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Silver Shadow Review

5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
273 reviews
12 Awards
Silver Shadow (Photo: Silversea)
Silver Shadow Dining
Silver Shadow Cabins
Silver Shadow Activity/Entertainment
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Editor Rating
Janice Wald Henderson
Cruise Critic Contributor

Silver Shadow delivers a fine balance of onboard service and outstanding shore experiences. The 382-passenger ship is just big enough to provide multiple lounge, dining and entertainment options, and small enough for crew to quickly learn passengers' names and preferences.


Classically elegant ship, stellar service, compelling ports


Limited entertainment and nightlife, staid decor

Bottom Line

Ultra-luxury ship for savvy travelers who enjoy big time pampering


Passengers : 382
Crew : 302
Passenger to Crew : 1.26:1
Launched : 2000
Shore Excursions : 1212

Built in 2000 with its last major refurbishment in 2011, this well-maintained ship has beautiful bones. Rich teak and shiny brass accents abound. In late 2016, Silver Shadow underwent a much-needed refreshment. Upholstery and carpeting in public areas and in the bigger suites were redone. (The swirl-patterned carpeting in passenger hallways and some public corridors adds needed pizzazz.) Parquet floors throughout the ship were refinished and gleam like new. All accommodations are suites, chock-full of amenities like Pratesi linens and Bulgari toiletries. Colors tend toward subdued shades of beige, brown, blue and burgundy -- staid and classic.

Onboard activities are plentiful. Bridge-players -- and there are many -- schmooze in the Card Room. Exercise fiends enjoy jogging on Deck 10 and working out in the well-equipped fitness center. The small but efficient Spa at Silversea and beauty salon offer an impressive array of services. Retired diplomats and other distinguished guests provide comprehensive port-related lectures. An art expert presents knowledgeable lectures while soft-selling high-end original sculptures, paintings and lithographs by the likes of Picasso, Matisse and Dali. These experts, usually gallery owners, possess genuine passion for their subjects.

Dining is varied and includes every option from fine Italian cuisine starring handmade pastas -– a Silver Shadow highlight -- to grill-your-own-steaks alfresco and sophisticated French fare. The overall culinary style is modern international. Yet expect some pleasant throwbacks, such as bouillon at 11 a.m. and proper afternoon tea at 4.

Suites come in eight categories, from 287-square-foot cabins with picture windows to the near 1,000-square-foot Grand and Owner's Suites with big private verandas. Don't expect high-tech amenities or even lots of outlets. Amenities aren't trendy -- no Nespresso machines in every suite, for instance, all the rage with some luxury lines. Silversea sticks to Illy espresso-makers (this is an Italian line, after all) and only in the biggest suites. About as cutting-edge as Silver Whisper gets are the complimentary magazines and newspapers you can read on smartphones and tablets by downloading a Silversea app. Those not particularly tech-savvy find the absence most comforting; others may be disappointed.

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Butlers for every passenger make a giant difference in the onboard experience and truly distinguish Silversea from its competition. It seems they improve each year fleetwide. They more than fulfill requests -- they anticipate every need, from preparing a hot bubble bath on your return from a long shore excursion to whisking away dusty shoes and returning them polished.

Overall, Silver Shadow lacks the flair of new luxury ships -- the glam opulence of Regent Seven Seas Explorer or the sleek sexiness of Seabourn Encore. Sister-ship Silver Spirit has more dining variety, more evening entertainment and a more vibrant design. On Shadow, significant nightlife, such as razzle-dazzle shows or even guest musicians, is absent. Yet for this ship's devotees, it's perfect. Silver Shadow attracts those who think more old school than new -- at least, in cruise style. They choose Shadow for exquisite personalized service, spacious suites and the opportunity to travel to appealing ports in comfort and ease.

Fellow Passengers

Passengers are affluent and well-traveled. Many are Silversea aficionados; it's easy to meet passengers who have sailed six or seven times with Silversea and proud of it. Most are couples in their mid-50s to early 80s. They are also international -- primarily Americans, yet with many passengers from the U.K., Australia and Europe. Most are friendly and inquisitive, and love swapping travel stories.

