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jpalbny

Silver Cloud #1918, Circumnavigation of Iceland - Live!

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so My question is—how many passengers per flight are “randomly” chosen for the special SSSS treatment?  Because it seems that my buddies and I are being unfairly targeted.

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1 hour ago, Stumblefoot said:

No, no, no... they just know ALL Americans are packin’ heat and likely to start shootin’ at any moment. 😉

 

We're not all living in the Wild West, Stumbles... 🤣

 

7 minutes ago, RachelG said:

so My question is—how many passengers per flight are “randomly” chosen for the special SSSS treatment?  Because it seems that my buddies and I are being unfairly targeted.

 

It sure seems that way! 😠  

 

How was work today, BTW? I think I managed OK. We'll see if anything is out of place tomorrow.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jpalbny said:

 

We're not all living in the Wild West, Stumbles... 🤣

 

 

It sure seems that way! 😠  

 

How was work today, BTW? I think I managed OK. We'll see if anything is out of place tomorrow.

Work was ok.  I woke up at 4:00 am.  Got to the office by 5:00.  One of my clinical assistants quit because “it is just too stressful”.  Give me a break!

Edited by RachelG

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I just found this today and have scanned it and will do a more through read in the next day or so. Thanks for the wonderful pictures as well.

 

I'm sorry I didn't get to meet more of you but between my family and our "group", I was fairly occupied.

 

it was a very good trip!

 

Peggy (xrvlcruiser)

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2 hours ago, xrvlcruiser said:

I just found this today and have scanned it and will do a more through read in the next day or so. Thanks for the wonderful pictures as well.

 

I'm sorry I didn't get to meet more of you but between my family and our "group", I was fairly occupied.

 

it was a very good trip!

 

Peggy (xrvlcruiser)

It was great to meet you Peggy.  Wish we could have visited more.  Nice to put a face to a name.

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Final thoughts 

 

we had really looked forward to this cruise as it was our 4th time to Iceland, and we had loved all the previous visits.  The weather this time was by far the worst we have encountered in Iceland. Silversea can’t control the weather, but it seemed as if their plan B was pretty much just a sea day.  If we wanted sea days, we would do a trans Atlantic cruise, which would be way cheaper.  We paid a very high price for this trip, and I felt like they should have tried harder to get more experiences on land.  What hikes we were able to do were good.  But we missed 3.  3 days on an 11 day cruise that was supposed to have no sea days is a lot.

 

the food was very good to great.  Fresh berries were abundant.  Good plain yogurt, which is sometimes amazingly allusive.  Nice choice at the salad bar.  They did run out of a few things, like ginger for the sushi.  Wines were acceptable, and they worked to find something you like if the first choice wasn’t to your taste.  

 

Do not book suites 443-449 if you like to sleep at all.  The zodiac platform is directly underneath.  It is very noisy when they are putting it in and out.  Even those days when it turned out we weren’t going to be able to land, we were awakened by the noise as they sent out a scouting zodiac.  We did not miss having a balcony on this cruise since it was so cold.

 

The friends that we met and enjoyed spending time with (JP and Chris, Brad and Leslie, Victoria and Bob, Rich and Barbara) were really what made the cruise.  We had a great time with them.  Trivia was a blast.  We will be back on for Antarctica in January.  After that, we will see.  We are going to give the new Crystal expedition ship a try, and I want to try out the new Silversea Galapagos  ship. 

 

 

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It is interesting how people's impressions of the same event(s) can differ.  We thought the refirb of the Cloud was beautiful.  We were less impressed by the amount of space given over to the zodiacs which made walking the deck less than fun.  We were understandably disappointed by the weather and the cancellation of 3 ports and the cancellation of our whale watching tour in Husavik which had been so highly recommended.  I agree that they might have been able to come up with better experiences on shore or even just in the zodiacs.  I was interested to see that on the subsequent cruise, they allowed passengers up on the bow on deck 5/6.  That might have been fun on our trip.

 

As you know, we are Silversea cheerleaders and enthusiasts with many days on board.  We were highly disappointed in the food and even more in the poor service both in the main dining room and La Terrazza.  Food is subjective, but we felt that the basic ingredients were not up to the standard we were used to, and the prep was sometimes really bad.  For example, the last evening in LT, I ordered the veal liver which is usually very good.  This time, the majority of the dish was well prepared, but then I cut into a portion where the chef must have decided to pour all the salt, which ruined it.  I am sensitive to salt, but this was ridiculous.  In the morning, we could never get our eggs cooked the way they were ordered, and it was impossible to get toasted english muffins served at the same time as the eggs.  We always had to go into the buffet area to get the butter which was routinely forgotten.   One of the servers chose to disagree with me when I ordered my coffee in a mug rather than the standard cup.  While it might have been a language issue, the way she handled it was less than stellar.  Service in both the MDR and LT was generally bad.  It should not take 20 minutes to get extra sauce for a main course.  It seems that they have decreased the number of staff to accommodate the high number of expedition staff, and there seemed to be many poorly trained servers.  There really should be a better solution.  I have never before seen the maitre d' in the restaurant bussing tables or serving tables.  In our opinion, there were just not enough people to handle the restaurants.

