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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Where to begin?? I chose Silversea because I had always wanted to sail on a smaller ship, and this 17 year old ship only holds 382 passengers. The itinerary was a 14 night sailing from Seward, Alaska to Tokyo, Japan. ... Read More
Where to begin?? I chose Silversea because I had always wanted to sail on a smaller ship, and this 17 year old ship only holds 382 passengers. The itinerary was a 14 night sailing from Seward, Alaska to Tokyo, Japan. Silversea's marketing materials boasts luxurious accommodations, free beverages, and a butler with every suite (all cabins are considered suites). So far so good.... but, in my opinion, that is where the marketing materials and reality part ways. Bus transfer to the Train Station: Having pre-purchased a transfer from the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage to the train station located adjacent to the Anchorage airport, the day before embarkation day I went down to the Silversea's representative's desk in the hotel lobby to collect a time slot ticket that would allow me on the bus. That went smooth enough. however we were told to be down there to hand over our luggage no later than 9:30 a.m. on embarkation day. Problem was there was no one there to take the luggage, no rep at the desk, and several of us ran around trying to figure out if we were even in the right place. Finally, the Rep arrived and a porter started scooping up the luggage left beside the Rep's desk, and we all just hoped it would go to the correct place as it seemed very hap hazzard. Transfer to the Ship: A complimentary transfer was provided through Silversea from the train station in Anchorage to the port at Seward. The description of this 4 1/2 hour journey said that 'refreshments' would be provided. Said 'refreshment' was about 2 ounces of sparkling wine to make a 'toast'. The seating on the train was on very tight bench seats with a table in front of you, so there was people on each side of the table looking directly at each other. We had been warned that there was no room for carry-on luggage and they didn't disappoint on that score. You had a space below your bench seat that was about 12 inches in height, which would accommodate a handbag, and perhaps a very small camera bag. We were 1/2 hour late leaving and basically from 12:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. if you wanted to eat or drink anything you were forced to order ridiculously overpriced beverages and tasteless food from the caterers that had the contract for the train. Arrival at the port: Since our 'check-in' had been done at the train station boarding the ship was quick and smooth. We were told to go to 'The Bar' on deck 5 where some very confused looking staff fumbled around and then you were assigned a miserable looking (in my case anyway) butler to show you to your cabin. It is one of those things that is supposed to make Silversea look good (in their minds anyway) but actually makes them look disorganized, and is off-putting with the lack of social skills by your escort. Cabin: I was in a mid-ship balcony on deck 6. It was pretty much as advertised and there were no problems at all. The 'teak deck' they advertise is just some teak planks placed over top of a steel deck, so not even as nice as the surfacing you would find on Celebrity's balconies. Oh well, it's an old ship so that can be forgiven. The nice thing about this cabin was its proximity to the laundry facility. The laundry machines become very busy during the cruise (and don't trust the time read outs on the machines) so it was easy to nip back and forth checking on my laundry. Food and Dining experience: Okay folks, hold on to your hats because this to me was the most unbelievable disappointment on this ship. The main dining room (cleverly named 'The Restaurant') is not a pleasant venue at all. Most nights it was kept at a temperature slightly above that of a meat locker. Even with the room half empty the service is painfully slow, the food arrived barely warm, and the food taste and quality was poor beyond description. The filet mignon was absolutely disgusting. They don't ask you how you want it cooked, and if you inquire they say they don't need to know!?! What arrives is a bland looking grey blob that looks like it was parboiled and finished off in a frying pan. If you don't believe me I invite you to pay a small fortune to sail on the Shadow and experience it yourself. After the second visit to this dimly lit, freezing cold, venue I refused to have dinner there again, so spent the rest of the cruise dining in La Terrazza, Le Champagne, and on one occasion The Grill (Hot Rocks). Le Champagne ($40 per person) and The Grill (free): I would recommend both of these dining venues. I went to Le Champagne three times and felt is was well worth the cost. Both food and service were outstanding! La Terrazza ~ this is the venue that serves as the 'buffet' for breakfast and lunch. However, it is far superior to a traditional buffet found on the non-luxury cruise lines, so it easily transitioned to a quaint Italian themed venue in the evening. I had registered as requiring a gluten free (gf) menu. To give you a frame of reference on Princess when you register as gf each evening after dinner the Maitre'd brings you the next evening's menu and works with you to advise which dishes can be adjusted to be gluten free. You then pre-order your specially prepared gluten free dinner (and can also pre-order lunch) for the following evening. In La Terrazza on the Silver Shadow ~ you arrive and are handed that evening's menu with 'Gluten Free' scrawled in handwriting across the top. Beside each dish is the hand written notation 'NO', 'NO', 'NO' and then eventually a check mark for a dish that doesn't contain gluten. News flash: I don't need these Bozos to point out which dishes contain gluten, I know that already. If I didn't know better I would have thought I was being punked!! Bare in mind folks this is a cruise that easily costs four times more