Silver Muse: the new, graceful goddess of the Silversea fleet sets sail in artistic style.

On January 21st 2010, my partner Ken Scott and I stepped on board the Silver Spirit, for the 91 day Inaugural Voyage around South America. This grand new flagship was larger than the rest of the Silversea fleet (maximum 540 guests), so the question was could it, would it,  retain the high standard of hospitality, 6 star service and sociable ambience?.  Yes it did.

Within a week I had published a ship report, in which I commented – “The feel is more of a modern, chic, Designer hotel with art deco roots, a sophisticated, sleek reimagining of the traditional liners. Think Noel Coward, Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel”.

A refreshing Muse Colada cocktail to celebrate the Silver Muse

On 3 May 2017, Ken and I stepped on board the gleaming, glamorous new Silver Muse in Villefranche, Cote d’Azur for the Inaugural Venetian Voyage around the Mediterranean. Once again, she is a larger Lady than the Spirit, (596 guests), pursuing a “transcendent evolution of the Silversea ethos,”   which reflects a seriously new direction in terms of design, artistic 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.  

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” believing in the beauty of clean lines and classic timelessness.

The Muse follows a similar deck layout to the 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, luxury designer fabrics (Pratesi bed linen, Rubelli textiles) and tasteful art & decor.

Silver Muse, Veranda Suite

The colour palette reflects 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 Whisper & Shadow”.  Amenities are much improved: useful chest of drawers beside the dressing table/desk, two TVs behind mirrored walls,  sofa with essential cushions, (hurrah!), and an adaptable dining table in the lounge and on the 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.

Pool Deck for relaxation

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.

Panorama Deck with fabulous sofas and armchairs

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.

Arts Cafe – coffee house, cocktail bar, gallery

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?.

Arts Cafe – fabulous artwork but with hidden bookshelves!

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 seats too, this soon became a popular place to enjoy a breakfast cappuccino & croissant, 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 menus at La Dame  (both with cover charge for speciality wines).  Listen to a live jazz band at Silver Note Cabaret Bar (Peruvian/Asian tapas) or sample modern Italian cuisine at La Terrazza. For a casual evening out, there are two fabulous al fresco venues – Hot Rocks Grill and Spaccanopoli Pizzeria.

An “eggcellent” Breakfast is served in a variety of cafes and restaurants,  or alternatively in your suite or on the veranda, laid out very professionally by your butler.  An essential question every day was where should we have lunch given the superb choice: Sushi at Taiseki,  lavish buffet in La Terrazza, a quietly relaxed affair at Atlantide, or an appetising menu of salads, paninis and burgers on the Pool Deck Grill.

Tasty Veggie Burger with blue cheese and fries for lunch at the Pool Deck

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 and fine wines, so thankful for the jogging track (8 laps = 1 mile) to keep fit.  Rachel, the energetic Gym instructor may inspire you to take her sunrise walks, yoga and exercise classes. Be warned the track goes past the Pizzeria and Gelataria.!

Jogging track on deck 11

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. So we gave a diary of dining preferences for each night to Hayley, our very helpful butler. But most restaurants, (especially Atlantide, Silver Note, La Terrazza) were popular and so we were often wait listed for a cancellation, or booked a second option. Table reservations negates the much loved Silversea style of hospitality, meeting new or old friends over an apertif in the Bar,  then go to the Restaurant at leisure, where a table for 2, 4 or 6 guests would always be available.

The other radical change to Silverea 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 the Bars, at Cocktail parties and Theatre Show, 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 regular Silversea friends and for the genuine, attentive, friendly service.  We knew many of the bartenders and waiters on board the Muse, always so sensitive to guest expectations,  (pouring a timely top-up of Champagne before you ask, and shaking up a refreshing, ice cold Margarita),  fully engaging with guests to provide 6 star hospitality with a capital H.

Mila, our ever smiling Ukranian bar waitress.

On this Inaugural Venetian Voyage there were 471 guests all of whom had travelled with Silversea before: together we had reached the grand tally of 110,089 nights on board – which tranlates as around 300 years! This clearly illustrates the brand loyalty as part of an international family of devoted Silversea-ers.  At Venetian Society Cocktail parties, several couples were presented with milestone awards for  100, 650  and 1,500+ nights,  offering added cruise benefits, each celebrated with envious applause.

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 for a Festival feast of art around the Biennale.   An enriching voyage of culture, archeological heritage, quaint fishing villages, white sand beaches and scenic land and seascapes every day.

Shore excursions aside, the Silver Muse is an enticing Destination in her own right, like a Deluxe Resort-at-sea, reminiscent of such exemplary standard and style of Peninsula, Ritz Carlton or Shangri La.  In 1996, Silversea was voted the prestigious title, World’s Best Overall Vacation by Conde Nast Traveler (competing against exclusive hotels, trains and cruise-lines), followed by numerous annual awards.

Silver Muse is certainly 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.

“A Girl should be two things, Classy and Fabulous” Coco Chanel.

I think Coco would approve of the classy, cool, aesthetic style of  the Silver Muse –  step aboard for a truly relaxing, utterly 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.

For more infomation – http://www.silversea.com

A busy day at sea on the Silver Muse

 

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About vivdevlin

I am an international travel writer, specialising in luxury travel, hotels, restaurants, city guides, cruises, islands, train and literary-inspired journeys. I review dance and theatre, Arts Festivals and love the visual arts. I have just experienced an epic voyage, circumnavigating the globe, following in the wake of Captain Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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