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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
As experienced cruisers we were looking for something a little different and more energetic so we tried Silver Cloud Expedition. What we got was the same old, same old only on a smaller ship. Embarkation was so-so as we were ... Read More
As experienced cruisers we were looking for something a little different and more energetic so we tried Silver Cloud Expedition. What we got was the same old, same old only on a smaller ship. Embarkation was so-so as we were uncomfortable leaving our bags in the middle of the platform unattended. After a beautiful transit through the Canal we anticipated a variety of interesting expeditions. The first day our rain forest tour at Parida Island was a 40 minute walk of which 20 minutes was spent waiting for members to catch up. The highlights were the two termite nests we saw. If we had seen any termites they would have been the only wildlife encountered. We did have to step over two muddy little streams. When we got back to the beach we found out that we had the best excursion as those who wanted to snorkel met their boat only to find out the boat had no snorkel gear. That expedition became a whale and dolphin watching ride without the whales and dolphins. Because of bad weather our next two stops were changed and we spent two days at Puntarenas. While they handled the change of schedule well there was no effort to replace the expeditions with something similar. For each of the two days we spent over four hours on buses. The first destination was a horse demonstration which was mediocre. The next was "a walk in the clouds" which was a rain forest at 5000 feet. Very interesting, lots of birds and flora. Because there was construction en route and our bus broke down on the way up we were late getting back to the ship and in danger of not making it on time. Swiss Travel, the tour operator called the police. They closed an oncoming lane for over a mile and allowed us to pass stalled traffic and make the ship on time. Everyone on the bus cheered madly. Sadly this was one of the highlights of the cruise. Very surprised that Silversea was unable (or unwilling) to come up with expedition type of options while at Puntarenas. After a nice day at sea our next stop at Isla de la Plata was a true expedition experience with zodiacs to shore and then an extensive walk on the island seeing thousands of birds including the lovable blue footed boobies. What was totally surprising was that both the Silversea expedition person and the local guide totally ignored the rules and regulations they had laid out which were similar to those in the Galapagos: don't leave the paths, no interacting with the fauna, keep a good distance between groups etc. One woman in our group approached boobies three different times with the birds responding aggressively twice and squirting excrement the third time with nothing said by the guide or expedition member. Our group of 8 spread out and ultimately we ended up with several other groups totaling about 40 people. Machala was our next destination with one of the tours through a petrified forest with over a 130 different types of birds per the brochure. Again two hours in a bus each way. In our two hour walk we saw one bird eating a snail and one squirrel so high in a tree that the only way to verify he was there was to greatly enhance the resolution of the picture I took. We fully understand that fauna come and go but to only see two living things? Seems like either Silversea didn't do their homework or the Machala tourism bureau wrote the trip description. Very unsatisfying waste of a day. Isla Lobos was another highlight of the trip as the expedition team spotted numerous whales and the Captain did a great job of positioning the ship and literally turning it in circles so that we could fully enjoy a spectacular display of humpbacks frolicking and two blue whales with their magnificent flukes. Salaverry Peru was our last stop with a short bus ride to the temples of the Moon and Sun. The latter wasn't open but the former was fascinating and an enjoyable half day but not what I'd consider an expedition experience. This turned out to be a classic cruise on a small ship. Service was uniformly excellent throughout. However, on Regent, Seabourn and Oceania their service has also been excellent so it was not a differentiator. The cabin was very cluttered and would have been far more usable if one of the chairs was removed. Everything was in very good shape and kept immaculate by our service team. The wifi was better than on any other cruise we've been on. As you can tell this cruise wasn't what we thought we were getting. The crew and senior officers were all outstanding. Silversea should not have marketed this as an expedition cruise even though Silver Cloud is an expedition ship. There was a Finnish travel agent on board with 14 of his clients who said this was the worst Silversea cruise (out of 10) that he had been on. Numerous other passengers who were more experienced than we concurred. Another passenger said Silversea is really good at the Arctic and Antarctic expeditions but hasn't figured the rest out. We'd consider sailing on Silversea again with the right itinerary but not on an expedition ship. It will be interesting to see how Silversea handles our complaint. The expedition team acknowledged the shortcomings as did the senior officers with both saying they reported this to Silversea corporate.. When we went on Seabourn sponsored tours that were awful they promptly refunded the costs. All-inclusive doesn't remove the obligation to provide the service advertised. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I choose this cruise as I had travelled with Silversea before and it was reasonable/OK. This cruise was hell. No champagne on arrival, chaos, lifts broken and generally disorganised. Did not see butler for the first 26 hours, so no ... Read More
I choose this cruise as I had travelled with Silversea before and it was reasonable/OK. This cruise was hell. No champagne on arrival, chaos, lifts broken and generally disorganised. Did not see butler for the first 26 hours, so no drinks I wished to drink in my minibar. Minibar stocked with beer, coke and sugary drinks - nothing I would ever touch - so first 26 hours no personalised cabin service from butler as advertised. Did receive a note from butler saying he missed me - strange as I was several hours in cabin unpacking. Spa and hairdressing awful. Hair wash and blow dry not done in front of mirror - and end result when I was able to look in mirror was so bad I returned to cabin to use my own heated rollers. Spa treatment had to return next day for them to do it properly. Whole time having treatments in spa there is this horrendous pressure to change your beauty routine and do what they recommend. This will not happen, my cosmetic products are better than what Silversea use. Wheelchairs and zimmerframes in corridors so a health risk should there be a fire or need to escape without lighting. For two nights when they sea was a little choppy there was loud noises throughout the night which sounded like machinery moving so no sleep for two whole night. What is interesting that when I reported this horrendous noise and sleepless nights to staff on Silversea they assured me no one else had ever complained of such a noise. Only to find another couple on another deck having to be moved from their cabin for the same noise at night AND I READ ON CRUISE CRITIC yet another couple have experienced the same noise at night on Silversea -- so obvious Silversea lied to me when they told me no one else had every complained. I was ill when on board with respiratory infection and spent Xmas Day and Boxing Day in bed. Guests were sitting in public areas and cramped mini buses coughing and sneezing and 70% of guests probably suffered with the bug that was being spread around. Several guests left the cruise early due to bronchitis, one person had to be evacuated when at sea off California. Officers polite but I feel they had agenda and attitude because I complained about my cabin and sleepless nights. Lectures really just 'lessons' the speakers had not been involved 'hands on' in what they talked about. Many shows with singing were amateurish - the sixties night singing could only be described as 'shrill' and Suzy the flutist had performed on my previous Silversea cruise - Does she perform on all cruises? Not worth the money. Other passengers told me to cruise Seaborne in future. I am intending to take their advice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
The primary reason we chose this cruise was the time of year and the number of days sailing. Also, I wanted to go through the Panama Canal. We were on the Silver Spirit several times, but this year we really liked the itinerary of the ... Read More
The primary reason we chose this cruise was the time of year and the number of days sailing. Also, I wanted to go through the Panama Canal. We were on the Silver Spirit several times, but this year we really liked the itinerary of the Silver Whisper. Overall the cruise was amazing. We loved the size of the ship. My fiancé came aboard just getting over major surgery for a dislocated ankle and a broken foot. Our cabin was in a great location and it was very easy for him to get around. We met the most lovely people. The staff was great! We love the choice of restaurants and overall the food was excellent. The quality of wines that are inclusive were pretty good as was the champagne. I did not care for the lectures given on this particular cruise. We liked our cabin except for the positioning of the TV which was on an angle. It wasn't as easy viewing the TV as it was on the Silver Spirit because it wasn't in front of us. We couldn't use the remote from our bed where we preferred to watch TV. We were disappointed that we had to pay for the Internet. $495 was a lot to pay and we needed the Internet because my fiancé worked from the ship. Last year sailing on Silver Spirit the Internet was included. We did not take any excursions which was fine, sometimes we just prefer staying on the ship. The pool and restaurant crew are the best! This voyage only had a few children and they were very well behaved. We were hoping that there wouldn't be any children on board, but the ones that were, were totally fine! There was a lot of activities, but we didn't participate in many. I loved the Champagne tasting! We have already signed up for our next cruise. We don't understand why some cruises are Venetian and get the additional 5%, whereas the one we just signed up on is not a Venetian sailing? It doesn't make any sense why some are and some are not. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose this cruise as birthday gift for husband, who wanted to transit Panama Canal, but this ship is now looking vey old inside and is needing a refit. Unfortunately as this is happening just before World Cruise, I feel we got the last ... Read More
We chose this cruise as birthday gift for husband, who wanted to transit Panama Canal, but this ship is now looking vey old inside and is needing a refit. Unfortunately as this is happening just before World Cruise, I feel we got the last of the awful bits, before refurb is done. Main restaurant food well below expectations and more often than not cold, vegetables same every night, little choice. Even on formal nights nothing really special, they seem to think putting lobster on the menu is special. Not in this day and age. Chef needs to upgrade his thinking and maybe think out of the box sometime. Can't imagine how a world cruise dining plan will go, Speaking to other cruisers who have been on other 5/6 star ships, they were also of the opinion Silversea is not keeping up, and I think it's needing a complete rethink, was thinking of booking the new ship but not now, will give others a go. So disappointed. Shows on board exactly the same as last time, just the faces have changed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
There were many positives about this cruise. First was the fellow passengers. We had so much fun with the Brits we met. (We are American and this particular cruise was probably 75% Brits.) There were no children on this Panama Canal ... Read More
