On April 3rd we boarded Silversea’s brand new Silver Muse in Genoa at around 5 pm. This was billed as a Shakedown cruise, which we have done before but this was truly remarkable! Silversea had only just taken possession several hours before from the shipyard. To put it in ordinary terms, they closed the sale of the house at 3 pm and then at 5 pm had a four day house warming party complete with gourmet meals and hundreds of people sleeping over. We were literally the first ones to sleep in our beds, have a drink from a glass, use the plates and have full access to the ship. It went off without any major problems and was a huge gamble that paid off.
You have to understand Silversea in order to really understand this ship and its message. Silversea and Viking are the two largest cruise brands that are independently owned. In fact the owners are good friends and have named some public rooms after one another. Keep in mind the ocean going experience is a very personal thing to Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the owner. I have seen many managing directors, presidents, chairmans, etc. on inaugural events of this kind, but never have I seen the owner almost everywhere, over the course of the entire event, watching and listening. This clearly was his baby and he is PROUD of her.
Two lasts point about Silversea and its owner. Silversea is proudly an Italian company doing global business, everywhere you look you will see Italy. Secondly, as the owner says, Silversea still is a family company in thinking. Some employees are personal longtime friends, competitors or acquaintances of the owner. Employees seem to leave Silversea to spread their wings and then come back home. This means that they listen to us as their clients, and our passengers!
With Seabourn rolling out numerous new builds and Regent giving us the Explorer, which they bill as the world’s most luxurious ship, I had to really wonder what was in store for us. The Muse was the most expensive ship to be built recently, as far as the ever important cost per bed. I was asked my impression of the ship by numerous members of the press that were onboard. You can see some of my comments attached to this newsletter.
In a nutshell, the Silver Muse is very comfortably elegant in the European style. It is not in your face Vegas nouveau rich, nor the corporate worlds committee impression of what elegant is. (Keep in mind when looking at the attached images that the ship was not totally complete so all the pictures and accent pieces are not in place yet.) You feel comfortable everywhere you go, whether it’s your cabin, lunch, to get drinks, the spa or where ever you go, it just flows.
The art onboard is very much a part of the “flow”. The curator of the art onboard was given the task of finding the best Italian art to reflect the idea of the journey. The art covers everything from sculpture, paintings and tapestries. The owner’s cabin actually has his personal art and family photos. Ever seen that in an owner’s cabin? Like I said, this is his baby and he is a proud father putting his name right on it.
The Muse is an all-suite and all verandah ship unlike other Silversea ships, which have a few suites without balconies. The Muse’s smallest suites are 387 sq. ft. /36 sq. meters. The largest suite is the owner’s suite of at 1055 sq. ft. / 98 sq. meters. What I really like are the 34 Silver Suites at 786 sq. ft. /73 sq. meters these are absolutely perfect for that high end, up market group you have.
All the Silver Muse suites feature fine Italian Pratesi Italian bed linens, a fully stocked mini bar with your preferences, Wi-Fi, personalized stationary, fresh fruit and flowers, iPod docking stations, spa robes and slippers, walk-in closets, vanity table and lighting. If all that wasn’t enough, I missed one very important thing; you have a butler that comes with every suite on the ship. I have to say the Silversea’s butlers are some of the best I have ever had. It seems we never had to ask for anything twice, it just magically happens. Attention to detail in your cabin can be seen in many areas including the choice of bathroom products. Sure Bvlgari is the standard but even SebMed, a German sensitive skin product, is offered and of course Italian Illy coffee and coffee machine.
Silversea has taken a bold step away from traditional 5 star luxury cruising. There is no main dining room. There is no first or second seatings. There are 8 dining options for a 596 passenger ship, all unheard of on a ship of this size.
We obviously did not have time to dine in all of the options but what we did experienced was excellent. More importantly, it was creative and maybe the next stage of the food wars in 5 Star Cruising. Silverseas maintains it partnership with the Grand Chefs of Relais & Chateaux to bring you world class cuisine with an Italian touch.
Indochine is one of the two larger restaurants with open seating. Think Vietnam, India and Thailand. This was my personal favorite and this is not cruise food, this is the real deal. If you like this type of food, spices and aromas you will love this place. Fantastic is my rating!
Atlantide is the other big restaurant with a more traditional menu of steak and seafood. Good quality is always the key for these types of menus and they had the key the night we dined there. Very good.
Kaiseki is open for both lunch and dinner and has a surcharge. During the day freshly made sushi and sashimi are the thing. At night it becomes a teppanyaki style grill. I had been tipped off by the corporate head of F&B to be sure to try this. All I can say it is amazing and the lobster and the beef are just over the top. This is not Benihana or NCL, this is a $150.00 pp meal in Miami or $200.00 in London.
La Terrazza by day is your buffet venue for breakfast and with a pasta station it becomes lunch. A very nice and above average buffet and at night it really shines. The room has ocean views on 3 sides and the possibility to dine under the stars. This is a great evening Italian style venue with, as Silversea says, a sophisticated twist. I rate this as “I wish I had one at home.”
Spaccanapoli is the last venue we had the chance to try. Located outside but protected on Deck 11, named after the street in Naples where pizza was invented. To get the genuine taste of real Italian pizza, Silversea had to custom design a pizza oven. While this venue was not fully functional yet the pizza certainly was.
The balance of the restaurants we did not have a chance to personally sample but from the reactions we heard from others, they were all equally exceptional.
The Grill by the pool is your typical pool grill by day. After dark Hot Rocks takes over, book early as this place is very popular as on Silverseas other ships. Cook your own steaks, fish or seafood on searing hot volcanic rocks. Great fun and only the best quality of meat and fish can be used. Not a cook? No worries your waiter will do it.
Silver Note is an old fashioned style supper club. Enjoy a cocktail or two and the music, this is your date night out. There is a multi-course tapas style menu with a Peruvian Japanese twist. I heard it is very creative and tasty. Evidently the singer on for this cruise was great as well.
La Dame, the Le Champagne on the other Silversea ships, is the show room for Relais & Chateaux. I have been in this room on their other ships and the menus are always tremendous and not to be missed. Yes it costs a few bucks but have you been to a Relais & Chateaux for dinner lately, this is a bargain. White glove service and the entire experience make for a memorable evening.
Don’t forget room service 24-7.
This is a fantastic addition to the Silversea fleet and we highly recommend her for groups or charters. By the way, the owner says he will build 3 more if this one works. I hope it does as we all need more options like this.