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142 Silversea Alaska Cruise Reviews

The ship is beautiful, perfectly maintained. The crew waits on you hand and foot. Nothing is ever crowded, nor do you have to wait for anything. We are big foodies, however, and therefore suffered disappointment. The menu ... Read More
The ship is beautiful, perfectly maintained. The crew waits on you hand and foot. Nothing is ever crowded, nor do you have to wait for anything. We are big foodies, however, and therefore suffered disappointment. The menu descriptions were fabulous, the presentation was gorgeous. The only thing missing was taste. We did not hear others complain, so maybe we're just spoiled, We took advantage of two ship-arranged tours and did the rest on our own: 1) Mendenhall Glacier can be done with a bus from Juneau. Should have been our choice as we didn't need so much time there. It's well worth seeing. MT. Robert's Tram was crowded, lovely view, but not necessary. 2) The steam train into the Klondike region in Skagway was fun and interesting, with some beautiful views. I would recommend taking the bus one way as the photo ops were better. My husband liked this tour more than I did. If you're in Sitka, call Paul Davis at Gallant Adventures. We arranged this on our own and saw at least 30 whales and experienced at least 6-7 bubble-nettings. He also found us sea otters, black-tailed deer, eagles and more. Very knowledgeable and gives a great tour. Seeing the Hubbard Glacier from the ship was terrific. They got us up close as it was a beautiful day. Nick Sepsaes (so), the man who gave daily enrichment talks, was such a highlight. Learned so much from him and looked forward daily to his presentations. Alaska is truly The Last Frontier. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose Silversea because of the reputation and a smaller ship in addition to the cuisine. The cruise mostly met our expectation. We normally go on riverboats as a more intimate and less stress experience. The 90 day dinner reservations ... Read More
We chose Silversea because of the reputation and a smaller ship in addition to the cuisine. The cruise mostly met our expectation. We normally go on riverboats as a more intimate and less stress experience. The 90 day dinner reservations and 60 day shore excursion deadline were stressful and the "concierge" service was non existent!! I could not reach anyone by phone or email to ask questions. With regards to the cruise-it generally met our expectations except for the main dining room which was a cut below the other dining venues. Our shore experiences in general were good with the exception of Skagway-the Hummer driver just started working 1 month ago and was mostly clueless about the rich history. He did listen to us and took some memorable photos to us! The French restaurant on the last day was somewhat disappointing and I was under the impression that wine would be pared with the food-it would definitely have added to to dining experience. Also I has to commend the enrichment speaker who was excellent and the ability to watch his lecture on TV the next day was very helpful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have met so many people are on travels who have come to Canada to do the Alaskan cruise, and yet we, who live in Vancouver, have not done it. So we felt shamed into finally taking an Alaskan cruise! SilverSea was definitely the best ... Read More
We have met so many people are on travels who have come to Canada to do the Alaskan cruise, and yet we, who live in Vancouver, have not done it. So we felt shamed into finally taking an Alaskan cruise! SilverSea was definitely the best option - when we were in port, we saw these monstrous cruise ships with thousands of people on them. The Silver Shadow is a beautiful ship with only 382 passengers on board. There was ample space for all of us, peace and quiet on the ship and on tours, fabulous food, unlimited pours of champagne, and the best, most personalized service from our butler, maid and other crew members. The lectures were excellent and with great visuals, and the final musical was beautiful. The main dining room had a wide variety of food, and the waiters quickly learned our names and preferences. There are 2 sommeliers to help you with wine options. We were surprised to see people in the pool and hot tubs, but we had some lovely sunny days and the food at the pool deck is great! We took a float plane to Taku Lodge to see the glaciers and have a salmon lunch. A bear was sleeping in the tree and came down to help herself to salmon drippings, and then her cubs came down from another tree. We all took photos! Also took a steam train up White Pass. The scenery was spectacular, and it was a very special treat to be on a real steam train (built in 1947). Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We wanted a smaller boat and this one was perfect! Check in was a breeze, luggage was in the cabin when we arrived, and Daniel, our butler, got us a bottle of champagne immediately. Our cabin was 826. This was a perfect location on the ... Read More
We wanted a smaller boat and this one was perfect! Check in was a breeze, luggage was in the cabin when we arrived, and Daniel, our butler, got us a bottle of champagne immediately. Our cabin was 826. This was a perfect location on the ship for us. We could walk right out onto the pool deck or go through for easy access to the elevators. The laundry was on deck 8, so that was great. We were sceptical at first about the possible noise on deck 8, but it was pin drop quiet in the hallways and rooms. The weather did not cooperate for eating at The Grill...didn't want to bundle up to eat dinner, so the only other options at that point were The Restaurant or room service. The Restaurant was very good but I wish I has booked more dinners at La Terrazza. The food there was amazing and so was the wine. We ate at La Champagne one night and it was wonderful. It does have a surcharge of $40 pp but is worth it. The dress code sounds daunting but as long as the guys have a sport coat, shirt, and tie, they are fine. It was cold and rainy so I wore dressy pants, heels, and different dressy tops. Everyone we talked to did different shore excursions and everyone was happy with what they did. Pick what you what...you won't be disappointed. We did whale watching in Juneau, Raptors and Ravens in Sitka, duck tour in Ketchikan, and bus tour of Skagway. All were great. Umbrellas and water were available when going on excursions. Best to just pack a waterproof jacket with a hood and some rain shoes. They did have entertainment at night but it started too late when early morning excursions were planned for the next day. They had a wonderful speaker on board, Nicki Sepsis (Not sure this was his last name), who spoke about the history of Alaska. All of his lectures were very informative. This was our first cruise and we know we will NEVER take a big boat for any future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We started our trip with an extended stay in Anchorage on our own, which was enjoyable and relaxing. The train ride to Seward was relaxing and offered beautiful vistas from the domed car. Meals on board and a "Moose Mary" or ... Read More
We started our trip with an extended stay in Anchorage on our own, which was enjoyable and relaxing. The train ride to Seward was relaxing and offered beautiful vistas from the domed car. Meals on board and a "Moose Mary" or two added to the experience. Upon arrival at the port in Seward, embarkation was smooth, no waiting in line, and the champagne served didn't hurt! Our suitcases waited in our suite, and after our butler introduced himself we unpacked and our cruise began in earnest. The ship - Silver Shadow - is beautiful. With one or two minor exceptions, everything was top quality and maintained perfectly. The only place we did not eat was the extra cost French restaurant...we didn't feel the need, and we were right. The food, plating, choices and service were excellent at Hot Rocks (so much fun!), La Terrazza (server Fernando was wonderful) and The Restaurant. We never had a complaint! Service was wonderful. Our butler Vimal, and suite attendant Samuel Q were the best. Our suite was kept impeccably clean, our ice bucket always full, and a new bottle of the wine we requested appeared in our room every day. When we requested a plate of crackers and cheese mid-afternoon on "at sea" days, it was presented beautifully and delivered quickly. Also, after only one day, we found most of the ship staff knew us by name! The perfect example is the bartender at the pool bar. The first night, after dinner, my husband ordered a Bailey's to bring back to our room (on same deck). The second night he was greeted by name, and the third night and beyond, his Bailey's was being poured as we approached the bar. That is service and personal attention! The only "entertainment" we took in were the informative lectures by Nicky. Each topic was pertinent, well presented, and enhanced our Alaskan experience. The ports of call have all become "tourist traps", so you will definitely want to take the shore excursions. At Sitka we did "Sea otters, Raptors and Bears" and were not disappointed. I love sea otters!. The "All Aboard Steam Train" on the White Pass and Yukon route in Skagway evokes memories of days gone by, being pulled by a vintage steam engine! Whale watching in Juneau was exciting, as we seemed to be surrounded by whales the whole time! And in Ketchikan the Seafeast was both fun and scrumptious. All in all, the cruise was perfect. As a higher end all inclusive cruise it delivered what it promised. Some people will find fault anywhere, but honestly on this cruise we could find none. We will most assuredly book another cruise with Silversea in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Chose this cruise as it was a small ship and it sailed to Seward Alaska, rather than just to Skagway as many do. The most disappointing thing was the very poor entertainment. Only had a show at 10pm each night with a singing crew. It ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it was a small ship and it sailed to Seward Alaska, rather than just to Skagway as many do. The most disappointing thing was the very poor entertainment. Only had a show at 10pm each night with a singing crew. It was like a visit to Vegas every night without the lights. You basically had to make your own entertainment. So