Gary Buchanan takes a trip on the ship that will be the benchmark for the luxury line’s entire fleet, and hears why it has been launched at the perfect time
There’s a buzz in the luxury cruise sector this year as headline-grabbing vessels in both ocean and river cruise are introduced to an eager industry. The most notable new upscale ocean ships are Seabourn Encore and Silver Muse – each destined to push standards ever higher.
Silversea Cruises took the opportunity to showcase their new 596-passenger flagship to an eager audience of trade and media representatives during two pre-inaugural voyages in early April. On board were executive chairman Manfredi Lefebvre, CEO Roberto Martinoli and Lisa McAuley, commercial director UK, and they were on hand to share their vision
of this exciting new chapter in Silversea Cruises’ compelling contribution to deluxe cruise.
Silver Muse is the ninth ship in the Silversea fleet – it is also the largest and most luxurious. This was endorsed by CEO Martinoli who told Cruise Adviser: “Luxury cruising is currently enjoying double-digit growth, so Silver Muse is well-timed to accommodate customer demand.
“Silver Muse is setting a new standard by introducing enhancements to the successful design guests enjoy on our fleet of classic ships,” Martinoli explained. “The revolutionary approach to dining is our real brainchild. By removing the notion of a large dining room we’ve been able to create eight dining venues offering 26 food concepts.”
Silver Muse embodies understated luxury and is noticeably bling-free. The ship is all-suite and even the lead-in Classic Veranda Suites are a generous 36 square metres and come with obliging butler. However it is the array of dining choices that is a hallmark of this new paragon. These range from the teppanyaki mastery at Kaiseki as well as La Dame by Relais & Châteaux (both have a $60 cover charge). In this culinary nexus on Deck 4 there’s also the larger Indochine and Atlantide. La Terrazza is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and there’s Scappanapoli Pizzeria, Pool Grill and Hot Rocks Grill on deck. The delightful supper club – Silver Note – serves tapas-style treats to accompany the entertainment. Another innovation that’s proving popular is the Arts Café, open from 6.30am until 11pm.
It is all too easy to compare and contrast this new ship with Seabourn Encore which entered service three months earlier. For agents with clients seeking a variety of unequalled dining and superb suites in lower grades then Silver Muse hits all the right notes. For clients looking for a range of treatments and therapies in a stunning spa, as well as a convivial array of chic bars and secluded niches on deck, then Seabourn Encore is probably the right choice.
During the showcase aboard Silver Muse the highly-respected industry icon Manfredi Lefebvre explained how this new ship will be the template for a $175 million programme to upgrade the entire fleet where the same decor will be introduced in a programme of ‘Muse-ification’. In other revelations the executive chairman pointed out that the incorporation of an ice-class hull on Silver Cloud, along with other enhancements, will result in the world’s most lavish expedition ship with a capacity for 250 guests when she is transferred to the Silversea Expeditions brand later this year.
Silver Muse embodies understated luxury and is noticeably bling-free
Lisa McAuley certainly appreciates the vital role of the travel trade, so much so she took time out from her hectic schedule to talk to Cruise Adviser during a ship’s tour. “The launch of Silver Muse is giving us strong traction with the trade and allows us to showcase what makes this new ship so special,” she told us. “Pricing will be a fair balance between offering and demand.”
When asked about recognition and reward for the trade, the enthusiastic director pointed out: “We have tweaked our ‘Advocates’ incentive programme to recognise top sellers. Every month each regional sales manager nominates three individual agents whose sales are reviewed by the Advocates Committee, who then award ten prizes to agents who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. The year culminates with ten Advocates enjoying a Silversea fam trip.”
On a final note of interest for the UK trade, McAuley pointed out that Silver Muse will be in Southampton for the first time on September 11. “This will be a great opportunity to showcase our flagship. One of my priorities is for as many members of the trade as possible to ‘feel the product’ – and to this end we have more ship visits and fam trips in the pipeline.”