Cruise Overview ===============
This was a ten-day cruise on the Silver Shadow.
The cruise began in San Francisco, California and ended in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Along the way there were stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell and Victoria. There were four sea days including one day of cruising the Sawyer Glacier. The itinerary was perfect, whether this is your first time to Alaska or you have visited Alaska on other cruises.
We enjoyed our first cruise with Silversea. We have cruised with many cruise lines across the Mass Market, Premium and Luxury Cruise Line categories. Since 2002 we have cruised almost exclusively on Luxury Cruise lines. This has included a significant number of cruises with Crystal Cruise Lines along with a few cruises with Seabourn.
The luxury cruise lines do offer its passengers a luxurious cruising experience. For comparison, if these cruise lines were land-based hotels they would be comparable to luxury hotels such as Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons.
There are similarities between our cruises with Crystal, Seabourn and Silversea as each of these cruise lines does, in fact, provide a luxurious cruising experience. As such, you can expect superb service, fine cuisine, not being charged for every little item, very few daily announcements, very seasoned passengers, a nice ambience on-board each ship, a greater space to passenger ratio so that one never feels too crowded, and an overall sophisticated cruising experience as compared to mass market or premium cruise lines.
The major differences between our experiences on each of these three luxury cruise lines are mainly attributable to the size of the ships in their respective fleets. We have found that ship size will determine the type and depth of enrichment programs/activities and evening entertainment that can be offered by each cruise line and goes a long towards determining what areas of luxury cruising are emphasized by the respective cruise lines And, this is true even within a cruise line where their fleets include ships of varying sizes. For example, on the Seabourn triplets because these ships carry a maximum of 200 passengers they stress service and the overall dining experience. On Silversea with two of their current ships almost double the size of the Seabourn triplets they can offer a more diverse set of activities and other programs than those found on each of the Seabourn triplets. And on Crystal with its two medium size ships they can offer an even greater set of enrichment programs, and a more extensive and diverse set of entertainment program than either Seabourn or Silversea.
The other major difference is that on Crystal they provide fixed early and late seating and the cruise fare does not include wine or mixed drinks whereas Seabourn and Silversea offer open seating and their cruise fare does include wine and mixed drinks. While tipping is not expected on Silversea nor on Seabourn the reality is that many of the guests do, in fact, provide a tip either to individuals, and/or to the crew fund. And, while tipping is not included on Crystal, many of the large travel consortiums do include tips which are actually provided by Crystal in recognition that these consortiums bring a large volume of business to Crystal.
My wife and I are fine with both fixed and open seating. We think there are pros/cons to each. From our perspective, the main benefit of fixed seating is the fact that the wait staff quickly comes to know your dining preferences and if you are assigned to a table with others it provides a nice opportunity to get to know other passengers quite well. The pro for open seating is that you can dine with different people each evening or you can dine regularly with others or if you would like by yourself and you can come to the dining room anytime you please during the hours the restaurant(s) operate. Of course, the reality is that with open seating the majority of passengers arrive to the dining room for dinner around 7:30 to 7:45 PM.
And for us the same is true for the wine and mixed drinks. We are fine whether or not they are included in the cruise fare. It is certainly not a deal breaker for us and we really don't care whether or not we have to sign a bar check. For those who do not consume much alcohol they may be better off if the alcohol is not included in the cruise fare. Yes, our observation is that it seems that more drinking does take place when it is included in the cruise fare.
We also do think that ship size has advantages/disadvantages depending on the particular itinerary and length of voyage. So, to us one size does not fit all situations.
We realize that there are some passengers who might prefer only small ships such as one of the Seabourn triplets, or the Silversea Cloud and Wind. At the same time others may prefer ships such as the new Seabourn Odyssey, which carries up to 450 passengers or the Silversea ships Shadow or Whisper, which carry up to 380 passengers or even the new Silversea Spirit which will carry up to around 550 passengers. Still others will prefer the two medium size ships of the Crystal Fleet, which carry around 900 passengers.
