Villefranche to Nice, Sept 21, 2003
This was my first Silver Sea cruise and my 41st cruise. Most prior cruises (recent) have been in suites on Holland America and Celebrity cruise as well as crossing on the QE2.
In my honest opinion, Silversea had the most slipshod corporate office of any cruise line still inexistence. This cruise was booked a year in advance and had its itinerary changed once and embarkation port changed three times. I had my own airfare so it was always a tense moment whenever Silver Sea faxed a new change.
I had purchased a transfer from the Silversea hotel (the Negressco) to the latest port (Villefranche), unfortunately no one ever showed up at the hotel for the transfer. Also, the promised Silversea representative at a desk in the lobby never showed. The Hotel put me in a cab to the ship the next village over.
Upon arrival at the pier (a small pier) there was no signage as to check in and no one form Silversea to instruct passengers what to do. This was a tender embarkation and passengers were told to leave their luggage, get on a tender and head for the ship. Check in was posted on the tickets at 2:00, but once on the tender, the ship radioed that it was not ready and that passengers would be held. It was now 2:15 and tenders headed over to the ship but passengers were directed to the Panorama lounge, as the cabins were still not ready. At 3:00 we were allowed into our cabins.
The cabins were lovely, recently redone to match those on the newer ships and in great condition. The bathroom was all white marble with a deep full size tub. The cabin was outfitted with a TV, VCR and mini fridge. Closet space was plentiful with a full walk in closet and lots of drawers. The cabin truly felt like a fine hotel.
The dinning room was lovely, like a fine shore side restaurant. The food on the first night was hit or miss. Nothing really bad, but the fish was fishy and the salad boring. The main course and desert were wonderful with all else forgettable.
The second night the food was prepared by Michel Roix, a guest celebrity chef form London and the dinner was wonderful. The next night I opted for the deck BBQ that was very well done.
Breakfast in the casual area was a complete miss with ever order not received correctly, I would order well done, it would come runny, I would order poached, it would come fried. Some of this was due to language barriers, but I felt like some of the crew did not really care enough if they got it right.
I eventually, on one morning, had to get up go to the headwaiter and give him back my plate and I left and had something to eat in port. I had given it all two chances both were incorrect. In port in Italy I had the best meal! In all, it was destiny. Thank you Silver Sea for driving me off your ship so that I could have a wonderful meal overlooking the harbor in Portofino.
I had a wonderful cabin attendant, really the best. Bartenders were friendly and made a great drink, though waiters were a bit standoff-ish (luck of the draw). The cruise staff varied form wonderful to arrogant. The cruise director and social hostess were lovely and very nice, the concierge very arrogant and condescending (the front desk took photo copies of my cab receipt for re-imbursement for the transfer, the concierge called me in my cabin to tell me that they could not accept copies only originals and that I needed to get him originals in order to get reimbursed - like I was printing receipts in my cabin. Also never, never received an apology from Silversea on or off the ship)
This is my year to try all the top cruise lines. by years end I will have sailed on Silversea, Seabourn, Radisson and Residensea. I will decide after sailing all of them, which gets my repeat business.
Maybe I arrived in Nice with too high of expectations, but noting more than Silverseas brochure states. I was appalled by inept shore side service and a corporate office that does not return calls, changes itineraries at a whim and charters ships so close to sail date (my April 04 Whisper sailing was cancelled for a charter as well).
· The other passengers: Just lovely! · The physical ship: Cabins were great! · The ports
· Horrendous shore side service · Inconsistent food · Inconsistent service
Go with lowered expectations, enjoy your Silversea cruise and I hope my next sailing with them is better than my first.