Ryan Emberley And Sabrina Maddeaux Set Sail With Silversea

I had never been on a cruise before embarking on Silversea’s recent tour of Southeast Asia. Departing from Singapore, the Silversea Silver Shadow made stops in Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Singapore, in particular, caught me by surprise. The city/country is impeccably manicured, design forward, and green as far as the eye can see. It felt like stepping into the future.  

The ship itself was beautiful and far less busy and imposing than I had envisioned. While there were plenty of restaurants and bars, it felt like more of an intimate, boutique experience. Adorning the walls was an incredible selection of art from the likes of Dali, Picasso, Renoir, and Miro – impressionists make for a very good first impression. And yes, some of them are surrealists, but my surrealism joke wasn’t as funny. 

A few highlights from the various excursions and adventures:

– In Thailand, I rode on a speedboat through Phuket’s numerous outposts and islands – one dubbed James Bond Island (as it was featured in the film The Man with the Golden Gun), and into Koh Panyee (a famed floating fishing village). Thailand is a place I’ve always wanted to visit.  The blues, greens and rolling island elevations didn’t disappoint.

– Malacca, Malaysia was one of the more interesting stops on the Silver Shadow’s voyage. The UNESCO world heritage site is an eclectic mix of cultures, religions, people, etc. I took a hilarious ride in a fleet of colourful trishaws through the city centre, while one of the stereo-equipped buggies blasted George Michael’s Careless Whisper.  

– Visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda, a massive golden stupa, in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Rangoon, Burma) was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I’d recommend visiting in the evening as the gilded compound lights up in all different colours – and if you’re lucky enough to visit during a full moon, as I was, it’s even more spectacular. 

An example of Singapore’s stunning architecture, as seen from the Silver Shadow in Singapore’s harbour. 

The second-to-top deck of the Silver Shadow.

One of the little villages we visited while speedboating around Phuket, Thailand.

As the sun sets in Thailand the emerald greens give way to a sea of cool, glassy blues.

One of the island elevations around James Bond Island in Thailand.

There’s nothing better than a classic bar. I was pleasantly surprised to find there were numerous bars and lounges, some of which featured live music every evening. A great way to unwind after a day of exploring Southeast Asia.

More than once I said, “this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.” I might have overindulged a little – daily champagne (actual champagne) delivered in-suite, entirely-too-much foie gras, and more truffle than any all-inclusive should allow. Some notable standouts: a truffle and mushroom soup (called a truffle cappuccino, I believe) from the reservation-only Le Champagne, the homemade chocolate gelato from the ship’s Italian restaurant (probably the best gelato I’ve ever had), and the huge shrimp grilled-to-order on hot rocks outside on the ship’s deck.

The gilded peaks of Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda reaching up to a full moon.

Exploring the Shwedagon Pagoda compound.

A look at the bustling city centre of Yangon.

Driving around on the outskirts of Yangon.

A young man in Myanmar riding on the back of a delivery truck.

The small village around Yangon’s port was like a window back in time to Myanmar’s agrarian past. As the roads are largely undeveloped in this area, we spent a lot of time in traffic watching the locals go about their business.

In Malacca – everyone agreed that I had the best trishaw.

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One of Canada's premier event photographers, Ryan shoots top tier press launches, galas and private functions both nationally and internationally. Most recently, he travelled to Hong Kong as the house photographer for amfAR's inaugural HK charity gala, attended by A-listers such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Victoria Beckham. In April, Ryan was profiled by society columnist Shinan Govani in the Toronto Star, where he was dubbed the "younger-gen’s go-to snapper." The former Globe & Mail society photographer has also been published in Vogue, the Washington Post, Fortune, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal‎ - among other household titles. He also provides wire service with the Associated Press, which offers clients the chance to have their photos reach media platforms worldwide. In 2014, Ryan Emberley co-presented CANDID, an unguarded look into Canada's society scene, in the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival in Toronto.