Before embarking on the Silver Shadow, we spent three nights in Shanghai at the modern new luxury hotel the Westin Shanghai. The first part of our Far East cruise tour on the Viking Century Star was over. We had toured Beijing, cruised the Yangtze River, and flown to Shanghai. We were sad that our cruise tour with Viking River Cruises was over, but ecstatic that we had more time to explore China before sailing to Japan. There is so much to see and do in China, and the Silver Shadow would allow us to experience more of it in luxurious accommodations and with exquisite cuisine and service.
As we awaited the arrival of the Silver Shadow as she sailed north from Hong Kong to Shanghai, we explored the city on our own, walking the Bund and around downtown Shanghai, marveling at the mixed architecture and sights of the city. We also went to see the Shanghai Acrobatic Show at the Shanghai Grand Theatre. There are numerous acrobat shows in Shanghai, and seeing any one of these is a real treat and a "must do" for every traveler.
You CAN Go "Home" Again - Silversea Silver Shadow Welcomes Me Back
I had sailed on the Silver Shadow just the year before, but I was still surprised how many familiar faces I saw amongst the crew. It helped me understand why so many cruisers sail on the same cruise ship over and over. It's the best of both worlds -- you experience new destinations and meet new people, but enjoy the comfort of a ship whose routine and crew are familiar. This combination of new and old makes the trip both stress reducing and exciting, which is my definition of a perfect vacation. Silversea also does a wonderful job of mixing well-known ports along with unusual ones on most of its itineraries. These exciting itineraries contribute to the fantastic cruise experience delivered on these small luxury ships. Of course, the major attraction of Silversea is the high level of service delivered by the crew. It was my mother's first Silversea cruise, and she quickly learned why I enjoy these ships so much. There is no request too large or small, and the crew actually looks for opportunities to make the cruise more enjoyable for the passengers. The ship is almost all-inclusive, which also makes the cruise experience less complicated. I love being able to meet new friends in the lounge before or after dinner and enjoy a cocktail with them without having to determine who is going to pay.
The 300+ passengers on the ship were an interesting mix of nationalities. In addition to North Americans, there were a lot of British, Australians, and New Zealanders. The passenger list also included guests from all over Europe and Asia, a couple from South Africa, a small group from the Bahamas, and even another mother and daughter from the Atlanta area! As with most cruises lasting over a week, many of the passengers were retired and well-traveled, making for wonderful dinner conversation and good companions. There were also several "singles" aboard. Silversea offers a special "Solo Traveler Savings" option on a limited number of suites on many of its voyages. Rather than the 200% or 150% rate usually charged singles on most cruise lines, Silversea has single supplements available from just 110% to 125% of the published per-person, double-occupancy fare. Since the crew-to-guest ratio onboard Silversea is almost one-to-one, single guests enjoy highly personalized service, warm hospitality, and an ambiance that makes them feel right at home. Also, on many voyages, Gentlemen Hosts are on board, which is a real plus for single female guests looking for a dining companion or a dance partner. Several of the singles traveling on our cruise were doing back-to-back voyages, confirming the attraction of Silversea for single travelers. One young solo traveler was traveling for almost two months on the Silver Shadow. She had originally planned a two-week cruise, but loved the ship and the crew so much she kept extending her stay.
After boarding the Silver Shadow, we joyfully unpacked and reveled in the idea that we would see more of China, but not be living out of a suitcase for the next two weeks. Our Medallion suite was a wonderful layout and perfect mid-ship location. Every cabin on the Silver Shadow is a suite, and most have verandahs. The ship is very quiet, and each suite is like a private haven.
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