Silver Shadow Arrives in Malaysia

Silver Shadow arrived in Port Klang, Malaysia this morning, as Voyage 3633 kicks into high gear. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Silver Shadow arrived in Port Klang, Malaysia this morning, as Voyage 3633 kicks into high gear. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Silversea’s elegant Silver Shadow sailed through a wicked thunderstorm last night en-route to our first port of call in Port Klang, Malaysia. I awoke around two in the morning to see lightning illuminate the closed curtains of my suite’s bedroom, followed by the roar of thunder, and I could hear the rain pounding down on the sloped bulkhead that makes up Silver Shadow’s forward superstructure. I love thunderstorms and the sound of rain, and within seconds, I was back asleep again.

Also in port with us were Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas and Star Cruises' small Taipan. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Also in port with us were Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas and Star Cruises’ small Taipan. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

With an excursion scheduled for 8:15 this morning, I made things easy on myself by ordering breakfast to my suite for 7:00 am. This is done just like you would on any other cruise line: by filling out an order card the evening before and placing it outside your suite door. The difference is that here on Silversea, your butler delivers breakfast for you – plated, with real silverware and a complete table setting including tablecloths and crisp linen napkins. It’s a very civilized way to start your day.

By 8:00, Silver Shadow had come alongside the pier in Port Klang. It’s a very industrial port that nonetheless serves as the unofficial gateway (for cruise passengers, anyway) into nearby Kuala Lumpur. And we weren’t alone: Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas was berthed to our port side, while Star Cruises’ Taipan was moored directly forward of us.

Finding the gangway: never an issue on a Silversea ship. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Finding the gangway: never an issue on a Silversea ship. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Silversea offers a total of five excursion options for our stay today in Port Klang, plus a complimentary shuttle that takes you into the center of town. Situated some 30 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur, Port Klang used to be the epicentre of Selangor. It continued to have a high profile until 1880, when cheap tin deposits were discovered in Kuala Lumpur. The rest is history: Kuala Lumpur is now the epicentre of the region, while Port Klang has been relegated to commercial port status.

Since I’m a huge fan of independent touring but still needed to get into Kuala Lumpur, I chose Silversea’s 7.5-hour Kuala Lumpur On Your Own (KEL-F) tour. At $69 per person (or included, if your cruise price included excursions), it’s a real bargain considering the taxi ride alone would cost you far more than this if you did it independently.

Guests disembark Silver Shadow...Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Guests disembark Silver Shadow…Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

...and make their way into Kuala Lumpur by coach. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

…and make their way into Kuala Lumpur by coach. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Silversea also offered a shorter five-hour Highlights of Kuala Lumpur (KEL-A) tour for the exact same price, along with excursions that focused on the cultural and historical aspects of Kuala Lumpur. The line even offers a six-hour Gulf at Sultan Abdul Azis Shah Golf Club tour that prices out at $389 per person – and was completely sold out on this trip. This is one excursion you’ll want to use your online My Silversea cruise personalizer to book well in advance.

Departing shortly after 9:00 am, my coach made it into Kuala Lumpur in what locals tell me is record-time: just over 60 minutes. Complimentary maps were distributed by our guide, along with free ponchos. We were told it had rained all day yesterday, and that torrential downpours that cause flash floods aren’t uncommon. Should we encounter a severe downpour, she said, it would be best to make our way back to the coach drop-off point.

My excursion today dropped us off at the Pavilion Mall, from which we were free to explore Kuala Lumpur on our own. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

My excursion today dropped us off at the Pavilion Mall, from which we were free to explore Kuala Lumpur on our own. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Much like Singapore, shopping malls are a way of life here.

Much like Singapore, shopping malls are a way of life here.

Our guide explained where we’d be dropped off: at a gigantic shopping mall called Pavilion, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Bintang district. She also took the time to explain what was within walking distance (more malls), and what we’d need to rely on other transportation to access.

One of the prescribed methods for getting around Kuala Lumpur was to use the local city bus, the Go KL City Bus. It’s free (yes, free!) and operates four different lines that whisk passengers to nearly every corner of the city. How do you find your bus? Easy: if you want to take the Purple Line, hop on the purple-coloured bus. The green line’s busses are green, the blue line coloured blue, and so on. It’s foolproof.

Taking the GO KL City Bus (free of charge)...Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Taking the GO KL City Bus (free of charge)…Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

...through the streets of Kuala Lumpur...Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

…through the streets of Kuala Lumpur…Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

...to the city's Central Market. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

…to the city’s Central Market. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

So, I hopped the city bus from Pavilion and headed towards the Central Market, which has been in operation since 1888. Here, you can escape the Prada’s and the like and focus on locally-made Malaysian handcrafts. Some of these run the gamut from chintzy to classy, so it pays to look around a little bit first. Foodies, though, will want to head to the upper level for the coolest food court you’ve ever seen, serving nothing but local specialties. The local food smelled incredible, and you’ll never look at food courts the same way.

Inside the Central Market, Malaysian products are on display. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Inside the Central Market, Malaysian products are on display. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

The Central Market is your best bet if you're looking to find something local and authentic. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

The Central Market is your best bet if you’re looking to find something local and authentic. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Afterwards, I took a stroll through the heart of Chinatown, which is carved in half by the outdoor shopping mecca that is Jalan Petaling. Chinese lanterns are strung high across the entire length of the street, while on ground-level, stalls of all shapes and sizes sell “genuine fake” merchandise, from Mont Blanc pens to Rolex watches. It’s a bit of a zoo (watch your wallets!) but a cool experience nonetheless.

