When she entered service this past spring, ultra-luxury line Silversea’s brand-new Silver Muse raised the bar. She ushered in an entirely new design concept for Silversea, became their biggest ever newbuild overnight, and introduced new dining options and rethought bars, lounges and public areas.
After half a year in service, Silver Muse has received a number of subtle adjustments that make the 596-guest ship a real winner. Her impact, though, is already being measured: Not only is she going to get a new sister ship, Silver Moon, in 2020, but elements of her design are already being added across the Silversea fleet.
You could argue that, in the past, Silversea’s vessels have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. That’s no knock against the line, which was founded in 1994 and is chaired by industry titan Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio. From the line’s launch ship, the 296-guest Silver Cloud (now undergoing conversion to a full-fledged luxury expedition ship) to the dynamic duo that are the Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow, each ship Silversea has launched over the past two decades has followed a similar pattern.
In 2009, Silver Spirit broke that mould, introducing a new Art Deco design scheme, more public areas, and new dining options. One of the most popular was Stars, an innovative supperclub that paired jazz music with small-bite dishes in an intimate, even cozy atmosphere. Routinely packed to standing room-only, Stars was an instant hit.
Silver Spirit also introduced the frequently-renamed Hot Rocks dining. Allowing guests to cook up meals atop a superheated slab of volcanic rock poolside, Hot Rocks was so popular that it was added to the rest of the classic fleet. When guests aboard Silversea’s expedition ships complained that they wanted Hot Rocks, too, Silversea complied. The interactive dining experience is now offered across the entire fleet.
Silver Muse could almost be thought of as a sister-ship to Silver Spirit. Indeed, the two share many of the same characteristics, including a basic hull design and general arrangement plan that has changed very little. Really, though, Silver Muse is almost a ship in her own class, thanks to a roster of fabulous new features and a bold new look.
To start with, Silversea dramatically increased the number of top-of-the-line suites onboard Silver Muse, including the line’s popular Silver Suites that bridge the gap between a veranda suite and a full-blown, multi-room suite.
Across the board, it made suites larger and wider than it had on previous ships, with entry-level rooms starting at a generous 334 square feet.
Rooms are also more technologically-advanced, with additional power hookups, USB chargers, and better on-demand televisions, most of which are inset into mirrors in each suite.
Changes over Silver Spirit aren’t huge, but they’re there, from the redesigned shower doors to the new chairs, vanity and desk, and the new placement of the bedside light switches – overall, easier to reach when lying down.
Around the ship, Silver Muse introduced a number of revised public rooms. The old-world enclave that is the Connoisseur’s Club moves on up to a prime position all the way aft, with some gorgeous wraparound windows and a ventilation system designed to remove as much smoke from the room as possible (this is where cigar aficionados go to get their fix).
Up front, the Observation Lounge has been enlarged and renamed. Now branded as Tor’s Observation Lounge after Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen (who named a restaurant after Silversea’s Lefebvre), this space provides better views thanks to the removal of the forward observation deck, while acting as a bar and pseudo-library.
Silver Muse also introduced an Arts Café, which blends books with pastries, coffees and other beverages. Situated all the way aft, it’s one of the most popular areas on the ship.
A controversial change introduced with Silver Muse was the elimination of a main dining room in favor of nine individual dining options. With differing dress codes and separate menus, the idea didn’t quite work out as planned. However, after feedback from guests on Silver Muse’s first voyages, Silversea has standardized the dress codes and is working to simplify the menu options to better spread demand across all venues.
While we don’t know much about Silver Moon at this point, we do know she will be a direct sister to Silver Muse. Still, with over two years to go until her debut, it is reasonable to expect new amenities and features to be rolled in as her development progresses.
One thing that isn’t changing, however, is her size. Like Silver Muse, Silver Moon will carry just 596 guests; a “sweet spot” for the line, and the top of its comfort zone.
Before Silver Moon debuts, Silversea has plenty of plans in store for the rest of the fleet. Silver Wind and Silver Whisper will go in for an extensive drydock this winter where they will receive some of the décor and features introduced aboard Silver Muse.
Silver Spirit, on the other hand, goes under the knife in the spring, receiving a new 49-foot-long midsection housing six additional Silver Suites, 26 Veranda Suites and two new Panorama Suites.
While in drydock for this massive operation – the first such event in Silversea’s history – Silver Spirit will also undergo technical upgrades and “Muse-izing” to make her décor more closely resemble the lighter, brighter tones of greys, blues, greens, and leather hues introduced aboard the Silver Muse.
During a recent visit to the ship in Quebec City, Canada, on her maiden voyage to North America, I was pleased to find subtle changes everywhere. Guests were enjoying themselves both indoors and out, and the service levels were exactly where I’d expect from a Silversea ship after nearly six months in service.
For Silversea, Silver Muse has been just that: an inspirational vessel that manages to be evolutionary, not revolutionary, while still substantially advancing the Silversea onboard product.
It’s not an easy dance to perform, but Silversea has pulled it off.