There were many positives about this cruise. First was the fellow passengers. We had so much fun with the Brits we met. (We are American and this particular cruise was probably 75% Brits.) There were no children on this Panama Canal cruise. That was a positive for us and this particular itinerary. Kids would have been bored. We weren't. Although we skirted the storm Otto, we still made every port and thoroughly enjoyed the Panama Canal crossing in the rain. (How much rain? A cabin on our deck, below the observation level, flooded!) And a tip for those taking the panama canal cruise east to west -- Florida to California -- get a cabin on the port( left) side, much more to see. Now the negative: the smoking. This luxury line and I believe Seabourn appear to cater to smokers, who appear to be European. Silversea allows smoking on one whole side of the outdoor dining by the pool. That means at night eating under the stars could be lovely until smoke wafts around you. That happened to us the first night. Yes you can ask for the side which has non-smoking but it was always jammed. The same happened for luncheons outside where the man next to us was blowing cigar smoke in our faces. And for breakfast, they allow smoking on the outdoor area behind the restaurant, so forget eating breakfast outside. Smoking and food do not mix. This was a big turnoff for us. Also the dinner menu was so gourmet, few knew what they were eating. Europeans seemed to love the puzzle. We Americans could do with a bit more comfort food. These two issues make us question whether to take Silversea again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We love to cruise with Silversea, so far I only cruised on Silver Spirit, my partner has been on Whisper before. As soon as we embark is like being back home. Loved the ship, maybe just a bit 2 small for me & missed some of the ... Read More
We love to cruise with Silversea, so far I only cruised on Silver Spirit, my partner has been on Whisper before. As soon as we embark is like being back home. Loved the ship, maybe just a bit 2 small for me & missed some of the extras available on the Spirit. Amazing suite good size, always clean by super friendly staff. The pool area very relaxing. The restaurant staff were amazing, we were just a bit disappointed with the cuisine & chef of the main restaurant the menu choices didn't vary much, veal & salmon were nearly always on the menu. The the staff in the restaraunt always looked after us, good wine selection & also to mention that Silversea doesn't force to seat with other people, every night we got a table for 2 but we previously also booked every evening. The speciality restaurant were very good, Le Champagne bring outstanding. The entertainment was not good, the shows were very disappointing. The only show were enjoyed was the show by the Cruise Director Vicky, apart from being an amazing Cruise Director she truly is a stunning performer, her 1 woman show was raw full of emotion & one of the highlights of our cruise. The artist on the bar was also very good. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
My wife and I took our first Silversea cruise exactly a year ago: a ten-night western Caribbean cruise on the Cloud. We enjoyed it greatly, but felt that the Cloud was a bit too small (296 passenger capacity), a bit too old (1994), and a ... Read More
My wife and I took our first Silversea cruise exactly a year ago: a ten-night western Caribbean cruise on the Cloud. We enjoyed it greatly, but felt that the Cloud was a bit too small (296 passenger capacity), a bit too old (1994), and a bit too quirky (some strange public-area design elements, such as no men's room on the deck where the main restaurant and Le Champagne are located; you have to go up a flight, and then have to look all over the place to find it). So, while on that cruise, we booked this one, on Silversea's newest (2009) and largest (540 passenger capacity) ship, hoping that the ship itself would be better but without sacrificing the things we loved about the Cloud, notably the high-quality cuisine and the restaurant, bar, and housekeeping service. We weren't disappointed. The Spirit is a more modern, better-designed ship than the Cloud. I'm hardly an expert on interior design, but even I could tell that the Spirit has a brighter look to it, both in the colors chosen for the public areas and in the amount of natural light that comes through. The cabins on the Spirit are somewhat bigger than on the Cloud, and nicely furnished, with ample closet space for a cruise of this length (and probably for a longer one, too). My wife took advantage of the deep, full-length bathtub, which is separate from the relatively roomy shower. The only area in which the Spirit came up short was---oddly enough---the coffee served at breakfast. It was weak and tasteless. I say "oddly" because Silversea is an Italian-owned cruise line that supposedly uses the highly-regarded Italian coffee brand, Illy. They may be using it, but they're not using enough of it. As I say, it was weak, but the espresso (which I quickly turned to as a substitute) was perfectly good. Go figure. Otherwise, the food in all the venues was of a very high standard. Although here and there a server lacked polish, the overall dining room service standards were excellent, and a few of the servers were among the best we've had anywhere---land or sea. I should point out that fifteen of our seventeen dinners were in the main dining room, one in the Stars supper club, and one in the Terrazza Italian restarant. We enjoyed the latter two dining venues, but we liked the main dining room so much we wound up going back again and again. (And because we frequently dined with other people we met at the bar before dinner, it was much easier to eat in the no-reservation-needed main restaurant). We only had room service once, for breakfast, and it was fine. For breakfast and lunch we ate almost exclusively at the buffet in La Terrazza (for which you DON'T need a reservation at lunch or dinner). On "lesser" ships, we usually avoid buffets like the plague, but on the Spirit the buffets were inviting, appealing, and efficient (no lines). The enrichment lectures were outstanding, particularly those given by Georgetown professor and former Ambassador Andy Steigman. We saw some, but not all, of the entertainers. Of the ones we saw, the best were Pete Neighbour (world-class clarinetist, who did two wonderful shows), and Garth (pianist) and Helene (singer) who play each night in Stars. Finally, I'll mention that the gym, although decently equipped, is on the small side, and can get crowded on sea days. However, there's a fairly large outdoor area directly off the gym that has plenty of mats and can be used by anyone for stretching, yoga, etc. when the area isn't being used for classes. All-in-all, a very nice cruise. Although we're curious to see what the new Seabourn ships are like (we last sailed with them way back in 2000), Silversea remains, in our opinion, the one to beat in the luxury-cruise category. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We are a retired couple in our late 50s and choose itineraries offering a mix of ports and sea days. With this in mind we tend to judge our cruise experience by whether the ship itself offers us the mix of food, facilities and comfort we ... Read More
We are a retired couple in our late 50s and choose itineraries offering a mix of ports and sea days. With this in mind we tend to judge our cruise experience by whether the ship itself offers us the mix of food, facilities and comfort we seek rather than by ports visited. On this cruise we were accompanied by my sister-in-law and her husband who are a couple of years older and had never cruised before. Silversea offered them a 5% Venetian saving as ''Friends of the Venetian Society'' - that is they were sailing with Venetian members (us!) and profited from the Venetian saving. Having flown into Miami the previous day and stayed overnight at the Ritz-Carlton we boarded the Spirit around 1pm and, as usual, the procedure was quick and painless allowing us to take lunch in La Terrazza. This was our third cruise on the Spirit and it was gratifiying to be welcomed back on board by several crew members whom we knew from previous cruises. After lunch we were shown to our suite, 411, a Vista on deck 4 right next to, but not connecting with, suite 409 which housed the in-laws. We always choose Vista because: a. we never use the balcony; b. we're rarely in it except to sleep; c. cost. Several Silversea old-timers are not greatly enamoured of the Spirit and a scan of the reviews will illuminate their views. For us, however? Well, we rather like it because of its modernity and choice of dining venues. Compared to the Shadow and Spirit it benefits from 2 extra restaurants. In general the ship is in very good condition and only the most curmudgeonly would find signs of wear and tear about which to complain. We are not really interested in organised activities or entertainment so this reviw will skip those points except to say that if you are ever on an SS ship where Cruise Director Moss Hills gives one of his stage performances then GO! Not only is Moss an excellent Cruise Director, he is also a gifted musician, singer and all-round good chap. I think our favourite aspect of the SS experience is the crew. Without exception we found the crew accommodating, welcoming and keen to provide a good service. A few examples: 1. B-i-l and I liked to sit out on Deck 9 aft (adjacent to the panorama lounge) for a read and a smoke. Within a few seconds the panorama barman would bring us each a drink - after the first couple of days he remembered our choices and quietly made sure we never went thirsty! 2. After dinner the 4 of us would retire to the Connoisseurs' lounge - upon arrival the dedicated steward would disappear and return within a minute or so with our usual round of post-dinner drinks and coffee. 3. Our butler became intuitive to our needs to the point where he seemed to know what we wanted before we did. I could go on but you get the idea. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty: Dining Now we all 4 like our food, but we have very different tastes and requirements from one who will eat anything (and I mean anything), to one who is extremely picky. Bearing this in mind it is outstanding that SS fed us 3 times (or more) a day and satisfied each of us. We found the food to be excellent, the choice of wines suited us very well - indeed, the sommelier would often suggest something other than the chosen wine for a meal because he came to know our tastes. The one thing I might criticise is the selection of dessert wines - they have a choice of 3 free-pour dessert wines, none of which were to my taste. I know this is a very personal thing but a decent Sauternes would have been heavenly. They do, however, have a very acceptable Tokai on the wine list for $90 or so and it is, in my view, worth every cent. Main Dining Room. This is a very elegant room with a formal feel. The wait staff are very attentive without being overbearing and the Maitre d' ran a tight ship. We knew the chap from earlier cruises as we did a particular waiter so were always seated at a table covered by that waiter. For dinner one just turns up between 7 and 9.30 pm and chooses a suitably sized table (although a group of 8 or more might be well-advised to clear this with the Maitre d' earlier in the day). Food is too personal to discuss at length other than to say that at no time did we receive anything that wasn't properly prepared and presented. The quality of ingredients was very good and we found the dinner menus to be imaginative and varied. There has been criticism that ''Gourmet Burgers'' are offered on the menu. I have no problem with this as eating them is not compulsory and they are very popular. Eating breakfast or lunch in the MDR is a very elegant, if rather lonely, experience. Breakfast in particular is a very quiet time as most people seem to head for the buffet in La Terrazza. We rather like it at such times and there is someting a bit more special about having one's bowl of muesli delivered by a smiling waiter. No reservations are needed for dinner La Terrazza Slow food. Eh? Yes, slow food. I think by that they mean that the meal is taken in an unhurried fashion with time between courses to chat, sip wine and generally treat the affair as a sociable, European-style experience rather than a refuelling-as-fast-as-possible exercise. The menu has a strong Italian theme but, dare I say it, with more than a nod to the Big Country on the left of the Atlantic. It works. Again, good quality ingredients carefully prepared and served by charming wait-staff (and again, a favourite waitress from a previous cruise kept us well fed and watered). Good ambiance, too. La Terrazza serves as a breakfast and lunch venue with a very extensive buffet. A few items need to be specially ordered - pizza, eggs - but you'd need to be very fussy not to find something to eat here! Notwithstanding the buffet nature of these meals, the staff still attend table to serve drinks or respond to requests. Reservations required for dinner. Pool