Like so many other things in life what one person likes, another person might not care for. It all depends on what you enjoy and what you want your overall on board experience to be all about. So, I will not make any recommendations in this review because we know each person has different tastes.
From time to time there are various threads where people ask which cruise line is best for them. Well there is not always an answer to this question as I think it is impossible to give advice to someone on these boards that one has never met before. As such, my recommendation to others is fairly consistent; (1) read many of the posts on the cruise line boards to see what the majority of passengers seem to like and dislike about a cruise line. (2) Study the ship layout to be sure you will be pleased with the amenities offered and that the ship you are considering will meet your needs. (3) Read through the cruise line brochure. While this is a marketing tool, you'll find that the brochures do highlight those areas emphasized by each cruise line. Even the pictures can be telling about the features of each cruise line. (4) Go to the Internet sites for each cruise line as there is lots of information readily available. (5) Pick up a copy of the most recent book on cruising by Douglas Ward and published by Berlitz. Don't get hung up on the ratings given to each ship. Rather you can learn a great deal about each ship/cruise line by reading the two-to-three page narrative. (6) Finally, talk with knowledgeable travel specialists who have sailed on each line and have first hand knowledge and talk with those who you respect who may also have first hand knowledge.
Pre Cruise ========
We enjoyed a wonderful pre-cruise in San Francisco and the Bay Area. We spent time with friends, visited the town in which we lived for four years before we moved away from California eighteen years ago and we enjoyed time in downtown San Francisco. The weather was lovely. The town where we used to live looked more beautiful than ever.
For the last two days prior to embarking the ship we stayed at the San Francisco Ritz Carlton. We walked quite a bit and visited China Town, the Italian District, Fisherman's Wharf, the Ferry Building, Union Square and a few other areas several times during the course of our stay as we enjoy taking nice long walks.
Our only other cruise to/from the Port of San Francisco was in 2002 on-board the former Crystal Harmony which offered 12 day cruises of Alaska during the summer months. This was our first sailing with Crystal.
I would love to see San Francisco position itself to offer more cruises. While there has been talk about building a new cruise ship terminal I don't think that is necessary. Rather, I wish the city would consider enhancing the cruise terminals.
Embarkation was very smooth and was by far the easiest we have ever experienced on any cruise line/ship.
We requested early embarkation. Normally, embarkation begins at 3:00 PM. An additional fee of $100.00 per passenger is charged to the shipboard account for early embarkation and we were advised that we would be able to board the ship at approximately 10:30 AM and that every effort would be made to have the cabin ready as close to that time as possible. Since this was our first time sailing with Silversea we decided it made sense for us to board the ship early so that we could have extra time to explore the ship and get settled prior to the departure of the ship.
We arrived at Pier 35 at 10:15 AM and proceeded through a few security checkpoints. At precisely 10:30 AM the embarkation process began. They took eight guests at a time and we were the first two in the very first group. The check in process took just two minutes. They looked at our passports and our cruise documents and had us fill out a form about the swine flu.
After check in we were escorted up to the area where we could board the ship. Along the way we were stopped three times and each time we were asked our names and our room number. We hadn't bothered to learn our room number ahead of time so this was a good way for us to learn it and we were experts by the time we boarded the ship.
Once on board the ship we were escorted to a lounge where drinks were offered and where we completed the check-in process by turning in our passports, and having our pictures taken. We were told we would remain in this area until our room was ready. This was our lucky day. About fifteen minutes later we were the first passengers to be called and a member of the staff escorted us to our room.
In no time we were in our room, unpacked our carry on luggage, and proceeded to the reception area to take care of a few items. We then proceeded to explore the ship and in no time we learned where most areas are located. We easily found the fitness center and the jogging track as part of our self guided tour.
At 12:00 Noon we enjoyed our first meal on board the ship and thought the food was very well prepared and we enjoyed the service in the dining room.
