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Silver Shadow
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Silver Shadow
Reviewed by Chris Dikmen and Rickee Richardson
A cruise review of Silversea Cruises Silver Shadow in Asia
 
 
 
Silversea Cruises Review  
Beyond A Shadow Of A Doubt  

 
by Chris Dikmen and Rickee Richardson
May 2011
 
How I Rate This Review Rate Now!
 
 
   
Silversea Cruises does not need me to tell the world that it is a great luxury cruise line. Nevertheless, running the risk of stating the obvious, that is exactly what I intend to do. I can't think of another cruise line that has racked up more awards and accolades from industry magazines and organizations. Back when CruiseReport.com com was doling out annual Editor's Choice awards, Silversea received top honors in the luxury cruise category 5 out of 6 years!

Silversea Silver Shadow
Silversea is unquestionably one of the few great cruise lines in the world.
Silversea Silver Shadow
Needless to say, when we were presented with the opportunity to sail on Silver Shadow from Shanghai, China, to Tokyo, Japan, we quickly began re-arranging our other assignments and making plans to join the ship. Sadly, the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan forced Silversea to modify the itinerary and eliminate port calls in Hiroshima and Tokyo for safety's sake. Like a lot of other Silversea guests, we were disappointed that we would not get to visit Japan, but we knew that whatever Silversea put together as a replacement would be great.

PRE-CRUISE IN SHANGHAI, CHINA


We have always been big proponents of pre-/post-cruise packages. Why travel halfway around the world to some of the most exotic cities, only to get off an airplane and drag your jet-lagged self to the ship? There is a 13-hour time difference between Dallas and Shanghai, so jet-lag is a given. Even though we should have scheduled at least three days in Shanghai, our schedule would only allow for two. Since our flight arrived into Shanghai at around 8pm, the first day/night consisted of nothing more than getting to the hotel and going to bed.

For our stay in Shanghai, we chose the Fairmont Peace Hotel, located right on the Bund, the most famous waterfront property in Asia. A cruise aboard a luxury cruise line like Silversea demands a pre-/post-cruise stay at an equally luxurious hotel/resort. The Fairmont Peace Hotel did not disappoint in this regard. This beautiful vintage property has been lovingly restored to become one of the nicest properties we have ever visited, and we have been fortunate to visit quite a few. If you are planning a cruise into or out of Shanghai, please read our review of Fairmont Peace Hotel.

Silversea Silver ShadowAfter a night of full, deep "jet-lag" sleep, we arose the next morning and readied ourselves for our 9am city tour with SAT tours. We booked a full-day Shanghai city tour with Min Min, owner of SAT tours, via email a couple of weeks before our departure. We had read good things about SAT on other websites and decided to give them a try. As it turns out, this was an excellent choice. Our driver and guide showed up promptly at 9am to pick us up for the tour. We spend the entire day experiencing a variety of amazing sights and activities. To read our full review of SAT Tours, click here.

On our third day in Shanghai, the day of embarkation, we spent the morning walking up and down the famous Nanjing Road, the longest pedestrian shopping street in Asia. The location of the Peace Hotel is perfect for getting out and walking around town on your own. However, remember that few people here speak English.

Shanghai is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities we have ever visited. The modern skyscrapers are amazing. There are excellent restaurants, luxurious hotels and unlimited shopping opportunities. This is definitely one city that deserves at least three days to explore before or after a cruise.

EMBARKATION

After spending the morning walking up and down Nanjing Road in Shanghai, we returned to the Peace Hotel and requested a taxi from the hotel's concierge, which they gladly called for us. The concierge even wrote out the pier destination in Chinese for the taxi driver. Remember, most taxi drivers in China do not speak English. Less than 10 minutes and 12 Yuan (about $2.00) later, we arrived at the pier and were dropped off right next to Silver Shadow. In true Silversea fashion, a steward opened our taxi doors, grabbed our hand luggage and took our larger bags from the trunk. We were escorted to a table where Chinese Customs checked our passports and visas before we were issued our room keys and walked up the gangway to the ship. Once on board, the security officer collected our passports and informed us that they would provide us with a photocopy to use while in China later that day. When we finally walked into the interior of Silver Shadow on Deck 5, it felt like coming home. Stewardesses greeted us with a chilled glass of sparkling wine and escorted us to Reception where they took our photo for security purposes. We were informed that our suite was ready and within minutes of exiting the taxi, we were being introduced to our Grand Suite #802 located on Deck 8 forward.

