First of all I disclose that I am a Seaboard fan. If Seaboard offered trips to Alaska we would have certainly booked with them. Anyway - this might be an opportunity to experience Silverseas - a chance to impress us. They didn't!
It's very hard not to make comparisons but a natural thing to happen. We embarked Silver Shadow at lunch time on day one - went straight to the pool deck for a snack. First impressions are important - the staff were OK but seemed disengaged. The small prawn cocktail looked and tasted tired - perfunctory - no bread offered. The small desert tasted dull and uninteresting - no garnish in sight. Couple this 'average' first lunch with the fact the staff uniforms looked tatty (the main server had a large tear in the seam of his pants) - this was not a good start!
Our cabin on 5th deck was OK - much the same layout and size of Seaboard Quest. We met our Butler - he was pleasant and attentive - brought us a bottle of liqueur for our room promptly. Unfortunately over the next two days there was a problem with an electrical outlet in our cabin which kept malfunctioning - the Butler was a useful resource - in the end the electrician had to be called - more than three times!! (very frustrating). The showers are excellent - a good pressure - better than Seaboard.
The restaurant booking system is not one we are familiar with - those in the know had already queued up on the first day to secure their preferred bookings in La Terrazzo and Le Champagne and The Grill. We found this an inconvenient system - most evenings we went to the main restaurant just because it was the easiest thing to do. The restaurant is staffed 90% by Pilipino/Indian males - in frequent visits we saw only 3 females serving food. Surely a gender balance is preferable? Some language problems did occur. The food was 'average' to 'good' - never really impressive. The flow of wine was good. Seabourn excel in their main restaurant - the special atmosphere here was lacking in the main restaurant.
The Bar was relaxing and comfortable - one server (Peter) was outstanding - very attentive - but this was the exception. The canapes offered were unappealing - we preferred the warm nuts. Cocktails were good - Peter eventually remembered that I like a straw in my Mandarin Cosmopolitan. The mood music in the Bar was 'average'.
Le Champagne Restaurant: A nice atmosphere - the food being served here was excellent - Seabourn main restaurant standard.
La Terrazzo: If the food here is supposed to be authentic Italian then why was the Veal Escolope so unexciting? The service again is perfunctory - the staff don't even interact much with each other.
The tours offered by Silver Shadow in Canada and Alaska are excellent, if a little expensive - a good range of activities suiting all levels of fitness.
The gym is spacious and well equipped and it was nice to see that group fitness classes were available. Seabourn's gyms seem much smaller.
Entertainment: Formulaic 6 person all round singers. They were acceptable, not outstanding. One male member was clearly uncomfortable - especially dressed for the Abba tribute in his white dungarees and platform shoes. This six-some seemed to prefer the Opera/light classical night - we did too. Unfortunately we missed the Cruise Director's pre-dinner entertainment.
Other entertainment: The enrichment program and lectures were interesting - we attending some, but not all - Dr Wolffe's history lectures were entertaining and educational. Nice bloke.
Why include a "Personal Shopper" on this trip??? He was pompous and elite - should get a real job!
Conclusion: We would avoid booking Silverseas over Seabourn in the future - on this occasion they fell short of the mark in every respect. We were unprepared for the large numbers of children on this trip - although they were well behaved - kids always lower the level of sophistication in the bars and restaurants.
Question?: Is Silver Shadow the first liner to welcome a "Service Dog" on board? Not that I am against this - especially since "Poochie" was such a lovely dog (Yorkshire Terrier).
Silver Shadow = 6 Seabourn Quest = 9.