a drink at the bar it was or a movie on TV. However the movies were few and far between - the same movie being repeated all day. There were no activities to meet other travelers. There was no shared seating at dining tables, so again it was difficult to meet other travellers. The room was comfortable although it was tight as it had too much furniture. We had our own butler and he was from India, so it was clear the only person that mattered was the male. I found this quite rude. The shore excursions were exclusive and expensive. It would have been ok, if you could have shared some of the group type activities such as 4WD but we were travelling only as a couple. A newsletter was delivered the evening before the following days activities, which was not sufficient notice and it lacked detailed information on the days activities etc. Attire was stuffy. No jeans after 6pm. Informal nights were stuffy as a tie was not sufficient, you had to wear a jacket. Formal nights they suggested Tuxedo, but no one wore these. That is a rediculous way to holiday if you ask me. Who wants to carry Tuxedos around? Dining was generally of a high standard, however the buffet was served by the staff and they offered very small portions. On many occasions, the travellers were asking for more and complaining amongst themselves of the servings. In particular one morning an English gentlemen wa asking for baked beans on toast. I heard him ask 3 times to fill it up. the small spoon offering of baked beans was a joke. This is supposed to be a luxury ship and spending $0.50 on baked beans seemed a big ask. It was also lovely being personally escorted to your table by the Head Waiter on formal nights. That did make me feel somewhat special. Whilst we are not big drinkers, it was nice that it was an all-inclusive ship. There was only 1 exclusive restaurant that few were able to get into. We were successful in getting into this restaurant and the food was exceptional. The wine was somewhat over priced however. Overall, my opinion is that I would not travel in this style again, as it was too stuffy and unfriendly. It was boring on sailing days as there was little to do. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The trip was referred and we traveled with my wife's brother and his wife. The ship an staff, the service, and food was great (with the exception of the main restraunt) all other restraints were great. Wines were lower quality. Our ... Read More
The trip was referred and we traveled with my wife's brother and his wife. The ship an staff, the service, and food was great (with the exception of the main restraunt) all other restraints were great. Wines were lower quality. Our butler was wonderful as were all restruant waiters and bartenders. All ports of call couldn't have been better and very exciting to visit. We went on several shore excursions, including floats planes, train rides, tram rides and a very good food tour in Juneau (highly recommend). The organization of the Silver Seas and the Silver Shadow organization from when you embark until you disembark is the best we have ever experienced. All airline, hotel and travel transfers are very organized and well planned out for convenience. This includes the recommend shore excursions which need to be taken advantage of in order experience Alaska. We would definitely consider future cruises with Silver Seas. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have been on several cruises with Silversea and it is obvious that the company is moving downmarket. It is not anymore in the same category that Seabourn or other luxury cruises, more like massmarket cruises like P&O or carnival ... Read More
We have been on several cruises with Silversea and it is obvious that the company is moving downmarket. It is not anymore in the same category that Seabourn or other luxury cruises, more like massmarket cruises like P&O or carnival cruise. At embarkation you are now treated like cattle having to queue several times for a long time (45 minutes) to register and take the most important information like your credit card! When you complain to the Manager in the presence of the Captain, they listen to you politely, do nothing and clearly couldn't care much. Internet has never worked properly for 7 days. Cabins need a good refurbishing (table so unstable that it couldn't be used for breakfast). Accounting department at departure completely incapable to explain your bill and mixing cash and credit card. Never an invitation to visit the bridge even for "venetian member". Food very average and red wine mainly cheap italian wines. Only the service on board is competent. Excursions very variable, excellent, like Alaska by air, land and sea in Skagway, good in Junea with hovercraft to glacier or absolutely ridiculous, uncomfortable and useless trip on a "duck" in Ketchikan. SHAME ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We flew in to Anchorage AK and stayed one night at Captain Cook's - then we took the train ride from Anchorage to Seward. This was a delightful experience! Upon leaving Anchorage, we saw an adult moose with a baby moose. We were ... Read More
We flew in to Anchorage AK and stayed one night at Captain Cook's - then we took the train ride from Anchorage to Seward. This was a delightful experience! Upon leaving Anchorage, we saw an adult moose with a baby moose. We were served drinks and lunch (this is a 5 hour train ride) and saw beautiful, breathtaking Alaskan countryside (including glaciers). This was a fun way to start our adventure. When we arrived to the ship, we checked in and were shown to our spacious suite (where our luggage was waiting for us). A bottle of champagne was on ice as well as a plentiful platter of fruit. Within the hour we were called to MUSTER (safety procedures). Staff was quick and efficient! Next was dinner in LA Terrazza! Delicious and WHAT A VIEW! Hubbard Glacier the next day was just sensational. We ate at La Champagne that night and honestly, were unimpressed. It's a tiny restaurant (seats 22, I believe) and all was quiet and intimate til a group of 10 came in. Regardless, the food is just not that great. The next night we ate at The Restaurant, while the food is average, the atmosphere at La Terrazza is so much better (along with the variety of foods). My advice- make reservations every night at La Terrazza - you can always cancel later- because once the cruise starts, it is HELL getting reservations. Rarely does anyone cancel their reservations at La Terrazza. The pool restaurant really wasn't an option as it was cold and rainy and very windy during our cruise. At La Terrazza, breakfast and lunch are over the top buffets! I'm not a buffet type person, but this is a deliciously extravagant buffet. Do it once and you will be hooked. Sitka was beautiful! While in Juneau, a lot of the excursions were cancelled because of weather (our helicopter ride to the dog sled camp was cancelled) so we had massages at the spa! They were wonderful! The next day in Skagway we were able to book a helicopter ride to another dog sled camp! My advice on this is as soon as one excursion is cancelled, immediately try and book another one ASAP! TEMSCO Helicopters in Skagway even added and extra flight early in the morning to accommodate! The excursion coordinator was instrumental in getting us re-booked immediately. I would have been very disappointed if I had not been able to do this particular excursion. The next day we were in Ketchikan AK and it was an adorable town. We took a float plane here and it too, was a wonderful experience. The next day was spent at sea, sailing the INSIDE PASSAGE. When we arrived in Vancouver, disembarking was seamless. Once again, your luggage is waiting for you in a very organized area. I can't say enough good things about our butler (Neo) and his protege (Raj). They took care of every single need we had and some we didn't even know we needed. We chose this cruise line and time of year because we don't enjoy being around unruly children and would rather spend our time enjoying beautiful scenery in a quieter atmosphere. This cruise absolutely exceeded our expectations! Food and drinks were delicious and the staff makes everything so easy. This was our first Silver Seas Cruise and it was mainly without any hiccups. I would HIGHLY recommend seeing Alaska this way! We really insist on staying in 5 star hotels when traveling and Silver Seas is the only way to do that in Alaska! Plus, I really liked unpacking only once! We learned from experience that seasoned cruisers book their dinner reservations for La Terrazza every night in advance. The kitchen is very small and they can serve only a limited amount of people each night. It is an older crowd, but that's exactly what we wanted. I only hope I can be as active as some of these people when I reach that age! They were an inspiration! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Our previous experience with cruising has been with Cunard in both Princess and Queens Grill suites. We wanted to try a small ship to see if it suited us better. We are younger than the average passengers at 47 and 38, we don’t mind ... Read More
