Travel Agent has been aboard Silversea's new flagship, the Silver Muse, since Monday, when the ship was delivered from its Genoa, Italy shipyard. We’re using the day to explore more of the Silversea Cruises’ new 596-passenger flagship.
For fellow passenger Steve Bloss, first impressions are important. Bloss is president of sales for Worldwide Travel & Cruise Associates, Inc. in Plantation, FL. Specializing in incentive travel, he booked over 70 days of Silversea charters in 2016.
“We’ve very much into cruising. This is all we do, so we’re very concerned about where the industry is going, about what people are offering. I believe you only get what you inspect, not what you expect. I’d describe the ship as comfortable but elegant,” Bloss tells Travel Agent.
Silversea is the third cruise line Bloss has been on in the past few weeks. The level of service immediately stood out.
“There’s a butler who is much more interactive than those you see on other lines. The first thing he asked was, ‘what do you want in your bar?’ It’s the little things like that, the little touches that make Silversea a cut above,” says Bloss.
Those little touches include an eight-item pillow menu, and a toiletry selection.
“I have sensitive skin. I liked having the choice of a special line (German medicinal skin care line Sebamed) that wasn’t too flowery. Another thing, everybody talks about sheets and linens. The towels are fantastic,” says Bloss.
He also gives the ship high marks for cuisine.
“We had dinner at Indochine the first night. It was absolutely fabulous. We go to Thailand once a year, because my brother lives there. We’re very into Thai and Asian food. We wondered if we were going to get cruise food. But, it was the real deal. It was really Asian food and I’m very surprised,” said Bloss.
Travel Agent also got a chance to hear about the ship's dining options from Silversea Culinary Director Rudi Scholdis.
At a press conference earlier in the week, Scholdis recounted his 17-year affiliation with the line.
“We have to keep being a trend setter. We’re a very big target for the competition to keep up with us,” said Scholdis.
Scholdis says he sources and orders some 2,200 different ingredients to provision Silver Muse’s eight restaurants. Items range from artisanal beef to special Japanese and French delicacies to the most expensive cheeses in Italy.
Scholdis is a tireless presence this week, offering culinary shows, sitting on panels and visiting dining venues. Before our group dinner at Blue Note, a new jazz supper club, Scholdis described our specially-selected menu. Six courses served small-plate style began with sea bass ceviche and ended with molten chocolate cake.
Afterwards, we went in search of an enticing cheese bar Scholdis had mentioned. But we were waylaid by rumors of after-dinner truffles and hot chocolate. We found them in the Arts Café, which serves pastries and small sandwiches during the day.
Room service on the Silver Muse is called All-Around Dining. The concept offers guests dining options “any time any place, anywhere,” says Scholdis. Midnight snack of tiger prawns, filet mignon and crème brulee? No problem. It’s available en suite or in any operational public area when dining venues aren’t open.
And there’s more to those venues than meets the eye.
The setting for the after-dinner cheese bar is Tor’s Observation Library on deck 11. The name is a tribute to Viking River Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen. He a friend of Lefebvre, who himself has a namesake Italian restaurant on Viking’s ocean ships.
Silversea is definitely bullish on Silver Muse. Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre spoke of strengthening the line’s ties with both the agent community and the media during his welcome remarks this week. And, there’s great anticipation about new marketing and brand initiatives this summer.
“Cruising in general is very positive across every segment of the business,” said CEO Roberto Martinoli at the press conference.
That positivity is translating into a lot of cheerful faces on board. Managing director, the Americas, Mark Conroy, joked with agents gathered pool side on Wednesday.
“I’ve been involved in bringing out 12 ships, and this is the most finished ship I’ve ever seen. We’re extremely fortunate,” Conroy tells Travel Agent. He also repeated the same words Lefebvre had said earlier.
“If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call or email.”