the theater, with two speeches and a glass of complimentary champagne. Room service breakfast was bland and cold. (Tried it just one time) Free movies on the ship's television system stopped and started a few times. One stopped and wouldn't re-start at all. (Perhaps a bandwidth problem?) Disembarkation was a log jam in the atrium and down the hallways. We were not aware of any waiting area for suite guests. And while disembarkation was announced by luggage tag color, this procedure was not enforced. It was a stampede with passengers with various colors all trying to exit at the same time. Food was good, but not fantastic. Service in the main dining room was especially slow at breakfast and lunch. We've been in many top suites on numerous ships. We just didn't feel that Silversea Spirit was worth the "luxury" cost, nor did the Spirit live up to our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having so much enjoyed the transatlantic crossing last year I decided to repeat the cruise this year. Although we again started in Lisbon and finished in Barbados, Silversea were sufficiently prescient to include 4 different ports of call ... Read More
Having so much enjoyed the transatlantic crossing last year I decided to repeat the cruise this year. Although we again started in Lisbon and finished in Barbados, Silversea were sufficiently prescient to include 4 different ports of call out of the 7 visited (Madeira, La Gomera, St Lucia and Les Saintes). I made my own flight arrangements (Business Class to Lisbon and BA First home from Barbados)and was able to use my BA Miles which worked out considerably cheaper than the Silversea Business Air add-on. Embarkation at Lisbon could not have been easier or more efficient. I had travelled from the airport by taxi for a mere 18 Euros! As last year we were blessed with good weather from the start. Also the seas were calm for the whole crossing. Of the six days at sea the first and last were brilliant, with rather more cloud (and the occasional tropical shower) on the middle four days. On the first morning at sea, en route to Madeira, I organised a CC get together in the Panorama Lounge for those who had posted on our pre-cruise 'thread'. This was well attended with 15 of us showing up and then keeping in touch throughout the cruise. A very nice congenial group. My cabin was excellent (midship verandah cabin on deck 5) - very quiet and wonderfully spacious for single occupancy. I can imagine that two people might find it a bit of a squeeze because of the oft-mentioned narrowness of the entrance. My steward and stewardess were excellent and could not do enough for me although my wants were small. Just early morning tea which arrived every day at 8am thanks to the delightful Jerry who then opened the curtains and allowed me to 'come to life'. I am not an early riser so cannot comment on those who were pounding the decks at 5am! Housekeeping in the cabin and throughout the ship is excellent. My cabin was kept spotlessly clean and Jerry even took my shoes without being asked, polished them, and returned them wrapped in tissue paper. Such luxury! Throughout the whole ship cleaning and polishing seemed to be a constant occupation for crew members. The public washrooms were kept vigilantly clean. Full marks! Fellow passengers were very civilised and pleasant. There were a few passengers I knew from last year with whom it was good to catch up again. Several crew members were also on board again and all seemed somehow to remember me. Quite an achievement when you think of the numbers of passengers who pass through in the course of a year. The service in all departments was efficient and courteous. The only problems arising are at breakfast and lunch in La Terrazza and in the Dining Room in the evening if these venues are full. The staff then seem stretched (but still charming despite appearing slightly over-worked!). My daily routine did not vary greatly. Breakfast was always in La Terrazza which is mainly self-service unless you wish to order eggs (which I did on two days only and my single Egg Benedict was perfectly cooked and presented on both occasions). The buffet selection does not vary and it was disappointing to see that the big bowl of mixed berries has now disappeared and berries are now only available on request. This was one of a few 'economies' which Silversea seem to have implemented. The others included no butter or marmalade on the table (again, on request only). Lunch I enjoyed every day except one on the Lido deck, by the pool. I just want a simple light lunch and the caesar salads and toasted sandwiches were perfect. Service was excellent. I often do not bother with Tea, but the offering in La Terrazza at 4pm was so good that I could not resist. Proper leaf tea correctly served and delicious finger sandwiches and pastries. I dined either in the Main Dining Room ('MDR') or La Terrazza, always with friends although one night I took 'pot-luck' in the MDR on a table for 8 and it was fine. Service in the MDR tends to be leisurely, particularly if the room is full and I detect a slight disconnect between the waiting staff and the galley. The food in the MDR is somewhat bland and unexciting but I am not a great 'foodie' and if the company and conversation are sparkling (which they usually were) then I tend to be less bothered about the food. Sometimes requests for side orders (necessary because there are never enough vegetables with the plated main courses) were forgotten either by the waiting staff or the galley and a quick return trip to the galley had to be made. There is no doubt that the best plan is to order off-menu a meal ahead. As a result I had perfect rack of lamb one evening (which never appeared on the menu throughout the cruise) and on another evening a friend and I had grilled dover sole (on the bone) which was the best I have ever tasted. On another evening 6 of us had pre-ordered (the day before to give time for preparation) roast goose. It was absolute perfection. They must have cooked two geese for us because between us there were 3 legs and 3 thighs! That evening the chef even devised for us (without being asked) special first and second courses (fois gras pate and a seafood risotto). So things can be done. It just needs a polite request and a 'thank you' afterwards! Out of three dinners in La Terrazza two were exceptionally good and one mediocre. So, on balance, quite acceptable. The wine poured at meals were generally quite good, though on several evenings I requested an alternative which was never a problem. There was a very good NZ sauvignon blanc, an excellent Australian shiraz (until we drank it all!) and some good Californian and French reds. For entertainment I enjoyed our daily game of 'trivia' in the afternoon in the Panorama Lounge. It was great fun as none of our team took things too seriously. This was run by the excellent Cruise Director, Susan Wood. She is charming, efficient, highly visible and very friendly. I liked her very much. Before and after dinner in the Panorama Lounge the pianist/singer Amadeo was excellent. A couple of evenings we went into 'Stars' after dinner to hear Angela and her accompanist. Lovely renditions of Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc. I just wish that diners who have finished eating but who are showing no sign of taking any interest in the show would move on after dinner to another bar. We has to 'shush' them more than once. I am not keen on 'production' shows but did go one evening to the Theatre to listen to John Bowles, a talented singer, and on another evening to listen to a different 'John' who did a rather amusing (was it supposed to be?) Liberace impersonation! Only one port of call was new to me (having done a number of crossings in the past) - La Gomera in the Canary Islands. I took a Silversea extended half-day tour which was excellent. The island is very dramatic and quite unspoilt. At other ports I either stayed on board or 'did my own thing'. At Barbados disembarkation was efficient and I took another extended half day tour which ended at the airport where our luggage awaited. All very civilised and well planned. Then to the BA Lounge and ferried to the plane a few minutes before departure. I slept most of the way home. Lovely. This was just what I needed - a relaxing holiday with little to do apart from read during the day and have sociable, pleasant evenings. Not for me the 7 day cruises with a different port every day. I like cruising to be what it used to be. Leisurely and relaxed. Full marks (almost!) to Silversea for managing to fulfil my expectations once again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Having cruised the exact same ship just a couple years ago, I observed a significant "slip" in Silversea's quality and service; but it wasn't just me who noticed. It was a frequent topic among fellow passengers. One ... Read More
Having cruised the exact same ship just a couple years ago, I observed a significant "slip" in Silversea's quality and service; but it wasn't just me who noticed. It was a frequent topic among fellow passengers. One couple complained about their room temperature being too hot and their refrigerator not working. They were asked to give the crew time to sort it out and in the mean time given another room - filled with boxes. They eventually were moved on day 3 but to a room someone else had left because of noise from a nearby slamming crew door. My room only had minor problems like the shower leaking out to the floor; that was finally repaired the last day of the cruise. There was also hair in some of the drawers and I kid you not, a bottle of vagisil left under the bed. Housekeeping was strangely absent yet we always returned to a cleaned room. The butler did introduce himself but that was the last time we saw him. At the bar, one friendly waitress kept getting our names mixed up and in the dining room a certain waiter could be smelled approaching before seen. It was one of those cruises where it was advisable to pick out the best and tip them early so they would stay with you. All the help had turned over from our last cruise and it seemed to be a training day everyday. The head chef and another "nameless" director seemed a bit cavalier (loose) as if they were accountable to noone. The food suffered more than once; dried out sea bass, overcooked lobster, and really nothing that wowed us, until the last night, that is. It seems they wanted to leave us with a good impression and everything was spot on for 3 whole hours. A predictable poolside buffet went well for us because we had Paul looking out for our table of six but we heard lots of gripes from others who were not so lucky. The after dinner party music sounded unfortunately like a wedding reception play list: "YMCA", "Macarena", etc.. They seemed open to our suggestions after most of the crowd left. he port stops though were fairly well arranged. The one exception was Antigua after St Barts and before St Martin. I would have preferred if they had just stayed anchored off St Barts for two days and skipped Antigua. The cruise ended much like it began, like something was missing. I walked in wondering what had happened to the staff who used to line up and greet guests as they arrived and I left wondering what had happened to one of my suitcases that was collected the night before. I was in the process of filling out the lost luggage form (along with another guest in the same situation), when my bag suddenly appeared. It had been re-tagged as another guests and thankfully they noticed. To sum it up, I walked away saying: "well that was certainly different". Not the Silversea I remember. It was still a really enjoyable cruise but more thanks to our traveling companions and the other fun guests who we met. Sorry to say, I would rank Silversea at the bottom of the other four cruiselines I've been on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Getting There: We had the free air from Manchester but as we had a 4 hour wait at Chicago, waiting in immigration, we missed the connecting flight. Despite appealing to both the airport personnel and American Air Express ... Read More
