Ship’s debut represents game changer for the luxury line
By Patti Pietschmann
A muse inspires creativity. In Greek and Roman mythology there are nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences. Silversea’s Silver Muse, a new goddess of the seas, embodies art, creativity and innovation.
When Silversea Cruises debuted in 1994 it raised the nautical bar with then unheard of innovations, superior service, chic style and a new definition of luxury. As the line grew so did its imagination which recently blossomed with the launch, in 2017, of Silver Muse. The 596-passenger goddess of the seas reinvents the company’s sophistication. Many changes are evident especially for those of us who have sailed on every ship in the fleet.
Gone is The Bar-the once uber popular social spot for passengers to gather before and after dinner. Most of us regulars really miss it. It is now replaced by nearly 10 different tippling options on different decks.
Also MIA is the Restaurant or main dining room. There are now several different dining venues–spaced throughout the ship–offering far more varieties of cuisines. Two of them (La Dame and Kaiseki) cost $60 a person extra but the others are free but require reservations.
Also absent is an Internet Café. There are two computers available for use near the reception deck and the staff will print out your boarding passes if requested. Silversea now offers free WiFi for all with special premium packages complimentary to top suite guests. You can also pop for an upgrade to a premium hookup and I highly recommend doing so because it works really well, even better than the AT&T service I used in my home office. What a pleasure if was emailing, posting on social media and sending articles and photos out to editors.
The pool on the Muse pool was the longest of the fleet until the line put its Silver Spirit into drydock. Part of the Spirit’s stretching includes extra deck space and a longer pool.
The new Silver Suites are deliciously spacious. They sport long verandas. Bathroom are big beautiful bathrooms with Jacuzzi tub, large separate showers with rain showers that pummel your body. There are also double vanity sinks. For your viewing pleasure there’s two large flat screen TVs.
And for your morning joe, espresso makers with Illy cafe. You also get robes, slippers, and top toiletries. Other appointments include a big,comfy bed, dining tables indoors and out, desk and vanity. And for your over-packers there’s lots of storage shelves and hanging space but few drawers.
A new spa was also built for the ship.. It’s called Zagara Spa.There is also a dreamy supper club called Silver Note where we enjoyed a wonderful vocalist with a jazzy touch on the standards and great piano player accompanist. Another passenger-pleasing addition is the Arts Café where you can grab a sandwich, pastries or coffee.
What hasn’t changed are Silversea’s inclusive amenities such as wines (which I have complained about but were greatly improved on this cruise), spirits and beverages, gratuities and butler service in all cabin categories.
So we only had dinner in once but did have super breakfasts served by our butler Pedro Banac on our balcony. Speaking of which Silversea butler service continues with our man Pedro took excellent care of us. He went of his way on to decorate our suite for our anniversary complete with flashing lights, colorful battery operated candles and romantic music.
And now for the nitty gritty
The Silver Muse pretty much pleases the typical discerning, well-heeled Silversea passengers. As mentioned, the changes took getting used to by repeat passengers, many who missed The Bar and weren’t pleased with the new reservation system which operates only when the dining venues are open or before you sail you can book on line. But how do you know where you want to eat that far in advance. We lucked out and were able to get in the restaurants when we wanted to sometimes with reservations, other times just by showing up.
Where we sailed
It was a port intensive cruise with just two days at sea that began in Fort Lauderdale where we went two days early and stayed at a great find, Pelican Grand Resort. The Nobel House hotel is in north end of town smack on a long stretch of beach. It was an ideal location to begin our anniversary cruise. We booked a King Suite with a large balcony and lots of space. After a shower and freshening up from the five hour flight from LA we went downstairs for an al fresco dinner at Ocean 2000 in the hotel on the first night. The food was fantastic and so was our server Mitch.
