Grahame Underwood | June 17, 2019 | Silversea | Silver Cloud
Silver Cloud is more than a bit worn and is to be retired from her present role and refitted as an ice ship next year. Good luck. We sailed on 2 Feb 2016 from Cape Town for a 10 day cruise to Maputo and back. Previous experience with Silversea left us with a feeling that the Italian ownership was the reason for so much pasta on the menu – and nothing has changed. The cruise was part of a larger package including flights, some time in Cape Town (lovely city) and a safari at the end, so we had no real choice in the cruise line. The cabin was nice, except for an infuriating metal-framed shower screen that crashed backwards and forwards all night when the ship rolled. The butler improvised a cure involving twisting the shower hose around a towel rail. Service was good, as one would expect from a ship of this class. We had a day or two of rough weather, but nothing really worrying. The food was really mediocre – even the pasta. Entertainment was mostly rather poor attempts at ‘production’ shows involving ‘Sounds of Silversea’, which was a troupe of about six singers of varying ability. Not for me. The guest lecturer however, was absolutely splendid and gave a daily talk about South African history and culure. He was knowledgeable, relevant, witty and engaging. I noticed that his audience grew each day as word got around.
There were two formal nights on the cruise, but needing several different sets of clothes for the mixed holiday meant that we chose not to include or lug around our usual formal evening wear, so on those nights we ate smart casual at the pool grill. Actually, this was a really good choice as they feature a ‘hot rock’ menu, with various meats cooked at your table on exceptionally hot stones – a menu I have not seen at sea before. And completely without pasta…
Our itinerary took us from Cape Town up to Maputo and back, and was not the best experience. Many of the ports had little of interest and some were quite short visits. However, I think the reason behind this was golf. There was a party of around 100 golfers on board, who left the ship at one port and rejoined at another a couple of days later, leapfrogging down the coast back to Cape Town, so I suspect this plan determined the whole itinerary.
Our whole holiday was retrieved by the splendid 4-day safari at the end at Shamwari in the Eastern Cape. Glad we took warm clothes too, as the air is quite cold at 5 a.m…
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