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Silversea or Seabourn


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On 6/21/2021 at 5:26 AM, lincslady said:

To me the main differences were that Silversea is slightly more formal in the evenings, and that the staff you encounter on Seabourn, stewardesses, bar and wait staff, are from more parts of the world than  on Silversea.  (Unless Silversea has changed recently).  Seabourn recruits young people from many countries, who have generally got land based hotel and restaurant experience, and who wish to travel and possibly not regard their job at sea as one for life.  The result is that they are personable, chatty and friendly, but occasionally perhaps not as efficient as the Silversea staff.   I personally prefer this attitude, as they are more able to think 'outside the box' if problems arise...

 

I have sailed on Seabourn since 2010 and have truly enjoyed their outstanding and personalized service.  I agree that the crew is international and engaging.  It's easy to chat with them; their diversity and backgrounds have also contributed to interesting conversations.  Some even have the confidence and charisma to joke around with and gently tease their guests.

 

I will sail on Silversea for the first time (this summer on the Shadow) and don't expect the same style of service, since most of their F&B and housekeeping staff are from SE Asia or South Asia, as I understand.  No doubt they will be wonderful and friendly.  (I was born in and lived for many years in Asia and am intimately familiar with the more respectful and reverential service style and personality.)  Looking forward to seeing for myself the difference.

 

I do have one concern.  Are there typically more smokers on board, perhaps due to the Italian heritage of Silversea?  Someone mentioned a corner with cigars - that would be even worse.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, sfvoyage said:

I do have one concern.  Are there typically more smokers on board, perhaps due to the Italian heritage of Silversea?  Someone mentioned a corner with cigars - that would be even worse.

 

Smokers are quite rare, and the areas where smoking is permitted (forbidden in suites and on suite balconies) are clearly demarcated.  The "corner" is the Connoisseur Club, a room that is well ventilated that offers cigars and cognacs.  There is little if any escape of smoke from that room into general public areas.

 

Edited by Observer
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56 minutes ago, sfvoyage said:

I do have one concern.  Are there typically more smokers on board, perhaps due to the Italian heritage of Silversea?

Yes, there are all types of smokers on SS from cigarettes to cigars to pipes.  In addition to the Connoisseur Corner, there are locations outside that permit smoking such as tables on the pool deck or outside Panorama Lounge. They may even allow smoking in the casino, I can’t remember for sure.  Regardless, it’s managed very well as far as we non-smokers are concerned.

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38 minutes ago, Stumblefoot said:

Yes, there are all types of smokers on SS from cigarettes to cigars to pipes.  In addition to the Connoisseur Corner, there are locations outside that permit smoking such as tables on the pool deck or outside Panorama Lounge. They may even allow smoking in the casino, I can’t remember for sure.  Regardless, it’s managed very well as far as we non-smokers are concerned.

Smoking is no longer allowed in the Casino.

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Funny how opinions change- we started cruising with Silversea 15 years ago on 

the Shadow and the Whisper. We loved the small ship atmosphere but found the dining to be average. We then opted to try Seabourn and sailed on the Legend, Quest, Sojourn, Odyssey and finally Encore. We enjoyed all of our cruises with the exception of Encore as we found the ship’s space was too small for the larger passenger load- particularly poolside. The menu options on our cruise were fewer and less appetizing than we had previously experienced and the Keller restaurant didn’t live up to its hype. The crew were friendly but not as polished and we left the cruise feeling that the line was not meeting its previous standard.


We elected to give cruising a pass for two years and in 2019 decided to return to the Silversea Spirit in June to celebrate our anniversary. We were not thoroughly enthusiastic about revisiting Silversea but the itinerary was appealing.. We  were amazed and delighted to find that the dining and service were exceptional and immediately booked the Muse for November. That cruise also exceeded our expectations and we cannot wait to book another for 2022.

Silversea prices out at a higher tariff but we feel that the food, wine , (including the champagne) and level of service are well worth the additional $$.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, sfvoyage said:

Also, once you reach Gold (70 club points), you'll get one bag per week.

 

Actually, this is available at the Silver level (20 club points). Silver gets you a choice of one benefit (like 2 hours of Internet, 20 minutes of telephone, a short massage, 10% off excursions or 10% off premium wines). Because the excursions benefit applies to both people in a cabin, one of us takes the 10% off excursions and the other takes the free bag of laundry. When you advance to Gold level (70 points), you get to select an additional benefit (and some of them are bigger/longer). 

