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Overall, the cruise was very enjoyable. The ship was nice, the staff was very pleasant and professional, and the ports that we got to visit were lovely. This wasn’t our first cruise, but it was our first cruise on a smaller ship (382 passengers) and I’m hoping it won’t be our last. There was no queuing for anything and everything ran smoothly. I’m hoping to stay away from the bigger ships (we have previously been on ships that range from around around 2500 to about 6000 passengers) now that we understand the small-ship difference. OK enough with the background…. The Ship: I thought that the ship was well put together. Some commenters have said that it’s “showing its age”, but I didn’t notice anything serious and felt that, cosmetically, it has been kept in good shape. I imagine that the upcoming refurbishment will add the shine that people may be expecting. The Problem: In summary: shortly before setting sail from Civitavecchia, there was a serious problem with an engine which caused a shutdown in some of the key electrical systems. As a result, power was lost to parts of the ship, including the galley and, for a while, the air conditioning. Long story short, we understandably could not depart port on schedule, and dinner options were reduced to a bland sandwich or (I’m guessing) the salad/vegetarian options available from the sandwiches fixings. Based on the price of the cruise, we have started calling these the “$1,000” sandwiches. We were stuck in port until 6:00pm the following day, which resulted in a modified schedule to the overall cruise (no overnight in Sorrento and no stop in Amalfi). They did hastily organize some bus tours of Rome for the day that we were stuck in port, but having just come from Rome (where we had done a bus tour) this was not an attractive option. During the port day, we did try to see it as a “sea day” and just hung around the ship (although some of the passengers were decidedly annoyed with this). Our main problem was with the Silversea response, or lack thereof. The Captain gave the mandatory “no option but to fix the problem” announcements (which we agree with), but the Silversea corporate reaction was non-existent until we reached out to them. We have had 4 hour flight delays that have resulted in communications from the airline, but a 24-hour delay in a “luxury” cruise was met with radio silence from management. When we did reach out to them, they gave a lukewarm apology and a rebate on a future cruise, which may or may not be used. The bigger issue is a complete breakdown in customer service. There should have been proactive outreach from the corporate office. I understand that the Captain had to keep the ship in port until he was certain that it could sail, but it was not an “act-of-God”, it was an equipment failure, which resulted in them not being able to deliver the product that they sold to the travelers. This lack of communication left a bad taste in our mouths. Silver Suite: I thought that the suite was great. We have been in larger suites on other ships, but in reality this suite had all the space you need. Lots of closet space, a nice bathroom, and a very nice separate bedroom. The only notes would be that the balcony was a bit small, which would have been okay, but the furniture on the balcony wasn’t great, so it felt more humdrum than it should have. The second note would be that the sofa was on the small side, and at 6’1” it was a bit tight for my afternoon nap (granted, this is definitely a “first world problem”). The TVs in the suite also need updating - they were often a pain to turn on and off. Other than that it had a nice bar that the butler kept stocked and added treats like M&Ms to the room on a daily basis. On that note, I can’t say enough about the butler service, which was truly wonderful. The butlers are both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Always there when you want them, but remarkably unobtrusive. The same can be said about the steward, who kept the room immaculate. This suite also came with laundry service, which was great because we were able to have our clothes washed for the second part of our trip before we left the ship. Our suite was next to the service stairs, and while I could hear people going up and down the stairs, it didn’t bother me at all. Meals & Drinks: I thought the meals were fine. For a luxury cruise, the food wasn’t demonstrably better than we have had on other ships. I should note that we never did get around to dining in the