Length: 610 ft
Officers: Italian & International
Top level luxury, with attentive personal service; free flowing champagne, wines and drinks included in the fare; cabins with private balconies; a choice of dining venues; and imaginative itineraries, often traversing the globe, with the ability to customize your own voyages.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
A family atmosphere, with children's facilities; casual dress codes; traditional set dining; user-pay facilities and activities.Onboard Experience
From the moment you walk up the gangway, you know you're in for an intimate luxury cruise experience.
You're unlikely to encounter more personal, warm, or consistently above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty service than on Silversea's ships.
Dinners are the event of the day, and open seating permits you to dine when and with whom you please each evening; complimentary wine flows like water. The Maitre D' of The Restaurant takes the initiative to seat guests arriving at dinner at "joined tables" unless another arrangement is requested. This enables guests to meet and get to know other passengers. The majority of guests seem glad to accept joining tables, which makes dinner a particularly social event.
Make no mistake -- this is a very formal cruise experience, but only in terms of dress.
Beyond the designated Formal Nights, where most passengers dress to the nines, and Informal nights, where a jacket for the men (no tie required) is expected, resort casual nights are the rarest dress recommendation. But even on Formal Nights, the mood of passengers is far from formal. People are there to enjoy all the social aspects of the cruise as well as the luxury surroundings.
Small enough to be intimate, big enough to offer an elegant two-story show lounge and three dining venues, these ships are in the forefront of the ultraluxe class. The Athenian Show Lounge has a feel like that of a smaller, more intimate club. Theater-style seating is abandoned in favor of more clubby sofas and comfortable side chairs, with cocktail tables at each grouping.
Silver Shadow and her sister Silver Whisper are larger than Silversea's original two vessels, Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, and offer an extremely high space-per-passenger ratio of 74.
Silversea has brought back the production shows it temporarily abandoned, which are presented in the showroom with performers from the famed Jean Ryan Production Company. The production shows are a cut above those you'll see on comparable luxury vessels. You can also attend various enrichment lectures as well as performances of opera, pianists, individual vocalists, or comedians.
With a maximum of 384 passengers and just under 300 crew, your Silver Shadow experience is all about un-crowded, comfortable surroundings, combined with outstanding service.
Your fare includes tips and all beverages throughout the ship, unless you want to upgrade from the various house-brand selection of wines.Decor
Décor is sublimely tasteful, with rich blues, soft golds, and coppery-brown wood tones predominant in the suites. Gentle earth-toned and pastel walls have inlaid wood and marble accents. Floor-to-ceiling windows drench most public rooms with light.
On a ship this size, I thought it unusual to find aesthetically pleasing spiral staircases on both port and starboard sides, running from the Lobby upwards for several decks. With passenger and public decks running only from Decks 4 through 9, I found the stairways my preferred choice of moving from deck to deck, though elevators are available from the Lobby area and further aft, and so is another stairwell aft.Public Rooms
Deep Wedgwood blue and golden peach fabrics and carpeting, with warm caramel wood tones, predominate. There's lots of blood-red velveteen, and lots of golden brocades as well.
With its brown leather sofas and chairs, the wood-paneled Davidoff Humidor cigar lounge is a wonderfully comfortable spot for after-dinner cigars (bring your own, or purchase some of the finest available) and cognac (complimentary of course). The breathtaking Observation Lounge, with 180 degrees of sea views, has a marble bar and is equally inviting for pre- and post-dinner drinks or morning coffee.
The Panorama Lounge on Deck 8, with floor-to-ceiling windows, is a wonderful quiet spot for an early morning coffee stop, or pre-dinner drinks. There's also a delightful veranda area aft of the lounge, with padded teak chairs and sun-loungers for relaxing and enjoying the view of the wake.
Some lectures are also staged here, and high tea is served daily as well. Two adjacent rooms house the ship's Internet center (whose computers are nearly always in use), and a lending library for books and free DVDs and music CDs for the suites, which are equipped with sound and video players.
A combo performs nightly in The Bar on Deck 5, just aft of the Athenian Show Lounge. The Bar is larger than you'd expect on ships this size, and is generally the busy action spot for pre-dinner and après-dinner drinks and socializing. This area and the Panorama Lounge are used for daytime activities such as trivia, craft classes, etc.
