SPOILED FOR CHOICE

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION AFLOAT -

This lat­est Sil­versea liner has pushed bound­aries with its din­ing con­cept of eight restau­rants and cafes, seven of which open for din­ner, in­clud­ing Hot Rocks on Deck 10, with a ca­sual dress code and DIY lava-stone cook­ing. Oth­ers are des­ig­nated ei­ther in­for­mal or for­mal, book­ings are es­sen­tial for most and two have a per per­son sur­charge. On my voy­age, some pas­sen­gers are per­plexed, oth­ers down­right cross, that there is no main din­ing room at which you can start a big ta­ble and ask the maitre-d’ to bring across other pas­sen­gers to form a party. As a solo trav­eller, I am merely over­whelmed by the op­tions and play it by ear for din­ner, en­joy­ing a great Neapoli­tan pizza at laid-back Spac­canapoli on Deck 11 (the top level) one evening and manag­ing to gate­crash a few ta­bles even when not in my best for­mal rig. But I do find the neigh­bour­hood style of myr­iad restau­rants with dif­fer­ent cuisines a wel­come, re­fresh­ing con­cept, even if ad­vance din­ner reser­va­tions take away any spon­tane­ity.

Luck­ily, by Day Two, Su­san No Friends at her ta­ble for one is saved by a friendly Mel­bourne travel agent and two an­i­mated Bri­tish cou­ples and we form a con­vivial gag­gle at meals afloat and ashore. Lunch is an eas­ier af­fair for solo din­ers as is a meal at Ja­panese diner Kaiseki (pic­tured) with its sit-up counter, home to a sushi and sashimi ex­pert by day and the­atri­cal tep­pa­nyaki chefs at night. The mood­ily lit In­do­chine serves the best food from a spice-laden menu that in­cludes south­ern In­dian cur­ries and Thai-in­spired noo­dles and stir-fries, and has plenty of smaller ta­bles for two (or one) and a more re­laxed reser­va­tions pol­icy. And pas­sen­gers fa­mil­iar with other Sil­versea ships will in­stantly recog­nise the Ital­ian-in­spired La Ter­razza at the stern of Deck 7, which has tremen­dously good break­fast and lunch buf­fets as well as a la carte din­ners, and the Re­lais & Chateaux-ac­cred­ited La Dame for French fine din­ing. Sil­ver Note sup­per club, with tapas plates from 8pm, is also ter­rific, and who doesn’t want to toe-tap to jazz from a duo named Twice as Nice while sip­ping that well-earned sec­ond Li­mon­cello.

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