Silver Shadow Cruise Review by jdesimone4: Our favorite cruise so far
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Our favorite cruise so far
We have now been on three big boats (once as a couple and twice with our 3 kids) and one much smaller boat (100 passengers) and this was definitely our favorite. Enough scale to have choice for activities and a good spa/infrastructure but not so large that you felt lost or annoyed when you had to move around the ship.
We found the food well sized (so more european portions) and very tasty. While the service was better in the La Champagne restaurant, the food was not that much better than the main dining room. Breakfast in La Terraza was a bit of a scrum and may have been a bit understaffed. We ended up preferring getting food ashore (Juneau has a great crepe place) or in our room (though if you have more than a couple people, odds are something will be cold). The coffee machines onboard are on the fancy side and take a few tries to get right--illy instead of nespresso. Also if you ask for something from your butler, be prepared for a big bottle--we wanted some gin and More amaretto and ended up with big bottles we barely made a dent in. We never felt the need to scramble to beat the rush though we also werent going to the shows at night that gave us more flexibility. Post dinner, we didnt love the options as both the bar and panorama lounge were on the loud side--harder to sit and talk and have a drink. Though we couldve gotten a drink and walked to our cabin. Max, the somelier, was excellent and make good recommendations when we didnt want to stick with the perfectly nice house wines.
As for onboard activities, afternoon putting and trivia were our favorites. The spa was very nice and we had a few good treatments there. Its a smaller ship so its not like there are 5 things going on at all times. If you are active, the fitness center is small (maybe 6-8 machines) and the jogging track is not long (with the weather many times you wouldnt want to be out on it). Also for those gamblers, there is only poker, blackjack, slots and roulette. No craps, sadly. They also had really interesting art on board, all of which was for sale.
For excursions, get online right away when booking opens up and get what you want. We did
Ketchikan--bear adventure; we saw one bear after float planing out to Prince of Wales island.
Juneau--mendenhall glacier in helicopter; awesome but if there are varied climbing abilities the guides will have to guide to the lowest ability in your group so you can get a variety of experiences
Skagway--ziplining; had never done and really liked it; lots of other things here too like a gold train. If you have already ziplined I think you can pass. At Ketchikan people we know saw bears from the zipline so that wouldve been the perfect double.
Sitka--boat cruise/raptor center/bears; it was a full day but we saw a ton of wildlife on the boat (a bear onshore, whales, otters up close) and then the wild birds at the raptor center and great bears at the Fortress of the Bear
Seward--train to Anchorage; This four hour ride was FANTASTIC. Great scenery, nice amenities. But the seats are all set up as groups of 4 so bear that in mind. We had one table to ourselves and my wife was in the other table with two other guests. not a big deal just passing along the info
We also tacked on a few days at Winterlake Lodge which is a couple hundred miles north of Anchorage. Very rustic but amazing food and all about activities--fishing, hiking, boating. But they turn the generator off at 11 and it isnt the most modern of accommodations (perfectly fine but just so you dont expect the Mandarin...other than the food which blows any Mandarin away!)
Other notes for travelers:
We only had 2 outlets in our room (US style and both were 2 pronged); bring a two pronged extension cord if you have a lot of devices to charge
Buy the full cruise wifi package if email is important to you; will be waaayyy cheaper than roaming charges and even if you remember to turn off roaming and turn it back on in port, you will be better off. I found it fast enough for normal corporate emails and 1-2MB attachments routinely Less
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Cabin review: 701
We loved our cabin. We had the adjoining double for our kids so had 2.5 baths which is helpful when you have 5 people. We couldve eaten comfortably in our suite if we wanted to but other than breakfast never really needed to do so. Our butler kept us well fed in the afternoons with snacks. Plenty of hangers and closet space for a change. Good shower with enough space and pressure. Heck, there is a pillow menu with something like 8 choices of pillow!