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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose Silversea because of the luxury and comfort we had to live in, while seeing the grandeur and beauty of nature in Alaska. To be able to venture out on some daring excursions, i.e., zip-lining and rafting, and come back to the ... Read More
We chose Silversea because of the luxury and comfort we had to live in, while seeing the grandeur and beauty of nature in Alaska. To be able to venture out on some daring excursions, i.e., zip-lining and rafting, and come back to the relaxing magnificence of the cruise ship was perfect. The tours such as the whale watch were amazing and we learned quite a bit about wildlife in Alaska. The service on the cruise was over the top; our Butler Daniel was completely attentive, and the food was excellent, including many delicacies that I tasted for the first time. Our waiters and hosts knew us by name. The enrichment activities such as lectures about the cities we would be visiting, and things that would be available when we got there (i.e.: diamonds!) were great. Fitness room was great - only wish it were open even earlier in the morning, as the clientele visiting Alaska seems to be a more athletic one, and many were there in the mornings before the tours. We enjoyed meeting other guests and crew on the ship from all over the world. I would highly recommend Silversea! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Zegrahm Expeditions owns no ships of its own, so they typically charter a suitable ship from another company. This review is of the Zegrahm Expeditions July 6-20, 2017 "Wild Alaska" expedition aboard the Silverseas ship Silver ... Read More
Zegrahm Expeditions owns no ships of its own, so they typically charter a suitable ship from another company. This review is of the Zegrahm Expeditions July 6-20, 2017 "Wild Alaska" expedition aboard the Silverseas ship Silver Discoverer. The dozen or so naturalists on the trip were all contracted with Zegrahm, but the ship and the rest of the ship's staff were all Silversea employees. Most of this review will address the Silverseas part of the partnership, but later I'll touch on the Zegrahm part as well. The Silver Discoverer is a small, (120 pax), intimate and comfortable, but old (1989) ship. The crew and staff were excellent, service was mostly very good, and dining - especially dinner - was superb . . . just what you would expect on a Silverseas cruise. But the ship is getting a little long in the tooth. The cabins are clean and well-maintained, but they are modest in size - and the bathroom is downright tiny and cramped. Closets and drawer space are barely sufficient. Among the dated features is that the bed sits too low to slide a big suitcase underneath, so we had to store it in the corner of an already small cabin. Most cabins have windows or port holes, but not balconies. The Silver Discoverer is not nearly as stable as newer ships. We were often rockin' and rollin' a lot. My wife and I have been on two dozen small-ship cruises, and this is the first time she has needed to wear a patch. The common areas on board are adequate. The deck 5 lounge is bright and roomy with good viewing out the sides of the ship. It opens onto the pool deck, (the small pool was not open for business), with more excellent viewing. The main lounge on deck 4, however, is very tight for lectures, receptions, etc. Very difficult for the wait staff to take orders and serve beverages. Dinners, as mentioned above, were excellent . . . nice variety and selection, well prepared and presented, with some very good wines included with the meal. Dinner service was typically very, very good. We (in our traveling group of six) usually found ourselves at the same table each evening, so we usually had the same servers. We grew especially fond of Shawn, Marianne, Phillipe and Melvin, who also got to know us quite well and brought humor and charm to the dining experience. Dinner is also available on the pool deck - weather permitting. When you are cruising the Bering Sea, the weather is usually not conducive to alfresco dining, but we gave it a shot one evening and had a great time and a great meal. We were well bundled up and cooked our own food on "hot rocks". With calmer seas and warmer temperatures, we would have done this more often. Lunch was also available on the pool deck and proved to be a very popular option in spite of the weather. Burgers, dogs and excellent fish sandwiches were the normal fare for lunch. Breakfast and lunch were often difficult. The quality and variety of the food was good, but the buffet area was very small, extremely congested and inefficient. Lines were often long and passengers had to compete with staff trying to replenish the buffet. Food was often displayed illogically. For example, salad toppings (bacon, peppers, mushrooms, croutons, etc.) were the first items on the buffet, then, further in, you came to a lettuce bowl. So if you wanted a salad of lettuce covered with toppings, you had to backtrack the line and trip over the guests behind you. Most of the chafing dishes were small and had to be restocked often, further exacerbating the congestion. For some reason, the worst service on the cruise was at breakfast . . . even getting a cup of tea or coffee was