upscale “La Dame” restaurant, but we ate at “The Grill” one evening, which was pleasant (but a little hot...no pun intended), and at “La Terrazza” on another night. We had breakfast in-suite most mornings, but when we did have it in the restaurant, it was (again) fine. All of that being said, the service made the difference for every single meal. The wait staff, like the suite staff, was exceptional. I should mention that the ship does have a strict dress code after 6pm, and I saw a few men who didn’t have jackets be provided with jackets for dinner. I wasn’t really happy with the choice of alcohol on board, as they seem to carry mid-shelf options. While I don’t expect them to carry top shelf as stock, I did expect they would make some effort to cater to their price-point. As a rum drinker, maybe a Europe voyage is not the place to get better quality rum, but if you are expecting top-shelf options, be aware that you may have to compromise or pay extra. That being said, It was fine and there’s no lack of drinks on board. Ports: We were scheduled to have stops in Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi, Trapani (Sicily), Cagliari (Sardinia), Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, and Barcelona. Rome: Rome is lovely. It is very easy to get lost in the tiny streets and discover beautiful buildings and great places to eat, which is pretty much what you want. While it was peak season and there were clearly a lot of people around, it never felt truly crowded. Note that if it is your first time in Rome and you are going on a cruise, the city is over an hour from the port, so plan accordingly. We stayed in Rome for 24 hours before the cruise but could have easily enjoyed a few more days there, just strolling around. Our favorite restaurant “Vini & Cucina” was a great little find close to the Pantheon. Sorrento: Sorrento is a lovely little town, we did a day trip to Pompeii, which was stellar. Had some great gnocchi at Il Pozzo, and wish we would have been able to spend more time, but this stop was cut short due to the issues with the ship. AmalfI: We were looking forward to just chilling in Amalfi, but we had to skip it completely due to the ship issues. Sicily: We did a day trip to Erice, which was the “unexpected gem” of the cruise. A definite must. Lots of walking, but just a lovely little town. It’s sort of like Pompeii, except instead of being a town that was frozen in time by a volcano, it is a town that is timeless. Sardinia: We did a boating trip here as we both love swimming and snorkeling. One issue with this excursion was that we thought that it was billed as a trip where you could swim and snorkel, but there was no snorkel gear provided, and the area where they anchored really had nothing to see. That being said, it was a lovely sailing trip that we would not have traded for another excursion. The captain pretty much knew only four words of English “Jump” (for jump off the boat), “Swim”, “Drink” and “Eat”, so he knew the basics for the trip. HIs wife was better at English, but not fluent, but that’s part of the fun. Malllorca: We did a bike trip with Palma Bicycle Tours around the Old Town and loved it. Great place and great guides; we had all levels of cyclists with us, from great cyclists to people who hadn’t ridden in 20 years. Valencia: Loved it, even though we only went to the Cuidad de las Artes y Las Ciencias. As a side note, for both Valencia and Barcelona, Catalan is the local language. Between my wife and I, we speak five languages reasonably fluently and learned some Italian for this trip - but Catalan is a language unto itself, which we both really enjoyed - even though we could barely understand it. Barcelona: I’ve always wanted to see the Sagrada Famila and it’s an incredibly amazing cathedral. Overall it’s a lovely city, but it’s overrun with tourists and the locals are starting to speak out about it. I counted anywhere from 4-5 very large cruise ships coming in each day, and many of these have Barcelona as their start or end point. My rough guess is that this puts 10-15k new people in Barcelona every day during the high season, then you add all of the other tourists that all want to see the same things, and I think Barcelona is close to a breaking point. Hopefully they manage this before things start breaking down. We did have a lovely meal of beer and tapas at an "off the beaten path” restaurant that was great and mind-blowingly cheap. We also had one of our favorite meals of our trip there, overlooking the city, at Restaurant Martinez.