After lunch we went back to the room and a few minutes later our luggage showed up. We unpacked, spoke to our daughter and to our son, and then continued to explore the ship. We also stopped by La Terrazzo to make a reservation for dinner at this specialty restaurant for the second formal night. NOTE: We learned later that one of the advantages of boarding early was the ability to make reservations before the majority of passengers boarded the ship. Afterwards, we continued to walk around the ship, stopped by the shore excursion desk, watched as the majority of passenger's embarked the ship starting at 3:00 PM, met our Stewardess, and enjoyed a very leisurely afternoon on the ship. Later in the afternoon we attended the Lifeboat Drill, the Sail Away Party held on the Pool Deck and before dinner we attended the first event with the Cruise Director, David Lawton.
The Ship =======
The ship is around nine years old or nine years young depending on your perspective. It carries up to 382 passengers assuming double occupancy per cabin. It has a very logical layout with many of the public rooms located towards the aft on many decks and the cabins located toward the bow of the ship. The public areas are nicely decorated and designed. Given the size of the ship it is very easy to get around.. There are plenty of elevators and stairways between floors. We used the stairways exclusively.
We especially enjoyed the décor of the dining rooms and of many of the public rooms. They are tastefully decorated.
As is the case with the other luxury cruise lines, the ship never felt crowded at all even though the ship was sold our for this specific voyage.
Like any ship there are probably a few areas showing some wear and tear but these items are normally addressed in dry-dock.
Our room (they are all called suites and are of differing sizes to choose from) was a nice size for this length voyage. It was configured fairly similar to the rooms that we have had on the Seabourn Triplets except this room also included a Verandah. We were happy that we had selected a room that was mid deck which we prefer.
The room had a nice desk area, with plenty of room on top of it. On one shelf above the left side of the desk was a flat screen television and above the right hand side is a bar. Below the right hand side of the desk was a refrigerator. There was a couch and one desk chair along with another chair and a coffee table and a couple of end tables and lamps. Likewise on each side of the bed is an end table and a lamp. There is also a small vanity makeup table.
We thought there were only two negatives to the room. First, is that the end tables are rather light weight and relatively small so when you open the door you really need to use two hands; one to open the door and the other to keep the table from moving. Second is that the small alarm clock makes a relatively loud ticking noise. We brought our own alarm clock which we put out and put the one from the room in the bathroom.
Overhead lighting in the room was excellent which is not always the case on many cruise lines and the buttons were easy to use. The safe was good and actually has a digital display that shows whether or not it is locked. The storage space was decent.
The bathroom worked well and the bath products were very nice. The closet was a decent size.
The one challenge that we did have with this room was the use of the Internet because unless we left the door open a crack or more we had difficulty getting a strong internet signal. It took a day or so to get used to keeping the door open a little bit but after that we were fine. Our suggestion would that a note be provided on the desk about this. A couple of times even the solution of keeping the door open did not work and I took the computer to a public room where it worked.
Our Room Stewardess, Evelyn, and the Assistant Stewardess, Sonja, were very efficient and professional. The first day we asked for some specific items, and they made sure that they were available each and every day. We did not see them very often and they worked their magic as the made up the room in the morning and in the evening hours. They were wonderful.
The television stations were fine. We don't watch much television and certainly not on a cruise. We do like to keep up with the news and there were three news stations (two USA based). I believe there were about three stations showing movies.
Dining & Cuisine ================
There are two main dining room; the Restaurant where you order from the restaurant menu and La Terrazzi, which provides a breakfast and luncheon, buffet and at night is a specialty restaurant where you order from a menu.
We enjoyed both the cuisine and the overall dining experience in these two venues. We dined in the Restaurant frequently for dinner. Overtime, we found an area of the dining room that we preferred both in terms of its location and the waiter.