Getting There: We had the free air from Manchester but as we had a 4 hour wait at Chicago, waiting in immigration, we missed the connecting flight. Despite appealing to both the airport personnel and American Air Express Connection people they basically told us "hard luck" you have to stay in line. So instead of at least trying to fast track those with onward documents they ignored us. We spent the first night in Miami instead of San Juan and we could only find a Days Inn at 1.00AM.However Silversea in the form of their out of hours reps. Travel Services swiftly arranged for us to be picked up from the Airport etc. Thank you Mona Lisa Torres, you were superb.Cruise After the bad start Silversea Whisper and their staff were brilliant and quickly banished any bad feelings we may have had and Elin(staff) helped refund the missed hotel.We did anticipate a good cruise but it exceeded our expectations. The food, the cabin, the staff were first class and we have been to the odd superb hotel in our time. Our butler Danni, who seems to have been mentioned before exemplified all that Silversea are striving for. He produced tea for my wife without being asked and attended to all our needs, sometimes before we knew we needed them! Both he and indeed all the staff we met seemed genuinely pleased to do anything we wanted to make the cruise special.Excursions Just to pick out the Segway on Antigua and the River tubing in Dominica as great fun but they need care as there is the possibility of an accident and whilst serious injury is unlikely cuts and abrasions did happen.Going home This was the only minor problem as friends had been told that they were going to a hotel before the flight but when we asked the concierge she said that we were going straight to the airport. In the event we all went to the hotel but some of us would have dressed differently if we had known.One point, as we were going to Manchester via Gatwick the duty free booze we bought in Barbados was confiscated when we went through security at Gatwick to board the Manchester flight because it was not sealed at Barbados. Worth noting.Finally thank you to Phil and Helen whom we met on the cruise and whose company we very much enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was my first experience with an almost all-inclusive luxury line such as Silversea. I was impressed with many aspects of the cruise -- especially the quality of the crew, most of whom seemed eager to please and helpful, and the ... Read More
This was my first experience with an almost all-inclusive luxury line such as Silversea. I was impressed with many aspects of the cruise -- especially the quality of the crew, most of whom seemed eager to please and helpful, and the quality of the guests -- mostly British and American along with some Canadians and Europeans -- who were all exceptionally outgoing and friendly. The number of guests (370+) seemed just right to me.Boarding was a lonely and strange experience, perhaps because I had been visiting relatives in Fort Lauderdale who drove me to the pier at 4:00 pm -- rather late to be embarking. This, however, was a deliberate choice, as my embarkation experience on Holland America's Noordam the year before had been nightmarish. When I disembarked the Silver Whisper in Barbados I saw glasses of Champagne and punch on trays for arriving guests. However, due to my late arrival, that set-up was all gone. However, I was in my suite in no time, along with my luggage, where a bottle of drinkable, but certainly not great, Champagne (Drappier which doesn't appear in my local stores) in an ice-filled silver bucket awaited me, along with a fruit plate and lovely potted orchid. The "veranda suite" is really a stateroom with a sitting area and a balcony with two chairs and a small table (not large enough for lounge chairs). The marble countered bathroom featuring double sinks and both a shower stall and a bathtub with hand-held shower is absolutely six-star quality. I was delighted to find a pair of binoculars in one of the cabinets, along with all necessary bar ware. However, the only outlet where I could charge my camera battery turned on the vanity light as well. Also, the clock radio was on the desk in the sitting area -- not readable from the bed or convenient for wake-up calls.Although the Whisper spent June, 2010, in dry-dock, and was supposedly refurbished from bow to stern, the furniture showed considerable wear, with noticeable nicks in wood framed chairs, etc. I found the color scheme thoroughly depressing, and entirely non-nautical. The predominant colors were rusty burgundy (think dried blood) and gold, along with touches of brown (the sofa and vanity hassock). There was more than enough burgundy and gold in the theatre (the Vienna Lounge): violets, blues and/or greens contrasting with the wood trim would have made my suite a far more pleasant home away from home. There is an ample closet with plenty of hangers and drawer space. My queen-sized bed was exceptionally comfortable, and a choice of pillows is available.The much-vaunted Relais et Chateaux dining always sounded great in the menu descriptions but rarely lived up to them. Some specific examples: I've spent a lot of time in Boston and on Cape Cod, and one night New England clam chowder was on the menu, described as containing clams, cream and potatoes. Although a potato may have been pureed into the thin fish stock, I found none of the ingredients listed above. On another evening the appetizer was "crispy prawns;" it was delicious but consisted of a single prawn. One night I ordered grilled mahi-mahi as an entrEe. I received two small pieces of dry, barely edible fish that had never been near a grill; I assume the fish was baked. Although I confess to not being a dessert fanatic, the selections were not especially impressive. I do love ice cream, but my favorite flavors, chocolate and coffee(hardly unusual), were never available. The poolside barbecue "under the stars" which was supposed to be a special treat, wasn't. The best dinner I had on board was at La Terrazza, a specialty restaurant that requires a reservation but carries no extra charge.As to cruising solo, I'm not sure I'll repeat the experience. Vacations are romantic experiences, and I find it tough-going to be a widow among many couples in my age range. Ging444 raved about being invited to dine with officers on formal nights. I looked forward to such invitations, but they never came. One day, the ship's Shore Excursion Manager invited me to dinner, but he didn't show up. Instead I was seated with a family group of passengers I'd been seated with at an earlier dinner, and my next-door-neighbors on board: they were all friendly, pleasant people, but where was the officer who had invited me?I'm an avid snorkeler who brings along her own gear, and I had high hopes of finding like-minded people among the passengers. That didn't happen. Phillipsburg in St. Maarten might as well have been a sea day for me. I could have gone snorkeling at Dawn Beach via a taxi, but it really isn't wise to attempt to snorkel alone - especially amidst high winds and strong currents -- as I had discovered the day before at Jost Van Dyke. I do not like snorkeling with a life vest on at all, which -- with one exception -- was the rule on snorkeling excursions (although the Shore Excursions Manager had told me, incorrectly, that I would be allowed to waive the vest). Even deflated, vests spoil the freedom of the experience, invariably riding up even when properly strapped on, and the long straps, flapping around one's body, are a nuisance too. When I mentioned at the beginning of this review that Silversea offers an almost all-inclusive voyage, I was thinking of the shore excursions. They are expensive, but entirely necessary for a solo snorkeler.The ship could have rounded up snorkelers looking for company via the daily newsletter, but did not do so. I assume they were more interested in selling their shore excursions than in accommodating individual interests. To Silversea's credit, someone representing the ship always accompanies shore excursions, which ensures high quality via appropriate feedback to management.As to entertainment, the best events I attended in the Vienna Lounge were the enrichment lectures. The shows were poor in quality, and I walked out on two of them, preferring to dance with the gentlemen hosts (a big plus for solo women cruisers) in the Panorama Lounge after dinner. A nice event that was held in the Vienna Lounge was the ship's muster on the first afternoon (shortly after I boarded). While we were given all the necessary information, it was presented with some good humor, and in a relaxed, comfortable setting -- so unlike my previous experiences with Windstar and Holland America where one's first impression of the voyage was regimented boredom.I'd advise anyone looking for luxury to avoid lunches and drinks in the pool area. The food was very ordinary, and I turned down one drink before the bartender had poured it because the plastic glass was all smudgy -- as was a lot of other "glassware" there.One other cavil: Windstar and Holland America (both owned by Carnival) present you with a tote bag for your towel and beach stuff on the first night. On luxurious Silversea ships, if you need a tote bag, you'll have to buy one advertising the line in big letters to the tune of $30.00. That's downright chintzy. Please note: the reason I awarded 5 stars to the rates and value for money is that on this voyage Silversea charged only a 25 percent single supplement, which is a real bargain for solo travelers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This is my review on the additional 7 days on the Silver Spirit, Bridgetown to Bridgetown. Since I have already covered most topics in my 14 days transatlantic review, here are a few little extras. Service/Dining: The ... Read More
