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Old March 6th, 2009, 03:07 AM
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Default Day 16 Silver Shadow - Got myself a gift

Day 16 – Silver Shadow – at Sea
Following dinner last night we moved to the Athenian Lounge to watch the comedy and magic of Keith Fields. Once again I found his “fluffy material” and fun illusions very entertaining. This is not a show filled with the grandeur of David Copperfield magic show, but I thought it fit in perfectly with the social atmosphere of the entire cruise.

As Keith said, “Cruise ship comedians are often just on their way up, or on their way down. And it’s good to be back”.

I keep running into that word, social, don’t I? Perhaps it’s because it’s not what I expected, or perhaps it’s because I can’t think of a word that better describes this entire cruise. I’m really not certain that you could put over 300 people together for 17 days in any other situation, and find the same results. That makes it quite unique.

By now I’m pretty sure it’s clear to most that Silversea is not a mass market cruise line. However it should also be clear that just because it’s a luxury line no one should shy away from it completely, for that reason alone.

I’m not trying to infer that it’s a cruise line that would be a perfect fit for everyone. People’s tastes and what they want from their cruise vacations vary. But hopefully these daily reports have opened some eyes to the value of considering a luxury cruise experience, without a need for anyone to feel intimidated in any way about any requirement to qualify as a Silversea passenger, other than determining if it’s within range of what you’re prepared to spend on your cruise vacations.

Aside from the food and service touches, there is real calculable value to the nature of Silversea’s all-inclusive pricing. If you enjoy wine with dinner, sodas, bottled water, juices, a few drinks through the day, and the odd pre or post dinner drink, with no gratuities added or expected, this cruise line can be a viable and financially competitive option for you… particularly in today’s marketplace. And to top things off you can feel secure knowing you’re also going to have a great time.

This morning, as we make our way to Ensenada we’re feeling of first hints of a reintroduction to the temperatures of North America. Though the sun is shining, there’s a cold wind blowing from south, towards the bow, creating windy conditions pool-side. Even so, there are people on the pool-deck and I’m presently located here as well; sitting at a teak table, in a comfortable chair, people watching. Mrs. Kuki is off attending a lecture, called Around the World in 40 Pictures. I’m watching around the world in 40 personalities.

Dickson, from India, my favorite pool-side waiter is making sure my coffee stays fresh. I’m presently watching a woman with a hair-do, wrapped about her head, adding at least 8 -12 inches to her height. It’s the Audrey Hepburn look from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, only I haven’t seen the look since it since at least the 70s’s.

I’m jealous!!! Not of the hair, but this woman has been on The Shadow since January, and will be remaining on the ship until the end of May. I have to admit I envy her. How nice it would be to escape, leave the real world waiting and the problems I face going home now for another few months.

I left my pool-side perch to watch the Bartender’s Cocktail making competition in the Panorama Lounge. Four bartenders mixed cocktails they designed, and the crowd got a taste of each, and a vote to say which they liked best. Another few bartenders competing, and even I’d have been totally drunk. This, plus all the wine tastings and cooking classes held throughout the cruise are of course included in your cruise fare, and have been very popular.

At lunch we experienced yet another Silversea Tradition, the Galley Lunch. Surprisingly this lunch is held in the galley. The enormous variety of food is presented buffet style, running through the entire galley. I went through once to check out the choices, and take pictures, and then went back to fill my plate. Lunch is completed with an enormous dessert table in the center of Chez Kuki. More lunch pictures :
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=5037
One little tidbit I’ve found very interesting is that the stateroom stewards do not use carts. This means no maneuvering past the steward’s carts while trying to move through the corridors. You’ll see small vacuum cleaners strategically placed along the corridor, but no other obstacles to block your path. Just another one of the “minor” attentions to detail which might go unnoticed, but warrants mention, which comprises a part of the Silversea luxury experience.

