I've recently returned from a spectacular cruise on the Silver Shadow. This was my first time sailing on Silversea and I can say with certainty that it won't be my last. It was an amazing experience from start to finish. It was a complete departure from mainstream cruising and I'd recommend it to anyone.
We started our journey in Anchorage. There is a train reserved exclusively for Silversea passengers and the train station is at the Anchorage airport. The train is included in your fare (usually $80 per person) and this is also where you receive your suite key and drop your luggage with the cruise staff. The train ride takes approximately 4 very scenic hours and ends right at the ship. You simply walk from the train, through security, and up the gangway to the ship. It couldn't have been easier. And when I arrived at my suite, my luggage was waiting for me. I thought this was near impossible because I couldn't figure out how they got my luggage from the train to my room before I got there. I found out later that they bus everyone's luggage to the ship and it arrives before the passengers so it's there for you when you arrive. This is just a very small example of the unbelievable service I received on Silver Shadow.
The ship itself is very comfortable. Understated elegance is exactly the term for Silver Shadow. The bar is conveniently called The Bar and the restaurant is called The Restaurant. I thought this was clever as opposed to the dramatic names other cruise lines give their bars and restaurants. The specialty restaurant was called Le Champagne, however, and was truly an experience to be had. Our cabin (they call all cabins suites) was amazing. The bathroom was enormous for a cruise ship. It was nearly all marble. The vanity had two sinks and there was a separate tub and shower. The water pressure was amazing and the bath amenities were Bulgari. It was very civilized. We had a walk in closet along with a nice balcony and good balcony furniture. Our butler was amazing as was our room attendant. We wanted for nothing the entire cruise.
All drinks and tips are included unless you wanted to buy a premium bottle of wine or champagne. I have to say that the wine being served was very good so I felt no need to buy a bottle. There is no showing your cruise card or signing any receipts. Again, very civilized.
I found myself joining in on activities I wouldn't dream of doing on larger cruise ships for fear of too many people and waiting on lines. On Silver Shadow I went to the evening show each night and never feared I would get a good seat even if I showed up at showtime. There was enough room for everyone and every seat was good. Trivia every day in the Bar was a great time and a nice chance to form bonds with your fellow travelers.
The food was good to excellent in The Restaurant. I've had just as good in Blu on Celebrity's Solstice class so I can't say it was the best I've had on a ship. Le Champagne was truly excellent, but I've had just as good in Celebrity's Murano specialty restaurant. The ship is uncrowded so there was never a "dinner rush" no matter what time you went to dine. One day for lunch I went to dine solo and I was the only person in the restaurant. It was an odd feeling to say the least, but I loved the service. Twelve waiters for one patron. As you can imagine, I was well taken care of that meal. Silversea has an outdoor pool deck restaurant where you cook your food on a hot lava rock brought to your table. It's a little gimmicky, but it was nice to eat outside.
Disembarking is usually a bad to terrible experience on most cruise lines. Not Silversea! They had a full sit down breakfast and instead of trying to rush you out, the waiters were coming around trying to bring refills on coffee and suggesting a nice cappuccino to top off the breakfast. Amazing!
This was my 49th cruise and I wish I wouldn't have waited so long to try Silversea. I have to admit that the price deterred me for years, but I thought I should try it once and see if it was really worth the cost. It's well worth the cost. Overall an amazing experience.