The quality of the cuisine along with its preparation was quite nice and overall the service was professional. Most on the wait staff spoke good English but a few of the assistant waiters did not always understand what we said.
We also appreciated that those items that were considered wellness options on the menu provided the calories, carbohydrates and fat for the appetizers, salad, entrée and desserts that fell into this category. We do like to eat healthy and appreciated the additional information. Often at dinner we tried a variety of seafood entrees and found them to be very pleasing. We could order some items that were not on the menu and there were some standard items available to choose from if we didn't care for the entrees on the menu.
For breakfast we mainly dined at La Terrazzi. The buffet items were extensive including cold and hot items. They also offered made to order eggs and they also had someone making waffles. Waiters were available near the buffet area to carry the items back the table for you.
At the same time, you could order certain hot items from the wait staff and they would bring these items out to you. They would also take you hot and cold drink items and serve them to you. As we prefer breakfast items such as cereal, fruit, yogurts and other related items this restaurant was perfect for us. Our routine was to come to this venue for breakfast following our daily exercise.
Our only criticism is that some of the cereal bowls did not seem fully cleaned and we noticed this on more than one occasion.
For lunch, we dined at the Restaurant a couple of times but we mainly at La Terrazzi. We would often make up our own salad entrée with mixed greens, raw and steamed vegetables and usually a hot seafood item. On certain days there would be a luncheon theme and there were lots of hot and cold items to choose from. There was even a nice variety of sushi. While we didn't have this, you could order a made to order pizza from the wait staff.
For those passengers who wanted to order their entire meal from the waiters in La Terrazzi for breakfast and lunch the waiters would be more than happy to serve these passengers their meals.
La Terrazzi offered indoor and outdoor dining. The indoor tables had tablecloths and offered a variety of table sizes. On most days we ate at one of the two person tables near a window to enjoy a beautiful view of all that was around us.
During dinner, we primarily dined at the Restaurant where the menu typically featured three appetizers, intermezzo's (eg., soup, salad, etc.), and four entrées available. There was also three standard fare items (salmon, chicken, beef) to choose from. A special dessert menu was available each evening with a variety of desserts to choose from and also the option of the cheese trolley.
In the evening, La Terrazzi becomes a specialty restaurant featuring different menus each evening of Italian Cuisine from various regions of Italy and the meal is served by the wait staff. We ate there on the second of the three Formal nights. On the formal nights you could dine in informal attire at this venue but we chose to dine in formal attire on the evening that we had dinner there. The evening we dined there featured a seafood menu. We enjoyed the meal, particularly the Halibut Entrée that was very moist as it was prepared in a thin paper wrap.
We appreciated the fact that each dining room had a very nice selection of table sizes. Most times we would dine by ourselves either at a two or four person table and they were located throughout the dining room. A few other times we dined with one or a couple of people. If a passenger preferred a particular table in the dining room and/or waiter and arrived early they could request that table and/or waiter and the Maitre d' would easily accommodate that request. We had certain favorite waiters but also tried to sit in different areas ot the dining room, particularly at two person tables by the window. The last few nights we did settle on one area of the dining room and a particular waiter who we enjoyed.
We did not dine at Le Champagne, which offers a wine pairing meal at $200.00 per passenger or for those who do not want the special wines they can dine for $30.00 per passenger. None of the complimentary wine is provided in this restaurant so for those who do not want the wine pairing but want to order a bottle of wine they can order from a menu of wines with bottles starting at $50.00.
Wine was served for lunch and dinner in the restaurants. We are not big drinkers so we did not have wine for lunch. We enjoyed many of the wines that were served in the evening and appreciated the diversity of the vineyards which included several wines from Napa Valley along with wines from other regions around the world including South America, Australia, France and Spain along with a few other regions around the world. For lunch and for dinner two different complimentary wines were poured; one white and one red wine. We learned mid-way through the cruise that if you enjoyed a particular wine you could see if it was available on the other nights when other wines were featured.