often a challenge. The only entertainment on board was Florandy at the piano, (who was very talented at playing and singing a wide variety of familiar songs, and quite personable, too), and one night of karaoke. Here, the Zegrahm half of the partnership came into play, and the Zegrahm experience was mostly very positive. The Zegrahm naturalists were terrific. They were well educated (many PhD's) in a variety of fields such as geology, botany, marine biology, ornithology, history, etc., but they were also very personable and friendly, and brought much life and enthusiasm into what we were seeing. They all were also capable and safe Zodiac drivers, an important factor when most every day you're making a couple of wet landings in often choppy water. The itinerary took us from Nome, up to the Arctic Circle, to Provideniya, Russia, back down through the Bering Sea and up the Aleutian Islands and Katmai Peninsula to Seward. We saw several small, mostly struggling villages - including one long-abandoned Norwegian cod fishing village. We walked the often-barren tundra, which, in July, was alive with flowers. Mostly, however, we saw wildlife. We saw, up close and personal, birds galore; (including the elusive McCay's Bunting, which is found only on St. Lawrence Island); Orcas and Humpbacks cavorting in the frigid waters; seals, seal lions and sea otters; a gray wolf wandering the shoreline; and, of course, lots of brown bears. The wildlife is the primary reason we signed on to this cruise, and we weren't disappointed. There were, alas, a few things which I did NOT like about Zegrahm. I booked this (very expensive) excursion over a year in advance. The trip began with a group dinner at the Anchorage Marriott on July 6th, and we boarded the Silver Discoverer in Nome on July 7th. It wasn't until sometime in March that we learned that we were responsible for booking and paying for our own, July 7th, flight from Anchorage to Nome. In the scheme of things, this $200pp cost is pretty insignificant, but it sure felt like nickel and diming on what was promoted as an all-inclusive trip. They should have charged $200 more for the entire excursion and included the flight. You gotta have boots to navigate all the wet landings. I was on an Antarctic expedition cruise with Ponant in December 2016. We needed boots there as well, but Ponant had a large inventory of boots on board, and we each were fitted and supplied with boots for the duration of the journey. But with Zegrahm, you had to bring your boots with you. They had a vendor from whom you could buy or rent boots, but you had to pack them in your luggage and schlep them back home with you. It's tough packing for a two-three week trip as it is; two pair of boots take up a lot of room - and weight - in your luggage. I much preferred the Ponant approach. I've taken two expedition cruises in the last year, Zegrahm and Ponant. (I wrote a Cruise Critic review of my Antarctica cruise on Ponant's Le Soleal.) Both were memorable, fun and exciting, and I'm happy with each experience. Zegrahm does a great job and seems to have a very loyal base of repeat travelers, (some of our fellow passengers had traveled with Zegrahm a dozen or more times in the past). But for my next expedition cruise, I will probably lean toward Ponant. The ship is newer, more comfortable and in some ways more convenient (i.e. boots), and overall it seems to be a better value for the money. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had received rave reviews from a relative who has sailed over 170 days on Silversea. The room was very spacious (Veranda suite) and storage excellent but the décor in the entire ship was "tired". Breakfast and lunch ... Read More
We had received rave reviews from a relative who has sailed over 170 days on Silversea. The room was very spacious (Veranda suite) and storage excellent but the décor in the entire ship was "tired". Breakfast and lunch buffets were comparable to what we had on river cruises with other lines, however nothing special. The dinners were the real disappointment. We love seafood and what we had was overcooked, the veal chewy, and nothing imaginative at all. We booked one dinner in La Terraza with the hope that it would be something extra special. My husband ordered pasta with lobster and the lobster was rubbery. My beef was ordinary and definitely not prime. I checked the wine I was served at our local store--$8.99 a bottle. Hmmm. We ordered room service for lunch one day prior to an afternoon excursion. I ordered a turkey sandwich. The bread was wrong, it was toasted and I asked for it not to be and it was ONE THIN SLICE OF TURKEY--we had definitely expected something we could share, but no time to reorder. We had hoped to book another cruise, but it will not be on Silversea! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Our family of 12 (ages18-80) were on Silver shadow last week-only my mother has been on Silversea so it was her choice. We were all on deck 6 in Veranda rooms which were very nice. We absolutely loved Rodney our butler!! One of us had a ... Read More
