Sailing Sil­ver Muse

The el­e­gant Sil­verMuse whis­pers lux­ury.

Porthole Cruise Magazine - - Cover - by FRAN GOLDEN

On board the brand-new Sil­ver Muse, my tuxedo-clad but­ler was con­cerned about a rubbed-out spot on my black suede boots. Jithin, from Mum­bai, had al­ready of­fered to un­pack my bags, en­cour­aged me to choose a de­signer soap, and brought the al­ter­na­tive-down pil­lows I had se­lected from the pil­low menu. Ev­ery time I thanked him he re­sponded, “a plea­sure.” “No wor­ries, Jithin,” I said as he turned his fo­cus to the task at hand. “Those boots are su­per old. And by the way, am I pro­nounc­ing your name cor­rectly?” “I don’t care what you call me. Just call me when you need some­thing,” he re­sponded with a warm smile. This is the type of pam­per­ing that sets an ul­tra-lux­ury cruise apart, and it was ev­i­dent, even on a 4-day, pre-chris­ten­ing sam­pler cruise aboard Sil­versea Cruises’ new flag­ship straight out of the ship­yard.

Sub­tle De­sign

Sil­versea set out to do things dif­fer­ent with this 596- guest ship, the line’s largest and first new­build in eight years. While some com­peti­tors are go­ing all Car­rara mar­ble, crys­tal chan­de­liers, and gold-plated glitz, Sil­ver Muse is de­signed, in the words of the line’s of­fi­cials, to “whis­per lux­ury.”

With its sub­tle dé­cor, the ship de­liv­ers an in­tan­gi­ble sense of fa­mil­iar­ity — you aren’t in a palace, but rather free to re­lax in what feels like some­one’s very nice and spa­cious con­tem­po­rary home.

The en­tire color scheme is calm (lots of taupe, cream, and seafoam green), the halls are wide, the wood­work light, and some spa­ces are down­right vast — em­pha­siz­ing that hav­ing room to spread out is it­self a lux­ury.

Where there is drama in the dé­cor is in the travel- in­spired art col­lec­tion. The 600 works are all by con­tem­po­rary Ital­ian artists. There are col­or­ful splashes of paint ( à la Jack­son Pol­lock), pop art por­traits of no­ta­bles such as Frida Kahlo, ta­pes­tries of Ital­ian land­marks, and sculp­tures made of plas­tic hairdry­ers. Some may find it weird; I thought it won­der­ful.

“This ship is pretty much made what would be my taste,” said Man­fredi Le­feb­vre d’Ovidio, Sil­versea chair­man and head of the Ital­ian fam­ily that owns the line. “It’s a warm ship. You feel part of the fam­ily.”

As if to drive home that point, d’Ovidio’s teenage daugh­ter, Costanza, served as the ship’s god­mother — though of­fi­cials were quick to point out that it’s not young­sters but af­flu­ent, age 55-plus baby boomers who are the tar­get mar­ket.

Per­fect Pool Deck

Sil­ver Muse’s most im­pres­sive space is its pool deck, one of the pret­ti­est at sea. Choose to re­lax in sun or shade; on a cushy lounger, sunbed, or sec­tional sofa; and all around a long shim­mer­ing blue pool with swim­ming and wad­ing ar­eas, whirlpools, and glass show­ers. It’s an oa­sis that in­spires an “ahhh” mo­ment, as pretty as you’d find on, say, Italy’s trea­sured Amalfi Coast. Fur­ther to that, a deck above the pool is Spac­canapoli, named for the fa­mous street in Naples and serv­ing up de­li­cious Neapoli­tan- style pies with top­pings such as 26- month-aged Parmi­gianoReg­giano, buf­falo moz­zarella, and San Marzano toma­toes.

The Din­ing Dif­fer­ence

Those fa­mil­iar with Sil­versea will ap­pre­ci­ate that the break­fast and lunch buf­fets at La Ter­razza are still as lav­ish as al­ways (and with the ad­di­tion of a juice bar). But there’s also a big change: Sil­ver Muse was de­signed with­out a main din­ing room. Guests in­stead choose among eight dis­tinct restau­rants with dress codes to match ( some resort ca­sual, others dress up). The idea is to make din­ner reser­va­tions as you would in any resort town.