Enjoy production-style floor shows, comedians and guest lecturers in the elegant space of the Athenian Show Lounge, then move to The Bar to enjoy the evening, and often you can converse with the performers you just watched. Many evenings you'll find officers and cruise staff socializing with guests.Cuisine
The wide variety of offerings and creative menus and presentation make it obvious you are on a ship that is a cut above most luxury cruise lines. Often menus are designed on the go, reflecting the fresh ingredients available and the cuisine of the region the ship is visiting. There's also a very extensive "always available" section on the menu for occasions where the regional dishes may not appeal to your palate.
Each night, arriving back in your suite, you'll find a preview menu listing lunch and dinner choices. This allows you to contemplate your next fabulous meal at your leisure, and sort through your choices.
When choosing the morning buffet at La Terrazza, you'll find a broad cross-section of hot and cold items, with abundant selections of fish and meat. If you want to order eggs or an omelet, you won't hold up the buffet line -- when seated, you order from one of the servers, and they are delivered as soon as they're ready.
During the mornings, the Poolside Grill is open for continental breakfast, but at lunch is where it shines. This is not a self-service grill. Servers come by your table, which is set with tablemats and cutlery, and take your orders. Everything is cooked fresh, and while it may seem strange to rave about something as simple as hamburgers, they are among the best I've tasted. The serving staff comes by with a tray of condiments shortly after delivering your order.
There are two traditional Silversea "culinary events" that passengers eagerly wait for. One is the "Barbeque Dinner on Deck" held in the evening. It's an elaborate barbeque with a huge variety to choose from. But it's renowned almost more for the fun than the food: The entire pool deck and space above is turned into an outdoor bistro; tables and chairs are covered, cutlery is set out, and so are wine glasses. On our voyage, the event was held the night we were in Acapulco, and a Mariachi band was brought on to liven the festivities.
The second is the Galley Lunch -- a buffet lunch that runs throughout The Restaurant's Galley. It's an impressive spread with terrific food and an outstanding dessert table. But it's fun because guests get to tour the galley while filling their plates.Restaurants
You can dine formally in the main restaurant, slightly less formally in La Terrazza or Le Champagne, or order room service.
With its large picture windows and tables for two, four, six and 10, The Restaurant features open seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are plenty of tables for two if that's your preference.
For ease of conversation, request tables closest to the port or starboard sides. The din in the center section of the dining room can make it more difficult to hear conversations at tables that seat more than six.
La Terrazza, popular for casual breakfast and luncheon buffets, transforms at night into an Italian restaurant at which reservations are mandatory. The transition is quite surprising, and with thick rich floor-to-ceiling curtains covering all the windows and candlelit tables set with fine flatware and tableware, La Terrazza becomes an intimate romantic Trattoria. Each night features a menu from various regions of Italy. On formal nights, La Terrazza also serves as the alternate for those who choose to dress informally.
The usual matching of wine to cuisine is reversed at the intimate (24 seats), sophisticated Le Champagne, where the food is designed with the wine in mind. Le Champagne is open for dinner only; reservations are fervently recommended. Somewhat surprisingly, Le Champagne requires guests pay a $30 per person surcharge, or $200 per person if you wish to enjoy the chosen wine pairings menu. I am not a wine connoisseur, and therefore did not try this restaurant, so I cannot offer any opinion of the value.
You can also dine in your suite, ordering course-by-course from the luncheon and dinner menu -- splendid news for those who would rather not dress for dinner after a busy day in port. Suites without a separate dining room have a portable table for this purpose.
The Terrace serves breakfast and lunch buffets, while The Restaurant offers a five-course luncheon menu. Weather permitting, the Pool Grille operates from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Aside from the choice of in-suite dining from the restaurant menus, there's also an extensive room service menu that should satisfy most any appetite.Service
From stem to stern, officers and staff beam with delight at the prospect of assisting you.