Grill The pool grill serves lunch very much of the hot dog and fries, light salad, pasta fashion. It does the job but could hardly be described as fine dining. They also set up a buffet style lunch here from time to time that tends to follow a theme. It's OK if that's what you like. In the evening, however, the grill becomes ''Hot Rocks'' where a superheated stone is placed in front of each diner and the food is cooked on that by the diner. The choice is between steak, giant prawns, veal, pork (or all of the above if you are gastrically commodious). Fries, onion rings etc and salads can be ordered as accompaniments. I don't like this venue yet the other 3 of our group loved it. I'd give it 2 stars, they would give it five. Shows how little I know! Stars Stars is a supper club serving a six-course menu, each course consisting of 3 very small tasters, to the accompaniment of a very talented jazz singer. Now, we love this venue and because the menu changes every 4 days we go every fourth day. Dinner starts a little later than the other venues (8.00) and the whole meal needs to be taken slowly. Those that wish to go to the show at 10.15 would be ill-advised to dine here. We never go to the shows and are quite happy spending 2 or 3 hours being overly-well provided with impeccable comestibles. Reservations needed Seishin Japanese food. Not for me. We had one lunch, the other 3 loved it, I really, really didn't. According to others we spoke to the quality of the food is very good - I guess if you like dead fish and sticky rice it probably is. That's unfair because there is quite a variety on the menu. And the setting is very cool. This venue is no charge or reservation at lunchtime but carries a $40 dollar per diner charge in the evening when reservations are needed. Champagne $40 per diner charge, reservations needed, dinner only. Didn't eat there. That was quick, wasn't it? Suite Suite 411 is fine. As much space and the same facilities as a veranda suite but without a, er, veranda. We found the furnishings and facilities to be in very good condition and the suite was maintained impeccably by our room steward. The wardrobe area is easily large enough even for OH's clothing storage requirements. And the bathroom has a seperate bath and shower. Yippee. (And 2 basins but I've never found I've needed more than one at once although it does mean that you and your partner can get it on with a bit of stereo toothbrushing.) Each suite has a butler but the butler serves several suites. Quite how he always managed to be available when we wanted him remains a mystery. From looking after the minibar to getting our tax-free smokes, making reservations, serving breakfast or whatever he never put a foot wrong. Best of all, he never called on us - on another line we had a room steward who would call every now and then to see if we needed anything. At my age I can ask and prefer to be left alone. I find the TV screens in the mirrors quite fun and once you've learned that the remote control sensor is in the grill under the mirror there are no problems with the system. The in-laws couldn't get their's to work but that was because of all the stuff arranged on the shelf in front of the grill. Stuff moved, TV worked. QED. There is an extensive selection of on-demand films for a quiet night in. Shore excursions. Always a contentious issue: pay for a ship's tour or arrange privately? We opted for ship's tours in Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala largely because we had onboard credit to use, we knew nothing about these countries and we had some security concerns (ill-founded, as it happens). On the other hand we went alone in Key West and at the 2 Mexican ports of Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas. Had we known that Acapulco is the fourth most dangerous city in the world we'd not have ambled around the place in such a blase fashion - I suppose the number of paramilitary armed police around the place should have warned us. I'm from Belfast - it was quite nostalgic! Of course, the highlight of the trip was the Panama Canal passage. This took almost all day starting at dawn and was an awesome experience made all the better by having staff on the observation deck keeping us refreshed with drinks, hors d'oeuvres and cold handtowels. I think this probably rates as one of those ''10 things to do before you die'' things. So how would I summarise this cruise? It was what we expected. SS suits us and our needs and the Spirit is our preferred SS ship (we have sailed also on the Whisper and Shadow and will be taking the Wind next year). Is it cheap? No. Is it good value? Definitely Yes. We spent the 2 nights after leaving the ship in the Beverley Hills Four Seasons and when you add in the food and drinks that was at least twice as expensive per night as the cruise and it didn't even go to another country. So could I mark down the score to less than 5 stars? Erm, in all conscience, no. But what suits one person isn't necessarily going to suit someone else. If you want big, professional shows, hideously glitzy decor, holiday camp activities, regimented dining and like standing in line for everything then you need to go elsewhere. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We toured Central America with exotic ports such as Belize or Trujillo, Honduras which is the advantage of a small ship. All in all the ship was excellent the only real flaw being Le Champagne. Apart from the freely offered caviar we did ... Read More
We toured Central America with exotic ports such as Belize or Trujillo, Honduras which is the advantage of a small ship. All in all the ship was excellent the only real flaw being Le Champagne. Apart from the freely offered caviar we did not find out what the surcharge was for - the food being inferior to the normal restaurant. Otherwise food was great and if you didn't favour the wine offered the sommelier was quick in suggesting another one. One has to bear in mind that the ship is despite its name not an American ship so if you look for perfect burgers or hotdogs this is not the place to go. Instead you get great European food which may be one of the reasons you find many non-US citizens on board. Excursions are expensive and we were more than disappointed by the Everglades tour . Service is outstanding - our thanks go especially to the Asian crew members. They made us feel totally at home.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Just got back from 18 nights aboard the Silver Shadow. I had to write this review after reading other reviews. We enjoyed every aspect of our cruise. There is always room for improvement but none that got in the way of our enjoyment. We ... Read More
Just got back from 18 nights aboard the Silver Shadow. I had to write this review after reading other reviews. We enjoyed every aspect of our cruise. There is always room for improvement but none that got in the way of our enjoyment. We had a two bedroom suite on deck 7. Our butler was always available and attentive to our needs. We are in our 60's and traveled with our son and wife who are both 28. We all have over 50 days on Silver Seas and cruise frequently. We enjoy all level of cruises from Carnival to Regent/Silver Seas. The staff on board is what always brings us back to Silver Seas. After reading other peoples post it makes you think how some people thing they are holy. First 8 days of our trip the boutique and main hall way was closed and numerous people complained that they couldn't believe they would do that while guest where on board. It was actually fun to see the progress and couldn't believe how efficient the trades men where. Big upgrade was made to the boutique on board. But people always find ways to complain. We always over hear people being negative. We just concluded that these people have nothing better to do besides complain and not appreciate the fact that they are capable of being on a luxury cruise ship exploring the world. Also overhear people saying that they are going to complain to try and get money off. Its ridiculous and makes you laugh internally. Little about our trip. We arrived at Port Everglades and was on board within 10 minutes. Our room was in 701-703. Nice 2 bedroom suite with all the amenities. We had a nice bar in our room and a large living room area. We where going to bring our grand child but decided not too because we where worried what people on board would say but have decided we are bringing him next time. Stopped in Key West, Colon, transit the Panama Canal, Manta Ecuador, Trujillo Peru, Lima Peru, Pisco Peru, Arica Chile, and Santiago Chile. We got off in Trujillo and has set up our own tour to Machu Picchu. First we flew to Lima and connected on to a flight to Cusco. Stayed at the JW Marriot for two nights and did a full day trip to Machi Picchu. AMAZING!!! We then flew to Lima and rejoined the ship. We also enjoyed Manta and Pisco. Also the internet was great! Best internet onboard any cruise line and only $18 a day for unlimited use. We where able to facetime our grandson back home. Anyways we had an amazing trip and there is nothing that should stop you from sailing Silver Seas. If you want Broadway shows go to NYC, not the Pacific Ocean. The only thing that we thought needs an upgrade is the workout room. It is nice but the equipment is getting old. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
This was our second cruise on Silversea, the first one was 10 years ago on a smaller ship. We had enjoyed that one and thought to return to the line after several great cruises on Crystal. We will not cruise Silversea again, I'm sorry ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Silversea, the first one was 10 years ago on a smaller ship. We had enjoyed that one and thought to return to the line after several great cruises on Crystal. We will not cruise Silversea again, I'm sorry to say. Things we liked: Cabins are wonderful, large, well-laid out and very clean. Public spaces are comfortable and very accessible. Pool area is inviting, well-serviced, comfortable. Le Champagne restaurant was delightful and food was very good. Worth the extra charge. Things we didn't like: Food was good but repetitive and dull. Dessert menu, which was largely ice cream, did not change during almost 3 weeks of travel. Always the same. Enrichment speakers, with one exception, were second rate. A community college professor (Latin American history) and a retired dean from a small college in Minnesota, who spoke on national security. Neither were particularly well known or accomplished in their fields. No destination speakers to prepare us for visits to interesting countries and sites. Particularly missing since this was sold as a trip thru the Panama Canal was anyone who could give history, context and future plans about the canal. During the transit, Canal staff was on board and did a good job of pointing out sites as we passed but little history. The lack of good speakers was especially problematic in that nothing else was substituted for activities. You know you are in trouble when "Footprint Analysis" is the only listed afternoon event on the program for 6 of the sea days. I note that passengers on the subsequent cruise reported that the ship chose not to show the Super Bowl due to cost. We were told the same thing when a group of us asked if the ship might broadcast the NFL playoff games. Can't afford it, the CD said. Entertainment was fine, especially the resident group of Silversea Artists. However, no effort to capture the local flavor or Latin american vibe of the trip with entertainers from the areas visited. In Summary, the trip seemed like a 3 week stay in a well-decorated but pretty dull country club, which could have been located anywhere in the country. No feeling of the areas visited. No sense of excitement or vitality. Certainly the larger than usual number of sea days added to the challenge but also created opportunities to add interest to the enterprise. I should note that we were not the only passengers who were disappointed in the trip as there seemed to be a continuing undercurrent of conversation about shortcomings of the trip among many first or second time cruisers. Most agreed with us that it was a pretty ordinary event and did not reflect value for the very high cost.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
I would give this cruise 4 out of 5 stars. The staff was great, wonderful attitude an service. Thought the charge of 256$ for internet a little excessive. My only complaint is that the food quality was very good. For a long cruise the ... Read More
