Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 408 out of 500
Accommodation: 174 out of 200
Food: 333 out of 400
Service: 334 out of 400
Entertainment: 74 out of 100
Cruise: 334 out of 400
Overall Score: 1657 out of 2000
Silver Cloud Statistics
Size: Small Ship
Cruise Line: Silversea Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 8903923
Builder: Visentini/Mariotti (Italy)
Original Cost: $125 million
Entered Service: Apr 1994
Length (ft/m): 514.4/155.8
Beam (ft/m): 70.62/21.4
Draft (ft/m): 17.3/5.3
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (11,700kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 6
Total Crew: 212
Passengers (lower beds): 296
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 57.1
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.4
Cabins (total): 148
Size Range (sq ft/m): 240.0-1,314.0/22.2-122.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 110
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 2
Wheelchair accessibility: Fair
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 2
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/306
Onboard currency: US$
An all-inclusive, luxury small ship for mature-age cruisers
Overview. Silver Cloud is an intimate sort of ship best suited to discerning and well-traveled couples, typically over 50, who seek a small ship with excellent food and fine European-style service in surroundings that border on the elegant. The passenger mix includes many nationalities, although the majority are North American. Children are sometimes seen aboard, although they are not really welcomed by most passengers.
The Ship. Silver Cloud has quite a handsome profile, with a sloping stern reminiscent of an Airstream trailer. The size is just about ideal for highly personalized cruising in an elegant environment. The vertical cake-layer stacking of public rooms aft and the location of accommodation forward ensures quiet cabins. There is a synthetic turf-covered walk-around promenade deck outdoors, and a spacious swimming pool deck with teak/aluminum deck furniture. Little Silversea touches such as cold towels, water sprays, and fresh fruit provide poolside pampering on hot days.
The spacious interior is well planned, with elegant decor and fine-quality soft furnishings throughout, accented by the gentle use of brass fittings (some of substandard quality and now showing blotchy patches in several places), fine woods, and creative ceilings. In 2009, an extensive refit saw the addition of a proper observation lounge, with covered passageway to access it - so passengers don’t have to go outside to do so. All suites were also refreshed.
There is a business center as well as an audio and hardback book library, open 24 hours a day. An excellent amount of space per passenger means there is no hint of a line anywhere in this unhurried environment. Good documentation is provided before your cruise in a high-quality document wallet.
An elegant, announcement-free onboard ambience prevails, and there is no pressure or hype, and an enthusiastic staff to pamper you, including a high ratio of Europeans. All drinks, gratuities, and port taxes are included, and no further tipping is necessary - though it is not prohibited. This ship is ideal for those who enjoy spacious surroundings, excellent food, and some entertainment. It would be hard not to have a good vacation aboard this ship, albeit at a fairly high price.
Silversea Cruises has ‘all-inclusive’ fares, including gratuities, but now charges extra for insurance. The fares do not, however, include vintage wines, or massage, or other personal services, but they do include many things that cost extra aboard the ships of many rivals.
The onboard product delivered is very good, particularly the cuisine and its presentation. Shuttle buses are provided in most ports of call, and all the little extras passengers receive makes a cruise an extremely pleasant experience. The surroundings are very comfortable and contemporary without being extravagant, with open-seating dining and drinks included, cold canapés and hot hors d’oeuvres served in the bars in the pre-dinner cocktail hour, a captain’s welcome aboard, and a farewell cocktail party.
Personalized Voyages enable you choose the port of embarkation and disembarkation and the length of cruise you want (minimum five days). While this adds flexibility, the onboard programming is already set, so you may be joining and leaving in the middle of a ‘normal’ cruise.
Niggles? Some vibration is evident when bow thrusters or the anchors are used, particularly in the forward-most cabins. The self-service launderette is not large enough for longer cruises. Crew facilities are minimal, leading to a high crew turnover which undermines service.
Accommodation. There are seven price grades in this ‘all-suites’ ship. The all-outside-view suites, three-quarters of which have fine private teakwood balconies, have convertible queen-to-twin beds and are beautifully fitted out. They have large floor-to-ceiling windows, large walk-in closets, dressing table, writing desk, stocked minibar/refrigerator (no charge), and fresh flowers.
The marble-floor bathrooms have a tub, fixed showerhead (not as hygienic as a hand-held unit), single washbasin, and plenty of high-quality towels. Personalized stationery, an eight-pillow menu from soft down to memory foam, bathrobes, and a range of Acqua di Parma bathroom amenities are provided in all suites.
All suites have televisions and DVD players, and top-grade suites also have CD players. However, the walk-in closets don’t provide much hanging space, particularly for such items as full-length dresses, and it would be better for the door to open outward instead of inward. The drawers themselves are poorly positioned, but several other drawers and storage areas are provided in the living area.
Although the cabin insulation above and below each cabin is good, the insulation between cabins is not - a privacy curtain installed between entry door and sleeping area would be most useful. Light from the passageway leaks into the cabin, making it hard to achieve a dark room.
Top-grade suites have teak balcony furniture, while other suites do not, but all balconies have teak floors. Suites with balconies on the lowest deck can suffer from sticky salt spray when the ship is moving, so the balconies need lots of cleaning. Each evening, the stewardesses bring plates of canapés to your suite - just right for a light bite with cocktails. In the Grand, Royal, Rossellini, or Owner’s Suites, you get unobtrusive butler service from butlers certified by London’s Guild of Professional Butlers.
Dining. The Restaurant provides open-seating dining in elegant surroundings. It has an attractive arched gazebo center and a wavy ceiling design as its focal point, and is set with fine Eschenbach china and well-balanced Christofle silverware. Meals are served in an open seating, which means you can eat when you like within the given dining room opening times, and with whom you like.
Standard table wines are included for lunch and dinner, and there is a ‘connoisseur list’ of premium wines at extra charge. All meals are prepared a la minute, with little of the pre-preparation that used to exist.
Other dining options. La Saletta, adjacent to the main dining room, is an intimate 24-seat specialty dining salon. Dégustation menus include dishes designed for Silversea Cruises by chefs from Relais Châteaux Gourmands, the cuisine-oriented division of Relais & Châteaux, paired with selected wines. Reservations are required, and there’s a cover charge.
La Terrazza provides self-serve breakfast and lunch buffets and informal evening dining with different regional Italian dishes nightly. Both indoor and outdoor seating is at teakwood tables and chairs.
There is a 24-hour in-cabin dining service. Full course-by-course dinners are available, although the balcony tables in the standard suites are rather low for dining outdoors.
Entertainment. The Showlounge hosts all entertainment events and some social functions. The room spans two decks and has a sloping floor; banquette and individual seating are provided, with good sight lines.
Although Silversea Cruises places more emphasis on food than entertainment, what is provided is quite tasteful and not overbearing, as aboard some larger ships. A decent array of cabaret acts does the Silversea circuit, and small colorful production shows have been re-introduced.
Most of the cabaret acts provide intelligent entertainment that is generally appreciated by the well-traveled international clientele. Also, more emphasis is now placed on classical music ensembles. A band, as well as several small musical units, provide live music in the evenings in The Bar, and Panorama Lounge.
Spa/Fitness. Although The Spa at Silversea facility is not large, it underwent a sea change in 2007 with re-designed, more welcoming decor, and an updated range of treatments and spa packages for both men and women. Massage and other body pampering treatments, facials, pedicures, and beauty salon treatments cost extra.
Facilities include a separate sauna for men and women, several treatment rooms, and a beauty salon. A separate gymnasium (formerly an observation lounge), located atop the ship, provides sea views.