Looking out onto the pool deck from the inside
of Deck 8 aboard Silver Shadow.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
Welcome to Part 1 of our two-part photo tour aboard Silversea‘s magnificent Silver Shadow.  Carrying just 382 lucky guests, this 28,258-ton vessel boasts a surprising array of amenities for ship that weighs in at just over six hundred feet in length.  
Join us as we take you on a deck-by-deck tour of the Silver Shadow:
Today – Part 1: Decks Four, Five and Six: including The Restaurant, The Bar, The Athenian Lounge, Reception Lobby, Stairwells and The Boutiques.
Tomorrow – Part 2: Decks Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten: including La Terrazza, Le Champagne, Connoisseur’s Corner, Library, Internet Cafe, Panorama Lounge, Pool Deck, Observation Lounge and The Spa, as well as Outdoor Decks.
Silver Shadow tied up at Canada Place in 
Vancouver, BC.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
It was a gray, dreary, Vancouver day when I embarked the Silver Shadow at Canada Place in Vancouver.   At first glance, the Silver Shadow‘s sleek lines and swept-back superstructure give the ship an almost yacht-like appearance.  But a quick step aboard and into the warm, inviting reception area reveals a ship that provides her guests with almost every conceivable comfort.  If you’ve always wanted to try an ultra-luxury line, but were unsure about what a smaller vessel would be like, read on.
The inviting – and remarkably spacious – midship staircase.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
When you first embark, you find yourself in a large, brightly lit atrium that also doubles as the ships main staircase.  Two large, winding staircases on either side lead down to the lowest deck (Tender Deck 3), or all the way up to the main Pool Deck, Deck 8.  Well-placed lighting and natural light filters in from the many windows above, giving this area a very warm, open feeling that’s both remarkable and unexpected on a ship this size.  Open wells on either side allow passengers a glimpse down the entire height of their ship.
The view from Deck 8, looking down.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
If Silver Shadow appears elegantly understated from the outside, the same is largely true of her interiors.  You won’t find any overwhelming brass brightwork here, nor the multitude of high-contrast colors typical of many new ship designs.  What you will find are interiors done with a variety of dark woods, soothing blues, and crimson reds.  These public rooms all exude a bright, airy feeling during the day, though it is not difficult to imagine them taking on an entirely new, more intimate feeling as night falls aboard the ship.
Reception Area, Deck 5.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
In keeping with that theme, we walked forward from the main atrium to the Reception Area.  Home to both the Purser’s Office as well as the Shore Concierge and the Cruise Consultant, this area became a beehive of activity once the first passengers began to board.  Cruise staff mingled with embarking passengers, and waiters politely offered guests a welcoming glass of champagne.  Many embarking passengers seemed to have sailed with the crew before; there were excited greetings and handshakes, the clinking of champagne glasses, and smiles all around.  In fact, it was difficult to tell who was a first-time Silversea passenger and who was a repeat customer: they all wore the same excited look and spoke in cheerful tones.
Arrange land tours with the Shore Concierge.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
Once again, it’s worth re-iterating Silver Shadow carries only 382 guests, meaning it’s very unlikely you’ll ever see much of a lineup materialize in this area.  If anything, it looked to be used as a sort of informal meeting area for passengers to mingle.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
 Just off the Reception area, this rotunda
is the entrance to the Casino and boutiques.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
Moving forward ever so slightly, we come to another, smaller rotunda which functions as the entrance to the Casino and the Boutiques onboard.    Both areas were locked, but it isn’t difficult to imagine what to expect: a casino, complete with its own bar, in addition to shops adjacent to it.  But there’s so much more ship to see, and with that, we journey down to Deck 4 to discover the Silver Shadow‘s primary dining venue, aptly-named The Restaurant.
Bright, nautical, and classy:
The Restaurant aboard Silver Shadow.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
After descending the staircase and emerging at the Deck 4 landing, we find ourselves at the entrance to The Restaurant.  Keeping with the bright, nautical theme present on board, the first thing I noticed ironically wasn’t the silverware, or the fine china so painstakingly laid out.  It was the floral designer and her assistant off to my right, working diligently to arrange, by hand, not only the flowers on the tables, but the large bouquets near the main doors. 
Little touches adorn tables in The Restaurant.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
I had a million questions: do you do this every week?  How long does this take?  How many fresh cut flowers do you go through on the average voyage?  In the end, I didn’t ask – I simply didn’t want to interrupt her hard work before passengers started embarking.  Instead, I felt the only way to accurately do it justice was by photographing it. 

