High tea on the Silver Shadow in Brisbane
By Katie Burton
The first thing I noticed as I walked to the Portside Cruise Terminal was the size of the ship – so much smaller than any of the other cruise ships I have seen before. But with a capacity of only 382 guests and a crew of 302, (that’s a ratio of 1.3 guests for every staff member), it certainly works for the glorious Silver Shadow, and not against it.
Whilst you do notice a larger number of attentive staff than you would normally expect, the ship was not at all busy with most guests enjoying shore excursions in sunny Brisbane. This left us to explore the ship a bit more thoroughly.
Christmas was subtly celebrated throughout the ship with garland and glass baubles entwining the main staircase, and delectable gingerbread houses in every dining and/or seating area. They are baked fresh every day and apparently by December 24, the ship is filled with the sweet scent of gingerbread. Yum!
The deck area was small but accommodating with a number of cabanas, the perfect place for a mid-afternoon cocktail and nap. Also impressive was that at night, the deck chairs are rolled away to accommodate under the stars dining, with a hot rock grill the feature of the menu. The Alaskan cruises are also accommodated for with extra blankets and heaters for evening dining, and it must be lovely with the sun setting very late in the evening in the northern hemisphere. Also noticeable was the number of perfectly rolled towels conveniently positioned on every chair. No towel tokens, no limit on towels and you are welcome to take them on shore excursions if necessary.
The beauty salon and spa are as you would expect with the main drawcard being you can book your treatment even before your departure. Guests can also purchase treatments using on board credit.
The gym is small but sufficient and personal training is available at very reasonable prices.
From the gym we moved down into the dining areas. A few guests were enjoying a late breakfast and it was lovely to see the attendants dressed in white hovering attentively around the room. The difference with the Silver Shadow buffet breakfast is that you choose your breakfast but the waiters bring your plate to your table. It’s those extra touches you notice.
We were lucky enough to view a Veranda Suite, the only spare suite on the ship on this particular day. The first thing you notice is the space – room for your luggage, room to relax and room to, well, move! The marble bathroom was very spacious with a separate full size bath tub and shower, Bvlgari products and a bath menu! The bed was specially designed with a hard and a soft side, to be flipped according to your preference. And a good night’s rest wouldn’t be complete without a turndown service and a nine-pillow buffet. These too can be arranged prior to embarking the ship. There was a walk-in robe with complimentary robes and slippers and a really special touch is the customised stationery; personalised with your name and room number.
The ship’s collection of artwork is absolutely amazing and all for sale. From original Marilyn Monroe photographs and lithographs to Salvador Dali sculptures and Picasso sketches, there is sure to be a piece to suit everyone’s taste. Even if only for viewing pleasure...
The ship has two libraries that operate on an honesty theme. The main library contains mainly fiction titles whilst the smaller library in the
The theatre is intimate yet grand in its own right. It can fit all guests at once and the stage recedes for culinary demonstrations with upcoming shows featuring Maggie Beer and author Bill Bryson.
There are beautiful niche restaurants featuring French champagne (Le Champagne has changing degustation menus) and Italian cuisine (Le Terrezza) and Connoisseur’s Corner, the cigar lounge, was a hit with the men in our group. Glass cabinets displayed aged cognac and scotch and a refrigerated room held an assortment of cigars. It really was a men’s den!
In the meantime, the ladies on board the ship can enjoy High Tea served every day with silver service and French champagne in the Panorama Lounge. We were lucky enough to enjoy a sample of treats including dainty sandwiches, pastries, muffins, tea with fresh lemon and of course, coffee. The service was wonderful, as you would expect.
The Silver Shadow was indeed luxurious but while the furnishings weren’t as ornate as I expected, I can see that the food and service is really where the six star rating comes into play. The fine touches (some quirky), also adding to the ‘silver’ experience include:
- A butler and suite steward for every room
- Two housekeeping visits a day plus turndown
- Private functions for birthdays, anniversaries and/or special occasions with invitations sent to guests on board
- Your preferred international paper delivered daily
- In-suite bar stocked with your personal preference
- A full and varied enrichment programme
- No set meal times.
It was a great experience and I wouldn’t say no to a cruise on board Silver Shadow. If you want attentive service and your own piece of luxury, then you must consider her towards the top of your list.