On shorter sailings of seven or eight days, Silver Muse probably will visit a port each day. Itineraries vary by destination, but, generally, you will spend fairly long days in port, with some overnights in places like Monte Carlo or Livorno. The most popular excursions on Silver Muse are the ones labeled "highlights" or "guided tour." These excursions tend to take place by coach in larger groups, and they involve minimal walking. They focus on at least three highlights of any of the cities Silver Muse visits.
Other options include Silver Shore Expeditions, which focus on adventure excursions, such as hikes or bike rides. Groups for these tend to be intimate. In some ports, passengers also can book Silver Shore Good Citizen excursions, which support local communities by visiting orphanages or preserving wildlife, for example. Some excursions require the use of the Silver Shore Sotto Voce, where guides speak into microphone transmitters while passengers listen through earpieces. This is common in churches or museums, where loud speaking is a no-no. A shore excursions concierge can arrange private or small group tours in virtually any port.
Passengers can book excursions online or with their travel agents from 90 days to a week before they sail, but they also can book onboard at the shore excursion desk or through their butlers. Paperwork explaining each excursion is left in your cabin or you can see it at the shore excursion desk. Symbols designate what type of activity you'll be doing -- Sotto Voce or Expedition, for example -- and they'll also let you know the activity level and whether wheelchairs are permitted. Not all excursions or coaches can accommodate wheelchairs, but passengers can work with a shore excursions concierge to book private wheelchair-accessible excursions. Silver Muse will provide an aide for solo wheelchair travelers, for a fee.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
The ship's main entertainment venue is the Venetian Lounge located on Deck 5, a lovely space that includes a small stage and rippled fabric draped across the ceiling. Vocal music is the focus of production show entertainment on Silver Muse, and the line has put together shows that highlight great voices across several genres. (The performers actually are called the Voices of Silversea.) We loved the blues and jazz classics, big-band favorites, Sinatra hits and nods to Nina Simone; it's targeted to baby boomers and older. On select sailings, Silver Muse brings onboard guest entertainers, such as violinists and magicians; these can vary dramatically in quality. On our South America trip, a samba troupe got the audience up on its feet while a gaucho act sent people slipping out the side door.
The ship's small casino is located on Deck 7. It offers a variety of slot and table games and never seems crowded.
During the day, passengers can compete in trivia, attend destination lectures, participate in golf putting, pool volleyball and shuffleboard tournaments. There also are pop-up games, such as Name That Tune or Liars' Club. Occasionally, Silver Muse brings onboard gentleman hosts to offer dance classes; at other times, such classes might be led by the cruise director. Martini tasting and cocktail-making sessions are offered poolside. Bridge tournaments, which take place in the card room, might be organized during sailings. An occasional traditional English pub lunch might take place in one of the ship's bars on a sea day.
At night, there might be themed parties, such as a '60s party or black and white gala.
Lectures onboard Silver Muse focus on destinations -- specifically, the destinations you'll visit on your cruise. On longer voyages, the ship also brings on other lecturers; on our South America sailing, we had two -- one a celebrity biographer who talked about Hollywood glory days and another who spoke about South American politics. The onboard cruise consultant also will speak about Silversea's itineraries on both its luxury and expedition brands. International hostesses teach beginning language classes.
Many of the restaurant venues have their own bars, and passengers generally meet there for cocktails before dining. After dinner and the production show, the party usually moves to the Panorama Lounge, which stays open as late as passengers want to hang out (how late depends on the demographics onboard).
Atlantide Bar (Deck 4): Open from about 6 p.m., Atlantide Bar is an actual room just off the main restaurant. It includes a small bar as well as a couple of tables with couches and chairs. Passengers meet here while waiting for dinner, but it's also a comfortable, quiet spot after as well.
Entoca (Deck 4): Really a spot for a pre-dinner drink if you're eating in Indochine and waiting for a table, Entoca offers Asian-inspired cocktails, such as Singapore Slings, and beers like Tsingtao and Sapporo.
Dolce Vita (Deck 5): By far the biggest lounge onboard, Dolce Vita is decorated in a monochromatic brown color scheme, with leather and velvet chairs and couches, white lamps, low brown tables and marble-covered pillars. The lounge stretches from the reception and shore excursions desk at the back to a small bar at the front; a divider in the middle keeps it intimate. It includes a baby grand piano, and live music is performed at various times throughout the day and into the evenings. There's no dance floor. Dolce Vita and the Pool Bar are the only lounges regularly open during the day.
