Number of Cruises: 10
Cruise Line: Silversea
Ship: Silver Shadow
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Acapulco - Santos
This is probably going to become an extensive review. But it has been an extensive cruise. First about myself. I am 31 years old and – hard to believe – I have cruises already app. 340 days with Silversea. I live in the south part of Germany.
beginning of this year was planned as a three week cruise with my mother (she
has around 370 days) and my aunt (she was a first timer). I will tell you more
later about the reason why we ended up staying 45 instead of 23 days.
Pre-Cruise: As usual about 2 weeks before we left for our cruise we received the documents from Silversea. All neatly packed in leather folders including the Cruise tickets, airline tick-ets, information about the ports for the people staying at home and how to get in touch with us and some very elegant Silversea luggage tags. From this moment on we got more and more excited about the upcoming vacation.
Flight and Hotel: We flew from Frankfurt to Mexico City and after a stop further on to Acapulco. The arrival there was at 11 p.m. but we've been expected by a driver taking us straight to the hotel. The hotel we chose was the Las Brisas (as we heard one of the best hotels in Acapulco). The hotel itself is really beautiful. We stayed at one of the casitas. Little bungalows most of them with an own little pool. All the hotel buildings and everything what has to do with the hotel is in white and pink. Due to the fact that the hotel and the bungalows are build on an inclination all guests can be driven to their bungalows in a jeep. If you want to go to the restaurant – just call and a few minutes later a pink and white jeep is there to pick you up. The hotel offers a beautiful view over Acapulco and also a beach club right at the bay.
We stayed an extra day to enjoy the hotel.
Embarkation: Since a little more then a year Silversea offers early Embarkation. If you have more then 250 days with the company (like us) it is free of charge, otherwise the cost is 100 U$ per person. With this early Embarkation you can go on the ship as early as 10:30 a.m. Relax, have lunch onboard and they even try to have the suite ready by this time.
We took this opportunity and arrived at the port at
10:30. We had a private car picking us up and the moment we arrived at the pier
somebody was taking care of our luggage. We arrived at Deck 5 at the reception
and the hotel director was there to Welcome us. Within 3 minutes we had a glass
of champagne in our hands, our room keys and a stewardess was escorting us to
our suite. Not that we needed that because we knew our way but it is nice
The cruise part 1:
Acapulco is a very busy city. Lots of skyscrapers, shops and restaurants. We actually did not discover much of the city but other people on the ship told us about it.
Day at sea
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
If you ever come to Puerto Quetzal it is probably the easiest and safest way to see the area if you take a tour. If you are more adventurous like us take a taxi and just tell the driver to show you the area. Our driver (98% don't speak anything then Spanish) took us into the next city called San Jose. The people there are very poor but friendly. Don't expect it to be clean. But it was an interesting way to see the real life here in Guatemala.
Day at sea
San Jose, Costa Rica
My aunt and I took a tour to the rain forest today. A bus took us there. It is approximately an hour to get to a little hotel. On the way to get there we stopped at a bridge to watch crocodiles. They were lying in the sun on a river bank.
The hotel itself is
beautiful with a big park perfectly fitted in the natural surrounding. Then the
bus took us uphill into the forest. Together with our guide we walked for about
2 hours and we crossed some really high suspension bridges. The nature is really
beautiful and we also had the chance to see some birds. So if you are interested
in nature don't miss the rain forest in Costa Rica.
Day at sea
Fuerte Amador, Panama
After we anchored at the Bay of Fuerte Amador (and island close to Panama City) we took the tender to go ashore. We did not take a tour instead we hired a cab to take us into Panama City.
Panama City has two parts. The new town which is a typical modern city with skyscrapers and the old part. There you can still see the old buildings. And we have to say we liked the old part more. The modern cities are all the same. Again we had a taxi driver who spoke only Spanish but somehow we managed it. Of course when you are in Panama the Canal is not to be missed. Silversea offers a tour to go there or you venture of on your own.
Day at sea
Manta is not only the second largest port in Ecuador it is also a holiday resort for the Ecua-dorian people. As usual we took a taxi to explore the area on our own. Again we had to use our little Spanish and hand and feet to get to the place we wanted to. We went to Montecristi. It is a city about 30 minutes away from Manta. Montecristi is the place where the Panama hat comes from. On the colorful and lively market you can buy the hat and you can watch the men making it. We did lots of shopping on the market and also the church is not to be missed.
