These handsome, well-run ships are perfect for those looking for a small-ship experience with superb dining and service.
Typical Per Diems: $455+
Silver Shadow sails Alaska from Seward & Vancouver (summer).
Silver Whisper sails the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale & Barbados (winter, spring 2011) and from New York (fall 2011); also sails New England/Canada from New York & Montreal (fall 2011).
With the introduction of Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper, Silversea set the bar very high for the rest of the small-ship ultraluxe lines. They're small enough to be intimate, but large enough to offer a classy, two-story show lounge, a dark and romantic cigar lounge, three dining venues, an impressive spa and gym, and some really great suites, in addition to the fine service and cuisine provided fleetwide.
The suites aboard Silver Shadow leave nothing to be desired. With a chilled bottle of Drappier bubbly at your side, just settle down in the comfy sitting area and bask in the ambient luxury. Private balconies are attached to three-quarters of the plush staterooms, which measure a roomy 287 square feet or more. They're done up in an ultrapleasant color scheme focused on rich blues and soft golds, along with coppery-brown wood tones. Each suite has a walk-in closet, minibar, DVD player, sitting area, lighted dressing table with hair dryer, writing desk, and wonderful marble-covered bathrooms stocked with Ferragamo or Bulgari toiletries (the stewardess comes around at the beginning of the cruise to ask your preference, though you can change your mind at any time). The separate shower stall and long bathtub, along with double sinks, make these among the best loos at sea. All beds have feather-down pillows and duvets, and Egyptian cotton linens. The largest of the four two-bedroom Grand Suites are really something else, measuring 1,435 square feet with three bathrooms, a pair of walk-in closets, an entertainment center, two verandas, and a living room and dining area. All suites have flatscreen TVs and plush mattresses and bedding.
The low-key main lobby area, where the purser's desk resides, branches out into a pair of attractive, four-deck-high staircases, with shiplike railings, and corridors done in a mix of Wedgwood blue and golden peach fabrics and carpeting, along with warm caramel wood tones. The impressive two-story show lounge has tiered seating and lots of cozy clusters of chairs; while the Bar, just outside the show lounge's first level, can be a social hub, with a long bar, dance floor, and plenty of seating. The Observation Lounge, high on Deck 10 overlooking the bow, is a great place to relax, read, and watch the scenery unfold through floor-to-ceiling windows. You'll find a radar screen, astronomical maps, binoculars, and reference books, and, during the day, a self-service coffee, tea, and juice bar. On Deck 8 at the stern, the windowed Panorama Lounge also affords great sea views and lots of comfortable seating. By day, enjoy a continental breakfast or high tea here, while by night the lounge becomes an intimate nightspot, with a pianist serenading dancers. The Connoisseurs Corner is a dark, cozy, and plush spot for cocktails -- even nonsmokers can't help but be drawn to the ambience, while cigar lovers should enjoy the walk-in humidor. There's also a small casino and attached bar, a card room with felt-topped tables, a boutique, and a pool bar.
Pool Fitness & Spa Facilities
A combination of old-style wooden deck chairs and brand-new aluminum and blue canvas deck chairs line the open decks. Unfortunately, jolting grass-green Astroturf covers the entirety of Decks 9 and 10 (a teak-colored synthetic flooring would have been a better choice). There are plenty of places to retire with a good book or take an afternoon snooze, either near the pool and hot tubs on Deck 8 (which is teak, by the way), or at the stern on that deck. There's also a golf driving cage and shuffleboard.
The spa, gym, and hair salon occupy much of Deck 10, and are spacious for a ship of this size. There's a separate workout room with exercise machines, plus a separate aerobics room.
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.