I would give this cruise 4 out of 5 stars. The staff was great, wonderful attitude an service. Thought the charge of 256$ for internet a little excessive. My only complaint is that the food quality was very good. For a long cruise the variation was like going at home to the same restaurant and menu every night. Example of the service-one of the restaurants serves tapos type stuff and have 5 fixed course each with 3 tiny servings with a tiny fork. I told the head waiter that there was nothing I wanted to eat with that tiny doll like fork. Most of the food was gourmet (not my cup of tea) and the head waiter said and did fix me all kinds of stuff not on the menu. Although I did not like that restaurant, the waiter could not have been more accommodating to satisfy me. I think the philosophy is European regarding food and we look more to the American type of variation. Overall did enjoy enough to rebook another cruise next year. For a small ship, I thought the entertainment level was better then I expected You got to know the waiters and when my wife and I would go to something like Trivia-the waiter would have our drinks in hand before we sat down. At the bar before dinner, the waiter would also have what we liked before we set down. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Upon trying to speak to representatives of the cruise line about the situation, first they ignored my calls, then they said that they were never contacted by me or anyone else on the cruise. Then, when I contacted the credit card company, ... Read More
Upon trying to speak to representatives of the cruise line about the situation, first they ignored my calls, then they said that they were never contacted by me or anyone else on the cruise. Then, when I contacted the credit card company, someone emailed me to say that they don't make any decisions, but they see that a cruise credit was offered for a future cruise to a list of passengers, including me. They just continue to give the run around and have not yet attempted to make this right. This cruise was so much worse than even the cruises I took when I was in college. The issues began right from the very beginning. We were told to get out of the Westin hotel vehicle and walk with all our large suitcases and kids for about 60 ft on rocky ground, with absolutely no staff from the cruise line to help or guide us. The only way to get to the ship was by the shuttle that was standing there. We loaded all of the suitcases and got in the shuttle, whose engine was off and no air conditioning in 90+ degree weather. After we had about 20 people on the shuttle and had been baking there, I started getting a headache and asked if we could be taken to the ship. They would not. We remained there for another 20-30 minutes until I almost passed out. When we finally arrived at the ship, the crew just said that they were getting a lot of complaints same without any attempt to improve the situation. The next day, I remained so sick with such a severe headache, I even went to the ship medical office. It took me two full days to feel better after that. Obviously it must have been overheating to embark on the cruise. After the first excursion we took, we were all starving and excited to get back on the ship to enjoy some food. We were a big group and were told that the only place on the ship we could get food at the time was in our room. Being a large group we obviously wanted to dine together and discuss what we had seen over the day. There weren't even any appetizers we could munch on with waiting for dinner. It was exceptionally unpleasant to all split apart and go to our own rooms just to have a quick bite after an excursion. This occurred for every stop/excursion. The main destination that we were excited to see on this voyage was Costa Rica. Not only did we book an excursion through this ship, but we also booked a private tour, which we paid for, because there are so many animal activities available there that we researched prior to the cruise. Unfortunately the weather did not allow us to stop at the port. But instead of accommodating the passengers with something in its place or additional activities of some sort, we were just stuck on the ship for all the additional days, unable to get off. During that time, the ship ran out of virtually all the fruit that we were eating including mango, papaya, berries, bananas, etc. As the days went on, they continued to run out of food In terms of food, although the staff in the main dining room were very accommodating since my husband has a very serious food allergy, the rest of the ship was not as careful. In fact, he became very ill on 3 different occasions after eating at some of the other food places. As far as service, again you had a number of individuals who were excellent and provided excellent service, notably George and dinner staff in the main dining room and the Sommelier. But other areas were really lacking. Virtually every morning that we ate breakfast, not in the main dining room, we received the cappuccinos that we ordered upon arrival to the restaurant after we had already completed our breakfast. And twice we were told that they were unable to make cappuccinos, because they were testing something on the ship. During our many days at sea, when we did not have a chance to get off the ship because we had missed our main port, we wanted to be a little bit active. The swimming pool was drained out one of the days and unable to be used. And the ping-pong table which was the only other activity that was available was supposedly broken and could not be fixed, in spite of having maintenance staff. So we asked if they could at least put a board up and a net so we could play some ping-pong at least. The answer was no. Since we were at a fairly active bunch of people, these multiple unexpected days at sea were excruciating. The entertainment was really amateur compared to other ships that we have traveled on. Since our group was typically half of the people up in the disco area, by the third night of the exact same set of songs, we asked if he could play some other songs. Our kids set up a second playlist for the "Dj." So for the rest of the cruise, he would go back and forth between the two playlists. On a luxury cruise like this, any one of these issues would be unlikely, but to have all of them is really bad. All in all, this was the worst cruise we have ever taken and we have cruised multiple lines many times. Problems can happen, but the difference is how they are handled. If you have any problem, do not expect anything whatsoever in terms of service from Silversea. No one from our group will ever travel Silversea again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
I requested a refund for the cruise we just took on 12/20/2014 - 1/7/2015. Silversea clearly cheated their naive customers, who paid for the 6-star cruise but received a 2-star experience at best. - The food was terrible, and they ran ... Read More
I requested a refund for the cruise we just took on 12/20/2014 - 1/7/2015. Silversea clearly cheated their naive customers, who paid for the 6-star cruise but received a 2-star experience at best. - The food was terrible, and they ran out of even of that in the end. There were hardly any fruit, stale nuts and terrible frozen fish. -The TV was not working properly. - The new in-residence entertainment team was inexperienced, vulgar with no singing talent. - No aerobic classes or instructor for the first half of the cruise - some passengers complained about dirty carpets and leaking windows Every single passenger complained about this and more. A shameless rip-off by Silversea Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
We have been sailing on Silversea since 1995 and have over 240 days on board all of its ships. While the line is not what it once was--the food is nowhere near as good and the amenities of caviar, decent champagne upon arrival, and access ... Read More
We have been sailing on Silversea since 1995 and have over 240 days on board all of its ships. While the line is not what it once was--the food is nowhere near as good and the amenities of caviar, decent champagne upon arrival, and access to a full range of call brand liquor, and special Silversea adventures on each cruise are no longer available at no charge to all--we still enjoy the line. From time to time, we have had problems, most of which have been equitably resolved, sometimes without our even asking for help. On the positive side, I never have traveled on a ship with better butler or housekeeping services than we experienced on this occasion. The wait staff was extraordinarily competent. When we complained on our passenger survey and asked to speak to the Hotel Manager about the matters mentioned below, he visited us in our suite, listened to us with respect, offered us a complementary dinner at the fanciest restaurant on board, and promised to let "Fort Lauderdale" know about all of our input, both positive and negative, via the form. I thanked him for his courtesy and told him that I would wait for a response from Fort Lauderdale before complaining on the record on line. We debarked on March 13, and as of today, April 24, we have heard nothing from Fort Lauderdale except advertisements for additional cruises. And so it was with absolute shock that we emerged from the Valparaiso-Ft. Lauderdale trip with a very bad feeling about the line's devotion to its customers. In our years with Silversea, we have taken trips of several segments in length, and we have had accommodations ranging from the Grand Suite to the Silver Suite to the Veranda Suite. We always have been nicely treated, regardless of how long we sailed or what type of room we rented. We never have experienced the bald-faced fawning over passengers who are traveling for more than one segment that we experienced on this cruise. We never have seen such obvious preferential treatment for people who are traveling on more than one segment. Friends have told us that they never will travel on a Silversea long-term cruise again (such as World or Discovery), because there is cliquishness and exclusivity in the air. We had never noticed this before. On this trip, it stared us in the face. We often were with friends who received these services and conveniences that were offered only to them as we looked on. Officers and senior managers singled out people with whom we were dining for special privileges and meals that were not offered to us or others who had not traveled since the cruise began. They actually ignored us while planning special events for these people at the restaurant. One watched while someone pointed to us and said to the restaurant manager, "Not for them. They're not in our party that night." We were told by longer-term passengers about options for meals in La Terraza that are available upon request--but they weren't when we requested them. We watched our friends who had been on board from the beginning of the cruise angle for delivery of prizes to their suites, rather than having to stand in line as everyone else was directed to do. The provisioning on this trip was pitiful. Despite advertising premium foods and beverages, the ship ran out of Pellegrino a few days into the cruise segment; never had Heinekin beer; never had a California Chardonnay; only served broccoli that was half yellow; served fish so smelly and meatballs so dry at the Terraza luncheon that we asked the dining room manager to return them (and he came back to us and said the chef agreed and was remaking the dishes). Venetian Society members--those who have sailed with Silversea before--always are invited to dine with officers and executive crew on their next cruise. We never were invited to do so by any of these people. Our friends who had been on longer were invited several times while we were on board. Despite the lavish accolades printed and spoken by senior staff about how valuable Venetian Society members are to Silversea, apparently passengers who book multiple segments--even those who have fewer total days on Silversea than other Venetian Society members onboard--are even more valuable. We were very disappointed at the poor food and drink and the way we were treated on board during this $1000 plus per person per day vacation. There are an awful lot of other opportunities to obtain more value for that amount of money from gracious travel hosts. We hope that Silversea will some day make this right. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
SHIP  100 Passenger with a crew of 70, recently refurbished during a quick two week wet dock. Ship looks tired and miss kept with rust showing on many parts, broken stair parts, brass parts not shined left to turn green, holes in the ... Read More
