The Venetian Lounge serves as Silver Dawn's main theater. It's a reasonable size, and we love that many rows had tables where you could put your beverage.
The cruise director on our trip, Vicki Van Tassel, was a breath of fresh air, with a humorous and sarcastic edge that we've never seen on Silversea before. Don't miss her cabaret show, held once per cruise. The Voices of Silversea singing and dancing troupe were enthusiastic and energetic, putting on a show almost every night. They would then move to the Panorama Lounge to get the crowd going with dancing.
During the Silver Dawn christening, guests were treated to some balletic dancing set to high-tech 3D technology that was somewhat otherworldly (and certainly like nothing we've seen on luxury cruise ships before). Roberto Martinoli has said that Silversea will tackle entertainment next, taking some cues from sister line Celebrity. If what we saw at the christening is pointing toward the way forward, then expect Silver Dawn entertainment to level up.
As a luxury ship, Silver Dawn keeps the daily schedule somewhat light. Trivia games on Silversea can be quite competitive with teams that meet early in the voyage and stick together for the sailing.
The S.A.L.T. program has two onboard components that add excellent enrichment to the daily mix. Cooking classes in the S.A.L.T. Lab are complimentary and reflect the area where you're sailing.
S.A.L.T. lectures take advantage of guest speakers onboard. On our Portuguese sailing, a well-known food journalist from Lisbon talked us through some of Portugal's main food trends, which we found helpful when we dined at the S.A.L.T. Kitchen later in the trip.
Tip: Make reservations for S.A.L.T. cooking classes early, as space is limited and they fill up. Also don't worry if you aren't Julia Child. The lift is very easy, consisting primarily of stirring and a bit of chopping.
Off the ship, the S.A.L.T. excursions change from port to port. They can come with a hefty price tag, but they definitely give you something different from the norm and bring you places that you would never find on your own.
In Portimao, on Portugal's Algarve coast, our S.A.L.T. excursion to a canning museum seemed pretty dull. But then, our guide took us to Maria do Mar, a small shop/cafe that specialized in 300 types of tinned fish, an essential part of the Portuguese diet. Tray after tray of sardines, tuna and anchovies came to our table, accompanied by local rose wine. At one point, the proprietor brought out a small blowtorch to char already cooked octopus. The convivial afternoon ended with shots of a local liqueur. We toddled back to the ship happy; I definitely felt that I learned something.
Likewise, our S.A.L.T. excursion in Lisbon took us to a small cafe located well away from the tourist areas. We dined on a variety of traditional dishes, including bone marrow that looked positively prehistoric. While we didn't love every dish, again, we loved the camaraderie that came with a shared experience and plenty of local wine.
Note: If you have dietary restrictions, be sure to let the ship know before you book a S.A.L.T. excursion so you can find out more about the venue you're going. While the organizers of the S.A.L.T. program told us that they can accommodate allergies and restrictions, the places where our excursion took us were very small establishments, with only one cooking galley.
Evenings on Silver Dawn generally consist of cocktails, a nice dinner and a show, with the latter taking place at 10 p.m.; this is a ship and line that generally moves on European time.
There is a small casino onboard, open when the ship is sailing in the evening.
Drinks are included and free-flowing on Silver Dawn, including the craft cocktails at the S.A.L.T. Bar. You can also get a variety of non-alcoholic drinks, and specialty coffees are available at both the Arts Café and in Dolce Vita. There's also a self-serve coffee machine in the underused Observation Lounge on Deck 11.
For the Cocktail Lovers: The small and atmospheric S.A.L.T. Bar on Deck 4 has an impressive menu of locally designed and sourced cocktails that change depending on port and itinerary.
For Friendly Conversation: The Dolce Vita lounge on Deck 5 is the social heart of the ship, and it's the perfect place for afternoon trivia, a pre-dinner drink or a morning cappuccino.
For Afternoon Reading: The Observation Lounge tucked up on Deck 11 has lovely forward views and few people.
For Jazz Lovers: You don't have to eat at Silver Note to enjoy the live music that takes place there every night; there are a handful of seats at the bar.
