We went on this magical cruise this month on Silver Shadow (Silversea) in Alaska.
The occasion was to travel as a family for the first time and it worked perfectly for all ages - 10 to 71! We were very lucky to have quite a few other kids on the ship so our only child found friends and had a fabulous time. Some guests did have an issue with all the kids having lunch all together at the pool one day but I think this was the only nuisance caused out of 10 days… I say not bad!
The suites are very well laid out. We had one suite with 2 bedroom and an adjoining suite so we could all meet in the lounge of the first suite for drink and a few meals. The breakfast is not worth taking in the cabin, the rest was fine.
The variety of restaurants is really great, you can have a hot dog at the pool or a fine dining dinner at the restaurant called "Le Champagne". Frankly "Le Champagne" was nothing better than the other restaurants apart from better ingredients (but More
sadly not the taste) and the service… although it is to be said the waiters are amazing all round. You might have to ask twice for your order at the pool but the other restaurants are very well ran. Chef is South African which might explain why there was fruits/sugar in most dishes (… and my husband is South African so I have the right to complain here!)
The spa seems to be very nice, I only went for a sheylac manicure, but some members of my family enjoyed a few treatments. Another South Africa running the show very efficiently!
The gym was only busy once, luckily the weather was great on that day so we could exercise outside. There is a gym supervisor apparently, I did see him but he is totally unintrusive, if you want help you can always approach him I think.
The shops were not very great, but at least we could buy the strict necessities we had forgotten. Jewelry or shop display never changed in 10 days… maybe something to consider?
Casino was fun!
The shows were bad to excellent! The opera show was really outstanding which surprised us quite a lot after the mediocrity of the ABBA show! Cruise manager is forever present with his team all around the ship.
We booked our excursions before getting on the ship and would recommend most of them, it is very well organized. The only few we would like to see disappear is the "bear sanctuary" in Sitka, it was really horrible to see bears enclosed in dirty spaces with plastic bits all around them, we would not like to support such establishments. We sadly could not complete de White Pass train in Skagway because there was some stones of the railway, and found Skagway a waste of time with touristy shops, nothing else.
One big complain is the coffee. They serve ILLY which should be quite nice, but they water it down completely for breakfast and in the rooms you can only do espressos… or water it down… terrible, we could not wait to get back to shore to find a descent place for coffee, which in america can also be challenging!
Other details for new cruisers :
You will probably get sensitive to movement, but I found it was actually more difficult to adapt to the lack of movement back on ground - and I am very sensitive to movement. I was lucky to need no pills at all and used the bracelets once only… not sure it worked.
You will be able to connect most time during the cruise, however at times it is very slow and cuts off. Telephonic communications only when you are close to ports.
Dressing for Alaska is exactly what is mentioned by other critics - layers but do have a warm coat, gloves and hats if you want to go on the glaziers. We also had days where people were sunbathing at the pool so expect all weather! On the ship you need to dress rather smartly, there are 2 very formal evening and we saw some verrrrry casual attires on the casual nights, so it all depends on your style!
Be very careful when you leave the ship if you have your own arrangements you HAVE to make sure you understand the very complicated way the luggage is taken out of the ship. We completely misunderstood because it was not communicated very well and almost missed our flight because we had to wait for our luggage. Luckily the excursion team went out of their way to sort us out in time.
We are already planning our next trip, as our parents are on their third Silversea cruise and want to see more! We are just too happy to join them again! Less