Comparison of Royal Plantation and Silver WhisperAuthor: Host DebbieH103 (More Trip Reviews by Host DebbieH103)
Date of Trip: June 2001
Royal Plantation's 24 hour room service is extensive. You can get omelets 24 hours a day, as well as many other classic fare items. From lunch until late evening, you can get multi-course meals. We've ordered steaks, lobster, shrimp cocktail, soups, salads, etc.
Silver Whisper had a nice menu. They had the room service breakfast cards, as does Royal Plantation, but like Royal you can just call also. They have extensive choices that are offered served course by course,and during restaurant hours, you can order off their menu (previewed in your suite each day). We used this for breakfast two days and I used it for lunch one day. The pizza margherita was the best pizza I have ever had at a vacation venue. I also had double shrimp cocktail and a marvelous salad.
At meals at Bayside, you will see women in capris, pant suits and dresses. Men will be in khakis and either polo or button down shirts with usually deck shoes. At Le Papillon, a few men will wear ties. Some wear jackets (sometimes required, but loaners are available). Women will wear dresses or slacks but nobody wears formal wear.
On Silver Whisper, casual nights involve slacks or dresses for women, khakis with polo or button down shirts for men or casual jackets. On informal nights, men wear jackets, tie optional. Women wear pant suits and dresses, smart resort wear. On formal nights, women wear cocktail dresses or evening gowns or nicer dresses with accessories or fancy pantsuits. Men wear dark suits and ties, dark dinner jackets or tuxedos. On formal nights, you can dine at La Terazza if you can get in or in your suite, and you can wear informal wear in public areas that night if it meets the informal dress code I described. Generally at 6 or 7 on formal night, you should not be running around in your resort casual wear.
Comparisons of the bbqs
Royal Plantation's bbq usually has Caribbean lobster on the grill, in season, shrimp, grilled fish, grilled steak, a carved meat, salads, including seafood, soup, and desserts such as strawberry mousse, crème brulee, and bananas foster.
The Silversea buffet was small and not my favorite. They had appetizers at each table-pizza, canapés, etc. The buffet had make your own tacos, a carved pig, lobster claw paella, ribs, chicken and steak. Ice cream was available, with a number of toppings. They had fruits and cheeses and a number of desserts.
Royal Plantation has a Sunday Jazz brunch once a month that is very nice, and Silversea sometimes has a galley brunch where they open the kitchen and serve items around there in a buffet fashion.
Activities and Entertainment
The activities at Royal Plantation are light. They have a cooking demo, a cigar rolling, hot cocoa demo, yoga, tennis, a fitness center (for organized classes, go next door to Sandals), billiards, afternoon tea. Golf with green fees and transportation and a local waterfall tour are included. They have a pianist or the mento band at their activites such as afternoon tea and weekly manager's cocktail party. The mento band plays at lunch and at the weekly bbq. They often have a flutist, steel band, singers that do jazz, adult contemporary or local favorites. They sometimes have costumed dancers in a local theme. Tennis is available with the pro, and the courts are available at night. They have glass-bottom boat tours and snorkeling included, as well as diving included. You can take hobie cats out or kayaks or sunfish. Instruction is included.
Silversea has daily activities such as group trivia, golf putting contests, a golf putting cage, a walking/running track Fitness classes such as Pilates, yoga, body toning, and step are offered every day, and there is a cardio room with machines. There are also fitness lectures. Needlepoint was offered during afternoon tea. They also had shuffleboard contests and table tennis tournaments. Some of the activities gave points. We claimed two money clips and a memo holder. These activities are quiet and not loud or annoying. They also have dancing in the lounges -- sometimes it is 60s music to an electric piano or it might be ballroom tunes or disco dancing. The pool bbq had salsa and party dance tunes. Nightly there was a production show with costumed dancers. Some cruises have a magician, and they always have lectures. There is also a casino that is open at night when not in port that offers black jack, roulette, and slot machines. They have an excellent golf program where you can play with the pro. This costs extra, as do the shore excursions offered in port. They had a sailing party one night with a few appetizers and a welcome cocktail party.
Both resort and ship have board games available and videos and books for loan. This is much more extensive on Silversea. Silversea also has an outstanding program where they show movies in room that probably are not even on DVD yet. These are at no charge, and a schedule is given. TV channels are much more extensive at Royal Plantation, but you can get news channels on Silversea and watch the ship's navigation. You might even get to go on a bridge tour.
At the resort and on Silversea, you will get a daily information sheet about weather and activities and will get nightly turndown service and daily maid service.
The staff at Royal Plantation will easily get to know your name and preferences and will be informative but not intrusive as you wish. Personal attention and requests can often be accommodated, and no is not uttered on reasonable requests within the parameters of the program. Most are Jamaicans and from the island, while others have been all around the world in many areas of the hospitality industry.
The staff on Silver Whisper was mostly European and Asian. We found service to be good but not particularly personal, though we have heard a lot about personal service on longer cruises than the one we were on. The cabin stewardesses never once were annoying. Since each were assigned so many cabins, they seemed to watch for when people were leaving or when they put out the service requested card. They seem to have thought of every request and were ready right away with whatever was needed.
Royal Plantation allows adults only, and you will find people from 20s to 80s with most being 40s to 60s. You will find people from all walks of life here, and lots of people visit, meet, etc. since it is so small, but you don't ever have to join others if you don't want to.
On Silver Whisper, they allow children but have no organized programs. There was one baby and maybe 7 or 8 other kids, mostly teens. All wore the appropriate dinner attire and were quite well behaved. Guests were from all over the world, and there were two large groups that did seem to get preferential treatment, and some of their guests were not exactly exemplary, but this was a small lot. Since this was the Caribbean and a shorter cruise, there were a number of guests in their late 30s to 50, but guests went up to their 80s. Normal would be 50s to 70s as the majority.
Royal Plantation meals offer much more variety even though they have at most half the guests even of Silversea's smallest ships. However, they aren't floating in the ocean carrying all of that around. Quality is about as good on Silversea, but the variety on a specific day is not even close. Over a trip, though, you can sample some nice cuisine and have good experiences.
Dollar for dollar, you will have a much larger room at Royal Plantation, but both resort and ship have great accommodations. Entertainment is more extensive on Silversea as far as shows, dancing, and gambling, but both have a variety of activities to do overall. You can meet other interesting people that are likely to be like-minded or at least worth chatting with either place. The charm at Royal Plantation is unparalleled, but there is nothing like being on a ship watching the scenery go by or to see what is next. Silversea is going to take you to some exotic places in luxury. Entertainment is more extensive on Silversea as far as shows, dancing, and gambling, but both have a variety of activities to do overall. You can meet other interesting people that are likely to be like-minded or at least worth chatting with either place. The charm at Royal Plantation is unparalleled, but there is nothing like being on a ship watching the scenery go by or to see what is next. Silversea is going to take you to some exotic places in luxury.
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