Our first cruise since the pandemic!
We booked the Silversea Silver Dawn cruise from Rome to Venice, about 5 months prior to the departure date.
This is not our first rodeo, we have cruised before.
However this is the first time that we traveled with Silversea.
We paid for our trip on board the Silversea Silver Dawn cruise ship and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.
We made a video of our cruise aboard the Silversea Silver Dawn.
You can watch it here:
A week before the departure date we received an email from Silversea to inform us that we could book our complimentary rides to and from the airport.
These transfers are complimentary up until 80 kms per ride.
We booked our 2 rides on the Blacklane website.
The Blacklane service was excellent. Both times a very polite driver in a black suit showed up right on time in a super clean black Mercedes. A bottle of water per client is also provided.
Impeccable service, highly recommendable.
We arrived at the Civitavecchia port around 2:15pm.
Boarding starts at 2pm.
The staff at the information desk told us which shuttle bus to take to get to the Silversea Silver Dawn ship.
Once there the checkin area was quite busy already.
Our luggage got a Silversea tag with our room number on it, and was then sent off to the ship.
We filled in a covid checklist, and were told to sit down and wait for the next step in the embarkation process.
For this cruise Silversea would only let passengers on the ship who received at least 3 covid vaccines and had a negative quick test certificate taken less than 24 hours before boarding.
We were in Rome the 3 previous days. That morning we had a quick test done at a pharmacy around the corner from our hotel. Passengers who were not able to have the test done could get tested for free right here before boarding.
After about half an hour we were called to start the next step.
Our covid vaccination certificates and negative quick test was checked, and we were cleared for embarkation.
The staff behind the last desk checked our passports, linked a credit card to our room keys and sent us off to the ship.
Once on board the Silversea Silver Dawn we scanned our room keys to check in and left our passports with the staff. No worries, you get them back the day of disembarkation when you leave the ship.
It is 3pm, rooms are accessible at 4pm, so we decide to grab a late lunch in one of the restaurants on board.
Checkin went pretty well.
The only thing we didn’t appreciate was the lack of toilets in the waiting area. Considering the average age group of the passengers, the bulk of them being in their sixties, seventies and eighties – and the fact that Rome airport and Rome’s city centre is a 90 minute drive to Civitavecchia port, toilets should have been provided.
We were not the only passengers to make that remark.
We stayed in cabin 612, a classic veranda suite located on deck 6 of the Silversea Silver Dawn ship.
First impression: this cabin is huge!
Compared to other cruise ship cabins we have stayed in, this veranda suite is indeed quite spacious.
In the hallway is a door leading to the bathroom, followed by another door to the dressing. After that comes the spacious bedroom and lounge area, and a sliding door gives you access to the balcony.
Bedroom and lounge
Let’s start with the largest room.
The grey and beige colors, together with the soft yellow light gives this cabin such a cozy vibe.
Yes, this cabin is a pleasure to stay in.
The bed was fantastic, nice and firm mattress and fluffy pillows – we slept like babies.
The sitting area next to the bed is large and comfortable as well.
It contains a couch, armchair, table and desk with chair.
Under the desk is the minibar that is stocked with complimentary soft drinks, water, champagne and beer.
When we first stepped into our room after boarding, a chilled bottle of champagne was waiting for us in an ice bucket on the table – what a way to start this Silversea Silver Dawn cruise!
What we also liked about this cabin is the fact that the bedroom and sitting area can be closed off by a curtain. In case one of you wants to read or work and the other one wants to sleep.
We didn’t use the balcony that much, except to watch the cruise ship dock in the morning in a new port.
Is there anything that we didn’t like about this room?
We don’t think so.
What to say about the bathroom?
We also thought that it was quite spacious for a cruise ship bathroom.
No wonder, this bathroom contains a bathtub and a separate shower!
We are shower people, not bath people, but June enjoyed a bath here almost every day.
And what about the shower!
It was spacious as well, great water pressure and temperature – just perfect.
The Bulgari bath products were fragrant and great. The shower gel, shampoo and hair conditioner were restocked daily.
Also provided: kleenex, Bulgari hand soaps and body lotion, cotton pads, plenty of toilet paper and 2 hand loofahs. A hairdryer can be found in one of the drawers of the desk in the sitting area.