We had not even had time to explore the suite when our luggage arrived and was placed in our bedroom. Soon after, our butler, Roland, arrived and gave us a walk through of all of the features in our Grand Suite. Silversea has embarkation down to an art. The entire process is as painless and efficient as it could possibly be.

ACCOMMODATIONS

With the exception of the two Owner's Suites, the Grand Suite is the largest guest accommodation offered on Silver Shadow[end] (and sister ship, Silver Whisper). The Grand Suite can be configured as a one bedroom or two bedroom floorplan (by combining an adjoining Verandah Suite).

Silversea Silver ShadowWhen we first walked into our Grand Suite, we were awe-struck by the sheer openness of the space. The entry foyer leads into the living room with it's full-size sofa, two large and comfy chairs and coffee table. A dining room table large enough for four people to enjoy a meal together sits next to an impressive bar with three bar stools. The bar is equipped with a mini-bar/fridge and a Cappuccino/Coffee machine. A nice-sized desk spans one wall of the living room with more than enough space for a laptop and any electronic gadgets you may be traveling with. There is enough seating in the Grand Suite to host 13 people comfortably.

The 103-116 sq. ft. verandah is accessible via a sliding glass door and features one large wicker seat with footrest, two wicker chairs and two small tables. Due to its location under the wing bridge, the balcony is covered by a sizable overhang that blocks much of the direct sun from the balcony.

A door separates the living room from the forward-facing bedroom. The queen-sized bed is nothing short of luxurious with a brand new mattress that rivals any at sea. Guests can select from a menu of eight pillow choices to suit their personal requirements. A dressing table with 3-sided mirror will be every lady's dream come true. A magnifying makeup mirror is on the dressing table. The walk-in closet is huge with an 8-drawer dresser and personal safe. Two long rods with wooden hangers can hold enough clothes for a world cruise.

The closet is large enough to get dressed in. There is also a built-in storage unit across from the bed that occupies the entire wall. There are three large, and I mean LARGE drawers, six regular-size drawers and lots of storage cabinets behind doors. Two large windows look out over the front of the ship. There is a full-length mirror on the wall as you enter the bedroom and also one on the wall of the bathroom opposite the shower.

Silversea Silver Shadow
Excellent bathroom amenities
The completely separate bedroom allows Rickee to continue to sleep uninterrupted while I do my morning work. The large, flat-screen LCD TV in the living room allows me to watch my Fox News in the morning while working on my blog and enjoying my coffee ritual.

One of the two bathrooms is right off the bedroom and is equally lavish. Slathered in Italian marble, the bathroom features a full-sized bathtub, vanity with two sinks, separate marble shower stall and sequestered water closet with toilet, bidet and sink. The master bathroom is stocked with your choice of Bvlgari, Neutrogena or Ferragamo soap, shampoo, lotion and conditioner. Cotton balls and cotton swabs are provided, too. There is also a powder room off the entryway accessible from the living room. In total, our suite had four sinks, two toilets and one bidet!

  • Large teak veranda with patio furniture and floor-to-ceiling glass doors; two-bedroom has additional veranda
  • Living room with sitting area; two-bedroom has additional sitting area
  • Separate dining area and bar
  • Twin beds or queen-sized bed: two-bedroom has additional twin beds or queen-sized bed
  • Marbled bathrooms with double vanity, separate shower and full-sized whirlpool tub, plus a powder room; two-bedroom has additional marbled bathroom with full-sized bath
  • Walk-in wardrobe(s) with personal safe
  • Vanity table(s) with hair dryer
  • Writing desk(s)
  • Flat screen television(s) with DVD and satellite reception
  • CD player
  • Direct-dial telephone(s)
But, Grand Suite guests don't only benefit from space; there are other amenities as well. Each suite on Silversea enjoys butler service. Your butler is always available to make restaurant reservations, secure shore excursion tickets, provide evening en-suite dining, pick up and deliver laundry, and virtually anything else you may require during your stay. Large suite guests also enjoy complimentary laundry, dry cleaning and pressing from the ship's laundry. Complimentary bottles of liquor are provided to stock the bar as well as your choice of soft drinks, mixers and bottled water. Your choice of daily newspaper is also available for delivery to your suite.