Silver Note Bar (Deck 7): Open roughly at 8 p.m. each night, the Silver Note Bar lets passengers hang out and listen to jazz, even if they've skipped dinner in the tapas restaurant. Performers sit on a small stage, which includes an even smaller dance floor. It closes late at night.
Arts Cafe (Deck 8): This little cafe is the best spot onboard to grab great coffee, lattes, cappuccinos and espressos. It also has lovely views, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. If you're feeling peckish, you can grab pastries in the morning or scones and biscotti in the afternoon. It's one of the more bustling areas onboard.
Connoisseur's Corner (Deck 8): A quiet lounge, Connoisseur's Corner offers fine whiskey, wines and cognac as well as a selection of cigars. Prices are fairly consistent with what you'd find on land; it's nice to see Silver Muse eschew a high markup. It's the only indoor venue that permits smoking of any kind: cigars and cigarettes.
Panorama Lounge (Deck 9): Located at the back of the ship, the Panorama Lounge is decorated with fresh flowers and pops of muted green. It features a small bar with a handful of stools as well as ample seating for three or four around marble-topped tables. It opens to an outdoor seating area featuring white chairs with plush blue cushions. (This area also has a small smoking section.) During the day, the Panorama Lounge is quiet, but the open-air extension gets a bit of use when the weather is pleasant. At night, the lounge turns into a nightclub after dinner, with a DJ spinning dance hits. This is the most popular spot onboard for dancing and late-night drinks; on our South America sailing, this was full well after midnight.
Pool Bar (Deck 10): Open when the pool is open, the pool bar is little used by passengers except to get a drink while walking by. It allows smoking, so nonsmokers give it a wide berth.
Tor's Observation Library (Deck 11): Tor's is located at the front of the ship and has floor-to-ceiling windows and a station passengers can check out to see the ship's position and weather. The space, decked out in navy blue, features a small bar and is furnished with tables and leather and fabric chairs and couches. It also has a small library with a nice mix of titles. During the day, it serves coffee and tea as well as cocktails. At night, it has cocktails -- and a cheese buffet featuring a wide selection of imported cheeses.
Cruise geeks will note that the space is named after Torstein Hagen, Chairman and CEO of Viking Cruises. Hagen is friends with Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, executive chairman at Silversea. (Viking's ocean vessels feature an Italian restaurant, called Manfredi's -- named after Lefebvre d'Ovidio.) There's a photo of the two in the lounge.
The ship's only outdoor pool is located on Deck 10. (There's a thalassotherapy pool at the back of the Zagara Spa, but it's open to a limited number of passengers.) The large pool is surrounded by beige padded lounge chairs and small tables for cocktails. Two small hot tubs are located at the back of the pool. A third whirlpool is located at the back of the ship on Deck 10. With brilliant sea views, it might be the best spot to hang out in the evening, as the sun goes down.
On sea days, the pool remains pleasant, despite the influx of more people. Pool attendants bring drinks, cool towels and polish your sunglasses. You can even order items from The Grill, like a salad, at your lounge chair.
A sun deck, featuring additional lounge chairs and seating areas, is found on Deck 11. Decks 7, 8 and 9 have sitting areas at the back of the ship. There's a putting green outside the Panorama Lounge on Deck 9.
Silver Muse has a solid selection of services, covering everything from shore excursions to laundry. The bulk of activity takes place on Deck 5, where you'll find the guest relations and shore excursions desks as well as a future cruise consultant, who can assist passengers with future cruise purchases. Passengers can book any of the cruise line's offered shore excursions ahead of time online or with a shore excursion concierge once onboard. A concierge also can arrange private tours either onboard or ahead of the cruise.
A card room, which doubles as a conference room, is on Deck 8. You'll also find the ship's boutique, which sells logo items, necessities, designer clothing and jewelry, on this deck. Complimentary self-service launderettes are located on decks 4 through 11. Passengers also can pay for laundry, pressing, dry cleaning and alteration services.
Passengers can read newspapers from around the world using PressReader, an app, on their tablets and smart phones; the service is complimentary onboard. Printed, condensed versions of newspapers are also available. Passengers also can have two visitors in ports of call, but requests (made through the reception desk) require at least five days' notice. A medical center is located on Deck 3.
