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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Everything I read indicated this was the Best, for starters, the food was not as good as Carnival Cruise line, Expected much better quality for the cost of the Cruise. WIFI was free for only 1 hour total the entire cruise. Speciality ... Read More
Everything I read indicated this was the Best, for starters, the food was not as good as Carnival Cruise line, Expected much better quality for the cost of the Cruise. WIFI was free for only 1 hour total the entire cruise. Speciality Dinning was inpossible to get, even when the dinning rooms were half empty (we checked, looked in at all hours listed). Tried to book reservations on line months prior to cruise, was only able to get standby for Seishin restaurant, on nite we dined there the restaurant was not even half full, we stayed till 9:45 pm. Food was very good at the Seishin. La Terrazza restaurant was the best, again you need reservations, when denied, restaurant is not full, what's up with this? Length of time at the best ports was too short, if you take excursions, you miss the old town areas. Cabin was Great, always clean, wait staff the best, drinks were fast in comming and very good. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth, water taxis in Venice, if scheduled on ship is twice as much as what is charge if you walk up to the Taxis stand. Enterainment was average, Ship was very clean and easy to get around, with only 500 guest it is very social. Not the bang for the Bucks I expected, so said many of the guest we met on the cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our third cruise in as many years on Silversea, and our first time on the Silver Spirit. Our two previous Silversea experiences were on smaller ships, where we were delighted by high level of service at every turn. On those two ... Read More
This was our third cruise in as many years on Silversea, and our first time on the Silver Spirit. Our two previous Silversea experiences were on smaller ships, where we were delighted by high level of service at every turn. On those two cruises, we felt like the staff read our minds, anticipating and meeting our needs before we asked. We couldn’t imagine a better experience on a cruise ship. With the exception of multiple service problems, our third cruise met our basic expectations. The Silver Spirit appeared to be in fine shape, well maintained, and clean. We were pleased with the selection and availability of food and beverages throughout the ship. We made restaurant reservations on line as soon as booking opened, and all were honored on board the ship. Our favorite restaurant for dinner was La Terrazza, where we always had very good food and service. The itinerary – Lisbon to Venice, with stops in Portimao, Cadiz, Malaga, Cartagena, Trapani, Malta, and Corfu -- was interesting, with plenty to do and see. The only suggestion we would make would be to extend the in-port times in Trapani and Malta, which were too short. We walked around most of the ports on our own, which was extremely easy to do, and hired a driver in Trapani because we needed help squeezing everything we wanted to see into the six hours we were docked. We did not take any Silversea tours. We were astonished by the weird service problems on board, some of which we are still laughing about (after all, it was vacation!), and some of which are inexcusable for a luxury experience. For example, on our two previous Silversea cruises, we were welcomed aboard by smiling staff members and waiters offering glasses of Prosecco. This time, not a single staff member smiled at us or welcomed us on board; we had to ask a glum waiter, standing in a corner near reception and holding a tray of glasses of sparkling wine, if we might have one. The waiter did not respond, so we took glasses to drink while waiting in line at the reception desk. No one came around to collect empty glasses. After we handed over our credit card and had our pictures taken by another glum uncommunicative staff member, we headed to the main dining room, weighed down by hand luggage, to have lunch while we waited for our rooms to be available. Upon arrival at the main dining room, the person at the podium, without smiling or greeting us, simply said, Wouldn’t you be happier at the buffet? We said no, we preferred to eat in the main dining room. The person reluctantly directed a waiter to seat us, but stopped the fourth person in our party, who was wearing a fedora, telling him hats were not allowed in the dining room. Our friend said he understood and he would remove his hat as soon as he put down his hand luggage. The person at the service station glared at him and told him to put his luggage down immediately and remove his hat if he wanted to eat. It was an extraordinary start to the cruise, leaving us to wonder if we were on the right ship or if something terrible happened before we boarded. Unfortunately, the indifferent dining room service continued throughout the cruise. Each time we entered the main dining room for breakfast or lunch, a person at the podium attempted to direct us to the buffet and seated us only after we insisted we wanted to eat in the dining room. We began to feel that eating breakfast and lunch in the dining room was a tremendous imposition on the staff. Service was painfully slow and uneven; sometimes we’d be offered breakfast pastries or bread, sometimes not. Sometimes butter, salt, and pepper would appear on the table; sometimes not. Perhaps this explains why there were so few passengers in the dining room at breakfast and lunch. On three occasions, we were served coffee in cups and water in glasses with obvious lipstick marks. The cups and glasses were replaced immediately when we pointed out the problem, but those cups and glasses should never have reached the table. (Lipstick marks seemed to be a problem for housekeeping, too. When our room was available, we noticed obvious lipstick marks on the pillowcases as soon as we entered and asked to have the linen changed.) Several waiters in the dining room had problems speaking and understanding English. Typically, we had to repeat our order two or three times while pointing to the item in the menu, before the waiters appeared to understand. Even then, we were served things we