SHIP  100 Passenger with a crew of 70, recently refurbished during a quick two week wet dock. Ship looks tired and miss kept with rust showing on many parts, broken stair parts, brass parts not shined left to turn green, holes in the ceilings in public areas, falling down light fixtures, flooring coming lose inside hallways and decking missing out on exterior decks. Just basically a tired 1980’s looking ship interior, with some cool looking exhaust stacks; shaped like two small wings on top of the ship. Don’t get me wrong, lots of major items were done with new navigation equipment, new kitchens, moving hot tubs and building new spa and workout rooms. It still displays brass plaques in guest rooms with the "Galapagos Explorer II” name. Even your closing bill with be on Galapagos Explorer stationary. Currently Silversea does not have full control of the ship till after the first of the 2014 to clear out pre-booked passengers form the previous owners (getting rid of the three and four day cruises). Newly added spa and workout area on deck 6 look great but you won’t find anyone in them due the nature and time restrictions of this voyage. Other public areas got new furniture and trimmings. They look dis-jointed compare to the rest of the ageing ship. Workers onboard are welding, stripping varnishing, sanding, painting and upgrading while cruising. Definitely a work in progress. Silversea branding could suffer for a while till a scheduled one month dry dock is done, this September 2014 at a Panama port. Some sales brochures and onboard paperwork is miss-printed, so don’t be surprised if things are not what you’re expecting, be calm it all works out in the end. Later on after a few days in the cruise you dismiss these first perceptions as the crew and Galapagos islands win you over and you recognize you’re on an expedition type ship. Lecture time is a little different being in the meeting room with the entire ships guests, just shows you how small this new community is. This closeness adds comrade and you soon have lots of new friends… EMBARK & SHIP GREETING A little relaxed and subdued, You wait at the airport in a waiting room with light refreshments till the buses are ready to drive you down to the dock. A zodiac will take you to the ship and there you will have lunch then go settle in to your room after 1:30 PM. No taking your picture, running your credit card or collecting your passport. All you need is the preprinted boarding card; they handed us a day before we even got to the Galapagos island. Without the initial picture taking process it makes it a little harder for the crew to recognize you, but they will try. ROOMS Rooms are very basic, not what you would anticipate for a Silversea ship. All the usual amenities: robes, shampoo, conditioner, cotton balls, hand dryers, two pairs of 10x50 binoculars and two drawers with a keyed lock. Rooms have a strange plastic key with holes in it and ship is very leery you will lose a key causing them to replace the entire door hardware. Walking sticks are located on deck 3 if you need them. Some rooms have espresso machines. Heating and cooling is done with a wall hung fan-coil that works well. Rooms do not have irons or ironing boards. Cabin upgrades done recently are replaced carpeting, mattress, bedding, room entertainment system, drapes and complete re-do of the bathrooms. Other than the new bathrooms, rooms look old and out dated, expect them to finish things in the next dry September 2014. MONEY American dollars are used everywhere in Peru and Ecuador. At the time of this wiring it was a 2.7 exchange rate for Peru and one to one in Ecuador (American dollar in national currency in Ecuador). Note  bills used in Peru need to have no tares or pieces missing. (in good ATM condition) SHORE EXCURSIONS  PRE-CRUISE - Abercrombie and Kent combined with Acorn tours do a great job on meeting you and taking care of all your needs. On the Machu Picchu four day trip, be prepared for a 3:30 AM hotel pick-up in Lima, going to the airport for a flight out to Cusco. On your train ride down the mountain, be careful, train cars rocks back and forth, so moving around the train could be a problem. Keep your eyes peeled for seeing lots of smaller Inca ruins along the way down to Machu Picchu. Staying at the Sanctuary hotel overnight is great way to add extra time in the park and be prepared to keep your patio door open to regulate room temperature (no AC but there are screens on the patio door). Sanctuary hotel rooms are nothing to write home about but; Silversea picking up the tab on breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and drinks, surely makes up for it. In the dining room you will receive with the current chef, sample tasting items and food brought out would get, a one, possibly two Michelin stars. Skip desert, pastry chef needs a lot of work. Be mindful the dry season in Machu Picchu is May through September. Have a poncho or rain gear to keep dry for sudden rain showers in the wet season. Be prepared for it to be very crowded and over commercialized, just let the guide show you around and you will soon forget about the crowds. After a nice buffet lunch, take the train ride up the mountain and a car ride to Cusco, arriving in the late afternoon. (Oxygen is available on the train and in the hotel room) Hotel in Cusco "Monasterio” is an old monastery and would have loved to explore the hotel and a very cute town square, but you get in so late in the afternoon and leave the hotel at 5AM. Just not enough time, missing a lot to do there… Note- hotel Monasterio does not have AC, no screens on the windows and no curtains. Hotel in Quito was the Hilton and had excellent accommodations but still no time to explore with a late arrival and a 6AM hotel departure out to the Galapagos. We were the only two people on the Pre-cruise excursion and that didn’t stop Silversea and A&K Tour, from going over the top to make sure everything was meeting your expectations. So many people are helping in every way, you will need a fist full of $10.00 an $20:00 dollar bills for tipping to A&K drivers, guides and bellmen. Speaking of money; the American dollar is king, you will need not carry any local currency and English is spoken everywhere we went. CRUISE EXCURSIONS  All land excursions, kayaks, glass bottom boat rides and snorkeling are included. At the beginning of the week you will check out your wetsuits for the duration of the voyage (they come long and short legged versions in all sizes) fins and mask. Lots of areas on the islands you are climbing or walking on irregular lava rocks and will need to be limber and agile. Walks are sometimes long in distance but the walking is very slow. Some hikes have alternate short and long versions for you to select. Most days have a morning and afternoon excursion and you can select a shorter route or skipping one altogether. After snorkeling you are greeted with a towel and a hot chocolate drink. Islands have a wet season (Dec-May) and a dry season. Terrain will become a lot greener during the wet season. By ”wet season” it does not mean lots of rain but fog and drizzle. Some months are better for bird hatching and mating; wetter months are greener with lots of bugs, so pick you poison (so to speak). Your guides are all locally grown and have backgrounds in biology with university degrees. They are full of valuable information and make-up most of the days pleasurable experiences. So, stay close to the guides and you will get the most out of it and learn a plethora of new information. Photography Notes (most animals will only be between 6’ to 12’ away from you other than some birds, which could be up to 150 yards away. Most all will be posing nice and still. Bring underwater camera, UV and polarizing filters if you got them) ALCOHOL  Two bottles of distilled spirits (what you would find in a normal bar but selection limited due to this small ship size) or house wines, will be delivered to your room at no cost with all soft drinks and or mixes. Don’t’ count on any great selection of beer or wines; they just are not on this ship. BUTLER SERVICE  No traditional suits with tails in this part of the world, letting them dress casual during the day and black vest during the evening. They are eager to please and really trying hard to make your stay as comfortable as possible. They were still in training and confused about included items at the time of this writing. (we think the problem might be that there are many guests onboard that booked with the old ship long ago that everything was an extra charge. Silversea needs to deal with this till early 2014) HOUSE KEEPING  The job gets done but not to the standards of detail and deep cleaning one would expect on high end hotels. Cleaning in done sloppily and sporadic even requiring the butlers to make beds but hopefully things will get better as training continues. It may be a losing battle due to the national park assigns the labor force for the ship to use regardless of their requests. WIFI  A charge of $30.00 per day, per device or $140.00 per week. What you do is log on from your device and create an account charging your room, click on the appropriate browser you normally use and fill in the blanks. We tested to see if only one device can connect at a time and found we got up to three devices working on one account at the same time. Also Skype works as of this time. I know this differs from the printed publication but that’s the way it was on Nov 9th, 2013. Be careful WIFI has dead spots in some public areas. IN ROOM ENTERTAINMENT  A fancy new flat screen and spiffy Sony controllers are installed for movies, TV, music, HBO, photos, alarm clock, internet and Sports. System can be setup in many languages. Looks great but the only thing working at this time is movies on demand. They do have lots of movies and newly released items to choose from (About 80 of them). No newspapers are available but you can log on to Silversea webpage for free if you have a computer to view local or international news. LAUNDRY All the laundry is included in Silver Suites and Venetian members will be at no charge (Pressing is not included). Items left out by 9:00 AM will be done the same day and delivered to your cabin and hung-up in the afternoon, around 6PM. No self-service laundry facilities are on this ship. Laundry pricing for other rooms are s $4:50 to $6:00 for shirts or blouses, $11:00 dresses, $2:00 socks, $2:50 underwear and $3:50 for T-shirts. CASINO/ SALON/ WORKOUT/ LIBRARY & SHIP STORE  CASINO (none) SALON Very nice facility with no advance reservations needed. WORKOUT ROOM " fairly large and with nice equipment but shore excursions will give you ample exercises. STORE - Only a small cabinet behind the reception desk that will have bug spray, sun screen, shaver and just a few other items. LIBRARY- on the honor system, lots of nice book on the eco system at the Galapagos for you to read or take back to your room. No cards or board games available. ENTERTAINMENT None, other than your lecture persons and employees trying to adapt to the new owners. DINNING Everything is scaled down but done nicely other than breakfast. Breakfast is similar to a downtown hotel with a few shaper dishes with bacon and sausage, pancakes, scrambled eggs, cold cuts and an omelet station. Dinners have a rotating menu in the main dining room and lots of seasonal specials on Patio deck. Patio deck has hot rock grilling, something new for Silversea. You cook your own protein the way you like it with a very nice selections of fish and meats. Lunch was the best meal of the day for us, buffet style treats done with Ecuadorian flavors and style. FOOD Best thing is ALL food is fresh, nothing is frozen. Quality is a little better than what you would expect being so restrictive in this park. We were told all food must be local other than some items approved by Ecuadorian government. Beef is not graded in this part of the world and must come from the Galapagos, so don’t be surprised if the meat is a little chewy. If anyone has a food allergy they will go out of their way to eliminate any cross contaminations and prepare something special. CREW Ecuadorians make up most or all of the crew that served the previous ships owners. They are trying to figure out the new standards. They will go way out of their way to help you and attempt to get your every need. Consistently asking if there is anything they can do for you. Shure there are some so-so ones but don’t dwell on them because the local park controls all labor on every ship. TIPPING Naturalist need tipping and found it hard to corner them to provide proper tipping. I guess just wait till the last day and provide them something when you run into them. DISEMBARK & PARTING THOUGHTS  You will have breakfast and disembark starting around 8:00 AM by Zodiac boat out Baltra. Flights on Aerogal leaves at 10:30 AM to Guayaquil arriving at 12:45 PM then continuing on to Quito. Silversea will check-in all your luggage and hand out you boarding passes at the airport. If you booked with Silversea air, they will have a hotel room for you to hang out in, with transportation back to Guayaquil or Quito airport for your flight home in. They hold your hand very well. Our cruise had a blind person and an extremely overweight, out of shape person onboard. Ships staff, boat operators and land tour guides went way out of their way to extend the special experience to all guests. Ship even has a (weight lifter) type person to carry you ashore on wet landing if needed. Being onboard for seven days and having three and four day cruise guests coming and going leaves you a dead day for extra fire alarm drills and new guest welcoming stuff. So you will be shopping for a day…Most likely when it gets out of its month long dry dock (September 2014) this ship should be running on all cylinders. Crew training is to happen on Silversea’s other expedition ship during this same time. Not to say now is not a good time, maybe I was expecting too much too soon, once I got over that the ship was not completely redone things got better straightaway, your experience with staff, food and naturalist is the highlight not the ships current condition. This will not be a vacation or typical sit back cruise. This is an expedition experience, which moves your adrenaline in an exciting way, leaving you with long lasting memories. Guests on this expedition ranged between 55 and 80 years with some having limited mobility. Not much for teenagers to do if they are not super into animals. If you came all this way; you don’t want to miss a single hike, so recommend hitting the stairmaster machine for a few months, prior to this voyage.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
