My daughter and I cruised on the Silver Shadow from Barcelona to Lisbon in September. From embarkation to debarkation it was an experience of excellence! We arrived early at the pier and were welcomed aboard even though we hadn't opted for the 'early embarkation' extra. We were greeted by servers with trays of champagne and escorted to the Panorama lounge for a brief wait before being escorted to our lovely cabin. The staterooms have been repeatedly reviewed, so I will not duplicate that effort, but I have to comment on the lovely soft linens, down pillows and the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in onboard a cruise ship!
The main restaurant had very good food and an outstanding maitre d' and wait staff. When we requested a certain type of wine, our server searched it down and had it available each night of the cruise. The maitre d' was very sensitive to two women traveling together and provided us with excellent dining companions as well as a table for two when we requested it. He even arranged a dinner with the Chief Engineer. Lunch in this dining room is the best-kept secret on board! Most people have lunch at the Terrace, which is buffet service, but the Restaurant has few guests, which leads to remarkable service and really outstanding food.
Room service was incredibly prompt and the food was always hot! We challenged the staff each day with requests not on the menu, and every request from eggs benedict to certain fruit compotes was met with aplomb and accuracy.
Shore excursions were truly exemplary. Lunch at one shore call was really a treat: We were met back at the ship by servers on the pier holding trays of rum punches with the tiny umbrellas, trays of snacks, and of course cool, damp towels! After walking onboard, we were greeted by a three-piece musical group and more canapes. Now THAT's class!
When the ship called at Casablanca, my daughter took the 12-hour excursion to Marrakesh. I opted to stay on board. When she returned she said the bus trip wasn't long at all, as they had frequent stops and a fabulous lunch. Other guests hired private guides or took the train; one even chartered a plane to Marrakesh! The next day we toured Casablanca and the Blue Mosque with a wonderful guide who provided a wealth of information about Muslim beliefs and customs. All excursions had very comfortable motor coaches with knowledgeable guides and frequent stops. In Spain, we visited Grenada and the Alhambra and stopped to smell the lovely olive trees along the way. We went to a sherry winery, sampled the wine and had a very enjoyable time. In Jerez, we saw a wonderful performance by the Andalusian horses in a very new, clean (and air-conditioned) arena.
Debarkation was so easy and seamless, but we really did not want to leave our lovely stateroom. To be sure, Silversea will be our choice in the future for cruising.