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skleeb

Comparison-Silversea vs. Cunard

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I had been booked on a cruise on both of these lines this coming year. Since they were both cancelled, I have a chance to re-book. Any opinions either way of your favorite(if you have tried both, of course)? Cost, anemities, activities, atmosphere? Single female, 60ish. Thank you.

 

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Good afternoon Skleeb.

 

Well it looks at this moment in time that your not rushed off your feet with answers.

 

So I'll hopefully give you a steer as I have cruising experience with both. 

 

And I would announce right from the start that they are as different experiences as 'chalk and cheese' though both very enjoyable in their own categories..

 

To help you here is my comprehensive review of the last occasion I sailed with Silversea...

 

https://solentrichardscruiseblog.com/2015/02/12/silver-spirit-to-tahiti/

 

In round about figures the 'cruise' element costs were similar to sailing at Grills level. But of course there were more 'complimentary' extras with Silversea while the  dining was definitely more refined.

 

Of course I'm unaware of what level of accommodation you are planning with Cunard however I have experience at all four levels and would be delighted to offer further advice.

 

1062074571_SilverSpiritatPapeeteFeaturedImage.thumb.jpg.a8308623e43fc0b09d62134da8355ff2.jpg 

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I had a QM trip in June that was cancelled however I sailed on the QE2 in the Queen's grill. I have a few recent trips on silversea. Silversea is a small ship experience and all inclusive, except for LaDame, so no one ever asks for your card. The flavor is generally European rather than English however there were many UK guests. There wasn't as much tableside prep however you can put in special orders ahead of time. Shows ect were simpler due to size of ship. Ships have no wrap around outside deck. A plus for Silversea is the whole ship has a luxury feel and level of service and is all open sitting while Cunnard gives you the luxury of the Grills along with the big ship experience. Silversea also has a more casual dress code. I think both nice.

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My wife and I have sailed with Silversea three times (all between 2014 and 2016---twice on the Spirit, once on the "old" Cloud---i.e. before it was turned into an expedition ship), and once on the QM2 (21 nights in the summer of 2019, in a Britannia balcony). 

 

Without knowing more about what's important to you, I can only make some general observations:

 

_Both lines are among the most formal in the cruise world in terms of dress---I'd say Cunard a little more so.

_Both lines have very good enrichment/lecture programs.

_Cunard has a much wider choice of evening musical and dancing options.

_Cunard has, by far, bigger and better libraries.

_Both lines have a high quality of dining, but---as Solent Richard said, above---only the "Grills" on Cunard (and possibly the Britannia Club) are truly comparable to Silversea (i.e., no fixed dining times, service not as rushed, etc.).

_Both lines seem to have, proportionately, about the same percentage of single guests.

_If you enjoy pre- or post-dinner cocktails and/or wine with your meals, Silversea has the edge. With Cunard, you either pay by the drink or you have a drinks package. The package, while not inexpensive, still has all sorts of exclusions and dollar limits. (For example, martinis made with some brands of gin are included in the package, but not all brands. With Silversea, if they have it at the bar it's yours for no extra cost---and you don't have to keep reaching into your pocket for your room card).

 

I like both lines, maybe Cunard a bit more but I'd consider sailing with Silversea again if the itinerary was interesting and the price reasonable (by Silversea standards).

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Hypercafe is mistaken about wraparound decks on Silversea ships. I have enjoyed them on Whisper, Cloud  and Muse (my favorite). These are first class luxury cruisers of an understated character whereas Cunard’s quality varies with its 3 class system in terms of “you get what you pay for”. You really cannot compare the experience of a 200-600 passenger Silversea all-inclusive ship to a 2000-2500 pay as you go Cunard ship which is essentially a mass market event with the superior grade Princess and top class Queens class, totalling around 400 together.


As another poster said aptly, chalk and cheese.

 

Haply and healthy sailing!

 

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I thought of one other difference to add to what I wrote previously. On Silversea, more than on Cunard or any other line I've been on, it's easy to socialize with entertainers and guest lecturers. On all three of our Silversea cruises, the guest lecturers and the entertainers (unless they were performing that night) always seemed to be hanging out in the bar before dinner and are more than happy to share drinks and conversation with any guests who feel like approaching them. On at least a half-dozen occasions we wound up having dinner with them. For a single traveler like the O.P., this might be something that tips the scale in Silversea's favor.

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Thanks for the replies. We do tend to sail on Cunard, and have been reluctant to try anything else in recent years, but the opportunity arose to try Silversea in November, and so IF we actually sail it is interesting to learn about the differences. I must say I am pleased about the truly all inclusive aspects of Silversea, but I do think I will miss afternoon tea in the  Queens Room, and the guest choir. Maybe they will serve Milky Way Martinis in the equivalent of the Commodore Club if there is a similar venue on the Silver Wind.

