You can dine like a king at La Dame; grill your seafood and steaks over hot rocks on the pool deck; or simply indulge in thin-crusted, Naples-style pizza.
Best of all, you can feast on caviar – it’s on the house!
Silversea, the luxury line with a long heritage, is on its longest stay in Australian waters, and flagship Silver Muse is leading a charge that has seen the line capture many new Australian hearts.
It’s her second summer season, and she’ll be here until April. But Silversea has been so successful, they are really only offering 2020.
We dined at Atlantide, a grand restaurant with high- back velvet chairs serving European fare.
A starter of caviar served with all its traditional accompaniments, was delicious. And a main course of grilled lobster tail with steamed spinach, broccoli and carrots was also well up to the best on land.
The ship has eight restaurants and you are simply spoilt for choice. The dilemma of a short cruise, is how are we going to sample all eight eateries in such a short time? Faced with this monumental task, we decided to give it a good shot.
The next day, breakfast at buffet style, La Terrazza had a good spread of some of the best berries on offer including gigantic black berries, strawberries and raspberries. It also serves a delicious asparagus and leek frittata. There is also a gluten-free corner serving some of the best berry smoothies and yummy muffins.
At night, La Terrazza transforms into a stylish Italian restaurant serving everything Italian from beef carpaccio, capresse salad with buffalo mozzarella to hand-made, fresh pasta. We are told the papardelle with duck breast ragu is outstanding.
At lunch, we opt to try the Japanese Kaiseki restaurant for a sampling of sashimi, sushi and eel and then headed to the pizza joint, Spaccanapoli on the pool deck. Nothing like comfort food to while away the afternoon as the weather turned nasty with high winds and swells of more than 8 metres high.
A nice touch on Silver Muse is a sandal maker located at the lobby. In keeping with the ship’s Italian heritage, the sandals are mostly jewelled with enormous, colourful stones priced at a princely US$200 to $450 a pair. The young Italian cobbler is a popular man.
Silver Muse prides herself in being labelled “understated luxury.” The ship’s interiors are in muted colours with lots of contemporary artwork on the walls or in the hallways.
Our veranda suite on deck 7 is stylish and very spacious. The king-sized bed has Pratesi linen, an extensive pillow menu, the bathroom has a bath/Jacuzzi and a rainwater shower. Toiletries by Bvlgari are divine and the walk-in wardrobe is generous in size with a nice touch – a leather jewellery box is provided to store away your diamonds in the safe. At 36 sq m including a 6 sq m balcony, it’s a real home away from home.
It also helps that Silversea is all-inclusive which means free flowing house champagne of Heidsieck’s blue top Monopole. There’s also a butler on hand.
We booked specialty restaurant La Dame for our final evening. It has a cover charge of US$60 per person. It’s worth every cent.
The Relais Chateaux restaurant serves French haute cuisine which certainly impressed. A starter of pan-fried goose liver pate, followed by a lobster bisque, a main of lobster tail with leeks in green pea jus and finale of soufflé were all divine.
Silversea’s restaurants are very traditional – formal nights mean formal nights. Their wait staff are trained at the line’s own academy in the Philippines and it certainly shows.
There are two other notable restaurants, though sadly we ran out of time to try them. Kaiseki serves teppanyaki in the evenings also costs US$60 per head. Indochine, a pan-Asian restaurant with dishes from India, Thailand, Indonesia and China, is part of the inclusions.
Silversea’s traditional approach is a strong selling point among many of its guests, who come from all over the world to enjoy fine food and great service.
Food and Beverage manager Ozgur Turnuklu told us: “We have to keep the traditional way of service, style of food in our restaurants – many of the guests like the formal evenings, informal nights and casual nights. As Silversea, we like to keep it that way.”
He added: “There are eight restaurants on Silver Muse, and if you include room service, its nine. Each day for dinner we serve 800 dishes for the main course.”
Mr Turnuklu said the galley had made changes for Australia. “When in Australia, we put on local Australian dishes on the poolside menu like kangaroo meat, crocodile and more local wine.”
Australians are increasingly taking to Silversea, he said. “Australians are increasing over the years, especially when we cruise in Europe. They make up half the capacity of the ship. Silver Muse has 600 guests – Australia and NZ make up 250 – 280 because they like to travel in Europe and they come for one month, not for a week.
“This cruise we have 106 Australians and they really like our Atlantide restaurant especially at dinner, lunch and breakfast. They like formal restaurants, they like to sit down and be served.”
The Muse is the template on which a fleet-wide refit called “Musification” is taking place.
On our final evening, the Voices of Silversea gave a performance at the Venetian Theatre. Sadly, if there is one area where time hasn’t stood still, it is in shipboard entertainment.
Song-and-dance routines from the sixties in front of a static set just don’t cut the mustard.
That said, the Silver Muse is a beautiful ship with all the accoutrements of subtle luxury. Loyal Silversea patrons love cruising with the line because of its focus on good quality dining, personal service and a relaxed atmosphere.
They are not big on entertainment and accept they are not going to be enthralled by glitzy Broadway shows after dinner. As one American businessman from Kentucky said: “Past 9.30pm and I am that close to bedtime anyway…”
Prices for a 12-day cruise from Melbourne to Auckland with visits to Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Dunedin and Christchurch start from $8000 per person.
Silversea are also selling a grand voyage in October which takes 51 days to see 30 ports across Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.
For more, call 1300 306 872 or see silversea.com.