 

We have been on many SS cruises, and this was the least good of all, not because of the weather or the missed tours, but because of the food and service.  

 

When we were at the airport, we were approached by a lady who had been on the cruise who asked what we thought.  It was her first Silversea cruise (she is a Regent devotee) and she was quite displeased.  That put us in the position of having to defend Silversea all the while agreeing with much of what she was saying.  Another passenger approached us with many of the same complaints.  She had only been on Silversea once before and was quite disappointed with the cruise and especially the way the shore excursions were handled.  She would have preferred more of an expedition cruise rather than a cruise with chancy ports.

 

We will give Silversea another chance but probably not for a while.  This cruise was quite disappointing.

 

I'm sorry to be so negative, but I really needed to vent.

 

All that aside, we truly enjoyed spending time with Rachel & George, JP & Chris, Barbara & Rich and Page & Mike.  After all is said and done, it is the people who make the trip and not the small things which are not up to par.

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Agree with Victoria that some of the servers were apparently poorly trained, and a couple were just plain rude. Arguing with a passenger about how the passenger wants the food is just not acceptable.  We tended to stick with a couple of servers that we knew from the previous cruise on this ship in June who we knew were good, but couldn’t always get their table.  

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52 minutes ago, RachelG said:

Arguing with a passenger about how the passenger wants the food is just not acceptable.

Wow, I totally agree.  Such behavior in a fast casual restaurant or even McDonalds is not acceptable either.  Might happen once, but then the expectation is termination for that employee.

1 hour ago, Emtbsam said:

I really needed to vent.

And its so important to have a place to do so; these boards offer that.  Your honest reactions, RachelG's, and all the others here are precious.  I'll keep my expectations for cruise #1 in line, and try to keep the uh-oh did I ever just blow a ton of money feelings in line too.

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Posted (edited)

Emtbsam,

 

You are a trusted voice here in the SS forum.  I appreciate your candid assessment of your recent Cloud voyage.  

 

I waited and waited to book our first expedition voyage because we wanted it to be on the Cloud.  To think this ship has been fully committed to the expedition market since the fall of 2017 and yet the food and service levels are not up to par is exceptionally disappointing to read.  And, after reading about George’s unsafe hamburger at the Grill, I’m concerned.  

 

Who was the F&B Manager and do you know how long he/she has been with SS?  Clearly, they need to up their game immediately.  And, I certainly hope SS gets the dining situation rectified before we board in Jan 2020 or I’m going to be one unhappy camper.

Edited by Stumblefoot

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We got off cloud on the 5th August, our first SS cruise, we too thought the service was patchy, excellent some times, waiting 30 minutes for menus or a drink other times. The food was generally good, but I did not get poached eggs cooked correctly the whole cruise. We didn’t feel the butler provided anything to our enjoyment of our holiday. Would we do another SS cruise? Maybe, but it will be based purely on itinerary and price, there was nothing to make us want to return, 

generally we found the staff to be good (like all ships), but there was a female server who was down right rude, I know a few complaints were lodged about her (not by me but by other passengers), we’d just laugh when we were allocated a table in her section.

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16 hours ago, RachelG said:

The weather this time was by far the worst we have encountered in Iceland. Silversea can’t control the weather, but it seemed as if their plan B was pretty much just a sea day.  If we wanted sea days, we would do a trans Atlantic cruise, which would be way cheaper.  We paid a very high price for this trip, and I felt like they should have tried harder to get more experiences on land.  What hikes we were able to do were good.  But we missed 3.  3 days on an 11 day cruise that was supposed to have no sea days is a lot.

 

 I am truly curious to know what your answer would be for this question, since we will be boarding the Cloud in September: what would you have had Silverseas do when the bad weather arrived?  I mean, you are pretty much out in the wilderness, and there aren't a lot of alternate places to go, so if you were in charge, what would you have done? Not meaning to be snarky, but just would like to know.  Same question for Emtbsam.  Oh, and getting a rude server is completely unacceptable, and she should have been escorted off the ship at the next port.