The Silver Explorer is a nice ship with an excellent crew. The food was as good as on other Silversea ships which means it was very good. The service was outstanding. This was the least expensive cabin category and the cabin was more than ... Read More
The Silver Explorer is a nice ship with an excellent crew. The food was as good as on other Silversea ships which means it was very good. The service was outstanding. This was the least expensive cabin category and the cabin was more than adequate. However, it was extremely noisy because of the anchor which took a very long time to raise and because of the extreme noise when engines were reversed. You should avoid the area of the ship that is forward and on a lower deck unless you are prepared to tolerate the noise. That was the only thing wrong with our cabin. Otherwise it was a very good value, very comfortable and the service was outstanding.   We took this cruise mostly because it was transiting the Panama Canal but also to try the Explorer. There are some things you should know. First, this is the rainy season in that part of Central America. That means there is a LOT of rain, sometimes torrential. This made the excursion to the Mogue River and the Embera village much less enjoyable than it would have been. In fact, it was kind of an ordeal. Nevertheless, the expedition leaders made the best of it. They were very helpful. Most trips to shore from this ship are by Zodiac, often with wet landings. You will need shoes that you will be able to continue wearing after they get wet, something like water shoes or well constructed sandals. There were many passengers on this ship who had previously sailed on the Explorer. Most had been to Antarctica and we're anxious for you to know they had been to Antarctica. In any case, these passengers were fiercely loyal to the Explorer. Most passengers were friendly, interesting and enjoyable. However, this is an expensive cruise line so you will be sailing with some wealthy people. Most are nice and unaffected by their wealth but there are a few who are angry ultra conservative types who think they are better than the little people. On a small ship, it can be hard to avoid these snobs. All in all, I liked the Explorer and loved the service but I like the other Silversea ships better. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
Our experience on this newest and largest of Silversea's ships was truly wonderful. Our Silver Suite was a luxury of space and design. Our butler made the trip very pleasant as he was always on hand, seemingly anticipating our ... Read More
Our experience on this newest and largest of Silversea's ships was truly wonderful. Our Silver Suite was a luxury of space and design. Our butler made the trip very pleasant as he was always on hand, seemingly anticipating our needs. The Silver Spirit is larger and somewhat harder to get a handle on than the Whisper/Shadow ships we had sailed on before. The Dining Room seems huge and in a way off-putting by it's size. The Bar is much larger and easy to find a spot in, that's a plus for us. All the other familiar spots are bigger and, in many ways, better. This was our first experience with Hot Rocks, the transformation of the Pool Grill at night. We really enjoyed the under the stars hot rock experience. In fact we enjoyed all our meals: four dinners in the Main Dining Room, four in La Terrazza, four at Hot Rocks, two in Le Champagne, and (of course) the Pool BBQ. Overall, a luxurious pampering experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
My wife and I recently completed our first-ever Silversea cruise. We were aboard the Silver Whisper for its December 20 -- January 5 transit of the Panama Canal. First, and foremost, we had a great time on the cruise. The ship was ... Read More
My wife and I recently completed our first-ever Silversea cruise. We were aboard the Silver Whisper for its December 20 -- January 5 transit of the Panama Canal. First, and foremost, we had a great time on the cruise. The ship was beautiful, clean and in tip-top condition. The Silversea "all suite" accommodations were spacious and well-appointed. We have been on over a dozen cruises, and this was our first cabin with a walk-in closet and bathtub. Our butler, Chan, was terrific . . . always eager to help us and to anticipate our every need. Dining on the Silver Whisper was exceptional. The food, the service and the atmosphere were all superb. We never tried Le Champagne. All the other venues were so good, there was no need to go elsewhere. We really liked the Hot Rocks Grill as a delightful change of pace, especially after we learned that we could pre-order lamb chops. (I wish they had been on the regular Hot Rocks menu.) Sometimes we would dine alone at a table for two, but we also liked how the staff would facilitate putting us with other folks at a larger table if we so desired. We met many new friends that way. Our one less-than-satisfactory breakfast dining experience was on the pool deck. I ordered an omelet from the menu, not realizing it would have to be cooked somewhere else and brought up. It seemed to take forever, and I had to leave before it arrived. We ate breakfast at La Terrazza from then on and it was always wonderful: great variety, selection, quality and service. We really enjoyed and appreciated both the entertainment and the entertainers on Silversea, and I think it's important to distinguish between the two. We never missed a performance and had a great time at each and every one. The "Artists of Silversea" are all very talented. Whether performing together or solo, they were terrific, and the shows high energy and fun. Hyperion is an amazing pianist and his commentary put many things into historical context. But what really stands out in our minds is how down-to-earth, warm and friendly the entertainers were. Kathy and I had many opportunities to sit and talk with each member of the "Artists" group. One night, we damned near closed down the bar while talking with Dustin and Courtney. A few days into the cruise, we were on a first name basis with all of them. And because we liked them so much as people, we appreciated their music and performances even more. The rest of the staff on Silversea was also excellent and they spoiled us terribly. Cherry Mae, Thilu, Shevket, Gilbert, Joseph (the new daddy), and so many others too numerous to name helped make our cruise really special. We and Priscilla hit it off from day one, (maybe it was my Santa Claus hat), and we had a lot of fun together. A few days into the cruise, I asked Don, (the Cruise Director), if there was going to be Karaoke on board. The next night it was on the schedule and I and many others had an opportunity to make fools of ourselves. By the conclusion of the cruise, we had made many new friends, not only with other passengers, but with many of the staff as well. Silversea has done an incredible job finding, hiring, training and retaining its exceptional staff. As much as we liked our overall Silversea experience, there were several things about the cruise that were less than satisfactory. I'll mention three of them. Topping the list are tours and excursions. I expected better quality -- and better quality assurance - on the tours Silversea was offering and promoting. Of the five tours we took, two were okay, one was disappointing, and two left me angry and feeling cheated. Regarding those last two . . . SNA-B, the Eco Walk in Tayrona NP. Our guide, (Andres, I think), spoke poor English and his microphone on the bus didn't work. When we got to Tayrona, he made little effort to control his group, and we got spread out all over the place, not knowing where Andres was or where he wanted us to be. At one point I went exploring some far trail and stumbled upon Andres and three other members of our group talking about stuff that might have been of interest to EVERYONE in our group. Not knowing what to do, half our group wandered back to the bus and sat waiting there for twenty minutes for Andres and everybody else to return. In addition, our bus driver was UNSAFE! On the drive back, he made several incredibly dangerous passes and barely missed clipping another bus. This tour was a waste of time and money and a bit scary as well. HTO-A, Copalita River Kayaking. This was described as a 3 ½ hour tour, but we were back in our cabins in 1 hour 45 minutes. When you figure a thirty minute drive each way to and from the river, plus another half hour getting organized and outfitted, one would expect 1 ½ to 2 hours of actual kayaking. Instead, about 25 minutes after we put into the river, we were getting out . . . our kayaking adventure completed. Now, to be fair, those 25 minutes in the water were quite nice. The river is very pretty and the surroundings are lush. But since I paid for -- and expected to get -- three or four times as much actual kayaking as we got, I felt cheated At the conclusion of each of these tours, I told the tour desk on the Whisper about our experiences. They listened, took notes and expressed regret, but no adjustment of any sort was ever offered or made. Disappointment number two was internet service. Silversea advertises itself as a luxury, all-inclusive experience. I paid $85 for 250 minutes of internet access. That's not a lot of money in comparison to the cost of the cruise, but it's more than "nominal". One reason I take all inclusive cruises is because I don't like to be "nickeled and dimed". In my opinion, Silversea ought to include complimentary internet service in the price of the cruise. Our third, less-than-satisfactory experience from this cruise is not a criticism of Silversea, but rather a matter of personal style and preference. My wife and I simply prefer less formality than is the standard on Silversea. Judging from our one Silversea cruise, most of thier clientele enjoy dressing in tuxedos and gowns. When we travel, however, we prefer to leave the formal clothing at home. This was the first time in over twenty years that I've taken a jacket and tie on a cruise. Now that airlines are penalizing passengers with excess baggage, I'm even less inclined to pack extra suits, tuxedos and shoes.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Once we got off the plane and were greeted by the ground staff at LAX, we knew we were on Silversea! The representative stayed with us until we collected our luggage and then put us in a taxi to take us to the pier, but not before ... Read More