It should be noted that Silver Shadow has recently undergone a multi-million-dollar refurbishment. All suites have been updated with new mattresses and bedding, new upholstery and carpeting. Large suites have been updated to include a high-end Bang & Olufsen CD player. Our Grand Suite looked as fresh as the day the ship was launched. The new mattress and pillows were the most comfortable we have found on any ship.

Even the smallest suites on Silversea are spacious and well appointed. But, for those who insist on nothing but the biggest and the best, regardless of cost, the Grand Suite offers over-the-top luxury and spaciousness. Needless to say, we have been spoiled! As an example, on more than one occasion, we found our leather shoes had been removed from the closet, cleaned and polished and wrapped in tissue paper and put back into the closet. And, upon our return from the overnight in Beijing, we found that our butler, Roland, had drawn a bubble bath for Rickee. Not that's being spoiled!

Roland was our excellent butler on Silver Shadow
Halfway through the cruise we received a guest comment card in our suite. Other than praise for our butler and stateroom attendant, our only comment was how we missed a specific white wine we had enjoyed a year earlier while sailing on Silver Spirit. The first day of the cruise, we asked one of the wine stewards for the brand, but were told it was no longer available. However, within hours after submitting our comment card our butler, Roland, showed up at our suite with a bottle of our favorite wine in hand! He said the Head Sommelier read our comment and, after doing some digging in the wine storage, located a few bottles of our favorite white. We were informed that a bottle of our favorite wine would be available in all of the ship's bars and restaurants. Now THAT is the kind of excellent service you only get with a 6-star cruise line!

FOOD AND DINING

The Restaurant

The Restaurant located on Deck 4 is the ship's main "traditional" dining room. The Restaurant looks to have been completely re-decorated as part of the recent refurbishment with new carpeting, upholstery and trimmings. The atmosphere here is elegant and luxurious. Service is crisp and efficient, as it is throughout the ship. Breakfast is served here each morning from a set menu. Lunch and dinner menus change daily and offer a nice variety of choices. Breakfast and lunch in The Restaurant makes a nice, calm alternative to the sometimes busy La Terrazza buffet (lido buffet). A table for two is almost always available at breakfast or lunch. In the evening, The Restaurant comes alive with activity as the ship's primary dining venue. The menu choices show off the galley's culinary expertise with a variety of continental-style preparations. Dining in The Restaurant is open-seating, so you may dine whenever and with whomever you wish. The dress code follows the ship's daily recommended dress code for the day.

On our sailing, Executive Chef Jerome treated us to a gala Galley Dinner in lieu of the traditional Pool Deck BBQ. The weather simply would not allow for a BBQ. Instead, the main galley was converted into an elaborate buffet serving line with every imaginable culinary delight and beautiful ice sculptures for decoration.

La Terrazza

Silversea Silver ShadowBuffet by day, elegant Italian bistro by night. La Terrazza is probably the most popular dining venue on Silver Shadow (or any Silversea ship for that matter). Sumptuous breakfast buffet service is complemented by made-to-order egg dishes, pancakes and waffles. Lunch buffet choices change daily and usually offer items from The Restaurant's menu in addition to a carving station, fresh sushi daily and a wide variety of salads and desserts. A large al fresco dining area is located aft of La Terrazza where you can enjoy the ocean breeze as you dine.

Slow Food is a concept that began at a grass roots level in reaction to “Fast Food” and is dedicated to proper land stewardship while preserving cultural food traditions. For example, La Terrazza uses buffalo mozzarella from Naples, organic balsamic vinegar and olive oil from Umbria, and air-dried ham out of Parma. The Emilia-Romagna region also produces Silversea's 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano, while the pasta is made daily right on board.

