Silver Shadow sails the Pacific, bound for Victoria
The most common thread in human history is our interaction with the sea.
– Anthony Dalton, Baychimo
Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports
Silversea’s Silver Shadow was buffeted by winds gusting up to 60 kilometres an hour and sea swells of over two metres for much of the day as she ventured into the open expanse of the Pacific Ocean en-route to our port of call in Victoria, British Columbia tomorrow.
By Noon, we had covered a total distance of 253 nautical miles since departing Prince Rupert yesterday at 5p.m., at an average speed of 14.4 knots. That leaves us with 272 nautical miles to cover before arriving at the pilot station off Victoria tomorrow morning, with an arrival time at the city’s Ogden Point Cruise Terminal scheduled for 8a.m.
During his Noon address, Silver Shadow Captain Alessandro Zanello mentioned that the seas and conditions should improve after midnight, as we enter the more sheltered waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait and leave the open Pacific behind us.
I’ve certainly been in worse seas, and Silver Shadow handles the swells and high winds well. But there’s no denying that, after nine days of nothing but calm, some guests are feeling the effects of this ‘motion-on-the-ocean.’
I relied on two things: eating full meals, and staying away from water. Water is not your friend in rough seas. Coffee, cappuccinos, and even beer and soft drinks are better than water when the seas are rough.
We’re not the only ones having an adventuresome day at sea; at Noon, the massive Celebrity Solstice passed us on our port side. Her bulbous bow (the blunt protrusion below the waterline in front of the bow) was completely clearing the water as she pitched forward and aft just a few kilometres away.
If storm-watching isn’t your thing, there’s plenty to do here onboard the Silver Shadow. Most guests, however, opted to relax in the ship’s public rooms with a good book, or enjoy some time luxuriating in their suite.
It’s also worth noting that this is the first Silversea cruise that I have been on where the Casino has been moderately busy. Normally, there is only a handful of folks giving the table games or the ‘one-armed bandits’ a go, but it’s been quite the hub of activity today. Located midship on Deck 5, it’s also bordered by a fabulous little bar that’s tucked out of the way at the forward end of the Casino. This is called the Lampadina Bar, and it’s open today from 6:30p.m. until 8:30p.m., and again from 9:30p.m. until late.
Despite its location high up on Deck 10, where the movement of the ship is the most pronounced, the Spa at Silversea remained popular today. Another very popular event was the Bouillon served in the Panorama Lounge between 11:00a.m. and Noon.
I also want to mention the fabulous crew here onboard the Silver Shadow. They are all universally amazing, and if there’s one reason you should sail with Silversea, this is it. As an example: my butler, Muhammad, saw me coming down the corridor this morning towards my suite. I had my laptop slung under my arm. He was carrying a silver tray with a gigantic glass bottle of water on it. Yet he saw me coming, and went four suites out of his way to open my suite door for me with his keycard – all while perfectly balancing this tray in rough seas.
Then, there’s Nestor, who went out of his way to get me a Ginger Ale in the Panorama Lounge this morning even though he was clearly working elsewhere on the ship and the lounge wouldn’t technically open for another hour. He also got two other guests cappuccinos at the same time.
And, I discovered one gentleman I know from a Silver Spirit and Silver Explorer voyage – Kim – is onboard. I ran into him in La Terrazza tonight. I don’t know where he’s been hiding for the past week and a half!
There’s also Cruise Director Don Fluke, who always keeps his office door open and says hello to passing guests even if he’s buried in paperwork. He, like other Silversea Cruise Directors, is remarkably visible and mingles with the guests frequently. I sailed with Don two years ago onboard Silver Spirit, and it’s been a pleasure to cruise with him again. He came from a large line – who’s name we don’t need to mention – and seems to have settled into the Silversea way of life quite nicely.
