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Old February 19th, 2009, 10:58 PM
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Default Day 2 - Silver Shadow - at sea

Day 2 – Silver Shadow – Feb.19
To start with, I thought I’d supply just a bit of information for those who may not know a lot about Silversea Cruise Line. Silversea presently has a fleet of four ships; the Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow. Their newest ship, and largest ship yet, carrying 540 guests will debut in 2009. There’s very little doubt that Silversea is considered near to the top of any list of the most exclusive luxury cruise lines in the world.

For detailed information you should explore their web site, www.silversea.com.

As this was going to be my first sailing on Silversea, I did, and many of the descriptions had me salivating.
“The Shadow” carries a maximum of 382 guests, along with a crew of 295, and is approximately 29,000 GRT (tons). Passenger space ratios are high, so one never feels crowded. The ship is considered an all suites ship, and the experience is basically all-inclusive. Unless you’re a rambunctious shopper, or a devoted connoisseur of specific wines, it could be very easy to complete a sailing on “The Shadow”, with a nil balance on your “sail & spend” card.

As we settled in last night we noticed the suite was unusually warm. I thought perhaps it was because I’d had the balcony sliding door open too long, but we made sure we closed it before going to dinner last night. By this morning we noticed the air-conditioning hadn’t kicked in, though we’d dialed it to its coldest setting. I called the Reception Desk to report it, and a maintenance specialist was sent to get things operating properly. As it turned out, the guests in the prior guests in the suite had requested the air-conditioning unit be turned off entirely, and they had simply forgotten to turn it back on. By this afternoon, the suite was cooled, just the way we like it. The living room area, and the bedroom both have individual controls, by the way.

While I’ve already mentioned the all-inclusive nature of the ship, the Royal Suite comes with quite a long list of additional amenities.
- Living room, with sitting area, and flat screen TV, and DVD, and CD players.
- Separate dining area and bar
- Complimentary Butler service
- Complimentary laundry service
- Separate bedroom, with large walk in closet
- Two marble bathrooms; one off the bedroom, with double sinks, Jacuzzi bath tub, and separate shower.
- The main bathroom even has a drinking fountain.

OK, just kidding. It’s know it's a bidet.
- The second is a “powder room” just off of the front entry hall to the suite.
More pictures of the suite’s bathrooms available in the photo galleries, here…
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=5019

Yes, the suite has an entryway. You have to go through three doorways , then through TSA security to get in to the suite.
- The living area has a desk, and bedroom has a make-up desk.

Though the initial costs to book such a suite may seem high, once you factor in the costs of the things you’d be spending money on, onboard main stream cruise lines, it could compare favorably. We’ll try and take a closer look comparison costs as we get further along in this cruise.
This morning we had breakfast in La Terreza, he ship’s buffet restaurant by day. It was a beautiful morning, so we chose to have breakfast alfresco on the aft deck of La Terraza, overlooking the wake. So far, my favorite spot on the ship!

With the exception of the Observation Lounge on Deck 10 forward, all public rooms on “the Shadow” are aft of the mid-ship lobby area, and all suites are forward, on Decks 4 thru 9. It’s a layout that’s easy to make sense of for a first timer on the ship.

For a small ship, I was surprised at how roomy the public areas are, with stairwells on both port and starboard sides, from the lobby, up, along with wide hallways to the guest suites. It’s also surprising just how much variety there is in the public rooms, on a ship this size. The ship carries only 382 passengers, yet has a two deck high Show Lounge.

This morning we attended an enrichment lecture by author and historian, Professor Corey Sandler, entitled A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama. This was the first of 14 scheduled lectures on this cruise, delivered by two guest lecturers. Boy are they going to make me smart!

For those with more interest in high fashion than history, this morning there was also an unveiling of a new H.Stern collection exclusively for Silversea.

After the lecture, we headed to the pool deck for some time in the sun. The pool deck is basic, yet very attractive, with both sun-loungers, and teak tables and chairs. Perhaps the one surprise was they don’t use mattress pads of any type on the loungers.

As lunch time approaches, the teak tables are set with placemats, and place settings. And a lunch menu for the pool-side grill is presented in a display stand on the table. A crew member comes and takes your lunch order; delivering it when it’s ready. There is no lining up by the grill required. Bar servers do come by regularly to offer drinks. However unlike the mass market lines, there’s no presenting your “sail and spend” card; no signing chits, with automatically added gratuities. The drinks, whether alcoholic or otherwise, are included in the cost of your cruise fare.
All I had was a NY Hot Dog with fries (which was really tasty) and a couple of Diet Cokes. But I had them in such style!

It’s really quite spoiling! It seems that we’re going to be wanting for very little this cruise. It’s funny, I almost feel guilty for being so pampered; though that feeling too is probably a bit a part of the luxury cruise experience. Others may feel, “I deserve it”, “I earned the right to be pampered”. Me, I’m wondering… anticipating the moment they’re going to put me to work in the boiler room to earn my next meal.

Having only been onboard for 1 full day-- to this point, I’ve found my fellow passengers to be very outgoing, social, and quite willingly pursuing conversations with everyone and anyone. It creates a very relaxed atmosphere on the ship to begin the cruise.

This evening was Captain Angelo A. Corsaro’s Welcome Aboard reception, and the first of three formal nights of the cruise. After the reception this evening, we’d been invited to dine with Paolo Percivale, the ship’s Hotel Director. Paolo was a delightful and sociable host to us and one other couple.

Everyone we’ve met on the ship to this point has been quite incredibly friendly, that includes staff as well as passengers. During the reception prior to dinner we were joined by a delightful British couple. We chatted away, and in the short time got on famously, and under normal circumstances we could have easily gone on to enjoy dinner together. That was unfortunately not possible this evening because we’d already accepted Paolo’s invitation. But, on a ship this size we’re certain to see them again, and I’ll try to rectify having to turn them down tonight.

I’m not entirely certain what I expected, as far as fellow passengers went. Perhaps I thought that on a luxury line they might be somewhat snobby. I can assure you that nothing could be farther from the truth. My problem is going to be remembering the names of all the people we’ve met in just the first two days onboard. I’m wondering if they’ll object if I start pinning name tags on them.

There are 320 passengers on this sailing. 230 of them are Venetian Society members, meaning they are repeat Silver Sea cruisers. Prior to joining this cruise, because of the stumbling economy, I was curious whether we’d encounter a smaller passenger load on a luxury cruise line. Though, no doubt it’s had an impact, and it may impact future sail dates, at least on this sailing, that does not seem to be the case.

Even the age demographic has been somewhat of a surprise. On any 17 day sailing one expects a bit of an “older” crowd. And onboard The Shadow that holds true as well. Yet, there seems to be a fairly wide spectrum of age groups represented, other than children. I’ve heard there’s one toddler onboard, but I haven’t seen him/her.

Another sea day on tap for us tomorrow, before our first port of call, Cartenga, Columbia.
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