Bottom Line: Silversea now moves back to the top end of my list of luxury cruise lines Goldring Travel can recommend! The Silver Muse was in great shape; the suites are excellent (I loved my Silver Suite), the multiple dining venues are a plus, and, most importantly, the staff and crew were excellent in both service and attitude.
Since my prior experiences on Silversea were not the best, I boarded my September 9, 2021, Silver Muse cruise to Alaska – with five of ten days at sea during the rainy season – with optimism that Royal Caribbean’s purchase of Silversea along with its infusion of cash and customer service acumen balanced against a good bit of skepticism. (Clearly, I always have a bit of skepticism, but this amount is worthy of note!) So when I say Silversea moves back to the top of list, you have to know that it really earned its place.
Reflecting…isn’t what this article is about?…I find myself more than pleased that my initial plan was, in part, to compare the Silver Muse cruise hits and misses against my prior Silversea experiences. However, this Silversea experience was so far superior in so many ways, any such comparisons would have been irrelevant (OK there is one buried in here). In fact, I found myself raising my bar to how does Silversea compare to the best of the best and my belief that by calling out the misses Silversea executives might tweak things they weren’t aware of just a bit and make it even better.. To me that is probably one of the highest compliment I can give.
It is always inspiring when you see success after years of seeing frustration and disappointment. Honestly, my ten days on Silversea’s Silver Muse was inspiring…and it was even more so considering the conditions the staff and the cruise line had to endure. This was the last sailing of the Silver Muse before being laid up again due to Covid preventing its subsequent Asia itineraries. But the staff and crew, knowing they had no idea what was next, made it seem as if all was right with the world…and the only world that really mattered was “The World of a Silversea guest”.
What follows is more of summary of my reflections, but you can read my detailed articles set out here:
The Silver Muse, although approximately the same size and carrying the same number of guests, feels larger. It may, in part, be due to t its primary venues (Dolce Vita Lounge, Panorama Lounge and La Terrazza Restaurant) being large, open, spaces and there are two additional larger dining venues, Indochine (Asian Fusion) and Atlantide (typical cruise ship Continental cuisine). Regardless, it is not a good or bad thing, but merely an observation.
There are more intimate public spaces on the Silver Muse including one of my favorites, Connoisseur’s Corner cigar lounge.
There is also the Arts Cafe for coffees and light bites that change throughout the day.
And smaller dining venues such as another favorite, Silver Note.
I also found the suites to be excellent; especially my Silver Suite – which is superior in size and general liveability to those comparable on Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas. While it has some design quirks, such as not being able to see the water when lying in bed and the espresso maker/bar being centered in your view out, its large sofa with two comfortable occasional chairs along with a dining table and three chairs plus a desk with its own chair, coupled with its huge ensuite with separate spacious toilet room, these suites are hard to beat.
The standard suites are comparable to the other line, however I did not like that in the standard suites the shower, which is a nice size, is not marble-clad but rather a utilitarian white acrylic. Not a deal-breaker, but to me a miss when looking for that luxurious shower. Another thing that you either love or hate in the standard suites is the two televisions being hidden behind mirrors as it does affect the picture quality when viewing…and it is a lot of mirror and I’d rather have subtle artwork than a constant view of me.
As noted above, I found the service onboard the Silver Muse to be top-notch in almost every instance. The style is culturally skewed due to the Filipino, Indian and Asian crew who are overseen by Italians and Europeans (who also man the Reception, Shore Excursion and Future Cruise desks). As such, there are a few bits of English language misses and it is less conversational than say on Seabourn. It is something that is not a negative, but more observational. Some prefer this style and others do no. I appreciate both, but prefer more free-flowing chats and ordering.
Speaking of ordering, there is one area that Silversea excels and another that needs to step up is game: Wining & Dining.
Silversea does not have the most extensive Premium Wine List, but it is an excellent – and clearly curated – one. I am not an expert, but know more than most, so I found a list I could enjoy rather than flounder through a very pleasant addition to my dining experience.
On the Dining side of things: Trust me, you aren’t going to starve and there are some excellent dining options, but there are enough misses to make it worthy of note. For many the cuisine is fine; in fact, fantastic. But I view it as compared to the best at sea and land (within reason). While the ingredients are fine (even wonderful) in some venues, in others – where the ingredients are truly the star, such as Kaiseki for sashimi, an obvious lesser quality is hard to ignore. The other issue is too many dishes are, in whole or in part, prepared in advance rather than ala minute. These are such easy fixes…and one that once all of the Royal Caribbean oversight is in place (I hear it will be by January 2022)…I am confident will be forthcoming.
One pet peeve – still present since my 2013 cruise – is that there are three-dish snack trays filled with potato chips placed out at cocktail hour (in addition to some nice hot and cold canapes). There are three dishes for a reason: There are supposed to hold three different snacks like chips, peanuts and bridge mix. Just like in 2013 when I asked for them the three-dish tray was filled appropriately. Let’s face it, old habits can die hard. It’s the Little Things and training can fix that easily.
But let’s balance the misses against the many hits! Italian cuisine at La Terrazza for dinner was great. Dining to a wonderful guitar, pianist and/or singer at Silver Note was wonderful. Indochine for Asian Fusion was tasty and creative. I could go on, but you get the picture and you can read the details in my Dining article. I always find it fascinating how people interpret what I say. One guest onboard said it was “a really thorough, articulate and accurate depiction”, while another guest thought it was very negative, while yet another (non-sailing and never on Silversea) person said it was thoughtful, balanced and rationally explained away some of the misses I forgave.
In conclusion and reflection, Silversea has come a long way in a fairly short period of time. With excellent ships (both new and finally properly refurbished), great service, multiple quality dining venues and many very interesting itineraries, it is has regained its position as one of the top luxury cruise lines.