Almost perfect: Silver Shadow Cruise Review by Catherine Crozier

Silver Shadow 4
Catherine Crozier

Overall Member Rating

Almost perfect

Sail Date: June 2010
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Vancouver
Our first Silversea cruise, and we were impressed with the ship, staff and service; dining was pretty good too, especially in La Terrazza which is so popular, tables are rationed.

However, a huge disappointment on this cruise along Canada's Inside Passage and three Alaska ports, was the absence of a naturalist or wildlife expert. I'd guess that most people on board were there for the scenery and wildlife rather than evening entertainment. The otherwise excellent cruise director seemed to focus largely on the latter. The only onboard lectures were historical and social in content, when what everybody wanted to know was what they would see tomorrow! It didn't help when the captain mentioned that he'd seen some whales earlier in the morning - we'd have loved to share the experience. The cruise cried out for talks every evening so that passengers would know what to look out for and where they were most likely to see it.

Only other criticism was the butler service, More which was intrusive and slightly superior - anything other than relaxing. Friends on the same deck had a wonderful butler, so it's just the luck of the draw.

A major compensation was the art collection - an astonishing museum-quality collection featuring Picasso, Chagall, Miro, Modigliani and others: jawdropping stuff. Art dealer and expert Michael Judge gave wonderful art tours every afternoon to provide fascinating insights into these exceptional works of art. Less

Published 07/07/10

Cabin review: DV928

The beds were small, but exceptionally comfortable. No noise nuisance. Anything longer than 10 days could get slightly claustrophobic.

Port and Shore Excursions

Some truly dreadful 60s and 70s development have seriously uglified Alaska's capital city. However, the whale watching compensated, with humpbacks fluking just feet from our boat. Not a place we'd ever return to though.

Read 1204 Juneau Reviews

We took the Misty Fjords excursion run by Promech Air in a 1950s De Havilland float plane - an unforgettable experience that will live with us forever. Don't miss it! Ketchikan is small and unspoilt, and we had the luck of seeing it in sunshine - rare, we gathered.

Read 1363 Ketchikan Reviews

Small Alaska town that retains its original charm and hasn't been trashed. Visit the Russian church while you're there and browse the art galleries. The Sea Otter Quest was a fantastic excursion, with really knowledgeable and enthusiastic naturalists onboard - terrific.

Read 254 Sitka Reviews

Very busy, with five huge ships in port. This rather detracts from any sense that you're in the wilderness, especially with fleets of helicopters ferrying tourists to the glacier every half hour; it sounded like Apocalypse Now.

However, another wonderful excursion, this time in a jetboat from Haines along the Chilkat Valley: awesome in the truest sense. The day was hosted dazzlingly and very entertainingly by a young man called Gabriel who should be on TV!

Read 884 Skagway Reviews

It had been 25 years since my last visit and Vancouver's expansion is fairly shocking. It's a big, vibrant, bustling city now - and a bit of a shock after a cruise! Worth a mention is Water Street Cafe in Gastown.

We stayed 3 nights at the Pan Pacific hotel right at the cruise ship terminal. While convenient for embarkation, it's large and impersonal - more of a people-processing plant than a hotel. It's also seriously overpriced for the room size, with very average service.

Victoria is a delight - a pretty and bustling little city built on a human scale. We had a great lunch outside at Sandbar Wharf, overlooking the harbour in the sunshine (it seems to have the best of the weather on Vancouver Island). The boat excursions into the San Juan islands gave us the privilege of seeing orca in the wild - unforgettable.

Read 893 Victoria Reviews

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Catherine Crozier
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