On our 17-day voyage there was the very rare blip in service in the dining room, but the norm was very impressive attention to minute detail.Tipping
Your fare includes gratuities. If you truly wish to reward some of the staff for over-the-top service, they will accept a tip, but they do not expect it!Entertainment
Silversea's newly upgraded entertainment features floorshows devised by Jean Ann Ryan, including multiple costume changes, and a talented cast. There are also featured performances, which may include opera, headline vocalists, and instrumentalists, or variety performers.
You'll also find a multitude of enrichment lectures, with topics changing to fit the itinerary.
Along with Trivia contests, crafts classes, and the popular cooking classes with the Chef, onboard activities include bridge instruction and bridge games, and even discussion seminars with the lecturers. Silver Shadow also offers ballroom dance instructors, and male dance hosts are on hand to dance with the ladies whose husbands (like me) may never voluntarily give them a twirl on the dance floor.Cabins
Enter your suite and you'll find a bottle of Champagne cooling, a fresh fruit basket, flowers, and a bar set-up that will be replenished as required, at no cost.
The staterooms are uniformly large, comfortable and very well-equipped; they have a flat screen TV with DVD player, a mini-fridge, walk-in closet and marble bathrooms all standard, as are new down duvets and linens, and wonderfully absorbent bath sheets in the cabin washrooms. Roughly 80 percent have private verandas, with glass instead of metal partitions. Bathrooms, as elegant as any at sea, have separate shower and tub, plus his-and-hers sinks. The minimum-category Vista cabins (no balcony) measure 287 sq. ft., while the standard balcony staterooms, Veranda, are 345 sq. ft. Both are more than adequate even for a two-week cruise. There are also the Terrace Suites, which offer a doorway to a shared outdoor deck running the length of the suites on Deck 4.
Your best bet, though, may well be the 701-sq. ft. Silver Suite, which offers a large living room with dining area, a generously proportioned bedroom, and large balcony. If you're even more intent on splurging, consider the 1,286-sq. ft. Grand Suites (cabins 801/802 have the best configurations in this category). You enter a huge living room (that would be right at home in a penthouse in Trump Tower) via a marble foyer (with guest bathroom). There's a bar, of course; a gigantic flat-screen TV; a dining area; and a huge balcony. The walk-in closet is bigger than many lines' mid-sized cabins.
The occupants of the largest Silversea suites -- the Grand, Royal, and Owner's Suites -- enjoy the ministrations of butlers. Your butler will do everything from unpacking your suitcase to arranging a private car at the next port; from drawing a bath to planning an in-suite cocktail party. Our butler was so eager to please, he almost made us feel bad when we under-utilized his services.
Handicapped suites (345 sq ft.) are available, featuring wide entry doorways that accommodate wheelchairs, and plenty of room between furniture to make maneuvering throughout the suite quite easy.
Suites' private balconies have lovely teak flooring, but the balcony furnishings are in need of upgrading to fit better with the fine furnishings inside the suites.
Along with the daily "Chronicle" listing the next day's activities and information, waiting on your bed each evening will be Godiva Chocolates. The suites also come with comfy bathrobes and slippers bearing the Silversea logo. There are also umbrellas and binoculars in the suites, as well as pillow menus. The cabin stewards will present a selection of bath products (shampoos, soaps and conditioners), giving guests their choice of two varieties from Bvlgari, Acqua di Parma, or Neutrogena brands.Fitness/Spa
The ships have a small but well-equipped fitness center where fitness classes are offered during days at sea. Several health seminars are also offered. A fast-walking/jogging track has glorious views and is covered in a form of Astro-turf, unlike the teak used on the other passenger decks and private balconies.
The Spa and beauty salon are operated by Steiners, the same worldwide operation present on most other cruise lines. While the services might be fine, the hard-sell approach of this contractor's staff (here as on other ships) just doesn't fit well with the service standard one finds elsewhere on the Silver Shadow. While the other departments make you feel they are there to please you, the Steiner's people make you feel they are there to sell to you.Attire
Bring your tux. Bring your jewels, and feel like royalty. Though you'll see numerous gowns, a good number of ladies were dressing in less splendorous styles. Ladies won't feel out of place wearing the SBD (simple black dress or dress slacks) with dressy or sparkling tops.
