Embarking Silversea’s Silver Discoverer in Broome, Australia
My horoscope in the West Australian newspaper said today would be a bad day. And for the first half of the day, it was shockingly accurate. But the latter half of the day got infinitely better when I finally stepped aboard Silversea’s newest ultra-luxury expedition vessel, the sleek Silver Discoverer, in the red rock port of Broome.
Located on the western coast of Australia, Broome is a small town that is home to just under 15,000 inhabitants. During the height of the tourist season, the town’s population more than doubles. Tourists come to see Broome’s immense stretches of sandy beaches like Cable Beach, which runs for 22 kilometres. Tourism Australia calls Broome, “the romantic pearling port” and gateway to The Kimberley.
It’s also remote: it’s a two-and-a-half hour flight from Perth to Broome, and while Qantas offers flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Broome, most people will come here via Perth.
Admittedly, things got off to a rather lousy start when my pre-arranged transfer to Perth airport didn’t show up, despite having reconfirmed it yesterday with the Concierge at the Pan Pacific. Fortunately, the airport isn’t terribly far away, and Qantas has things down to a science in terms of check-in. Like in Sydney yesterday, I tagged my own bag and placed it on the conveyor belt, and was through security in under ten minutes.
From there, it was only three more minutes until I was relaxing in the splendour of the Qantas Club Lounge in Perth Airport’s Terminal 4, where I was able to grab a light breakfast, a barista-made cup of coffee, and a copy of The Australian newspaper and settle in for an hour of relaxation.
The time was 8:30a.m. I wouldn’t be relaxed again until after 4p.m.
When Qantas 1074 to Broome boarded this morning just after 9:30a.m., the Boeing 737-800 we embarked was so new it still had that “new plane” smell. Unfortunately, a baggage handler loading a large dog kennel into the hold ended up smashing the carrier into the open cargo door.
What was at first thought to be a small gash turned out to be a rather deep one that took off some rivets. After watching our departure time come and go, the decision was finally made to deplane everyone and switch them – and the luggage, and the catering – to a new aircraft.
I absolutely applaud Qantas for erring on the side of caution and safety, and to their credit, we were onboard our replacement 737-800 just 30 minutes after disembarking the first one; a herculean effort from all those behind-the-scenes.
Unfortunately, it also meant we took off nearly two hours late. But Silver Discoverer wasn’t scheduled to sail until 4:30p.m., so no issues there.
Until the second car service driver failed to show up to collect me in Broome.
Our Live Voyage Report from Silversea’s adventurous Silver Discoverer continues tomorrow, as we spend the first of six days sailing Western Australia’s famed Kimberley region. Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.