Our previous experience with cruising has been with Cunard in both Princess and Queens Grill suites. We wanted to try a small ship to see if it suited us better. We are younger than the average passengers at 47 and 38, we don’t mind that but some folks would be put off as the median age is about 65 going up to 80+. We looked at Regent, Seabourn but ultimately decided on Silversea as we liked the itinerary the best and had heard equally good things about all of them. I have read most of the recent reviews of this ship and they vary wildly. I have come to the conclusion that three types of people write reviews on this forum, those who love or hate the ship and those who have sailed before and noticed that it was not as good as it had been. No matter what ship you go on these days, all lines are cutting costs and trying to extract as much money out of each passenger as possible, it is sad but it is the nature of the industry. There is obviously a lot of choice in the market and people for the most part tend to stick with the brand they like. Itinerary: 7 Day cruise from Seward Alaska to Vancouver, stopping in Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. Pre-cruise: We booked with Silversea direct and were offered $400 onboard spend as an incentive. As Alaska is a very popular and time limited season we booked early to make sure we got the dates we wanted. The most common complaint we heard onboard was about not being able to get reservations at the specialty restaurants. We knew this from reading other reviews, so make sure that at 90 days before the cruise we logged in and got the reservations we wanted. We spend 3 days in Vancouver before flying to Anchorage and did not book with Silversea for accommodation as they prices they were charging were breathtaking. This is not unique to Silversea, we found this to be true on Cunard. In Anchorage we booked The Lakefront hotel for one night which is 10 minutes drive from the airport and they have a free shuttle to the airport 24 hours a day as well as a shuttle into town during the day. We did not go into town as our flight was late. We returned to the airport with our bags to the airport train station. We were met my Silversea reps and they quickly dispatched our luggage to a waiting truck that would go ahead of the train so that your bags are waiting in your suite upon arrival. Nice touch! The train ride was 4.5 hours and went through some breathtakingly beautiful coastal and inland areas including 2 glaciers. Food onboard was ok, but you did have to pay. If you can plan ahead take your own food. Soft drinks were included. We we arrived in Seward and it was just a short stroll (less than one city block) to the ship. We were released from the train one train car at a time and all of us boarded in less than an hour. Once onboard the process was very smooth and we were individually escorted to our suits by our cabin attendant. (again a nice touch). Our suite was 814 toward the front of the ship and was spacious. For those who are familiar with Cunard it is a similar size to a Princess Suite however the balcony is compact. There is a separate bath and shower, both very good sized and two sinks and a large mirror. Very nice sized walk in closet. The suite was always impeccably clean and our butler and cabin attendant made sure all of our needs were met. They will stock your fridge with whatever beer/wine/champagne/soft drinks of your choosing and they are always replenished without asking. Fresh fruit was not automatically provided but we requested it and it was replenished daily. They also have a choice of pillows, we opted for firm pillows. The ship: Comments posted on this forum in the last few years would lead one to believe the ship is falling apart and in need of refurbishment. While I would agree she needs updating, everything is spotlessly clean and nothing is threadbare or falling apart. The ship is well maintained. I understand the entire Silversea fleet is due for extensive refurbishment in the next few years. As a small ship everything is easily accessible and we tried all of the restaurants save for Hot Rocks as the night we had our booking the weather was too windy. We did not attend any lectures or shows as we don’t really like musical reviews and quite frankly the quality of cruise ship entertainment is just not to our liking. The bar and panorama lounge were both well used and served good drinks and the bar tenders quickly learn your favourites and after a day or so you don’t even have to ask for a drink. Canapés were always offered between 6-8PM. The Panorama lounge has many functions, it is used throughout the day for lectures and afternoon tea is served daily from 4-5 and was excellent and in the evening a lounge bar. In the front of the ship is the Observation lounge which serves coffee 24 hours a day. I think they could make much more of this space and at least have a small bar. In the evenings there was either the ships pianist or a jazz quartet in The Bar and Panorama Lounge which were both good. The pool bar is always open during the day and had a nice selection of burgers and lots of other options. Service in the bars was always excellent and the staff were never far away if you needed anything. While it varies from one cruise to another the current Champagne on board is Heidsieck Monopol Blue top and Pommery both served abundantly and always topped up. The wines on board were also very good, but if you don’t like what they are serving always ask for other choices of which there were many. Restaurants: “The Restaurant” is the main dining venue and serves an a le cart menu for breakfast lunch and dinner. The food quality is very good and varies from night to night. We had quite a lot of seafood including, Scallops, Alaskan Salmon and Alaskan King Crab legs. The service is good but lacks polish and feels a bit uncoordinated and does not flow, as it should, but once the order is taken it improves as courses were delivered smoothly from then on. While not encouraged you can request off menu items with the head waiter with 24 hours notice. Some reviewers have said the portions are small, however there are 6 courses available and you can always ask for a double portion if you feel it is not enough. I would describe the portions as european sized which suits us fine. La Champagne was very nice but somehow the service there did not flow well and we felt it was not living up to its reputation. Food quality was without fault but the waiters seemed to be running off their feet and it was not as slick as I would have liked given that we paid $40 each for the privilege. They no longer offer the wine pairing so you could choose from the ships fairly good selection of included wines or order from the wine list which we found to be fairly reasonable compared to other ships. Unlike other reviews there were never any empty tables. La Terraza we liked a lot and the pasta dishes were to die for. We had gnocchi one night that was the best we have ever eaten. We actually had booked this restaurant twice was we love Italian food and were not let down. This space also offers a buffet breakfast and lunch which we found to have good choices but also offered made to order eggs and toast. Quality and choice were very good. At lunch they also offer hand made thin crust pizza to order. Nice touches also include really good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the table. Unfortunately the stop in Sitka was cancelled due to a huge storm and the captain said it was unsafe to stop and while we were of course disappointed this could not be avoided. We did have to go through some rough seas skirting the storm and compared to larger ships such as Queen Mary 2 you really feel the movement on a smaller ship. The other stops were great and we booked an excursion in each port. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze and the tour companies were always waiting on the pier to greet you, we found this to be very slick. I will echo a complaint that I have read on other reviews and that is of the emphasis on flogging you stuff. We would have liked to have seen less presentations based on shopping and naff art and more information on the actual ports themselves. Our verdict is that we really enjoyed being on a small ship and because of that met loads of people and felt the service while good should have been seamless. Silversea is not cheap and there are newer ships with similar inclusions that may have suited us better but not offer this itinerary. We loved not having to constantly sign bills and just enjoy our selves and the staff seemed genuinely happier than on Cunard. Many of them have worked for Silversea for many years and seem to like their jobs and it shows. We will certainly consider Silversea in future but it really depends more on the itinerary but if there is a match we would not hesitate to choose Silversea again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose silver seas because it was smaller and we believed that we would be able to get to locations that bigger ships could not. The trip began badly with jewelry hawker lecturing us on the train about not asking stupid questions and ... Read More
We chose silver seas because it was smaller and we believed that we would be able to get to locations that bigger ships could not. The trip began badly with jewelry hawker lecturing us on the train about not asking stupid questions and not asking our butler to get us dinner reservations (though it lists that as one of the butler's tasks in our brochure). truly, i felt like a child being disciplined. and i was angry. However, after that, the experience was good. The cabins are luxurious, the service excellent. i especially liked the entertainment, including the voices and the quartet. I really looked forward to their shows and was impressed with their talent and their ability to perform various shows. I attended lectures and the chefs presentation and enjoyed it all. The food was excellent. We enjoyed hot rocks, especially, but visited all of the restaurants and thought all were good. The highlight for us was cruising the hubbard glacier and the sail on the inside passage. Our butler was a wonderful help. He took care of us and 13 other rooms; we thought it was implied that he would be all ours ---- but we wouldn't have known what to do with him had that been the case. Stunning scenery. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our 3rd Silversea cruise and our best yet. We have previously cruised on the Silver Spirit as well as the Silver Cloud and there is a special charm on the Silver Shadow that I feel the others were lacking. The overall feel for ... Read More
This was our 3rd Silversea cruise and our best yet. We have previously cruised on the Silver Spirit as well as the Silver Cloud and there is a special charm on the Silver Shadow that I feel the others were lacking. The overall feel for this ship is warm and classy. That being said I have loved all ships, thus cruising for a 3rd time. The staff, service, food and ship itself were all outstanding. We were fortunate to dine in all 4 restaurants and they were all fantastic. They are all very different in food selection and ambiance but the food and service were equally fantastic. As written in other reviews, advanced dinner reservations are suggested in all but "The Restaurant". They will certainly do their best to accommodate you without a reservation but it does not always work out. I learned the need for advance dining reservations on our first Silversea cruise. Our well appointed room was always kept perfect and our butler Jerry was awesome. The nice touches such as a beautifully prepared bubble bath on one occasion and chocolate strawberries on another, not to mention he quickly realized my love for champagne and always kept our fridge stocked. Complete pampering and always with a big smile. The fitness center was great and we used it quite a bit. It's not large but kept very clean and I only had to wait once for an elliptical and it wasn't that long. Of course we will be cruising with Silversea again and can't wait for our cruise next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The shore excursions are a rip off, we did a fishing trip where we never had a chance to even touch a fishing pole. Because they put 6 of us on a tiny boat and pulled names who ever got to go first fished until they caught a salmon. ... Read More