Strolling the streets of Chinatown. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Strolling the streets of Chinatown. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Nearby, I also managed to visit the local Hindu temple, Sri Maha Mariamman, at 163 Jalan Tun HS Lee. Established in 1873 but rebuilt twelve years later, the building is said to be laid out in the form of a reclining body. You don’t have to be of Hindu faith to enter this interesting temple, but you do have to take your shoes off and pay RM 0.20 per pair to store them with a squirrely looking man, who places them into a plastic Tupperware container and gives you a small, worn number tag in return. Incredibly, you really will get your shoes back.

The Hindu Sri Maha Mariamman temple. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

The Hindu Sri Maha Mariamman temple. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Almost literally across the street is the wonderful Sze Ya Temple, which is the oldest Taoist temple in the city. Founded in 1864, the temple dates from the earliest days of the city of Kuala Lumpur, and was built by Yap Ah Loy, the third Chinese “Kapitan” of Kuala Lumpur. The smell of burning incense coils and sticks fills the air in this surprisingly relaxing temple, which draws an eclectic crowd of folks, from worshippers to curious tourists.

Across the street is the Taoist Sze Ya Temple. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Across the street is the Taoist Sze Ya Temple. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

With its burning incense, it transports you to a different place and time. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

With its burning incense, it transports you to a different place and time. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Here, the letter "s" is frequently substituted where normal English spelling would use a "ce." Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Here, the letter “s” is frequently substituted where normal English spelling would use a “ce.” Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

After a bit of walking around, I caught the city bus back to the Pavilion mall, and reboarded our coach for the drive back to the Silver Shadow. Here’s where Silversea really excels: there’s nothing like coming back after a long day ashore to find a selection of canapes waiting for you in your suite, along with that pillow you requested from the Pillow Menu already placed on your bed, and the extra beverages you asked for already stocked. All the stress of the day just melts away when you make yourself a gin and tonic and tuck into a bit of foie gras, shrimp cocktail, and caviar.

Returning back to the Silver Shadow this evening. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Returning back to the Silver Shadow this evening. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Before dinner, I went up to the Panorama Lounge on Deck 8, all the way aft, to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail and to read the local English-language newspaper I purchased ashore. A handful of other couples were there, but the room was by no means full. And that’s how Silversea guests like it. At 6:30pm, the Silver Shadow Quartet began playing classical music for our listening pleasure, and I sunk back into my seat, sipped my Fruit of the Glen, and relaxed.

Canapes await. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Canapes await. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

That’s the thing I want to impart up on you about Silversea: onboard their ships, it’s all about you, and your enjoyment of your cruise. There are a lot of luxury cruise lines right now that are doing things like buying up Boeing 777 airplanes, or creating interior spaces with materials so rare and delicate that you’re afraid to touch them. It looks great on a press release but practically speaking, it’s spreading the process a bit thin because it’s focusing on things for the guests instead of the guests.

Enjoying the ambiance this evening...Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Enjoying the ambiance this evening…Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

...up in the Panorama Lounge on Deck 9. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

…up in the Panorama Lounge on Deck 9. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Here on the Silver Shadow, I walked into the Panorama Lounge. My favorite table was free – as it nearly always is. I sat down, and one of the bar staff came over promptly to take my order. I chose my favorite cocktail. She disappeared, then reappeared like magic only a few minutes later, with my freshly-made drink; a drink that cost me nothing. That is luxury. Luxury is not queuing in lines, or signing drink chits, or having to hunt for a seat. Luxury is when you feel like you own the place – even though you really don’t.

Tonight, Silver Shadow is filled with no shortage of ways to spend your evening. Nights are always a special time aboard any ship, but with Silversea, evenings are always a real highlight. Maybe you’ll want to listen to Jonjoe and Susana sing in The Bar on Deck 5, with its Art Deco styling and soothing, low-slung chairs. Or maybe it’s up to the Panorama Lounge for cocktails and dancing with the Silver Shadow Quartet, or taking in tonight’s entertainment in the Athenian Lounge on Decks 5 and 6.

Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be able to do it. This isn’t a mainstream ship where venues fill up and you have to have backup choices, or make reservations in advance. Just walk on in, and enjoy your night at sea.

Relaxation: the order of the day tonight here onboard Silversea's Silver Shadow. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Relaxation: the order of the day tonight here onboard Silversea’s Silver Shadow. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Shadow continues tomorrow from Georgetown (Penang), Malaysia! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog.

DAYPORTARRIVEDEPART
October 31, 2016SingaporeEmbark1800
November 1Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia08001900
November 2Penang, Georgetown, Malaysia08001800
November 3Phuket, Thailand08001400
November 4At Sea
November 5Yangon, Myanmar0600Overnight
November 6Yangon, MyanmarOvernightOvernight
November 7Yangon, MyanmarOvernight1900
November 8At Sea
November 9 At Sea

November 10Langkawi, Malaysia08001500
November 11Malacca, Malaysia13001900
November 12Singapore0700Onward Journey Home
 

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