When we dined at La Terazzi they featured a sparkling wine along with a white and red wine from Italy.
We would also have a pre dinner drink in one of the lounges and would also listen to live music. Many of the passengers would enjoy a pre-dinner mixed drink.
The menus also included some wines for purchase in addition to the complimentary wines.
We did not order any special items, nor was it mentioned to us that this was possible, but we didn't ask either. On occasion we would change up something already on the menu but these requests were very minor in nature.
Twenty-four hour room service is also available with an extensive menu. You can order a course-by-course dinner in the evening featuring items from the Restaurant. We ordered breakfast only once during the morning of disembarkation. We also ordered some fruit from room service a couple of times during the course of the cruise.
There was a special caviar menu available in the suites and the items offered were not complimentary and the prices were duly noted.
We only ate in our room one time and that was on the morning of disembarkation. The night before we had filled out the breakfast menu. The times to request it on the form were in 30-minute increments so in our case it was 6:00 AM to 6:30 AM. We left a note with the stewardess asking if she could request that our breakfast would be delivered at 6:00 AM and sure enough it arrived precisely at 6:00 AM. The order was exactly what we asked for.
The Crew =======
In general, we found the crew to be quite professional and efficient and pleasant. As mentioned we thought highly of our cabin stewardess, Evelyn, and the assistant cabin stewardess, Sonja. They worked tirelessly and we appreciated all of their efforts. We never had to ask for the same item twice.
During the evening the waiter and assistant waiters assigned to your table was pretty much on their own. However similar to what we experienced with Seabourn, on busy formal nights and at the larger tables the wait staff assisted one another.
There were also times when the headwaiters would assist and they could be spotted walking around the dining room often.
We had some favorite waiter and headwaiters in both restaurants. Many of the wait staff in both these restaurants learned our names and some learned our preferences.
The bar staff was very friendly and provided nice service. After each day on the ship we found that more and more members of the bar staff learned our names as well.
We had some interaction with other members of the staff from the two social hosts who are on board mainly to provide company for the solo women passengers to others such as the shopping consultant and the entertainers. In general, we found the crew members to be very helpful and professional. There was never a line at the reception/concierge desk and just a short line from time to time at the shore excursion desk.
The entertainers such as the dancers, and singers helped during the daytime with the other activities. We found them to be very nice. Typically their contracts ranged from nine to twelve months and most of these entertainers seemed to indicate that this was a one-time contract for them as they were relatively young and wanted to establish themselves with a land career.
Most of the waiters and assistant waiters we talked with have worked a couple of contracts with Silversea. In general the headwaiters have been with Silversea for quite a bit longer. The Maitre d'Hotel has been with Silversea since 1994 and was quite friendly.
The majority of the waiter and bar staff was from Asia with others from various places around the world including South America, and Europe.
In general, the room stewardess and assistant stewardess, wait staff and bar staff performed flawlessly.
The only problem that we encountered was with the reception desk on the next to last day of the voyage. We tried on and off in the afternoon to reach the receptionist personnel by telephone to inquire about the weather for one of the ports of call but no one picked up. Right before dinner my wife stopped by the desk to inquire about the weather and because the person at the desk was having problems with her computer, she asked for our stateroom number and said she would leave a message for us on the phone. A few hours later when we got back to the room there was no message. My wife tried to call the reception desk as well as the operator again with no success. I also tried to cal and still no answer on either line after letting it ring countless times. I had already changed or otherwise I would have just gone down to the desk. Finally, I called the emergency number and someone answered and then called me right back on the regular phone. I never got a solid explanation as to why no one picked up the other phone lines nor why the person my wife spoke with never left a message for us. This was not a major issue relative to the entire cruise but I just wanted to balance many of the positive comments that I have provided with an item that was not up to the same standards as we had experienced throughout much of the cruise.
