The 382-passenger Silversea Silver Shadow, currently sailing between Vancouver and Alaska until the end of September, welcomed PAX aboard in Vancouver last week for a tour of the ship with a select group of travel media before passengers set sail for Seward.
The ship’s Alaska program has sold out the past three years.
“This year is especially strong, since Canadians and Americans are not wanting to travel overseas,” said Brad Ball, Silversea’s director of media relations, who was visiting Vancouver from the line’s head office in Miami. Americans and Canadians make up about 50 per cent of travellers on the Alaska route, he said.
First-time Silversea passengers are often new to the luxury cruise market but not new to cruising, Ball said: “Many of our passengers have done Alaska on mass market ships but wanted to come back to have an experience where they are not fighting for views or fighting for space.” About half the passengers on any given Silversea sailing have sailed with Silversea before.
Brad Ball, Silversea director of media relations, and Ann Layton, founder and CEO, Siren Communications
Indeed, during the ship tour, PAX chatted with a woman enjoying lunch as a guest of the ship, who said she had cruised to Alaska with Silversea for the past eight years.
As an adult-focused line, Silversea does not offer a kids’ program aboard the Silver Shadow, though children are welcome on board. The line offers single supplements of zero to 20 per cent, and has a social ambassador program for women travelling alone in which “gentleman hosts” act as dance partners.
Silversea offers all-inclusive pricing that covers transfers, drinks, alcohol, premium coffees, soft drinks and tips.
“There’s no nickel-and-diming on the ship,” Ball said. “Guests know exactly what they’re paying up front, so there’s no sticker shock when they get off the ship.”
Still, it’s not a “party ship,” Ball said, but “a floating five-star hotel.” The ship often stays in port overnight so that passengers can fully experience the destinations to which she sails. And the small number of passengers means it’s easy to embark and disembark, so guests can come and go from the ship when docked.
Without flashy amenities like waterslides, guests experience a “country club atmosphere” onboard, Ball said. “It may not wow you the minute you come onboard,” he added, “but after seven days it feels like home.”
But one element of the ship does create an initial “wow” impression: the art collection. Original works from the likes of Picasso and Renoir line the walls. All are available for sale, but there is no art auction. Instead, guests interested in a particular work can contact the onboard art consultant, who will facilitate the purchase and arrange for the work to be shipped to the buyer’s home.
Silversea is actively going after the “very adventurous” Canadian market, Ball said, and relying on travel professionals to bring new guests to the brand. “Many cruise lines are moving away from travel agents,” Ball told PAX. “But our clients are very comfortable using travel agents to book all of their travel. Agents for us are so important.”
Silver Shadow Details
- 382 guests
- 302 crew
- 12 decks
- Built in 2000
- Last refurbished in 2011
- 181 staterooms, all mid-ship and aft, 95 per cent with verandas
- Four restaurants, including Le Champagne, the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea
- All staterooms include butler service and 24-hour room service
- Guests have their choice of toiletries (Bulgari or Ferragamo), pillow style and room scent
- Stateroom refrigerators are regularly stocked with guests’ preferred beverages
At the end of the Alaska season, the Silver Shadow heads to Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. Learn more at Silversea.com.