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We are departing Friday for two days in Iceland, then boarding the ship on August 26th! I'm a little nervous now about the food/service; I guess we won't be surprised if it's sometimes not as good as we would expect. 

 

I have a question for you cruisers about the parka: how warm is it? I know you had some very cold, wet, and windy weather. Did you need layers under the parka, and if so, what layers did you use? We're finishing up our packing and trying to figure out the layering situation.  

 

Thanks!

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41 minutes ago, LadyandtheTramp said:

 I am truly curious to know what your answer would be for this question, since we will be boarding the Cloud in September: what would you have had Silverseas do when the bad weather arrived?  I mean, you are pretty much out in the wilderness, and there aren't a lot of alternate places to go, so if you were in charge, what would you have done? Not meaning to be snarky, but just would like to know.  Same question for Emtbsam.  Oh, and getting a rude server is completely unacceptable, and she should have been escorted off the ship at the next port.

Hi, good morning...I agree, being rude to a customer is unacceptable but (just my opinion), Maybe management needs to be informed and can fix the problem (before sending the server home).

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17 minutes ago, RobC1116 said:

I have a question for you cruisers about the parka: how warm is it? I know you had some very cold, wet, and windy weather. Did you need layers under the parka, and if so, what layers did you use? We're finishing up our packing and trying to figure out the layering situation. 

 

The parkas are very warm (to us). We would wear a long-sleeved T-shirt underneath, and maybe one other thin layer (thin sweater, or I'd often wear an Eddie Bauer synthetic button-down shirt as my other layer. I can't remember the exact name of the shirt but it's the nylon/poly shirt which dries quickly.

 

That was warm enough for pretty much anything we encountered. For example, when we docked in Husavik, it was about 40 degrees and windy, with horizontal rain. We bundled up like that and walked into town, about 15 minutes at a moderate pace. We were a little sweaty underneath all of that stuff when we arrived.

 

The parka has a shell and a removable liner. The shell is nicely water-resistant; during that walk we didn't get wet at all. With the liner removed, either component can be used as a lighter jacket. Really a nice design. Looking forward to getting many years out of it as a winter coat up here in the Northeast.

 

***

 

Some interesting talk here about service and food. It is amazing how subjective it is. Chris and I thought the food was pretty good. There was only one dish I wasn't pleased with, and that was the overcooked (by my standards) lamb in La Dame. It was still tasty so I didn't complain, but it wasn''t perfect.

 

The rib eye steaks on the grill were delicious. Agree their burger is so-so but it's a frozen preformed patty so it is what it is. Their "sizzling jalapeno steak" special that they had on day one was superb.

 

La Terazza lunch buffets never failed to please; we ate there every day. Their pizza is really delicious. We make our own pizzas at home and they really do it right. LT for dinner is an interesting contrast. They have a ton of delicious appetizers and pasta dishes, but I find the main course offerings to be fairly limited. I did not try the duck ragu this time after I was disappointed in it a few years ago. That time, they ground the meat and disn't braise it for hours like they should have. I have a recipe at home that tastes better.

 

The MDR is good and I think they've expanded the menus. There are definitely a lot more options than there ever were on Silver Explorer, and more than I remember from last year on Silver Wind. Which reminds me, I have to scan in the menus at some point. But they had an always-available portion with about 5 appetizers and 5 entrees, then a few items that changed every night, and a four-course suggestion which changed every night. And you could mix&match from among all of it.

 

So, we thought the food was pretty good to excellent at times. I will say that the wine selection seemed a bit limited, with comparatively few different wines making the rounds during the 9 days. On past cruises it was rare to get a repeat wine from night to night unless you asked for it. While we did like all of the selections, I sensed less variety than in the past. (And yes, I know we could have asked for something different if we'd have wanted).

 

Question for my fellow cruisers - who was the rude server in MDR? Never encountered her, but we only ate there on 4 nights so we certainly could have (luckily, it seems) missed out. Agree that we had some which were not great, but plenty were, and I didn't notice a real drop-off from past cruises. Perhaps that's because Dara, Richard, and Myhala always kept our wine glasses so full, that we didn't mind waiting for food!

 

I wonder if the decline in MDR service is due to the reconfiguration? In the "old days" they had small serving stations all over the room, including several in the middle of the action. So when the servers were at their stations, they could still keep a close eye on all of the tables that they were serving, and would notice things very quickly. Now, there seem to be only four stations, one in each far corner, and they have high glass walls around them. So the servers (IMO) seem isolated from their tables when they're in those stations, preparing plates, etc. Just a thought.

 

We are still really excited about the January cruise, and nothing that we experienced here has changed our mind. Less than 5 months to go!!!

