As Silversea Cruises’ 388-passenger Silver Shadow sailed from Port Everglades, FL, to Barbados recently, Travel Agent was onboard to check out the refurbished spaces and soothing, lighter décor, created during a 30-day drydock in early December. Work also continued during the repositioning cruise that followed -putting the finishing touches on a major revitalization.
Now “dressed” in a softer color scheme and sporting new furniture, carpeting, wall coverings, fabrics and so on, the ship, which began service in 2000, has a new sophisticated look and feel, akin to what’s on Silver Muse. Mark Conroy, Silversea’s managing director-The Americas, described the color palette changes as “lighter and soothing but not dull.”
Suite Décor Update
Silver Shadow’s top suites have been totally redone down to the walls, according to Conroy, who also mentions that all suites were refreshed, and all suites’ desk countertops (which were showing their wear) were replaced with marble. Our Deluxe Veranda Suite, #812, felt fresh and totally new in appearance. Overall, guests will find softer colors, fresh bedding and new “Silver Muse-like” décor from floor to ceiling. Suites’ carpets, furniture and fixtures were refurbished or replaced, and all bathrooms renewed.
In addition, guest accommodations’ corridors have also been enhanced with new carpets and suite doors. We loved the carpet accent with its circular splash of swirling green, a nice contrast to hallways with light gray walls and light carpeting. While most of the ship now features muted soft colors, a couple of spaces don’t. One is the Show Lounge, with bright orange seating for a more energetic vibe. Another is the casino.
The Connoisseur’s Corner, which has been relocated to Deck 8
Larger La Dame & Lalique
I dined twice in La Dame, now a larger alternative dining venue. Located on Deck 7, it can now accommodate up to 40 guests for dinner. Previously, it could handle 26 to 30 guests maximum. The restaurant has expanded by taking the space of the previously adjacent Connoisseur’s Club, which has moved to a higher deck.
All guests should now be able to dine here at least once throughout the voyage. Visually, another change is that hand-made Lalique panels have been added to the restaurant’s walls. These crystal decorative artwork panels add a touch of class to the restaurant. Silversea’s Lalique partnership began solely as a décor relationship, but Conroy said that concept expanded after Silversea learned that Lalique owns three different chateaux and several Michelin-star restaurants. So, now La Dame is serving Lalique wines, including an award-winning dessert wine, plus new menu options based on Lalique’s input also were added.
To create more space for La Dame, the line moved Connoisseur’s Corner, the cigar smoking club, to the former Internet Café (not being replaced) on Deck 8. Connoisseur’s Corner also now has a cozy outdoor seating area with wind breakers and plush patio seating so guests can savor a cognac and cigar indoors or al fresco. Also relocated to Deck 8 is the casino, now a bit smaller.
New Atrium & Arts Café
Our favorite gathering spot onboard was the new Atrium area with Arts Café on Deck 5. It’s elegant, yet comfortable with plenty of plush, light blue seating areas, contrasted with some brown seating near the windows and the café area. It offers purser’s desk pedestal stations, a more modern approach to the typical, long, formal purser’s desk, and similar stations for shore excursion staff.
Ringing the space are the future cruise office and an interactive guest relations desk, while at the opposite end from the purser’s pedestals is a large attractive circular bar, the Arts Café (with light fare throughout the day and evening; it’s a great place to grab a light snack, sandwich or dessert) and on either side behind that are the ship’s boutiques, one with jewelry, the other with gifts, sundries and clothing.
Also newly refurbished are La Terrazza, The Restaurant, an expanded Panorama Lounge, Zagara Beauty Spa & Fitness Center (new gym equipment and more), the Observation Library, other public spaces and all public bathrooms. All decks were redone, the jogging track area’s artificial turf was replaced with a new, more appealing material and new outdoor furniture was added to the pool deck, suite balconies, La Terrazza and the Panorama Lounge.
The new Atrium area with the Arts Café on Deck 5 has a large, attractive circular bar.
While much of Silver Shadow’s revitalization mimics what’s on Silver Muse, it has one very distinctive feature — a new livery, with a hull that’s a muted silver (not a shiny silver). “We’ll see how it’s received by guests, as well as how it holds up [to adverse weather / sea conditions],” said Conroy. If new livery does well, the line hopes to extend it to other ships in the fleet.
As part of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Edge program, Norwegian Spirit just received a $100 million-plus renovation. It emerged from a 43-day dry dock with 14 new venues, newly updated staterooms and more of those, enhanced public areas and new hull art.
Recently, Celebrity Silhouette received more suites including a Reflection Suite and several Signature Suites, plus Celebrity Cruises outfitted all cabins with RFID locks, high-speed Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability. Added exclusively for suite guests were the Retreat Lounge (formerly Michael’s Club) and a Retreat Sundeck.
In late April, Carnival Victory will emerge from a massive refurbishment and Carnival Cruise Line is renaming it Carnival Radiance. New additions will include four specialty restaurants, a ropes course, WaterWorks, a pub, piano bar and more.