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Old February 19th, 2009, 12:28 AM
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Default Virtual Cruise Report from Silver Shadow - Feb 08

Day 1 on the Silver Sea, Silver Shadow
It worked!
When I filled in my online registration for this cruise, next to my name I wrote (Bill Gates traveling incognito). It was either that, or they’d heard I am now a “headline entertainer”. At check in we were told our cabin assignment had been changed. We were given the keys to what will be our home for the next 17 nights, escorted to our cabin, and made to feel truly welcome onboard. Rather than try to describe it with mere words, here’s what we happily, and obviously excitedly walked into…







More pictures available in the photo galleries
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=5018
This is suite #602, one of the Royal Suites on the Silver Shadow. Over 900 sq. ft of possibly the ultimate in cruise ship luxury, with a private balcony over 100 sq. ft. I’ll offer much more detail about the suite, and the amenities, in the days to follow.
Our day began waking at 3:00 A.M in order to make a 6:00 A.M. flight from New Orleans (where we’d stayed two days) through Miami, and on to Antigua, where the ship is sailing from. As anyone who has read my previous writings will know, flying is normally a misadventure for me. Surprisingly, today both my flights were on time, and without incident. And, almost just as surprisingly, our luggage arrived in Antigua with us.
After clearing through Customs and Immigration, which was a bit of a mess, because several large airplanes had arrived within minutes of each other, we were greeted by Silversea staff, and directed to the transportation area for transfer to the ship. The luggage was taken, to be transported to the ship separately.
We boarded the Silver Shadow this afternoon, simply by getting out of the taxi at the pier and walking onboard. There was no waiting, and there were no embarkation line ups. In fact, the white-gloved staff stood, waiting at the transportation drop off area, to escort arriving guests. We were escorted to tables set up in the showroom, and told them our cabin number. That was the check in process; smooth and easy; the first tell-tale sign that we are sailing on a luxury cruise line. It was at that time we were told of the change in our suite assignment.
The only glitch in the entire process was our luggage was later delivered to what was our original suite number. As it got later into the evening, I thought I would check outside of the cabin number on our luggage tags, and as soon as I walked towards it, the cabin stewardess said she was wondering about it, as her manifest showed no guests in that cabin. She immediately called other stewards, and our luggage was delivered to our suite.
This evening, after the Muster Drill, there was a social pool-side, to introduce the staff, and begin to allow the guests to socialize.
Silversea is a virtually all-inclusive cruise line. The only things guests are normally required to use their shipboard charge card for are shop purchases, shore excursions, and casino play. The wine and alcohol are included (with some exceptions I’ll explain as the cruise continues), as are sodas, juices, etc. There are no gratuities added, and tipping is not expected. Good service is all that is expected.
“The Shadow” has several dining options. The main dining room, unimaginatively named “The Restaurant”, opens at 7:30, and seating is open; no assigned tables or times. Guests enter whenever they like, and may dine with whomever they choose.
By the time we’d tracked down our luggage, and showered, it was shortly after 8 P.M when Mrs. Kuki entered the dining room. Immediately, we were asked if we’d like to join a table, or dine on our own. We opted for joining a table, and met some new people, and enjoyed a superb first meal.
Several interesting things I found during our first day onboard; every guest I have talked to so far is a repeat Silversea’s passenger. In fact I’ve already met several who have between 100 to 200 days on Silversea ships. Interestingly they all talk about the value they get for their dollars; not something one would automatically think of when talking about a luxury cruise line.
It takes a day or two to settle in to new surroundings, particularly on a ship I’ve not sailed before. In the days to follow I promise to deliver lots of specific information about the ship, itinerary, and eventually find out if they really think I’m Bill Gates.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 12:56 AM
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Kuki, congrats on the "suite" upgrade.

I am sure you will love Silversea (even if you had been in a regualr suite.). I am not surprised that many guests have multiple nights. Like on Regent, once you have found what you love, there seems to be no reason to keep looking.

I will be interested to hear your impressions of friendliness of guests, quality of restaurants, and quality of included wines.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 01:40 AM
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Marc... I think every cruise line has devoted fans, whether Silversea, Regent, Carnival, RCI, etc.

I do think Silversea is underexposed somewhat on the Internet. I'm hoping I can share the Silversea experience with all our readers.

I'm not going to compare them to anyone, but rather talk about the experience, and talk about the value people may find it, particularly in this economy.

We'll see if that's how the people I talk to onboard feel, and we'll see how a "regular guy" like me does into the environment.