Our family of 12 (ages18-80) were on Silver shadow last week-only my mother has been on Silversea so it was her choice. We were all on deck 6 in Veranda rooms which were very nice. We absolutely loved Rodney our butler!! One of us had a birthday during cruise and he brought balloons and a banner that day and offered her a cake at dinner! The first night there were rough seas and 8/12 were seasick-some getting sick some just queasy-one had to get a shot from doctor. Rodney said 3/4 of ship was sick! We tried the magic pills but didn't really work- they ran out of armbands too- they didn't seem very prepared for the bad weather We played team trivia daily which was the only activity for our group- there was ping pong and golf putting. We ate at La Terrazza 3 nights and the Grille 3 nights and Le Champagne 1 night- overall the food was not what we had expected since Mom said it was a VERY nice ship and someone just mentioned all proteins were frozen There wasn't much variety on the menus. The casino was a popular spot for our group- lots of winning at blackjack! We loved all of our excursions- Ocean rafting-Sitka and fishing -Sitka, Whale watching -Juneau, fishing- Skagway , sea kayaking-Haines and White pas train- Skagway and floatplane in Ketchikan.Overall we had a great time but will research the food better next time-pretty $$ to serve frozen food!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We have over 120 days sailing on Silversea ships because we like the amazing food, fabulous service, terrific excursions, attention to requested details, the choice of wines & champagnes available at no extra charge & the ... Read More
We have over 120 days sailing on Silversea ships because we like the amazing food, fabulous service, terrific excursions, attention to requested details, the choice of wines & champagnes available at no extra charge & the delightful Verandah suites with Butler service, separate showers & tubs & over all luxuriousness that Silversea has to offer. However, this is our first cruise on the Silver Shadow, twin to the Silver Whisper, & sadly, she is really beginning to look shabby. I know the ship went in for a re-fit one year ago, but just replacing the carpet in the suites & re-doing the restaurants & the public lounges is not enough!!!!! The beautiful honey colored woods in the suites are scuffed & looking old & poorly maintained with some burn marks(no smoking allowed)& the new carpeting was put down so badly that it is coming up already around the wooden fixed furniture and there are tear marks that have been repaired very sloppily. I wish I could tell you how disappointed we are after having done a one week Alaskan cruise on this ship. We have 2 more cruises booked on the Silver Whisper, which I know will be in better shape because the World Cruise is on that ship in 2018, but all the ships should be up to the same standard of excellence that we have gotten used to with Silversea, not just the newer ones or the bigger ones!!!!! The entertainment, whenever they put on a production, was good, but the productions were too few and far between & on July 4th, in an American port, with mostly American passengers, the ship did nothing to celebrate our Independence Day. Without American passengers, no cruise line could survive, but to ignore July 4th completely, was insulting!!!!! The ports in Alaska are very small & filled with tourist shops & Diamond/Tanzanite jewelry stores, just like you find all over the Caribbean. Very disappointing, but not Silversea's fault. The excursions were very well done & fun & very interesting with lots of history & fabulous scenery, but that is all. The museum in Anchorage was wonderful to see and tour, but had I not been told about it beforehand, I never would have known that it existed. As to the glassed domed train ride from Anchorage to Seward------FORGET IT!!!!! It is crowded, uncomfortable, the food is worse than awful & it took 6 hours to go 125 miles, when we could have had a choice to go in a luxury motor coach for 2 1/2 hrs & reach the ship by 2-3p.m. instead of 6:15p.m.--totally outrageous!!!!! Never again!!!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was the first time in Alaska for our family of 15, and our first small-ship cruise. And, long story short, it was excellent. Cabin We all had Veranda Suites, which were very spacious and had a great amount of storage space ... Read More
This was the first time in Alaska for our family of 15, and our first small-ship cruise. And, long story short, it was excellent. Cabin We all had Veranda Suites, which were very spacious and had a great amount of storage space (which was very much appreciated). The bathroom was quite large as well, and the same goes for the living area. The beds were of a normal size for a cruise ship (twin), and my feet did hang off the bed. The furniture was perfectly fine, and in good condition, but the suite could probably use an update in a few years. Service All suites on the ship have a Butler, and ours was excellent. Neo and Raj, who took care of us during the hours Neo was off, were awesome and always made sure our suite was cleaned and completed every request with a smile. We also had great service across the ship, from our waiters, Ranie, Randy, Joanson and many more, to the cruise director Kirk, and everyone else. The service really set this apart from a normal cruise. The staff were all so friendly, and everyone from the custodial staff to the boutique employees would always say hello and smile. It was truly amazing how friendly