For Cigar Lovers: The small Connoisseur's Corner on Deck 9 has an indoor and an outdoor area for smoking, plus it's just a few steps away from the late-night Panorama Lounge.
For the Dancing Queens: The Panorama Lounge on Deck 9 attracts the late-night crowd, for DJ spins (don't worry, it's all songs that an older demographic will know) and outdoor chats, thanks to comfy outside seating and heat lamps.
The main pool on Silver Dawn is an attractive space, with comfy cushioned loungers. The line added more steps into the pool to make it easier for people to access.
There are two whirlpools near the main pool and another tucked at the very back of the ship on Deck. 10.
Silver Dawn has plenty of deck loungers surrounding the pool on Deck 10 and also above on Deck 11. There is also a separate seating area near the funnel on Deck 11 that proved to be popular on sunny days.
Silver Dawn has a reception area and a shore excursion desk within the Dolce Vita Lounge on Deck 5. In theory, however, you'd never have to come down here as your butler is available to take your requests and solve issues for you.
The Boutique on Silver Dawn is slightly different than what you find on other Silversea ships. The line has branched out into more high-end luxury goods, with preowned Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermes bags for sale. (There was even a Birkin onboard, for the cool price of $19,000.). If the bags are too rich a souvenir, there are also super cute Hermes shoes that have been fast sellers, we were told.
Wi-Fi on Silver Dawn is included in the fare. We found it easy to log on, with few gaps in coverage. With the premium package, we were able to log into work Zoom meetings.
The Silversea app was a little more difficult to access. We ended up more frequently referring to our paper program, which was delivered to our room every night.
Silver Dawn's Otium spa is different from what you find on sister ship Silver Moon, as the ship is the proving ground for the line's new wellness concept.
The new Thermal Relaxation room is spacious and carries through the Otium spa's Roman theme. What is nice about Silver Dawn's Thermal Suite is that it's complimentary to all guests during certain hours. There are two sets of steam rooms and sauna, separated by gender, with showers available for both.
Tip: Look at the murals on the walls to know which one is for you -- the male god signifies men, while the goddess side is for women.
There is no thalassotherapy pool, unfortunately. On the bright side, the Thermal Suite has an array of scrubs and loofahs that you can choose when you enter. Also new and key to the Otium concept: a selection of snacks, cocktails, mocktails and Champagne to enjoy while you relax.
Tip: Imbibe carefully before you enter the steam room and sauna, as alcohol and heat are not always friends.
The Otium spa menu has also been redesigned with an eye toward more 75- and 100-minute treatments. The four 100-minute treatments are decadent in their description, and the one I tried, the signature Otium, was a cross between a hot stone massage and a regular deep tissue. There were some issues with soundproofing in the treatment rooms -- I could hear a presentation going on in the theater below. And despite a price tag of $399 for the treatment (which includes gratuity), I was still given a pitch to buy Elemis products at the end.
The Otium spa also has a salon and barber shop, with more new Roman-themed treatments and Champagne also available.
Silver Dawn's gym and fitness center is larger than what you find on the sister ships. There are free weights and machines, as well as a nice array of cardio equipment. The room also has a nice view out of the back of the ship, with towels and bottled water available.
Silver Dawn has an outdoor jogging track on Deck 11; eight around the funnel, upper deck and pool area is one mile.
Silver Dawn, and really any luxury cruise, is not exactly the most natural environment for young children. There are no kids clubs onboard, and no babysitting services. Excessive splashing and yelling at the pool will definitely earn you the side eye. The menus are decidedly adult.
That being said, families do travel on Silversea during the summer, holidays and on shorter cruises; the minimum age to sail is 6 months. Cabin configurations that provide extra room for families are available -- you can link up an oceanview cabin with a larger suite, for example.
For mature teens and tweens who devour reality cooking shows, the S.A.L.T. Lab and foodie shore excursions would definitely appeal. We saw a 10-year-old flip a Portuguese omelet with gusto. Still, that's the exception and not the norm.