In Salaverry we did about the same thing one of the Silversea tours offered but again by taxi. In the morning we went to see the temple of sun and moon. These amazing huacas (pron. wa-cas), or temples, were built during the Mochica era (1-650 A.D.) on the left side of the Moche River in Southern Trujillo. Huacas were traditionally built against a sacred hill, and the Huaca de la Luna required more than fifty million adobe bricks to be constructed. In front of the Huaca de la Luna is the Huaca del Sol, probably the largest mud-brick structure in the Americas. The Huaca del Sol is 372 yards long, 175 yards wide and was originally over 130 feet high! Like the Huaca de la Luna, it has a series of terraces and slopes leading to its summit.
The temple of sun is not open yet. We could only visit one of the temples. In the afternoon I went to Trujillo the main city close to Salaverry. There I had the chance to experience something really special. It was the day of the Marinera parade. This is La Marin-era: a whirl of blinks, movement and sexy smiles. A retinue dance in which love is born of the magic movement of the handkerchiefs and that, as they say, represents the impossible romance between a turkey and a steed.
Being the most popular typical dance of Peru,
different schools and dancing styles exist. La Marinera Limeña (original of
Lima, the capital city), is of moderate and elegant movements; the Northern one,
full with romance, imitates the cadence of a Horseback Riding, while the
Marinera Puneña has an Andean shade. If you have the chance to see a Marinera
dance take it. It is more then beautiful. Especially the little kids.
We had fortunately three days in Callao. On the second day the first part of our cruise came to an end and new passengers arrived. During our stay in Callao we took twice a taxi. Once into the new part of town to do some shopping. And the second time to discover the old part of the town.
Shopping is good in Lima. Not only Alpaca sweaters but of course beautiful Silver Jewelry. If you don't want to go into the city maybe because of a lack of time there is also some shopping right at the port.
The cruise Part 2:
The old part of Lima is very interesting. We visited the cathedral, the bishop's palace and a monastery. We could have spent more time there but then we would have missed the ship.
About Pisco I can't tell much unfortunately. Silversea offers a couple of tours that sound really interesting. The problem was that my mother was very sick and we spent all day at a local doctor. The port itself is about 40 minutes away from the town center. On the way to get there is a hotel and that is it. But the tours must have been really interesting according to other passengers.
Day at sea
The little city of Arica is really interesting. The port is only a two-minute walk from the city center. There is a big shopping street and very interesting three buildings build by Gustave Eiffel. It is also interesting to take a taxi up on a hill. There is a statue of Christ and you have a beautiful view over the city and the surrounding.
Iquique is a very busy town. Not only because it is one of the biggest free trading zones. The city itself is very interesting to see. There are a couple of buildings left from the times when nitrite mines were still in use. It is also worth to take a tour to one of the ghost towns close to the mines.
Day at sea
If you ever have the chance to get to the city of Coquimbo take a bus or a taxi to the city of La Serena. It is a beautiful town with a big park, lots of churches and a real interesting market. So lots of shopping. The drive is about 10 minutes. Silversea had a shuttle bus which took us to a shopping mall from there it is about a 10 to 15 minute walk in the town center.
Day at sea
Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile
This has been the first time that Silversea anchored of the shore of Robinson Crusoe Island. The weather has been really windy but they managed to take us ashore via tender. It was a real bumpy ride. There are usually no excursions offered but there are many things to do. You can go trekking in the hills and discover the beautiful nature, you can ask a local to take you by boat to the place where Alexander Selkirk, the sailor who inspired Daniel Dafoe to write Robinson Crusoe or you can just walk around and talk to the people and discover the little place on your own. There are some restaurants where you can get excellent fresh lobster.
Valparaiso itself is easy discovered. There is one main street with some shops. So the best thing to do is to take a taxi or the shuttle bus offered by Silversea to Vina del Mar. It is just six miles out of Valparaiso and it is Chiles main seaside resort, often dubbed "the garden city" because of its beautiful parks and gardens. Excellent beaches are lined by fine promenades with a range of hotels, restaurants and a casino. There are also two shopping malls where you can get everything you need.
Here in Valparaiso we were scheduled to leave. And as I said before I will let you know how a 23-day cruise became a 45-day cruise. My mother and I love Silversea so much and we had the time and the chance to stay a little longer so we extended. My aunt had to fly home but we wanted to enjoy the cruise a little longer.
The cruise Part 3:
Day at sea
Puerto Montt, Chile
One day is usually not enough for Puerto Montt and the surrounding. So you have to choose. Shopping in the city or discovering the surrounding. We took a taxi to go to the Lake District. There are many beautiful little towns directly at the lakes and you can easily spend the day there. It is very impressive to stand at the lake and see the Osorno volcano in the distance. This is at Lake Llanquihue. The drive from Puerto Montt to the first of these settlements Fru-tillar is about 25 to 30 minutes.
Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
On the way to Puerto Chacabuco you get already the first impression of the Chilean Fjords. Puerto Chacabuco itself is really, really small. All you can do right there is having a meal in a hotel. For all the other things you have to go either to Puerto Aisen (Silversea offered a shuttle bus to get there) or you take on of the tours. You can either go to the Simpson Valley and visit the city of Coihaique which was founded in 1929, or you take a tour to a private park which is called Aiken del Sur. You will find beautiful lakes and waterfalls. I can recommend this for nature lovers.
Laguna San Raphael
At Laguna San Raphael Silversea offered a complimentary tour. Divided in four groups all passengers had the chance to go on a catamaran and take a 1 ½ hour ride to see beautiful gla-ciers. Even with the bad weather we had, rain and fog, the glaciers have been really impres-sive.
Day at sea
Day at sea
During these two days at sea we cruised the Chilean Fjords. And we saw another massive glacier called Pius 11. The Captain took us right next to it as close as he could. But again the weather was not really good but still the Fjords and Glaciers are impressive.
Silversea offers plenty of tours at this port. Especially because we stayed there for two days. About 30 passengers went to the Antarctica. It must have been an impressive tour. The loved it. Others went to the Torres del Paine National Park. There is usually also a tour going to a Penguin reserve. We took a taxi and went to Fuerte Bulnes. This was the first settlement in Chile and you can still see the wooden houses and churches. The second day we went into Punta Arenas itself. There is lots of shopping.
Day at sea
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
First we were not sure if we could go ashore. Strong winds made it difficult to use the tenders. But we made it. This time we booked a tour. We usually only do this if we can't do it on our own. We went to a lagoon to see penguins. The first part of the tour was by bus. Halfway we stopped and local farmers picked us up with their landrovers and off we went cross-country to the lagoon. First we only saw some penguins in the distance but the moment we sat down on the beach they came from everywhere sitting in front of us staring at us. This experience was really fascinating.
Day at sea
Puerto Madryn, Argentinien
If you are not interested in the city itself (it offers mostly shopping and a long beach for a walk) you can go on one of the Silversea tours. When we docked there they offered two tours. One was a penguin tour, which was not interesting for us because we saw the ones on the Falklands and the other tour took us to an Estancia and to a sea lion colony which was interesting.
Day at sea
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Punta del Este is also know as the St. Tropez of South America. All the wealthy South American people go there. Of course there is exclusive shopping. You can go sailing or do other water sports. There are also some beaches.
The city is a interesting mixture of old and new. In the center you find old parts next to new buildings. Silversea offers tours to an Estancia or to a winery. We discovered Montevideo on our own and there are many things to see in the center.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
On most cruises Buenos Aires is an Embarkation port. That of course means most people don't have much time to discover the city. Take your time. You need it. It will take to long to describe everything. But if your are there go to a Tango show. This dance is so fascinating.
The cruise Part 4:
Day at sea
Rio Grande so Sul, Brazil
Day at sea
Many European Immigrants came to Itajai and you can still see this in some parts. About 90 minutes away from Itajai you can find the city of Blumenau. This German settlement has the biggest Oktoberfest outside of Munich. You can also find many German farms and restaurants there. Itajai itself is a nice little town with shops, restaurants and bars.
We disembarked the ship in Santos to fly home from Sao Paulo so I can't tell you anything about this place.
The food on this cruise: There is absolutely nothing we can complain about. No matter if it was in the dining room, the Terrace Cafe or at the pool grill. The food was always excellent. We also had the wonderful experience of three pool deck barbecues and three galley brunches. Executive Chef Laurent Austrui and his team did an excellent job.
Our suite: Most of the time everything was perfect. Only on the last leg of the cruise we had a new suite and there has been a crack in a mirror and some stains on the carpet but nothing really major. We had as usual a regular veranda suite and we loved it to spend time on our balcony.
Entertainment: The shows of Jean Ann Ryan Company have been as good as always. There have been guest entertainers on board and I'd like to mention two of them. Steve Teague and J.C. Fisher. Both of them excellent singers and entertainers. We hope to see them somewhere again.
The crew and officers: I would love to mention all of them by name. Because everyone did a wonderful job. But of course I can't mention everyone but some. Especially the Hotel Director Mark Rumbarger, Cruise Director Colin Brown, Maitre D' Walter Capelli and International Hostess Elena went out of their way to please every passenger.
So to finish this review I have to say – Silversea is excellent and we will for sure go back to cruise with them.