hadn’t ordered and not served things we had ordered. Waiters also argued with us. One morning, when we ordered a bagel with cream cheese at breakfast, which we had successfully ordered the previous morning, the waiter insisted a bagel with cream cheese had never been available on the ship and but that we could order a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. One evening, when I told a waiter that there was no cheese in the Caesar salad I ordered, the waiter picked up my fork from my plate and dug through the salad insisting I must have overlooked cheese at the bottom of the salad. To Silversea's credit, after we reported the problems to management, we noticed improvement in the dining room service. While I hope our third Silversea experience was just a one-off thing, perhaps some combination of over-worked staff, poorly trained staff, customer-facing staff with poor English skills, and the phase of the moon, it’s often the little things that form long-lasting memories. If we take a fourth Silversea cruise, it will be on one of the smaller ships. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My wife and I have sailed on about 40 cruises including some high end cruises on Crystal, Seaborn, Regent, and Azamura. This was our first cruise on Silversea and it compared nicely with the other luxury cruises we have been on. ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed on about 40 cruises including some high end cruises on Crystal, Seaborn, Regent, and Azamura. This was our first cruise on Silversea and it compared nicely with the other luxury cruises we have been on. Embarkation was quick and easy in Istanbul. The ship was docked several blocks from the cruise terminal and we didn't notice that Silversea had a shuttle until we arrived at the ship on foot! Oh well. We needed the exercise anyway. The ship was in very good condition and all the spaces were clean and tidy. The cruise we were on was only about 60% full, so the crew to passenger ratio was about 1:1. Even though we probably had the least expensive cabin (oceanview suite) on the ship, we found it to be spacious and comfortable. Our butler offered us a selection of toiletries including Bulgari and Ferrengamo products along with a hypoallergenic selection. My wife couldn't decide so he gave us both of the designer labels. That was actually convenient because the suite had a separate full size bath tub and a large glass walled shower, so we could place one set of products in each one. We were also offered a selection of pillow which we tried, but ended up liking the original pillows best. Our butler also delivered fruit in the evening, kept our refrigerator stocked with our favorite beverages, and on several occasions, delivered excellent in room breakfast. Our room steward kept our suite spotless and was never intrusive. Dining was very good at all times and in all venues. The only thing that seemed strange to me was the lack of steak on the menu. They had plenty of other excellent offerings, but for beef they seemed to favor angus hamburgers. Entertainment was good for a small ship. One South African duo was particularly good singing standards accompanied by Piano in the Stars restaurant. The other musical groups were good, but they were duos and trios and they tended to rely too much on synthesized rhythm and drums for my taste. To me, they sounded better when they just played their instruments with out the synthesizer. All in all, we really enjoyed out first cruise on Silversea. We're ready to go again! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Enjoyed every single aspect of this excellent ship and cruise. Main dining room service and choices were superb. If you liked a particular wine served days ago, waitstaff would bring it. There are 24/7 staples for unadventurous eaters. ... Read More
Enjoyed every single aspect of this excellent ship and cruise. Main dining room service and choices were superb. If you liked a particular wine served days ago, waitstaff would bring it. There are 24/7 staples for unadventurous eaters. Buffet breakfast at the Italian restaurant outside on the stern. You can also order specialties like a custom omelette from your waiter. Your butler will also serve breakfast in your room as our friends preferred. We had our butler unpack our bags and hang the clothes saving my wife her first afternoon aboard. Packing up to leave, the butler forgot one large suitcase he'd put under the bed and jammed everything into the others necessitating a repacking job. More amusing than disastrous. Your choice of beverages restocked daily in your refrigerator, included. For us it was just water, saving Silverseas money. The ship's modest size made everything readily accessible. Unexpectedly enjoyed the ship's library with many book choices and daily printed copies of major newspapers. Many quiet areas to hang out afternoons after touring especially forward on the top floor. Tours were excellent especially if ancient history is your forte. The Mercedes Benz tour busses are extremely comfortable. Ephesus was the most totally restored, but invaded by hundreds of cats demanding worship. Side trip: suggest climbing the castle hill ruins at the port in Lemnos for photos and taking a later tender back to the ship. The daily lectures about the sites are not to be missed. We did not watch the entertainment beyond the first night as they were not compelling. Others enjoyed this. We also did not try the specialty restaurants for a fee as we were more than pleased with the available choices. Our tour guide neglected to tell us to tell bathroom attendants we're with Silverseas and they waive the coin fee. Silverseas' departure and service and onsite help at the airport was efficient and needed to be with the chaos at huge Istanbul airport. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was my first time cruising with Silversea. After spending 3 nights in Istanbul prior to boarding I was ready for the cruise. This was not my first time cruising solo, but it was my first time on an ocean ship vs having done a couple ... Read More
