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Observer

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  1. Unfortunately, I do not believe either of these world cruises travels up the west coast of Africa.
  2. This thought is prompted by a post on another thread on this board. I suggest that in La Terrazza at breakfast time it be possible for the guest to wait at the omelet/waffle station while his/her dish is being prepared. Currently, one is either told to order via the server tending to his/her table or, if the cook takes the order, sent away and told that a server will deliver the prepared dish. Allowing the guest to stand and observe the preparation will help ensure that the dish is prepared to one's preferences (how loose should the eggs be? what veggies do you want in the omelet? etc.) and that it goes immediately from the stove to the plate to the table (i.e., is served hot) rather than waiting a bit for a server to be available to deliver it.
  3. I did this itinerary along the west coast of Africa several years ago on Wind or Cloud. It was a fantastic cruise, with stops at many ports along the coast. I wonder if these itineraries were removed when Silversea moved its smaller classic ships (Wind/Cloud) to the expedition fleet. It may be that some of the West African destinations simply do not lend themselves to quality tours with larger groups that would be involved if the used Whisper/Shadow, not to speak of Spirit/Muse.
  4. It's not a concern on two P&O ships. It's not a concern on Viking. It won't be a concern on Virgin. Does the fact that Viking is apparently prospering with its no-children policy imply anything? Viking is not quite in the all-inclusive luxury category. But I know as a matter of fact that it has attracted at least four previously-loyal Silversea guests because of its guaranteed child free atmosphere. None of the all-inclusive luxury lines (I am thinking here of Crystal, Regent, Seabourn, and Silversea) offers a guarantee of a child-free cruise. Could Silversea achieve a comparative advantage -- a distinctive marketing angle -- by being the only true luxury line to bar infants and toddlers? Thus Colgal's concern (and mine!) would be at least in some measure addressed. I would leave it to wiser heads than mine to determine the magic age. Four? Five? Seven?
  5. Let me once again thank you, Capt F, for dealing with SS management. The above is of course only part of your post. I understand that inaugurals and WCs/Grand Voyages are significant investments for many, but I would argue that all Silversea cruises should be considered "special," attracting sophisticated travelers who know the reputation of the Silversea brand and want to be part of the Silversea experience. My personal preference would be to tighten the rules on children for all cruises -- and especially the rules pertaining to sub-3 year olds. As for anticipating when children can travel: I assume you are referring to when children would be in school. The growth in home schooling means that an increasing number of children are not involved in the conventional school holiday schedule and could be expected to sail at any time. What's more, infants and toddlers are at best in a child care setting -- not in formal schooling -- and it would be difficult to anticipate when such young children could travel. I think that "reasonable" anticipation about the presence of children (especially infants and toddlers) is difficult to make, and I wish Silversea would establish new, more restrictive policies (esp. as they related infants/toddlers) and remove the need to play a guessing/hoping game in booking cruises.
  6. I appreciate your efforts on this matter, Capt F. However, I think that your focus on length may be misplaced. Is a single 22 day voyage different for a guest than a B2B totaling 22 days? Moreover, if sales are slow, some of these longer segments you describe may be divided into shorter A&B segments as apparently is the case on at least one leg of the Shadow grand voyage. I think this matter demands more than a piecemeal approach -- removing the incentive from this and that cruise. I think that they should reconsider offering any such incentives at times other than June-August and Christmas holidays. And I hope especially that the incentive would be entirely removed for sub-three year olds or that they would be barred from public areas such as the indoor restaurants, Panorama, Dolce Vita, etc.
  7. I understand that management committed to remove from the website any notice of special rates for children on this cruise. Did you get the idea from Mr. Conroy that no bookings for children/infants would be accepted for this sailing? If parents could still book children, what would be the fares for those children? Thanks.
  8. A tip of the hat to you for your humane concern for the butler and his job security. He may have a family somewhere depending upon his income. He may have simply been lazy or incompetent, in which case I doubt he will last long at Silversea. On the other hand, he may have had a couple of suites with guests (like those new-to-SS guests in the suite next to me on my most recent cruise) who got their jollies by making repeated and extravagant requests of the butler. I knew because I could hear them all too clearly talking with another couple on the verandah about how many random things the butler would do, as if the butler was exclusively at their service.
  9. I do not suggest that -- though I would be delighted if it happened. I simply think it is unrealistic to expect this anytime soon. I do strongly urge a ban on infants/toddlers. I know of two couples who have moved to Viking because of the guarantee that they would not be harassed by children there. They say they greatly miss Silversea, but are pleased by the child-free Viking ambience.
  10. A couple of remarks: For what it's worth, I bring my own plastic coffee mug and fill it up at Arts Cafe or in Panorama. Room service breakfast is a huge challenge for the butler staff -- esp. on port days when many people may want their breakfasts at the same time. It takes time for the butler to travel from the galley to the suites, etc. Now that you know what you want from your butler, you might on future cruises bring a typed list of requests to present to him/her on embarkation. I know that on many cruises only a limited number of spa reservations are available 120 days out. I think this may also be true of restaurants. In the case of the spa, I was informed that spa staffing is never certain 120 days out. Therapists may take ill or leave the ship unexpectedly, etc. By embarkation day they have a much firmer sense of spa staffing and lots of other times are made available. If I don't find what I want online, I go to the spa at 1 pm on embarkation day and make reservations. Of course, sea days are the most popular....
  11. Yes. I can get more generous OBCs from some TAs, but I am happy to sacrifice some OBC savings in exchange for speedy professional service.
  12. Really appreciate your interest/efforts. The mere fact that the promotion is not advertised on the website does not necessarily imply that the fare reduction (e.g., 75% for under 2's) is not available when a family tries to book. Others have posted on this board that SS has long offered (unadvertised) discounts to children and infants/toddlers, and that previous discounts were even more generous than the 75%/50% now under discussion. Removing the discounts from the website is one thing. Removing them (apart from holiday/summer cruises) in practice is quite another -- and to my mind more important.
  13. I know that TAs (like SS reps) are human and vary in quality. I used several TAs to book many cruises over many years. I got some welcome discounts and OBCs, but there were so many errors on this or that and delays in getting answers that I began booking directly with SS. I get OBCs from my SS rep and s/he is aggressive in getting me every reasonable discount. It's very nice to speak with someone who has inventory at their desk and can immediately quote prices and talk about specific suite availability. Because of connections within the company, my SS rep has made exceptional arrangements for me that I doubt even the best TA would make.
  14. Many thanks, Capt F, for your efforts. I hope that this "mistaken" marketing effort and the customer response might lead to a rethinking of the entire matter. I doubt that Silversea would suddenly embrace a Viking/Virgin policy with a minimum age of, say, 16. But I do hope that they will consider either entirely banning infants/toddlers (less than 3 years old) or decreeing that infants/toddlers are not permitted in traditionally quiet indoor spaces (e.g., all restaurants, Panorama, etc.). If parents insist on bringing infants/toddlers onboard, they can eat at the Grill or from the room service menu in the parents' suites.
  15. Interesting that you should mention this. I have been vocal on this board about my desire to ban at least infants and toddlers from Silversea. But I am also one of the people who feel the compulsion you mention. I regulary remark appreciatively to the child and parent at a fast food ordering counter or some similar place when I hear the child saying "please" or "thank you." I generally get a kind remark in return. Occasionally, I get a strange look (perhaps because neither child nor parents feels these courtesies are remarkable or worthy of comment.)
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