Day Three: Cruise Log | Cozumel, Quintana Roo (Mexico)
Arriving in our first port of call at 8am makes for a completely different cruise dynamic after the slow pace of our opening sea day. We could sense the crew raising their game and taking the tempo of the ship up several notches, with more considerations than merely inside the vessel.
With excursions to meet and land-side connections to make, this becomes a more multi-faceted experience. For an hour or so in the morning, the whole ambience of Silver Muse becomes, if not frenetic then certainly more purposeful.
But, for those who choose to eschew the immediate lure of the shops, sights and other attractions of this tourist-orientated island (which would definitely be us, as we’ve been here on several previous visits), there is the alternative pleasure of being on board with a noticeably decreased multitude. Not that the ship ever feels crowded, but, with many people ashore, it becomes an even more personal experience, almost to the point of believing it is our private fiefdom for a few hours.
Lunch was a great example. Faced with the regular six choices (main full-service restaurant Atlantide, the chic buffet option of La Terrazza, sushi at Kaiseki, The Grill poolside, the all-day Arts Café and pizza purveyor Spaccanapoli), we decided to take the most indolent selection of Atlantide. There were, maybe, two other couples there when we rolled in just after 1.15 and we had the almost undivided attention of the wait staff. Private yacht owners probably know the feeling we had.
To underline the experience, the menu was – yet again – one that exercised our tastebuds to the full, pulling us first one way and then the other (in the nicest possible way, of course). In fact, just making a decision from the full bill of fare is proving quite a challenge. Let us list the ways…
Artichoke & Avocado Timbale
Smoked Trout Salad
Baby Leaf & Fennel Salad
Broccoli & Stilton Soup
Chilled Cucumber & Dill Soup
And that’s just for starters. And then there were two pasta dishes and another six main courses:
Thai Coconut, Fish & Seafood Curry
Jerk Pulled Pork & Spicy Salsa
Caribbean Chicken Thighs & Raisin Amaranth
Quinoa Risotto, Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
We can exclusively report that each of the Timbale, Trout Salad, Pulled Pork and Vegetable Tandoori were superb, and totally indicative of what we are quickly coming to learn about Silversea, 2018 vintage. Food is a top priority. Not just good food, but excellent, creative and health-conscious food. Packed with zest and with masses of eye appeal. Where some lines think quantity is all-important, Silversea know that taste is king. For us, we want all the flavour and none of the bulk, and that is Silversea to a ‘T.’
And there is always a choice, not just in the venues but on each menu, whether you are a dyed-in-the-wool meat-eater, a vegetarian, or somewhere in between (which is also us to a ‘T’). To us, Silversea have always provided plenty of foodie pleasures, but that is taken to new levels aboard Silver Muse.
Okay, so what else did we do today apart from wax lyrical about what we consumed? Well, we had a good wander around the main downtown area of Cozumel, away from the immediate tourist traps that surround both cruise port areas. Head to the Parque Benito Juarez and you can enjoy a more authentic experience, especially if you wander a few blocks back to the Mercado Municipal where the locals do their shopping.
Cozumel also offers excellent snorkelling and diving, as well as some superb beaches, as long as you head for those furthest from the port, which dissuade the hordes from the mass-market ships that queue up at the bigger port of Puerto Maya (and, seeing as this is Spring Break season, it is best to avoid them at all costs).
Back on board, we enjoyed afternoon tea and coffee at Arts Café, exchanged a few pleasantries with our friends Treadwell and Tenny (you’ll be hearing from them in due course, we feel sure), and took in another Team Trivia session in the Dolce Vita lounge with new-found friends from Florida (couples from Melbourne and Naples, respectively).
With the usual nine choices for dinner, we put in a request this evening for Silver Note, the ship’s ‘entertainment’ dining centre, which serves Tapas-style small plates of deliciousness while adding a classic jazz club ambience from the live piano-and-vocal duo in residence. It takes just 32 guests a time in a series of timed seatings and must be pre-booked (like La Dame, Kaiseki and Hot Rocks).
The food was, naturally, excellent, but the entertainment was spell-binding. If you’ve ever enjoyed a jazz club in Manhattan, or been in a Prohibition-era Speakeasy (unlikely, but you never know these days) you’ll know what to expect, and this was a real highlight for us to date. For a sophisticated, grown-up evening, it takes some beating.
We finished the evening by meeting our Florida friends in the Panorama Lounge for late-night drinks and what passes for a disco aboard a ship, with the dance vibe was pure 1960s and 70s. Great fun. Okay, so the average age is 60-plus, but there is no way we can be facetious about it. There were 70-year-olds still out strutting their stuff who put us to shame.
But then, they don’t have to be up at 7am to file their report for Silver Muse Live!
See you tomorrow in Costa Maya…