For the next couple of weeks I’ll be cruising on Silver Shadow. The 15-night voyage from Sydney, Australia, to Auckland, New Zealand, kicked off Friday with an overnight in Sydney.
The big surprise for me: Silver Shadow’s location. After a 20-minute transfer from the airport to the ship, I was pleased to see that the vessel was docked in the best possible position, at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. There’s not a better place in Sydney to board a ship — and definitely no better place to overnight.
The terminal is situated in the popular touristic and historic precinct known as The Rocks. Sydney’s oldest village, The Rocks got its name from the rocky shoreline where the first convict tents were erected in 1788 (remember, Australia was a penal colony of the British Empire).
I could not have imagined a better location than The Rocks to photograph the Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, but in fact, I found a better spot: from my veranda.
I walked into Silver Suite 719, and there through the sheer curtains, I could see the Sydney Opera House. The view was stunning.
With an afternoon, evening and full day at my disposal, I set out to explore Sydney. Silversea offered several tours, including a Harbor Bridge climb, walking tours and even Outback experiences. Having the overnight allowed guests to enjoy the city on the first day, go out on the town at night and do a tour the next day.
The Rocks (as well as the cruise terminal) is situated within easy walking distance of Sydney’s shopping districts. (Geek alert: Sydney’s Apple Store was only a 10-minute walk from the terminal, on George Street. The Apple Store offers free and fast, wireless internet. I also tracked down and purchased a SIM card for my iPad 2 at the nearby Optus store: AUS$30 for 3GB of data for 30 days. In fact, I am able to use the iPad 2 on the Optus network today — even a few miles offshore from the mainland.)
Sydney was certainly lively during my evening walk along the waterfront. People were enjoying the outdoor bars and restaurants, and it seemed to me that the tourism economy, and certainly the food and beverage economy, must be doing quite well Down Under.
Likewise, Cruising Down Under is experiencing phenomenal growth, and Australia/New Zealand voyages now rank high on many travelers’ wish lists. I am grateful to be here, but even two days is too little in this great city.
Silver Shadow sailed away from the Overseas Passenger Terminal on Saturday at 5 p.m., after two full days in sensational Sydney.
I’ll be writing about my Silver Shadow cruise each day, so please stay tuned, and if you have questions about this cruise, please leave a comment or engage with me and several hundred others on Avid Cruiser’s Facebook page.