My wife and I had heard great things about Silversea -- spacious, luxurious ships with great service and outstanding food. We boarded the Silver Shadow on Jan. 13 in Barbados for a 9-night cruise ending in Ft. Lauderdale. The ship was very nice, but the cabins were a bit smaller than Regent Seven Seas and the beds were smaller. TV and movie entertainment was a disappointment compared to the 170 channels we had on the Seven Seas Voyager. Service in the cabins and especially the dining rooms was outstanding -- the best we've ever seen. Our fellow travelers were the most elder we've traveled with, and this may have been reflected in the food, which was bland and not at all gourmet in quality. The food was our biggest disappointment on the cruise, although the crew were superb, and Mr. Lanza was the best maitre 'd we've ever come across, at sea or on shore. He runs a dining room with magnificent attention to detail, devoted to providing the best of service to his passengers. Another disappointment was the almost complete lack of planned activities. There was a former CIA official on board who gave three lectures on the cruise -- one on the U.S. invasion of Grenada (but only after we had visited Grenada), one on the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the third on Cuba after the Castros. These lectures were excellent and very informative, and he was available before and after the lectures to discuss his subject matter.
The ports were not particularly exciting, but were different from others we'd seen in the Caribbean in several respects.
While at St. Martin (the French side), we had the opportunity to visit Silversea's brand new ship, the Silver Spirit, which was docked on the Dutch side of the island. We visited the Spirit, which really is a lovely ship and, while similar in many regards to the Shadow, is a bit more of everything.
We were in Cabin 818, a midship veranda cabin on the ship's port side. On Silversea ships, the cabins are in the front part of the ship and public rooms in the rear part. Unusual, but a nice layout. Our cabin was a bit smaller than some we'd had (especially the Regent Seven Seas Voyager) and about the same size as a veranda cabin on Crystal. Our beds were smaller -- by about 6 inches each -- when we had them separated so we would have two singles. That was unfortunate, because the beds were not as comfortable as they should have been. Our TV was old-fashioned, with only three or four movie channels and a few TV channels. There was good storage room for clothes, and the bathroom was quite nice with separate tub and shower.