The shore excursions are a rip off, we did a fishing trip where we never had a chance to even touch a fishing pole. Because they put 6 of us on a tiny boat and pulled names who ever got to go first fished until they caught a salmon. Problem was only two people got a chance to fish they caught a on of other fish just not salmon. So 4 of us never were able to fish. Which it cost $290 a person for this Salmon fishing excursion. It took 4 days on the cruise to get them to get back to us and they only refunded half of our money for two adults. It didn't end there I received the worst massage at their spa I had to tell the woman 7 times to please not use so much pressure, there was an obvious lack of training. Also if you do not make reservations in the restraunts prior to the trip you will not get into the during the trip you have to eat at their open seating restraunt, every night. All the pre requests were not met. Other than house keeping and butler staff the cruise was horrible. I would never recommend Silverseas. They try and sell you stuff non stop. We are used to luxury hotels and the conditions were far from it. The first four days the water in the shower and tub smelled like waste water, it was putrid. I filled the bath and the water was brown... Not work $9900 for two people. The food is pretty much the same in all the restraunt severe night just slight changes. The quality was very poor, the wait staff I will say is very good. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I try to be helpful to readers here and in my Trip Advisor posts. So this post is mostly about Alaska and cruising the Inside Passage rather the SilverSea, the cruise line I was on (spoiler alert-they are nearly perfect). To cruise ... Read More
I try to be helpful to readers here and in my Trip Advisor posts. So this post is mostly about Alaska and cruising the Inside Passage rather the SilverSea, the cruise line I was on (spoiler alert-they are nearly perfect). To cruise Alaska is tricky and requires some insight. I will focus on the typical 7-day Anchorage to Vancouver trip. To start with, begin your trip in Anchorage, not Vancouver. The port for Anchorage is Seward which is a 4 hour train ride from downtown Anchorage. Granted that some of the scenery is gorgeous but it is still a 4 hour train ride at the start of your journey. But I would much rather get this out of the way at the start. Doing it this way, you also end up in Vancouver, and not Anchorage, which is not a visually or culturally interesting city. It is a place to pass through on the way to somewhere. Vancouver on the otherhad is one of the most culturally vibrant and visually beautiful city in North America. A perfect place to add a few more days to your trip. So fly into Anchorage the day before, spend the night at the Thomas Cook Hotel, a mammoth hotel serving the cruise trade, and then Silversea or other cruise line staff will come and collect you in the morning for the ride to Seward. The second MAJOR tip about cruising Alaska is that this trip is all about the excursions. The first majestic sight doesn’t require an excursion, because you will sail by the Hubbard Glacier and this is truly jaw dropping. Pray for good visibility. You will see this Glacier, a frozen aqua blue river, from miles away. As you near it, it keeps getting bigger and bigger, its nearly a mile high, one of the most majestic sights in North America. Now for the tricky part. The main ports of call on the inside passage are Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. None, I repeat none, of these towns is worth simply getting off your boat and walking around to see the sights. There aren’t any. Sitka and Skagway are like Hollywood sets, all facades meant for the tourist trade. Most of the shops and restaurants close after cruise season and the owners head south. Ketchikan on the other hand is a working port town, with about 13,000 year round residents, a rough edged blue collar place, not a tourist attraction. The attraction of all of these places are the sea, the forests, the mountains and above all, the glaciers that surround them. This is where you should be, not having a beer in town at some fake gold rush saloon. Just a few highlights. In Sitka we went whale watching on a small boat. Less than a half mile out of harbor we were in the middle of a whale orgy. Humpbacks were popping up everywhere around the boat. I stopped counting after 30 or so. A once in a lifetime thrill. Going in and out of the harbor, there were otters, mammoth sea lions cavorting on huge buoys and bald eagles soaring overhead. Away from the harbor there is the Raptor Recovery Center a worthwhile side trip where you get to see these magnificent birds up close and personal, the high point is when a staff member comes inside with a fully grown bald eagle perched on his arm-its more that half the height of the person. Jaw drops again. In nearly all of these ports your cruise line will offer various sea plane or helicopter excursions that fly over or land on glaciers. Without question these are worth doing but they are deservedly expensive. We opted for a helicopter ride that landed on a glacier, where there was a dog sledding encampment, the dogs getting a little vacation from the Iditarod. There we got to go on a dog sled ride, through a perfect turquoise blue glacier field. Glacier ice turns a vivid blue. Taking the helicopter through mountainous passes and ravines is another awe inspiring experience. Costs of these excursions range from $200-$600 per person. Ours cost the later. It was worth every penny, really, you will never forget it. There were a couple of other excusions I would like to single out. First is the Chilkoot Horseback tour, a 3 hour ride through the Tongass National Forest, which is believer or not a rainforest, friendly horses, good guides, bring bug spray. This is Skagway. And most of all the Tatoosh Islands sea kayaking tour, this run by Jared of Southeast Exposures. This in Ketchikan. Here just 5 of us paddled kayaks for 3 hours around these pristine islands, getting real close to bald eagle nests, see otters, and the occasional marine mammal. The quiet and beauty of this was sublime. So in Alaska, get off the cruise ship and into the woods or ice or ocean. But be prepared to pay for it. That said, I can’t imagine a better highend cruise line the Silversea. People can nitpick here forever, on he differences between Silversea and Seabourn for example. High end, all inclusive cruises are very similar. Stellar service, good food, free liquor, gorgeous comfortable cabins, all again at a price, but worth it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This is our second cruise on the Silver Shadow. My husband and I were on this same cruise 3 years ago and loved it. This year we came back with all the family (including grandparents.) What a difference do 3 years make! On our first ... Read More
This is our second cruise on the Silver Shadow. My husband and I were on this same cruise 3 years ago and loved it. This year we came back with all the family (including grandparents.) What a difference do 3 years make! On our first cruised we were very impressed by the personal attention, service, food etc.. That is why we decided to take the same cruise now with the whole family. First the ship looks old and worn out. It needs refurbishment and maintenance. One day we were dining at the Terrace and had to wait for 1 hour for our food because they had no electricity in the kitchen! The lights in the dining room kept blinking. Service has suffered, I am not sure if they have less staff or the staff is not as well trained as before. Mainly in the dining rooms at night, it´s difficult to find your waiter or your sommelier. When you order the house wine they serve very little and never offer to refill unless you ask them. When you buy the wine at the restaurant they refill your glass all the time.. The appetizers size is very very small, just one bite and you are finished. Food has also suffered we did not find it as appealing as the last time, the same for the breakfast or lunch buffet. Cabins look old, carpets dirty, drawers that do not close well. The lounge chairs in the pool area are also stained. On the positive side it´s great been in a small ship, the excursions department is great, tea time is very nice and it´s a great itinerary. Service at The Grill for dinning is great and the food is also very good. On the last night we had another waiter and what a difference he was great, always near to see if we needed anything, so maybe we just had bad luck the other 6 nights. Three weeks before I was on a cruise on The Oceania Riviera from Barcelona to Lisbon, and even though it was a cruise with 3 times more passengers, service was great, the food was excellent. Cabins were awesome as well as the common areas. I also wrote my Oceania Review. In both cruises we were on a Veranda cabin. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This is a long review, but may make your trip more enjoyable. It did ours. Summary: We loved this cruise! The Silver Shadow is a clean, beautiful ship and the service is excellent. We ate at all four restaurants on the ship and the ... Read More
