Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Silversea
Ship: Silver Whisper
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: 12 days Rome to Athens
We thought the cruise overall was wonderful. We took a SilverSea cruise 6 years ago, so we knew what to expect from the service, staff, and amenities. This review is divided into sections to make reading easier. I believe the strength of SilverSea is in the attitude of the staff, and the personal attention of all crew to see to your comfort. The downside would be aspects of the entertainment, and the tours offered.
This is a 6-star luxury cruise line. Expensive, but in this case you get what you paid for. The ratio of staff to passengers seems like more than 1 to 1. Everything is included – there is no tipping, and there is all the liquor and wines you can drink – either in your suite, or in any of the public areas. We aren’t big drinkers, so they didn’t lose much money on us. But others – well, the bars were full before dinner, of people taking advantage of the premium liquors and champagne!
Overall ambiance and type of passengers
As you might expect from this high-end cruise, the passengers are affluent , and typically over 50 up though 70s. On this cruise, I was informed the passengers were about 40% English, 40% Americans, and 20% other European. The atmosphere was cordial and friendly – no stuffiness, even with the dress formality on the 3 formal nights.
Ship, Public Rooms, and Accommodations
This ship, the Silver Whisper, is the newest of the four ships of SilverSea. It has only been at sea for a year. It is a beautiful ship, with gorgeous accommodations and public areas. The ship holds just under 400 passengers. Though this cruise itinerary was full, you never felt crowded. You did not have to wait long for an elevator or for a dinner table. Most suites have a veranda – a beautiful teak deck with table and two chairs, and about 345 square ft. Even if you don’t sit outside all the time, it is wonderful to have the sliding door open at night and hear the waves shushing outside! Carries you to dreamland in a queen size bed. There is an ample walk in closet, and a large marble bath and shower. Plenty of shelf space for cosmetics and medications, too. They provide Bvlgari brand toiletries – always replenished. Maid service twice a day.
There is a small pool, and lots of deck chairs around the pool. Two jacuzzis.
They have an observation lounge, library, and computer center. I really loved the computer center. For a nominal fee you could send and receive email from your own ship address. I kept in touch with family that way, and it was very convenient. Also, never crowded.
Meals and Dining
You can eat when you want, where you want, including a served meal in your room. We had room service most mornings – great to relax in bed and listen to the ocean! There is a main dining room and a small alternative dining room with a set menu featuring cuisine of a particular country. Both were wonderful. The alternative room served in a leisurely manner, and portions were European sized (small). But, wonderful wines and a nice explanation every night about the cuisine and the featured wines. There was also a grill available poolside for hamburgers, hotdogs, etc.
The poolside grill and pool area was popular – especially with the Brits! (they do like the sun!)
I felt the quality of the food was excellent. The lunch and breakfast buffets were varied and tasty and – again – not crowded. The waiters would help you in every way, carrying your plates for you to your table.
There were 3 formal nights, 3 casual (no coats) and 6 informal (sport coats). If anything, passengers overdressed. Europeans are more formal than Americans and many men wore suits on most occasions. I must say, even though dark suits are permissible on formal nights, I saw only a few. My husband wore a suit, and felt conspicuous without a tux or white dinner jacket. Next time he will take a tux.
Wonderful, immaculate, cannot say enough about the attitude and willingness to please. Toiletries replaced immediately. Also, the cost of laundry was quite reasonable. They do have a self-serve laundry on each deck, but the cost of ship laundering was so reasonable I did not bother.
There was a show of some kind in the showroom every night. The shows were mostly entertaining, and the dancers and singers were especially good. I think, however, magicians and puppeteers are dated, and should go the way of the dodo. The Cruise Director was a Brit, and the English love that sort of music-hall entertainment. There was one opera-quality mezzo soprano who was outstanding – she must have been in between opera contracts!
The ship band though – ugh. They were Eastern European – apparently, they are always Eastern European. A quintet with a saxophone. They could play, but not swing. Very stiff. Also, their playbook was dated and quite trite. I mean, Hello Dolly, Lady of Spain, puleeeeze. Have they never heard of George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, the great old standard songwriters?! Dreary.
The piano player in the lounge was good – Australian. At least, you got a bit more updated songs from him. A bit of the Beatles, Elton John, Billy Joel - fine.
Ports of Call and Tours
This was an exciting itinerary for us as we have never been up the Adriatic, or to Greece. Croatia was wonderful – our visit to Dubrovnik was terrific – great old medieval city. We spent 2 days in Venice, which was a treat as well. I do believe the tours offered could have been more creative. We didn’t take that many, to be fair, but the offerings were the usual sight seeing and I just believe that there could have been more unusual opportunities for cultural experiences.
The Tour Director gave lectures before each port of call describing them and the tours available. They were televised and rerun, so you could see them from your suite. He was dull and boring – doing nothing to stimulate your desire to see these sights. At least, he could have used slides and maps to illustrate his lectures instead of mumbling along in a monotone. So – that was a downer.
My husband enjoyed the casino – it was small, with poker slots, 2 roulette, and 2 blackjack tables. The blackjack tables were $10 a hand, and I thought that was a bit steep. They had a crap table, which my husband played frequently – with both positive and negative results! They are taking it out, however – guess it is not used enough, or else they are losing more money on that particular game.
You have to book early in the spa for your treatments, which I didn’t do. I did get in one massage. Overpriced and not very good. I expected to pay about twice what I would have at home, and I did, but I also expected a wonderful massage, which I didn’t get. Again, you have to reserve all your times and dates up front for what you want or be out of luck.
Overall, I would definitely cruise with SilverSea again. I have not taken Seabourn, (which is comparable I understand), but I have taken a Radisson cruise in Tahiti. I really enjoyed the Radisson, which seems equally committed to passenger satisfaction, from my experience.