Those who don't want to dress up may dine informally in the Terrazza and then retire to a lounge for cocktails and after-dinner drinks, but will likely be turned away at the door of the entertainment lounges. On a 17-night cruise there were three formal, eight informal and only four casual nights. Daytime attire is casual.
Several years ago I sailed on Silversea Cruises' SILVER CLOUD in the Mediterranean. I greatly enjoyed the experience but haven't found the time to return as quickly as I had hoped, until now.
My partner and I chose the SILVER SHADOW for a 9-night cruise beginning in Barbados on October 17, 2007 and ending in Ft. Lauderdale. We also spent two nights at Sandy Lane in Barbados prior to the cruise. For those that prefer to "cut to the chase" so to speak, I'll tell you upfront that Silversea lived up to all our expectations and even exceeded them. The reports I have read on various message boards about declining standards were not evident on my sailing. In fact I think some aspects of the cruise were upgraded upon reflection of my previous Silversea experience.
Pre-Cruise Special mention must be made of Silversea's pre-cruise documentation. They say first impressions are lasting impressions in this is certainly the case with Silversea. I don't think any Cruise Line or Tour Company has a better presentation. Your documents arrive in a silver box, and inside is a lovely black document holder embossed with the Silversealogo. The documents have the personal touch and the ticket is actually printed on Silversea letterhead rather than typical ticket stock. Also included is a leave at home itinerary, pre printed baggage tags, two Silversea permanent luggage tags, shore excursion booklet, question and answer book, a suite preference form, and a gift order form. It's this early indication of attention to detail that continued throughout the cruise and sets Silversea apart from other lines. [ http://public.fotki.com/eroller/silver-shadow---oct/silver-shadow---cor/img2624.html ]
Sandy Lane "Simply to die for." We flew from Atlanta to Barbados on American and the flight was average. Nothing to write home about but we (and our luggage) arrived safely and in tact. That alone is a good flight in my book. Once we cleared customs our private car (BMW 7-series) and driver were there to greet us. Round trip transfers are provided by Sandy Lane if you book through the American Express Fine Hotel and Resorts Program (Platinum and Centurion Card holders). It's a fairly long drive from the airport to Sandy Lane. I would say it took about 40 minutes and although we were tired, we quickly forgot about our fatigue once we pulled through the gates of Sandy Lane. "Stunning" is really the best word to describe the property. Flowers, fountains, a fresh fragrance, birds chirping, and the ocean lapping truly put us into sensory overload. A very warm welcome from the accommodating staff (kudos to Sandra, Sophia, and Walwen) immediately put us at ease. Ice-cold menthol towels were presented along with a delicious concoxion of fresh island juices. We were escorted to our suite in the Orchard Wing where the check-in formalities were conducted and an orientation of the suite was given. You might wonder why we would need an orientation, so please have a look at the pictures (see pictures link at the end of the review) and you will see why. The suite had soothing décor, traditional in style but high-tech at the same time. There were three flat-panel TV's where you could program music, watch TV, play DVD's, access hotel services, or surf the net (free of charge). In addition there were several control panels throughout the suite that controlled curtains, music, lights, air conditioning, fans, door locks, etc. Even the "do not disturb" sign was an electronic light controlled from the panel. In addition we enjoyed the high-tech espresso maker.
Our suite included a bedroom, walk in closet, marble bath, second half bath, dining area, parlor, and entry hall. In addition the patio was massive and also included it's own dining area and seating area. Please see the pictures, as words really can't describe this gorgeous room. [ http://public.fotki.com/eroller/silver-shadow---oct/sandy-lane---barbados/ ] We were only steps from the beach, which was an added plus.
That night we enjoyed the Manager's Cocktail reception in the main patio area and then a delicious tasting menu dinner at L'Acadou, the fine dining establishment. It was delicious and very expensive! While we dined we enjoyed entertainment from native Barbados dancers along with island music. The other backdrop was a beautiful starlit beach and a calm surf adding to the ambiance.
Sandy Lane offers an amazing spa, massive pool with waterfalls and swim up bar, country club with three golf courses, childcare center, and a beautiful beach. The entire nature of the resort is one of relaxation, indulgence, sport, and quiet reflection.