Tables awaiting their diners.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
On a Silversea voyage, there’s no assigned dining time.  Nor is there an assigned table.  Instead, guests are free to dine whenever they want, with whomever they want.  This is possible thanks to the fact that this room can seat the entire passenger compliment in one sitting – with room to spare – if need be.  As with the Reception area one deck above, you’re unlikely to experience lines of any kind here either.
Arguably the best seat in the house.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
After strolling around the room twice, I had to conclude there really isn’t a bad table in the house.  The large square windows let in plenty of light, and passing scenery would be visible even from the most midship tables.  The dark woods and navy blues must make this room absolutely sparkle in the evenings – the perfect end to the world-class meal you’re likely to enjoy here.  While the room was almost totally empty during my walk around, the acoustics seemed very good: my dress shoes have remarkably hard heels on them, which results in a loud “clack! clock! clack! clock!” whenever I walk.  Despite the marble and hardwood flooring – not a hint of echo, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy your dinner conversation even if the entire ship does show up at the same time.
 Artwork outside The Restaurant.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
 Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders

Upon exiting The Restaurant, the wonderful collection of art, artifacts, and memorabilia becomes apparent.  Scattered throughout the ship, in nooks and crannies, hallways, stairwells, and corridors, it seems there’s always something new to look at.  
Onboard artwork: it can be yours.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
Remarkably, some of it can be yours.  Most (but not all) of the artwork on the walls or artifacts on display have a price written on the tag below the artist’s name.  Selling artwork aboard a ship is nothing new – it’s done on almost every ship at sea, and usually involves a veritable forest of questionable “masterpieces” crammed into a public room on a sea day.   I’ve never seen anything I’ve ever felt compelled to purchase…until I toured this ship.  Now, I was admittedly about $3,990 short of the asking price, but what I found remarkable was that there were quite a few quality items on offer, and that it was done so unobtrusively that I didn’t even notice they were for sale until I’d been aboard for almost an hour.
 Looking from Deck 4 up to Deck 5.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders

Back up to Deck 5 we go, and this time we head aft, to The Bar and the Athenian Lounge beyond.
The Bar as viewed from its entrance, heading aft.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
It’s when you start to explore the public rooms that you really discover how well laid-out the ship is.  Passenger accommodation is situated forward, and public rooms are located amidships and farther aft.  Careful thought seems to have been put into the location and design of every public room.  In The Bar, not only can passengers mingle and relax with a beverage of their choosing, but they can do so both before and after the show, thanks to a pair of tucked-away doors that open up onto the lower level of the Athenian Lounge further aft.  
 No shortage of plush, comfortable seating here.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders

The Bar deviates a bit from the standard decor up until now.  Instead of the soft nautical blues present throughout the ship, the red carpeting is offset by the handsome polished dark wood of the bar itself, and by the grey furniture, all of which help to lend this room a clubby atmosphere.  There’s certainly no shortage of seating space here – the entire room can comfortably seat one-third of the passenger compliment at any given time.
What better way to watch the ocean go by, 
than next to the windows in The Bar.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
Since we’re on the topic of bars, now is as good as anytime to mention that on Silversea, almost all beverages – alcoholic or not – are complimentary.  This includes an extensive list of fine wines, spirits, champagnes, bottled water and soft drinks. 
A European-theme is carried out on the
wall next to the balcony staircase (right)
and exit to The Bar (left) in the
Athenian Lounge.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
Moving aft with our favorite drink, we exit The Bar and find ourselves on the lower level of the Athenian Lounge.  As with the open, brightly lit and surprisingly large atrium, the Athenian lounge is something of a surprise: spanning two decks in height and capable of holding almost the entire passenger compliment, this show relaxing, understated show lounge is just another example of how a smaller ship doesn’t necessarily involve compromise.
Plenty of seating and excellent sight lines are found
in the Athenian Lounge.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
In addition to full-blown production numbers and classical soloists, the lounge also plays host to feature films, diverse cultural entertainment, and renowned guest speakers.  

Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
Of course, with all this available seating and the remarkable array of entertainment on offer, the vast majority of the ship is guaranteed to be able to take part.  There won’t be any need to come to the lounge an hour early in order to just get seated.  There will be no lines snaking down corridors when shows let out.
No lines.  Think about that.
As I leave the Athenian lounge and exit out into the spacious corridor on Deck Six, headed for the upper decks, I realize that perhaps beyond the comfortable seating in every public room, the cozy interior design or the invitingly intimate lounges, the greatest feature of Silver Shadow may be the generous amount of space afforded to the passengers.
I head to the forward staircase and call the elevator (which promptly snaps to attention), all the while realizing that this is probably the key to true relaxation.
Heading up via the forward staircase.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
Be sure to check back tomorrow as we continue our tour of the Silver Shadow as we photo- tour Decks Seven, Eight, Nine and TenIn the meantime, why not pay a visit to Silversea’s website to discover more about Silver Shadow and her itineraries.

One Response to Focus On…Silver Shadow, Part I

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