Sailing through Alaska and British Columbia with Silversea
Today is an exciting day for me. I’ve sailed to Alaska many times before – but never with a luxury line. My experiences in the region up to this point have all been on mainstream cruise ships with passenger capacities that run into the thousands.
Today, I embarked Silversea’s Silver Shadow– a ship that only holds 382 guests – for an entirely different sort of Alaskan experience. Over the course of the next 11 days, we’ll sail to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Tracy Arm, Wrangell, Prince Rupertand Victoria– all roundtrip from Vancouver. It’s a unique voyage, and one that’s sailing nearly full. In fact, the top-of-the-line suites are some of the first things to sell out on Silversea’s Alaskan voyages.
I am a huge supporter of sailing from the gorgeous Canada Place Cruise Terminal here in Vancouver, but every time I do so – on any ship – embarkation is an affair that could best be described as “chaotic.” Today, Silver Shadow is the only ship in port and with a maximum capacity of just 382 guests, I had high hopes that embarkation wouldn’t be the normal gong-show that a Saturday embarkation on a megaship can be here.
When you embark in Vancouver, you are first cleared through security, whereupon you are processed by United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) officials. This expedites your entry into Alaska, and eliminates the requirement for mass customs facilities in ports of call like Ketchikan.
Once you’ve been processed, you proceed to the check-in and holding area to have your photo taken and keycards issued. Then, finally, you’re allowed to step out onto the tide-sensor gangways to embark your ship.