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Jpalbny--thank you so much for the detailed reply! It's most appreciated. It will help us figure out our layers--just have to make sure we're warm enough during our two days in Iceland prior to the cruise. And your food and service experiences sound just fine!

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Hmmm, after the comments I am rethinking our Cloud expedition.

 

Thanks all for the reviews and photographs.

I did follow along and enjoy the postings.

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JP. Good comment about the serving stations being placed in the corners and not more centrally located.  The rude server was at breakfast in LT.  She is Asian and possibly there was a language barrier when I asked for the mug but she was also the server in the MDR who took 20 minutes to come up with extra sauce for the steak Diane (which by the way was excellent).  There were also several newbies who were clueless and should have been better trained but we always try to cut them some slack.  For us it was the fact that the dining rooms were at least 2 to 4 people short of enough to provide the service to which we are accustomed.  Also, several times in LT for breakfast the servers took our orders without using the ipad and had to come back and ask for our orders again.  Even with that, eggs were not cooked as ordered.

 

Now in fairness, this was our first expedition cruise with our most recent cruises being the world cruise and a b2b transatlantic on the Whisper.  Gilbert was maitre d’ on the Whisper as well and everything was fine, so I have to assume it was the number of staff rather than the supervision which made the difference.

 

We know nothing is perfect, and as I have said, we are Silversea enthusiasts, but it is sad to have to defend their poor performance to people who were new to Silversea and who were truly disappointed.

 

For those who are taking upcoming cruises on the Cloud, do not worry.  I was being possibly overly critical of a cruise line that for us up until this cruise usually received scores of 9 or 10.  You will find many things you like and a few you do not.  Food is subjective and I just gave my opinion.  Overall, service was fine except for the dining rooms.  Our butler Oscar and cabin attendant did everything we asked for.  Service in the Panorama lounge was fine.

 

 

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Well I hope all who had the rude server identified her by name in the mid cruise or end of cruise survey that are given out.If you did she will not be back on Silversea.Also important to identify by name those that are good so they get further contracts.

We did have a Maitre'D on the Explorer that took a dislike to us.We reported that and told on our next Explorer cruise that he didn't get a second contract.

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Food is always so subjective. We thought the food this time was very good to great overall. In the evenings they offered a number of Asian and Indian menu items which were uniformly terrific. I don’t remember seeing such a variety on our cruise on the Cloud in May or on last summer’s cruise on the Explorer. The only meal I didn’t care for was the rib eye steak, which JP loved, so different strokes for different folks. 

 

And I thought that the service was fine overall, so I guess we got lucky on where we were seated in the main dining room. We skipped La Dame this time as service in there was glacial in May and we didn’t think the food merited the add on, although I know plenty of people have raved about their experience. 

 

We had the same Butler this time as we had in May and he remembered our preferences (two pots of coffee and cookies first thing and Chardonnay in the fridge for me.) I found that pretty impressive.  And one of the Panorama bartenders remembered when I first walked in that I order margaritas, made with Cointreau instead of triple sec, no salt. 

 

Overall the the cruise was disappointing though with all of the missed stops and excursions, although out of their control due to weather.  I’m not sure what a plan B or C would have we looked like, but there are only so many lectures that can keep you entertained. 

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Posted (edited)

The rude server was in La Terraza, not main dining room.  

 

There was was way more choice and variety as far as food compared to Explorer.  It was more like one of the traditional ships.

 

and yes, the bar tender in the Panorama lounge recognized me from our previous trip and provided non stop pelligrino with lime.

 

as far as the missed ports, they have very sophisticated programs which show the weather for the next day.  These were always shown to us in the briefing the night before.  So the forecast is for pounding rain and high wind.  Common sense says we are not going to be able to land there with zodiacs.  They knew this the night before, but showed up at Ranganes anyway.  Wasted many hours then decided to proceed to Husavik where we were docked.  Better option would have been to just proceed to Husavik, where there are very many land options available, even if you are just doing your own thing.  We would have been great with that.

 

vigor Island.  Again, the day before, the forecast looked very sketchy.  There is no dock.  But there are other options available, including a large dock at Isafordor, which we could actually see from the ship.  And the land options from there are excellent.  We have been there before.

 

my point is, this is supposed to be an expedition trip.  We are ok with changes to the itinerary.  We are ok with getting on and off the zodiac in rough seas.  There were definitely lots of people onboard who couldn’t do that, but does that mean no one can.  If the default is to another sea day, that is really just not acceptable. 

 

At the last missed port, I don’t know what was going on.  As I stated before, we were right above the zodiac boarding area, and I could look down and see what was going on.  It was not so rough that I would have felt uncomfortable about getting in the zodiac.  We have definitely seen as bad or worse.  