Everything but Management

Silver Shadow Cruise Review by QED

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Silver Suite
Overall, the cruise was very enjoyable. The ship was nice, the staff was very pleasant and professional, and the ports that we got to visit were lovely.

This wasn’t our first cruise, but it was our first cruise on a smaller ship (382 passengers) and I’m hoping it won’t be our last. There was no queuing for anything and everything ran smoothly. I’m hoping to stay away from the bigger ships (we have previously been on ships that range from around around 2500 to about 6000 passengers) now that we understand the small-ship difference.

OK enough with the background….

The Ship:

I thought that the ship was well put together. Some commenters have said that it’s “showing its age”, but I didn’t notice anything serious and felt that, cosmetically, it has been kept in good shape. I imagine that the upcoming refurbishment will add the shine that people may be expecting.

The Problem:

In summary: shortly before setting sail from Civitavecchia, there was a serious problem with an engine which caused a shutdown in some of the key electrical systems. As a result, power was lost to parts of the ship, including the galley and, for a while, the air conditioning. Long story short, we understandably could not depart port on schedule, and dinner options were reduced to a bland sandwich or (I’m guessing) the salad/vegetarian options available from the sandwiches fixings. Based on the price of the cruise, we have started calling these the “$1,000” sandwiches.

We were stuck in port until 6:00pm the following day, which resulted in a modified schedule to the overall cruise (no overnight in Sorrento and no stop in Amalfi). They did hastily organize some bus tours of Rome for the day that we were stuck in port, but having just come from Rome (where we had done a bus tour) this was not an attractive option.

During the port day, we did try to see it as a “sea day” and just hung around the ship (although some of the passengers were decidedly annoyed with this). Our main problem was with the Silversea response, or lack thereof. The Captain gave the mandatory “no option but to fix the problem” announcements (which we agree with), but the Silversea corporate reaction was non-existent until we reached out to them. We have had 4 hour flight delays that have resulted in communications from the airline, but a 24-hour delay in a “luxury” cruise was met with radio silence from management. When we did reach out to them, they gave a lukewarm apology and a rebate on a future cruise, which may or may not be used. The bigger issue is a complete breakdown in customer service. There should have been proactive outreach from the corporate office. I understand that the Captain had to keep the ship in port until he was certain that it could sail, but it was not an “act-of-God”, it was an equipment failure, which resulted in them not being able to deliver the product that they sold to the travelers. This lack of communication left a bad taste in our mouths.

Silver Suite:

I thought that the suite was great. We have been in larger suites on other ships, but in reality this suite had all the space you need. Lots of closet space, a nice bathroom, and a very nice separate bedroom. The only notes would be that the balcony was a bit small, which would have been okay, but the furniture on the balcony wasn’t great, so it felt more humdrum than it should have. The second note would be that the sofa was on the small side, and at 6’1” it was a bit tight for my afternoon nap (granted, this is definitely a “first world problem”). The TVs in the suite also need updating - they were often a pain to turn on and off. Other than that it had a nice bar that the butler kept stocked and added treats like M&Ms to the room on a daily basis.

On that note, I can’t say enough about the butler service, which was truly wonderful. The butlers are both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Always there when you want them, but remarkably unobtrusive. The same can be said about the steward, who kept the room immaculate.

This suite also came with laundry service, which was great because we were able to have our clothes washed for the second part of our trip before we left the ship.

Our suite was next to the service stairs, and while I could hear people going up and down the stairs, it didn’t bother me at all.

Meals & Drinks:

I thought the meals were fine. For a luxury cruise, the food wasn’t demonstrably better than we have had on other ships. I should note that we never did get around to dining in the upscale “La Dame” restaurant, but we ate at “The Grill” one evening, which was pleasant (but a little hot...no pun intended), and at “La Terrazza” on another night. We had breakfast in-suite most mornings, but when we did have it in the restaurant, it was (again) fine. All of that being said, the service made the difference for every single meal. The wait staff, like the suite staff, was exceptional. I should mention that the ship does have a strict dress code after 6pm, and I saw a few men who didn’t have jackets be provided with jackets for dinner.

I wasn’t really happy with the choice of alcohol on board, as they seem to carry mid-shelf options. While I don’t expect them to carry top shelf as stock, I did expect they would make some effort to cater to their price-point. As a rum drinker, maybe a Europe voyage is not the place to get better quality rum, but if you are expecting top-shelf options, be aware that you may have to compromise or pay extra. That being said, It was fine and there’s no lack of drinks on board.

