Wanted to give the Muse a second shot before final impressions, since the Sept cruise (our fist one on the Muse) was its maiden crossing. Also, had booked this in place of an 8-day Whisper cruise which we had booked but which had gotten chartered out from under us. Since there was room enough in the suite, we brought one of our sons with us, age 35. This was our twenty-sixth Silversea cruise.
We were in a Silver Suite on deck 10, previous cruise was on deck 11. As expected, the suite was really identical to the first one. Two exceptions: 1: the rainshower head was more mobile than the first time (first time it was either frozen in place or installed as a fixed shower head) and 2: the hot water came and went during the shower. Once the hot water was "fixed" on the first cruise, the temp was pretty steady.
We started from Barbados (we had flown from the US two days before for some beach time, which got somewhat rained out during the one full day we had no obligations, and the winds were high leading to rough water). Embarkation on the 6th was easy as pie. Took a hired car from the hotel to the ship. No line. Luggage got settled very quickly. The usual white-gloved greeting at the gangway entrance to the ship, outside the reception area on deck 5. Included prosecco, water and juice. We were given our room keys when we checked in at the pier, and then were photographed for the ship ID card and turned in our passports at the reception area, prosecco in hand. That ID card gets you on and off the ship, so keep it safe and handy. We boarded about noon or so, with lunch available either in Terrazza (buffet) or Atlantide (table service). We chose the latter. Very cordial and attentive staff. Had to fill out the standard medical questionnaire re: gastrointestinal and cough disturbances.
SUITE and SUITE SERVICE: Was sweet. Since we knew the ship, it was easy to find our suite after lunch. Some of the luggage was already there, some not (like mine). Nevertheless, those of us who could unpack did so. Since we were at leisure, we took our time, not a lot to do except wander about the ship (gave our son a tour) and attend the mandatory life-boat drill. No muss no fuss for the lifeboat drill, just follow the oral instructions. We had a different butler from the first cruise, but the same suite attendant, who remembered a lot of our preferences (i.e. the makeup of the bed blankets, refrigerator preferences, etc). When we did meet our butler, it was later in the afternoon, and he was able to find my suitcase (which took a long time to show up). A couple items went out for pressing from having sat in the suitcase for a few days--like my suit for the formal nights. Throughout the cruise, butler and suite attendant service was outstanding. Our son decided to use the couch itself for sleeping, rather than having it made up as a pull-out bed. Since his sleeping hours were irregular, the cabin staff worked around him for suite service, for which we were ever grateful. Our bed was firmly comfortable. And, as advertised there were robes in the suite. We recommend going up one or two sizes, since they run a little on the small side. Between the bed and the nightstands were reading lights, one each side, focusable and independently operated from the lighting system. Those came in handy. There was a clock radio with an iPod dock on the makeup table at the end of the bed, and this came in handy but was the only clock in the bedroom portion of the suite. So if you need something for your nightstand, bring a travel clock or a well-lit watch. The refrigerator door doesn't close very well, depending what's in it. There's an ice bucket in the fridge as well as cans and bottles. Plus, if you put a bottle of bubbly of some kind in there, it gets pretty crowded. Suite staff will bring just about anything in the way of wines, spirits, liqueurs and waters and they're complimentary, except the real premium stuff, which has a price list. Suite and loo/shower area were kept very clean. Shower and tub were separate. Verandah (balcony) was great in good weather (which we had). They are larger than the verandahs in the verandah suites themselves. A couple minuses: the TVs are embedded in the walls. This means the TV speakers can be heard through the wall. Our understanding is that this is being corrected. Never was really a problem for me, but the sound can come through if it's pretty quiet in the affected suite. Also, there are very few drawers in the closet area. So stuff was piled on shelves instead of in drawers. Different from other Silversea ships we have been on. Safe is small, not suitable for a full size laptop or iPad (iPad mini fit, barely). Plenty of space for shoes. Wooden and satin-padded hangers abound. One thing noticeable about this ship in contrast to other ships, hardly any real wood. Plastic laminates for walls and the uncarpeted floors, plastic wall frames, bannisters. Light colors which enhanced the feeling of spaciousness.
DINING: There are eight venues, all different, and we took advantage of five of them (had done LaDame previously; we passed on Kaiseki and Silver Note (which we had also done previously). So that left Atlantide, which has a weekly changing menu, Indochine, (also a weekly menu), Terrazza, less frequent change, Spaccanapoli (pizza--thin crust) and Pool Grille. In the past, the paticular restaurant dictated the dress code. Now the dress code has been revised to reflect standard formal, informal and casual nights ship-wide. Please note that informal means jacket (no tie necessary) in any indoor venue after 6PM. If you prefer casual, you have to be outside or in your own suite. Contrary to previous availabilities, course-by-course restaurant dinner service is NOT available for room service (since there's no "retaurant")...there is an "All Around Dining" menu for that. Pretty standard stuff, but nothing like in the various venues. And I had to special order chicken soup for one of the venues (came as a consomme with thin julienned carrots). The triple-clarified beef consomme was EXTREMELY spicy, couldn't finish, even though it was in a small bowl. We ate at pool grille the first and last nights. Pretty windy, we had to wrap up. There are infrared heaters there and at Spaccanopoli. Very loud diners at some of the tables, especially the second time. Overall the food and beverages were great in all the venues, and the menu changes added to the variety. If you want a special order, like rack of lamb or steamed rather than grilled lobster tail, have to state so 24 hrs in advance. They are very accommodating. Some minuses: In Terrazza, the doors to the alfresco dining area can tend to stay open, and if it's windy outside, it's windy for part of inside too. Sometimes service is slow, depending on the experience of the waitstaff. Be prepared to take an hour and a half for dining. Atlantide and Indochine are open seating dining. On two occasions there was no space available when we went to Atlantide...the wait would have been at least 45 min. So we went over to Indochine, got seated right away. Terazza has two hand-washing sinks for guests, which we didn't see used very much, although we used them all the time. They're a good idea, especially since good handwashing beats sanitizer spray, especially to control norovirus. The line ought to award prize points to passengers with each use. Lunch was also avilable on the pool deck, with the accompanying bar service. Very nice pool deck menu. And much of the stuff is prepared right before your very eyes. During at-sea days, sometimes special dishes are prepared right on the deck, like paella.
