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Silver Dawn - Revisted

It is a year since our first cruise on Silversea - Silver Dawn, last year we were in the Mediterranean in the period following the death of Queen Elizabeth. We loved Silver Dawn, so when we spotted a cruise advertised by Imagine Cruising, featuring, Catherine Jenkins, Lulu and Aled Jones cruising around Ireland and Scotland, we thought why not.

The cruise was setting sail from Southampton and ending up in Copenhagen. Arriving in Southampton, embarkation was well underway and after a short wait we were onboard. At the gangway the assistant cruise director passports, on entering the ship we were greeted by two charming young ladies offering hot towels to wipe down your sweaty hands or in my case my shiny solar panel. But no welcome committee of ships officers. This was in complete contrast to our last visit, at the time I wrote “The hotel director, other officers and crew were on the gangway to welcome us onboard and informed us that lunch was indeed being served in The Terrazza Restaurant”

This was to be the story of the cruise; senior officers were conspicuous by their absence. We saw the captain precisely three times, the Captain's Welcome party, the Venetian Society cocktail party, and the crew farewell. Oh, we did see him ashore once jogging in Denmark, but that doesn’t really count. Not once did we see him around the ship mixing with passengers. The same pretty much applied to the Hotel Director, his Meet and Greet office door stood open all cruise, not once did we see him in there and hardly ever saw him around the ship.

The Silver Dawn is a beautiful ship and we loved being back onboard, the welcome and excellent service provided by the crew members more than made up for the lack of presence of senior Officers.

Silver Dawn - Looking from

The Panorama Lounge to the main staircase.

The crew is multination and a large number of hotel staff being made up of Filipinos and Indian crew members. We also notice a large number of Ugandan crew members. There were so many crew members that made our cruise so enjoyable, particular mention has got to go to Brian, bar steward in the Dolce Vita Lounge who entertained us with his witty comments throughout the cruise. But of course, it is unfair to single out crew members as they all go above and beyond to provide a great cruise experience for their passengers.

Brian - Bar Steward

Dolce Vita Lounge.

He had a wicked sense of Humour

As I mentioned earlier Imagine Cruising chartered the cruise and provided additional entertainment onboard.

Imagine Cruising featured three entertainers who made appearances at different points during the cruise. The first performer to grace the stage was Katherine Jenkins, and I must say, her performance was absolutely splendid, showcasing her incredible voice. She delivered two remarkable shows on the same evening but was not spotted around the ship the following day.

A few days later Lulu arrived, she had a longer show and did two consecutive evenings, we were picked to attend her show on the first evening, after forty five minutes and very little singing there was an interval, half the audience did not return for the second half, we did, She was basically doing a one woman show of her career with a little singing interspersed.

Her show on the second night according to fellow passengers had been adapted and shortened. She also scrapped the so that no one could escape, she also did more singing than the first night.

Lews Castle - Stornaway

Later in the cruise we were scheduled for a visit to Scrabster in Scotland, yes, we had never heard of it either. The weather turned a bit blowy, and the harbourmaster advised our Captain that it would be impossible to tie up at the jetty. Silversea decided to divert the ship to Stornoway, which for us turned out to be a delightful unplanned visit.

Aled Jones was to join Silver Dawn in Scrabster, but he was diverted to Stornoway, where he arrived but unfortunately, his luggage did not. we saw him arrive onboard minus his luggage; he did however have three Peacock bags with some emergency supplies. Stornaway is hardly a metropolis for gentleman’s outfitters unless you want a Harris Tweed Suit.

The theatre on Silver Dawn, the Venetian Lounge can seat around half the passenger compliment, so Aled’s two shows was scheduled over two nights. Aled’s repartee about his lack of luggage and emergency supplies, including the borrowed Butlers jacket added to the enjoyment of the evening

He proved to be highly engaging and delivered an exceptional performance, earning our vote as the standout entertainer among them all. He graced the ship for a few days, and, unlike Catherine Jenkins and Lulu, he didn't remain elusive; in fact, he was incredibly gracious when approached by guests.

The voices of Silversea three guys and three girls, classical pianist Annetta, guitarist Chayan, Jazz duo Esther and Garth and the Silver Dawn Band complete the entertainment team. And popped up here are there for pre-dinner drinks and on various other occasions.