These are all little things, and of course, I’m neglecting to mention an enormous number of nice, kind, hardworking people who have made this voyage spectacular over the last nine days. But it’s these little touches that, to me, always push Silversea over the top. I’ve been to Alaska five times before this, but always with mainstream lines. There’s nothing wrong with seeing Alaska that way, but it’s been infinitely more enriching – and relaxing – to do it with Silversea.
On a mainstream line, you might have an Inches of Gold! session at 2:30p.m. On the Silver Shadow, Guest Lecturer Dr. Steven Okulewicz will be in the Athenian Lounge talking about the history of earthquakes in Alaska, including how they are measured, and what is currently being done in the State to minimize their impact. It’s a good way to spend an hour of your afternoon, but a very educational one. I like that.
I also enjoyed Don’s talk on the evolution of classic car fins from the 1950’s. He talks about cars like I talk about ships. “What the heck is that?!” he says, gesturing with his laser pointer to an image on the screen of a car with what has to be the world’s largest bumper/spare tire combination, set back several feet from the rear of the body itself. The depth of knowledge he has on the subject of mid-century design as it relates to cars is truly impressive.
A reader emailed an interesting question this morning that I thought I’d address here: did I feel that Silversea was ‘dumbing down’ the evening dress requirements given the fact that there are two formal nights and only one informal night on this 11-day voyage?
My answer? No. Here’s why:
- Alaska is brutally difficult to pack for. I thought I packed appropriately, and I still got it wrong – like I do on every cruise here. You have to bring clothes for warm weather, clothes for cold weather, and everything in between. Add formal wear to that, and you’re getting ready to exceed the weight restrictions on most airlines. In the Med, I think I’d be disappointed with so few formal nights. Here in Alaska, I’ll take it.
- “Formal” is subjective on Silversea, as people generally dress quite well even on casual nights. You don’t see a lot of men in tuxes walking around outside of formal night, but I’ve worn a suit and tie most nights on the cruise and haven’t been out of place – even on “casual” night. The women, of course, always look fabulous.
- It’s a port-intensive itinerary. We’ve had three days, total, without any ports of call. I think that, on a voyage with more sea days, perhapsinformal nights would likely have increased. There is a lower proportion of informal nights than on some Silversea voyages I have taken, but to be honest, I haven’t given it much thought.
Although we still have one more day left to go in Victoria tomorrow, tonight was the Crew Farewell celebration in the Athenian Lounge. As you might expect, they received a standing ovation from the guests here onboard the Silver Shadow.
I love Silversea’s ships. I like their style, their amenities, and their features. But a ship without a crew is just this thing that floats along on the water, like a home without the people. What’s more, the crew here on Silversea are like family. I’ve been fortunate enough to have sailed with the line enough to call some of these people my friends, and I have met folks onboard who have sailed more times with Silversea than I could ever dream of. For them, they truly are family.
That, then, is Silversea’s greatest strength, beyond the ships and the luxury touches and everything else. You embark as strangers – and leave as friends.
Our Live Voyage Report onboard Silversea’s luxurious Silver Shadow continues tomorrow with one last port of call: Victoria, British Columbia! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.
Follow along with our entire journey!
Silver Shadow, Alaska
|Thursday, June 19, 2014||Vancouver, British Columbia||Embark Silver Shadow||18:00|
|Friday, June 20||Cruising the Inside Passage|
|Saturday, June 21||Ketchikan, Alaska||08:00||14:00|
|Sunday, June 22||Juneau, Alaska||09:30||23:00|
|Monday, June 23||Skagway, Alaska||08:00||17:00|
|Tuesday, June 24||Sitka, Alaska||09:00||18:00|
|Wednesday, June 25||Cruising Tracy Arm / Sawyer Glacier|
|Thursday, June 26||Wrangell, Alaska||07:00||16:00|
|Friday, June 27||Prince Rupert, British Columbia||08:00||17:00|
|Saturday, June 28||At Sea|
|Sunday, June 29||Victoria, British Columbia||08:00||23:59|
|Monday, June 30||Vancouver, British Columbia||07:00||Disembark|