I'm the sort who's not devoted to any ONE cruise line. I want to try them all, and I'm thrilled to be on Silversea, and take another line off my "bucket list".
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Old February 19th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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Kuki....

You certainly can't beat Silversea for comfort. Look at that stateroom. And yuo can get your butler to deliver dinner to you and dine right at your private table. I am very glad to see they have upgraded their television sets as well. Plus that nice stereo.

That bottle of champagne will be freshly iced every day and night - until you tell your room steward you don't drink and do something else with it. But I'll bet that box of chocolates doesn't last long.

Sometimes life is GOOD - enjoy it! Any rooky comedian who can get up on stage for the first time and do 3 minutes of their own comedy deserves it.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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Kuki, the suite looks marvellous - thanks for sharing with us!
I have one question though, do you have a problem with that low sloped ceiling in the bedroom? Or is that just an optical illusion?

Can't wait to hear more of your adventures...

donna
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Old February 19th, 2009, 11:05 AM
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Unbelieveable rooms. Sure would make Friendship Freddy blush.

Would you list the ports you will be going to, so that I can do a little research, before you talk about them?

Thanks, and have a good time.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 11:13 AM
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Wowza. Thanks for the pictures. Can you just imagine. Oh, I guess you can. Have a great time. We'll be following along with our tongues hanging out......................
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Old February 19th, 2009, 11:15 AM
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holy carp that suite is nearly as big as my house! wow -
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Old February 19th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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I'm thinking we need to look into this for a future cruise.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollerdonna
Kuki, the suite looks marvellous - thanks for sharing with us!
I have one question though, do you have a problem with that low sloped ceiling in the bedroom? Or is that just an optical illusion?

Can't wait to hear more of your adventures...

donna
This suite is the first cabin, at the bow of the ship (though the balcony is on the side, not the front). The slanted ceiling is at the edge of the bedroom, near the closet, so it's not a deterent at all. We don't notice it, other than to see it is sloped
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Old February 19th, 2009, 01:08 PM
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Wow, Kuki! There is room in your cabin for all of us from the Rehab Cruise! How beautiful! Only thing, the TV in the bedroom needs to be elevated a little.

Is there anything "special" on the menu, that we're not used to seeing offered?
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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ready2gonow
Wow, Kuki! There is room in your cabin for all of us from the Rehab Cruise! How beautiful! Only thing, the TV in the bedroom needs to be elevated a little.

Is there anything "special" on the menu, that we're not used to seeing offered?
Dar,

I though the same thing. With my discerning tastes I would never book a cabin with the bedroom TV so low. How could they ever make such a hideous mistake.

OK: Now for reality. I'll pack a phone book and put under the TV to sail in a cabin that nice!!!!!

Kuki: Enjoy the suite and Silverseas. I look forward to some more information. I too have it on my "Bucket List".

Take care,
Mike
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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:33 PM
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I thought those were pics of your apartment. Great room have a blast
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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:38 PM
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Bathroom!! No pictures of it. Could you include some, when you get the chance?
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Old February 19th, 2009, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luanne Russo
Bathroom!! No pictures of it. Could you include some, when you get the chance?

Hope she means when your arent using it of course. Man, I am so envious of you. You get 17 days all inclusive in a room that families in 3rd world countries house 30 people. Cant wait for more reports.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 04:24 PM
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Now thats what I call a palacial room. Does it come with your own private butler? I can only dream about that kind of room on a ship. Maybe someday (when I hit the lottery).
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Old February 19th, 2009, 04:48 PM
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Kuki---This lux cruise is own my bucket list also. Do you think Helen would be satisfied. Hope so. I am coming someday before its too late.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 09:55 PM
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WOW! Can wait to read all your posts. Makes my interior on the bloggers cruise seem tiny!
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Old February 19th, 2009, 10:45 PM
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This is thought provoking stuff here. I went a took a look around at some of the pricing for these cruises and honestly it doesn't seem too bad for all that you get. I actually thought it would be more than what I found. Maybe someday when the kids are grown, d/h and I will treat ourselves to a cruise like this. Very nice.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 11:58 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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Old February 20th, 2009, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenie weenie
This is thought provoking stuff here. I went a took a look around at some of the pricing for these cruises and honestly it doesn't seem too bad for all that you get. I actually thought it would be more than what I found. Maybe someday when the kids are grown, d/h and I will treat ourselves to a cruise like this. Very nice.
Beenie... there are deals to be had! Like many cruise lines, even Silversea and the other lux lines are offering quite a variety of promotions. Check the recent news section on our Home Page, and you'll see some of them.