The Passengers ===========
The ship was sold out. Many of the passenger's were seasoned cruisers but like us there were several passengers who were sailing with Silversea for the very first time. There were about twenty children on board who ranged from infants to college-aged students, some traveling with parents and others with parents and/or grandparents. There was a children's program for the children. In general, the children were very well behaved.
There was one rather large extended family with three relatively young children and I am sorry to say that to me it was the parents who were not well behaved and who did not set a good example for their children to follow in my humble opinion. This became obvious to not only us, but to others, at lunch on the day before we arrived at Wrangell. Ironically, when we disembarked the ship part of the family was in front of us and the rest were behind us. Once again, we observed another situation where the parents were not setting the right example for their children to follow.
This was the most children that have been on board the ship during its Alaska Sailings according to the crew we spoke with. One factor is likely that this is the height of the summer vacation season for many families who travel in the summer. There is a conference room that was used to provide activities for the children since there is no dedicated children's room/area on board the ship.
In addition to passengers from around the USA, Mexico and Canada there were several passengers from outside the United States from various places around the world including, China, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Australia and several other countries throughout Northern and Western Europe.
The majority of the passengers were sailing to Alaska for the very first time. This was actually our fourth cruise of Alaska.
We are not sure exactly why, but we did not get to know our fellow passengers as well as we have on our other Crystal and Seabourn cruises. In the case of Seabourn it might be because not only did we travel on their 200 passenger ships, but also on Seabourn very often one is invited to hosted tables throughout the cruise. Couples are not seated together so it encourages conversation with others. There are far fewer hosted tables on Silversea. We were invited to one of them but had to decline the invitation, as this was the night we were dining at the specialty restaurant. The other factor for us is that we did not take any of the shore excursions, which we do often on our Crystal and Seabourn cruises. With that said, we did meet and talk with some of our fellow passenger's including having drinks one evening with one couple. We just didn't meet anyone who we will likely correspond with when we are back home which is unusual for us.
Itinerary/Shore Excursions ===================
As I mentioned, this was a ten-day cruise with stops in several Alaska ports and Canada. We enjoyed the itinerary and I think it is good for those sailing here the very first time and those like us who have sailed here before. There were a variety of Alaskan itineraries to select from with many offered several times.
As this was our forth time to Alaska, we did not sign up for any shore excursions as we have taken quite a few over the years. Instead, we decided to walk around each of the ports on our own. For those who haven't cruised here before, we thought that Silversea offered a nice variety of shore excursions to choose from at a wide range of price points. They also offered some unique excursions, which were at a substantially higher price point.
Many who we spoke with who did take the excursions enjoyed them. A couple of the highlights for people was one where they took a helicopter to the Glacier and then went dog sledding. Another one was an excursion on a catamaran in Ketchikan where folks went whale watching and I believe saw eight whales all at once. This happens infrequently so the folks were very fortunate to see all of the whale. On our previous voyages we did see some whale but never that many at once.
Internet connectivity including speed was quite good. We had less delay than I anticipated. I believe that this was attributable to not only the position of the ship but the fact that my sense is not many of the passengers used the internet during the cruise. In the end, demand has a lot to do with the speed and we were fortunate that the demand was likely not too great.
There was a small internet room with public computers and a couple were also located in the library.
The only problem that we really encountered to use the internet was the signal strength as mentioned earlier if the door to the cabin was entirely closed. I am not sure if this is a problem in some rooms or just ours.
There are several minute usage plans to sign up for at various price points.
As expected, the larger the minute plan the lower the per minute price.
I was pleased that if you purchased an internet plan and still had minutes remaining that you could use the internet on the morning of disembarkation. You could not purchase new minutes since the shipboard accounts are all reconciled at that point in time.
Fitness Center ==========
Since the Fitness Center is important to us I wanted to mention this facility.
The Fitness Center has a nice variety of cardio and weight lifting equipment for the size of the ship. I work out on the elliptical machine and my wife uses the treadmill on a daily basis.