Each evening, La Terrazza is transformed into a romantic, dimly lit Italian bistro. The evening dress code here is listed as casual, but a jacket would be a wise choice if you want to fit in. Even though the main courses offered in the evening are excellent, we have a hard time making it past the pasta course before crying "uncle". The pasta is made fresh daily and is to die for. Make sure to try the Ravioli...amazing! Reservations are required for La Terrazza.

The Grill

Come nighttime aboard Silver Shadow, the pool bar and grill is transformed into The Grill featuring "hot rock" dining under the stars. This fun, interactive cooking concept allows guests to grill their own seafood and prime meats directly at their table on a heated volcanic rock plate. The seating here is limited, so you need to make reservations early in the cruise to enjoy this experience. Guests can choose from steak, veal chop or salmon which arrives sizzling on a hot, and I mean HOT volcanic rock plate. The rock plate retains the heat long enough to completely cook the meat to your desired level of doneness. So, in effect, you are cooking your own meal! Side items like baked potatoes, salads and vegetable skewers are pre-prepared so you do not have to cook those, just the meat. The concept is innovative and one that everyone should experience at least once per cruise. On our cruise, it was very cool outside in the evening so we were provided with heavy blankets to help keep us warm while we dined. There are some radiant heaters installed over some of the tables, but more are needed. The dress code at The Grill is always casual.

Le Champagne

Silversea Silver ShadowThe only Wine Restaurant by Relais & Châteaux at sea can be found aboard the ships of Silversea. Guests can indulge in an evening where fine wines are complemented by a set tasting menu of regionally inspired dishes in an intimate, elegant setting. The six-course experience celebrates some of the world’s most distinguished wine regions. Reservations are required and there is a per guest reservation fee.

Room Service

This often overlooked and underrated dining option is taken to a new level on Silversea. We routinely enjoy dining in our suite, especially after a long day of touring an exotic destination. The dining table in our Grand Suite was transformed into an elegantly-set romantic venue with Frette linens and fine silverware, just like you would find in The Restaurant. Our butler, Roland, carefully prepared the table then served our dinner (or lunch) choices expertly. The food was delivered quickly and was fresh and hot. Breakfast is the most popular room service meal, but we rarely eat breakfast, so we reserve the special treat for lunch or dinner.

A substantial 24-hour room service menu is complemented by the daily lunch and dinner choices served in The Restaurant (during normal lunch and dinner hours). The lunch and dinner menu for the following day is provided each evening in the Silversea Chronicles that is delivered to your suite. But here's a little secret about Silversea. If you want something, just ask for it and odds are Silversea will find a way to make it happen, as long as it is within reason. For example, one day we stayed in our suite to watch a movie and we asked for some popcorn. No problem!

Sundowners (at the pool)


I am going to take credit for this one. For years we have been asking Silversea to keep the Pool Bar open after 6pm. Why, you ask? Previously, there was nowhere on the ship where we could go enjoy a drink without having to get dressed up. So, let's say we were planning to have dinner in our stateroom or Dinner Under The Stars, both of which are casual. On a formal or semi-formal night, the ship's dress code after 6pm would prevent us from enjoying a drink in Panorama or The Bar before dinner. Now the Pool Bar is open until 7pm which is PERFECT! Kudos to Silversea. In addition, they have added what they refer to as "Sundowners" service which is basically a bowl of tortilla chips, guacamole and what Rickee considers to be the best salsa she has ever tasted! So, Silversea took my idea of keeping the Pool Bar open later and made it even better.

Pool Grill

One of my favorite spots for lunch is the Pool Grill. There is something about sitting outside on a beautiful day at sea and enjoying a simple burger, fries and onion rings. Silversea's Pool Grill is a noticeable step above other cruise lines with full table service and a pretty extensive menu of made-to-order burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, salads and other treats. A new ice cream sundae bar has been added to satisfy your sweet tooth. As with all Silversea dining venues, you dine here with Frette linen napkins and silverware. No plastic or paper in sight. Even a burger and fries feels elegant on Silversea!