This is a long review, but may make your trip more enjoyable. It did ours. Summary: We loved this cruise! The Silver Shadow is a clean, beautiful ship and the service is excellent. We ate at all four restaurants on the ship and the food was delicious in all of them. The only thing I would ask for is a little more variety for the breakfast menu – it was the same every day. The wine selection is very yummy. If we enjoyed a selection with dinner, they would have a bottle delivered to our room and we could enjoy the scenery form our private veranda, which was totally worth the extra price. We had fabulous weather. The ports were great and the excursions were fun! I read many reviews before booking our trip and I think this made a big difference in our experience. We embarked in Anchorage and I had read the transfers from the hotel to the train were difficult (we met a couple on the train and they said the same thing), so we rented a car and got ourselves to the train. Silversea required us to be at the train depot quite early and this was kind of a bummer, but the Anchorage hotel had restaurants close enough we went and had a drink. Another issue I read about was the Silversea representative at the hotels. We stayed at the Hotel Captain Cook, booked the room ourselves too, and the representative was helpful to us even though we did not use Silversea to book the room. The rep told us we had 15 minutes to get our luggage to them for transportation to the train - I didn’t think I could make it happen - but did and we were so happy we did. This made our lives getting to the airport and the train way simple. The train ride was AMAZING, the scenery was so beautiful and we were lucky to have the best weather for our entire trip. We cruised from June 30th - July 7th as recommended by an Anchorage local. I think the cruise fare is more expensive during this time, because it is peak season. We did not want to go to Alaska and be rained out and there is a better chance of not being rained out during this time. They gave one complimentary drink, but the drinks on the train were reasonably priced and the food was good. I had a seafood chowder and enjoyed it very much. On board the ship during cruising days we participated in a few activities. We watched the Executive Chef prepare salmon three ways and then attend a lunch of the same dishes he prepared ... mmmmmmmmmmmm! Another day they had a sing along and the lunch was English nature; fish and chips, etc. Again … mmmmmmmmmmmmm! But we felt this way about all the food on the ship. I was craving biscuits and gravy for breakfast when I got off the ship though. Cruising Hubbard Glacier was fantastic! Because the Silver Shadow is so much smaller than the other cruise lines ships, we were able to get in very close to the glacier and saw the glacier calve several times. One of the other passengers got the calving on video and said he would put in on YouTube, so you may get a preview before your trip :) Sitka was a fun stop and gorgeous weather. Our sea kayaking tour got cancelled due to “operational issues”, so we went and did the Hot Italian Glass tour. It was a very interesting experience and in the end we ended up with $160.00 in swizzle sticks. We went to the Bayview Pub for lunch during our stop in Sitka and the spot prawn tacos were very tasty – recommended highly to eat spot prawns. Also, if you order their buffalo sauce and the server says the hottest is very hot and to get it on the side – listen to them. We did this and was happy we did (and we like spicy food). We had a long time in port in Juneau, so we booked two excursions. We went whale watching and whitewater rafting. During the whale watch tour we did get to see humpback whales and she breeched a few times. Pretty exciting and you may be able to find this on YouTube too. After whale watching we went and rode the tram, ate lunch at Tracy’s Crab Shack. OMG! The king crab legs and the soup! Get some – truly! After this we went whitewater rafting. This was a fun excursion and worth the adventure. Make sure you book the Mendenhall Glacier tour. It was pretty cool. While we were in Juneau, our butler poured us a bubble bath with rose petals, the bubble bath smelled good, but we did not get to enjoy this because we were on excursions. They poured us another one the next night! In Skagway, we rode a helicopter and hiked on a glacier. The BEST EXCURSION OF THE TRIP! This is where you need to make sure you are dressed warm. It is windy and cold. They provide you with hiking boots for the glacier, and a safety vest, but you need to make sure you bring warm stuff. We had gloves and dressed in the rain fleece layer and this made our trip much better. The glacier is so COOL and you get to drink glacier water if you want. It will be some of the best water you will ever taste. We ate at the Bonanza Saloon. It was the 4th of July, so the place was rowdy and we liked it – lol. Our adventure in Ketchikan was a floatplane ride to an all you can eat crab feast. The plane ride is comfortable and not at all scary. The feast was delicious! And truly all you can eat. The cheesecake dessert – YUM! I read bad reviews on this excursion, but we did not experience anything bad. The George Inlet Lodge gift shop was great too and had funny souvenirs. Cruising inside passage was fabulous. As mentioned, the Silver Shadow is a small so the ship can go where the floating cities cannot go and you feel like the ship cannot make the area it is going, because the passage is narrow. We picked this cruise to Alaska because I have a tendency to get motion sick and this did happen a few times to me. I took the bands with me and they did help a lot. Did not do much for my wardrobe though. LOL The worst day was cruising to Sitka in open ocean. Excursions: all of them were fun! Silversea sends a staff person on some of the excursions to ensure the companies are providing passengers with a quality excursion. Of the five excursion we did, three of them had a Silversea staff. The excursions were all quality and we would highly recommend them On the ship: there are laundry facilities and they are busy! We had a $500.00 ship credit, so we used the ships laundry service. It is a little pricey, but cheaper than paying the extra baggage fee to the airline. The restaurants were excellent as was the service. There is art everywhere and the ship is very clean!! The staff is so friendly too. There were 37 countries represented on the ship. We did not the fitness facilities - we ate and drank our way through Alaska. LOL Room: we were on the 7th deck and had a private veranda. I read the veranda was not worth it and we could not disagree more. The views are worth it! Because it stays light for so long, you can see scenery nearly all the time. The bed was comfortable. The pillow not so much, but it was not the worst pillow I have ever slept on. Disembarkation: was HOT! Organized, but long. They had us out of our rooms earlier than necessary, but I am guessing this is so they can get ready to return to Seward with other passengers. Souvenirs: you cannot take food and drink onto the ship and they do search bags. So be prepared. What shocked me being a first time cruiser: the safety (muster) drill upon embarkation. I had no idea it was going to happen, it was fine and needed to be done, but a little heads up would have been nice. Other passengers felt the same way. What to pack: everything! At least that is what it feels like. Everyone you talk to in Alaska says “dress in layers” and many people were doing just that. I still wore sandals most of the trip and was comfortable, but I run warm internally. Our Silversea travel agent said to bring a heavy coat. We did not and did not feel we needed one. Instead we brought rain coats and put a fleece layer under them. This would be different in September, however. We were comfortable when we needed them, which was only a few time and never on the ship and during our scheduled excursions. We were also the only people who used the pool and hot tub on the ship. It was lovely. My suggestions: 1) Book your air and hotel separate from Silversea. We saved LOTS of money and used for excursions, or at least shop around for other prices. You can book Silversea through your travel agent and get the same price. I did not know this and kind of feel like I cheated on someone I have been using for 20+ years. This also helped with any issues you will read about Silversea transfers and not being effective. 2) Tips are included, but we tipped our room staff anyways and got extra special treatments 3) Book your excursions and restaurant reservations as early as Silversea will let you. This is one area I have feedback for Silversea. Two lines for the restaurants the first night. We had to wait in line to get to our reservation while other passengers made their reservations for the trip. It was frustrating and of course there were technical difficulties with the booking equipment 4) Eat at Le Champagne at least one night 5) If you want to have drinks in your room, order the bottle the first night. The bottles are one liter :) 6) As you noticed, we ate in every port. This was to increase the variety of food, eat fresh Alaskan food, and to support the local places during our trip. Cruisers are about the only reason some of the cities exist. When we did eat lunch on the ship, there was a variety. La Terrazza is a buffet and I do not know about The Restaurant. We only ate breakfast there. Room service was pretty amazing too, which I usually hesitate because the food is tepid. Not in this case. 7) La Terrazza changes their menu every third day. We ate there the first night and the scallops were so delish. 8) Read the Chronicles in your room. They have details about any reservations you have made 9) Check your bill they provide. There were 2 charges for $7 on our bill. It was for their charity. I called and they very politely took it off. In the end, if I were to cruise again, I would book with Silversea. The passengers are awesome! Because the fares is higher than other boats there were very few children and much fewer passengers. Our boat ended up in the 340 range, so almost one-to-one service for every passenger and you are not cruising with 3,000 of your new best friends. The boat did not seem outdated as mentioned in other reviews and was very well maintained. We highly recommend the Silver Shadow. Thanks for an awesome adventure Silversea! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
NOT worth the money!!!!! Not as advertised- food quality was far from excellent, Staff was rude and snobby, food was subpar, stays in port were far too short, watch out for the "diamond expert" selling jewelry at outrageous ... Read More