This was my first time cruising with Silversea. After spending 3 nights in Istanbul prior to boarding I was ready for the cruise. This was not my first time cruising solo, but it was my first time on an ocean ship vs having done a couple of AMAwaterways river cruises. While I am up in age I don't look it or act it so I was ready to enjoy all that the Silver Spirit had to offer. The ship was small by comparison to ships I've been on, BUT I enjoyed the layout. The service was fantastic. My suit 812 had a wonderful butler and assistant who couldn't do enough for me. The suite was well laid out and had more than enough space and was very comfortable. The embarkation and disembarkation were like nothing I've ever experienced. Smooth and quick. The food was very good and you could really have whatever you wanted all you needed to do was ask. The Grill next to the pool cooking your own meat and fish was outstanding as was the wine. The main dining room was never really crowded and the food choices were outstanding. The trip included all excursions and internet which was for the most part very fast. TV had lost of movies and a good selection of American news channels only problem was we were a day ahead which took getting used too My issues were with the entertainment which as a former music industry executive I found to be way below my standards. While the singers were talented their voices were not meant for doing pop, but when they did classical selections they were outstanding. The fact that there really was no variety was sad. Why no comedy or magic? In their speciality showroom Stars the duo was outstanding except for the fact that on the nights I was there the other customers lacked in my opinion "class" because they tried to talk over the music and that was very rude. It was a class room with great food and while I understand people are on vacation and looking to have a good time trying to talk over the music should not happen period. Another issue I had was being single. While there were 52 others who were traveling solo or with friends the ship did have a singles mingle each evening and only 5 folk showed. We had a great time together and had usually enjoyed diner together with the two ship hosts who were wonderful. In closing would I sail again on Silversea and on the Silver Spirit I would. I'd also recommend this line and ship to those who like luxury. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This is my 4th cruise on Silver Spirit which is probably my favourite ship of all as it has my preferred tonnage for a balance of facilities and privacy. I cruise on the same ship a year ago and again this time I am extremely happy with my ... Read More
This is my 4th cruise on Silver Spirit which is probably my favourite ship of all as it has my preferred tonnage for a balance of facilities and privacy. I cruise on the same ship a year ago and again this time I am extremely happy with my experience. They have changed quite a bit in restaurant services, now that waiters take order with a Galaxy pad, and I suppose this is good even for customers as it ensures continuous flow in the delivery of meal courses. Throughout 9 days on this trip the weather is great. We missed Mykonos this trip and spent one more night in Athens instead which I am not unhappy with, as I have been to Mykonos many times. The trouble is lack of pier facilities at Mykinos and the captain does not want to use tender in a windy condition, which maybe a good decision for comfort important to a 5-star ship. Yes, comfort is the key to travel on Silversea, as the cabin is spacious and service in housekeeping and of the butler are great as usual. Silversea restaurant and bar services are also invariably great, particularly I am recognized by many as a return cruiser. I cruise in all ships and it is interesting that 5-star ship crew always try to remember you, while on a big ship they try to pretend that they don't know you even if they do! Perhaps this is the main reason that most 5-star ships get following (4 star ships also get following due to unbelievable cheap fares off season). The design of the menu of the main restaurant on this ship has much changed, and I would say for the better. I am happier now as there is less (or almost no) Asian fusion on menu items. I find most Chinese or Japanese food on ships are actually Philippine food. The alternative restaurants Le Champagne and Stars, as well as La Terrezza all have my top marking. The Asian restaurant has great service but the food is not really Asian....I would say it is rather American Asian if you like that kind of food. But great that with the only Asian restaurant on any Silversea ship the buffet lunch always includes sashimi (and great that there can't be fusion on raw fish). Good also that the lunch menu in the main restaurant is now also enlarged and good, and now it has as many choices almost as at dinner, while some cruise ships, even 5-star, offer a kind of Hamburger/Sandwich based menu to cater for America taste. All in all, a great trip. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
I appreciate that some people like the massive cruise ships that are on offer, especially as all seem to be vying for your trade with on board credit, free drinks (very limited), massive facilities, lots of entertainment; the truth is ... Read More
I appreciate that some people like the massive cruise ships that are on offer, especially as all seem to be vying for your trade with on board credit, free drinks (very limited), massive facilities, lots of entertainment; the truth is I'm done with them. Having sailed Holland America in Sept 2014 for two weeks (too long), I found it too much of a hassle each time you had to disembark and the general kerfuffle in boarding such a large ship, lets face it the days of cruising being exclusive had now turned into cruising for the masses, hence our short trip in the Silver Wind. Yes, it is probably the oldest ship in the fleet, yes it is expensive compared to the leviathans on the sea that you can sail, yes you have to be prepared to forgo the various entertainments that accompany those ships, but what you get is cruising as it should be. Excellent facilities, service reserved for a five star hotel, food and drink of the highest quality and dare we say it? The crowds that often make the whole holiday experience tiring. I like the fact that you berth in ports too small for most cruise liners, trips where there will be a maximum of 15 to 20 people mean more of a personal experience, no hustling to get big groups back on the coaches, take your time (within reason) and enjoy what you came to see. As for the age of the ship I found that you could probably see where it would need an upgrade or two, especially the bath panel being loose, the toilet being a bit inconsistent, paint on the windows giving away it's age, but for me small things that don't detract from the fact that you are treated as an actual valued guest. Big ships? nah not for me, short cruises in luxury surroundings, now that's more like it. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Everything about this cruise is mediocre. This is our 6th cruise and it just didnt do it for us. If not for our room butler Rey, this cruise was a let-down. To make matters worse, we ordered steaks three times and requested medium rare, ... Read More
