Like many words in the English language, there are many different definitions and interpretations of the word ‘luxury’. The website www.dictionary.com defines luxury as being ‘indulgence in and enjoyment of rich, comfortable, and sumptuous living. Something that is considered an indulgence rather than a necessity’. It also seems a fitting description of what I experienced last week when I had the pleasure of being invited to enjoy Silversea’s latest addition to their fleet — Silver Muse. Silversea occupy a place in the global cruising eco-system that they describe as ‘ultra-luxury’ and whether one considers that claim as bordering on hyperbole or not, there’s no denying that, short of sailing on some billionaire’s mega yacht, time spent on board Silver Muse is about as good as it gets! Come to think of it, when you step aboard Silver Muse or any of Silversea’s other eight ships you are, in effect stepping aboard what, for all intents and purposes is a billionaire’s mega yacht as Silversea are a privately-owned cruise line, founded by the Lefebvre family of Rome in 1994. Silversea were the first cruise line to pioneer all-inclusive cruising with Silver Cloud.
Silver Muse represents a change in direction, in my opinion, for Silversea as it begins to attract a younger audience of affluent and discerning consumers who want the best and are happy to pay for it. A week aboard a Silversea ship (the fleet includes six cruise ships and three expedition vessels) is likely to cost somewhere north of €6,000 but you get a lot for that spend and as is so often the case with luxury, the devil is in the detail.
We spend a third of our lives sleeping so it goes without saying that the beds, mattresses, sheets and pillow cases are amongst the best that money can buy. Silversea feature Pratesi bed linen which is made of the finest Egyptian cotton known as ‘angel skin’ and which has a sateen feel so that it feels like satin or silk. A single set of such bed linen will set you back €1,873 — I know, because I’ve checked the website: http://bit.ly/2oXJbYn
It is this kind of standard that permeates everything that Silversea does — the food, the entertainment, the service levels onboard. Pre-cruise accommodation tends to reflect that same customer experience. Our pre-cruise hotel was the Hotel Principe Di Savoia, a member of the Dorchester group where you will find a capsule of deep-sleep pillow spray beside your bed at night and believe me, the spray (lavender) actually works!
Because Silversea is all-inclusive (there are two speciality restaurants on Silversea where a supplement of €60 applies), you pay for nothing other than spa treatments when you step on board, plus you enjoy the benefits of your own butler whose sole purpose is to ensure that you get what you need, when you need it. Each suite boasts two hidden TV’s that are integrated into the wall mirrors in both the bedroom and the living area, adding yet another layer of sophistication to the overall experience. Each suite also contains personalised stationery in the names of the suites’ occupants and your mini-bar is re-stocked daily with your personal preferences in wines, champagne, spirits, beers or soft drinks/waters.
Gone are the days when one was expected to dress up in formal wear for every other dinner. Onboard Silversea, the emphasis is on casual elegance with a jacket and open neck shirt sufficing for men and cocktail dresses for ladies. The average age of guests is also lower than many might assume with it being somewhere in the low 50’s and getting lower all the time as younger professionals discover the benefits of the luxury cruise market. In short, everything about Silversea exudes quality, class and exclusivity; from the original works of art (any of which can be purchased) to the fixtures and fittings through the ship — all exquisitely executed in modern muted colours that accentuate a feeling of relaxed wellbeing. Part of the exclusivity comes from the fact that since all Silversea ships are smaller (Silver Muse is the largest at just over 40,000 tonnes), they get to access ports around the world — almost 800 of them! — that no other cruise ships get to visit. Contrast that number with the fact that the larger cruise lines feature less than 300 ports and you begin to see why customers choose Silversea just for the itineraries alone.
If you have a big milestone like a retirement or major wedding anniversary coming up, I would recommend that you seriously consider spoiling yourself for once — you might find that you actually like it!