Notes and highlights include: amazing beach service and wonderful padded chairs; incredible spa; three championship golf courses with beautiful clubhouse; GPS navigation system in every golf cart; majority of British guests; wild monkeys roaming the property; stunning beach and pools; warm, friendly service from the heart.
I'm pretty much a ship fanatic and usually can't wait to get to the ship. Staying at Sandy Lane was the exception. I really didn't want to leave. It was simply that fantastic. We were given hugs from the staff as we left and another private car took us to the SILVER SHADOW, about a 20-minute drive away along the coast.
Boarding Silver Shadow Boarding the SILVER SHADOW was impressive as ever. A group of about ten staff were pierside in white gloves to welcome you onboard. Once up the gangplank, Fernando the Cruise Director from Portugal was present to personally greet you. Champagne was offered and check-in formalities were conducted in the showlounge. Mission quickly accomplished, we were escorted to our suite, cabin 618, slightly forward on Deck 6 and what Silversea labels a Veranda Suite.
Suite 618 Renee, our cabin Stewardess from New Zealand quickly arrived and introduced herself. She pointed out all the features of the suite and made sure we knew how to contact her for anything we desired. She also asked what type of pillows we prefer, and how we would like the bar stocked. Amenities in the suite included binoculars; umbrella; sewing and shoe shine kit; extra blanket; slippers; robes; safe; clock; cosmetic mirror; stocked refrigerator; ice; glasses; and wonderful Bvlgari bath products. Of course a bottle of champagne awaited us along with the daily program (the Silversea Chronicles) and personalized stationary / welcome letters.
Service provided by Renee was exemplary and the cabin was kept spotless. Everything was like new and in perfect working order. This cabin was very quiet and we rarely heard noise from outside the cabin.
Special mention must be made of room service. It is truly exquisite. There is an extensive room service menu, but if there is something else you desire just ask and the staff will do their best to accommodate you. The breakfast menu is quite extensive and I enjoyed delicious blueberry pancakes most mornings. Lunch and dinner are also superb, and you are free to order off the dining room menu (included in the daily Silversea Chronicles) during normal lunch and dinner times. Room service is not just dropped off, but prepared on a special table that fits over the coffee table in your suite. Frette linens and fine china / silverware accompany the delicious cuisine. At dinner, you have the option of having your courses served course by course if you desire. The room service alone is reason enough to sail on Silversea!
The Ship SILVER SHADOW is typical of the Silversea fleet. Modern, clean, impeccably maintained, understated, comfortable, and well designed. I slightly prefer the SILVER SHADOW over the SILVER CLOUD for a few reasons. The gym and spa are larger, as is the pool deck. Also, the outdoor decks are more expansive and the cabin bathrooms are larger. SHADOW also had a newer feeling to her, which makes sense as she is a newer vessel. The differences are small enough that I would not hesitate to sail on the smaller Silversea vessels again if the opportunity arises.
Food and Service I felt both were impeccable. I never had a bad meal and the service received everywhere onboard was outstanding. The staff learned your name very quickly and called you by name whenever they had the opportunity.
The Restaurant was available for all three main meals, as was La Terrazza, which is the more casual venue. Breakfast and lunch in La Terrazza were buffet style although there was also a small menu at each table with daily selections. Plenty of staff are on hand to carry your plate and provide beverages. A lovely outdoor area with teak furniture is available at La Terrazza as well. For dinner, La Terrazza becomes a specialty restaurant, which I greatly enjoyed. I didn't feel the food and service were any better than The Restaurant, but it was a nice change of atmosphere. Reservations are required. The Restaurant had a four-piece band and dancing on certain evenings along with candlelit tables all adding to the ambiance. Many people danced between courses.
Le Champagne is an extra tariff restaurant and one of the few things you pay additional for on Silversea. I never tried it so I can't comment. It never seemed too busy but then again nothing seems too busy on Silversea. There is simply no waiting and no lines anywhere.