Internet is complimentary to all passengers, but is limited to 60 minutes per person per day, and you may access it via one device only per person. Passengers can also purchase additional packages. Standard access, which works for email and surfing, costs $25 per day if you buy it daily; you'll get 5 percent off if you purchase it for the full journey on the second day of your cruise. (Discount percentages increase the closer you get to the end of your cruise.) Premium access, which is fast enough for streaming and video chatting, is $39 per day; the same discount structure applies for cruise-long purchases. Passengers staying in Silver Suites and above are entitled to complimentary standard access throughout. There is no internet cafe, but an IT officer is available during limited hours via the reception desk to help with tech questions.
Those looking to relax can head over to the Zagara Spa on Deck 6. Decorated in soothing gray tones, the spa and adjacent beauty salon offer a range of treatments, including Swedish and deep tissue hot-stone massages, manicures and pedicures, hairstyling and medi-treatments, such as Restylane or Botox wrinkle treatments. Men's treatments, including haircuts, manicures and shaves are available, as are couples' massages. Treatments aren't cheap; you'll pay about what you would pay at a high-end resort on land. We found our deep tissue massage to be good but not necessarily worth the price. Silver Muse offers discounted treatments and specials each day; keep an eye on your cruise chronicle.
The spa also has a thermal suite with private sun deck, small thalassotherapy pool and steam rooms and saunas. The thermal suite carries an additional fee, starting at $99 per person for a weeklong cruise. Silver Muse does not offer a day pass. The thermal suite is not large; it lacks cohesion and is missing accoutrements we've seen on other ships, such as heated ceramic loungers.
The spa includes a "mood room," where passengers go to fill out their pre-treatment paperwork. The room has a couple of padded chairs and uses special lights to set the mood, although there are no juices or special teas available during your wait. Passengers can work with their therapist to pick out the oils and scents they prefer.
The spa also has men's and women's changing rooms, though they are tiny. It also has gender-specific steam rooms and saunas, which are complimentary to all passengers (another reason that you might not need a thermal suite pass). Passengers don't actually need to use the changing rooms, though, as therapists take passengers, fully dressed, directly to the therapy rooms, where they can change out of their clothing. We just wish there was a place to hang or store our clothes, which we simply folded and put on a chair, which reminded us of a trip to the doctor.
The fitness center is located behind the spa, all the way at the back of Deck 6. The gym includes cardiovascular equipment such as treadmills, stationary bikes and ellipticals as well as weight training machines and free weights. The space seemed small for the ship, and we often encountered waits for the treadmills. You'll find a small selection of barbells ranging from 1 to 18 kilograms. An adjacent aerobics studio is used for group exercise classes such as yoga and Pilates, which are complimentary and offered most days. The studio includes a 4K projector used to project soothing images during classes. Personal training also is available for a fee; save a little money by buying a package of three. Other for-fee services include a nutritional consultation, body composition analysis, results-based training and crystal sound group classes, which employ large crystal bowls for sound therapy. (Sound therapy also can be incorporated into spa treatments.)
The ship's jogging track, with a long and short option, is located on Deck 11. Eight laps equal 1 mile on the longer track, which goes around the funnel and the upper deck of the pool. The shorter route, only around the funnel, is 12 laps to a mile. Hit the track early, as lounge chairs and tables at the pizza restaurant encroach on the area as the day moves on.
Children 6 months and older may sail on Silver Muse. A first for Silversea, a children's room, along with a small outdoor play area, is located at the back of Deck 9. Called the Activities Room, the space is brightly colored and features beanbag seating, an abstract mural and video gaming stations. When 12 children or more sail at once -- usually during the holidays and summer -- a counselor will join the sailing. There's one counselor per 12 children, so two counselors for 24 and so on. The Activities Room is open to children ages 6 to 16; groups are subsequently divided into Silversea Comrades (ages 6 to 11) and Silversea Shipmates (12 to 16) when appropriate, and activities are geared toward those groups. When an activity isn't scheduled, parents can join their kids in the room for playtime and can enjoy video games, board games and toys. Parents cannot go ashore while their children are in the club. The club is open from midmorning to early evening most days.
Children must be at least 3 years old and toilet trained to use the pool. No babysitting services are provided.
Don't let the addition of a club fool you. Kids are a rarity on Silver Muse, and the ship is a decidedly adult environment. Unless your child is very quiet, you might get looks from other passengers.
Silversea policy dictates that children under 8 years old can only participate in cruise line shore excursions in vehicles equipped with proper child seating equipment -- and not all shuttles and busses are. If you're traveling with young children, plan to bring along your own child seats; and even then, expect that some touring vehicles might not be able to accommodate kids.