Silver Muse Cruise Review
Silver Muse: the new, graceful goddess of the Silversea fleet sets sail in artistic style. Read our cruise review by Arts and Travel Writer Vivien Devlin.
On 3 May 2017, Ken and I stepped on board the gleaming, glamorous Silver Muse in Villefranche, Cote d'Azur for the Inaugural Venetian Voyage around the Mediterranean. Once again, she is a larger lady than the rest of the Silversea fleet with a maximum of 596 guests. This is a “transcendent evolution of the Silversea ethos,” to reflect a brand new look in terms of design, décor and cuisine which has all been curated with a refreshing, contemporary style.
The tag line says it all, Simply Divine. This ninth sister ship is aptly named: In ancient Greek mythology, the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne were Muses, beautiful young goddesses who inspired creative endeavours with a sense of grace and allure.
The Silver Muse follows a similar deck layout to the Silver Spirit but expanded to create more Silver Suites, a choice of Owner, Grand and Royal Suites, as well as spacious Veranda Suites. Our Deluxe Veranda Suite offered superior comfort, with pillow menu, fine furnishings, tasteful art & decor. The colour palette echoes land and sea through soft grey, mushroom, cappuccino cream, sage green and sand. The marble bathroom featuring a shower and tub, the softest towels, fragrant Ferragamo toiletries, but we do miss the two basins as on the Silver Whisper & Silver Shadow. Amenities are much improved: useful chest of drawers beside the dressing table/desk, two TVs behind mirrors and adaptable dining table in the lounge and on veranda.
We loved the extensive choice of bars (each with imaginative cocktail menus) and restaurants as well as spacious outdoor “lounges”, with stunning designer seating. Around the swimming pool and upper deck are rows of daybeds for those who wish to roast themselves in the sun. The partly shaded area beyond the Jacuzzis is neatly furnished with elegantly chic, white and taupe Bauhaus-styled armchairs and sofas from the Belgian company Manutti, surrounded by decorative planters. This was our favourite place to relax and read during the morning while sipping our tipple, a spicy Bloody Mary.
Outside the Panorama Lounge is a perfect, tranquil spot, watching the streaming wake of the ship as we sailed along. Relax on comfy blue sofas and armchairs (from American designer, Janus et Cie), matched by large white tables, for all day leisure-time from morning coffee to cocktail hour. A most innovative concept is the Arts Café, (with outdoor terrace), combining coffee house, lounge bar and modern art gallery featuring paintings, prints and sculpture by Italian artists. A fine artwork collection is also displayed in hallways, bars and restaurants around the ship creating an ambience of aesthetic appreciation.
The Café has leather sofas, wing armchairs and curiously, almost inaccessible shelves of Art, Design and Fashion books. If you fancy reading a novel here, unfortunately, you need to trek up to Tor’s Observation Lounge on deck 11, to find a rather limited selection of fiction, biography and travel books. Perhaps more books are on the way?. It would make perfect sense to create a comprehensive Arts Café Library for a wider selection of newspapers, magazines and books - (as offered in the library on the other Silversea ships). With outdoor seating too, this soon became a popular place to enjoy a breakfast coffee, afternoon tea & cucumber sandwiches, or glass of champagne/ G&T & canapés.
Eat and drink around the ship, day and night with a diverse choice of menu and venue - for Dinner, there’s been a radical re-think regarding the cuisine and environment. The usual main Restaurant has been replaced by two distinctively different restaurants – Atlantide (steak & seafood), Indochine (pan-Asian) each with their own charming cocktail bar. Next door at Taiseki sample the Japanese art of Teppanyaki, and Relais & Chateaux fine dining at La Dame (both with cover charge for speciality wines).
Here’s an appetising “Amuse Bouche” of the exciting menus around the Muse: At Indochine, we could hardly believe we were on a Silversea ship! Samosa, Bahji, Pakora with dips, then Black Tiger Prawn curry served with Saffron rice, Tarka dahl, raita, naan bread - a feast of spicy dishes. Dressed in Tuxedo and Evening Gown in Atlantide, we dined on Lobster & Asparagus Salad, Greenland Cod. In La Terrazza – Bruschette, Cuttlefish Ink Trofie, Mediterranean Seabass. Listen to a jazz band at Silver Note Night Club while sharing Peruvian/Asian tapas. For a casual evening outside on deck at Hot Rocks Grill for gourmet salads, seafood, steak and veggie burgers. And at Spaccanapoli on deck 11, enjoy a choice of classic Neapolitan pizzas. And of course a marvellous selection of house and connoisseur wines.