all of the staff were. They seemed to like their jobs and each other (one staff member went back home at the end of our cruise and the morning of our departure she toured around the ship to say goodbye and some staff members even had tears in their eyes as they hugged her goodbye). Dining The food on this ship was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Not only was the food consistently good at all three main restaurants (we didn't have a chance to try Le Champagne), we could order anything off the All Day Menu 24/7 for room service or from the Restaurant during certain hours. The portions are somewhat small (except at the Pool "Hotrock" Grill, which I highly recommend trying), so it is meant to be a multi-course meal. The desserts are another highlight, but they are generally very fancy and small portions, so don't be afraid to order two. The only disappointment in my opinion was breakfast and the breakfast buffet. Other members of my family disagreed, but I found the selection to be slightly underwhelming, but people with different preferences might think otherwise. Overall, dining on this ship was fantastic, with excellent food quality, and enough opportunities to eat (like the excellent tea service in the Panorama Lounge in the afternoon) to fatten anyone up. Entertainment We did excursions at every port, so we didn't have that much downtime on the ship. I can't speak to the overall quality of the shows on the ship, but the one I saw was quite good. Additionally, my family had a great time doing team trivia everyday (hosted by the Cruise Director Kirk) and enjoyed the 4th of July Party. There is also a card room with puzzles and movies you can check out in the Library. Ship Overall, the ship was great and in very good conditions. Most of the appointments are pretty subdued, and the Silver Shadow doesn't have many big "wow" factors that some larger ships might have. The hot tubs are quite nice, and the Observation Deck and the Panorama Lounge are good places to pass the time. My one complaint with the ship was technology, specifically the WiFi and TV. Passengers in base level suites (Vista through Veranda) receive only one hour of complimentary WiFi per day. At least half of that hour is wasted in loading screens due to slow speeds. The TV in the suites is also quite old and has poor viewing angles, and only carries MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, and the BBC. No mainstream channels at all. Also, the library system with checking out DVDs is a little antiquated, and could be replaced by a more modern system with movies loaded on to the device and available on demand. Overall though, the ship was quite nice, well maintained, and had good amenities, though not as many as one could find on a larger ship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted a small ship that could get in to the smaller areas of Alaska as well as not wanting a ship that we would need to share with 1,000 plus vacationers. With the exception of the excursions, everything ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted a small ship that could get in to the smaller areas of Alaska as well as not wanting a ship that we would need to share with 1,000 plus vacationers. With the exception of the excursions, everything else was included. A personal butler, all meals (including room service), drinks (and the wine flowed freely at dinner), self-serve laundry, and entertainment. While the singers and a trio of instrumentalists were good, more variety could have been offered. And most of the entertainment started at 10PM - long after we had turned in from a very busy day. Mostly, though, the ship had everything you could want to feel like you really mattered and received top-notch service. A luxury for sure, but how many times do you get to go to Alaska? We began our vacation with a two-day stay in Anchorage and boarded the train (all arranged in advance) from there for a 4.5 hour train ride to take us to Steward where we would board the ship. Long ride, but beautiful views along the way. Having to make reservations at the dining rooms did make it difficult to always eat where one wanted - especially since dining reservations opened up online before the cruise even began. The dress code is very strict - "informal" means that men must have a suit coat or jacket - not just a shirt and tie. Relaxing the dress code would be nice since we're on vacation. La Terrazza served the best buffet breakfast, and by far the best dinner of the two indoor restaurants (assuming you could get a reservation). The outdoor restaurant, The Grill, is a fantastic experience. Unfortunately, it wasn't until the last night that the weather was warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the food without wearing a jacket or using a blanket. We very much enjoyed our excursions although they were quite pricey. All of our guides were extremely knowledgeable and seemed to enjoy their work. The excursions, also, opened up for reservations 90 days prior to the cruise, so many of the choices were already booked as the departure date got closer. We really enjoyed cruising within two miles of the Hubbard Glacier on our first day at sea, the Alaska Raptor Center and Fortress of the Bears in Sitka, the White Pass Railway and Sled Dogs & Musher's Camp in Skagway. We