 

Here's a link to Seabourn Club benefits and details, for anyone who'd like more information.

Edited by cruiseej
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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, cruiseej said:

 

Actually, this is available at the Silver level (20 club points). Silver gets you a choice of one benefit (like 2 hours of Internet, 20 minutes of telephone, a short massage, 10% off excursions or 10% off premium wines). Because the excursions benefit applies to both people in a cabin, one of us takes the 10% off excursions and the other takes the free bag of laundry. When you advance to Gold level (70 points), you get to select an additional benefit (and some of them are bigger/longer). 

Actually, the difference is that at Silver Level, the benefit is one bag of laundry per voyage, whereas at Gold Level, it is one bag per week, i.e. if your cruise is 2 weeks, you'll get 2 bags of laundry for free.  (If the cruise is, say, 10 days, they may round it up to 2 bags as well.)

Edited by sfvoyage
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2 hours ago, sfvoyage said:

 

I have sailed on Seabourn since 2010 and have truly enjoyed their outstanding and personalized service.  I agree that the crew is international and engaging.  It's easy to chat with them; their diversity and backgrounds have also contributed to interesting conversations.  Some even have the confidence and charisma to joke around with and gently tease their guests.

 

I will sail on Silversea for the first time (this summer on the Shadow) and don't expect the same style of service, since most of their F&B and housekeeping staff are from SE Asia or South Asia, as I understand.  No doubt they will be wonderful and friendly.  (I was born in and lived for many years in Asia and am intimately familiar with the more respectful and reverential service style and personality.)  Looking forward to seeing for myself the difference.

 

I do have one concern.  Are there typically more smokers on board, perhaps due to the Italian heritage of Silversea?  Someone mentioned a corner with cigars - that would be even worse.

We sailed the Muse from Sydney to Auckland just before Covid hit, and there were a few cigarette smokers who my husband met in the Connoisseurs Corner which, I think was originally designed for fine cigars and whiskeys etc. It was interesting that the cigar smokers were mostly American and cigarette smokers European.  The indoor area is quite separate but on the Muse but  the outdoor area was not appropriate since it was next to the outdoor area of Art's Cafe, so my DH never ventured out there so as to not annoy anyone.  On the Moon & Dawn, it is configured quite differently as the outdoor area of the Connoisseurs Corner is on the side of the ship with no way for the smoke to interfere with other guest areas. Good move by Silversea.

The staff on the Muse was incredibly friendly and quite professional...a wonderful combination.   We were always addressed by our names and our butler, Mark from the Phillipines was this incredibly handsome, outgoing guy who couldn't do enough for us.  When we sailed Seabourn, our staff likewise was wonderful....our cabin assistant was a lovely & young French woman who made us feel so pampered.   I am hard pressed to make comparisons on quality and service. 

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A couple of questions regarding Silversea:

 

Embarkation timing:  On Seabourn, we usually get to board between 12:00 and 13:00.  What should I expect for Silversea?  (I understand things may be changing due to covid-19 protocol, with staggered boarding, etc.)

 

Future Cruise Deposit:  For Seabourn, while you're sailing on one of their ships, you can purchase a future cruise deposit (USD500/person) on board which entitles you to a 5% discount off any future cruise booking, plus you can apply the USD500 towards the new booking deposit.  This is good for 4 years and will be automatically refunded to your credit card if unused by then (or anytime prior upon request).  Also available in GBP and EUR denominations at a different amount.  Does Silversea have this?

 

Shareholder OBC:  I understand ownership of 100 RCL shares does not entitle you to a shareholder OBC for Silversea.  I assume this exclusion will be eliminated in the future, since Silversea has been wholly owned by RCL since July 2020.  Thoughts?

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, sfvoyage said:

A couple of questions regarding Silversea:

 

Embarkation timing:  On Seabourn, we usually get to board between 12:00 and 13:00.  What should I expect for Silversea?  (I understand things may be changing due to covid-19 protocol, with staggered boarding, etc.)

 

Boarding in practice has nearly always begun at noon (though the "advertised" time is often 2 pm).  In some ports there may be needs to adjust this timing.  And COVID of course causes additional unpredictability.