Everything about this cruise is mediocre. This is our 6th cruise and it just didnt do it for us. If not for our room butler Rey, this cruise was a let-down. To make matters worse, we ordered steaks three times and requested medium rare, and all three times medium to medium well arrived. (I thought maybe it will improve!) On our last evening at Le Champagne, my friend's spouse and my wife ordered the lamb chops medium rare and , you guessed it, it came medium to medium-well. The chef came out and he said for him it was medium rare! There was no pink in the meat and he said it was medium rare...??? That cruise line is in trouble if they continue to have ignorant employees in their employ like the chef at Le Champagne restaurant. Never again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our second cruise with Silversea and our 8th overall on luxury cruises. We went with Silversea to the Arctic last year and decided to try them again for a cruise on the Black Sea. We were disappointed on several fronts. 1) ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Silversea and our 8th overall on luxury cruises. We went with Silversea to the Arctic last year and decided to try them again for a cruise on the Black Sea. We were disappointed on several fronts. 1) Customer service at head office It is non-existent. As in-- my travel agent e-mailed a week ago regarding a complaint (see below) and we have heard nothing. I e-mailed the Director of Guest Relations 5 days ago and have heard nothing. We have e-mailed just to receive a copy of the folio and have heard nothing! Assuming their e-mail is not broken, this is beyond me for a purported luxury company. At this point, I don't even know how to get in touch with them for a receipt. 2) Shore excursions Our itinerary originally visited the Ukraine for three stops, but this was cancelled for obvious reasons. They replaced them with 2 stops in Turkey and Sochi. These ports were very uninteresting. What's worse, are the shore excursions. In Sochi the guide could barely speak English. And when you pay for a shore excursion, your expectation is to see stuff. Not to be taken to the Radisson hotel and have a drink and snack (hello!! we are on an all inclusive ship!). When I complained to the shore desk that this was sub-par (along with most everyone who did a shore excursion in Sochi), he wrote the following in the Chronicles the next day: "The guides are locals who may have a heavy accent and/or lack on expertise in all aspects of the city" (not being able to translate from the person who was giving us the tour in Russian is not a heavy accent, it's a lack of English), "Please remember that, as travelers, it is what lies outside the window that is important, what we see, hear and experience for ourselves and see the places we are visiting for what they are and not what we would like them to be". You can only take this to mean, we will charge you the same price as a top notch tour, but expect less and don't complain. How patronizing!! 3) Dining Overall dining was fine with one exception of the maitre d' being extremely rude and not wanting to cater to a special request (steak with steamed vegetables). We were sitting with guests who are consultants in hospitality management-- they were pretty appalled. I had to hold my husband back from saying things further, given it was our last night and I didn't want to ruin it. 4) The good The ship is fine. The crew is outstanding (but I have never encountered a less than outstanding crew). The rooms are fine, except I found the shower in the bathroom awkward. We met several people on the boat who were sailing with Silversea for the first time and none would come back...neither will we. The ship was half empty so maybe others have already figured this out. There are other companies who provide the same amenities but with better customer service. This one left such a bad taste in my mouth that I will never sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We knew in advance that the main attraction of this cruise ,ie Yalta, was off the port list due to the troubles as was Sevastopol but the info came through to late to cancel without penalty so we decided to make the best of it. Istanbul ... Read More
We knew in advance that the main attraction of this cruise ,ie Yalta, was off the port list due to the troubles as was Sevastopol but the info came through to late to cancel without penalty so we decided to make the best of it. Istanbul airport is a very,very busy place and without fast track entry immigration would have taken over half an hour and coming home even worse. Anyway our private transfer was waiting for us and delivered us to the port in good time for boarding which entailed multiple showing of documents and became a little tedious but the Silversea staff were ever cheerful and efficient.The next surprise was the steep gangway we had to negotiate to board the ship,upto deck5,this was a challenge to some of the less able passengers.I know tidal conditions have a part to play but only twice during the cruise could we walk off the ship in comfort via deck 3. Our first impression of the ship was that it looked no different to some of the less prestigious lines,we didn't feel the wow factor we were expecting of a supposedly top of the range ship. Anyway we were led to our cabin where we met our butler who offered a choice of toiletries and explained the layout and workings of the equipment in the cabin,he also took our order for the mini bar which took 24 hours to arrive but thereafter refills were no