Beyond those, of course there's discounts to be had from travel agents. I have talked to a few guests who didn't mind offering the details of that they paid for this cruise, and I'll be sharing that info. I'm sure some will find it quite interesting, and yes, even affordable.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 12:11 AM
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Kuki, thanks for your wonderful reporting. I am looking forward to your posts each day.

Have Fun!
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Old February 20th, 2009, 12:15 AM
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Loving your reports Kuki, and especially loved the photo of your "drinking fountain"!

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Old February 20th, 2009, 12:24 AM
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OMG the drinking fountain! Too funny. Reminds me of our precruise stay in Rome, Little Beenie walks into the loo and announces Look Mommy there's two sinks! A big one and a little one! Cool! Can I wash my hands?
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Old February 20th, 2009, 01:22 AM
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Kuki, you may be feeling guilty at all the pampering now, but my money says you adapt to it fairly quickly!

Have you had Verny "draw" you a bubble bath, yet?

This sounds like a very interesting cruise, and I look forward to more posts! Not quite what I would have expected.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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Hi Kukala,
Following along with you, is so much fun! I think for the next installlation, I will pour myself a glass of champagne, while I enjoy all the goodies, onboard, through your eyes....Enjoy every minute!
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Old February 20th, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip
Hi Kukala,
Following along with you, is so much fun! I think the next installlatiom, I will pour myself a glass of champagne, while I enjoy all the goodies, onboard, through your eyes....Enjoy every minute!
Great idea Trip!! I think I even have a bottle of champagne (or two) left over from the Bloggers Rehab Cruise.
Kuki, keep it coming. We are really enjoying your voyage.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 11:24 PM
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Day 3 – Silver Shadow – at sea
Each evening, when we return to our cabin, waiting on our bed is the Silversea Chronicles, the ship’s daily “newsletter” and schedule of activities. Each evening, along with the Chronicles we receive the next day’s menu, for both lunch and dinner in “The Restaurant”.

In suite dining is also available for all meals, served by the butler. We’re going to try this at least one evening, just because we can, but overall we enjoying “going out” for dinner.

Our suite is the first cabin aft of the bow (front- pointy end), and on a small ship such as The Shadow, we definitely feel some motion in the ocean when the seas get a bit choppy. The bedroom is closest to the bow, so any motion just helps to rock us to sleep. The good thing is the suite is so large, if the motion bothers us at all, we can move to the living room.

I’ve chatted several times now with a gentleman from London, England. He’s often travels alone, and his predominant cruise line of choice is Silversea. Though he’s cruised on several other cruise lines over the years, as a single traveler, he feels the Silversea experience smooths the possible bumps in the road for his vacation. For dinners he always asks to join a table, and this allows him to meet new people each evening. And, of course, can arrange to dine again with any he happens to get along very well with.

In his experience, the all-inclusive nature of the line is a key as well, because it eliminates any “awkward moments” about who’s purchasing the wine at dinner, or who’s turn it is to “buy a round” in the bar.

He tells me that for most of his cruises he pays the full single supplement, which in essences translates to paying the price equal to a double occupancy cabin. On this 17 night sailing through a combination of early booking discounts, Venetian Society discounts, and discounting by his travel agent, he booked a Verandah Suite (approx. 345 sq ft, 60 sq. ft. balcony) for the equivalent of $7800 U.S., which included all fees, and his airline tickets. For two passengers, of course the fare would higher, with added airfare costs. Fares obviously vary, with sailing dates and itineraries as they do with all cruise lines.

Admittedly, you can certainly spend less to cruise. If you aren’t the sort to spend much onboard when you cruise (though that’s getting to be a much more difficult chore on many cruise lines these days) you may not see the included amenities of Silversea as having a real dollar value to you.

I’m basically a “cheap date”. The in-suite bar set up, with wine and brand name liquors (which are replenished as needed, and available in all staterooms onboard) are a waste on me. I do look at the nice bottles in the bar each day.

I’m also not much of a wine drinker, so the complimentary pours at dinners are wasted on me as well. But my bar fridge is packed full of Diet Coke, juices, and bottled water which are all included.

This morning Mrs. Kuki and I enjoyed one of the very best things about a day at sea; sleeping in late! Finally getting moving about 9:30 A.M we enjoyed a continental breakfast pool-side, though breakfast was still being served in La Terreza, and The Restaurant.

