Crystal or Silversea?
I am planning my first cruise, which I will take alone in Western Europe. My first step - choosing a cruise line - is easier said than done because Silversea has some benefits I can't get on Crystal, but the sizes of its ships clearly are a disadvantage on sea days. I need help choosing one of those lines for my first cruise based on these criteria (which are not listed in order of importance):
Elaborate entertainment (live music, dancing, and theater)
Lots of lectures, classes, workshops, and demonstrations
Long port days with a variety of shore excursions/tours
Very few children on board during a two-week itinerary#
Low solo traveler penalty for a spacious balcony suite*
#That is the minimum cruise length I am considering, not definite
*Most likely the PH category on Serenity or Silver Suite on Spirit
Of course, the reason I did not list great food is I know both lines won awards for it. The fact they both have an Italian restaurant and an Asian restaurant means I can't use that as one of my deciding factors. The kind of entertainment I want is lavish shows with the performers in fancy costumes, special lighting effects, and beautiful props; concerts; or solo singers and musicians. Give me all of that and the best of everything and I will feel like I am in heaven for a day - especially if there are no kids on the ship.
I think you will find the sociability factor on Crystal to be superior to Silversea, mostly because they have bigger ships and more passengers. They always have gentlemen hosts onboard to dance with the ladies.
They also have an abindance of activities during the day with tons of lectures, movies, classes etc. It os one of the most active cruises I have ever been on. This also makes socializing much easier.
The advantage Silversae has is that they are far more destination focused - you are likely to spend far more time in port on a Silversea cruise than on Crystal - but that also depends on the cruising region. Crystal tends to offer more ports of call in Europe than they do in The Caribbean, for example.
Silversea has wonderful food and excellent service, but there is no gurarantee that you will be able to socialize as much as you would like to because the ships are smaller and will be occupied mostly by couples. They also attract for non-U.S. cruisers so there could be a language barrier to you making friends.
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