problem. I must say I had made a pillow choice online prior to the cruise but this was nor fulfilled but our tours similarly booked were fine. The ports of call had been adjusted so our first visit was to Sinop which had a pretty little promenade and not much else. Next was Trabzon a place with a lot more history,here we decided to discover the city alone and after getting a map from the tourist office in the main square we found ourselves wondering through the bazaar,a fascinating labyrinth of tiny streets with absolutely everything for sale.From the main square it is only a short walk back to the ship. Batumi was the next port this is a city with beautiful architecture counterpointed by awful Russian built apartment blocks.Here we took a tour to the Gonio fortress,dating from Roman times and on to the Adjara winery,a lovely setting and a nice drive but the wine didn't quite match the surroundings. We then called in to Sochi where the perverse Russians made us tender in instead of docking,our walking tour guide seemed more interested in talking like Shakespeare than giving us the bottom line on the history of the place so much so that we had to cut two attractions due to the time he wasted talking but we did make it to the beer tasting. Odessa was the next port,here we took a guided tour with a wonderful guide called Emilia,this historic and beautiful city is well worth a visit particularly the opera house which is outstanding,We had lunch on the ship ,which was moored quite close to the famous Potemkin steps,and then thought we would wa;k back to the city centre for some more photo opportunities but it started to rain so we turned back.This was a blessing as only 30 mins later the terrible events we all know of took place,some passengers and crew were still in town but returned unharmed. It so happened that Constanta was our last port and I must say it is a typical example of a post communist city terribly poor and run down,it made us count our blessings.The boat trip we took to Ovidiu island was overpriced although we enjoyed the included meal. Nessebur was cancelled due to high seas,a pity as it looked to be a pretty place to visit,however this meant we headed straight to Istanbul giving us the benefit of arriving in daylight and therefore getting great views of the Bosphurous on the sail in Our on board lecture was Corey Sandler who was absolutely brilliant with his easy style and detailed knowledge of the area and the ports visited we really understand the troubled history of this region now. We also enjoyed the entertainment provided by the ships troupe of 6 singers/dancers a really talented and pleasant group of young people as were the resident quartet and Remon the pianist,top class. We found La Terraza restaurant to our liking but as the menu only changed every 3 days we also used the main restaurant,the food was equally good in both,however our meal in Le Champagne was a little disappointing for the $40.00 cover charge I fact there were only 6 people in when we ate there.We cancelled our other reservations there To sum up the ship was very nice overall but looking tired in places and not in as good condition as we would have expected.That said the staff on board were of the highest standard with nothing to much trouble and always service with a smile,they really are a credit to Silversea. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
After being totally spoiled on a luxury Paul Gauguin cruise in the South Pacific I started researching other luxury cruise lines to fulfill my second cruise of a life time to the Mediterranean. The Silversea line matched the ship size, ... Read More
After being totally spoiled on a luxury Paul Gauguin cruise in the South Pacific I started researching other luxury cruise lines to fulfill my second cruise of a life time to the Mediterranean. The Silversea line matched the ship size, number of passengers and itinerary I was looking for. We sailed from Istanbul to Athens in April 2013. A lot of my review is a comparison to the Paul Gauguin experience. There are a lot of similarities between the two lines. I was not disappointed but I always expect more luxury as outlined in the brochures. I am still trying to figure out what the butler is supposed to do. Over all they are a cabin steward with a fancy title! As stated in other reviews the ship is very dated in décor and not as well kept as expected. The low number of passengers allows you to meet and get to know other travelers. The age group is definitely the 50+ crowd which being in that group is fine with me. The food options are wonderful. Breakfast and Lunch are available as non-buffet at the restaurant. Made to order pizza is also a great option! Room service is also great. Definitely do not miss the â(EURO)oeblack rockâ(EURO) dining at the Grill in the evening. The specialty restaurant Le Champagne is definitely worth the extra cost for a relaxing dining experience at least once. The cabin was very nice. I really liked the walk in closet. The cabin was always kept clean and very comfortable. The only negative was the night in port; the AC did not cool as well as it did when we were at sea. The staff is excellent, most calling you by name, but not as much on the PG. The entertainers are very versatile and also double as companions on the ship sponsored excursions. You really feel they become fast friends as they also mingle with the passengers after the shows. The biggest disappointment of the cruise (no fault to the ship or line) was missing the excursion to Santorini. After days of calm seas the wind was so bad the shuttles could not be safely boarded. The captain did try for over an hour but eventually the decision was made to move on to the next port. The cruise director came up with other entertainment including a great cooking demo with a chef who should also be a performer! The most negative, and my personal opinion, is the formal nights. Being in the over 50 crowd I worked most of my career in a suit and tie and currently embrace business casual so I did not appreciate the formal or the wear a sport jacket experience! However many of the passengers really appear to like the experience. All of the ship sponsored shore excursions we took were excellent. The guides provided very professional informative information. Definitely if on this cruise itinerary take the tour to Ephesus. A couple of the tours included a wonderful lunch. I did learn you definitely need a down day as the tours can be exhausting. Embarking and disembarking was a painless experience. Overall the experience was wonderful and I will be sailing on the Silversea line again!   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We were first time cruisers and aiming to celebrate my 60th Birthday and being together with my Partner for 25 years. We chose a Black Sea Cruise as we were looking to visit some new destinations. We wanted to do this in some style. We ... Read More