Ports:

We were scheduled to have stops in Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi, Trapani (Sicily), Cagliari (Sardinia), Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, and Barcelona.

Rome: Rome is lovely. It is very easy to get lost in the tiny streets and discover beautiful buildings and great places to eat, which is pretty much what you want. While it was peak season and there were clearly a lot of people around, it never felt truly crowded. Note that if it is your first time in Rome and you are going on a cruise, the city is over an hour from the port, so plan accordingly. We stayed in Rome for 24 hours before the cruise but could have easily enjoyed a few more days there, just strolling around. Our favorite restaurant “Vini & Cucina” was a great little find close to the Pantheon.

Sorrento: Sorrento is a lovely little town, we did a day trip to Pompeii, which was stellar. Had some great gnocchi at Il Pozzo, and wish we would have been able to spend more time, but this stop was cut short due to the issues with the ship.

AmalfI: We were looking forward to just chilling in Amalfi, but we had to skip it completely due to the ship issues.

Sicily: We did a day trip to Erice, which was the “unexpected gem” of the cruise. A definite must. Lots of walking, but just a lovely little town. It’s sort of like Pompeii, except instead of being a town that was frozen in time by a volcano, it is a town that is timeless.

Sardinia: We did a boating trip here as we both love swimming and snorkeling. One issue with this excursion was that we thought that it was billed as a trip where you could swim and snorkel, but there was no snorkel gear provided, and the area where they anchored really had nothing to see. That being said, it was a lovely sailing trip that we would not have traded for another excursion. The captain pretty much knew only four words of English “Jump” (for jump off the boat), “Swim”, “Drink” and “Eat”, so he knew the basics for the trip. HIs wife was better at English, but not fluent, but that’s part of the fun.

Malllorca: We did a bike trip with Palma Bicycle Tours around the Old Town and loved it. Great place and great guides; we had all levels of cyclists with us, from great cyclists to people who hadn’t ridden in 20 years.

Valencia: Loved it, even though we only went to the Cuidad de las Artes y Las Ciencias. As a side note, for both Valencia and Barcelona, Catalan is the local language. Between my wife and I, we speak five languages reasonably fluently and learned some Italian for this trip - but Catalan is a language unto itself, which we both really enjoyed - even though we could barely understand it.

Barcelona: I’ve always wanted to see the Sagrada Famila and it’s an incredibly amazing cathedral. Overall it’s a lovely city, but it’s overrun with tourists and the locals are starting to speak out about it. I counted anywhere from 4-5 very large cruise ships coming in each day, and many of these have Barcelona as their start or end point. My rough guess is that this puts 10-15k new people in Barcelona every day during the high season, then you add all of the other tourists that all want to see the same things, and I think Barcelona is close to a breaking point. Hopefully they manage this before things start breaking down. We did have a lovely meal of beer and tapas at an "off the beaten path” restaurant that was great and mind-blowingly cheap. We also had one of our favorite meals of our trip there, overlooking the city, at Restaurant Martinez.
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Cabin Review

Silver Suite
Cabin SL 717
I thought that the suite was great. We have been in larger suites on other ships, but in reality this suite had all the space you need. Lots of closet space, a nice bathroom, and a very nice separate bedroom. The only notes would be that the balcony was a bit small, which would have been okay, but the furniture on the balcony wasn’t great, so it felt more humdrum than it should have. The second note would be that the sofa was on the small side, and at 6’1” it was a bit tight for my afternoon nap (granted, this is definitely a “first world problem”). The TVs in the suite also need updating - they were often a pain to turn on and off. Other than that it had a nice bar that the butler kept stocked and added treats like M&Ms to the room on a daily basis.

On that note, I can’t say enough about the butler service, which was truly wonderful. The butlers are both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Always there when you want them, but remarkably unobtrusive. The same can be said about the steward, who kept the room immaculate.