Once we got off the plane and were greeted by the ground staff at LAX, we knew we were on Silversea! The representative stayed with us until we collected our luggage and then put us in a taxi to take us to the pier, but not before reminding us that the fare and the tip were all taken care of. We walked up the gangway and were enthusiastically welcomed with hot towels and champagne. One step over to reception to turn in passports and have our ID photo taken and then we were escorted to our suite. The new Spirit is beautiful. It is modern yet the colors and furnishings are muted and elegant. This is a completely different experience from the other Silversea ships and is a wonderful alternative. We were in a verandah suite and were prepared that it would be "different" from other Silversea ships. Yes, the verandah suite is narrower, the hallway is only wide enough for one person at a time and the staff is challenged to get their large serving trays through, but it is not a negative. The suite itself is roomy and the furnishings are perfectly proportioned to the room. One can't help but get a kick out of the televisions that magically appear from behind the mirrors in the sitting area as well as the sleeping area. There is tons of storage with lots of nooks and crannies. The walk-in closet seems smaller than on other Silversea vessels, but it is certainly adequate. Also in the closet is a "chest of drawers", that is wide and deep as well as a safe. The bathroom is lovely. The marble and wood floors are elegant as is the wood cabinetry. While some miss the double sinks, we love the large vessel sink (we're not in the bathroom at the same time anyway!) There is a full sized tub as well as a large shower with both a conventional hand held shower as well as a rain shower from the ceiling that is absolute heaven. The teak verandah is larger than on other Silversea ships and has two very comfortable chairs that convert to full loungers, two foot stools, and a nice sized table. The bath sheets were fluffy and the bed linens were silky. Our outstanding cabin stewardess, Gemma (the best we have had on any Silversea ship), changed the sheets every day because she didn't like that they wrinkled! We personally preferred the new Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries to the Bulgari and the former Aqua Di Parma. There have been numerous blogs and posts about the "growing pains" endured by past passengers as the Spirit gets its act together. Like anything new, sometimes you don't know what doesn't work until you use it. Unlike those who have sailed before us, we found the Spirit to be absolutely up to par with all the other ships in the fleet. The service has been outstanding, the crew amazing and positive, and the new venues different and fun. The Spirit is different from others in the fleet and how fortunate that we have another choice. We did have a service issue with our butler, but it got resolved on the second day of the cruise. Our butler was new to the ship; he embarked with us in LA. He was a disaster after our first breakfast and we knew this was not going to work. We decided to deal with it immediately, rather than give him a chance to get oriented - after all it was our vacation and we are not here to train him. After 3 incidents of poor service (although he was polite and apologetic) we called reception and left a message with Oliver who oversees all butlers. We were impressed that not more than 5 minutes after our call, Oliver was at our suite and asked if he could come in and speak with us. He wanted to hear every detail and never made an excuse. He told us our experience was unacceptable and informed us that he was going to assign a seasoned butler to take care of us for the remainder of our journey. He also told us that he would have our former butler more closely shadowed to insure he gets up to speed quickly. We were really impressed with Oliver. And our new butler, Emilia, was FANTASTIC! I must also say that every time we saw our "former" butler he still greeted us with a smile and a warm greeting every time he saw us in the corridor. Every crew member has been friendly, calling us by name and giving perfect Silversea service. It seems that they are, indeed, stretched too thin, but they are working very hard to accommodate all passengers. We have enjoyed the food and would rate it from mostly very good, some excellent, and a few misses. We tried every dining venue. The main dining room is not well designed and lacks the elegance other Silversea ships. The ceiling is also very low which gives it a more casual feel. It is difficult for the wait staff to maneuver around the dining room in very narrow paths, and gone is the carving trolley—no room. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to get the cheese trolley around after dinner so waiters often try to ask you to order cheese rather than select it. We have breakfast in our suite almost every morning and it has been very nice, but I think that has more to do with our butler than the dining room. We are not big on buffets and were only in La Terraza a couple of times for breakfast and only once for lunch. However, those experiences were very good ones. The pool grill was great for casual poolside lunches. We found La Champagne to be an extreme disappointment both in the menu and the quality of the food. However Marcello is an amazing maitre d' and his wine selections are stellar—and reasonable! La Terraza at night was outstanding on all three occasions when we dined there. The food, service, and ambience were great. We really tried to like Hot Rocks Grill! It is just awkward to have a hot, sizzling stone in front of you while eating. We liked being able to cook our entrees (we both had filet mignon and tiger prawns) and keep them warm, but our faces were steaming from the heat off the stone and we were always afraid we were going to burn ourselves! But it sure is a great concept—I just wish it worked better. Stars was great. There was plenty of food and it was creative, fun, and original. The entertainment in Stars was outstanding. Seishin was another disappointment. The sushi and sashimi were good, the rest of the dishes were poor. The lobster was in a consumE and lacked flavor and the Kobe (Wagyu) beef was a huge disappointment. This was our third time through the canal but our first time taking any of the ships excursions. We were extremely pleased with the excursion staff. They were ever-present and helpful. The pool deck was always full (the weather was great) but never felt crowded. There appeared to be room for everyone. We never had a problem getting a table at the pool for lunch either. The service at the pool was excellent and there was always someone around to check on you. All of the public rooms were very nicely furnished and comfortable. We spent time each day in the Panorama Lounge and very much enjoyed the outside sitting area there as well. Again, there was always plenty of room and there was always a friendly server nearby. We also enjoyed the Observation Lounge on deck 11. The computer center/library is indeed small, but we never found it to be a problem (I had my own laptop, so I can't say whether or not there were enough computers available.) We were in The Bar every evening before dinner and had great drinks and conversation before dinner. Sometimes it was crowded, but it was never a problem. The real problem was that we never got to dinner before 8:30 so we never made it to any of the shows! Yes, there is the early show at 6:15, but we didn't want to get dressed just to go to the show. That was just our choice. I can't speak from personal experience, but I heard that some of the guest entertainers on board were excellent, while the production shows were weak. Disembarkation was a breeze. It was well organized, unhurried, and there were lots of Silversea staff both on the ship and on the shore to assist people. This was our first time using Silversea air and transfers and we were very impressed with how the transfers were handled. There were representatives with us on the bus to the airport and they managed the luggage, and secured (and tipped) porters. In summary, we had a grand experience on the new Spirit. We think that she is a wonderful alternative and a new and different Silversea experience. In our humble opinions, they should do away with the "specialty" restaurants if they are going to continue to charge a premium ("reservation fee") - the food was not special enough to warrant an extra fee. However, we really liked having so many choices in dining. The staff is stretched a bit too thin (perhaps management will be looking at this for the future), but every crew member had the Silversea "spirit" (pun intended) and provided the kind of excellent service we expect from this line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2009
Trip of a Lifetime II - Prince Albert II The Prince Albert II is a luxurious expedition ship with 5 star cuisine and outstanding attention to detail and service. It offers the ambiance and beautiful lines of a large private yacht, not a ... Read More
Trip of a Lifetime II - Prince Albert II The Prince Albert II is a luxurious expedition ship with 5 star cuisine and outstanding attention to detail and service. It offers the ambiance and beautiful lines of a large private yacht, not a cruise ship. It is intimate enough so that at the end of your voyage you feel like family with the incredible staff and crew. The cabins are roomy and tastefully decorated. The cabin staff were very patient and helpful even with muddy gear from jungle hikes. To our surprise, the room service when we decided to "dine in" one night was a 5 course meal from the evening dinner menu at the suggestion of our wonderful butler. The entertainment at the piano bar was great, and if you are lucky enough to have a BBQ on the stern with the in house band "Da Mixed Nuts" you are in for a real treat. Now to our voyage : Our second wildlife expedition voyage with Prince Albert II was to Central America in October 2009. This was not a repositioning cruise by any means, while the ship was heading from the Artic to Antarctica (the Antarctic Peninsula was our first expedition). This was an exciting voyage to famous and remote areas from Costa Rica to Ecuador. We enjoyed hiking in rainforests and tropical islands, snorkeling with sharks at Cocos, an upriver trip to visit the Embera people in the Darien Jungle of Panama, an unforgettable crossing of the Equator courtesy of King Neptune and crew, hearing the haunting songs of the humpback whales while snorkeling at Isla Gorgona, and walking among hundreds of courting Blue Footed Boobies on Isla de la Plata. The staff's dedication and persistence allowed the passengers to be aboard the first cruise ship to stop at Cocos and Isla Gorgona. The outstanding expedition staff included a marine biologist, geologist, anthropologist, and naturalist/orinthologist who all provided entertaining educational talks. It was a little like grad school only with champagne and no exams. The expedition staff, as well as the outstanding crew have excellent and consistently high safety standards. We always felt very safe and in good hands. We never felt rushed getting in and out of the zodiacs or while hiking since this is a small ship at remote locations and there was not another tour group right behind us limiting our enjoyment or ability to take some great pictures. The staff was always very helpful in making accommodations for passengers of all ages and physical fitness, and are also very flexible and able to quickly improvise or go to "Plan B" depending on weather and safety considerations. We are already planning and looking forward to another expedition of a lifetime aboard the Prince Albert II - we can't imagine ever going on another ship. Michael & Nora Lewis Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
We just returned from 15 spectacular days aboard Silver Shadow. Everything was in top shape. We embarked at San Pedro, CA, essentially the cruise terminal for Los Angeles. We had chosen early embarkation since we had to vacate the hotel at ... Read More