than a similar itinerary on Princess, and this is their idea of providing 'luxury' service. Having been on 62 previous cruises with many different cruise lines it soon became apparent to me that the Chef/Chefs on this ship think they are above even the Captain, and rule with an iron fist. If I had a nickel for every time they removed prawns from the menu and replaced it with tilapia, or we were told 'No' for a request made at dinner, I'd be rich! Okay, so I could go on and on but you get the picture. I just want to leave you with one final experience that really brought into focus the Shadow's senior staff's attitude towards the passengers. One morning we were in port and I chose to remain on the ship. Around 10 a.m. I went into the Panorama Lounge to get a cappuccino and noticed four senior officers (Including the Hotel Director and the Head Maitre'd) sitting in one corner of the lounge. I took a chair a couple rows away from where they were sitting but noticed that they had lowered their voices when I came in. Well, as time went on their voice became easily audible and their comments shocked me. First they complained how the Cruise Critic passengers want a gathering organized on the ship, but they only talk to each other online and don't bother mingling once on board. Then the conversation moved on to how demanding the passengers were in the dining room, how they complained that the fish wasn't fresh, etc. etc. The degree of resentment towards the passengers exhibited by these officers was unbelievable. So there you have it folks. If you want to pay through the nose for sub-standard food, and be viewed as enemy #1 by the senior staff, have at it. Personally, I don't feel the need to drain my bank account for that kind of experience, especially since I had significantly better service and food on the Carnival Conquest last November. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
On our first Silver Sea cruise aboard Silver Shadow on September 7, 2017 (Anchorage to Tokyo), we encountered a plethora of stupid mistakes and errors, starting with the initial booking with the Fort Lauderdale office. Not only did we ... Read More
On our first Silver Sea cruise aboard Silver Shadow on September 7, 2017 (Anchorage to Tokyo), we encountered a plethora of stupid mistakes and errors, starting with the initial booking with the Fort Lauderdale office. Not only did we receive a confirmation booking in someone else’s name which was followed by the sales rep requiring us to produce a doctor’s letter (Fit to Travel) from husband’s doctor in 48 hours or our booking would be cancelled. We jumped through hoops, obtained the document, scanned and emailed to Special Services. The Special Services Manager quickly responded to us that this was totally unnecessary, as we had provided all the proper medical information on the original booking! Secondly we were stopped from boarding the train from Anchorage to Seward due to administrative mistakes by both front office and the ship. We were told we were being singled out because we did not have Japanese Visas (we are American citizens). The manager at the train station could not understand the requirement and could not get anyone from the ship to answer his phone calls. Finally, everyone else was processed with stateroom keys to board, we were allowed to board the train without stateroom keys. The manager alerted us we might be refused entry to the ship, in which case, they would return our passports and we would return to Anchorage on the train. Needless to say, it was a miserable 4-hour rain ride, as we were upset, confused and feeling stigmatized by the events. Turns out, no one representing Silver Sea in at Port of Seward knew what to do with us. Obviously without stateroom keys, we could not board. Asked to produce our passports, we replied, “You have them”. After much delay, someone located our stateroom keys in the boarding area. No explanation forthcoming from anyone. My husband was ready to abort this trip and come home. At the gangway, expressing my dissatisfaction to Hotel Manager at the Port of Seward, I was told to contact the Finance Manager the next day. I asked to have this person contact me immediately! We were fed up with mistakes and errors. What else could go wrong? We received apologies for the “lack of communication” between Anchorage & the ship regarding our passports, as the processing from the home office had obliterated my passport data from the booking paperwork! We were victims again of the incompetent who handled our booking in the front office, and compounded by the manner in which this was escalated. All that was needed in Anchorage was confirmation of a USA Passport – not to be denied passage, or threatened to be returned to Anchorage. If not sufficient rationale to be disturbed by petty events caused by incompetence, we were again accosted by the reception staff on board Silver Sea via voice message, informing us they did not have our Russian landing cards, when in fact I had prepared them the same day we received them, personally delivered the cards to reception with the added information to look at our passports (in their possession) because we have valid Russian Visa (in case they wanted to include that data in the box provided on the form). I returned the call, being irritated by never ending cascade of stupidity and incompetence. The first receptionist did not seem to know what I was calling for….and put another person on the phone. I expressed my frustration at their incompetence and repeated all the conversation confirming delivery of the landing forms plus the fact of the Russian Visa. This person had the nerve to inform me I didn’t need the landing cards if we possessed Russian Visa! So why did I receive the landing cards in the first place if this is the case? More apologies forthcoming regarding “lack of communication” and “reception should not be bothering passengers” when the landing cards were already in ship’s possession. Any wonder I am fed up the compounding of errors, petty mistakes, and incompetency of Silver Sea organization & poor administrative procedures? The aggravation seemed never ending. Apologies notwithstanding, we say, “Never Again”! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We have 300 nights on Silversea and usually love the experience they have to offer. We are well known to the staff, whom we love. This time, we sailed for 28 nights from Lisbon to Montreal in September 2017, six months after the launch of ... Read More
