Comparison of Royal Plantation and Silver WhisperAuthor: Host DebbieH103 (More Trip Reviews by Host DebbieH103)
Date of Trip: July 2001
All suites have at least a large picture window, and there is a curtain that can be drawn between the sitting area and the living area. Eighty percent of suites have balconies. The balconies have two adjustable lounges and a small end table. Those suites have glass floor to ceiling. Te Silver Wind and Cloud have a smaller bathroom with shower incorporated in the tub and a single marble sink. The Silversea suites have a large walk-in closet with electronic safe. Ours had built-in shoe and tie rack and a chest of drawers. Thick terry robes are provided, as are slippers. The Silversea suites come with fruit, replenished as needed. Room service with no fees is available 24 hours, and during meal hours, you can also get the restaurant menu ensuite. They are always willing to set it up beautifully, and you can get dinner served course by course at no additional charge.
This is tough to compare in a resort with approximately 160 guests maximum vs. a ship with 382 guest maximum.
Royal Plantation has a lovely gathering spot, the Appleton lounge. Here, you can sit in air conditioned comfort and order from the extensive martini menu or any other premium drink you want or from the house wines. They have peanuts or sometimes mixed nuts (should be all the time!). You can sit in the cushy chairs or hang up at the bar with the bartenders and chat. Sometimes, there is a pianist there.
Royal Plantation has a nice game room with billiards, board games, a nice TV/DVD player and a small honor system library. As late as December, they had pay as you go internet there, but now the rooms all offer high speed internet, so I don't know if they kept this terminal or not.
Outside of the Appleton Lounge is the tea terrace. This is a lovely place. They have a nice tea time at 4 pm daily, included for even EP guests. They have scones, finger sandwiches, tarts, etc., along with a number of teas. You can always have sparkling wine or whatever else they offer. They usually have the manager's cocktail party on the tea terrace, and the mento band will play there. We've seen other entertainers here, also. Lots of people sit out here and just chat, relax, etc. during the day or evening.
The resort has a patio beyond the terrace where some people sit in the evening for cocktails or while the evening show is playing or just to rest and look at the pool or ocean. The pool and hot tub area is very nice. There is a two-level hot tub, one level flowing into the other. The pool may seem small, but it is large enough for the number of guests, you will never see more than 6 people there, and it was almost as large as the pool on Whisper, I think. It is the only heated pool in Jamaica, but they only heat it upon request. This came in handy a couple of times in December. They have a very nice drawing room with a grande piano. They use this sometimes for wedding receptions, repeat guest parties, tea with interesting local lecturers, and the like.
The gift shop offers local souvenirs and some nice things like scented candles, perfume, etc. They sell local rum and coffee and logo wear and beachwear. I'd like to see more jewelry and some other more upscale shopping offerings somewhere on the property. The gift shop doubles as the tour desk.
The concierge desk is off of the lobby and is a place where you can see the restaurant menus. You can make reservations if you desire. At the front desk, you can get a fax NY Times daily.
The spa and beauty salon offer a large variety of treatments, and they have extensive hours. It is fairly easy to get an appointment. They have lovely steam rooms and nice changing facilities. The services offered include hydrotherapy, and they have an emphasis on natural ingredients throughout the program. Service here is very good. They offer tea or water and will help you into the steam room, provide nice robes and slippers, lockers, etc.
The resort has a great conference center. We even got the GM to arrange an Easter service there a couple of years ago. The resort also has tennis courts lit for night play, and you can attend included lessons or engage the pro to play with you. There is a small fitness center with adequate equipment for the few guests that use it. If you want organized classes, you have the ability to go next door to Sandals Ocho Rios for some outstanding fitness classes that are offered a number of times each day. At Royal Plantation, they do have yoga on the pier, weather permitting.
Royal Plantation has two beaches, east and west. If you want a beach where you walk for miles, you will be disappointed, but at Royal, you will be offered mango mimosas in the morning, fruit will be brought around, you might get rose mist, and they will offer drink service at the beaches and the pool/hot tub.
You have to be down at one of the two piers at the property or one of the 3 rooms at the end of the west room block to see the sunset or out in the ocean. They are beautiful, but most already have gone to their room by then to get ready for dinner. You can see sunrise around most of the property part of the year, and at other times, it is too far east and behind things. When you do see it, it is over the water and very beautiful.
On the Whisper, there are a number of public areas besides the restaurants. They have self launderettes, which include the supplies needed. This is all complimentary. We did not use them on this 4 night trip but would likely use them even on a week-long cruise. On deck 5, they had a jewelry store and another boutique. These are not open while in port, so you have to make a conscious effort to go there when they are open. We did not do that, so I can only comment on what I saw through the window. It all looked inviting at least for a look. When I needed batteries, the concierge was able to get me some from her "stash" and charge to my room on a couple of minutes notice.
Deck 5 also has the casino. This also is not open when the ship is in port. We went there the two nights that the ship left port at 6. They have blackjack ($10 minimum), roulette ($2 minimum inside and $10 minimum outside) and a number of slots. We really enjoyed the table games tremendously. The nights we were there, everyone that wanted to play was able to get a spot. There were both high and low rollers there. They have a very nice small bar next to the casino, The Grappa, and the waitress there also services the tables in the casino. Also on 5 is the main bar. In the evenings, they have some of the entertainment there, even before dinner. The seating is very comfortable at tables or people can enjoy sitting up at the bar. They have some other things here, such as lectures and the main check-in.
The show lounge cascades down from deck 6 to deck 5 and has very nice chairs and tables. There isn't a bad seat there. They do have drink service there, but it isn't fast enough for the number of guests there, and in all 4 nights, we never got waited on, though most did. They have production shows here and also things like the lifeboat drill and check-out. On deck 7, there is a nice conference room and a nice card room. They had bridge get-togethers in the card room.
On deck 8, they have a nice library and internet center. They have about 6 internet machines or you can use your own wifi in a number of areas. They have VHS tapes that you can take right there on an honor basis, or you can get the DVD box and take it to reception. Also, daily, they have a soduko puzzle and crossword available here. They have chess and a group puzzle here. There are a number of books available and also scanned full versions of newspapers, not just the sample pages like hotels have. There were oceanviews from this room and plenty of places to sit. Deck 8 also had the panorama lounge. During the day, you can sit inside or outside and they have lots of places to sit. In the mornings, there is juice and pastries. During the day, there is full (elegant) bar service -- walk-up and get nuts and wait for drink or sit in your seat and let the lovely waitress bring drinks from the menu or whatever you ask for. If you order wine here, they explain what it is. This is the location of the afternoon tea, which features scones, pastries and sandwiches. In the evening, they have dancing to different types of music, even if something is going on in the bar lounge. This is a lovely room, and I bet many never discover it.
Deck 8 has the pool. The pool is salt-water. It will be empty when you board the ship and filled that evening. They have two hot tubs there that are also filled the first evening. They were perfect temperatures the whole trip. Service is offered at all of these locations, and there are loungers all over. There are two showers, one at each hot tub, and they are an actual shower stall.
There are a lot of tables on either side of the pool, and you can get some shade there. This is part of the meal service I will discuss in another section. There is a very nice pool bar. Lots of people stop by here, but it is usually quiet and a good place to go for soft drinks, too. They have a nice setup and offer premium drinks, a selection of wine and also sparkling and regular water. They come around with service on this deck and deck 9 to offer drinks, water mist, and cold towels during the day. This area is also a place for sailing parties sometimes, and they have the pool bbq out here sometimes.
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