This is my review on the additional 7 days on the Silver Spirit, Bridgetown to Bridgetown. Since I have already covered most topics in my 14 days transatlantic review, here are a few little extras. Service/Dining: The first night of this cruise was an overnighter in Bridgetown and something went really wrong in the dining room that night. At dinner, the waiter dumped bread rolls on our plates without asking what we required then abandoned us. There was no sign of any wine, and after 20 minutes PhilipB asked the deputy Maitre D' to intervene. Wine was produced and the waiter came and said "Are you ready to order"!! Service was slow and we couldn't wait to get out. The following morning we noticed the untidy state of the pool deck. Sun loungers were left with uncleared towels, empty glasses were everywhere. It looked a mess. PhilipB had a word with the Pool Grill Manager whose response was "It's not my job, it's the Bar Manager's job". So PhilipB tracked her down and within minutes staff were deployed and order was restored. We felt that it should not require a passenger to get things organised! Following this and the dinner fiasco, PhilipB went to see the Hotel Director, Paolo, to discuss the problems. Paolo was very receptive and we noticed that from then on he had obviously briefed his staff to manage things in a much more "hands-on" way. The poor service was the only hiccup in 21 days cruising. Also, there were children on this cruise. On the first evening, two were running around in the restaurant and I thought eek! but I didn't see them again so was rather pleased about that. Dining: I dined with the Staff Captain at LT on formal night with 2 other couples. He was so boring, I had to excuse myself feigning a headache. We had dinner with the Hotel Director, Paolo, towards the end of the cruise. He was a charismatic host and we all had a very enjoyable meal. Trivia: My team was awesome, we managed to win 3 days running - we were definitely the champs! Port & Shore Excursions: In Barbados, I decided to go "swimming with the turtles". We got on a catamaran (not at all luxurious) and sailed up the west coast to where Sandy Lane is located. There we swam with 'the' turtle. I had much higher expectations of this excursion and was a little disappointed when only one turtle turned up. Later on, when I was back on the boat another turtle turned up but not for long. We also had a very average buffet lunch on board. The other excursion that I did was on Dominica. This was the aerial rainforest tram. DebbieH103 was also on this trip. We started off in a very old bus and we were packed in like sardines (very unlike Silversea). On the way up the mountain, the bus broke down and we had to wait about 20 mins for another van to pick us up. Once we got there, the excursion was enjoyable. The tram was like a cable car across the top of the rainforest. When we got to the end, there was a track with quite a lot of steps and a rickety suspension bridge over a river and waterfall, we then got back in the tram and came down to where the van was parked where we had a choice of rum punch and tea/coffee. I was disappointed with my shore excursions in the Caribbean. I had read about the turtles and all the waterfalls and I didn't feel that the excursions lived up to their hype. As a result, I cancelled the others that I had booked on the other islands. The itinerary was rescheduled a fair bit. We went to St Kitts earlier than planned and then St Barts was cancelled because it was too rough for the tenders. We ended up tendered in Marigot Bay in St Marten due to 5 large ships docked in Phillipsburg. The tender ride was 20 minutes each way so I couldn't be bothered getting off. We got to Bequia as planned and it was another tender. Charity Charge: During the first 14 days, I requested this charge to be removed from my account and it was. However, I noticed that another charge had been added for my additional 7 days on board so I had to go back to reception again to have it removed. I think that if you are doing a B2B cruise, you should not have to remove "two" charges. Disembarkation: We docked in Bridgetown and I left the ship at 10am. It was all very orderly until I got outside and was waiting for a taxi. P&O Azure was in port too and there were people everywhere. It was incredibly hot, humid and chaotic. I got in a queue for what turned out to be a van, dropping people off all over the place. Anyway I got to my hotel, Fawlty Towers (that's another story!) on the beach in Worthing and all was good. Summary: The feeling on this cruise was totally different to my Transatlantic. There seemed to be a lot of groups with many people knowing each other already. The fact that it was so port intensive didn't really give you the opportunity to make new friends quickly. However I was able to meet two CC people, DebbieH103 and Flag Fan which was great. I loved the ship and would not hesitate to spend another 21 days on her. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Excitement and trepidation ran through our veins before setting off to Barbados. Never having been to the Caribbean, or on a cruise before, this was a holiday of firsts. We arrived at the embarkation point very tired and distinctly hot ... Read More
Excitement and trepidation ran through our veins before setting off to Barbados. Never having been to the Caribbean, or on a cruise before, this was a holiday of firsts. We arrived at the embarkation point very tired and distinctly hot and sweaty, only to be confronted with some minor admin hitches which did not improve tempers. In retrospect it would have been much better to fly a few days before the cruise departed to give us time to get over jetlag, and to make the most of the first day on board the magnificent Silver Spirit. As it was, we arrived on boad just as the drill was being called and we had no time to shower and change, let alone sample some of the champagne in our suite! We had a mid ship verhandah and it was spacious and well appointed with some very thoughtful details in the layout. The food was always extremely good, and the choices of restaurants were more than acceptable. We did not choose to use those that had a premium attached to them as we spent all of our on board credit on shore excursions. Menus varied pleasingly, the staff were unfailingly freindly, helpful and polite. Hot Rocks was fun and very tasty, but the menu was the only one that did not change that much at all. Shore excursions were varied and we enjoyed the more active ones - river tubing etc. This was very much more active than anyone had been led to expect, and I strongly suggest that if you do it (it is great fun), you wear shoes, and don't wear anything you are not prepared to lose. White water rapids the whole way! We are not formal people and managed to avoid the formal nights by not going to the main restaurant on the two formal nights, we ate elsewhere. How can you fault a fantastic operation like the Silver Spirit, it was simply magnificent. If I had any compaints at all then they are churlish - the fact that I really do not know what to do with a butler, lovely though he was, room service would have been fine! By the end of our 9 nights we were ready to go back to the real world and step out of all the luxury. To work out whether we could still mix our own G&Ts or carry our own plates to the table etc. 5-6 course meals, champagne, endless cocktails, butlers, deluxe chocolates, uber comfy beds, private balcony, fancy toiletries, endlessly cheerful and polite crew. Goodness, I think I need to go and pick up a bag of salad and some mineral water from Morrisons and experience the joys of the surly check out staff, get back to real life again, I am exhausted from all that indulgence! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
My wife and I had heard great things about Silversea -- spacious, luxurious ships with great service and outstanding food. We boarded the Silver Shadow on Jan. 13 in Barbados for a 9-night cruise ending in Ft. Lauderdale. The ship was very ... Read More
My wife and I had heard great things about Silversea -- spacious, luxurious ships with great service and outstanding food. We boarded the Silver Shadow on Jan. 13 in Barbados for a 9-night cruise ending in Ft. Lauderdale. The ship was very nice, but the cabins were a bit smaller than Regent Seven Seas and the beds were smaller. TV and movie entertainment was a disappointment compared to the 170 channels we had on the Seven Seas Voyager. Service in the cabins and especially the dining rooms was outstanding -- the best we've ever seen. Our fellow travelers were the most elder we've traveled with, and this may have been reflected in the food, which was bland and not at all gourmet in quality. The food was our biggest disappointment on the cruise, although the crew were superb, and Mr. Lanza was the best maitre 'd we've ever come across, at sea or on shore. He runs a dining room with magnificent attention to detail, devoted to providing the best of service to his passengers. Another disappointment was the almost complete lack of planned activities. There was a former CIA official on board who gave three lectures on the cruise -- one on the U.S. invasion of Grenada (but only after we had visited Grenada), one on the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the third on Cuba after the Castros. These lectures were excellent and very informative, and he was available before and after the lectures to discuss his subject matter. The ports were not particularly exciting, but were different from others we'd seen in the Caribbean in several respects. While at St. Martin (the French side), we had the opportunity to visit Silversea's brand new ship, the Silver Spirit, which was docked on the Dutch side of the island. We visited the Spirit, which really is a lovely ship and, while similar in many regards to the Shadow, is a bit more of everything. All in all, ours was a very nice cruise but not the best we've experienced. The biggest pluses: the service crew. The biggest negatives? The food and lack of planned activities, plus the small beds. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Cruise Review Silver Shadow - Barbados to Ft. Lauderdale December 11 - 20, 2009 Introduction Susan and I have been cruising since we first got together 13 years ago. Most of our earlier cruises were on Celebrity, but lately we have ... Read More
Cruise Review Silver Shadow - Barbados to Ft. Lauderdale December 11 - 20, 2009 Introduction Susan and I have been cruising since we first got together 13 years ago. Most of our earlier cruises were on Celebrity, but lately we have moved up and have been cruising with Regent and Silversea. This was our second Silversea cruise. Both have been on the Silver Shadow and both originated from Barbados. In fact, this cruise was very similar to the cruise we took three years ago, albeit with some different stops. I wrote a review of the first Silver Shadow cruise and it can be found on Cruise Critic as one of the 23 existing reviews of the Shadow. This review will update my earlier review and highlight the most significant changes we see with Silversea over the past three years. Overview First of all, we had a great time. Well, it's hard not to enjoy yourself on such a beautiful ship, sailing (mostly) calm waters and visiting picture postcard ports of call. This cruise was significantly better than the one we took three years ago. I have to chalk up the improvements to Silversea management, which hasn't forgotten its older ships amidst all the hoopla surrounding the Silver Spirit. The Silver Shadow leadership team, starting with Captain Marco Sangiacomo, had the ship's crew well trained in both efficiency and friendliness. We have been on ships (particularly Regent) where the Captain is more visible but we have never been on a ship as well run as the Shadow was on this cruise. We did have the opportunity to meet the captain and watch him work as he brought the ship into Grand Turk. He is confident and has the respect of the ship's crew and is a valuable asset to Silversea. Other leaders who impressed us were the Hotel Director, Norman Rafelson; the Food and Beverage Manager, Lester Woodfall; and the Executive Chef, Sean Emslie. The hotel and food experience on this cruise was substantially better than our cruise three years ago. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being perfect, we give this cruise a 9.5. If you want a cruise with the look, feel and food of a 6 star resort, book a cruise on the Silver Shadow and you won't be disappointed. Ship and Cabin The ship was about 90% full according to our butler, so there were approximately 350 guests on the ship. The only night there was evidence of any crowd was the first night when there was a mad rush for dinner in The Restaurant at 7:30. We waited until 8:30 and they did find a table for us and we had a superb meal. The ship looked pretty good for being nine years old. We were in Suite 924 and it was in excellent shape, including the balcony and railing. Some of the carpeting on deck 8 (the pool deck) showed some wear and the pool, itself, is in need of some re-tiling. Other than that, the ship did not look a day older than it did a few years ago. The furnishings are classy, the color scheme elegant, if a bit understated, and the art magnificent. The Shadow is highlighting modern art and the paintings and sculptures were worthy of an exhibition at a museum. We spoke to one of the guests who said that over 30 pieces of art had been sold on the cruise, and I have to say if I had the resources I may have bid on one or two. Hopefully they won't be all sold out and if you are sailing on the Shadow in 2010 you can enjoy the art as well. Cabin service is now done by a butler - for all price levels - as well as a steward or stewardess. We had a very nice butler from India who had recently worked on the Regent Voyager, went home to India where he celebrated the birth of a new son and then decided to join the Silver Shadow. He was pleasant, available and helped with all our first day "chores" - such as cleaning and pressing for the first formal night and making reservations at Le Champagne and La Terrazza. He and our stewardess also presented us with a romantic room full of (fake) candles, rose petals and a freshly drawn bath as we celebrated our wedding anniversary on the second night. We had room service for three breakfasts and the food was always served fresh and hot with an elegant table prepared by our butler. About the only complaint we had was that he never replaced our standing order for a bottle of Chilean Merlot, which caused us to call room service late in the evening a couple of times. I do have to say, though, that the fresh bottle always arrived within 5 minutes with a gracious smile. Our stewardess was a bit slow, with our cabin not being freshened up in the morning sometimes until after 11 a.m. It may be a case that with the addition of the butlers, the stewards and stewardesses now have more suites to clean up - or, it could be that ours was just a bit slow. If you have never sailed with Silversea you should try out their pillow selection. They have nine different pillows to choose from, so you can try a different one pretty much every night! Or, like us, get a variety. And the toiletries continue to be the best at sea - certainly far superior to those on Regent. They somehow remembered from our last cruise that we preferred Bvlgari products and they were waiting for us in our suite and were replenished daily. Overall, the hotel experience was superior and much credit must go to the Hotel Director, Norman Rafelson. This is apparently his first assignment on a cruise ship after an extensive career with Hyatt International and most recently the Regent Hotel Group. Silversea and Regent Cruises should do their best to try and clone Norm for all their ships. As a side note - we had a Rabbi on board and Hanukkah was celebrated each night of the cruise with a candle lighting ceremony, wonderful jelly donuts and (not so wonderful) potato latkes. A special Hanukkah dinner was celebrated one night in La Terrazza (we did not attend as we loved the menu that night in The Restaurant, but we understand the special meal was quite good). The Rabbi credited Norm with making this all possible and I'm certain that the folks on the cruise following ours (which would celebrate both Christmas and New Years) also had some special events to help make those holidays very special. The spa and workout areas on deck 10 got moderate use on this cruise. Neither Susan nor I nor any of the other guests who used the workout rooms had to wait to use any of the equipment, all of which was in fine working order. Our only complaint was that the room could get warm and stuffy without an extra fan or two turned on. I did not use the sauna, but it was highly recommended by those who did. On an Alaska or Scandinavian cruise, I could see the sauna being used more often. Susan's only use of the spa on this cruise was for a nail color change so we have no new comments to make - except it was clean and the folks seemed friendly enough. Food and Entertainment What a fantastic improvement from three years ago. The breads and pastries were to die for and the other breakfast items were also superb. Lunch, for us at least, was usually on the pool deck, where a friendly server would loudly announce each day at 11:30, "Hamburger Time." These are surely some of the best burgers at sea - fresh, cooked medium rare if you request it - on a very tasty bun. The salads and seafood were also great. I tried the sushi once and it was only so-so, but overall, no complaints about the lunches (at least for us). One thing that Regent does that we have not seen on Silversea, is theme lunches on days at sea. But that is a minor complaint since the food was so tasty and the service was also spot on. We ate in the primary restaurant (The Restaurant) on five nights and were rarely disappointed. Whatever fish they were serving was always cooked perfectly with a great sauce, and the meats were mostly excellent - especially the lamb and veal. Susan had a sirloin steak one night that was just average, but she said she was so full from the excellent starters it didn't matter. We were able to get a table for two, six, or one night they put together a table of 10 for us. The Maitre' d, Gilbert Lanza was very accommodating and his assistants always came around to see how things were going. The wine service varied from good to excellent. A couple of nights we had a wine server who was clearly in training, but when we requested a different bottle he quickly found the head sommelier who listened carefully to our request and quickly appeared with just the right bottle. Some of the house wines were just so-so but if you ask, you shall receive, and we had some wonderful Italian and French wines with dinner that weren't necessarily the wines of the evening and didn't cost us anything extra. We ate at Le Champagne on the first formal night to celebrate our anniversary. The service was, as expected, over the top, but the presentation and quality made the experience more than worthwhile. We opted to pay the $30 per person dinner fee and purchase our own bottle of wine, and I have to say the wine list was fairly reasonable. We found a very nice Super Tuscan for $80 that I would have easily paid $100 for in Chicago. The individually prepared prime ribs were quite extravagant. I hope they found a good use for all the meat we could not possibly eat! We ate dinner at La Terrazza twice. Unlike three years ago when there was a rotating dinner menu with a large antipasto bar, now they serve a set menu with a simpler on the table antipasto to start. Get your reservations in early in the cruise as they do serve just a limited number of tables and reservations were hard if not impossible to get after the third night. If you eat all four courses plan on staying for at least two hours and heading straight to The Bar to dance off all those delicious calories. The set menu does have enough variety so you could easily eat there for five or six nights and never have the same meal (but they probably won't let you - we were lucky to be able to eat there twice). The ship also prepared a poolside buffet one night with entertainment by the singers and dancers. Since it was a late night in port, the weather was calm and the setting quite delightful. The food was every bit as good as that which was usually served at The Restaurant. I am a coffee drinker, and the house coffee is strong but not bitter and a big improvement over three years ago. We still had more than our share of Cappuccinos and Espressos which were as good as before. If you are an early riser the place to get your coffee fix is in the Panorama Lounge on deck 8. Most of our bar time was spent in The Bar. In fact, you could usually find us holding court at the first table to your right as you entered, beginning at around 6:30 each night. After the first night, my standing order for blue cheese olives was guaranteed and they do know how to make a great martini (or whatever your drink of choice is). Some new friends we made on the cruise had a Mai Tai and a blue martini every night, as these were drinks they could not or would not make at home and were delicious on the ship. Susan and I, on the other hand, are pretty much creatures of habit, so a Cosmo and Ketel One Martini (with those amazing olives) were pretty much waiting for us each evening - followed by one or two more, depending on when we went to dinner and how much company we had. Some evenings, our cozy group got to 8 or 10. The other primary drinking option in the evening was the Panorama Lounge, where the ship's band played music from the 30's-50's (well-played but not our style). There was a pianist in The Bar who played pleasantly enough in the background before dinner and he was joined by a singer for more contemporary music after dinner. The duo usually was done by around 11:30 at which time one of the regular entertainers who doubled as the DJ would spin some tunes for the small, late-night crowd. We closed The Bar down a couple of nights, but our days of staying out late every night of a cruise are long since gone. Except for the show on the pool deck we did not catch any of the entertainment. Based on the one show we saw, we can say the singers and dancers were certainly better than college but not quite Las Vegas. Fellow Cruisers As mentioned earlier, there were around 350 guests - and only one child, a lovely girl who celebrated her third birthday on the cruise. It was an international crowd with about 50% from North America, 30% from Britain and 20% from other countries, including Australia, Brazil and South Africa. The primary age range was 45-75 and it was a fairly active group with lots of hikers and divers. We were quite comfortable and made lots of new friends from San Diego, Rhode Island and various parts of England who we would love to travel with again. There are fewer and fewer smokers on each cruise we go on. Since this is always a hot topic among cruisers I can say that the smoking policy on the Silver Shadow was properly enforced (only smoking in designated smoking areas, including balconies if you wished) and cigar smoking only allowed in The Humidor. There are probably more smokers on Mediterranean Cruises, if only because more Southern Europeans still smoke compared to Northern Europeans. But, if you are a non-smoker you can certainly still sail on Silversea and be very comfortable. Destinations You can find lots of information about most of our cruise stops in separate destination information on Cruise Critic or Trip Advisor. For us, the only new stop was Iles des Saintes, which is part of Guadeloupe in the French West Indies. It is a beautiful place with lovely shops and a very pretty beach that you must hike about 20 minutes to get to. In some ways it reminded us of St. Barths about 20-30 years ago. The ship also anchored off of Marigot on the French side of St. Martin as opposed to the usual docking area in Phillipsburg. The reason was logistical as there were four other cruise ships in Phillipsburg, including the new Titanic of the Seas (also known as the Oasis of the Seas). We still did most of our touring on St. Martin as we do love the shopping, beaches and restaurants there and we had great company along with us in our rental car. By the way, it was lots of fun renting a car in Marigot. We were met by a water taxi who took us on a great ride through Simpson Bay to the Hertz location near the airport (and back again later in the afternoon). Since traffic has gotten so awful on the island, this was a lot easier and less trafficky than renting dockside in Phillipsburg. It was also cheaper, for some reason ($60 for the day including extra insurance - with great water taxi rides thrown in for good measure!). The only regret was the heavy traffic kept our beach time there to a minimum (but the shopping was still fun!). Our favorite beach was on Bequia, followed closely by the beach at the Hilton resort on Barbados. Embarkation and Disembarkation and other miscellaneous items We stayed at the