Afternoon Tea

The British tradition of Afternoon Tea has been kept alive on Silversea with an elegant tea service held each day in The Panorama Lounge. A variety of teas are accompanied by traditional finger sandwiches, scones and other sweet treats served by white-gloved wait staff. Afternoon tea is a perfect way to stave off any hunger that might try to sneak in before dinner.

ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES

Entertainment has been steadily improving on Silversea over the past several years. This Silver Shadow cruise was no exception. Each evening the Athenian Lounge showcases a movie or a different production show or guest entertainer at 10:00pm. The four production shows were performed by the Silver Shadow Singers and Dancers and backed up by the Silver Shadow Quartet. Evening shows typically last 30 to 45 minutes, and while we wish they started a little earlier in the evening, you can usually be back in your suite by 10:45pm if you are not a night owl. Music and dancing continues in the Panorama Lounge long after the show has ended for those who like to take a spin around the floor. The featured entertainer onboard was award-winning pianist, Van-Anh-Nguyen, from Australia.



Before and after-dinner musical entertainment was provided by Manny on the piano; the RL Duo; and the Silver Shadow Quartet. One evening, there was a late-night Disco complete with DJ taking place in The Bar.


  If you want something, just ask for it and odds are Silversea will find a way to make it happen...
During the day, Silver Shadow offers guests a variety of onboard activities. Your day might begin with a 7am "Power Walk" with Personal Trainer Jovanka, or an 8am stretching session with one and the same. International hostesses conduct Italian and French lessons and there seems to always be a group of bridge players on board. The most popular daytime activity is Team Trivia held each afternoon which can get very competitive and lively followed by golf putting. There are table tennis and shuffleboard competitions and dance classes taught by a ballroom dance couple. Bingo was offered on several occasions. If you wanted to tour the galley or the navigational bridge, that was available, too.

The well-stocked library also has a huge selection of movies on DVD for guests to check-out and view in their suites. This is the place to pick up the daily Silver Quiz, sudoku and crossword puzzles. If a board game is in your daily plan, you will find a selection of them in the library.

Silversea has a reputation for providing excellent enrichment lectures. Destination Consultant, Ian Denton, conducted a series of lectures on the various ports we visited on this itinerary and Guest Celebrity, Li Cunxin, fascinated everyone with his life story as an acclaimed Chinese ballet dancer and the subject of the book and movie "Mao's Last Dancer." This voyage had an Art Curator, Michael Judge, who lectured on the Silversea art collection and conducted "art walks" around the ship. The H. Stern jewelry representatives on board gave several talks about gemstones and jewelry. Several fitness seminars were presented by fitness instructor, Jovanka. If you happen to miss a lecture, don't worry. The lectures are replayed on TV at regular intervals.

Speaking of fitness, there is a well-equipped fitness center on Deck 10 open daily from 6:30am until 8:00pm. Several classes were offered each day and you could even hire a personal trainer.

For those who like games of chance, the Casino accepts donations whenever the ship is sailing. There are lots of slot machines, poker machines, blackjack tables, roulette and craps. We had some fun with the slots and, fortunately, we broke even for the 10- day cruise! The Casino Staff conducted gaming lessons from time to time and there were Blackjack and slot tournaments.

A small, but well-equipped Internet Cafe is located next to The Library with a few desktop computers available for use. Internet rates are some of the most reasonable in the industry with pay-as-you-go or prepaid package plans. Purchase 1000 minutes and your per minute rate drops to only $0.25 per minute. Internet connectivity is available through the ship's WiFi network from virtually any location. I got the best connectivity in the public areas. WiFi was accessible in our suite, but not as reliable. If I was willing to leave our suite door open, the WiFi signal improved dramatically.

The Boutiques of Silversea, found on Deck 5, offer an extensive range of merchandise including designer clothing, perfumes and skincare products. Silversea logo items are available and there is an H.Stern jewelry boutique, too. Toiletries and other essential items are available for purchase upon request

Guest Chef Kurt Grasing entertained everyone with a special Korean BBQ short rib demonstration one afternoon as did Executive Chef Jerome who treated us to a special creme brulee demo. There was also a "competition" involving two of the Silver Shadow chefs (one French and one Italian) and a "mystery basket" of ingredients. It was fun to see what dishes they could create given the surprise ingredients and only twenty minutes to complete the dishes.