Finally there is the Poolside Grill. Beautiful teak tables and chairs are located in shaded areas poolside, and there is a special menu. Here they have burgers, hot dogs, fresh fish, chicken, salads, and wonderful deserts. Unlike poolside grills on most ships, this one is all waiter service. Everything is brought to you and made to order. If you want something off the menu, just ask. I really enjoyed the Poolside Grill, as I tend to spend a lot of time by the pool.
Something Silversea is well known for is an evening barbeque poolside. This is not a typical barbeque but truly a first class affair with dancing, entertainment, waiter service, real china, and linen covered tables. I greatly enjoyed this on SILVER CLOUD and was looking forward to it on the SHADOW as well. Unfortunately after the crew spent hours preparing, it had to be canceled due to showers. A disappointment for the passengers, but I felt more sorry for the crew who worked so hard to provide a truly memorable experience.
Entertainment Entertainment is very low key on Silversea. There are no art auctions, photographers, bingo, pool games (besides water volleyball) Vegas shows, or revenue producing announcements. Instead there are enrichment lectures and demonstrations during the day, with a small show (usually a vocalist or musician) at night along with dancing and music. Don't be fooled though, evenings can be lively on Silversea with dancing and conversation going into the wee hours. One set of lectures I enjoyed on this sailing were provided by the Cruise Director Fernando. It turns out he is a bit of a ship nut like I am. Just like I did as a child, he collected brochures, deck plans, and visited any ship possible while growing up in Lisbon. He is quite knowledgeable about ships and put on an entertaining lecture all with his own slides.
Fellow Passengers In keeping tradition with my last Silversea Cruise, our fellow passengers were a diverse group. There were only three children onboard, with a nice mix of ages for the adults. I think something like 27 nationalities were represented among the passengers, which speaks volumes considering the ship had just under 300 passengers onboard. I think the majority of passengers were from the UK, with the US close behind. What I love about Silversea passengers is how well traveled they are. Most love to talk about travel and they have lots of interesting stories and antidotes to share. Many seem to know each other from past Silversea Cruises. It really felt like a big family and everyone seemed to get along famously. With only 300 passengers onboard, you always ran into a familiar face, which is a pleasant change from the mega-ships.
Weather The weather was simply marvelous from start to finish. We had short rain showers in St. Barts (between the sun and stars) and the rest of the time it was glorious sunshine. Our final morning pulling into Ft. Lauderdale we were met with overcast skies and rain, but at that point who cares?
Seas were calm and usually it was difficult to tell the ship was moving. There was a slight rocking on a few nights, just enough to lull you to sleep.
Ports Barbados; St Lucia; Guadeloupe; Antigua; St Bart's; St Kitts; Virgin Gorda; Prickly Pear.
I'm not going to write too much about the ports. We had been to most before and we really went on this cruise for the ship experience more than the ports. Barbados and St Barts were my favorites, and I would certainly return to either. I wasn't too thrilled with St Lucia or Guadeloupe. In fact Guadeloupe should have been skipped all together as far as I was concerned.
In St. Bart's we went to the lovely Guanahani Hotel and enjoyed an afternoon of sun on the beach. We were able to use all the facilities of the hotel and enjoyed a wonderful lunch poolside. The Guanahani is a first class resort, but personally I much preferred Sandy Lane on Barbados. The SILVER SHADOW actually arrived in St. Bart's at 11pm the night prior to our schedule arrival. We simply anchored off the island and spent the night in the shadow of the island. It was kind of magical with the ship being so quiet (no engines) and the shoreline being so close.
Silversea provided a lovely private beach barbeque on Prickly Pear Island. This island is next to the exclusive Necker Island owned by Richard Branson. Literally everything was brought ashore from the ship via tender and the crew did an amazing job. The only thing local was the music, which was great. Cocktails, champagne, beer, etc. were all included just as they are onboard ship. A special treat were the waiters who waded out into the ocean to serve guests champagne and beer (or anything else you wanted) from special floating trays. It was truly a sight to behold and I quite enjoyed the experience, decadent as it was! I think the waiters enjoyed it as much as the passengers. I know Seabourn Cruise Line had done this for years, and now it appears Silversea is getting into the act as well.