Spring fling in Fort Lauderdale
The next morning we trolled on the beach before enjoying a lovely room service breakfast on the balcony overlooking the sea. On a friend’s recommendation we ate at Shooters Waterfront. What a hoot filled with spring breakers, locals and tourists. It’s just a 20-minute stroll from the hotel and worth the exercise. The fresh fish was excellent. Spending two nights in Lauderdale was a great way to start our 13-day anniversary cruise on Silversea Silver Muse.
On to the islands
We spent the first day at sea. Then came glorious ports such as Barbados, Grand Turk, St. Barths, Bequia, St. John’s, St. Thomas, Antigua and Martinique. Although we were due to takefour shore excursions (all snorkel and kayak). But because I fell ill we had to cancel. Still we did get off the ship at each stop.
We were in Antigua on Easter Sunday. We strolled the short distance from the ship to St. John’s Cathedral where we could hear the melodic choir. We also checked out the port shops in St. Thomas where there are still some good duty free bargains on booze and jewelry. I was feeling better by the time we reached St. Barths our favorite spot) so we took the launch to Gustavia, walked around window shopping (prices are beyond our budget) and then went to our favorite Shell Beach to swim and sun.
Most of our fellow passengers got off in every port either to take a tour or go on their own. Those who stayed on had plenty of diversions from bingo to lectures, ever popular team trivia, shuffleboard, seminars on beauty and fitness, movies, golf putting, and of course eating.
There were nightly shows which we didn’t make due to aforementioned ailment but passengers we spoke to said they were diverting and entertaining. One night there was a Death by Chocolate Latin Dance party on deck that was well received. One of the highlights, and innovations is the Silver Note supper club where a very talented jazz singer and equally adept pianist performed while you ate or sat at the bar. We did the latter and thoroughly enjoyed the show.
Ten restaurants are at passengers’ beck and call and all but two require reservations. There is still the favorite Hot Rocks on the pool deck which is always casual. It’s a romantic dinner spot with candle light and hot plates where you cook your own beef, veal, fish or even tofu. We ate there about four times.
The new kids in town are Atlantide and Indochine on deck 4. Atlantide serves continental cuisine while Indochine features Asian fusion (see photo above). Both are attractive and fairly consistent in quality but not spectacular.
Two dining venues cost $60 a person: Dame and Kaiseki on deck 4. We didn’t try either. There is also a pizza place outdoors on deck 11 where the pies are excellent.
La Terrazza, on deck 7, serves all three meals and is best for breakfast and dinner. We found the luncheon buffet under par. But the evening offerings, especially fish dishes, were good.
The Silver Note supper club on deck 7 is a popular intimate spot for dinner that nightly. Additional tippling options include the pool bar on deck 10, Panorama Lounger on deck 9, Dolce Vita on deck 5, Enoteca on deck 4, the bar at Atlantide, Silver Note and the Connoisseurs Corner on deck 8 which caters to cigar and cigarette smokers. If you puff that’s the spot or you can go on the port side of the pool deck but not in your suite or on your balcony.
The suite life
And sweet is was in our large Silver Suite, the most popular rooms on deck 11. Ours was just a couple of doors down from the Tor’s Observation Library, our spot for before dinner drinks, mixed by amiable and adept Rodney, every night.
The Silver Muse has an artsy feel especially at its new Arts Café on deck 8 which features a whimsical design. It’s the social spot for sweets, sandwiches, coffees and/or drinks.
High fives for a very fine crew, attentive butler, top captains, waiters, deck staff, barkeeps, reception desk staff were all great.
Also kudos for that glorious very long pool and free use of the steam and sauna (both with windows to the sea) in the Spa as well as the nicely-equipped fitness room.
Silversea operates a fleet of small, sophisticated luxury vessels– Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit and Silver Muse –that do global itineraries. Fares include all beverages from Champagne and beyond, tips and free WiFi for all categories (super fast speed premium hookups come with top suites). The company also offers a fleet of Expedition ships. Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, Silver Discoverer, and Silver Cloud.