The Spa at Silversea is a full-service facility offering massages and salon services and also teeth whitening. On our voyage, several specials were offered discounting the cost of certain spa services. Rickee made use of the hair salon services and was quite pleased with the results. She says it cost about the same as what she pays at home (and I always think she pays way too much for what she gets!)

BEIJING OVERLAND TOUR

Silversea Silver ShadowSilversea treated guests on this sailing to a complimentary overnight land tour in Beijing that included an overnight stay at the beautiful  Peninsula Hotel. Upon our arrival in Tianjin, China, (the port city for Beijng) we boarded motor coaches for a two-hour drive to Beijing on really good roads in an insane amount of traffic with our first stop being a roadside service station for a bathroom break. The toilets at this rest stop were Eastern style consisting of a porcelain fixture in a hole in the floor. I had been warned to carry tissue with me just in case, but this was not an issue at this particular stop. Next we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. The Chinese food, which was tailored to Western tastes, was served on  large lazy Susan in the center of the table for ten. The waitress kept bringing platters filled with chicken, pork, beef, rice, vegetables and soup. Nobody left hungry and the food was delicious. After lunch, we were bused to The Forbidden City where we enjoyed a guided tour of this amazing and historic structure. Afterward, we made a brief stop at Tiananmen Square with just enough time for photos. By 5pm we were exiting the bus at the Peninsula Hotel where we were also invited to enjoy a complimentary dinner at one of two restaurants: a Western-style buffet or a Chinese restaurant. Even though we had already enjoyed a huge Chinese meal for lunch, we felt that we had to try Huang Ting, the Chinese restaurant located in The Peninsula. We were treated to an eight-course menu that was spectacular. Truly, this was some of the best Chinese food we have ever enjoyed. And, the service and atmosphere were excellent as well.

Day two of the overnight tour had us boarding our bus at 8am after enjoying a lavish breakfast buffet at The Peninsula. Our first stop was at the Olympic Park were we were able to take photos at the famous Bird's Nest and Water Cube. The wind was so strong we could hardly stand up without being blown over and the temperatures were in the 40s. Another hour on the bus in yet more insane traffic and we pulled up to the Badaling section of The Great Wall. The high winds prevented the cable car from operating, so visitors to the Wall were forced to walk up the steps. We had visited the Badaling section back in 2005, so everything looked pretty familiar. There are lots of souvenir shops in this area and we were able to get some shopping done.

After spending about two hours at the Great Wall, we were taken to a nearby jade factory for lunch. The food here was not quite up to the standards of the first day's restaurant, but good nonetheless. I suspect this is a government-run operation designed to feed Western tourists in hopes of getting them to purchase jade jewelry in the massive shop located on the first floor of the building. After lunch, and jade shopping, we made our way back to the buses for the 2.5 hour ride back to Tianjin where we re-boarded Silver Shadow.

Silversea Silver Shadow
Silver Shadow Crew greet guests returning from Beijing Overnight Tour

The overland Beijing tour was extremely well planned and executed. Our guide spoke excellent English and the sights were ones that are not to be missed when sailing to Tianjin. The traffic in Beijing is insane but the bus driver had it all under control!  It is a credit to Silversea that they were able to rearrange the transportation, hotel, meals and sightseeing to a day later since our arrival in Beijing was delayed by a day. Everything went off without a hitch.
 
PORTS-OF-CALL

Silversea Silver ShadowShanghai - Since the ship was scheduled to overnight in Shanghai, we were able to take an excursion to have dinner and see the world-famous Chinese acrobats. The ride to the JW Mandarin Hotel where the buffet dinner was held seemed even longer due to the intense traffic in Shanghai. At the buffet, we had a choice of both Eastern and Western food and a beverage. After dinner, we got back on the bus and headed to the venue where the Chinese acrobats were performing. Our seats were on the second row and were fantastic! The show was great and the acrobats did some unbelievable things sometimes bending in such ways it appeared like they didn't have a spine! The finale of the show was seven men riding motorcycles in a small mesh sphere all at the same time. Incredible! The Shanghai troupe of acrobats are rightly considered China's finest at this ancient craft. We highly recommend that you see the Chinese acrobats if you ever get the opportunity.

