Embarkation was awkward, as we were asked to wait in a small cold room on the wharf,with plastic chairs, until our turn to go aboard. One should be able to walk aboard, state your name, and receive guidance to the suite without delay this is not a Carnival ship. Our stewardess knew nothing about the suite, and could not answer any question we had, even one concerning how to rotate the TV stand. The liquor we requested for evening cocktails in the suite was delivered several days later, after several requests. The once sterling menu was extra-ordinary: all frozen entrees. No fresh fish or seafood even though we were cruising Alaskan waters. Breads were often stale and tasteless. Desserts uninteresting and vegetables tasteless. The wine selection was excellent as usual. Service was poor, with many regulars missing and replaced by untrained, though sweet and willing;staff with very limited English skills. Internet service was very limited, with no in-suite connection. You had to use your computer in a public lounge.They still do not have hookups for iPod in the room. They had an excellent presenter, whom we heard only a few times, and a dry-as-dust speaker, whom we heard many many times. There did not seem to be enough linens to go around: every day we were missing towels. One day it was bath towels, the next day hand towels, the next day wash cloths. Any request of our stewardess had to be repeated to a supervisor or housekeeping, not because she was unwilling, but because she didn't understand a word we were saying. Books and tapes were thrown on library shelves in a haphazard way, and the selection was dated. The furniture and carpets are worn and not very clean. There was tension on the ship, I believe, because of reduced staff, and customer (particularly returning ones) dissatisfaction. I would suggest avoiding Silver Shadow until Silversea is able to get things back to the standard expected of a luxury, high-cost, cruise line. It badly needs refurbishing,a menu review, and the return of experienced and additional staff.
The cabins on Silversea are its best feature. They are not true suites, but large. The walk-in closet is great, and the walk-in shower wonderful. Our cabin was quiet and comfortable. It lacked speakers for an MP3 player, internet service, and a clock/alarm. There were 25 watt light bulbs in the bedside reading lampsdefinitely not enough light by which to read. There were excellent quality binoculars provided.
Skagway is not to our taste. The history of prostitution in Alaska holds little interest for us. We took the White Pass/Yukon railroad trip. The scenery was quite grand, but the narration on the trip was void of any useful historical or nature information.