NOT worth the money!!!!! Not as advertised- food quality was far from excellent, Staff was rude and snobby, food was subpar, stays in port were far too short, watch out for the "diamond expert" selling jewelry at outrageous prices, praying on elderly vulnerable widows. Scandalous! Don't be mislead by their claim that this is so much better than the "Giant Commercial Lines." Silver Seas is just as commercial. Book your excursions on shore, you'll save about 20% bc Silver Seas up charges even though they probably get a referral commission on top of that - that is why the staff waits on the dock to "help you" get to your tour - they don't want you talking to the people on the docks and finding out you're being charged more on the ship, cabin electric is dangerous, it shorted out and almost electrocuted me, smoke and sparks under the bed!!! - and last but not least if you have children, beware - kids club is next to smoking lounge and the second hand smoke is horrible in Kids Club - my daughter complained of a headache after each visit to kids club, finally figured out why on the second to last evening... Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We were interested in an Alaskan cruise that included a stop in Sitka, a place we had never visited before. We also wanted a small, luxurious ship. The Silver Shadow is a beautiful ship, but it is showing its age. It needs refurbishment ... Read More
We were interested in an Alaskan cruise that included a stop in Sitka, a place we had never visited before. We also wanted a small, luxurious ship. The Silver Shadow is a beautiful ship, but it is showing its age. It needs refurbishment badly, even though it was last refurbished in 2010. The service was outstanding, worthy of a five-star rating. The crew looked after every need and want. The really went out of their way to see to it that we were satisfied. After the first day, most knew our names. The all-inclusive cruise included all drinks, including soft drinks, wine and beer, and mixed drinks. Our butler asked what we wanted in the room's fridge, and in addition to the beer and selected soft drinks we asked for vodka. He offered two brands; we selected Stoly, and he brought a full 750 liter bottle. There was no extra charge. The food in all the venues was good, but not worthy of a five-star experience. We dined in the $40 surcharge Le Champagne, and the food was very good, but, again, not five stars. The small room was nondescript. But as an example of their superior service: On the night we dined there was a large party of heavy drinkers. One of them was extremely loud and obnoxious. He dominated the room, and made the couples at the other four tables uncomfortable. When the large group left, the remaining diners applauded spontaneously! This situation was clearly not a responsibility of the cruise line, but we received a note of apologyt the next day from the Maître D'; he said the $80 per couple charge had been removed. The entertainment was good for such a small ship; the young singers gave their all at all the shows. But the sound was so loud for the small show room that it was uncomfortable. They were not singing rock music - they were singing show tunes and opera; the amplification was too much. Overall a great cruise, excellent service, good, but not great food. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We set up our itinerary with a land portion first, followed by the cruise. The first part of the trip was hectic, staying in Fairbanks, Denali National Park, Anchorage, and Seward for three nights each, traveling between each stop via ... Read More
We set up our itinerary with a land portion first, followed by the cruise. The first part of the trip was hectic, staying in Fairbanks, Denali National Park, Anchorage, and Seward for three nights each, traveling between each stop via Alaska Railroad. We wanted to finish the vacation with a luxury cruise. The Silver Shadow filled the bill. Beautifully appointed albeit a little shabby in places, the Silver Shadow is a beautiful ship. It is large enough to have a variety of public areas, but small enough to maneuver easily. The food in every venue was superb! From "Le Champagne," the for fee restaurant, to all the other venues including the pool grill, service and food were excellent. But the service was outstanding. From our personal butler to the wait and bus staff, our every want and need was taken care of. Room service breakfast was memorable, as were our buffet breakfasts and lunches and our light lunches at the pool. In every detail, a superb experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Just returned from a Silversea Shadow cruise from Seward to Vancouver. Silversea is a luxury cruise line and I was so impressed with all aspects of the cruise. I loved the size of the ship. This particular ship holds only 392 ... Read More
Just returned from a Silversea Shadow cruise from Seward to Vancouver. Silversea is a luxury cruise line and I was so impressed with all aspects of the cruise. I loved the size of the ship. This particular ship holds only 392 passengers, so we felt very special on the cruise. The people who work for Silversea obviously love their jobs, as they have worked for the cruise line for many years. We were treated royally by all members of the staff. We have a Veranda suite and it was lovely. The food was terrific and we enjoyed eating in all the restaurants throughout the week. Silversea is an all-inclusive cruise company and we paid one price for the cruise, port fees, all food, all alcoholic beverages, and all gratuities. There were no surprises at the end of our cruise. If you are looking for the perfect cruise to Alaska, look no further. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my 9th Silversea cruise but the first in Alaska. It was the final cruise of the season and the Shadow was continuing to Russia, Japan and ending in Hong Kong after our Inside Passage cruise. THE GOOD Service on board was ... Read More
This was my 9th Silversea cruise but the first in Alaska. It was the final cruise of the season and the Shadow was continuing to Russia, Japan and ending in Hong Kong after our Inside Passage cruise. THE GOOD Service on board was the same as previous cruises with a few exceptions. The staff always makes an effort to remember names, favorite drinks and provide excellent service. Overall, the complaints are more about lack of Silversea staff pre-cruise and off the ship for tours (see below). We still like the all-inclusive service on Silversea and open dining options. THE BAD We booked air, pre-hotel and transfers through Silversea. On arrival in Vancouver, we were not met at the airport and had to taxi to the hotel! This is unacceptable. There were many ground personnel awaiting passengers. There was a Silversea Crew sign with a local ground operator awaiting arrivals. When we asked him for assistance, we were told he couldn't help us and he pointed to a local volunteer to ask for assistance. The volunteer pointed us back to the Silversea Crew greeter. At no time were any Silversea personnel available at the airport to help arriving passengers. Additionally, pre-cruise, we were told that there would be a Silversea Hospitality Staff at the hotel (which was the selected Silversea Hotel - the Fairmont Waterfront). This was not the case and in fact the Silversea Welcome Letter given to us on check-in said there was not a hospitality representative and we could call a number for assistance if needed. We took one train tour during the cruise which required we walk 1/4 mile from the Shadow in rainy, cold and windy conditions to board the train. There were no umbrellas provided, no electric carts to shuttle us to the train, no protective tents on the walkway. On the return, the weather had become worse and we asked if we could get a shuttle back to the ship. We were told by the conductor to wait and he would call one. After 10 minutes standing in the rain (fortunately we had brought our own umbrellas), we finally started walking. About halfway there, the shuttle came and picked us up. EMBARKATION Our Welcome Letter said all we had to do was cross the street to board the ship. No instructions or map were given directing us to the entry at the terminal. Our luggage was picked up by hotel staff and delivered to our suite. The luggage tags provided by Silversea were impossible to figure out so we went to the bell desk to ask how to use them. He didn't know and had to find another bellman who said this was a frequent request from Silversea passengers and fortunately he knew how to attach them. It's a very bad design and Silversea should do something about that. We crossed to the port, walked all the way down past the ship and realized that we should go into the port terminal to board. There was no signage or Silversea staff to assist us outside or inside the terminal, telling us we had to take an elevator down 3 levels to the cruise boarding area! We finally found the Silversea representatives but it was very poorly organized. We were told normally there would be signage, but since the Shadow was the only cruise ship in port that was the reason. This is not acceptable! CHANGES THAT AFFECTED THE SILVERSEA EXPERIENCE No chilled champagne bucket awaiting us on arrival in the cabin. Instead, the Butler entered offering us a choice of champagne or prosecco. We asked for champagne, which was subsequently placed in our mini-fridge. There was no way we would open the bottle and consume during the trip so it remained unused. Had he opened it and placed in an ice bucket, that would have been more like what we were accustomed to in the past If passengers preferred prosecco, that could have been offered as a pre-order just like dinner reservations and tours. The Butler is an unnecessary addition. They are dressed formally but their main function is to provide room service and make reservations. We pre-booked all of our desired dinner reservations and tours. Beyond asking for bottled water, we had no other need for his services. We ordered room service breakfast and were surprised when he delivered the meals (in a more casual uniform). He was very willing and kept asking if we needed anything so we almost felt guilty about not using him! MEALS We ate dinner at La Terazza once and we were unimpressed to the point we canceled our other booking. I believe we went to one lunch buffet but it was unimpressive. We did the "hot rocks" meal on deck one night which was one of the best meals on board. The steak and prawn combination was wonderful, they had gas heaters over each table and it was a nice evening. The rest of our meals were in the Restaurant with our favorite server. We found the meals in the Restaurant to be consistently good including breakfast, lunch and dinner. We unfortunately had to cancel our reservation