This suite also came with laundry service, which was great because we were able to have our clothes washed for the second part of our trip before we left the ship.

Our suite was next to the service stairs, and while I could hear people going up and down the stairs, it didn’t bother me at all.
Deck 7 Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Barcelona
    I'm not bug on bus tours, but it was good to quickly see the city.
    View All 12,984 Barcelona Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Barcelona Cruise Port Review
  • City Tour
    I've always wanted to see the Sagrada Famila and it's an incredibly amazing cathedral. Overall it's a lovely city, but it's overrun with tourists and the locals are starting to speak out about it. I counted anywhere from 4-5 very large cruise ships coming in each day, and many of these have Barcelona as their start or end point. My rough guess is that this puts 10-15k new people in Barcelona every day during the high season, then you add all of the other tourists that all want to see the same things, and I think Barcelona is close to a breaking point. Hopefully they manage this before things start breaking down. We did have a lovely meal of beer and tapas at an "off the beaten path" restaurant that was great and mind-blowingly cheap. We also had one of our favorite meals of our trip there, overlooking the city, at Restaurant Martinez.
    View All 249 City Tour Reviews
  • La Sagrada Familia
    Large crowds outside, lovely both inside and out.
    View All 112 La Sagrada Familia Reviews
  • Bicycle Tour
    We did a bike trip with Palma Bicycle Tours around the Old Town and loved it. Great place and great guides; we had all levels of cyclists with us, from great cyclists to people who hadn’t ridden in 20 years.
    View All 21 Bicycle Tour Reviews
  • Rome on Your Own
    Rome is lovely. It is very easy to get lost in the tiny streets and discover beautiful buildings and great places to eat, which is pretty much what you want. While it was peak season and there were clearly a lot of people around, it never felt truly crowded. Note that if it is your first time in Rome and you are going on a cruise, the city is over an hour from the port, so plan accordingly. We stayed in Rome for 24 hours before the cruise but could have easily enjoyed a few more days there, just strolling around. Our favorite restaurant “Vini & Cucina” was a great little find close to the Pantheon.
    View All 155 Rome on Your Own Reviews
  • St. Peter's Basilica
    Always wanted to see the pieta, speechless
    View All 125 St. Peter's Basilica Reviews
  • Vatican Museums
    School of Athens was what I wanted to see here, lovely, great to see it in person.
    View All 127 Vatican Museums Reviews
  • Sardinia
    We did a boating trip here as we both love swimming and snorkeling. One issue with this excursion was that we thought that it was billed as a trip where you could swim and snorkel, but there was no snorkel gear provided, and the area where they anchored really had nothing to see. That being said, it was a lovely sailing trip that we would not have traded for another excursion. The captain pretty much knew only four words of English "Jump" (for jump off the boat), "Swim" "Drink" and "Eat" so he knew the basics for the trip. HIs wife was better at English, but not fluent, but that's part of the fun.
    View All 12,984 Sardinia Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Sardinia Cruise Port Review
  • Pompeii Walking Tour
    Sorrento is a lovely little town, we did a day trip to Pompeii, which was stellar. Had some great gnocchi at Il Pozzo, and wish we would have been able to spend more time, but this stop was cut short due to the issues with the ship.
    View All 29 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
  • Trapani
    We did a day trip to Erice, which was the “unexpected gem” of the cruise. A definite must. Lots of walking, but just a lovely little town. It’s sort of like Pompeii, except instead of being a town that was frozen in time by a volcano, it is a town that is timeless.
    View All 21 Trapani Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Trapani Cruise Port Review
  • Valencia
    Loved it, even though we only went to the Cuidad de las Artes y Las Ciencias. As a side note, for both Valencia and Barcelona, Catalan is the local language. Between my wife and I, we speak five languages reasonably fluently and learned some Italian for this trip - but Catalan is a language unto itself, which we both really enjoyed - even though we could barely understand it.
    View All 292 Valencia Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Valencia Cruise Port Review