Disembarkation All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately this Silversea cruise was no exception. Debarkation was smooth and civilized. There are no announcements before 8am and I was even able to enjoy my blueberry pancakes via room service the last morning. We said our goodbyes and we were off the ship by 9am. The staff was lined up to say goodbye as you exit the ship and available to carry your hand luggage if you so desire. We took a cab to Miami where we caught an uneventful American flight back to Atlanta.
Final Thoughts I hope from this review you are able to determine how much I enjoyed this vacation. I truly feel Silversea is better than ever, as they continue to provide a first class cruising experience. The combination of newer small ships, larger cabins, balconies, spotless vessels, delicious cuisine, attention to detail, interesting itineraries, and excellent personal service truly places Silversea at the forefront of the luxury cruise industry. I did not witness any penny pinching or a decline in service as some have indicated on various message boards. In fact I felt many things were even better and more luxurious than my past Silversea cruise about six years ago. Some people just can't be pleased and seem to look for anything to nit pick at. I have sailed on over 60 cruises on many different cruise lines and I can tell you it would be difficult to surpass my experience on the SILVER SHADOW.
Just below is a link to pictures and my email address if you have any questions. I hope you enjoyed the review and pictures.
Note: The pictures are divided into several different folders (ports, cabin, ship, etc.).
Please contact me at: email@example.com
We had signed up for our first cruise ever, Ft Lauderdale to Barbados, on the Silver Shadow months ago and had no idea what to expect. In an effort to learn as much as possible we did a lot of reading and surfing the net that is where we read John and Ron's recent reviews of the Silver Shadow. "Down hill from there" and "no Ritz on the sea" gave us some mild apprehension prior to departure and certainly had our antenna up for the negatives they reported.
While we were first timers on the sea (not counting a Greek Isles cruise back in college) we are not unfamiliar with luxury or first class service which I am happy to report the Silver Shadow met or exceeded. We met numerous other passengers who have sailed every luxury line out there and some who had as many as 500 days of voyages under their belts. They were all unanimous in their praise of the food, staff and quality of the Silversea's ships. Maybe, to their credit, Silversea Lines reads the reviews but none of John or Ron's problems reared their head onour 9-day cruise through The Caribbean. Both embarking and disembarking were very easy. We took the advice of embarking one hour after the prescribed time and walked right into our first of many glasses of champagne and caviar. It was up hill from there!
While we had two excellent meals in La Terrazza (the Italian flare) restaurant we found the most enjoyable meal experiences in the main dinning room for lunch and dinner. I would highly recommend breakfast in La Terrazza. As the ship usually moors stern end towards town you are sitting on the 9th deck looking into some exotic port. I ordered Eggs Benedict every morning and loved them. I would agree whole heatedly that more information on the islands (pots of call) for non-tour participants would help. The tour desk was putting out 8X10 copies of the island map on one side and the main town on the other. But it would have been nice to know that renting scooters on St. Kitts was not for the faint of heart and conversely everyone should rent and enjoy a scooter on Isle de Saint.
I came to realize that much of this adventure was a live and learn experience. That would explain why some of the seasoned vets would take up a position by the pool while many of us ran around islands and counted the minutes until we could return to our oasis, The Silver Shadow. We never had trouble finding deck loungers and always received drinks before the DT's set in. The one price covers all should become the norm as it makes for a wonderful cruise experience. Put your wallet in the in-room safe and forget it. No tipping and getting nickel and dimmed every time you turn around. A business associate recently cruised on another line. He was presented with a welcome drink and several minutes later a bill to sign. I could go on for pages but suffice it to say all 8 in our group had a fabulous experience and can't wait to go again and that trip will be with Silversea. I would very respectfully suggest that if Ron and John had a less than satisfactory experience they should team up and lease their own private yacht because I don't see how cruising could get any better.Ward
My wife and I sailed on the Silver Shadow December 3-12 from Fort Lauderdale to Bridgetown, Barbados. We are both in our early 50s and are experienced world travelers. We have cruised on many different lines, all in the luxury class.
This was our first cruise with Silversea. Our overall impression was that the Silver Shadow is the ultimate in sophistication -- a cruise ship for every other luxury vessel to try to equal.
Negative aspects and experiences: There were none.