ENTERTAINMENT and ACTIVITIES: We did not attend any enrichment lectures, in contrast to previous cruises). We did co to a couple of entertainment shows. Some are better than others, and we've noticed quite a bit of change over the years. A lot depends on the company that supplies the entertainers and at what price (dictates the quality and experience of the cast). Some of the castmembers are new to the group, depending on the timing of them joining the ship, but they all seemed to blend very well. There was also a magician on board for a couple of shows. Generally we were either to tired to attend (most of the shows start at 10pm), or were still at dinner. Felt no obligation whatsoever to hustle just to go to a show. The only hustle we did was for shore excursions (of which we did three). We played team trivia most days, it is generally fun, sometimes a bit cutthroat (all for a bookmark or logo bottle opener). There was non-cast entertainment frequently: a piano player in La Dolce Vita (the bar), also a guitarist-vocalist), the Silver Muse Trio, a disco, and a duo in various places, and at SilverNote, a supper club-type of music entertainment. There were the other usual activities, like bridge, basic language instruction, coffee chats, etc. There were religious services on board, Sunday "church", Friday Jewish Sabbath, Hanukkah, and the grand staircase railings were decked out in Christmas decorations (hard to hold onto a railing in that case-->dangerous!). Sometimes clergy are aboard, depending on the type of religious activity.
OVERALL SERVICE: Great throughout the ship. Earliest bar to open was pool at 9am. Prior to that you could get coffee at breakfast or via room service. The only coffee venue open earlier was the Arts Cafe: 6am or so, with coffee and snacks, but a very small place with not enough room, and hard to find a seat. In contrast to some of the other ships, the "observation" lounge doubles as a library, no early coffee service, but regular bar and hors d'oeuvres in the evenings. Generally there are plenty of places to find a beverage (leaded or unleaded), and of course, there's always in your suite. The maitre d's especially and many of the waitstaff go to great lengths to remember you, and that's an awesome plus. Everybody was kind and willing to go the extra mile, with one exception: my wife was "scolded" by a castmember (seriously!!!) for what was a perceived cutting of the line at immigration inspection, even though she was following the immigration officer who told a bunch of us to follow him when a new immigration passport inspection table opened. That was demeaning. Doesn't matter that she was wearing an ill-fitting black dress. Truthfully, I'm going to follow the guy with a uniform, ICE or CBP badge and a Glock). She reported it to reception, but received no apology for something that should not have happened. BIG MINUS!!
PORTS and SHORE EXCURSIONS: Good choice of ports, although for great beach activities, not enough time was spent at the good beach ports, and more time was spent at shopping ports, even though Bonaire shops were mostly closed because of it being a Sunday. We zip-lined on St. Lucia (for the third time), beached it at Caya Levantado (Samana, Dom. Rep.), catamaran sail-snorkeled at Aruba, and were on our own at the terrific beach in Grand Turk, right at the end of the pier. There was also a cluster of good shops and a Margaritavile right there (it's called staggering back to the ship after the beach and Margaritaville, taking a long nap). There were scuba excursions offered, moreso than in the past (for awhile there were no scuba excursions offered, but "the times they are a changin' "). Although we are divers, we have elected to go on our own in the past, and there was a hefty price difference between some of the ports, not sure why. $249 for a two-tank dive at the Dominican Republic??? Caya Levantado had a great beach, although there were comb jellyfish in the water, which give off a bit of a sting, just a bit, though. The beach break had been advertised as beach barbecue with open bar, and greeting by native dancers. No dancers, barbecue nothing great and sometimes inedible, and bar was a cash bar. So somebody had difficulty with communication. Thank goodness for the beach and its attendants, as well as the water, even with the jellies.
There were a couple of small children on the ship, a 3-year old and a five-year old (we think those were their ages), different families and both extremely well behaved. That's in contrast to some of the adult passengers. Our son, although chafed at the dress code, actually enjoyed the cruise a lot. His work uniform is a pair of cargo-shorts, steel-toed boots, a t-shirt, a tool-belt and a protective helmet (professional stagehand for concerts, trade shows and conventions).
We would definitely go again, and actually have three more Silversea cruises booked. Shadow, Cloud Explorer, Whisper. We've sailed the Whisper the most, with Spirit in second place, but since the Spirit is going to be enlarged, we think it will be too big and crowded for us, having been spoiled by the smaller ships, including the four originals. But for a good feeling of intimacy and dine-where-and-when-you-want, this is the line. Read Less