Our Cruise on the Silver Shadow allowed us to see some opportunities for this prestigious line to move into the next evolution of luxury cruising. I feel that with some small tweaks they could really be so much better. Was anything horrible - No. In fact, many of the elements were spectacular- The complimentary wines/Spirits were top notch . The wines often amazingly good. The staff amazing- Calm even with the ugliest passenger attitude (We witnessed this more than once and it makes the term Ugly American - All too real).
Overall, did we find that there was some room for improvement? Yes, indeed.
We arrived into Shanghai's pier for embarkation and luggage was handled quite well. However the Pier was unprepared to do a documentation check and did so on the gangway in stifling heat. It would have been so much easier to do this in an air conditioned part of the terminal rather than right on the gangway. Really no big deal, but wasn't a great first impression. We were escorted to our Silver Suite which I must say is stunning. Worth noting if you carry a lot of electric things (Phone, Ipad, Camera Chargers, etc.) the amount of outlets in the suites are limited. The bathroom is gorgeous with big towels and a rainfall shower head. Our luggage arrived in a flash and 30 minutes later, we were unpacked and ready to explore the ship. We found the ship to be in really good condition. Fabrics/Carpeting/window treatments all in very good shape. The wait staff was just fantastic and they really went out of their way to learn your name and your home town. Never once were we disappointed at the service but rather at some of the policies the line has about how to serve. Small things that made you scratch your head. For example, in the main dining room why, when your entree comes, is only the main protein on the plate? Every side must then be french served to your plate. By the time you had all your sides the main Entree was cold. Seemed like it would be easier for staff as well as the kitchen just to plate up the sides onto the individual entree plate. Overall the food was just ok. We loved La Terrazza and ate their as much as we possibly could. We were not alone in our disappointed in the main dining room, the staff really tried but often food came out under cooked or over cooked. We saw a lot of dishes going back to the kitchen on our few meals there. . Cold Food, bland food poor and a menu that honestly didn't flow well at all. This is a major opportunity for improvement for Silversea.
Currently Silversea has the concept of "Slow Food" being featured in their marketing efforts, however no one on the ship knew anything about that at all. I think a class on that for the La Terrazza waiters would be helpful. Our biggest disappointment was the famed Relais and Chateaux experience at Silver Shadow's "La Champagne". The meal was ok- We were a bit hungry when we left, but more importantly the ambiance in that room is non existent. It appears to have been designed originally as a conference room - then turned into a dining room. Lighting runs down the entire center of Le Champagne spotlighting guest who happen to be sitting in the middle of the room. the lack of carpeting means loud footfalls when walking and sound just bounces. With a bit of redo on the decor it could be so much more pleasant. I will say that the lamb was great!
Another oddity is the pool deck- they have a great lunch Bar B Que daily but only one menu per table. so it has to get passed around, Big problem? No, but easily fixed simply set with a menu at each place setting.
We really didn't see any shows so I can't comment on the entertainment but most of the guests seemed quiet pleased. It would be awesome to share with the guests what movies were playing and the time they would start (perhaps a channel on the TV itself that had a schedule) Needless to say, we saw a lot of movies from the middle. Perhaps "on demand" would be considered.
We caught the port lectures on TV and both the asian historian as well as the port lecturer were very good. As we set off to disembark in Tokyo, we felt that things were very well organized. That reception desk does an amazing job and they really keep on top of a lot of things. Kudos to them!
So with a nice breakfast we departed to see a bit of Tokyo and to head to the airport for the long flight home. It's true that cruising with just 380 means there are no lines and you can truly relax. Overall a great trip and with some minor improvements this line has a bight future.