did have two opportunities to be on whale watches, and while we saw plenty of otters and sea lions, we didn't have that much luck with whales. We had one issue with our Mendelhall excursion as the glacier was closed due to an "incident". Our guide took us through a rain forest instead. However, we did have to request a refund for the fee that the glacier would have cost. The excursion desk happily refunded it to us, but based on an interim bill that we received, if we had not spoken up, we would have been charged the full excursion fee. Arrival and departure went smoothly and efficiently. Everything seemed to be planned well. The staff were all pleasant and went out of their way to do what they could for the guests. All guests were given one-hour of complimentary internet each day, but it was very slow and only useful for reading e-mail. You could purchase more time than that, but for the cost of the trip, that should not be necessary. Knowing the "ins and outs" from this cruise now, I would not hesitate to book another with Silver Seas. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
The meals were extraordinary, the service was incredible, and the cruise was absolutely beautiful. We would absolutely go on another Silver Seas cruise. In fact, I don't think we will ever travel on another cruiseline because are ... Read More
The meals were extraordinary, the service was incredible, and the cruise was absolutely beautiful. We would absolutely go on another Silver Seas cruise. In fact, I don't think we will ever travel on another cruiseline because are expectations are just too high to ever be surpassed by another cruiseline. Our suite was very spacious and well appointed. Our butler and maids were very friendly, prompt, and gracious. We were given the opportunity to be waited on by the same waiter and sommelier every evening at dinner, and they were both incredibly courteous, kind, and made our meals even more extraordinary. All of our meals were delicious - the chef and kitchen staff made unique and flavorful courses, and they were well proportioned. I was surprised by the freshness and the variety of the menu every night. We also enjoyed tea service many times while on our cruise, which was such an elegant way to spend our afternoon in conversation and enjoying the view. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had previously taken two cruises with Silversea in Europe and had had very positive experiences. We took our 3 adult kids with us on the Alaskan Cruise and we were all very disappointed with the level of service and food on this ship. ... Read More
We had previously taken two cruises with Silversea in Europe and had had very positive experiences. We took our 3 adult kids with us on the Alaskan Cruise and we were all very disappointed with the level of service and food on this ship. It was not up to luxury standards. Butler service was mediocre. My son had a suitcase out on the floor the entire trip in his room and was never asked if he wanted it unpacked. My daughters ordered room service most mornings and order was never right--and their butler argued with them about their order. My husband and I went to breakfast in the main dining room and told them we had 30 min. No one was there--we ordered a minimal breakfast--30 min later we had to leave because we had still not been served. These are just a few examples of the level of service we received on this trip. Just not what you would expect from this cruise line. Additionally they had a flu outbreak on the ship and all of us got sick. My daughter was sick as we left the ship--my son the next day and the rest of us within 5 days. Just not a good experience overall. We have another cruise planned with silversea this fall (was booked before alaska) and if the level of service and food are not better--it will be our last cruise with this line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
This trip was a long-time bucket list goal for us. The itinerary was outstanding and exactly what we were looking for throughout our trip. However after having sailed on a comparable competing line two years before, we were very ... Read More
This trip was a long-time bucket list goal for us. The itinerary was outstanding and exactly what we were looking for throughout our trip. However after having sailed on a comparable competing line two years before, we were very disappointed with our accommodations and the line's lack of responsiveness to remedying the situation. This noise situation in our room started the second day of our cruise and continued for the remainder of it and made the time in our room annoying and was very disruptive to our sleep. The crew's lack of attention to fixing the situation was disappointing and frankly unacceptable for a line of this pricing and projected imagery. In addition, while the food generally was acceptable, it was boring in its continued repetition throughout the cruise. The only exception was Le Champagne which was excellent both for its food and its staffing, although the pricing add-on was very high for a cruise line of this fare pricing and overall projected imagery. There simply was not enough variety in any of the other restaurant venues commensurate with the pricing of this cruise. Read Less
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