We were first time cruisers and aiming to celebrate my 60th Birthday and being together with my Partner for 25 years. We chose a Black Sea Cruise as we were looking to visit some new destinations. We wanted to do this in some style. We cruised on the Silver Wind. Expectations were high and we were not disappointed. We are a gay couple and I think we were the only gay couple on board which suited us very well. The travellers, as well as the crew, were from a wide range of nationalities. The ship takes around 270 passengers. Of these around 90 were from the US, 50 from the UK and 30 from Australia so a high proportion of English speaking guests. Part of the enjoyment was in meeting a variety of well travelled and cultured people. The ship is truly luxurious. Everything, apart from the excursions and premium drinks were included so the hospitality was both lavish and refined. The crew really went the extra mile and many made the effort to remember our names. I have worked for many years in and around the hospitality industry. Few establishments measure up to the consistently high standard of service we encountered on the Silver Wind. The ship is not glitzy but it is extremely comfortable. Cabins all have views and most have verandas. For us they were not large (around 300 sq. feet including veranda). They have small baths with shower over although the newer Silversea ships have larger bathrooms. There is butler service in all suites. This is one luxury which one could forego as we used the Butler very little. Silver Wind is a small ship but large enough not to feel crowded anywhere. Entertainment was limited: a quartet in one of the bars, a pianist in another bar, a small dancing/singing troupe and a pair of Russian magicians. However, we did not miss having any more lavish entertainment as we enjoyed a slow meal in the evening followed by a short walk to the nearest bar! The Black sea as a destination is really interesting. Highlights included visits to Yalta and Odessa in the Ukraine and Nessebur in Bulgaria. All very attractive resorts. Odessa has some stunning buildings and enormous one way streets with little traffic. At Nessebur we even encountered a smiling immigration officer and a notice which asked for feedback on the service received (a long way from its Communist past!). Highly disappointing was Sochi in Russia which was grey and unwelcoming. Constanta in Romania was also grey and less developed. Somewhere in between come Sevastopol in the Ukraine (Crimea) which has a fascinating history: charge of the Light Brigade etc) and the former hidden submarine base at Balaclava, an attractive resort nearby. Sevastopol itself is still a naval base for the Russian navy and not a place for a long holiday. Trabzon in Turkey was quite atmospheric but somewhat undeveloped as was Batumi in Georgia. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
This is a boutique ship and the newest one offered by Silversea. Pro's: - only 500+ passengers - very well appointed and well planned suites, even the Vista suites have ample room, closet space, and well planned and ... Read More
This is a boutique ship and the newest one offered by Silversea. Pro's: - only 500+ passengers - very well appointed and well planned suites, even the Vista suites have ample room, closet space, and well planned and appointed bathrooms - vanity, but bring your own extension cord with extra plugs - wonderful system for converting coffee table to dining room table - free movies on demand, all categories, over 500 - wifi - your very own butler - almost everything is included (wine and spirits, water, etc.) - pampered service everywhere! - La Terraza breakfast and lunch buffets, nothing hurried, staff assist with plates, pre-set tables with linens - it's size allows the ship to have premier docking slips in ports, in Venice the ship docked right on the Venice Lagoon - never, ever crowded - anywhere! Con's - European style late start to dining hours, earliest is 7PM, main dining room is 7:30PM - very late breakfast opening - 7:30 PM, hard to eat and make an 8AM private tour if one wants to make the most of the day - no casual option for dinner, would be nice to have a buffet option for those who just want something light, don't want to dress up, and don't want room service - very bad system for continuing passengers (2+ week cruisers) as you're not allowed to book anything (excursions, hair appts., dining room reservations) in advance once you've embarked. The longer you're on the ship, the more difficult this is to reconcile as you can't book anything for future weeks, online or otherwise. Your embarkation stops all your online reservation privileges putting those who have not yet embarked and may be cruising for only one week, ahead of you in terms of appointment times and preferences. You can book via phone or at the venue once embarkation for that week begins. Note: Staff do try to help and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. - Main Dining Room, not very inviting, food could be simpler Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Embarkation. I was told very clearly that I could embark on the Silver Wind, in Istanbul, at 3PM, but that I could drop off luggage at 11AM. I asked about this very particularly, and that was the answer. When I arrived at the ship at noon ... Read More