One notable absence on this cruise was the talented cruise director Vicki Van Tassel, who, as she once humorously clarified, is not a stripper and that "Van Tassel" is indeed her real name. Last year, Vicki had performed her own show, which had been a hilarious highlight. In conversation with the international hostess, we learned that Vicki had moved on to the new ship "Silva Nova."

The main drawback of this cruise around Ireland and Scotland was the frequency of tender ports. Additionally, we had three sea days, which are typically a delightful opportunity to relax in the sunshine on deck. However, despite England experiencing a heatwave, the northern Atlantic didn't cooperate, providing us with misty and chilly weather that kept most passengers indoors.

We did venture on deck one evening to dine at “Hot Rocks” having wrapped up well and draped in blankets we enjoyed a nice dinner, but eventually had to retreat inside the ship to get warm.

La Dame - Lobster Salad

Without a doubt, the dining highlight of our cruise was at the specialty restaurant "La Dame." Surprisingly, this restaurant wasn't very crowded during the cruise, and we had no trouble securing reservations. The service was top-notch, and the food arrived piping hot, a contrast to other dining venues on the ship. It's possible that the lower attendance was due to the fact that there were very few Americans on this particular cruise; in fact, only 12 people were present on the night we savoured this exceptional dining experience.

There is a supplementary charge for “La Dame”, you can go even further by adding a wine flight to the menu. The wine list offers excellent wines and vintages from around the world with prices to match. Being a cheap skate l opted for the included wines, to my surprise, there was no disapproving look or raised eyebrows from the sommelier and we had a great conversation about the wines of southern France, being featured that evening.

Reflecting on our past, more than four decades ago, when we were budding restaurateurs during our autumn vacation, my partner and I used to embark on road trips to southern France. We would return with our car heavily laden with cases of wine from that very region. During those times, these wines were virtually unknown in the UK, and it brought us immense joy to introduce them on our wine list back in the United Kingdom.

There are eight dining options on Silver Dawn and being entirely truthful, we had a very mixed experience with dining on this cruise. The biggest disappointment on this cruise was S.A.L.T. kitchen, on our previous cruise last year it was our absolute favourite restaurant. In this restaurant each evening there are a number of dishes featuring the country that you visited that day, backing up this daily changing menu is a selection of dishes that remain for the cruise. I tended to select the daily changing dishes. Sadly, the theme of the cruise was cold plates and cold food, my experience ranged from a very nice Cornish game hen to very overcooked chicken that was inedible and cod that was so undercooked that l could not eat it and l like translucent cod.

S.A.L.T Kitchen - Sea And Land Taste

Breakfast in the MDR was cooked a la carte and invariably good, lunch in La Terrazza, buffet style was mostly good. In the evening La Terrazza turns into a full-service restaurant and was also pretty good, I was looking forward to their excellent Spaghetti Carbonari, which sadly had disappeared from the menu, but the shrimp with lentils was as good as ever.

One noticeable trend around the ship was that portion sizes had increased. In my honest opinion, considering the abundance of food offerings, smaller portions could have sufficed. I observed a significant amount of food being wasted during this cruise.

Skagen Denmark- Where the Baltic Sea meets the North Sea

Before arrival at our disembarkation port of Copenhagen we stopped off at the delightful Danish port of Skagen, we had never heard of Skagen, but one of the Danish passengers onboard filled us in on the delights of the town. Skagen is a charming coastal town located at the northernmost tip of Denmark. With its stunning landscapes, it has an amazing light which has inspired many Danish painters. And is quite an artist colony. It is here that two seas meet, the North Sea and the Baltic come together and display some interesting formations.

The Beautiful Silver Dawn at Anchor.

All too soon Silver Dawn docks early morning in Copenhagen and in no time at all we are off the ship and enjoying a half day tour of this beautiful, interesting city before being deposited at the airport for our flight home.

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18 de set. de 2023

Much enjoyed Aled Jones when he performed in Sydney years ago. He has the personal touch, even on stage. In our case he asked the audience to send him questions which I took advantage of. I asked if like his compatriot Bryn Terfel he'd had to change his name when he started his entertainment career. He responded that he hadn't

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