at Le Champagne due to my discomfort over rough seas one night. I never got ill but the rolling motion got to me despite my magic combination of ginger capsules, Bonine and wrist bands which always worked in the past. DISEMBARKATION We arrived at the Port of Seward and boarded a lovely dome train which was chartered by Silversea, to make our way to Anchorage Airport. Unfortunately it was a 4.5 hour train ride and due to the overcast, cloudy and sometimes foggy conditions, we didn't really see that much on the way. Lots of trees, rocks, streams and a brief glimpse of a glacier or two. A beverage was included but everything else was non-hosted. The guide said it was the last train trip of the season so maybe taking this cruise at the end of the season isn't such a good idea! I've done the Alaska cruise twice before on other cruise lines and it was lovely during the summer months. Our luggage was transported separately by truck and delivered to a baggage claim area at the Anchorage airport. We were told to go claim it by the TSA desk. This was another breakdown on the part of Silversea. There was a representative pointing the way to the designated area which required several escalators up and down, a few turns to get there. Once we arrived at the area it was an open room, no Silversea staff, and all the luggage was simply placed there in a free-for-all grab and go. Passengers were wandering around trying to find their bags. Anybody could have come in and taken bags, no luggage tags were checked when exiting the room. We were also told they would close at 1:00pm and the luggage would be taken to a local hotel where passengers would have to go there to claim it! We were to arrive at 12:30pm but fortunately we were a little early so we made the deadline. OUR SUITE We were in Veranda 508. It was the same as the sister ship, the Whisper on which we previously sailed. We noticed the couch in the living area needs to be replaced or repaired. The fabric was worn down on the edges. The carpet in hallways also looked worn. I think the ship is tired and needs to have a makeover. Other than that, the ship is wonderful, I love the layout and prefer being on Deck 5 where the reception/concierge and our favorite bar is located. 508 is pretty far forward so I would have liked being more amidship, and we didn't use the veranda because it was too cool and windy to enjoy it. The bathroom amenities were nice, we were offered Bulgari or two others I don't recall. No pillow menu was ever offered, which was something mentioned in promotional material. WIFI I paid $140 to have a week's access to onboard wifi so I could use my personal smartphone. I had no problems downloading email or sending text messages while on board. There were only a couple of times that there was a delay for a few minutes. I think this cost should be included in the "all inclusive" Silversea package. The onboard computer assistance was also good. I had one problem logging into the ship's internet because I couldn't remember the log-in procedure. The Butler was wonderful - he set me up initially. Then I went to the open time in the computer room and the on duty computer assistant helped me. Despite the fact I have a Droid system (a Samsung Galaxy) and everyone is more iphone familiar, the onboard computer experts knew all the systems. THE VENETIAN SOCIETY RECEPTION This was a letdown. In the past there was much fanfare and excitement when presenting the awards to a few select frequent passengers. This time it fell flat and only lasted a short time. We made an appearance but didn't stay more than a few minutes. FUTURE Since Silversea has now added "all inclusive" tours which many of the seasoned travelers don't want, with associated higher fares, I may explore some of the competitors like Seabourn or Regent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This cruise is definitely for an older crowd. Younger travelers and those looking for a wild Caribbean type cruise to Alaska will be disappointed but for those of us who love scenery, good food, good wine and spirits and being waited on ... Read More
This cruise is definitely for an older crowd. Younger travelers and those looking for a wild Caribbean type cruise to Alaska will be disappointed but for those of us who love scenery, good food, good wine and spirits and being waited on hand and foot, this is the cruise for you. From the moment we embarked, everyone was exceedingly polite. Our stateroom was continually refreshed and the mini-fridge kept well stocked. Everything is included, except shore excursions and premium spirits. Our debarkation process was efficient but because of an ice dam collapse our train ride from Seward to the Anchorage airport was cancelled. They re-loaded us to the ship to await motor coaches and I was anticipating just having to sit there. The cruise line opened up all areas except the staterooms, opened the bar, brought us food and treated us as if we were still cruising even though ours was over. Professionalism at its finest. I would definitely take this cruise and cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
THE CRUISE: Seven days in August 2015 from Seward, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia, on the Silversea Silver Shadow. The 28,000-ton ship was launched in 2000 and refurbished in 2011. Considered a premium or super-premium small ... Read More
THE CRUISE: Seven days in August 2015 from Seward, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia, on the Silversea Silver Shadow. The 28,000-ton ship was launched in 2000 and refurbished in 2011. Considered a premium or super-premium small ship, it carries a maximum of 382 passengers with a crew of around 300. PRE-DEPARTURE AND EMBARKATION: After three days at the Hilton in Anchorage, we took the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Seward, a trip that is included in the cruise at no extra charge. Silversea reserves the entire train for cruise passengers. The cruise itself is all-inclusive, including drinks, tips and port fees, but on the train portion there's only a welcome glass of complimentary champagne; you have to pay for any other food or drink you purchase. We did buy light snacks and drinks, including a cute "Moose Mary," an Alaskan version of the Bloody Mary. The train boards at the Alaska Railroad depot at the Anchorage airport, not at the station in downtown Anchorage, so four of us took a taxi from the Anchorage Hilton to the airport station. The fare for four was around $20 plus tip, much cheaper than the $39 per-person Silversea charges if you use their transfer service. The Anchorage airport train station is right at the airport terminal area. It's functional rather than attractive, whereas the airport itself is an attractive small airport with lots of local flavor and local art. You turn over your luggage to a Silversea rep at the Anchorage Hilton, and it's transported by truck to the ship in Seward, so you don't have to schlepp it on the train. I was impressed by the railcars on this Alaska Railroad route. They are fairly new "vista cars" with lots of glass so everyone has a great view. You sit at tables for four, as in a railroad dining car. Some years ago we had taken the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali, which was a great trip, too, but at that time the railcars weren't nearly as nice as these. This train had diesel engines front and rear, and the railway bed seemed to be in good condition, so it was an easy ride. The scenery coming out of Anchorage isn't noteworthy, but as you go farther south it gets better and better. You pass several glaciers and many snow-covered mountains in the Chugach National Forest. The trip takes nearly five hours, but it's so comfortable and the scenery so beautiful time passes quickly. We were among the first to disembark the train at Seward. You don’t get to see much of Seward, but we had been there before. It was a short walk to where the Silver Shadow was docked. Embarkation on the ship was extremely easy, especially as we were at the head of the line. By the time we went to our cabin, our luggage was in our stateroom, having been brought down from Anchorage. All in all, this is a great way to start a cruise. THE SHIP: To cut to the chase, I was less than impressed with the Silver Shadow. Although the ship is just 15 years old and was refurbished in 2011, it feels a bit outdated. Ceilings are low, public spaces are fairly small, and I kept making negative mental comparisons with the glitzy (albeit large) new ships from Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and other lines. To add insult to injury, as a Proper Motor Car fan I resent that the ship borrows the name of the most popular motorcar in the history of Rolls-Royce. The Silver Shadow, built from 1965 to early 1980, was the first “modern” Rolls-Royce and sold better than any other Rolls before or since. Although this is a small ship, with a capacity of fewer than 400 passengers, there is plenty of space. The space-to-passenger ratio, at 74, is better than almost any other cruise ship. Still, for some reason I found it difficult to find that private nook or favorite corner in a bar that I usually find on other cruises. Nearly all the art work on display, including at least three pieces by Bob Dylan, was for sale, with prices ranging from $2,750 for one of the Dylan paintings, to the mid five figures for a Picasso sketch or Impressionist print. It all seemed a bit commercial, compared with the art collections you find on some ships. SERVICE: In a word, the service in all areas was excellent. Waiters and waitresses, who rotated among the different bars and restaurants on board, quickly learned to recognize you and often called us by name. I don’t think we ever saw a staff member who wasn’t smiling and friendly. Silversea clearly is proud of its level of service, and it does a great job. The crew-to-passenger ratio is a high 1.3 to 1. STATEROOM: We had one of the “suites” with only a window, not a veranda open to the sea. About 85% of the cabins on the ship do have verandas. As it turned out, we didn’t miss the veranda as much as we thought we would, as it was often quite chilly, and we probably would not have had breakfast on the veranda. There was also not as much to see on the Alaska itinerary as I thought there would be. There was only one whale spotted, and we missed it. The couple we were traveling with did see a large pod of porpoises. Our cabin was quite large, about 