We have 300 nights on Silversea and usually love the experience they have to offer. We are well known to the staff, whom we love. This time, we sailed for 28 nights from Lisbon to Montreal in September 2017, six months after the launch of the ship (plenty of time to work out the kinks). Unfortunately, the Silver Muse did not provide any luxury despite the hype in the brochures and the extreme friendliness of the waiters. I had to wear ear plugs at night when the sea was even a bit rough because the ceiling creaked so loudly and the balcony door banged. The sewer-gas smell in our otherwise very nice bathroom was off-putting to say the least. It did get fixed. There seemed to be no professional chefs on board and no one in charge of the restaurants. We've had better food and better organized service in hospital cafeterias and retirement residences. We quickly memorized the menus that never varied, and we got tired of the meals being served somewhere between room temperature and lukewarm. In the Terrazza buffet, the pasta chef was sullen, his pasta often incompletely cooked (crunchy, not al dente) and covered in stone cold sauce. They never turned on the radiant food warmers in the Terrazza, so that the scrambled eggs, home-fry potatoes, and Asian lunch dishes (clearly made from leftovers) were barely warmer than room temperature. The soup was never hot; even when I sent it back three times, they never got it hot -- I was told the Terrazza kitchen was three decks down, which is why the food got cold on the way up. The service in Terrazza was friendly but disorganized; the restaurant managers were usually in hiding or chuckling in a corner with the head waiters; the chefs never made an appearance to check on the quality of their dishes, so they had no idea of the inferior results sitting on our plates. One head waiter was outstanding; she was the only one to actually supervise and pitch in when necessary; her name is Eileen. The officers rarely ate in any of the restaurants, and now I can see why; they probably got much better fare in their officers' mess. Atlantide, the premier complementary restaurant, served the same boring food every night: a hunk of fried fish or fried meat on a cold plate served with a few tasteless, boiled vegetables. No variation, art, creativity or skill went into any of the meals. Almost anyone can boil up a few veggies, throw a piece of meat on a grill, and then toss the lot onto a cold plate. But this was supposed to be six-star luxury. There were two nice appetizer dishes; but having the same things over and over got very frustrating and tiring. La Dame, the $120-for-two restaurant had terrible seating (you stared at either the wall or the wine rack), indifferent service, and pretentiously described food that was not served hot and was not as tasty as we can make for ourselves at home. The entertainers (Chantal and Esther) in the Silver Note supper club were lovely but the food was just plain weird. How can a bowl of rice mixed with quinoa, served dry and on its own, be classified as a appetizer? The tough lobster on mashed potatoes, served lukewarm, was edible but not exactly gourmet. We love Asian food, but the Asian Indochine restaurant produced nothing tasty or authentic. Our local takeaway Thai and Indian places serve much better fare. The Arts Cafe, run by Jason and staffed by the delightful Jhowel, Paulo, Richard, and Juan, was the dining highlight for us. Afternoon tea was served at four from proper tea pots with perfect scones along with real clotted cream and jam. Whoever made the scones really knows how to bake a scone (that person needs to teach the other bakers how to make American muffins and pancakes that are not a wet mass of partially cooked dough.) Jimmy and Luke were the terrific cruise director and his assistant. They added greatly to our enjoyment of the cruise and we felt very lucky to have them. Jimmy does a wonderful Team-Trivia and Luke an excellent Name-that-Tune. Both are warm and welcoming to the guests on a individual basis. Sad to say, we will never sail again on the Silver Muse. And before sailing on any Silversea ship again, we will need to find out whether all the ships have adopted the disastrous idea of the unvarying menu. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We choose SilverSea to experience a luxury expedition. The staff and the Arctic lived up to reputation but the ship was a huge disappointment. See our review of the cabin. The quality of food was excellent however to have hot dishes ... Read More
We choose SilverSea to experience a luxury expedition. The staff and the Arctic lived up to reputation but the ship was a huge disappointment. See our review of the cabin. The quality of food was excellent however to have hot dishes served luke warm from the buffet at breakfast and lunch was a complete turn off. By the end of the week I was reduced to eating from the pasta station as this was the only food hot. Dinner service was dependent on the side of the restaurant you were seated. Waiting over 30 minutes from the end of main course until dessert arrived is not acceptable. The next night the meal service took over 3 hours to be completed. The public rooms are tired with the door to the observation lounge half falling off and cracking window ledges in the theater. The smoking policy makes no sense. With the smoking room attached to the panorama lounge every time the door is opened the room fills with the smell of cigarettes. The staff serve the smokers and their uniforms absorb the smoke. That made afternoon tea and bar service totally out of bounds. Read Less
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