Yes, we liked this bathroom a lot.
Its greyish and white color tones, the shiny chrome and mirrors gave it a luxurious feel.
Next to the bathroom is the dressing.
This room isn’t very large but still enough to store our clothes and empty luggage during this 12 day cruise.
Clothes hangers are plentiful, the wardrobe also had enough drawers to put all our stuff in.
The upper drawer is where you can find the safe and a jewellery box.
Other things you can find in this dressing room: 2 life jackets, 2 bathrobes, shoe shine sponge, umbrella clothes brush, sewing kit, laundry list, luggage rack and right next to the wardrobe a foldable table top for in room meals.
During our Silversea Silver Dawn cruise housekeeping would stop by twice a day.
In the morning from 8am onwards, and a turndown service after 7pm.
Used towels would be changed twice a day as well, whether you put them on the floor or not.
Bed sheets were changed every other day.
The fridge was refilled daily as well with soft drinks, still and sparkling water, beer, champagne – even 2 bags of cashew nuts to snack on.
Housekeeping staff was very polite and professional.
Our Indonesian butler Mostafa came to introduce himself pretty much right away.
He is the one you can call and ask anything and he will take care of it.
Whether you want something to eat, a bottle of wine in the room, extra towels, extra housekeeping, better pillows, you name it – he will help you out. The telephone in the cabin has a butler button you just press and he will answer, or call you back asap if he is just attending to other guests.
He will also unpack and pack your luggage if you like.
Or come to you and ask if he can prepare a bath for you – complete with classical music, electric candles, bath pillow and macarons. We asked for caviar as well, which he promptly brought us.
Our butler also came to see if we had any shoes to polish.
We had indicated that we were celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary on board. Around noon the table in the room was set up and a lovely cake and another bottle of champagne was waiting for us.
You can order a bite to eat or drinks 24/7.
When your butler is not available (mainly between 12pm and 4pm) you can still call room service to take care of your wishes.
You can find the room service menu on your TV.
It consists of cold starters (beef carpaccio, tartare, caviar), soups, pasta, salads steaks, chicken, burgers, and desserts. You can also order any type of food from the onboard restaurants when they are opened. For instance pizza, if the al fresco pizza restaurant on deck 11 is opened. Or cakes, scones and sandwiches from the Arts Café.
In suite breakfast is also available.
Just fill in the request form, choose a time slot and hang it outside your door or place it on your bed and housekeeping will take care of it when they come over for the turndown service.
In the morning your butler brings your breakfast and sets up the table for you.
We ordered breakfast once and were not very impressed.
The table setting looked nice, and the food was plated up nicely as well.
However the eggs Benedict we ordered were cold, and the soft boiled eggs were hard boiled.
What was good was the coffee, the pastries and the salmon bagel.
This seems to be the same problem with in room breakfasts we have had on other trips, only order cold items such as breads, fruits, yogurts and such.
We heard from quite a few other fellow passengers on this Silversea Silver Dawn cruise that they would just order coffee in the room, nothing else.
The reception area of the Silversea Silver Dawn is located on deck 5.
You can find 2 reception areas on both sides after you step into the Dolce Vita bar.
Here you can get any type of information about activities, excursions, questions about dinner reservations, wifi, etc.
The staff is very helpful and efficient.
The Silversea Silver Dawn has numerous restaurants to choose from.
For some you need a dinner reservation and/or pay extra.
For breakfast there is a choice between the à la carte breakfast at the Atlantide restaurant (open at 8am) or the buffet breakfast at the La Terrazza restaurant (open at 7am).
Or grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich or croissant at the Arts Café which is open all day long from 6:30am until 11pm.
We would mainly go to the La Terrazza breakfast buffet because we had excursions booked for which we often had to disembark around 8:30am.
The La Terrazza buffet has it all: pastries, fruits, yogurt, cold cuts, smoked salmon, breads, juices, smoothies, eggs made to order, crispy bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns, sausages… you name it.
Excellent quality and very fast and attentive service.
The staff will bring you water, coffee or tea, and you can also order delicious eggs any style made on the spot, pancakes or waffles that will be brought to your table if you don’t feel like getting up.
On warm days it is fantastic to sit outside, splendid!