Edited by RachelG

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Rachel, I do think you've hit upon a limitation of Silver Cloud which is less of an issue with Explorer.

 

Pretty much everyone knows that Explorer is an expedition ship. Most (but not all) who don't want that will stay away. It's still less obvious with Silver Cloud, IMO. It's more "expedition light" and may attract a slightly different demographic, so that the average "ability" of an Explorer passenger probably is better than that of a Cloud passenger. 

 

Also, just because you and I would feel comfortable jumping on a bobbing zodiac, the crew can't really decide who can and can't do it. I suspect that they simply have to play to the lowest common denominator, and if they determine that the least able bodied passengers can't do it safely, then they shouldn't offer the landing. In other words - they can't just offer the landing to some, and tell other passengers that they can't do it. So it's an impossible situation - cancel and annoy those of us who want to try anyway, or offer it and have someone potentially get hurt.

 

I also think that it is less of an issue to get 130 pax on/off when weather is potentially deteriorating, vs. getting 240 on/off in a similar situation. If stuff hits the fan it takes a lot longer to get twice as many pax back safely.

 

Your Plan B scenarios make a lot of sense. And I agree that some of them seem very feasible. I agree that Stykkisholmur didn't seem all that bad and we were also very disappointed to miss that stop. We'd been looking forward to revisiting that area since we were last there.

 

It sounds like Dom did try to arrange some alternative scenarios, but perhaps on too-short notice. He is relatively new in the Expedition Lead role, I believe? But te bottom line is, that storm was just nasty. The weather was awful - by far the worse we've seen in those parts. It was nicer in January! Oh well. Hopefully South Georgia will be better!

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We are still on the Cloud cruising Greenland.  Fortunately good weather and no missed ports.  Talking with a number of expedition staff, and going out on zodiacs, the determination of going out is based on the least common denominator.  In other words if George and Rachel and Rich and Barbara can make it out but not someone who is less capable physically then we won’t go.  Unfortunately, people will sue at the drop of a hat if something goes wrong.  Like it or not that is what will happen.  Hopefully Antarctica will be good and no iffy weather to stymie your zodiac departures.

 

agree if there is a forecast for inclement weather that is known in there should be more flexibility.

 

now for the service.  We were on the Cloud from South Africa to Lisbon and service and food were great.  Handled Barbara’s gluten free issue fantastically and very attentive.  Unfortunately on our two segments so far there has been a drop off in service.  Takes a long time to be served, Barbara given wrong menus, just not the same service.  This is mainly in the restaurant.  Room service is generally on time, but the food is generally not as hot as we experienced on our Africa trip in April.

 

we were seated in La Terraza for breakfast one day and no one came to the table for coffee or water after we were seated.  It seemed like ten minutes,probably shorter, and I went up to the restaurant manager and told him.  Finally more people came over and we were served.  Shouldn’t have to resort to complaining to get served.

 

i will stop my rant and carry on with,my blog for our Greenland trip.

 

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JP and Rich, I agree they were basing the decision on whether to launch the zodiacs on the least fit denominator.  But IMO, if you sign up for an expedition cruise, there should be an expectation that it may be challenging. And I, being married to a lawyer and mom of another, definitely know people will sue at the drop of a hat.  It is just really annoying to lose what basically amounted to 1/3 of the excursions on an extremely expensive cruise.

 

BTW, the parkas are the nicest we have ever had on any expedition cruise--and that is over 100 days.  They are plenty warm and dry, even in high winds with pounding rain.

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2 hours ago, rich48100 said:

I will stop my rant and carry on with my blog for our Greenland trip.

 

Rich, not at all. No rant detected. Didn't know that Barbara is GF but that's pretty important not to miss.

 

I have a relatively trivial issue in that I'm allergic to kiwis (the fruit, not the people 🇳🇿). I got a letter in the suite at embarkation, asking me to come to the MDR to discuss my "special diet" with the Maitre d' that afternoon. Gilbert looked me up and we had a laugh..."Just avoid the Kiwi fruit at the buffet," he said. But I don't want to trivialize food allergies, so they definitely need to be more careful. 

 

1 hour ago, RachelG said:

JP and Rich, I agree they were basing the decision on whether to launch the zodiacs on the least fit denominator.

 

Rachel, I think the LCD might be lower on Cloud. Just a hunch. It may also be itinerary-driven. I remember on our 2013 Panama Canal expedition, people were totally unprepared for easy zodiac rides in calm conditions. Panama Canal is apparently code-speak for easy cruising. 

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