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Posted (edited)

We returned to Silversea on the Spirit last year after many enjoyable sailings on the Cloud, Wind, Shadow and Whisper.  We also sailed to Norway in QG on QM2 two years ago.  The new dining program on silversea is a deal breaker for us.  A handful of restaurants with the same menu every night.  Quite boring if you can’t utilize the outdoor options.  Try having the same meal half the time and being told no more than yes for asking for items off the menu.  
 

Dining in the QG was lovely,  excellent food,  really anything you wanted on or off the menu.

 

i doubt I will return the SS,  I’d rather sail seabourn,  Cunard or crystal 

Edited by avalon1025

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Posted (edited)

Tipping included with Silversea. We have sailed Cunard, Seabourn and Silversea.

 

We like Cunard and Seabourn but were disappointed with our Silversea cruise and would not sail with Silversea again.

Edited by longton
Grammar

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Talking of Silver Spirit, I was just finishing breakfast this morning and there she was, sailing past Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, heading into Southampton...

 

 

Silver Spirit passing Cowes 11 May 2020.jpg

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1 minute ago, longton said:

Tipping included with Silversea. We have sailed Cunard, Seabourn and Silversea.

 

We like Cunard and Seabourn but were disappointed with our Silversea cruise and would not sail with Silversea again.

 

Having also sailed Cunard and Seabourn, I'd be interested in the cause(s) of your disappointment. 

 

While my review linked above did highlight two issues they were relatively minor and certainly wouldn't preclude me sailing with them again.

 

In simple terms, the itineraries are always more interesting.

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9 hours ago, jimdee3636 said:

I thought of one other difference to add to what I wrote previously. On Silversea, more than on Cunard or any other line I've been on, it's easy to socialize with entertainers and guest lecturers. On all three of our Silversea cruises, the guest lecturers and the entertainers (unless they were performing that night) always seemed to be hanging out in the bar before dinner and are more than happy to share drinks and conversation with any guests who feel like approaching them. On at least a half-dozen occasions we wound up having dinner with them. For a single traveler like the O.P., this might be something that tips the scale in Silversea's favor.

 

Yes, I can agree with you on the socialising with the entertainers...

 

1392692555_Richardwithentertainers.thumb.jpg.2a0c9f3663ff4229f733093355cce55e.jpg

 

...and another thing I appreciated was the selection of national newspapers available daily...

 

1753819659_DailyPapersinLibrary.thumb.jpg.66135a1bdd0175d14ae9237a0fc3a592.jpg

 

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These responses are so insightful and most helpful. Thanks for taking the time to answer my original query. Seems the all-inclusiveness on Silversea is quite appealing. I like the idea of one payment for everything without an adding machine going on in my head on the Queen.(That's just how I would roll). Wasn't aware of the 'class system' on Cunard. What is it? As for solo travel, I know Cunard has several rooms set aside for singletons on the QM2. Anybody tried those rooms? That could be a plus for Cunard. Thanks again!

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Posted (edited)

Just to clarify on that old chestnut 'Cunard Class system', anyone who belives this has been watching far too much Titanic.

 

Cunard does not have a 'class system' rather, it offers the customer to buy into an onboard brand/product eg  suite guests are paired to their own restaurant  adjacent to a small intimate bar/lounge area ( which  incidentally has no atmosphere and is often under used ) however, the quiet sun deck area could be a bonus.  If one wants to see real  class system in the cruise industry  look no further than MSC Yacht club. 

Edited by Bell Boy

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31 minutes ago, Bell Boy said:

Just to clarify on that old chestnut 'Cunard Class system', anyone who belives this has been watching far too much Titanic.

 

...

 

...If one wants to see real  class system in the cruise industry  look no further than MSC Yacht club. 

Or “The Haven”   (their “ship within a ship”) on NCL.

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1 hour ago, skleeb said:

These responses are so insightful and most helpful. Thanks for taking the time to answer my original query. Seems the all-inclusiveness on Silversea is quite appealing. I like the idea of one payment for everything without an adding machine going on in my head on the Queen.(That's just how I would roll). Wasn't aware of the 'class system' on Cunard. What is it? As for solo travel, I know Cunard has several rooms set aside for singletons on the QM2. Anybody tried those rooms? That could be a plus for Cunard. Thanks again!

With regard to traveling solo, Silversea frequently offers cabins for one person at 125%  of the "regular" per-person rate. Unlike the Cunard solo cabins, you'd get much more space and at least an ocean view. If Cunard offers solo cruisers much of a discount, I'm not aware of it.