The Atlantide restaurant offers an a la carte breakfast menu.
Here as well staff will bring you hot and cold beverages while you browse through the breakfast menu.
Eggs any style, with extras such as mushrooms, hash browns, superb crispy bacon, tomatoes, beans, sausages, etc. Pancakes, waffles, smoothies, granola, yogurt, porridge, pastries, bread basket, fruit platter…
The eggs we ordered were perfect.
The picture of the eggs Benedict doesn’t do them justice but they were delicious, perfectly poached. Very good.
We only came here twice for breakfast – once on the only day at sea during this cruise, and another time when our excursion was planned to leave at 9:30am.
As mentioned before the Arts Café is also a place on the Silversea Silver Dawn ship where you can grab a bite to eat in the morning.
This place is open practically all day long from 6:30am until 11pm.
In the morning you can enjoy a hot beverage and pastries or sandwiches. During the day the choice of small bites changes. We often went there after an excursion for cakes, scones, pies, cookies, brownies or a cheese board.
The setting is great, you can sit inside or outside.
A real pleasure.
There are 6 options for lunch.
Again the Arts Café, the lunch buffet at the La Terraza restaurant, and 4 a la carte places: Atlantide (meat, fish, salad, soups), Kaiseki (Japanese), The Grill and Spaccanapoli (pizza).
Since we had an excursion booked almost every day with lunch included, we were not able to visit them all for lunch onboard. We would always be back around 2pm, so 3 of these places would be closed or about to close around that time.
The only places that would still be open for a late lunch are The Grill, Spaccanapoli and Arts Café.
The Grill restaurant is located on deck 10, in the shady areas around the swimming pool area and next to the Pool Bar. It serves as a lunch spot until 3:30pm, in the evening it becomes the Hot Rocks restaurant.
Here you can get a selection of sandwiches, burgers, wraps, appetizers and daily lunch specials such as grilled meat (steaks and chicken) or grilled fish.
We ate here once, and ordered the fish burger and tuna salad sandwich.
Both meals were OK, a good portion of comfort food again with good average fries and sauces, but not super amazing. Just a bite to eat if you feel a bit peckish after an excursion or while sunbathing.
The pizza restaurant Spaccanapoli is located on deck 11 of the Silversea Silver Dawn, overlooking the swimming pool area below.
It opens at 11am and serves pizza until 11pm.
Pizza is the perfect late lunch on this ship if you ask us.
The pizza dough is fresh and baked in a proper pizza oven. The choice of pizzas is great, and yes the pizzas we tasted here were delicious.
Crunchy crust, fresh toppings, assembled and baked on the spot.
Due to many people returning from excursions and looking for a quick bite, this place gets very busy between 2 and 3pm. One time we waited for 20 minutes to get menus but the place was severely understaffed which made us get up and go to the Arts Café in the end.
But overall a great place to grab a slice of pizza in the sun during the day!
Plenty of choice for dinner on the Silversea Silver Dawn!
Restaurants where don’t need a reservation: Atlantide, S.A.L.T. Kitchen and the Spaccanapoli pizza restaurant.
Restaurants for which reservation is needed: La Terrazza, Silver Note and Hot Rocks. At La Dame and Kaiseki reservation is also needed and an extra fee per dinner guest is billed.
Before your Silversea Silver Dawn cruise you get the possibility to make dinner reservations online in advance, something we weren’t made aware of by our travel agency. So after checking into our cabin, we tried to make reservations using the reservation tool on our TV screen. However most restaurants were already fully booked, or only had free spots left after 9pm.
However the restaurant managers are still able to make reservations for you on the spot, so we ended up reserving a dinner table for practically the rest of our cruise at La Terrazza.
On our first night aboard the Silversea Silver Dawn we decided to go to the S.A.L.T. Kitchen restaurant. We had read very good reviews about it. It started off well with delicious warm baked bread rolls, herb butters and white bean dip.
But the food let us down, we were somewhat disappointed afterwards.
We ordered pasta a la gricia, mozzarella, omber fish and veal scaloppine.
The fish and meat were a bit dry. All courses were prepared with fresh ingredients, however the meals also lacked creativity we thought. It was OK but nothing spectacular.