Embarkation. I was told very clearly that I could embark on the Silver Wind, in Istanbul, at 3PM, but that I could drop off luggage at 11AM. I asked about this very particularly, and that was the answer. When I arrived at the ship at noon to drop off luggage, I was ushered into the ship and told that "of course" I could embark. That was disconcerting but ok, although I might have changed my plans if I had been told that in advance. The Restaurant was closed, so I went up to the buffet, which was pretty much the way it was later on in the cruise, and had a nice lunch. Dining. Both in the dining room and in the Terrazza buffet the choices were more limited than on the ships I have sailed in the past. The quality of the food was generally ok, although the special ordered steak was tough and occasionally the food was overcooked. I ordered a pasta appetizer, as did the ladies to my left. When it came, all of to stuck together and one of the ladies said to the other that it was obviously microwaved; I agreed silently. In no way would I consider the food up to the quality of a superior restaurant in a major city. One time, though, bears special (egregious) mention. My wife was served some fish that was so salty it was inedible. She sent it back and they brought another serving of the same fish; again it was far too salty. The waiter returned to the table, and seeing our distress, he explained that all of that fish was too salty, and that they knew it in the kitchen. I can not understand why they would have served it, knowing that it was bad, and why on earth they would have served a second portion, again knowing that the first had been rejected. It makes no sense; was noone paying attention? I did find the Italian specialty restaurant to be a clear notch or three better than the main dining room. When they saw us coming, they knew to prepare some extra baked garlic for my wife, and the headwaiter knew our name, greeting us at other places and times on the ship. He was the only one, actually, that did know our name, which surprised me, given Silversea's reputation for personal service. Wines. The wines served were all in the retail $12 range. If you wanted a white wine but did not want a chardonnay, they opened a sauvignon blanc or a pinot grigio or even a verdejo; no albarino, I'm afraid. The same went for the reds: if you didn't want/like the cabernet sauvignon offered, they would open a chianti or a rosso d'somewhere or a shiraz for you, but no pinot noir. I cant speak about the hard liquor, because I have no experience with that. There were several dessert wines, including a muscatel and a Semillon, but no late harvest Riesling. Entertainment. There were a couple of song and dance shows that I found to be pretty poor except for the two dance instructors' numbers. What struck me, though, was that there was nothing else. No comedian or special music or anything. The Silversea brochure (p.11) says that there will be lectures provided by "Luminaries from the world of food and wine, famous artists and celebrities, world affairs experts". The port lecturer did a nice job of discussing travel photography tips, but this was not what I expected, and I was severely disappointed. Dancing. Note that I am a dancer, so I am very critical here. There were two regular dance floors, one in the Bar, and the other in the Panorama lounge. Both floors were circles, about 11 feet or so in diameter. That was a lot smaller than I expected, suitable only for latin dances or swing; you could not possibly do a fox trot in that space, let alone a quick step. Luckily, my wife and I do mostly Argentine Tango, and the space was adequate, especially since usually we were not joined by anyone else. Some of the Silversea advertising states that they have dance hosts for unattached women; I didn't see any. For the last night of the trip, they cleared away two or three tables in the middle of the MDR, and the band from the Bar played dance music. That was pretty good, although the floor was sticky, enough so that when the two dance instructors took a turn on the floor, I saw some looks of surprise as they attempted something and the floor wouldn't permit it. There was a problem with the dancing in the Bar. The dancing area is right in the middle of the smoking area. Once again, I don't understand what they are thinking. I did make out a complaint, when we received that middle of the trip request for comments, but I got a very distant and impersonal reply. I didn't really expect that they would take my suggestion, but I was astonished by the lack of a personal contact to apologize and explain. It would have taken them a good five minutes. Our cabin. We booked the least expensive cabins, and it was very very nice. There was a lot of space, a walk-in closet, and it was possible to close off the bed area from the sitting area. There was a very comfortable couch and two very comfortable chairs. Storage was more than adequate; we didn't use many of the drawers we might have done. The stewardess kept the room very well, and she did know our name. I never quite understood how to use the butler's services. I did leave shoes out once to be polished; they were returned cleaned but not polished. The bathroom was a little tight, with only one sink, no bidet, and with a shower design that I dislike personally. The amenities were otherwise fine. Fitness. The gym had two bicycles (one of them recumbent), two elliptical trainers, and 3 or 4 treadmills, each of which had a separate entertainment module. There were a few machines, mostly oriented toward upper body exercises, although there was one for doing quad extension and hamstring curl. When I met with the fitness person and showed her the exercises that my physical therapist had given me (I had a herniated L4-5 disk in November and was just recently back to dancing), she made a couple of suggestions, but admitted that there was a lot I needed that could not be done with the equipment at hand. I got the feeling that she really did not have the training needed to deal with anything that was not routine. I improvised. Fellow passengers. What a delightful bunch! Despite all of the negative things I've said above, I really did have a good time on this trip, and most of that was because I had the good fortune to meet other people who were a pleasure. Post Cruise. We disembarked in Venice on April 16, just after the Iceland Volcano blew. Our flight home on Sunday the 18th was cancelled. We spent many hours emailing and phoning the port agent, our travel agent back home, and our kids. At one point, we were considering taking a train to Genoa, a ferry to Barcelona, and a high-speed train to Lisbon, where air travel still existed. However, since we had booked the flight with Silversea, they transferred us at their expense to the Monaco hotel (one of the premier hotels of the city) on the 20th and 21st, until air travel resumed. They also obtained seats for us on the nonstop from Venice to JFK. They also provided water taxi transport from the hotel to Marco Polo airport! They told us that they would have put us up on the 18th and 19th also, but they couldn't find us. Conclusion. I've written more than I thought I had to say. I think it's obvious that in many ways Silversea fell short of my expectations. I wont be sailing with them again. But maybe someone from the organization will read this and start some shape-up activity, and others will benefit. I hope so. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This review is directed to people like myself - taking a very special vacation of a lifetime and wanting to know as much about it in advance as possible to reassure myself that I made a good choice - not directed at the "pros" ... Read More
This review is directed to people like myself - taking a very special vacation of a lifetime and wanting to know as much about it in advance as possible to reassure myself that I made a good choice - not directed at the "pros" who are constantly on the board and/or on the ship. Let me begin by saying we were pleased beyond our expectations and would not have traded a thing about the cruise. Because of my work schedule, we normally vacation in the Caribbean at a luxury resort where we can just totally relax and enjoy fine dining in area restaurants. I had formerly cruised once on Carnival 14 years ago with teenage daughter in Caribbean and with Celebrity to Alaska with family so this was first with just husband and me on luxury line. We selected this cruise because we liked the ports, we wanted small ship and I couldn't be away too long. We spent 3 days in Istanbul before embarking - good thing - a wonderful city with a lot to see and do and also time to recover from jet lag. First day was a sea day - another good thing - time to rest after touring 3 days and before stopping at 5 ports in 5 days. Check in was so laid back and easy - turn in our passports, get our picture taken, room keys and go to lunch (we went about 1:00 - no problems). After lunch we went to our suite and our luggage was already there. We were in the least expensive room (Vista 433) which was low and center because of my sensitivity to motion. Suite was spacious with plenty of storage space, walk-in closet, drawers, shelves, desk area, vanity area, loveseat, chairs and table, flat screen tv, plenty of hangars, pillows, bathroom with tub and shower, champagne chilling in the bucket and fresh fruit too. We're not big drinkers so we had made no special beverage requests but there was water, soda and beer in our refrigerator. Our cabin stewardess was excellent, very pleasant, always called us by name, smiled and exchanged pleasantries. Our butler was also pleasant and prompt. One of the best things about the Wind is that they made everything easy and pleasant for you - no hassles at all. There was always a way to get your needs/wants met - sometimes you had to think a little creatively. When we arrived in port, they had a table with bottles of water, they always had maps and information at the shore desk, everyone was friendly and helpful and courteous at all times. Dining The quality of food was generally excellent. We usually ate breakfast at La Terrazza but the waiters brought the food we wanted cooked to order to us because we're not buffet types. They couldn't have treated us better. We did eat breakfast one day in the dining room but it took longer and wasn't any better than La Terrazza and didn't have a particularly exciting menu. We only had lunch on board a few times - once at the pool deck (the first day at sea) and the galley lunch buffet on the other day at sea. Otherwise, we ate in ports. Several times I ordered a shrimp cocktail and drink on the room service menu before we went to dinner - it was a nice way to unwind after a day in port. Room service was always prompt and graciously served. We had dinner one night at La Terrazza which was excellent and the other nights we ate in the main dining room - usually at a table for two near the window. Dinner wasn't served until 7:30 which we found to be a bit late - especially when we were getting up early to visit the ports. Usually it was 9:30 before we were done and we were ready to go back to our suite to read by then. Often we left without dessert and we ordered it in our room after wards. We had no complaints about the quality or quantity of food and there was always a variety. I'm not a particularly adventurous eater and I found that sometimes, I liked 2 of the intermezzos and none of the starters, but I ordered that way and it wasn't a problem. I also don't like heavy desserts so I often just ordered truffles and they brought me two or three each night. I was surprised that lobster was not on the menu once, nor was crab and very seldom shrimp. On the last night, I asked the waiter if there was lobster and he said yes, but it was frozen and you would have had to request it in advance. After reading this board for several months in advance of the cruise, my one complaints is that it seems like Silversea wants to be known as a cruise line where they'll meet your every need but I would prefer that they offer to everyone what they have - not just to the demanding few or those "in the know. " We wanted a stress free relaxing vacation where we would be treated very well and have comfortable accommodations while we visited some places we had never been. The Silver Wind definitely delivered on that. We did not do any of the ship's excursions, nor did we participate in any of the ship's activities (with the exception of going to 2 port lectures) nor did we see any of the entertainment so I cannot comment on any of those areas. The other passengers seemed friendly, well-educated, interesting and sophisticated but not pretentious or arrogant. We found people to talk with when we wanted to but we had plenty of privacy and peace and quiet. The Wind was a wonderful experience that provided exactly what we were looking for. We would definitely cruise with Silversea again with the right itinerary. Read Less
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