Silver Shadow butlers go far beyond guests’ expectations. // © 2015 Silversea Cruises
Service has always been a defining characteristic of the cruise industry’s luxury sector. No matter how lovely the accommodations or how delicious the food, it is through service that a top-notch cruise experience comes together. Virtually every passenger I talked to on a Caribbean itinerary onboard Silversea Cruises’ Silver Shadow in March mentioned the ship’s extraordinary service.
Butlers in the suites are miracle-workers and go far beyond expectations. I left my glasses next to my laptop one evening and later found them not only cleaned, polished and put away, but also with a new polishing cloth neatly folded over the case. I heard similar stories from several guests.
“The staff pay very strict, kindly attention,” said an American guest I spoke with, who had previously sailed on Silver Shadow eight times. “If you like to have a bath after a shore excursion, they notice and have it ready for you without asking. It’s exactly what we want on vacation.”
The same service was evident in both the formal and informal dining venues. Employees knew where each guest preferred to eat and what they liked. I am a vegan, and the dining-room staff figured it out immediately.
During a lunch buffet, I was stopped by a server I hadn’t even met, who warned me that the soup had chicken stock in it. And without my asking, Le Champagne, the onboard Relais & Chateaux-branded restaurant, arranged a stunning six-course vegan meal for me. It was so beautifully prepared and presented that I had to share.
The only problem the staff can’t address is the inevitable separation anxiety passengers feel when they must leave their ministrations — which may account for Silver Shadow’s high rate of repeat customers.