Our first dinner was a bit underwhelming, and we didn’t go back here during the rest of our trip. The staff was very attentive though, the complimentary wine list was amazing, the cheese platter was good and service was fast.
On our third night aboard the Silversea Silver Dawn (also known as the tuxedo and cocktail dress evening) we decided to go to Atlantide.
No reservations required here.
On the menu: caviar, octopus, roast beef, smoked salmon, salads and soups. Main courses are fish and meat, served with your choice of potatoes, vegetables and sauces.
We chose the New York strip (cooked rare), with carrots, green beans and mash, and a drawn butter sauce. And it was excellent, perfectly cooked steak and well seasoned vegetables.
The large choice of free wines is fantastic as well.
Like we mentioned earlier, we ended up reserving a dinner table for practically the rest of our cruise on the Silversea Silver Dawn at La Terrazza.
And it became our favorite dinner restaurant of all.
Food on the a la carte menu is Italian. If the weather is warm enough, you can sit outside on the terrace to enjoy your dinner.
We loved their fresh pastas. Oftentimes Luc would just order prosciutto to start with and pasta as a main course. The staff here at La Terrazza is fantastic as well, well trained and attentive.
The wine sommelier will come over first and offer you a glass of rosé prosecco to start dinner with, and bring a red and white wine suggestion of the day. Or just pick a bottle of wine from the extensive wine list.
Appetizers are always brought to each table as well: a plate with sharing appetizers, and 3 types of breads with a bulb of smooth roasted garlic.
And then the fresh pastas, they were delicious.
We loved the bigoli cacio e pepe, the gnocchi with lardo and parmesan sauce, pappardelle with Italian sausage sauce, ravioli in walnut sauce and aglio olio spaghettini.
Other starters were beef carpaccio, trio of Italian charcuterie, poached egg with white asparagus in cacio pepe sauce and minestrone soup.
Main courses we loved: the softest veal chop with bell pepper and taleggio, pan seared sea bass with eggplant, Venetian style veal liver with caramelised onion sauce, breaded veal chop alla Milanese, lemon sole with tomatoes.
Desserts would be coffee panna cotta, Sicilian cassata cake and tiramisu of course or just ask for a fresh fruit platter or scoop of ice cream. The staff will get you whatever you want.
The food at La Terrazza was delicious. Only once time it let us down, the lasagna was way too mushy and overcooked, watery and underseasoned.
Room service dinner
One evening we didn’t feel like getting dressed up for dinner.
We decided to have dinner in our room.
So we browsed the online menu on our TV screen: appetizers, soups, salads, pasta, meat, fish, dessert. Plenty of choice, plus you can also order any dish from a dinner restaurant when it is open.
We settled for caesar salad, burger and fries, and steak with pepper sauce. With that a bottle of red wine. We called our butler at 7pm, he took our order and at 8pm he knocked on our cabin door.
He set our table nicely with white linens, cutlery, bread and butter.
Once we tucked into our dinner, we agreed that the food was correct.
The burger was cooked the way we liked it, and so was the steak. Both were warm as well. The vegetables, fries and salad were fine too, the potatoes next to the steak were undercooked though. The pepper sauce was unfortunately cold.
Even though it wasn’t flawless, we did enjoy our dinner. For just a little while.
During the next hours we both became very ill. Typical food poisoning symptoms: painful stomach, throwing up, diarrhea, discomfort, feeling just terribly unwell. We were exhausted in the morning. We informed our butler about it, who informed the Silversea Silver Dawn infirmary. They called us to see if they could help in any way. By that time we were still feeling unwell and decided that it would be best to stay in our room all day to rest and try to catch some sleep.
A precious cruise day lost, our very last day on board. It took us 24 hours before we started to feel better again.
The Silversea Silver Dawn ship has 8 bars.
The pool bar, panorama lounge and dolce vita bar open before noon. The S.A.L.T. bar, observation library bar, Silver Note bar and connoisseur’s corner open after 6pm.
We liked the panorama lounge the most. The view from the terrace outside is great, especially when the ship is on the move. There would often be life music while you enjoy a pre dinner drink, and after dinner as well. Drinks are great, delicious cocktails, champagne refills were more than plentiful.
The staff here is very attentive and always happy to see you.