 

9 hours ago, sfvoyage said:

 

Future Cruise Deposit:  For Seabourn, while you're sailing on one of their ships, you can purchase a future cruise deposit (USD500/person) on board which entitles you to a 5% discount off any future cruise booking, plus you can apply the USD500 towards the new booking deposit.  This is good for 4 years and will be automatically refunded to your credit card if unused by then (or anytime prior upon request).  Also available in GBP and EUR denominations at a different amount.  Does Silversea have this?

 

Silversea has these in USD (I do not know about other currencies).  They cost $1000, give a 5% discount on any cruise booked within six months or one year (I can't recall which).  The $1000 can of course be applied to the new cruise, and the open booking deposits are fully refundable if not used.

9 hours ago, sfvoyage said:

 

Shareholder OBC:  I understand ownership of 100 RCL shares does not entitle you to a shareholder OBC for Silversea.  I assume this exclusion will be eliminated in the future, since Silversea has been wholly owned by RCL since July 2020.  Thoughts?

 

I do not expect to see such an arrangement for Silversea.  But who knows...?

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Observer said:

Silversea has these [Future Cruise Deposits].  They cost $1000, give a 5% discount on any cruise booked within six months or one year (I can't recall which).

 

@Observer I looked it up on the Silversea website, and it says 6 months.

 

What makes Seabourn's FCDs so useful is that you have four years to use them before they are refunded. It makes it pretty easy to purchase new FCDs each time we go on a Seabourn cruise, figuring that somewhere within four years, we are likely to book another. Unless we decide at some point we're done with Seabourn and focusing on Silversea exclusively, I can't imagine us not having a FCD in the system at all times. We're going on a Seabourn cruise in September, and I'll certainly put down another round of FCDs during that cruise, even though I have no idea where or when our next cruise might be.

 

But with Silversea requiring a booking within 6 months, that's a lot less flexible. Obviously, if you're someone who always has on for more Silversea voyages on the books, that's not a problem, but I'm not sure how often we'd lock in our next Silversea cruise within 6 months. (On the other had, I suppose there's no risk.)

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1 hour ago, cruiseej said:

 

@Observer I looked it up on the Silversea website, and it says 6 months.

 

What makes Seabourn's FCDs so useful is that you have four years to use them before they are refunded. It makes it pretty easy to purchase new FCDs each time we go on a Seabourn cruise, figuring that somewhere within four years, we are likely to book another.

 

Exactly!  It's a no brainer if you plan to cruise on Seabourn again.  In fact, we always make sure we have 3 FCDs per person at all times.  (You can buy as many as you wish on board.)

 

I don't mind that Silversea's FCDs cost double but am surprised they are only valid for 6 months.  In any case, I'll buy one if my inaugural cruise with them goes well later this summer.

 

 

 

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A friend warned me about the "voluntary" charitable contribution that's automatically posted to your onboard account on Silversea.  She said you have to go to guest services to get it removed if you don't care to donate to that particular charity.

 

Has this practice been abolished post RCL acquisition?

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3 minutes ago, sfvoyage said:

A friend warned me about the "voluntary" charitable contribution that's automatically posted to your onboard account on Silversea.  She said you have to go to guest services to get it removed if you don't care to donate to that particular charity.

 

Has this practice been abolished post RCL acquisition?

 

This was still in effect on my most recent post-RCL cruise.  However, I might note that this contribution is in no way a surprise.  A lot of material about the charity is placed mid-cruise in every suite, including a form to sign if one wants to opt out.  One does not need to go to Reception:  The butler can take the form.  I take the form to Reception myself and use the occasion to make my contribution to the Crew Welfare Fund, my preferred charity.

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34 minutes ago, Observer said:

I take the form to Reception myself and use the occasion to make my contribution to the Crew Welfare Fund, my preferred charity.

 

Thank you - I was going to ask if Silversea has a Crew Welfare Fund.  

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A couple of other pre-sail observations:

 

Website - I've really been impressed by Silversea's website so far.  Better than Seabourn's.  So easy to sign up and modify shore excursions.  Better flow and user interface for guest registration.

 

Phone support - The first time I called their reservation/guest support line, I encountered strong pushback.  The rep, to my surprise, actually asked if my cruise agent is unable to assist me.  I explained to her that my cruise agent was busy finalizing my booking with them and that I prefer to work with them directly for my questions, which are quite specific - I have a great cruise agent, but I always prefer to go straight to the source rather than going through my agent, thereby increasing the time lag and chance for miscommunication.