Silversea Silver Shadow Dress Code

Silver Shadow follows a more traditional dress code. On a 12-day cruise, there are two formal nights, requiring dark suit and tie or tuxedo for gentleman, and fancy cocktail dress or silk pants suit for women. However, tuxedos are rarely spotted. Many nights are informal, with jackets (ties optional) for men, and dresses or nice pants outfits for ladies. On busy excursion days, and the first and last evening of every cruise, casual attire, such as collared shirts and slacks for men and sundresses or casual pants outfits for women, rule. Shorts, jeans and flip-flops are a no-go at dinnertime anywhere. (Although on the last night, passengers usually wear whatever they want.) Pool deck dining is always casual, and the dressiest it gets in La Terrazza (the buffet by day, Italian restaurant by night) is informal.

Cruises include meals, snacks, room service, alcohol (except for Connoisseurs List beverages), laundry room use and gratuities. Passengers get limited amounts of complimentary Wi-Fi based on cabin category, with higher-category cabins receiving unlimited internet access. The only additional costs are for shore excursions, spa and beauty salon treatments (tipping is included in the fees), fitness trainer, cigars and laundry and dry cleaning service (complimentary for top suites). The onboard currency is the U.S. dollar.

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More about Silversea Silver Shadow

Where does Silversea Silver Shadow sail from?

Silversea Silver Shadow departs from Manila, Mahe, Cape Town, Reykjavik, Quebec City, Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, Barbados, Southampton, Southampton, San Francisco, Bali, Tanah Ampo, Hong Kong, Manaus, Dublin, Manhattan, Montreal, Seward, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, and Los Angeles

Where does Silversea Silver Shadow sail to?

Silversea Silver Shadow cruises to Manila, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Singapore, Zanzibar, Richards Bay, Durban, Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Reykjavik, Greenock (Glasgow), Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool, Southampton, Quebec City, St. John's (Newfoundland), Gaspe, Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), San Juan, St. Barts, Antigua, Jost Van Dyke, St. Maarten, Iles des Saintes, St. Lucia, Bequia, Barbados, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Scarborough, Grenada, Martinique, St. Kitts (Port Zante), St. John (U.S.V.I.), Cartagena (Spain), Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sydney (Nova Scotia), Halifax, Saint John (New Brunswick), Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport, New York (Manhattan), Honolulu, Kauai, Christmas Island, Apia, Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), Lautoka, Auckland, Tauranga, Gisborne, Napier, Wellington, Akaroa, Nelson, Eden (Australia), Sydney (Australia), Bali, Shanghai, Beijing, Hiroshima, Osaka, Tokyo (Yokohama), Santarem, Manaus, Mayreau, Cobh (Cork), Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), Montreal, Bergen, Flam, Olden, Alesund, Akureyri, Newcastle (Australia), Holyhead, Invergordon (Inverness), Seward, Icy Strait, Sitka, Juneau, Wrangell, Ketchikan, Prince Rupert, Victoria, Vancouver, Kelang (Kuala Lumpur), Penang, Phuket, Newcastle (England), Edinburgh (South Queensferry), Geiranger, Stockholm, Cartagena (Colombia), Portland (Maine), Hamilton, Kagoshima, Hakodate, Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, St. George's, Kingston, St. Thomas, Guadeloupe, Mooloolaba, Fraser Island, Cairns, Thursday Island, Darwin, Broome, Komodo Island, Lombok, Acapulco, Costa Maya, Whittier, Fuerte Amador (Balboa), and San Diego

How much does it cost to go on Silversea Silver Shadow?

Cruises on Silversea Silver Shadow start from $3,850 per person.

Is Silversea Silver Shadow a good ship to cruise on?

Silversea Silver Shadow won 12 awards over the years, including Best for Embarkation, Best for Entertainment, and Best for Shore Excursions in 2019.
Silversea Silver Shadow Cruiser Reviews

Size Matters

But, when I spotted a Travelzoo deal for the same itinerary on Silversea Silver Shadow, we rebooked.Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Denali pre-cruise and Alaska Inside Passage

Fortunately for us, it seems that the Silver Shadow shorted the previous cruise passengers, in order to catch up to our cruise time, and then leave on the correct day for our cruise.Read More
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2-5 Cruises

Age 70s

Everything we expected.

The cruise just prior to ours was apparently the cruise from hell (see previous reviews) with ship breakdown, missed ports and time delays.Thankfully we were the only ship at the cruise terminal on the embarking day.Read More
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Steve x19

2-5 Cruises

Age 70s

Great food/service; poor experience/management

Ship broke down and spent 18 hours anchored at sea far from anywhere.Little info from management and crew knew nothing.Read More
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2-5 Cruises

Age 70s

Silversea Cruises Fleet
Silver Wind
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