When the evening is approaching, delicious small bites are brought to your table. You can also order other snacks to enjoy with your drink. We would often order caviar as an appetizer.
Each day 2 cooking classes are planned, in the morning and afternoon.
You can reserve your spot at the Silversea Silver Dawn reception.
These classes were very popular, make sure to book immediately.
You can find 3 boutiques on the Silversea Silver Dawn ship.
One with women’s clothes and accessories, another one opposite for men and next to it a jewellery shop.
These shops are open when the ship is on the move, and that is usually during the evening until 10-11pm. The boutiques were also opened all day during our day at sea.
Any item you purchase is billed to your Silversea guest account linked to your room key which is also linked to the credit card you chose during the embarkation process.
You can settle your bill the day before or on the morning of disembarking.
The Silversea Silver Dawn swimming pool is located on deck 10.
All around it are plenty of sun loungers. Rolled up fresh bath towels are placed on them in the morning by the staff for you to use.
Most of these sun loungers are in the sun, however you can also find them in shadier areas on the same deck, together with comfortable outdoor couches and sofas.
The pool and pool bar staff are very attentive and helpful again.
You never need to wait to have someone come and ask you if you would like a drink. The staff walks around constantly to attend to guests.
The water in the pool is heated. Next to the pool are 2 jacuzzis as well.
During one day the seas were very rough and the pool was closed for security reasons. The water was sloshing from one side to another, you don’t want to be in it when that is happening. The jacuzzis remained open though.
With Silversea most of the excursions you book in advance are included.
We booked an excursion on each day, except for the day at sea and the last day in Croatia.
Information about the excursions, where and when to meet, etc was perfectly planned. We never had to wait for a shuttle bus to arrive or to get on a tender to bring us to shore, our guides were always there like clockwork. We always left at the time we were supposed to leave and were always back on the ship as planned.
On leaving the Silversea Silver Dawn for excursions, bottled water is provided for everyone.
The guides we had were great. They were all locals, very professional and they all spoke English very well. We learned so much, saw amazing places, it was all planned out so well. The lunch spots we went to during our excursions were good as well, serving local food such as cheeses, cold cuts, fresh local vegetables, breads and local wines.
Superb, very enjoyable.
When the Silversea Silver Dawn is anchored in a bay, you can use the tender service to get to shore.
Tenders always leave from deck 3.
These tenders run constantly to take passengers from and to the ship.
If you need to wait a couple of minutes on shore for a tender to arrive and bring you back to the Silversea Silver Dawn, a Silversea tent is set up right in the harbor to create a shady area. Sit back in a chair and enjoy a cold drink such as iced tea, fruit juice and water.
Other on board services
- Otivm spa, beauty salon and barber shop
- self service laundrette
- fitness centre
- sauna and steam room
- future cruise team
- shore concierge desk
- guest relations manager
- medical centre and 24 hour emergency service
The show on board the Silversea Silver Dawn starts at 10pm in the Venetian Lounge theatre.
We didn’t go very often as we were quite tired after a day of excursions, knowing well that the morning after we would have to get up early to be on our way again.
Singers would do cover songs, and it was enjoyable.
Twice instead of a show you could watch a movie on the big screen on the theatre, Dune for instance.
The average age of most of the passengers was between 60 and 80 years old.
Most of them were couples, and a dew solo travelers.
With a few exceptions, most of the passengers on board were American and British.
Would we book again with Silversea?
Yes we would.
We liked the level of comfort and luxury.
Quite a few passengers on board the Silversea Silver Dawn who have traveled with Silversea before said that they are used to even a better service and such (as the Silversea Silver Dawn is a new ship with a new crew), so it can only get better we suppose.
Would we recommend the Silversea Silver Dawn and this cruise trip?
Yes, this ship is brand new – it was built in 2021.
And it shows: everything is spotless, new, fresh, like it has never been used before.
We liked the food, our cabin, the well trained staff, superb excursions.
Too bad we ended this lovely cruise on a bad note, with food poisoning.
- large and very confortable cabins
- very attentive staff
- butler service
- excellent excursions and organisation
- delicious food
- excellent drinks and wines
- underwhelming room service quality
- disappointing S.A.L.T. restaurant
We paid for our trip on board the Silversea Silver Dawn cruise ship and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.