The Good Having cruised with other operators, the on-board experience at Silver Seas is well worth the extra cost and, aboard the Silver Shadow, it is well worth springing for a Silver Suite. These suites are spacious and luxurious without being excessive and are clean and well-maintained despite both cleaning and maintenance being unobtrusive. They have very large balconies which means that leaving your suite to roam around the ship is entirely optional.
Wonderful food and service in the main Dining Room, slightly less so in La Terrazza. The sommeliers in both restaurants were extremely knowledgeable and helpful - aided immensely by a "Connoisseur's Wine List" of excellent wines at liquor store prices with no discernable mark-up. This more than made up for the unimpressive "free" wines.
The enrichment lectures were fascinating and well-presented.
The smaller ship and use of an Ice Pilot enabled spine-tingling proximity to the Hubbard and Sawyer Glaciers.
The Bad Two of our four excursions were cancelled and the other two misrepresented to a greater or lesser degree. The cancellations were weather-related and beyond Silver Seas control but the third-party vendor confided that cancellations happen "the whole time". Since there are no second chances nor alternatives available, some disclosure around this point would have been useful.
The Ultimate Alaskan Adventure SIT-H was a genuinely good excursion, which we would take again. There was no need to make up nonsense about traveling at 50mph in ocean waves and visiting sea caves. Our guide just laughed when we brought this up.
At the Bear Country Wildlife Adventure KTN-E, the first thing they tell you is that the less noise you make, the better your chance of bear sightings. The point is moot, though, because you have zip-liners (literally) screaming overhead and a guide prattling on loudly and incessantly about everything but wildlife.
The Ugly Embarkation is akin to being admitted to jail. You are corralled in an prefab, searched, photographed and have your passport confiscated for the duration of your stay. (Do they even get to do that in jail?)
Then they discover that dozens of the photos that they took are (in some unexplained way) unacceptable and they launch a campaign of harassment against the relevant passengers. The bumbling Inspector Clouseau nature of this campaign afforded some light amusement but, really, how funny is it to spend a couple of grand a night to be treated like a criminal?