At 10:30 A.M. Mrs. Kuki went off to a presentation of a line of “active wear” clothing by Carol McDowell, a representative for a company called Anatomie. Anatomie describes itself as “the future of active fashion”, and sells a line of clothing made in Italy, with the latest French and Italian fabrics, sewed with German Lycra threads, created for “the active trend setter and sophisticated woman”.



This is a new wave of high end woman’s clothing. Mrs. Kuki is familiar with a similar and very successful Canadian company, called LuLu Lemon. She tells me this “active wear” is growing wildly in popularity because it’s lightweight, durable, UV protective, antibacterial, and moisture wicking. It’s all designed to be flexible, and useable.

Carole is on the Silver Shadow to test the onboard market, to see if there’s a match for the Anatomie clothing line and the Silversea passenger. We had the pleasure of meeting Carole the first evening onboard when she quite accidentally joined us for dinner. Mrs. Kuki was excited to see the clothing presentation. I, of course, was just excited to see beautiful women.

There was actually a lot going on around the ship this morning, with Bridge play, pool-side games, a tour of the navigation bridge, dance lessons with the ball room dance instructors onboard, horse races…. and I did none of them! I sat pool-side enjoying the sun, and worked my way through the morning going from coffee, to diet coke, to lunch. This is the beauty of a day at sea; you choose to do as much or as little as you like. Apparently, today was a day for me to be a vegetable. That can only mean I’ve settled in.

From what I understand for awhile Silversea had ceased having “production shows” included in the onboard entertainment. That is no longer the case. On “The Shadow” there are seven cast members from the famed Jean Ryan Production Company. I always and continuously note that I’m no judge of either music or dance. I am talentless, and have no clue in those areas. However, Mrs. Kuki loves the production shows, and she tells me their first show last night was terrific, and the troupe impressed her. There is one show a night, at 10 P.M., in the Athenian Lounge, whether it is a production show or one of the headliners.

After reviewing “The Restaurant’s” menu last night, and noting thing evening’s menu was going to be Caribbean themed, we decided we’d dine in La Terrazza instead, if we could get a reservation.

I mentioned in an earlier report that La Terrazza is the ship’s casual buffet style restaurant for breakfast, and lunch. However during the evening it is transformed; it becomes an a la carte traditional Italian restaurant.

It’s a circular dining room, and with rich golden curtains drawn, covering all the windows, and candle-lit tables it’s quite a stunning restaurant; quite a transition. For dinner they accept only 60 reservations, though there is no surcharge for dining there. I had forgotten to call first thing this morning for a reservation, but fortunately they were able to fit us in. It was “sold out” tonight.

I had to dine at a table for two, with just Mrs. Kuki, but it was worth it for the terrific meal. Each evening the menu in La Terrazza changes, to match a particular region of Italy. It’s a very fun and interesting idea, because if you’ve ever traveled to Italy you know that the food from one region to another varies quite considerably.

As dessert was served a stand filled with petite fores was also placed on the table. Some were wrapped, and the label read… “Selected for Silversea by BGO Tire”… go figure! Well, it actually said “Selected for Silversea by BGO TRE”, but it gave me chuckle.

I mentioned the candle-lit table above. I was surprised to see actual wax candles being used in La Terrazza tonight, as well as in The Restaurant, unlike most ships I’ve sailed which use the battery-lit faux candles.

Tonight we turn our clocks back one hour (gaining one of the hours as we head west). When we returned to the suite we found a reminder on the bed about the time change, but we also found the travel clock, which normally sits on the night stand, on the bed, changed to the correct time. The attention given to the small details such as that, has very much impressed me to this point.

Tomorrow is our first port of call, so we thought we’d hang our order sign on the door to have breakfast in the suite before departing on our tour in Cartegna. The breakfast room service menu is the most extensive I’ve seen on a ship. Not only is the selection beyond enormous, the thought given to the organization of it so simple, yet so thoughtful. It has a separate portion for each guest to fill in their name and check off their choices, rather than cram the choices on to one order sheet for the cabin. As I said… it’s the attention to the small details!
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Old February 20th, 2009, 11:48 PM
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By the way... I write these reports at night, after returning to the cabin. And unlike feature articles or reviews I write, they don't go to an editor before being posted.

So please forgive typos, grammar mistakes, or sentences that don't make sense I am flying without a net.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 12:07 AM
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Kuki, this cruise is sounding more and more like a cruise I could enjoy! Do you think it will be difficult to not compare future cruises to this one?
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