For Breakfast, a choice of menu and venue from the eggcellent La Terrazza buffet to a cappuccino and croissant at the Arts Café. Alternatively, Room Service Breakfast: your Butler will set the table beautifully in your suite or Veranda for a leisurely meal. Lunchtime paninis and, burgers at the Pool Grill, superlative salads, pasta station and daily specials at La Terrazza and A la Carte menu at Atlantide. Taiseki for sushi and sashimi watching the chef at work at the theatre kitchen.
For those like fascinating facts and figures, it’s fun to see the statistics of how much is consumed on board per day – 44lbs of smoked salmon, 255 croissants, 25lbs strawberries, 50 lbs of French fries, 54lbs beef striploin, 200 bottles each of red and white wine 6 bottles of gin and 60 bottles of champagne!
The dining experience has certainly become more refined and sophisticated to create intimate “city style” bars, bistros and restaurants, each with its own unique cutlery, glassware, colouful, shapely plates as well as artistic presentation. After all, we eat with our eyes, as well as enticed by aroma and taste! With energetic adventures ashore and sea air to stimulate the appetite, we certainly experienced a taste of gastronomy, cocktails and fine wines, so thankful for the jogging track (8 laps = 1 mile) to keep fit. Be warned the track goes past the Pizzeria and Gelataria!
In our Silver Muse Travel Journal it states that guests can enjoy, “Open Seating – dine when you like, with whom you like.” However, this policy is no longer factual. Table bookings for your choice of Restaurants now need to be made online at My Silversea. We had not booked any Restaurants prior to boarding, as we had no knowledge that this was required. Your butler will assist with making bookings. Table reservations negates the much loved Silversea style of hospitality, meeting new or old friends in the Bar, then go to the Restaurant when you wished, where a table for 2, 4 or 6 guests would be available.
The other radical change to Silversea lifestyle is Dress Code. Gone are the rotating Casual, Informal and Formal nights. Now the dress code applies to each restaurant with Formal wear required in Atlantide and La Dame. Across the evening, in bars, at cocktail parties and theatre shows, many couples may be dressed in a smart Tuxedo & glamorous gown while other guests are in polo shirt and slacks! This spoils the sense of a special occasion of this otherwise luxury cruise experience.
The key reason Ken and I return again and again to Silversea is due to meeting up with Silversea friends and for the genuine, attentive, friendly service – we also knew many of the bartenders and waiters on board the Silver Muse. Always sensitive to guest expectations and knowing our favourite drinks, they would pour a flute of Champagne or shake up an ice cold Margarita, before we asked! From pool deck to restaurants, they fully engage with guests to provide 6 star hospitality with a capital H.
On this Inaugural Venetian Voyage there were around 471 guests all of whom had travelled with Silversea before: together we had reached the grand tally of 110,089 days on board (that’s around 300 years!) which illustrates the brand loyalty as part of an international family of devoted Silversea-ers.
On our six week cruise around the Mediterranean, we visited no less than nine countries on a choreographed itinerary, dancing our way around Greek islands and the shapely long leg around Italy, a slow waltz up the Adriatic to glide into Venice. An enriching voyage of culture, archeological heritage, old fishing villages, white sand beaches and scenic seascapes.
Silver Muse is a new vision for Silversea, reinventing a more casual, contemporary lifestyle. The dining concept offers exceptional culinary choice, but the daily problem of table reservations and confusing dress code was clearly not welcome. This needs to be resolved, to create its trademark manner of an easy going and sociable house party ambience.
Inspiration and creativity are the key words when describing this gracefully designed ship. As Coco Chanel declared with her inimitable passion for fashion as an artform, “Simplicity is the key note of all true elegance .. a girl should be two things, classy and fabulous” believing in the beauty of classic timelessness.
I think Coco would approve of the cool, elegant, aesthetic style of the Silver Muse - step aboard for a truly relaxing, romantic, world travel experience. Yes, simply divine.
Silver Muse calls at 130 ports in 34 countries through 2017. Over the summer she sails around the Mediterranean followed by a trans-Atlantic crossing to Canada and USA in September, before transitting the Panama Canal to explore South America during the Autumn and north to the Caribbean in December.
- Silver Muse - First look at the latest Silversea luxury ship
- Silver Muse Grand Voyage
- Silver Muse to offer the finest culinary experience at sea