Departed Tokyo on 7 May, ticket clearly marked Tokyo, but I am sure I was not the only person who went to Yokohama overnight pre-cruise. The fault of too much confidence due to too many cruises, I even went to the Yokohama Terminal, but it ... Read More
Departed Tokyo on 7 May, ticket clearly marked Tokyo, but I am sure I was not the only person who went to Yokohama overnight pre-cruise. The fault of too much confidence due to too many cruises, I even went to the Yokohama Terminal, but it was about 1 1/2 hours by train and taxi to reach Harumi Terminal Tokyo. Yes, a smaller ship can berth in Tokyo but this terminal is less convenient than Yokohama.
It is far away from what you want to see in Tokyo and there is lack of public transportation at the pier. Ship departs to brass band fanfares....almost 200 persons took part for our ship's farewell, this ship was quite full, but perhaps just 300 guests.
Rough full sea day to reach Kushiro the third day. This port is perhaps conveniently en route but otherwise one of the worst ports to visit. The facilities include only two markets, interesting only if you are interested in seafood and raw fish. Gala Welcome Dinner on sea day was good with foie gras and lobster. The afternoon tea was great and classy.
Two sea days before Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka. The sea was surprisingly calm in this northerly region and the ship's excellent cuisine and services helped make very comfortable restful days. Le Champagne now increases cover charge to $40 but still worth it. For this you can order multiple courses of caviar, foie gras, scallop, and lobster and it is a must for me whenever I cruise on Silversea. One excellent point on this ship is that they deliver menu of the next day each night, so you know in advance when to do the Le Champagne dinner, or the Italian dinner, or stone grill, as an alternative.
Petropavlovsk turned out to be an excellent port of call. I took a morning excursion for local sights and saw interesting things of Russian cultural interest, and on return I opted to end at the town centre, where I caught the ship's free shuttle bus back to the ship. The city centre's supermarket was interesting though it is not convenient to make a desired purchase of a giant Kemchatka crab to take home.
Two more sea days to cross the pacific but it actually is three whole days as we gain a day at the International Date Line, but it is a pity that on arrival at Dutch Harbor we were unable to visit as heavy fog rendered a zero-visibility situation and the pilot cannot join the ship. The ship reached the port areas before 6am and tried to call the pilot for hours in vain. There is no choice but to abandon this call as it appeared, but when we sailed another sea day till early afternoon the weather was sunny and clear. So it is four sea days, but sea days are to be enjoyed and are expected on a reposition cruise, on a 5-star ship. Though it was a pity missing Dutch Harbor.
Add one more sea days to finally reach Kodiak Island in the USA. The centre of town is only a 20 minute walk but ship still provides free shuttle bus. We had a whole day at this 'nothing to see' small town, but there is something to see in the afternoon excursion of the Russian heritage tour.
Next morning we were at Homer, Alaska, which is interesting. I took a morning excursion and see much of this interesting town connected by road to Anchorage with a 4-hour drive. On return I also explored the 'Spit' area which is a long strip of land along harbour offering interesting local shops and restaurants to explore, with a really beautiful scenic backdrop of yacht harbour and snowy mountains. To me this unspoilt town is the most interesting place to visit in Alaska, above all touristy inner-passage ports.
This is a very relaxing trip on a truly first class cruise of impeccably service that you feel welcome almost every moment. The more traditional dining suits me best, even in comparison with other Silversea ships. Interesting that there is difference between this ship and Silver Spirit in cuisine.
On arrival at Seward we were offered free scenic railway transportation either to airport or to a town hospitality centre in Anchorage Captain Cook Hotel. This is a great gesture of Silversea and a real treat. My last trip between Seward and Anchorage was by road, but the train ride in a special coach chartered by Silversea was a surprising highlight, much better than by road. It took longer because we went up a 1000-ft mountain range before descending, passing through snow clad landscape, with glaciers virtually hanging outside the window, It was a highlight 4 hours by any standard.
All in all, a very satisfactory cruise despite the loss of Dutch Harbor, and for this region the sea condition was surprisingly smooth. I may even opt to return one day, probably also on Silversea, but this is not for port-incentive minded passengers. For me, the ship, a good one, is the destination. Read Less