The choices are im­pres­sive in­clude funky small plates served in a sup­per club with live jazz, home­made pasta, and other Ital­ian fa­vorites, steak, or seafood you cook your­self on hot rocks out­doors. For some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent, two new venues are At­lantide, a for­mal steak­house and seafood restau­rant (don’t miss pre- din­ner drinks in the sexy bar) and In­do­chine, which serves dishes in­flu­enced by Marco Polo’s spice route.

Drinks and gra­tu­ities are in­cluded in your cruise fare as are wines from around the world, with the op­tion to splurge on pre­mium se­lec­tions. The Ja­panese tep­pa­nyaki restau­rant, Kaiseki, and the fine French tast­ing menu restau­rant, La Dame by Re­lais & Châteaux, both come with a charge of $60 per per­son.

Those who are still hun­gry later in the evening can en­joy op­tions such as a late- night cheese trol­ley in Tor’s Ob­ser­va­tion Li­brary, named for Vik­ing Cruises chair­man, Torstein Ha­gen, a close friend of d’Ovidio. You can also take a break from the dance floor to dine, with room ser­vice now de­liv­er­able any­where you like.

Suite Liv­ing

On an ul­tra-lux­ury ship, it’s only nat­u­ral that ev­ery­one stays in a spa­cious suite with a ve­randa and en­joys such niceties as Etro robes, fine Pratesi linens, and Bvl­gari bath prod­ucts. State- of-the-art TVs hidden in wall mir­rors take some get­ting used to, but your but­ler de­liv­er­ing room ser­vice on a sil­ver tray, rais­ing your cof­fee ta­ble to din­ing height, and pre­sent­ing your spread on a white table­cloth does not.

Up­grade to a Sil­ver, Royal, Grand, or Owner’s suite and you’ll get ad­di­tional space and ameni­ties — the largest suites are apart­ment-sized and have the op­tion of adding a sec­ond bed­room. The one- of-a-kind Bal­so­rano Owner’s Suite is ded­i­cated to d’Ovidio and is stocked with his fa­vorite per­sonal items in­clud­ing fam­ily photos, vin­tage port, and a Ch­ester­field chair from his home. Have a seat, you’re part of the fam­ily.

Gath­er­ing Spots

The Arts Café is a new con­cept that com­bines art, books, cof­fee, smooth­ies, and snacks. Here, you’ll find a barista mak­ing illy cof­fee, a be­spoke book col­lec­tion or­ga­nized by Lon­don’s Hey­wood Hill, treats such as mush­room pâté cre­atively served in lit­tle glass jars, couches you can curl up on, and plush wicker seat­ing out­doors. I couldn’t stop go­ing back.

The Zà­gara Beauty Spa de­buts a new con­cept de­vel­oped for Sil­versea by Steiner. The idea is to cre­ate your own sen­sory spa ex­pe­ri­ence by select­ing your pre­ferred scents, light­ing, mu­sic, and, with se­lect treat­ments, video. The spa’s Ther­mal Suite in­cludes an out­door whirlpool (and in­volves an ex­tra fee).

The Panorama Lounge at­tracts a lively late-night crowd danc­ing to a DJ or live band. Hand­crafted cock­tails such as a Man­darin Cosmo or Basil Gim­let are rea­sons to visit the main Dolce Vita lounge.

The Vene­tian Lounge the­ater has tiered rows of chairs and ban­quettes, the per­fect venue to show­case the singing tal­ents of six per­form­ers who belted their way through a show fo­cused on blues and soul and an­other on swing mu­sic. And while the ac­tiv­ity ros­ter is kept slim, fans of Sil­versea’s pop­u­lar trivia con­tests will be happy to know there is noth­ing sub­tle about the on­board com­pet­i­tive spirit.

From top to bot­tom: La Dame by Re­lais & Châteaux, the stun­ning pool deck at night, in-suite din­ing, the Arts Café, hot rocks cook­ing at the Grill

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