Barbados Hilton pre-cruise and it is a good place to start working on your tan, with a fabulous beach. It's not a 6 star resort, but you don't pay 6 star prices either. More opulent choices abound on this most expensive of Caribbean islands, but the Hilton does a fine job for what it purports to be. If you ever want a 6 star experience with Hilton, spend some time at the Hilton in Los Cabos (don't even need to get on a cruise ship!). We got late check out at 1 p.m. and after a drink poolside with some new friends from New Jersey, grabbed a cab over to the ship around 2:30 p.m. We boarded immediately, had champagne in hand and after some confusion about which elevator we could use to get to deck 9, were shown quickly to our beautiful suite. Our luggage arrived within five minutes. No kidding. Never had luggage arrive so quickly on any cruise. Our butler then arrived, took care of our cleaning and pressing needs and we were quickly at the pool for some liquid refreshment and our first meal. Pretty much the easiest and quickest embarkation of any cruise we have been on. Disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was delayed by about 45 minutes due to U.S. Customs delays, but since our flight wasn't until 12:05 we weren't all that worried. We were off the ship by 9:30 and in a taxi to the airport by 9:45. Unfortunately, there were seven other cruise ships disembarking the same day so the lines at the airport were very long. We flew Southwest to visit some friends in Tampa and our line outside to check in our bags (Bags fly free on Southwest!) was 45 minutes long. Security, inside wasn't nearly as bad so we still had plenty of time before our flight boarded. We have disembarked in Ft. Lauderdale many times and it gets crazier and crazier. Our best recommendation is to not make any flight arrangements earlier than 12 noon. For some reason the captain decided to do a drill during the disembarkation process - well, I suppose that keeps the crew on their toes! Otherwise, a pleasant experience compared to our last cruise where we were quite anxious due to an earlier flight time. Final Comments The Silver Shadow and its crew gave us a wonderful vacation. The entire experience was top shelf and we would not hesitate to sail with Silversea again. Pricing on this cruise was pretty aggressive and we don't think we will see these prices again, as long as the overall economy continues to improve. Still, even at the more normal 50% early booking savings you are certainly getting your money's worth on a Silversea cruise. Jeff Jeff did a fabulous job with his review, so there's not much for me to add. I will say that overall, Silversea was successful in delivering on the 6-star experience that we look for when cruising on upscale, all-inclusive lines. It was an entirely delightful cruising experience and I look forward to other Silversea cruises in the future. If any one has any specific questions, please feel free to ask. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We had signed up for our first cruise ever, Ft Lauderdale to Barbados, on the Silver Shadow months before sailing and had no idea what to expect. In an effort to learn as much as possible we did a lot of reading and surfing the net where ... Read More
We had signed up for our first cruise ever, Ft Lauderdale to Barbados, on the Silver Shadow months before sailing and had no idea what to expect. In an effort to learn as much as possible we did a lot of reading and surfing the net where we read reviews of the Silver Shadow. "Down hill from there" and "no Ritz on the sea" gave us some mild apprehension prior to departure and certainly had our antenna up for the negatives that were reported. While we were first timers on the sea (not counting a Greek Isles cruise back in college) we are not unfamiliar with luxury or first class service which I am happy to report the Silver Shadow met and exceeded. We met numerous other passengers who have sailed every luxury line out there and some who had as many as 500 days of voyages under their belts. They were all unanimous in their praise of the food, staff and quality of the Silversea's ships. Both embarking and disembarking were as easy as it could possibly be. We took the advice of embarking one hour after the prescribed time and walked right into our first of many glasses of champagne and caviar. It was up hill from there! While we had two excellent meals in La Terrazza (the Italian flare) restaurant we found the most enjoyable meal experiences in the main dinning room for lunch and dinner. We were not interested in night clubs or entertainment so our group closed the dinner room down every evening and every night was better than the previous. I would highly recommend breakfast in La Terrazza. As the ship usually moors stern end towards town you are sitting on the 9th deck looking down into some exotic port. I ordered Eggs Benedict every morning and loved them. I would agree whole heatedly that more information on the islands (pots of call) for non-tour participants would help. The tour desk was putting out 8X10 copies of the island map on one side and the main town on the other. But it would have been nice to know that renting scooters on St. Kitts was not for the faint of heart and conversely everyone should rent and enjoy a scooter on Isle de Saint. I came to realize that much of this adventure was a live and learn experience. That would explain why some of the seasoned vets would take up a position by the pool while many of us ran around islands and counted the minutes until we could return to our oasis, The Silver Shadow. We never had trouble finding deck loungers and never waited in a single line for any meal or activity. The one price covers all was a wonderful experience as it makes for a very relaxing cruise experience. Put your wallet in the in-room safe and forget it. No tipping or getting nickel and dimmed every time you turn around. A business associate recently cruised on another line. He was presented with a welcome drink and several minutes later a bill to sign. I could go on for pages but suffice it to say all 8 in our group had a fabulous experience and can't wait to go again and that trip will be with Silversea. I would very respectfully suggest that if anyone had a less than satisfactory experience on Siversea they should lease their own private yacht because I don't see how cruising could get any better. nolagolfer Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Getting there  We spent one night in Miami and 4 in St. Lucia. We had to depart our resort in St. Lucia at 6:30 a.m. to make our 8:45 flight. We paid $21 each departure tax at the George Charles airport. We boarded our American Eagle ... Read More
Getting there  We spent one night in Miami and 4 in St. Lucia. We had to depart our resort in St. Lucia at 6:30 a.m. to make our 8:45 flight. We paid $21 each departure tax at the George Charles airport. We boarded our American Eagle prop job at 8:00 and departed at 8:50. We arrived in Puerto Rico at 10:25, 35 min ahead of our scheduled 11 am arrival time. At George Charles in St. Lucia, all 4 of our bags were searched, as well as carry-ons, book pages were turned, all devices turned on. Then a second time, all items were again removed from my purse, even the Altoid mints were smelled. Customs was a breeze in San Juan. We were at the taxi stand at 11. We were given a ticket and quoted $19 for the fare and $2.50 for our bags (50 cents for first 3 and a dollar for the next one). The driver had us at pier 1 at 11:25. We went to see if we could leave our bags with Silversea in the terminal and were immediately offered the $100 pp early embarkation that had been refused at time of booking due to the cruise before ours being a charter. We jumped all over it. A white gloved, formally dressed gentleman waited with us while all of our bags were loaded on a dolly. He escorted us up the gang plank and to reception on the ship where we were happily greeted. Our ID cards were ready. We surrendered our passports and were told it would be 10 minutes for our suite and that we would have to come back later for our security photos. We were given Vueve Cliquot champagne. Everyone seemed so happy we had boarded the ship and would be sailing with them. We were already feeling the same way. Our white gloved gentleman took us to the Panorama lounge where a very nice lady offered us anything we desired to drink from a seat with a lovely view of our choice. They had mixed nuts also at the bar. We took a few pics outside until it began to drizzle. Leisurely, we browsed the computer center, library and other public areas and then went to our suite, as we were told lunch was served on deck 4 from 12-1:30. Our bags were ensuite, laid out on the bed, and the stewardess was in the room stocking all the refrigerator and drink selections we had made. Only thing not there yet was the orchids, which arrived soon after and also the foam pillows I had requested online. Suite Upon walkup, we saw 915, our suite number, a mail slot, and a doorbell and card slot for entry. Inside, the bathroom had a glass-enclosed shower stall, toilet, double marble sink, a tub with a removable shower head and there were 2 shelves below the sink. There is a clothes line that you can put across the tub area for drying swimsuits. The stewardess did this for us each day. Also all the Aqua de Parma amenities were theretwo types of soap , body gel, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Shelves above contained water glasses, cotton & Q-tips, and tissues. Next was a walk-in closet. There were a number of hangers along two racks and then half the closet with only one rack for longer items, a suitcase shelf, a shoe rack, a tie rack, a chest of drawers, a digital safe, and those trusty life jackets. There was a light, and the closet also had a blanket in it. One drawer had a number of items for shoeshine, a sewing kit and a hair dryer. The bed had a nightstand on either side with lamps, and the left side had a clock. Four pillows were under the covers and then there were 3 throws. Opposite the bed was a dressing table with stool and various style plugs, including American. There was a magnifying mirror there. Next were the drapes than can be drawn and then the sitting area. There was a nice love seat with lamps and end tables on both sides. There was a chair that was more comfortable than it looked and a small table. There was a bigger table in the closet they can add on top of this to facilitate dining in the suite. Along the wall was the fridge in the lower left cabinet of the desk, which contained juices (4 kinds, one each) and then a few soft drink items and ice. Personalized stationery, postcards, in-room dining menus, and a book about the services offered were on the writing desk Above on the left was a cabinet where they put glasses, binoculars, and any drink items you requested. On the right side, there was the very small TV/VCR that swivels (when you figure the device out) and on the shelf below there was a DVD player that will also play your DIVX and mp3s from home. Below that was fruit-grapes, banana, pear, apple and sometimes a plum. The desk also had a variety of plug-ins. Each light throughout the cabin had a conveniently located switch to control it, so there was no wondering around trying to figure the lights. Recessed lighting is used a number of places, as well, so you can have it as light or not, as you choose. The verandah was nice with 2 comfortable, adjustable lounges and a small table. No footstools like those shown in the brochure. There were walls on either side for privacy. We were the last cabin on deck 9, so we knew we were not being looked at. I cant comment on if this would ever be an issue or not, but I doubt it would be worth any concern. In our closet