We just returned from 15 spectacular days aboard Silver Shadow. Everything was in top shape. We embarked at San Pedro, CA, essentially the cruise terminal for Los Angeles. We had chosen early embarkation since we had to vacate the hotel at Noon anyway. Arrived at Shadow about 12:30 and our cabin, a Silver Suite, was ready. And it was lovely. Clearly showing the recent renovation, it had new carpeting and drapes, as well as upholstery and new flat screen TV's. We enjoy the extra space a Silver Suite provides, and on a long cruise such as this one, especially with most days being sea days, it is well worth the extra expense. We had dinner twice in La Terrazza and twice in Le Champagne. The other nights we ate in the Dining Room. All the meals were quite good. The new arrangement, apparently an experiment, in Terrazza has a guest chef presenting their cuisine. The chef for this cruise was Suzanne Tracht from California and, frankly, her cuisine is nothing special. On the second night we dined there, they also had the Terrazza favorites side by side with the guest chef's concoctions and that was a welcome change. Le Champagne is intimate and worth the extra cost, but just barely. The Dining Room food was creative and well presented, and our waiters - Sabi and Dennis were outstanding. We ate in their area each evening we dined in that venue. Breakfast and lunch we usually had at The Terrace cafe (the name for La Terrazza during the day) and that buffet was well done. Also ate at poolside several times and had the world's best hamburgers there. Because this cruise was a re-positioning cruise and the highlight was transiting the Panama Canal, port stops and shore excursions were nothing special with stops in Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, Guatemala and Colombia. Again, nothing to write home about, but that was not the point of the cruise. The transit through the Canal was fascinating, accompanied by expert commentary and cooperative weather. There was quite a bit of entertainment, including dancing productions that were quite well done. And on the farewell evening, when the Captain indicated that he knew folks would be back on Silversea and he introduced the crew - about a hundred of every occupation on board paraded in to a rousing standing ovation. He's right; the essence of Silversea is its remarkable crew members. That's what has kept us coming back for this our third cruise on Silversea. They get it right, down to the smallest detail. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
Embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was a terrible disappointment. Rather than assigning guests a number, or somehow identifying the order of arrival, guests were simply crowded into a small space where seating was limited. While everyone was ... Read More
Embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was a terrible disappointment. Rather than assigning guests a number, or somehow identifying the order of arrival, guests were simply crowded into a small space where seating was limited. While everyone was aware that boarding time was 2:00 p.m., no one expected that at 2:05 they would simply open the door to the security area and allow the crowd to rush into a very unorganized and pushy queue. It would have been so simple to have assigned numbers and board in an orderly manner. Once through security, the remainder of the check-in procedure was orderly and painless. We were welcomed with a glass of Prosecco and then directed to a table where we turned in our passports and received our boarding cards. Next we had our identification photos taken and then we were escorted to our suites, where a chilled bottle of Pommery champagne was waiting. Suites We booked a verandah suite. It was beautifully appointed and quite spacious. In addition to the large bathroom with double vanity sinks, tub, and separate shower, there is a large walk-in closet with plenty of space. The sitting area includes a sofa, small table, a large writing desk which housed the refrigerator and some additional shelving and drawers, and two chairs. The verandah, while not large, is certainly comfortable. There are two chairs which recline and a small table. The decor is very pleasant and the colors (ours was in blue tones) were quite relaxing. While we had made our preferences known prior to sailing (via the pre-cruise information request form) relative to pillows and how we would like our refrigerator stocked, no notice was made of our request. However, after meeting our stewardess on the way to dinner we made our requests known and she changed out the pillows and stocked our mini-bar to our liking. Our verandah door was off the track and would not open or close. We would have expected that our stewardess was aware of this. It took 2 phone calls to reception to finally get someone up, but it was fixed within the first few hours on board. However, it had to be repaired several additional times during the voyage. Our stewardess was somewhat of a disappointment. While the service itself was impeccable, she never said hello in the hallways nor ever asked if we needed anything, She did not introduce herself upon embarkation nor "show us around" the suite to explain how things operate. In her defense, our suite was spotless, supplies were refreshed regularly, and our mini-bar was stocked every day. Linens were changed every few days as were our bathrobes. As we walked around the ship we would hear other stewardesses recognizing passengers by name and being quite friendly. As a matter of fact, except for our stewardess, every crew member was extremely friendly and all of them called us by name. Smoking As non-smokers, we appreciated that there were designated smoking areas by the pool and in the main bar. Smoking was limited in other areas throughout the ship and there was the Humidor for pipe and cigar smoking as well. One problem was that smoking is permitted in cabins and on verandahs. Unfortunately, there were smokers next door to us so if they were smoking when we were on our verandah we had to go inside as the smoke just blew over on our balcony. Also, there was a cigar smoker two suites away from us. He chose to smoke his cigar on the verandah, so that was another time when we would confine ourselves to be inside. My understanding was that pipe and cigar smoking was only permitted in the Humidor, but I was not inclined to "turn him in." Dining Room service was to die for! Breakfast was delivered hot and exactly as ordered. The waiter placed a table top on the "coffee table" and then set the table complete with Frette linen and silver and china. It was just beautiful and this was the quality of the service no matter what type of service you ordered, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. Even if you call for a bottle of champagne before dinner, the wait staff insists on opening and serving it before they leave. La Terraza, the casual spot for breakfast and lunch was lovely. While billed as a "buffet" it is far from it. Guests can go through the buffet line to pick up some food items of their choice and then they are walked to their table by a waiter. The rest of the meal is ordered and delivered by your waiter. Again, tables are set with linen, silver, and china. At night, La Terraza becomes an Italian Trattoria. Each night the food served is from a different region in Italy. This is a small and intimate setting. It would have been a lovely venue every night. The Dining Room also offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is a full-service venue with impeccable, elegant service. The menus were varied and consistently well prepared. Every day there is a dish featured from the carving trolley at lunch. In the evening, the themed menus are varied and offer dishes of a particular region of the world. The quality of the wait staff is the best I have ever experienced on a ship - for that matter on land as well. Much credit goes to the head wine sommelier for the excellent wine pairing of all of the included wines on board. Every day there were new wines at lunch and dinner. Of course, should you have like one in particular, they were happy to serve that one to you if it was available. One of our traveling companions preferred pinot noir and was served pinot in every bar and at every meal. The standard champagne was Pommery, however Nicolas Feuillatte as well as Perrier and Jouet were also available on request at no additional charge. While we had planned to, we did not dine in Le Champagne. Only a few of the menus looked exceptional and worth the experience. The various bars are relaxing and friendly. The bar staff quickly learns your name and your preferences. They always have a smile on their face and a warm welcome. They just can't seem to do enough for you. They will create drinks for you to suit your liking—anything to make you happy Activities/Entertainment Activities are the same as you would find on most ships; pool games, table tennis, card tournaments, etc. What really stands out is the lecture series. On our particular sailing, one of the lecturers was a celebrated television producer and director. We couldn't wait for each of his 4 lectures. There were also two other lecturers who spoke on a variety of topics that were specific to the region and ports of call we were visiting. There was also a Viking chef on board who did cooking demonstrations. While they were not especially interesting dishes, the demonstrations were fun and entertaining, especially when paired with wines by the ship's head sommelier. Speaking of the sommelier, he also did several wine tasting lectures which were entertaining and educational. They were "blind" tastings which made it very interesting. We only made it to one evening show. The problem was that the shows began at 10:15. We normally ate dinner between 8:00 and 8:30. Most nights there were wither four or six of us and we tended to "dine" and were usually the last to leave the dining room! We were told that there were several very good performers including 2 singers (completely different shows) and a pianist. The rumor mill had it that the ventriloquist, who only appeared once, left the ship at the first port of call due to low attendance at his shows. On most nights the disco (in the Panorama Lounge) was started off by the young cruise staff, and then pretty well attended. We had fun there on several nights enjoying both passengers' and officers' company. There was also dancing with music by the ship's orchestra every night in The Bar. Casino The casino was very small and virtually empty. We never played, but we did speak to some people who did and they felt that there was a lack of ambience and there were too few people to make it fun and exciting. Ports I will not give a lot of detail on all of the ports as we have been on similar itineraries many times so we did not do the usual tourist things while in port. On this particular cruise, the ship was our main destination so we were not disappointed. Cartagena- We did not take any tours nor did we go ashore. We heard from several passengers that they were disappointed in the tours and were not impressed with this port of call. San Blas Island- Why ships even stop here is puzzling! This is a tiny island where all there is to see or do is look at the local indigenous people and buy crumby souvenirs, mostly made in China. The Panama Canal was the primary destination for most on board. The Canal is always an amazing operation to see in action. We arrived at the first locks right on schedule at 6:30 am. The lecturer on board gave regular commentary throughout the entire transit from beginning to end. We arrived at Gatun Lake as scheduled and anchored until 1:30 in the afternoon. Some passengers chose to attend the "Silversea Experience" which was a folkloric show at the Gatun Harbor Country Club. We continued to enter the Pacific Locks when we were delayed due to a technical problem. Apparently a buoy came lose and got caught in one of the lock gates. We had to wait until the buoy was removed and the gate became operational. This created a backup of several ships. Therefore, the final locks were transited during early evening hours and went on until approximately 10:00 p.m. While some might have found this disappointing, everyone we spoke to loved the experience of transiting several of the locks at night. Everything was all lit up and you could see many details. Of course you couldn't take photos, but we did transit the Atlantic locks during daylight so there were many photo taking opportunities. Puntarenas- Having been to the interior of Costa Rica and having enjoyed many of the beautiful sights of this lovely country, it is disappointing when a ship calls here. The port is more than 2 hours away from the nearest attraction/point of interest and the ship only stays in port for the day. So if you want to see anything, you need to take a 2 to 2 ½ hour bus ride to spend 1 hour touring and then get on the bus for the 2 ½ hour ride back to the ship. Acapulco- Besides the Cliff Divers and the beaches, this is just a typical Mexican beach town. Manzanillo- We did not take any of the tours so we just took the complimentary shuttle to the downtown section. There was nothing of note in this small town. Puerto Vallarta- In our opinion, Puerto Vallarta is the best port of the Western Mexican ports. Why this was out shortest stop I just don't know. We arrived at 8:00 and sailed away at 1:30. There is so much to see and do in Puerto Vallarta, but no time to do much of anything with such a short stop. Disembarkation Disembarkation was simple and easy once the ship was cleared. The only glitch was that the US officials in Los Angeles required every crew member on the ship to personally appear before immigration prior to clearing the ship. This resulted in a delay of more than one hour, but disembarkation still began by 8:45. Read Less
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