Inspiring Travel Company’s Senior Product & Marketing Manager, Helen Tabois, reviews the latest luxury offering from Silversea cruises; Silver Muse…
Fifteen years ago I had my first taste of small ship luxury cruising, aboard Silversea's Silver Shadow. Fast forward to 2017 and although I've done ship visits and sailed with other luxury cruise lines, this was the first time I'd been back aboard a Silversea ship for a cruise rather than just a visit. And this wasn't just any cruise, it was the "shakedown voyage" of the newest ship in the fleet, Silver Muse!
Although small by the standards of cruise liners that trade in thousands of passengers at a time, Silver Muse is the largest of the 9-strong Silversea fleet with capacity for 596 guests. The all-important ratios of space per guest and crew per guest remain though; under another flag, this ship and crew would be hosting almost double the number of passengers.
Heading by coach into the cruise terminal at Genoa, we were all craning our necks for our first sight of Silver Muse and then as we rounded the corner there she was, pristine white paint glinting in the sunlight (yes, even though it was the first week of April the weather gods had decided to play ball).
The sense of anticipation was heightened as we checked-in and waited to board, the "we" in question being a lucky group of travel professionals who'd had been invited aboard for two nights with the twin purposes of experiencing the ship and her facilities so as to be able to spread the word about her to our colleagues and our clients and, perhaps even more importantly, to allow the crew to get up to speed by trying everything out on us, rather than the very important clients sailing on the true maiden voyage. Despite all the experience of the shipbuilders at the famed Fincantieri yard and of the Silversea staff and crew, new ships, like new shoes, need a little bit of breaking in, so it's reassuring to know that if you book to sail on a ship's maiden voyage, everything will have been tested to ensure it will work exactly as it should do for you!
My first impressions upon boarding? Quite simply a gorgeous ship, with a subtle feel of elegance and understated luxury throughout in the décor, fixtures and fittings. I even had a "wow" moment when I first entered my suite - and given that I’ve seen a fair few luxurious hotels and ships around the world, that's a real compliment to the designers.
As with all Silversea ships, Silver Muse has no cabins, only suites, and even at my entry level of Vista Suite there was a real feeling of space, helped by the light and airy décor and ingenious design to make maximum use of the space available. There was even a separate bath and shower, which is not always the case in the lead-in suite on even the best ships. All in all, the perfect blend of comfort, practicality and elegance.
When we toured the ship for a full inspection I was just as impressed with the higher categories of suites, which maintained this elegant style over a larger footprint. And, much as the highest level Owner's, Grand and Royal suites were impressive, my top tip if you want more spacious accommodation would be to consider a Silver Suite. The next level up after Vista Suites, you get just that little bit more space to spread out, which if this is your home from home for two to three weeks you might feel you need, but without going over the top on accommodation in which you might not spend too much time if you’re enjoying the ship’s public areas and excursions ashore.
Speaking of public areas, the whole ship exudes the same sense of understated “classy” luxury. From the Spa, where I enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing massage, through to the small but perfectly formed fitness centre, to the wonderful variety of restaurants and bars.
Cuisine is another strength of Silversea, as you'd expect from a cruise line boasting a partnership with Relais and Châteaux, so no surprise that dining was a delight. With just two nights aboard, I was only able to sample four of the eight restaurants, with the highlight being the novel approach of Hot Rocks. The casual Pool Grill by day turns into an evening speciality restaurant where you select your meat or fish (vegetarian options also available), are supplied with an individual “Hot Rock” lava stone at your table and get to play chef for the evening without leaving your seat. Great fun, and we were all childishly pleased with our “cooking” skills.
Each of the restaurants has such a distinct identity, reflected in the menus and in the décor and feel, that I could quite happily have stayed aboard for a couple of weeks (or longer!) without feeling that I was running out of choices.
With just a two night voyage I didn’t have the opportunity to sample a shore excursion but I was struck by what was said during one of the seminars (yes I was working hard as well as enjoying myself!), namely that the most important thing to Silversea is that they are a travel company first and foremost. With over 950 destinations on offer throughout their fleet it’s an easy claim to substantiate and I’m sure that the same level of detail, insight and luxury on show aboard Silver Muse is also in evidence during excursions.
Silversea is renowned for the service it delivers on board and Silver Muse continues this trait, with friendly and attentive crew there to help wherever you needed them. Nothing was too much trouble and it was easy to slip into the lifestyle, although decidedly more difficult to step back out of it on my return!
To book your own Silver Muse luxury cruise, speak to an Inspiring Travel Specialist today.;