As expected, as the ship makes its way closer to Ensenada, and Los Angeles, the seas are rougher. In my experience, it seems that this stretch of ocean rarely lays flat as the ships break through the waterway on their way to Los Angeles.

To this point in the cruise neither Mrs. Kuki nor I had done any shopping, other than some souvenir gifts for our friends at home. Today I picked up something as a treat, just for me... a lovely Austrian Eva Maria, and it was Duty Free.

Mrs. Kuki says I can’t keep it though.

Those who follow my writings from ships understand I have a tradition of finding a “girlfriend” on every ship; or as I like to refer to them, when relating the tale to Mrs. Kuki, my possible future wives. On this cruise I’ve found several of them in the casino. It’s been the only luck I’ve had in the casino.

L to R Daniella, Jennifer,Maryima, and Eva Maria

The casino onboard is small, and operated by Casino Austria. The Blackjack tables (2 onboard) have a betting limit of $5 - $50, or $10- $100 respectively. I normally spend a fair bit of time in the casino, but on this sailing, with the schedule we’ve been keeping, I’ve been playing very little. Throughout this cruise the casino has been very quiet, with few players visiting for the entire 16 days so far.

“My casino girls” have been great fun though! They’re very sweet, and from Day 1 on any time I’ve visited we’ve had a great fun, joking, goofing off, and playing. Daniella is the Casino Manager, and she’s very friendly, with a delightful sense of humor, and that is shared by Eva, Jennifer, and Miryama as well. They seem to get along very well, which would be important with a small group like this, living and working in close quarters.

I feel bad for them that the casino hasn’t been busier. The time would certainly pass more quickly for them, and I know the passengers would have enjoyed their time with “my girls”.
This picture was taken yesterday in Cabo San Lucas, as the girls had shared our tender ride from the ship to the pier.

They were off to spend the day at a beach… which they told me they thoroughly enjoyed. We probably should have gone with them. As I said, the crew always know the best, and often least expensive things to do in the various ports. The Casino crew are especially reliable in this regard, as the casino is closed and they are off duty in every port. Though, with Silversea they get the opportunity to escort some of the shore excursions, to act as assistants. It makes for a nice way for them to participate in some of the excursions without the cost.

This evening was the Captain’s Farewell Reception. Captain Corsaro spoke warmly to the guests, and wished everyone safe travels… and introduced representatives of all the departments onboard. They also awarded several employee of the month awards.

Mrs. Kuki wanted to see the show tonight by the Jean Ryan Production Company, so we headed to Chez Kuki by 7:45. This was the first night of the 16 days onboard where I found the service a bit spotty. It wasn’t annoyingly so, but we did leave the dining room before the coffee arrived so Mrs. Kuki and our dining companions wouldn’t miss the show. I’m guessing the service issue may have had something to do with an earlier than normal arrival time for larger numbers of diners because everyone was already out for the Farewell Reception.

As I made my way to the suite I almost slid down the corridor to my doorway. The motion of the ship is slightly noticeable tonight, in a way similar to be speaking about being slightly pregnant.

I have an interesting note tonight. I’ve noticed that for several days now the forward elevators have been out of order. It’s been of no concern to me, and I hadn’t given it much thought, as we’ve only been using the stairs. I did hear from another guest tonight that the elevator cannot be repaired until the ship reaches Los Angeles.

That will likely make for quite a challenge for disembarkation procedures when we reach Los Angeles, as those elevators are normally the ones used for taking off (as well as bringing on) guests baggage. It has likely been a bit of a challenge already for some of the less mobile guests. Though it would certainly be much more of an issue on a larger ship than on a ship this size.

Tomorrow, our last day onboard, is a stop in Ensenada. I’m going to sit on my balcony all day and watch to see if anyone gets off the ship for more than 13 minutes.

My first ever cruise was a Mexican Riviera sailing in 1994. I’m no more a fan of it today, as I was then…not at all… though the experience was what hooked me on cruising.
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