were two thick, lovely robes and two sets of slippers, mans and womans. We got Aqua de Parma and Bvlgari both. Not everyone did. Lunch on April 5 -- After our survey of the room, we went down to deck 4 to The Restaurant and had a lovely 5 course lunch. We had penne pasta with meat and tomato sauce as an appetizer, cream of chicken soup, salad with balsamic vinegar. Todd had a sirloin steak, while I had broiled flounder. For dessert, Todd had apple pie with cream, and I had crème brulee and a side order of mixed berries. They offered wine of the day and then coffee or espresso. Service was outstanding, as it had been since arrival. Guests were rather well dressed, but we found out some were there just for the day, etc. People were talking across tables, and it was louder than we are used to. We were to discover this would be a common thing. Not a real issue. April 5 activities We checked out the rest of the public areas. The lounges were beautiful. The card room was larger than I was expecting. They had a nice conference room, though not large. The spa looked inviting. The gym had a number of machines, bottled water, lots of towels, and iPods, as well as headphones to listen to the TVs that were playing. The fitness schedule for the entire cruise was available for taking back to the room. We picked up the daily crosswords and sudoku puzzles in the library and went to get our pictures taken and then on to the suite. Todd stayed in the room and laid around reading the literature and resting, while I checked out regular embarkation. They had a receiving line with champagne or fruit punch, refreshing towels (which we didnt get) and then a line in the bar for taking pics, checking in and then caviar and smoked salmon canapEs made to order and finger sandwiches. There were many people there to take guests to their suites. I disembarked the ship after having my card scanned. I walked a mile or two around Old San Juan, getting a feel of the town. The architecture was interesting. There were many interesting-looking Indo-Latino restaurants and a lot of unique shops. I sat around in a couple of places to feel the vibe of the area. I came back about 5:15, and we readied ourselves for the 5:30 lifeboat drill. We went to level 5 to the B area and were greeted and told about when we should come there and then we were escorted to the Viennese lounge where they gave a demo of the life jackets and took the opportunity to plug the spa and shore excursions. In our suite were already the tickets for our shore excursion, my spa appointment card, etc. We had left a message for the golf pro for details of Todds golf excursion in Antigua and we picked up info on that and the program in general. Back in the suite, Frasier, the pro, called to discuss the outing with Todd and then ask about what type of club shafts he wanted. Lots of guests had been hanging out on the pool deck, as they served late lunch/early dinner there for a couple of hours, along with soft drinks and a full bar service. Mixed nuts and chex mix were available here. It was loud and bustling there, but festive. BTW, the guests were all ages, mostly 40s to 80s, and we saw a hand full of teens. Guests were not so formal as at lunch but not tacky or anything like that. Most had a long, hard travel day and were happy to be greeted by an inviting staff. Another tidbit, the gentleman that took us to our room had told me about the April 1 Pfizer charter. Because they had an early departure (most of them) they let us on. That was nice, but others missed out that didnt gamble to see. We went to the library and selected a couple of videos and then came to the room and watched Prime on the in-room movies. They had about 4 channels running various movies, and they had a booklet explaining it and showing the DVDs available. The TV had Fox News, BBC, and CNN. It had a navigational station we enjoyed that was tracking the ship (this played in the hallway on Deck 5, also) and some other info channels on the ship and its activities. There are also many VHS movies in the library, but they are not as new, but you will find old faves. Also in the library were many novels and also a puzzle there to be worked, chess, checkers, etc. Other public areas had board games and books about birds and fish and things of that nature. Sometime the stewardess came to offer additional types of toiletries, but Todd was alone and didnt pay attention to what was offered and told her to come back. After the movie, I steamed my pantsuit, and we dressed for dinner. At 5, we had tried to get a reservation for La Terraza for any night. They were already booked for the entire cruise. I should have done this at 11. Dinner in The Restaurant on April 5 -- We asked for a table for two, and we were given one. This was the quieter side, though the room was noisier than a cafeteria, something we were not expecting, but again, not a big deal. Some people asked to join others, and both types of wishes were granted easily. We had seen the menu in our suite and had an idea of what we wanted to have. They offered the daily pour and also were available to explain anything. Service was good. For appetizer, Todd had the king prawns with Indian spices, I had the Greek salad (feta cheese, cucumbers, and pine nuts inside a tomato with 4 green leaves). We enjoyed them. For soup, Todd had the beef essence, and I had the red onion with ginger. We loved them. Rolls were many hard varieties, we were not too interested in them. For salad, I had the greens with balsamic again, and Todd had Caesar salad (which had bacon and anchovies). You must order the sorbet, or it will not come. It was pina colada. Good taste! For the entrEe, Todd had the striploin with fries. I had halibut with garden veggies. The waiter brought the veggies and hand selected each vegetable at my urgence and whim! The fish was healthy but a bit plain. There were other choices, but I was trying not to gain weight. For dessert, Todd asked for mixed ice cream, and I had more sorbet. We nibbled on the petite fours. One tasted like chocolate cookie dough. Yumm. Others had fruit and cheese from a trolley. We did not. The trolley was something else you had to request. During dinner, our waiter hustled, and glasses were filled regularly. After Dinner April 5 We finished dining at around 9:30. The casino was not open in San Juan due to laws. We went up to The Bar to hear Daryl. He sang '60s tunes and played electric assisted piano. He read the words from a computer. I enjoyed him, but Todd didnt as much because the songs were his own rendition, vs. him trying to sound just like the artist. He stated that when he started the set. A few couples danced. At 10, we went to the show lounge for the Taste of Things to Come show. Ron, the cruise director, alternated introducing 3-5 staff members with a production number about 4 or 5 times. It was great to hear about the staff (not a single American except the cruise director who splits his time in South Africa). The golf pro indicated that he was sold out for the Antigua excursion. This whole program was a little too infomercialish, but we did see a few good production numbers. Randomly, guests got wait service. We did not, but it wasnt a concern. Ron ended the show at 10:45 so that guests could get ready for the sailing at 11. Some celebrated above us on 10 and others by the pool on 8. We hung out on our veranda from 11 to midnight until the lights of San Juan was out of sight. It was spectacular. April 5 pet peeves: Stewardess took club soda I had just prepared and was coming back to because we were not in the suite. Welcome champagne we were not done with was taken. Dining is louder than we expected. We went to sleep to one of the videos from the library, Generals Daughter. April 6, 2006 Virgin Gorda The wake-up Woke up at 6:25 to someones set alarm from a previous stay! No problem, we were waking up on our own anyway due to our surroundings. It was a beautiful sunrise that morning, postcard perfect. We passed by little islands after that and also saw lots of yachts. It was like a moving postcard. We enjoyed the view on the veranda and scoped it out with the binoculars. Todd worked both the crossword and the sudoku already by early am. We skipped breakfast, as we were still full from dinner. Todd went to the golf swing clinic. No swinging, just talk about technique. He got to chat with the pro. I ate a plum from our fruit in the room and went to the body conditioning class with Margit, the fitness instructor. Several ladies had been there for step, but I was alone for the toning class. She and I did it togetheraerobics with hand weights and then floor exercises. She kept asking me if I could feel it. What dummy would say not? Then I rode the exercise bike a while, looking out at the view. Todd and I went outside the observation lounge and watched the ship come into port and took some pics. Todd watched a movie from one of the in-room movie channels for an hour, and I laid out on deck 9 in my swimsuit. On 8 (pool deck) and 9, they brought cold towels and mist and offered drink servicebottled or sparkling water, soft drinks or other drinks, anything. There was sun or shade available and cushioned loungers with towels set up. We got ready for our excursion to The Baths. We went to lunch at La Terazza at noon when they opened. A number of people were already there. We prefer sit down to buffet, but the sit down started at 12:30, and our tour was leaving at 12:45. The selections included lovely salads. I had mixed greens with balsamic. Todd skipped salad, opting for a slice of cold roast beef. For entrees, we asked for bite sized of most to try several. They had carved chicken, Schezwan (sp) beef, lasagna, pizza, fried cod, pizza, and pasta cooked fresh to order. They had pumpkin soup (yum) and chilled raspberry cream soup. For dessert, they offered low carb and sugar free. I had berries, and Todd skipped dessert. They had several ice creams and all sorts of toppings, including pistachios, chocolate chips, etc. There were some hot desserts, also. Everything was carried to the table. Our glasses were filled with water almost before we sat down, and we were offered the pour of the day, something Greek. Dishes were cleared at just the right time. We arrived in the Vienesse Lounge as per our tickets at 12:45, but they seemed to have sent letters (we didnt get ours, we didnt think but found it the next day) on it being moved to the gangway. After going to Vienesse and then heading to gangway, we missed the tender and waited for the next. We were given towels and water. We missed our tour, but the tour director arranged for a staff member to take us in his personal jeep to join our tour at The Baths. The Baths The Baths is close to where the ship anchored. We were given drink tickets and told how to get down to The Baths. Thankfully, we saw some SS people and felt better about having missed our ride. Everyone was able to lay their towel in sun or shade as desired. T-shirts, etc. were available (we didnt buy anything). They also sell soda and beer, not sure what else. We didnt walk up there. This excursion with SS is $45 pp. For this price, they should have had a cooler or two down there or something, as we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. I think the entry fee for adults was only $3, so the transportation and entry were a bit much compared to what SS must have paid, though we thought it was reasonable when booked. I didnt see cabs after we tendered but I think there was a place for them. We spread out our stuff and went swimming amongst the rocks and took pics along the beach. We walked part of the way thru the caves toward Devils Bay Beach (I think that is the name) and got some great pics. Todd got the HP camera a bit wet it wouldnt come back on (later discovered the