We sailed out of Shanghai at 11am on the second day so we were able to take in the scenery on both sides of the Huangpu River. The skyscrapers on the Pudong side are incredible! The Huangpu River flows through Shanghai and empties into the Yangtze River past endless wharves, factories and tankers at anchor. The number of barges we passed loaded with all sorts of materials heading into Shanghai was astounding. The river traffic rivaled the vehicle traffic on the streets of Shanghai! This shouldn't be surprising since Shanghai is China's largest port and nearly half of China's trade with the outside world travels these waters. Apparently, there is a one-way channel that takes you from the Huangpu to the East China Sea and ships are scheduled to transit the channel at a certain time. We had quite a lengthy wait for our scheduled time and before our appointed time arrived, a heavy fog rolled in which delayed our passage even longer. We were delayed so long that we had to miss a scheduled port in order not to miss our time in Beijing. As it turned out, we skipped Dalian and arrived in Beijing a day late and had a extra day at sea. The fog stayed with us for several days during this voyage and temperatures were on the cool side with occasional drizzle.

Chris DikmenTianjin - This is the port for visiting Beijing which is about a 2.5 hour drive. Tianjin has a new, very modern terminal that is huge and EMPTY! Silversea provided a complimentary overnight excursion to Beijing (see description above ), but if you chose not to go, a shuttle service was provided from the pier to a mall in Tianjin. When we boarded Silver Shadow in Shanghai, we were given a photocopy of our passport which we had to carry with us at all times when we went ashore in China. The Chinese authorities would always check this photocopy whenever we would leave or board the ship. When we returned from Beijing, we surrendered the photocopy to the Chinese authorities at the pier since we were leaving China and would no longer need it.

Jeju - Jeju was our first stop in South Korea and is the capital city of the island of Jejudo, a popular vacation spot known for its majestic waterfalls and sandy beaches. It is interesting that, despite its proximity to Korea, Jujudo's people developed their own culture and language distinct from the mainland. We arrived about an hour later than originally scheduled because we had to make an unscheduled stop the day before so a passenger who had a heart attack could be transported to a hospital on shore.

We signed up for the Jeju City Highlights excursion and boarded the bus around 9:30am. The Korean buses were really decorated on the inside with embroidered curtains complete with ball fringe! The steering wheel of the bus and the gear shift lever were also decked out and sparkled. First stop was the Dragon Pond where legend has it that a dragon and a nymph played. Next stop was the Natural History Museum where we saw exhibits about how the Jejudo people lived in the past. Our last stop was a souvenir shop where we picked up a magnet and were able to pay for it using some of the Chinese money we had left. So many Chinese visit Jeju that the local vendors take Chinese money. Jeju is known for its lava stone and is home to Jejudo Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, a Natural World Heritage site. For those who chose not to take an excursion, a shuttle bus was provided from the pier to a duty free shop.

Silversea Silver ShadowBusan - Busan (formerly Pusan) is South Korea's second largest city and its principal port. Lovely beaches, scenic cliffs, mountain panoramas and hot springs are all found within the city. We opted to take the complimentary shuttle from the pier into the city to explore on our own. The ride took about 20 minutes and the shuttle first went to a beautiful park with the final stop being the Phoenix Hotel. From here, we took the short walk to the International Market which is made up of small alleyways divided into different districts, each dealing with a distinct variety of goods. Even though we had been told that the shopkeepers would only take local money, we were able to use both American and Chinese money to make purchases. This market stretches out over many, many blocks and you could easily spend an entire day there checking out the goods. The food vendors were especially interesting.

A local mobile bank had come to the pier and we changed some American money into Korean money before we boarded the shuttle. When we returned, we were able to change the money back into American money (for a small fee, of course.) There were also some shopping opportunities on the pier where locals had set up some tables selling Korean souvenirs.