As is the other case on other cruise lines we found that the best time to use the Fitness Center is either very early or very late in the day. For us, early is best. We would arrive when it opened at 6:30 AM and workout for between one and two hours. Colonial Wes was absolutely correct with his recommendation as to the best time to use the Fitness Center.
I am not sure if it is possible for the Fitness Center to open earlier. On some ships we the Fitness Center is open 24 hours a day even if no staff is present. Since the center can get busy it would be great if it could open 5:30 AM or by 6:00 AM but again the need to staff it might be the reason it opens when it does.
The other suggestion would be for the staff to ensure that there were a sufficient number of towels, bottled water, and wet wipes out at all time. On several occasions we had to let the staff know that the container of wet wipes was empty. I also never saw anyone cleaning the machines from the staff and think this is important in terms of containing germs. We as passengers do thoroughly wipe down our machines before and after use but very few others did likewise so I think this is another reason for the staff to be diligent in the cleaning of the machines.
We did not use any of the other treatments available in the spa area or any of the private fitness related offerings.
Enrichment Programs, Activities and Entertainment =====================================
We attended several of the lectures and since we were cruising Alaska the major focus of these presentations was on Alaska rather than other areas such as novels and politics. This makes perfect sense for this type of cruise.
We also attended all of the talks given by the on board art expert.
There was a nice selection of activities offered during the cruise, particularly on sea days. This included fitness, gaming, and dance classes, team trivia, social and duplicate bridge, bingo, arts and crafts, French, Spanish and Italian lessons. There was music and dancing in the evening and of course time to enjoy a cocktail with a fellow guest. There were shows at night, which featured singers and dancers. We found significantly more activities and expanded entertainment from what we experienced on the Seabourn triplets while quite a bit less than what we have experienced on either of the Crystal ships. Again, the size of the ship is the key as to what can be offered in the way of entertainment and enrichment programs.
There were a couple of stores on board the ship. This included one boutique that carried an array of items including clothing, jewelry, and other sundry items. This store also had a jeweler on board from Arizona featuring a jewelry trunk show. The other boutique was an H Stern jewelry store. In addition, the art expert who was on board the ship had many art items available for sale.
Disembarkation was handled very well. We made arrangements through Silversea to have a private car take us to the Vancouver International Airport and the car was waiting for us at the appointed time
The ship arrived to the Port of Vancouver at the designated time which was 7:15 AM. We had been instructed a couple of days before that we could pick up our passports at 7:00 AM and when I arrived at the designated spot I just had to wait in line for a minute or two before I collected our passports. They were organized in room number order, which made it easy to find them.
We were asked to vacate our cabin by 8:30 AM and we waited in another area of the ship until it was time for us to depart the ship at approximately 8:50 AM.
At that point someone from the staff came up to us and told us that our car was ready. After we got down to the pier, personnel were visible to guide us to our luggage and in no time we were through customs where the driver was waiting for us.
Summary/Final Thoughts ===================
This was a very nice cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary along with the overall cruise. We found the overall cruise experience to be 5 Star+
We enjoyed the size of the ship, the service, the high quality cuisine, the enrichment programs and the overall cruise.
The cruise confirmed our expectation of Silversea and our view of cruising on a luxury cruise line. In the end, our view of luxury cruising is similar to our view of other luxury products. As such, we will not rank this line with the other luxury cruise lines that we have sailed with because each person will rank it differently based on those areas that are most important to them. To me it's no different than ranking luxury car manufacturers such as Lexus, Mercedes and BMW. Each manufacturer builds top of the line luxury cars but each owner may have a different view of which car they rank first based on those factors that are most important to them. The same is true for cruise lines.
In the end, we believe its important for each person to decide for themselves which cruise line(s) and which ship(s) they prefer the best based on those factors that are most important to them.
As I always say, no two cruises even on the same cruise line are the same.
We will sail on Silversea again.
I hope others will find this review helpful.