We had signed up for our first cruise ever, Ft Lauderdale to Barbados, on the Silver Shadow months before sailing and had no idea what to expect. In an effort to learn as much as possible we did a lot of reading and surfing the net where we read reviews of the Silver Shadow. "Down hill from there" and "no Ritz on the sea" gave us some mild apprehension prior to departure and certainly had our antenna up for the negatives that were reported.
While we were first timers on the sea (not counting a Greek Isles cruise back in college) we are not unfamiliar with luxury or first class service which I am happy to report the Silver Shadow met and exceeded. We met numerous other passengers who have sailed every luxury line out there and some who had as many as 500 days of voyages under their belts. They were all unanimous in their praise of the food, staff and quality of the Silversea's ships. Both embarking and disembarking were as easy as it could possibly be. We took the advice of embarking one hour after the prescribed time and walked right into our first of many glasses of champagne and caviar. It was up hill from there!
While we had two excellent meals in La Terrazza (the Italian flare) restaurant we found the most enjoyable meal experiences in the main dinning room for lunch and dinner. We were not interested in night clubs or entertainment so our group closed the dinner room down every evening and every night was better than the previous. I would highly recommend breakfast in La Terrazza. As the ship usually moors stern end towards town you are sitting on the 9th deck looking down into some exotic port. I ordered Eggs Benedict every morning and loved them. I would agree whole heatedly that more information on the islands (pots of call) for non-tour participants would help. The tour desk was putting out 8X10 copies of the island map on one side and the main town on the other. But it would have been nice to know that renting scooters on St. Kitts was not for the faint of heart and conversely everyone should rent and enjoy a scooter on Isle de Saint.
I came to realize that much of this adventure was a live and learn experience. That would explain why some of the seasoned vets would take up a position by the pool while many of us ran around islands and counted the minutes until we could return to our oasis, The Silver Shadow. We never had trouble finding deck loungers and never waited in a single line for any meal or activity. The one price covers all was a wonderful experience as it makes for a very relaxing cruise experience. Put your wallet in the in-room safe and forget it. No tipping or getting nickel and dimmed every time you turn around. A business associate recently cruised on another line. He was presented with a welcome drink and several minutes later a bill to sign. I could go on for pages but suffice it to say all 8 in our group had a fabulous experience and can't wait to go again and that trip will be with Silversea. I would very respectfully suggest that if anyone had a less than satisfactory experience on Siversea they should lease their own private yacht because I don't see how cruising could get any better.