pics were at least saved on the SD card). We still had the Kodak. The climb back up seemed fierce after my personal session with the fitness lady. We got some punch with our tickets and sat on the patio overlooking The Baths and the bay. It was soo beautiful  the huge rocks, flowers and cacti on top of the ocean made an interesting backdrop. Back on Ship We were back on the ship at 4:30. We rinsed off our sand. I sat in the hot tub and chatted for a very long time to various people, including a lovely couple in their late 30s who had sailed SS a few times. Todd went to the putting contest. He got 4 points there. Sounds like I should have gone since not too many ladies were there. From one of the hot tubs, the couple and I witnessed a very drunk man. That guy had started rubbing my back out of nowhere at the bar while I was nibbling chex mix and waiting for a club soda (the reason I headed off to the hot tub). His friend had done the same earlier (nickname Roach). We called the other guy blue shirt. He passed out, and his friends could hardly get him up and out. Neither were Americans! Evening of April 6 This was formal night. I steamed Todds shirt, and we got dressed-tux for him and long dress for me. We joined the end of the captains cocktail party. Looks like we missed about everything. They had shrimp cocktail it seems (heard it was literally one shrimp pp). We did hear some more about some of what was going to occur the rest of the cruise. It was all very festive but hard to describe. We headed down to The Restaurant for the formal dinner and asked for a table for 2. Someone took our order before ever offering wine or water, but they tended to all of that. Since we got seated near a table for 12, our waitstaff were more focused on them. Our service was then average but not bad. I had the goose liver appetizer with candied plum. This was divine. Todd had the mixed berries in blue Curacao. For soup, I had the celeriac and apple soup (wonderful), and Todd had the chicken consomme with matzo balls. There were always 3 soups offered at every meal. I had the greens with balsamic, and Todd requested and got a Caesar. He had prime rib and requested a baked potato with bacon and cheese. It came plain. I had the lobster thermidorchix sized, just a few bites in each side of the tail, but it was enough for me. We skipped dessert, even the petit 4. We headed to the casino for a bit of roulette. We lost $80 but it took a while, and we had a lot of fun. Stakes were $2 min per number and $10 min on any outside spot (vs $10 total on the outside). This gave them a lot of advantage. We went to listen to Daryl for a bit. He played 60s tunes. We played roulette and lost $80 but had a good time. The table had an advantage on the outside due to limit being 10 dollars a position vs. the total of the outside. Then Todd went to the room, and I went to the Toast to Broadway show. It was a costumed show with a number of Broadway tunes. I was very tired. We went to bed and woke up a few times. Todd was snoring, and I curled on the couch a bit and slept. April 7, 2006 Antigua We did barely wake up for coming into port because the doorbell rang at 7:45 with our breakfast. I had bacon, eggs, toast, and hash browns. Todd had same except my eggs were fried, and he had an omelet. We shared the grapefruit and cantaloupe. Todd got ready for golf with his Cedar Valley Silver Links 365 group. I got ready to go off ship, too but took my time. I went to the computer center and got connected over there. I bought 100 minutes for $55. I didnt really need to do this because I had my Blackberry, and my GPRS service worked in every port and sometimes out at sea. They had around 6 pcs in the center, and you couldn print from any of them. You can also use wifi on your laptop against the same allotment of minutes. The wifi worked in the library/computer center, card room and lounges. I didnt try it anywhere but the computer center. In Antigua, the ship is at a pier, so there is no need to tender. You just walk off the ship, making sure you have your ship ID card and a photo ID. Shortly after departing the ship, I found a taxi stand. The gentleman there told me it would cost $12 to go to Sandals resort and asked if they were expecting me. I indicated I had a day pass over there. We walked a couple of blocks to his van, and we were to Sandals in about 6 minutes in traffic. I tipped the driver, and he was off. We had some hassle at Sandals because I had evidently said I needed the pass for Friday, April 8. Well, instead of asking me if I meant Friday or April 8, they assumed April 8, so they were expecting me the next day. It took 3 people to get to that, but I did get in and was all set with the pass. I walked around looking at the property. I really liked the garden areas with the pools. The gardens were quite lush. These areas were nicer than the main swim-up area. The beach was wide and long. One thing to note is that the beach goes beyond Sandals on both ends, and it is public. Therefore, there were kids walking by, etc. This area was just beautiful. I think a day pass here is a wonderful option for anyone on a non-inclusive cruise, as it is minutes from the pier, and then you get drinks and a beautiful beach, one of the nicest. I checked out the lunch buffet. They were cooking pasta to order and carving a whole pig. I just wanted to have some mango and a little salad. I was seated Oceanside at a table for two. It rained briefly and lightly. That brought a lot of people in, but it was over quite quickly. I headed down to check out the upcoming Mediterranean Village. It looks like it will be large and quite beautiful. The pool is going to be huge. Rooms will be suites and will all be identical. They are set back a ways from the ocean. It is to be complete in November. I should be able to check it out next February. I didnt want to miss too much time on the ship, and I still wanted to walk around town. The resort called a cab over for me, and it was the same price to go back. The cab let me off at a good location in town. I went around to various shops and bought some souvenirs before heading back to the ship on foot. Id missed all the regular meal hours, but I decided to check out the room service menu, not knowing when Todd would be back from golf or if hed have eaten. I was guessing he would have. Room Service Lunch The menu looked quite good, and I wish Id have ordered a soup. I ordered mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette, two shrimp cocktails, and pizza margherita. The menu warned that the pizza takes 20 minutes. I spent this time on the veranda perusing my email on my blackberry and contemplating my surroundings. I didnt time the food, but it must have been 20 or 30 minutes. The person that brought it was willing to set up my table the fancy way they do, but I just took the tray. It was just me, anyway. The salad was the same crisp greens with balsamic I had been enjoying. Silversea makes such a wonderful balsamic that Id been having it often. The shrimp came as 8 shrimp on a plate with delicious cocktail sauce. The pizza was a thin, crisp crust. I did not eat even half of it, but it was the best pizza I have had at a non-pizza place-ever! It was so yummy. Afternoon I went out to lay around on deck 9. After a short while, I was misted and had a drink order taken. There was plenty of shade or sun and lots of cushy loungers with towels. They have lots of refreshing soft drinks and will make anything else you want, too. I went to Cruise Consultant Carls get together talking about the upcoming 2006 and 2007 cruises. This was held in The Bar. I checked back at the cabin around 5 p.m. to see if Todd was available and wanted to do anything. He had only got back in the room at 4:30. He was a bit burnt because his golf outing was so long. He had put on sunscreen but didnt bring any with him. We watched an in-room movie while Todd unwound from his 8 hour outing. Todds Golf Outing He met his group at 8:45 at the gangway. He brought his own shoes, balls, and glove and signed up to rent their Nike clubs. We arranged his outing at www.silverseagolf.com, and I recommend golfers do this in advance of their cruise if possible because this excursion sold out. The group went to Cedar Valley. Todd thought the course was interesting and had some good views. He shot an 84 here. There were 3 groups of 4 playing, and the other 11 all knew each other. The pro played 4 holes with Todds group, 5 with another and 9 holes with another. Frasier, the pro tried to change peoples whole swing, rather than work with what they had. They were fed chicken wings and some other food. Transportation was included, and they also spent time on the range. This whole jaunt was in the $200 range when it was all over. Evening April 7, 2006 This evening they had a sailing party on deck. We just checked it out briefly. They had 3 types of appetizers. I tried 2 of the little nachos. We chatted with Buckie and Jane, the couple wed met that were celebrating their 40th anniversary. Jane was excitedly telling me about her needlepoint class. Todd did not try any appetizers. I got in the hot tub with the nice couple from Georgia Id met before. I just didnt want to get out and stayed a long time. The night was magical. This was an informal evening. Todd wore a jacket and tie, and I wore a dress. We headed to The Restaurant around 7:30. For appetizer, I had planned to have the king scallop ravioli with shellfish sauce and basil oil, but this was substituted for something with goat cheese. Instead, we had the mango, papaya and pineapple medley. For soup, we had the cauliflower and parmesan veloute with pesto crostini. This was quite good. I had assorted greens with balsamic, and Todd asked for and received Caesar. We forgot to order the sorbet but did this later and got it. They had key lime daiquiri sorbet. For the entry, I had the poached izumi dai fish with lemon butter sauce. It was a bit buttery for me but I took it out of the sauce. Todd had a beef dish and fries. I had the peach zero zero ice cream for dessert, and Todd had some other ice cream. We found the service only adequate on this evening. They did offer the pour of the evening, and they do offer to switch to red wine if you are so inclined when the entree comes. I did try it, Todd did not. We had already ordered our food before this or water was offered. This is the evening JJ, the head sommelier was in the restaurant. We were seated near some large tables, though we had asked for a quiet table. The large groups were not noisy like some in the distance, but they did receive the bulk of the service. Like I said, service that evening was adequate, just not over the top. Still better than many resorts. For the evening, we went to hear Daryl for a few minutes and then went down to the show lounge to watch Cirque Nouveau. This show was a tribute to Cirque de Soleil. There were a number of costume changes, and there was some dance up ropes, etc. It was a nice show for what they can do on a small ship. After the show we went back to the casino. I played quarter slots for a few minutes and got bored after spending about $10. We moved on to blackjack and played the $10 per hand each. We did only OK with the first dealer and then did well with the second. We cashed out and moved on to roulette. We played there for some time, and we cashed out up for the night $359 after the previous nights $80 loss. We were thinking we might play the last night, but they were staying in port until 11, and the casino cannot open in port. We sat on our balcony a little while, added the chocolates on the bed to our stash, looked briefly at the next days menu and activities, put out our breakfast menu and checked the television for news and movies before dropping off to sleep. April 8, 2006 Tortola I