287 square feet. We had a comfortable queen bed, a walk-in closet and a lovely large bathroom with both tub and separate shower, plus two washbasins in a granite top. There was plenty of storage. We had a small fridge, and our butler kept us supplied with ice. The TV, though a flat screen model, seemed fairly old, and we found the DVD player difficult to use. Although some of the wood surfaces in the room showed a little wear, overall the suite (though that’s stretching the definition) was very nice. We had no complaints. FOOD: The food in the main restaurant, simply called The Restaurant, was always good, though rarely great. Since we usually had breakfast in our stateroom and lunch at the grill beside the pool, we experienced the main restaurant mainly for dinner. Portions tended to be small, but if you were hungry you could have multiple courses – a good choice of appetizers, soups, salads, pastas, entrees and desserts. Wine (included, of course) was of acceptable quality and served generously. I would say that most of the dishes in the main restaurant had an Italian bias, or at least a European style. The Silversea is Italian-owned, and the captain is Italian, although the staff came from about 35 different countries. The only other restaurant, besides the poolside grill, that we tried was La Terrazza, the Italian restaurant. Our dinner here, which required advance reservations but had no upcharge, was the best of the cruise. We tried to get reservations for another night but were only waitlisted and did not make the cut. One night we had reservations for the “hot rocks” restaurant by the pool, where you cook your own meats and fish on heated lava rocks, but that night was cold and rainy, and we were strongly encouraged not to eat there. We were never able to get reservations at La Champagne, the top-end restaurant on the ship and the only one that required an upcharge ($40 per person) even though we began trying to get reservations about three months before sailing. The odd thing about the specialty restaurants on the Silver Shadow was that while it was difficult to get reservations, there seemed to always be plenty of empty tables. This was explained by staffers who said that the kitchen could handle only a limited number of diners. In my opinion, the least appealing thing about the restaurants was that they did not serve many local Alaskan or Pacific Northwest dishes, such as oysters, clams, chowders or even local fish such as salmon. One night, lobster was on the menu, but I never saw oysters on the half shell or clam chowder at the main restaurant, and salmon was only occasionally served. DRINK: Silversea is an “all-inclusive” line, where most drinks and wines are included. Upon request, your cabin “butler” (really, just a steward) will stock your suite with the wines and liquor of your choice. We had friends in for cocktails one night, so we asked for a bottle of vodka (Grey Goose), a bottle of gin (some new British brand the line was trying out, and I can’t recall the name) and a bottle of bourbon (Jim Beam and Jack Daniels were the only choices). Liquor came in liter bottles, so we ended the cruise with the bottles still mostly full. Our cabin fridge was stocked with tonic water and some other mixers, along with a couple of cans of Stella Artois beer. In the restaurants and bars, moderate-quality wines were poured generously, and most drinks, even some premium brands, were included at no extra charge. There were a few expensive single-malt Scotches and cognacs and expensive wines that did have an upcharge. Although there was a considerable choice of drinks available, I would not say the ship had a “creative cocktail” menu. The cocktails were mostly versions of old-fashioned drinks, rather than the kind of drinks you find in hipper restaurants and bars these days. On the positive side, it’s great not to have to show your card to get a drink, or sign for it, or tip the server. PASSENGER MIX: Although Silversea has a reputation for having a mostly older (60 to 70 and over) clientele, we found that on this short Alaska cruise the passenger mix was fairly varied. There were quite a few passengers in their 40s, a few probably in their 30s, and some children. The vast majority of passengers were from the U.S., with some from Europe (primarily from Italy) and a few from Canada and Britain. DRESS: While Silversea cruises normally are a bit dressier than most, on the short Alaska cruises there were no required formal nights. However, one night formal dress (tuxedos or dark suits for men, cocktail dresses for women) was encouraged but not strictly required, and coats and ties for men predominated. The rest of the nights were either informal (jackets for men, but ties not required) or casual (collared shirts for men). Shorts and jeans were not supposed to be worn in public areas after 6 p.m., but we saw a few guys in jeans at dinner. PORTS: The Silver Shadow stopped at Sitka (the only port where we had to tender in), Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. Frankly, we were disappointed in the ports, not that there were any other real choices. The small towns of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan have been taken over by the cruise ship lines. Diamonds International and other typical cruise port shops line the main streets. When I last visited Juneau, in the 1990s, Alaska’s capital, was a friendly, low-key town with an authentic Alaskan feel. Now it looks like part of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas has been imported to the Southwestern coast of Alaska. It’s a shame when these small towns allow the cruise ship companies to take over the towns. One wonders what these places look like from late September to early May when the cruise ships don’t visit. Are the jewelry and tee-shirt shops boarded up? We did enjoy a close-up view on a clear day of the Hubbard Glacier, and parts of the Inland Passage near Vancouver were beautiful, with the ship passing by islands close by. We were disappointed that we did not see much wildlife. We saw much more – whales, sea lions, seals and all kinds of birds including many eagles – on a day cruise tour we took some years ago from Seward. ENTERTAINMENT: This was one of the weakest parts of the cruise. Except for a couple of small ensembles playing in two bars, the only entertainment in the main theater, besides movies, were shows put on by a group called The Voices of Silversea. This six-person group, three men and three women, were talented, but the same group night after night was not what we expected. Couldn’t Silversea bring on a magician or another band or singing group for just a night or two? There was a small casino, which we only visited briefly, and a few exclusive shops on one deck. Perhaps it’s the kind of person this line attracts – older and more sedate, though there were some younger people and even families with children on this cruise – or perhaps it’s the outdoorsy Alaskan itinerary, but most of the time the bars (there were really just two main bars on the ship) were nearly empty, and by 11 pm or so they were virtually deserted. Only a handful of passengers ever danced. EXCURSIONS: We did not use any of the Silversea excursions, as we found them extremely expensive, even more so than on other ships. We either went into town at port stops and walked around, or took taxis. I’m sure that some of the official excursions were very good, but we couldn’t afford the hundreds or even thousands of dollars per person that were charged. TIPPING: Officially, your cruise price on Silversea includes gratuities, along with drinks and port fees. We never saw any effort by Silversea staff to get tips. We did give our butler and housekeeping person extra gratuities, and I know some other passengers did as well, but overall I think the no-tipping policy on Silversea is real. DISEMBARKATION: It was a breeze. We waited briefly for our group to be called and to meet up with our friends, but it took just a few minutes to get off the ship and into a taxi in Vancouver. I’m not sure why, but we didn’t even have to go through Canadian customs or immigration. We simply picked up our luggage and walked out. (We had to turn in our passports when boarding the ship, and I guess that somehow Canadian customs handled screening beforehand.) Anyway, it was great. BOTTOM LINE: We enjoyed this cruise, despite the disappointment in the ports and in the ship’s entertainment, and not being wowed by the food. We did love not having to tip every time we asked for a drink or have to sign a chit or present a card. The cruise staff was great, and service was always top-notch. But based on this short, seven-day Alaska cruise, are we likely to become Silversea regulars? I don’t think so. Depending on the ship, the itinerary and the price, we might some day consider another Silversea cruise, but I think this will be our one and only Silversea experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. The cabin was lovely with a "large" bathroom with two sinks, a tub and a shower. The beds were extremely comfortable. Butler service brought us drinks each night. The food was very good - ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. The cabin was lovely with a "large" bathroom with two sinks, a tub and a shower. The beds were extremely comfortable. Butler service brought us drinks each night. The food was very good - nothing exceptional but excellent quality and a variety of choices. Our favorite was the grill where we ate twice. Outdoor near the pool - served meats and seafood that were grilled on a hot stone at your table. We didn't have enough information on ports and how long they were there. In one instance our tour was out all day and we missed Skagway town completely because of it. Most tours were fine except the one to White Pass railroad (which was lovely) but we stopped at Jewel Garden for lunch and a tour which was a waste of our time. Poor quality and no way to get back to the ship. Other tours were great including Sea Otter and Wildlife in Sitka, Bear Sanctuary in Ketcheckan. Only real complaint was paying for wi-fi. I'm spending $10,000 and they couldn't provide it? Free liquor and wine but no free wi-fi. That was ridiculous. Men needed jackets two nights...very few dressed very formal. Even saw folks without jackets. For Alaska, it should be more casual. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
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