Inside Silver Muse’s Big Debut Event

Silversea executives talk the new Silver Muse at the ship's debut event. // All photos by the author

Less than 24 hours into Silver Muse’s shakedown cruise, Travel Agent was able to get a first look at the ship. Silversea Cruises took official delivery of the new 596-passenger flagship from Fincantieri's Genoa Sestri Ponente shipyard April 3. Invited guests and media (including Travel Agent) boarded a few hours later.

The keys had just freshly landed in Captain Alessandro Zanello’s pocket.

The shakedown events actually began in Milan on April 2nd. Silversea hosted a gala celebration at the Villa Necchi Campiglio. It included colorful cocktails and hors d'oeuvre on the villa grounds; tours of the historic structure; an opera performance by L’Academia de la Scala; and an elaborate dinner.

Silversea CEO Roberto Martinoli delivered an upbeat — if cautious — welcome, promising a big reveal the next day.

Shakedown cruises can often be nail-biters. And one held contemporaneously with ship delivery is a pretty bold move. Silversea hedged its bets by providing souvenir hardhats in each suite on the ship, along with a reminder to “expect the unexpected.”

“We’ve never seen a delivery like this,” said Martinoli.

Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio was beaming as he gave opening remarks on board. In fact, he sounded so confident that Silver Muse was a game-changer, and quickly told the audience:

“If you sell this one, I’ll build three more.”

The next day, Martinoli clarified that the line does have options for ship deliveries in 2020, 2021 and 2023.

Meanwhile, Travel Agent had a chance to explore further into the ship. The design is elegant, understated and comfortable. It’s about “European luxury and subtle colors,” said chief marketing officer Barbara Muckermann.
Silver Muse has more large suites than any other Silversea vessel, plus more connecting suites. Accommodations range from 400 to nearly 1,400 square feet. The Balsorano Suite can be configured as either one or two bedrooms, with a living room, dining area, teak veranda and floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Its name honors Lefebvre, with pictures of him and his family adorning the walls. The company was founded by his father, a fact he spoke of fondly the first night.

One of the most impressive features of the Silver Muse are the ship's eight dining options. All were up and running smoothly on the first night of the sailing. Culinary Director Rudi Scholdis was especially proud of that accomplishment. He explained that those eight venues offer 26 different dining experiences.

On the first morning of the cruise, it was standing room only for Muckermann’s marketing seminar. She recently returned to the company for the third time. And, she’s already shakings things up with a global brand campaign. It will launch this summer with localized announcements that include a big event in New York in October.

Silver Cloud’s transition to the expedition fleet in November of this year is a big marketing focal point. It gives the line more flexibility to reach more out-of-the-way destinations. And all Silversea ships will gradually undergo dry-docking to come closer to Silver Muse standards. The process will take time, cautions Martinoli. But, expect more detailed announcements soon.

During a press conference, Muckermann said that Silversea will distinguish itself by providing top geologists, vulconologists and other experts the crucial Baby Boomer segment is interested in.

Muckermann’s return to Silversea completes a circle of sorts. She is married to Martinoli, but doesn’t report to him, she said, drawing laughter. Instead, she reports to Lefebvre. As the only family-owned luxury cruise line, decision making gets a streamlined process.

“When Roberto has something for me, he comes to my door. There is no shareholder meeting, no paperwork and no politics. It’s done,” said Lefebvre.

Silver Muse will be christened in Monaco on April 19, with Lefebvre’s teenage daughter serving as will be the godmother. In 2017, the ship will call in 34 countries.

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