purposely left the drapes open between the sleeping and sitting area so that Id wake up for yet another sunrise. Tortola did not disappoint, and I happily watched more of my personal moving postcards delivered right to my door. I did close one side of the drapes for Todd to rest and played some with my email on my blackberry in between snapping photos. We had the same breakfast as the day before  bacon, egg, hash brown and fruit for me and omelet, hash brown and fruit for Todd. I forgot to order toast to go with my fried eggs. The day before, they had delivered one fruit plate even though I wrote down two. I cant believe I didnt order toast. SS seems to deliver exactly what is ordered, so things you take for granted will not come. Breakfast was had in our living room on the table as we watched the ship sail into port, one of our favorite experiences each day (sailing out was also a favorite). The morning was rushed as we hurried to make our 8:45 BVI snorkel trip. Buckie and Jane were trying to join because their 1 pm one was cancelled They did make it on because the 3 teens decided not to join their parents and younger brother. As always when disembarking, towels and water were readily available. We were taken away in a jeep safari type vehicle down to a large catamaran. Two guys ran the program. They had the fins and snorkel gear on board, and they asked sizes and passed everything around. We went out to Norman island, passing Peter Island on our way. We were taken to an area with great visibility. We saw fish of many sizes, and there were caves to explore, but there were thousands of jellyfish, and they were especially fond of the caves. The jellyfish didnt sting anyone, but they were a deterrent. I preferred, by far, our snorkeling at Anse Cochen a few days earlier during our resort stay in St. Lucia. We were given rum punch after snorkeling and taken to a small beach island called Pirates Island. The facilities there were closed. They kept us there an hour, which we didnt think was necessary. Jane was very excited about fish nibbling her toes, and I hung out watching them in the clear water while Todd and Buckie sat in the shade in two different spots. The sail back was also beautiful, as we were surrounded by little mound islands and yachts. I was chatting with two ladies when $100 bill floated by and into the water. One lady pointed it out to the loser of the money that it had flown by. The lady barely batted an eye. We got back and rinsed our sand off. I sat in hot tub briefly. We went up to La Terraza for the lunch buffet, feeling we could not go so close to closing (it was 1:40) to the course by course place. This day, the selection was not as appealing to me as the other day, and I so much had wanted a sit down meal. I had salad and gazpacho (nice and spicy) and some berries and pistachios. Todd had some hot dishes  a grilled fish and some garden veggies. I did try just a bite of the curry chicken. It was listed as mild and was. I was not feeling well and did not take a portion of it, just one bite to taste. A waiter informed us they were closing the hot items at 2 and that the salads and desserts would remain. However, at 1:55, they pulled the pistachios from the ice cream station. Someone did begrudgingly bring them back for me. We were offered tea or soda that day for the first time. We were a little bit turned off by them pulling some of the food before 2 pm when they close. We have seen this at resorts, and we never like it, either. Even if they dont take new guests past 2, they should leave the items out for those that are still finishing after 2. There were at least 30 people there that had all been on that snorkeling trip and were doing the best we could. In Tortola, I did go out to the tents past the pier and bought some souvenirsmagnets and some marble and glass items. Nobody there would bargain one dime, but some were cheaper than the others. They did make change in USD if desired. They had some nice shirts, but I didnt bring enough money out and didnt want to go back. Todd retired to the room a bit for an afternoon in-room movie and to finish a video he got at the library. He was not wanting any more sun and thought he might nap. I laid on deck a bit and then went to the internet café to work on using up my minutes. At 4 pm, I met Jane at afternoon tea for needlepoint. She had been so excited about it. I was so glad I went because I met Yolanda, the international hostess. Jane was working on a little clutch case, and Yolanda gave me a choice of several scissors covers and showed me how to do it. We had nice tea and conversation. Jane had a fruit tart. The selection was nicescones, pastries, tarts, custard cups. Jane remarked that it had been 15 minutes since we ate and that we should eat again! She is so tiny. After this, I went to see Carl, the cruise consultant about booking future cruises. He spent a great deal of time with me comparing various ones, prices, etc. and discussing his opinion on specific cabins. I was very impressed that sometimes he was even down-selling trying to show good value. I had enjoyed him at his talk a couple of days prior. I got everything arranged, and he drew up our papers and sent them later to our cabin, and I paid him before 7:30 that night, as he requested. At 5 pm, Todd joined Jane and Buckie at the golf putting contest. I joined at 5:20. I missed the short putt contest but played in the long putt contest. After that, we cashed in our points and got 2 money clips and a memo holder. You do get points for just participating and more for winning. Todd won something here. Yolanda is the one that cashes in the points. Next, I went to the hot tub. The Spanish family had their lap baby in the pool. The staff eventually blocked the hot tubs to get ready for the BBQ but did not throw anyone out. I was appreciative of that, as I was tired and enjoyed myself immensely. The temps were always so nice in the hot tubs, and I loved my 6 pm ritual every night. Jessica and Rich, the couple from Atlanta called out to me from above. She said she lost a lot at the casino the night before and had rewarded herself w/ a 15 course breakfast. They were going to Le Champagne that night to avoid the bbq. I had wanted to go to the sit-down at The Restaurant, but Jessica said they were having lobster at the bbq, so I got suckered in. In my mind I was thinking, go sit down at dinner and then stop by buffet to see if there is lobster and then see the show. Evening of April 8 Todd was not in any hurry to leave the suite. It was so comfortable, and we were just lying around. I told him people were already filling up the tables even though it wasnt 7:30 and that wed have nowhere to sit and probably get bad service (by now, we had agreed to go to the buffet since I still was not feeling well ).. This night was casual. People still looked nice and festive. We sat at a table with a Latino couple. They never spoke to us. We had to flag someone down for water, etc. I just dont like buffets no matter what is served, for the most part. They had no soup, my favorite part of a lot of meals. They had grilled steaks (most tender of the trip), ribs, chicken breasts, hot dogs, build your own tacos and then lobster claw paella. They had salads and desserts, including bananas foster and a number of ice creams and toppings. I tried the lobster claw dish, but it was salty to me (I dont salt my food). I ate salad and custard and some fruit. Todd had a rib and steak and some ice cream. We had trouble getting plates cleared. While many were getting great service, we were not, as we seemed to have been skipped since we were on time rather than early. The main reason we came, other than me not feeling well was to see the Latin dance show. We enjoyed the costumed dancers. They repeated the salsa number from the welcome party and did some other numbers. They changed costumes several times very quickly. After that, they started the dance party with the guests. Todd went back to the cabin, and I danced some with Yolanda and the other ladies either there alone or with partners that wouldnt dance. The music was so good that I rushed to the cabin to get Todd, and he danced with me a little before we retired back to the cabin around 10:45. We were to have our bags out by 11:30. Some people had them out by 6 pm; I assume they didnt want to interrupt their evening. We, of course, barely made 11:30, but we did. We put our grey tags on the bags, keeping our carry-ons. We checked just after 11:30, and all bags were gone. We managed to time it well at 10:45 to watch the sailing because they left a little earlier than 11 pm. Our stewardess had not done our turndown. Instead, she just stuck out our luggage sheet to protect the bed and put one suitcase on the bed and threw our literature and chocolates on it. We considered going to the shops or casino after 11:30, but that is late for us, so we snuggled into the comfort of our cabin, relaxed till the lights on-shore were gone and then laid around as long as we could stay awake and drifted off after calling for a wake up call for 6:15. April 9 Back to San Juan Unfortunately, our wake up call did come. By about 6:30 our final statement was on the door. We didnt have to do anything about it, as I had followed the announcements and advice and gave an imprint earlier the previous day. Everything was in order, so we just saved the bill for our records. We got ready for our long journey home, enjoyed the scenery going by and packed our carry-on for the most part. We headed to the breakfast buffet at 7 when they opened. The sit-down was a choice, but we wanted a last sit in our cabin before we took off. For breakfast, we didnt bother with eggs to order. We had scrambled eggs. Todd had ham, and I had bacon. I had fruits and toast. Todd had a lot of orange juice, I went for tea. This didnt take too long, and we were able to return to our cabin and relax a bit. We were the last group called and were called right at 8:30, the time all were to vacate their cabin. We had brought some bottled water and soda for our long journey home. We went to level 5 for immigration. Yolanda and a couple of other nice ladies were there. We received our passports and went to The Panorama lounge to await the call to customs. We had nice juice and tea and relaxed, though we did get smoked on (found out later we were in the smoking section, though we didnt know there was a difference). The lounge here had pastries, juices and tea and coffee. Only a small number of guests retreated here, while many sat uncomfortably herded with crowds when there was no need. All the public areas were open. We were not called until 9:50, and we went through the inspection easily. We had been offered a tour of Old San Juan and transportation to airport from SS at a reasonable cost, but I had done my own tour, and Todd wasnt interested. We just went to the taxi stand and paid the same $21.50 from before. We were at the airport at 10:30 and tried to stand by on the 12:16 flight. We could not get on, so we were stuck until 3:20 because I had foolishly booked this flight thinking we could pay for late debarkation. The San Juan customs didnt allow it. We were bored and tired after 5 hours at the airport, and both of our flights were oversold and crowded. I went to Burger King in Miami and went through a very thorough purse search since I didnt have luggage. We reached Houston on time but one bag was not there. It had come on the earlier flight and was at the claims office. After that drama, we arrived home at about 11:15. We were tired, but we are still reflecting on our time and looking forward to our next cruise, this time on Silver Wind, in February, 2007. 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Sail Date April 2006
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