We chose this cruise because of the less-traveled itinerary--the opportunity to see a few places the typical passenger wouldn't see, especially Dutch Harbor/Unalaska and Kamchatska. The length (14 days) was also attractive to us, and Silversea does a great job of providing excellent activities for the days at sea. I took bridge lessons and sharpened my game playing with other very experienced players. The bridge director was delightful and worked very hard to make sure the classes and games were worthwhile and organized. I would miss this if it wasn't provided on other longer cruises with multiple days at sea.
I was so pleased to find dance instructors and having the opportunity to refresh my skills in the classes and then have several evenings to partner with the instructors on the dance floor. They were terrific hosts for the singles on the ship as well. Again, a must for longer cruises and I know the single passengers were very happy to have these two gracious gentlemen to accompany them in the evening and at events.
Love the formal evenings! My husband loves putting on his tux and we plan ahead for those evenings with special attire and enjoy meeting the captain and crew and getting to know other passengers on the ship. With a few exceptions, everyone seemed to enjoy dressing for the occasions and brought their best elegant manners with them!
The salon services are excellent. The manicurist was very professional and did an excellent job. The salon is beautifully appointed and very relaxing.
The gym has the typical equipment and I was happy to see an exercise room designed into the facility (we had to use the observation deck on the Wind). The trainer on board was knowledgeable and I am sure her classes were well received. If I had my wish, I would love it if it were possible to provide a Pilates Reformed on board. The class she offered in Pilates was really a combo yoga/pilates and did not provide the pilates experience I get the most positive results from. The trainer on the Wind (even without the reformer) did have a more traditional pilates floor exercise class that was more demanding and met my needs.
The food and beverage services were of the highest quality, both the servers and the food and drink. The wines were superb and free-flowing. You do feel as if the staff cannot do enough for you and if you don't see what you want, or exactly how you would like it, they do everything they can to accommodate your requests. The portions are "right-sized" so you can try every course if you wish, without feeling too quilty! I had dessert every night!
Le Champagne is a special experience, which we enjoyed twice on this cruise. It truly is a delight, and the staff was so welcoming and genuinely seemed to love what they do! It is very nice to have multiple options for dinner every night, and we love La Terrazza as well.
Love the Singers of Silversea! We knew one of the performers from a previous voyage, and he remembered us right away. He continues to grow and now leads the troupe and we were so happy for him. We like the variety of the talent in the group, especially the opera. Please keep this variety--we love the opera night, and the evenings when the individual performers have the opportunity to showcase their particular genres. The speakers were quite well-received, but we were only able to hear one session as they generally were a little early for us, or conflicted with bridge or dance! My husband loved the cooking classes. He would love to have a tour of the kitchen if possible. We did that on the Seabourn cruises and enjoyed seeing how they manage what they do for 400 people 24 hours a day!
There were plenty of excursion opportunities and we had something to do at each port. It was too bad the weather didn't allow us to go to Kushiro, as I am sure we would have enjoyed seeing that area of Japan. However, the other two were very nice. That being said, it was disappointing that the all-day excursion to Lake Towada did not go as planned. The initinerary was too ambitious, and it would have been impossible to do and see all that was described in the flyer. The tour guide and driver were very knowledgeable and gracious, but they couldn't change the weather. The traditional lunch at the hotel was amazing and everyone seemed to enjoy it very much, however, I don't think the hotel was quite ready for such a large group and seemed a bit nervous and harried/confused. They did refund our fees in total, however, I felt it would have been acceptable and more than fair if they just gave back a portion as we did have a wonderful bus ride and opportunity to see a beautiful part of the island and have a really well-prepared meal and still get back to the ship on time. The sushi experience in Hakodate was amazing--the highlight of the entire excursion experiences we had. The owner or manager on duty during our visit was an amazing host and made our sushi experience memorable. Our visit to the dacha was unique and gave us the chance to meet a local person and understand firsthand her life and a bit of the real day-to-day culture, not just a show/museum/restaurant, but her home/her homemade treats/gardens and to get to know from her personal perspective what it is like to be a typical Russian citizen.
The ship was always immaculate and well-appointed and it was the same for our cabin. It was perfect every time we returned to our room. The butler and service staff couldn't do enough for us. Our highlight is the packing of our bags at the end of the voyage. It is a special amenity that I don't think one can find on any cruise line but Silversea. It is one of the big reasons why we returned for our second voyage and we will enjoy it next year when we take our trip from Venice to Athens.
We did not travel with our children (although given that they are in their 30s it would have been a delight, not just for us, but for the other passengers, I am sure) but we chose the small ships (Seabourn and Silversea) very the very fact that it is not appealing to most young families. We do love kids, and if a family brought their younger children, that would be fine. That being said, there really isn't much for them to do, unless it is an itinerary that is in a warm climate so they can be outdoors in the pool or running around the deck/playing outdoor activities.
Our overall experience was terrific and we certainly look forward to next September when we arrive in Venice for our cruise to Athens. Many thanks to everyone that works so hard to make each trip memorable.
Special Note: We were unable to go into port at Kushiro due to stormy conditions that required the Captain to take measures to ensure we were safe and as far away from the serious part of the storm as possible. We had a rocky 36 hours or so, but I commend him and his crew for ensuring our safety, keeping us well-informed, and even providing a cold but delicious lunch in the restaurant for those of us who were able (and willing) to move about the ship. By the time lunch was being served, the seas appeared to be calming down, and by dinner, regular meal services had resumed. The entire crew did everything in their power to make sure we were safe, well and cared for, to every extent possible. Well done!
Lovely as always. Since we were traveling in the northern regions, we didn't expect to get much use of the veranda, but we did actually use it more than we tought we would. The full-length wide window gives a great view even if we aren't outside too. The bathroom is lovely (especially having the separate tub and shower). Always found it very clean and well-appointed. My husband loves having his favorite brands of scotch and bourbon in the room, although he makes good use of and makes good friends with the host in The Bar! Had breakfast and dinner in our room a few times and it is pleasant to sit in the room with our nice table and view.