 

Time for HUCA (hang up call again), hoping to get a better rep.  The second rep was not as confrontational but also pushed back hard, telling me that they have protocols and I'm supposed to go through my cruise agent and not contact them except for website issues.

 

After these two data points, I've pretty much given up with their phone support.  (Luckily, the lady in special services is nice and didn't mind talking to me.)

 

Seabourn reps, on the other hand, have no problem talking to me.  In fact, over the years I've gotten to know quite a few of them, and it's always a pleasure to talk to them.  To me, these pre-sailing interactions are effective and efficient and contribute to brand building and customer relationship development.

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38 minutes ago, sfvoyage said:

Phone support - The first time I called their reservation/guest support line, I encountered strong pushback.  The rep, to my surprise, actually asked if my cruise agent is unable to assist me.  I explained to her that my cruise agent was busy finalizing my booking with them and that I prefer to work with them directly for my questions, which are quite specific - I have a great cruise agent, but I always prefer to go straight to the source rather than going through my agent, thereby increasing the time lag and chance for miscommunication.

 

 

I assume that by "cruise agent" you mean (non-Silversea) travel agent.

 

I gave up on travel agents and began dealing directly with Silversea, where I have a wonderful consultant who is nearly always available (and who has colleagues covering for her when she is not).  Too many slip-ups/miscommunications (though I always communicate important matters by email in order to have a paper trail) when dealing with TAs.  I got better discounts/OBCs from a couple of TAs I dealt with, but they were not worth the pain.

 

I think that many travel providers will not deal directly with passengers who booked via a travel agent.  The travel agent is considered to "own" the reservation, and the travel provider does not want to "cross" the travel agent (e.g., by providing information different from and more accurate than that provided by the TA).

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18 minutes ago, Observer said:

I think that many travel providers will not deal directly with passengers who booked via a travel agent.  The travel agent is considered to "own" the reservation, and the travel provider does not want to "cross" the travel agent (e.g., by providing information different from and more accurate than that provided by the TA).

In addition to the above, the travel provider is paying your travel agent so they don't want to 'pay' twice by letting you soak up time from their agents on the retail side.  They maintain a separate department to deal with travel agents.

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7 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

the travel provider is paying your travel agent so they don't want to 'pay' twice by letting you soak up time from their agents on the retail side. 

 

This is an explanation that applies to many complaints I have read on other cruise lines message boards about the cruiser having made a booking with a travel agent and then having difficulty in discussing their booking and getting questions answered by a cruise line representative.  

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2 hours ago, sfvoyage said:

A friend warned me about the "voluntary" charitable contribution that's automatically posted to your onboard account on Silversea.  She said you have to go to guest services to get it removed if you don't care to donate to that particular charity.

 

This is the first time I have read about that practice! 

 

2 hours ago, Observer said:

 A lot of material about the charity is placed mid-cruise in every suite, 

 

What type of charities are funds being solicited?  

 

I don't think I like this practice by the cruise line whatsoever.  

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4 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

I don't think I like this practice by the cruise line whatsoever.  

 

It's nothing new. There's a long thread about it on CC from back when Silversea started this in 2010 and people were up in arms about how outrageous this practice was. Since it's still around 11 years later, we can assume SS weathered the complaints and decided to continue this approach a long time back.

 

I think I vaguely remember this from our first Silversea's cruise three years ago, and as I recall, it took no more than a few seconds to have its removed. It's certainly nothing worth getting too upset about, as it won't interfere with your cruise, nor your bank account if you just say no.

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1 hour ago, rkacruiser said:

What type of charities are funds being solicited?  

 

It's a single charity supporting, as I recall, cancer treatment/research in honor of a young member of the founding Silversea family who died of cancer at a young age.

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Posted (edited)

The charity, if it is a charity, is purely Italian based.   In other words, nobody knows exactly what goes where.   It's a non-issue as it's easy to decline as many have said.   If it continues, there must have been a clause in the contract with RCL purchase.

 

Regarding laundry.....SS is same day service, SB next day is standard.   Extra charge for same day.  My opinion is SS does a better job in this and maybe two other categories.

 

Plenty of unbridled smoke on SS, especially if sailing with M & L. 

Edited by saminina
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3 hours ago, cruiseej said:

It's certainly nothing worth getting too upset about,

 

Agree, but it's the principle as to why a company would ask a guest to do so is what bothers me.  Will it have an impact on my decision to book a Silverseas cruise?  No.  

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