The spiffy little Silver Cloud, a member of Silversea Cruises' fleet of small luxury ships, is the slightly older, nearly identical twin of the Silver Wind (they were both launched in 1994). While slightly different in decor, it provides the same wonderful cruise experience as its twin sister, Silver Wind and the larger, newer Silver Shadow and . A pure delight, everything about the Silver Cloud is tops. It is elegant without being stuffy, fun, but not too frivolous, ideal for couples who enjoy fine food, sublime service and intimacy, and combined with the truly all-inclusive fare -- it's like cruising on Cloud Nine.
In November 2012, the ship will undergo a stem-to-stern refurbishment during a dry dock in Italy. The ship's interior will be completely renovated with new furniture, carpets, decor and more in all the suites, public spaces and dining venues.
Dining on the Silver Cloud is heavenly. Luscious, multi-course, gourmet meals are served in a gorgeous, single seating dining room by friendly, attentive waiters. Meal hours are as flexible as the seating arrangement and you can go when you're hungry and linger as long as you'd like. Complimentary wines are poured liberally with meals (all drinks are free onboard). While always good, the food has gotten even better and more consistent over the years.
In 2005, Silversea added Le Champagne, a Relais & Chateaux restaurant. For a fee, diners can experience a six-course tasting menu of regionally inspired food and wine.
With so many verandah cabins, most passengers prefer breakfast in their suite, usually on their private deck. Those who don't head for the buffet in The Terrace Restaurant -- which has also improved greatly. Lunch is served in the dining room but again the popular choice is the beautifully presented buffet at the Terrace Restaurant. During a recent dry dock, La Terrazza underwent a slight remodel and more tables for two were added.
In 2012, the Pool Bar and Grill was expanded and transformed into The Grill, which offers passengers the chance to cook their own steak and seafood on heated volcanic rocks at their table.
During any given cruise there are also ethnic theme dinners served either in the Terrace or out by the pool.
Room service is not to be missed. Especially dinners which are served in courses (the waiter asks when you'd like them to come back) and are divine on starry, balmy nights in the privacy of your balcony.
Staterooms are pleasingly decorated with top quality appointments, art work and subtle colors. Most have private verandahs, all have walk-in closets, TV/VCRs (free videos are available at the Library), twin beds that convert to queen size, 100% cotton linens, down pillows, sitting area with a desk stocked with personalized stationary, sofa, and coffee table. The marble bathrooms have limited storage, but serve the purpose. There's combo tub/showers, fluffy terry robes, slippers, lots of Bvlgari bath amenities, and hair dryers. Suites are stocked with fresh fruit, bottled water, any beverages you desire, ice or any other special request, and kept about as neat and clean as it gets by room attendants. Stateroom sizes vary from 240 square feet for Vista suites without balconies to 295 square feet for Verandahs with balconies.
Primo accommodations are three Silver suites that span 541 square feet, two Royal Suites measuring 1,031 square feet, two 1,031 square foot Grand Suites and the Owner's Suite (827 square feet). During a 2012 dry dock, the Grand and Owner's Suites will be outfitted with wet room baths, complete with a rainforest shower that is separate from the bath.
The gamut of usual shipboard activities are offered during the day: from lectures to language lessons, dance classes and always, Bridge. The most popular pastime is the daily Trivia competition. The cruise line also features a Silver Links golf program that includes onboard lessons from a pro and all arrangements (greens fees, cart, caddie, transfers from the ship) at some of the best courses in the world (from Australia to the Mediterranean). Evening entertainment has taken a major turn on the entire fleet and while not Broadway caliber, it's entertaining enough. There's usually one or two small production shows, a magician, comedian and occasionally some local entertainers. For those who don't need force fed amusement, the library is stocked with old and very new books and videos. There's also a tiny casino that gets good table action, but not too much slot play. The cruise director, who provides port lectures, introduces the shows and the captain and officers on the "Welcome Aboard" night, is usually well-selected, well-met type who is also always good for a joke.
Tips are included and actually discouraged by all staff.
|Fitness and Recreation|
Silver Cloud has an irritatingly small gym crammed with two treadmills, bicycles, free weights and often racks of logo sportswear for sale that take up precious space. A variety of fitness classes are offered daily, although there's rarely enough room for more than six people at a time. For those who prefer pampering to pumping iron, the newly added Mandara Spa is a sight for sore muscles. The specially designed Balinese treatments are excellent (especially the hot lava rocks or "around the world" massages, Sea and C Facial and the Javanese honey steam wrap). There's also a steambath and sauna in the changing room. The outdoor pool is long enough for some good lap swimming and the deck space more than ample for sun lovers.
Well-traveled, sophisticated international clientele ranging in age from 40-something and up.
On "formal" nights most men do the black-tie route (although business suits are acceptable) and women go all out in gorgeous designer numbers. Informal translates to sports jackets for men and jazzy cocktail outfits for women. Casual means no jacket required and women can dress down a bit. Daytime dress is always casual.
Dynamite-design and user-friendly, the pretty Panorama or Observation lounges are comfortable just for sipping drinks, listening to music or simply sitting and watching the sea go by. The multi-tiered Venetian Lounge provides a pleasant setting for evening shows or movies with unobstructed views. The most popular spot is The Bar, a bustling art deco saloon where folks meet and mingle easily before and after dinner and the barkeep calls you by name and remembers what your drink after one visit.
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