We arrived in Miami a day before departure, because of personal experience with consistent luggage problems at the Miami airport. Warning: If you are going through Miami and you need your luggage to be with you, always arrive a day early.
Boarding Embarkation went perfectly. We arrived half way through the embarkation hours and walked straight onto the ship after they took our passports and took a quick photo of us. Total embarkation time was less than two minutes -- there was no waiting, delays or lines. We came by early and dropped off our luggage, then went to a fabulous Italian restaurant and had a leisurely lunch before arriving for boarding.When we stepped onto the ship, the staff gave us each a glass of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut Champagne, and for nine days it never stopped flowing.
Disembarkation was also fast and efficient. We had a leisurely breakfast in the Terrace Cafe as we did every day. We had settled our accounts and picked up our passports the day before disembarkation, and were off the ship in less than one minute.
Positive aspects The Silver Shadow provided an expert to give a detailed talk about every port we visited, early in the morning as we were arriving. Our expert had been an Associated Press reporter all over the world for 30 years and then a CIA analyst for another 20 years. He was very knowledgeable about each port and knew the complete history of each island.
The Silver Shadow also provided a walking map of the dock area and a map of the town at every stop, as well as a local tourist guide at each port who was at the information desk every morning. Every port was in the middle of the largest town on each island, so we did not need ground transportation to see the local sights.
Food The food was a gourmand’s feast. We have not had better food on any other ship. My wife and I are professional food and wine people; we both trained at a professional chef’s college, as did others in our group. Normally we are not too impressed with food anywhere, but that changed with the Silver Shadow. It was incredible. The sauces were rich and the flavors were intense. Some dishes were a little low sodium but the seasonings were powerful. (Many people get salt confused with flavor and seasoning.)
All food service was first-class and unobtrusive. Water, bread, wine, butter and utensils all appeared and disappeared like magic. There were never any interruptions from when our orders were taken until the dessert menu was presented.
At breakfast in the Terrace Cafe, the wait staff always offered to prepare any special breakfast we wanted, like eggs Benedict, French toast or any kind of omelet. Many mornings we were offered any of these special meals two, three or even four times. Most mornings we just enjoyed cruising through the cafe's bountiful breakfast buffet. It was fabulous!
The service personnel were excellent. The maitre d's in The Restaurant were outstanding. There were eight of us, and every night we invited another couple as our guests -- so every night we were a party of 10. We never had any problems with seating or service. Our wine steward was especially good. She memorized what every person liked and brought us appropriate selections at every meal.
We really liked not being nickeled-and-dimed to death for every drink. My wife and I figured that our bar bill for the nine days would have run to several thousand dollars on any other ship.
The ship had a special dining room called Le Champagne, where one could pay an extra $150 for world class wines specially selected by the ship’s master sommelier with each course. You could drink as much of these very expensive wines as you wanted. Our four friends who dined in Le Champagne claimed that they drank more than $4,000 worth of wine at each dinner. That would be more than $1,000 worth of wine for each person, for a surcharge of only $150 -- not a bad deal. Next time, we will be in Le Champagne for several meals ourselves.
Staterooms Our stateroom was the best we have seen on any vessel; we had the smallest cabin on the ship, but it was huge. The bathroom was easily large enough for two people. It had two sinks and plenty of shelving space for our toiletries. There was a nice-sized shower and a bathtub. The large walk-in closet had a safe along with drawers, hanging racks and a tie rack sufficient for our four suitcases of clothes. The bed was excellent. Set up for a meal or wine-tasting was excellent. There was plenty of room for everything.
The Silver Shadow, much larger than many other luxury ships, was very stable and barely rocked. The stabilizers worked great and there was never any lateral rocking. The ship did move up and down like every ship does.
Some other reviewers have mentioned that there was a smell of raw sewage at varying times and places. We experienced none of this.
Overall The Silver Shadow is truly a “best of class” ship. The ship was huge for the number of passengers. We never saw a crowd anywhere at any time. The entire staff is among the best, from all over the world. I cannot speak of how the Silver Shadow has been in the past, but as of December 2006, our impression is that it is the ultimate in sophistication.