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If you are booking a Grill cabin for Cunard out of the U.S., you will find drinks (up to a certain $) and gratuities will be included.   I had thought they did this only on cruises but have learned this is also applicable to the transatlantic crossings.   We have traveled Seabourn and found the entertainment limited, dining in the Main dining rooms is slow and you are always seated at a different table.   In the Queens Grill, we had a table with two or three servers who waited for us for all three meals.   Even in port the Grill restaurant was open.   Service was always prompt and I have yet to requested anything on the QM2 that couldn’t be had for that days lunch or dinner.    Both lines have their good points but I prefer the traditional atmosphere of the QM2.

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5 hours ago, jimdee3636 said:

With regard to traveling solo, Silversea frequently offers cabins for one person at 125%  of the "regular" per-person rate. Unlike the Cunard solo cabins, you'd get much more space and at least an ocean view. If Cunard offers solo cruisers much of a discount, I'm not aware of it.

You are right, SS has some great deals on rooms that are not double the price(as is the case on some lines). Going to compare with the solo rooms on Cunard.

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8 hours ago, skleeb said:

You are right, SS has some great deals on rooms that are not double the price(as is the case on some lines). Going to compare with the solo rooms on Cunard.

 

Cunard Line only have Single Staterooms in their 'Britannia' category (ocean view not with a balcony) personally I could not recommend these. These single staterooms were added across the Cunard fleet much later after many years, as there are only a few on each ship they are always sold at a premium . One would be wise to look for discount promotions on double occupancy rooms with a balcony ( often much better value than the single room)

 

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10 hours ago, Bell Boy said:

 

Cunard Line only have Single Staterooms in their 'Britannia' category (ocean view not with a balcony) personally I could not recommend these. These single staterooms were added across the Cunard fleet much later after many years, as there are only a few on each ship they are always sold at a premium . One would be wise to look for discount promotions on double occupancy rooms with a balcony ( often much better value than the single room)

 

Yes, I see that now. The single rooms are only 178 sq. ft. Pretty small, but I don't usually stay in my cabin much. On an eastbound crossing in July, the cost is almost 3,000 US dollars .Off topic, what is the general rule for tipping? I know on SS it is included.

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On Cunard Line Gratuities are added to your guest account each day  at 'around' $11/$13 pp per day  (depending on your Stateroom/Suite category)  15/% is added to all alcohol purchases , there is no need to 'keep tipping each time 'you sign for a drink'  or oder wine in the restaurant  ,however, some guest's often give a small  reward to a crew member 'who may' have looked after them in a special way  each evening in the various  bars etc. 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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Just now, Bell Boy said:

On Cunard Line Gratuities are added to your guest account each day  at 'around' $11/$13 pp per day  (depending on your Stateroom/Suite category)  15/% is added to all alcohol purchases , there is no need to 'keep tipping each time 'you sign for a drink'  or if you oder wine in the restaurant  ,however, some guest's often give a small  reward ( at the end of the voyage)  to a crew member 'who may have 'looked after them in a special way  each evening in the various  bars etc. 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

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If you are used to Seabourn/Silverseas you should book a Grill cabin on Cunard for a fair comparison.   The staterooms/suites on the QM2 are larger than those on the QE or QV.

Look at a full Cunard brochure (with the deck plans) and you will see the difference.   As I said before from the U.S., drinks and gratuities are included for the Grill cabins/suites.   We usually tip extra but we also did that on Seabourn.

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I was on Silverseas a number of years ago. As I recall, it was one of the worst cruises I have ever taken, at any price point, and I couldn't wait to get off the ship.

I recall the food being among the worst I've ever experienced, I'm pretty sure that was the cruise I thought  "no wonder they keep the passengers drunk so they can't taste the food".

I don't recall any entertainment past 9PM, the musicians seemed to resent playing later. It's possible there was some heavy drinking in one of the bars, but that wouldn't have interested me at all.

For a single female, 60ish, unless you're a heavy drinker, Cunard for sure. I pretty much agree with everything Bell Boy has said. I consider Cunard to be possibly the best cruise line for singles.

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18 hours ago, Dancer Bob said:

I was on Silverseas a number of years ago. As I recall, it was one of the worst cruises I have ever taken, at any price point, and I couldn't wait to get off the ship.

I recall the food being among the worst I've ever experienced, I'm pretty sure that was the cruise I thought  "no wonder they keep the passengers drunk so they can't taste the food".

I don't recall any entertainment past 9PM, the musicians seemed to resent playing later. It's possible there was some heavy drinking in one of the bars, but that wouldn't have interested me at all.

For a single female, 60ish, unless you're a heavy drinker, Cunard for sure. I pretty much agree with everything Bell Boy has said. I consider Cunard to be possibly the best cruise line for singles.

Thanks for this frank review. Pretty sure it is the least complimentary of SS I've come across. Comfort as a solo is high on my list.So,back to the drawing (planning) board.

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