Silversea Muse at sea
Silversea Muse at sea

The cruise ship with your own 24-hour butler

I never considered myself much of a cruise person. I couldn't shake the stereotypes of tiny cabins crammed tighter than the overfilled plates at the buffets, where diners would queue desperate to get their "money's worth" by eating more than a sumo wrestler in bulking season.

However, 24-hour personal butler service, canapés served in your room daily and a cabin as big as a studio apartment, complete with separate living room and full-sized bathroom, will quickly change that.

That's the experience the Silversea Muse serves up - an ultra-luxury cruise ship in which all rooms are suites, accommodating just 596 passengers with an almost 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio to ensure the ultimate in personalised service.

This is the way cruising should be done, and why I'll never be able to do it any other way.

The Muse offers voyages from seven to 31 days, sailing from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Canada.

Silversea Silver Muse at sea
Silversea Silver Muse at sea

I board in Cairns on a three-night trip to Brisbane, a taste of what is the usual Singapore to Sydney route.

"Hello, did you just get on? Welcome aboard," says the white-haired gentlemen with a big smile as I make my way to reception to check in.

A few minutes of lively chitchat follows, before he signs off with, "Have a wonderful time, I'm sure you will."

The American is not a staff member but a passenger, and his upbeat attitude is seemingly representative of everyone on board. There's a genuine positivity among the guests - more than just the usual happy holiday vibes, but a sense of community, fun and friendship, where a good time is always the focus. Most are in their twilight years, having worked hard throughout their lives and are ready to reward themselves.

And what a way it is to do just that.

Guests enjoying a drink on the Silversea Silver Muse at night near the pool
Guests enjoying a drink on the Silversea Silver Muse at night near the pool

At check-in you're met by your suit and cummerbund-clad butler, who is there to take care of your every need for the duration of your voyage, from having your clothes washed and pressed to making dinner reservations or organising an on-land excursion. It may seem like an unnecessary extravagance initially, but you'll soon wonder how you ever lived without one.

This level of service - plus plenty of cheeky banter - is also found at the ship's eight restaurants, six of those included in your fare price, while the Japanese-inspired Kaiseki and French-accented La Dame come at an extra charge.

The food at Kaiseki on the Silversea Silver Muse
The food at Kaiseki on the Silversea Silver Muse

 

The latter is plush, intimate and cozy, plating up luxurious morsels such as foie gras and caviar, but the inclusive restaurants don't stint on opulence either, with the likes of lobster and even truffle menu fixtures.

For a fun and relaxed dinner under the stars on the pool deck there's The Grill, where guests play chef for the night cooking their own food on hot lava stones or inside soup bowls. Or for a taste of Silversea's Italian heritage there's the casual pizzeria Spaccanopli, or La Terrazza, where by day you'll find seafood stations, an olive oil cellar, mozzarella bar and more, and by night a full a la carte experience with antipasti, primi and secondi stretching from a beautifully made, comforting traditional lasagne to baked potato-crusted turbot and tiramisu.

Delivering the flavours of Asia is Indochine, where diners could start with perhaps beef tataki or Vietnamese pho, before moving on to lobster curry or soy-braised short ribs, while for an elegant grill experience, there's Atlantide, serving the likes of caramelised pork loin, bouillabaisse and four cheese onion pie.

The Grill restaurant onboard the Silversea Silver Muse
The Grill restaurant onboard the Silversea Silver Muse

Or for dinner and a show, there's Silver Note - an intimate jazz and blues bar showcasing live music alongside contemporary cuisine, from buttered lobster tail with mash to roasted duck or the intricate Beehive, boasting a honeycomb-configured array of tiny bites including prawn, tuna, beef carpaccio and caviar.

Each restaurant offers up to 70 bottles of wine complimentary, with a sommelier hand selecting daily favourites from an intriguing global array; while the cocktails on board transcend from classics to signature pours including the Silver Spirit.

Making the dining experiences that much more special is the dress code, with three levels of attire, including black tie, encouraging passengers to dress up and bring some old school glamour back to the high seas.

If you're keen to burn off some of the copious calories you'll be compelled to eat, there's an onboard fitness centre, offering state-of-the-art gym equipment and weights, alongside a yoga room, where you can hire a personal trainer to ensure your exercise regime stays on track. It's here you can also take part in a complimentary foot print analysis or perhaps a seminar on how to relieve back hip and knee pain.

There are also daily educational seminars to keep your brain active while on holidays, as well as nightly stage shows for a laugh and games such as bridge.

Or you can simply relax by the pool or soak away any aches and pains in the hot tub. And for the days you're in port, small group activities can be organised covering the likes of hiking, snorkelling and diving.

It's enough to leave you exhausted and for that there is no better place to relax than your suite.

Silver Muse, Veranda Suite
Silver Muse, Veranda Suite

My superior verandah suite offers all the comforts of a five-star hotel and more, with a spacious bathroom complete with bath and separate shower, king bed, living room, two televisions, and a veranda with two chairs to sit and watch the waves roll passed or sun set over the ocean.

If the mark of a good holiday is never wanting it to end, the Silversea Muse delivers.

The writer was a guest of the operators



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