Incheon - Our voyage ended in Incheon, South Korea, the port for Seoul. The ship has to go through a lock to reach Incheon as there is a tidal variation of 33-feet. We had a great view of the whole lock procedure from our suite at the very front of the ship! Everyone was supposed to be out of their suites by 8:00am and waiting in a public area for the ship to be cleared by local authorities. Since our flight did not depart until 5:50pm, we opted to take a tour of the city that ended at the airport around 1pm.

Since we had arranged with Luggage Forward to ship our luggage home to Texas for us, we didn't have to worry about setting our luggage out on the last night of the cruise. Instead, on the morning of disembarkation, our butler took our luggage to Reception where the Luggage Forward representative would pick up the bags. How simple is that?! We left a copy of our passport with Reception and verified that they had the correct address and that was it. While others were wrestling with their large luggage through South Korean security and to and from the bus, we simply walked away. Nice! Our luggage was delivered to our home three days after we returned.


Silversea Silver Shadow Chris DikmenTHE SILVERSEA EXPERIENCE

In a world of self-serve gas stations, and a 'do-it-yourself' mentality, it is nice that one company insists on delivering an alternative. In fact, modern society has changed us so much that one can almost become consumed with guilt when this level of pampering is experienced. A Silversea cruise is what a vacation is supposed to be: worry-free, relaxing, luxurious and fun. We have sailed on all but one Silversea ship over the past several years and the story never changes. It is always excellent service delivered in an unobtrusive manner. Silversea embodies the nature of good taste, quality and service. There are a lot of good cruise lines, a handful of great cruise lines. Silversea is unquestionably one of the few great cruise lines in the world. But more than that, Silversea is one of the few places left on Earth where everyone is made to feel special, welcome and valued.

What We Loved

  • Friendly staff, impeccable service
  • Gratuities included in cruise fare
  • All beer, wine, champagne, cocktails and bottled water included in cruise fare
  • Best mattresses and pillows at sea
  • Good TV programming w/movie selection
  • Big, roomy suites, most with balconies
  • Excellent room service for en suite dining
  • Quality shore excursions with ship's tour guide present
  • Pool bar now open until 7pm

What We Would Like To See

  • 6:30pm dinner times (instead of 7pm)
  • 9:30 show time (instead of 10pm)
  • A casual, no-reservation-required dining option

Silversea Silver Shadow Video Review



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6 Comments
JOHN K - BRAZIL
Chris and Rickee have done it again. This review is another example of why they are the best in the business. They never sugar coat the experience. Diplomatic, but honest. We LOVE Silversea and love reading what others have to say. This review is spot on.
Monday, December 10, 2012 8:10 PM  
GEORGE PURVIS - AUSTRALIA
My wife and I are considering a cruise with Silversea and this article will assist in our decision making. I will be interested to compare with Seabourn who rate highly with us. I must confess surprise that someone would devote so much time and effort to provide such a comprehensive review as this!
Monday, August 13, 2012 6:40 AM  
CRUISEREPORT.COM EDITOR
@THESUITELIFE, Wow, that is the first negative comment I have ever read on Silversea, and we have been at this for ten years. We have been on many Silversea sailings and I don't recall ever having to wait in long lines.
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 4:36 PM  
THESUITELIFE
You sure you're not a stockholder or employee. The Barbados to Ft Lauderdale experience was not anywhere as good. Very overpriced - waiting in lines - and never ever saw the ship's captain. And we WERE in an owner's suite. Never again.
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 4:25 PM  
JACOBA VAN DEN BROEK-BENSCHOP. NETHERLANDS
We have sailed 8 times in the last 2 year with Silversea, and it is Perfect! one of the major reasons why we are choosing Silversea, is the quality of food and the possibility to go dining with your own family no sooner than 8.30 P.M. or 9.00 P.M. and to take your time. At home we always have to rush! But at home, we either don't dine before 8.30 P.M.
Sunday, January 22, 2012 6:50 AM  
JACK GALAUN
Only an American would want to eat dinner at 6.30 and start the shows at 9.30. Fine dining does not go with afternoon tea. We are always pushed for time to get to the Athenian Lounge by 10. Apart from that your review was good.
Friday, June 17, 2011 8:36 AM  
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