By Simon & Susan Veness
Michael Jackson tried to blame it on the Boogie. Michael Caine wanted to blame it on Rio. And Nick Mancuso certainly blamed it on the Night.
In reality – and all music and film reference aside – blame might not be the right word here, as far as Silversea Cruises are concerned, but there is certainly probable cause, if not outright culpability. And it is all their own fault.
When Silversea introduced their new Silver Muse flagship in 2017, it marked a distinct raising of the bar in terms not just of their own fleet, but of the ultra-luxe cruise world as a whole. From the outside, it was a graceful, eye-catching paragon; from the inside, it was true cruising gold.
But the unexpected upshot of this maritime munificence was that Muse’s fleet mates suddenly seemed a little less, well, lustrous. Vessels like the Silver Shadow which looked the ship’s cat’s whiskers on her debut in 2000 – and which was rightly dubbed “the new Rolls Royce of cruising” at the time – was distinctly over-Shadowed by the newcomer, giving the company something of a conundrum in maintaining the profile of the rest of the fleet.
Where the other five ships glistened, Muse positively dazzled with her array of fine dining options, superbly spacious suites, elegant public rooms and refined entertainments. It wasn’t that her earlier sisters were any less gracious, it was just that the new flagship set new standards.
Enhancements such as the Silver Note jazz-themed supper club, Arts Café, Relais et Chateaux dining of La Dame, and sumptuous Spa combined to ensure sea-going cosseting of the finest kind. How could the others keep up?
The answer was Project Invictus. Immediately after the company’s takeover by Royal Caribbean last year, Silversea announced a major initiative of upgrades and embellishments fleet-wide, to ensure their older vessels would not be so outshone by their more recent sibling. Planned renovations of 2001’s Silver Whisper and 1995 veteran Silver Wind last December were given extra oomph by the improvement project, while a more ambitious renovation was promised for the Silver Shadow.
This week, we learned the details of this latest makeover, and to say it is impressive would be a singular understatement. It is not so much a refurbishment as a complete reinvention of the ship. No price-tag has been attached to this latest Invictus invigoration, which will begin in November, but you can be sure it is a multi-multi-million dollar installation. Let us go through the enhancements together:
Inspired by the chic colour palette of Silver Muse, every single suite, and the corridors that serve them, will experience a floor-to-ceiling overhaul. Both Vista and Veranda Suites will undergo a total renovation of all fixed and loose furniture, to include new lighting, carpets and headboards. Bathrooms will be transformed with new sinks and quartz Silestone surfaces.
The upper-level Medallion, Silver, Grand and Royal suites will also be upgraded with new colour schemes and soft furnishings, while bathrooms will undergo similar transformations. By the same token, the capacious Owner’s Suite will be modernised from top to bottom. We can practically taste that cosseting luxury already!
New Atrium & Arts Café
Leaning heavily on two of the real high points of the Muse design, Silver Shadow’s Deck 5 areas that are currently taken up by the Lobby, Boutique and Casino will be completely redesigned as an all-new Atrium. The ship’s social hub will be elevated into a modern, interactive reception area, boasting two new boutiques and, at the centre, the much-admired Arts Café, serving stylish coffees, pastries and sandwiches throughout the day and cocktails for the evening hour.
La Dame Dining
Relais et Chateaux collaborative restaurant La Dame, which serves some of the finest French cuisine at sea, will also see a major refurbishment. This will include enlarging the space to seat 40 diners at any one time, thus providing more opportunity for all guests to experience this epicurean adventure.
Connoisseur’s Corner & Casino
The current haven of Connoisseur’s Corner – a hideaway of rich and luxurious proportions offering fine cognacs and premium cigars – will be moved from Deck Seven to Eight, in the space currently occupied by the Library and Internet Café. Additionally, it will be completely restyled to include an imaginative outdoor smoking area with comfortable seating.
The Casino will also be elevated, from Deck Five to a new position adjacent to the relocated Connoisseur’s Corner, while its dozen or so slot machines and two gaming tables will be refreshed with new décor.
Observation Library & Spa
Taking another existing space and giving it a transformative touch, the existing Deck 10 Observation Lounge will be given a new lease of life in its quiet eyrie as the Observation Library, with all-new carpeting, furniture and an updated selection of books.
At the same time, the neighbouring Zagara Spa, Beauty Salon and modern Fitness Centre will be overhauled to provide the latest in steam and sauna rooms, fully refurbished treatment rooms, new furniture, flooring and updated fitness equipment.
And even more…
Not to be overlooked, there will be additional upgrades and enhancements for each of The Restaurant (Deck Four), The Bar (Deck Five), Show Lounge (Deck Six), the Card/Conference Rooms and alternative dining of La Terrazza (Deck Seven) and the evening centrepiece of the Panorama Lounge (Deck Eight). Each will receive enhanced décor and furniture, including upholstery, carpets and all soft furnishings.
And, to conclude the extensive makeover, the Pool Deck amidships on Deck Eight will be rebuilt with teak flooring, a new canvas awning, modern outdoor furniture, lighting and heaters. At the same time, the jogging track aft on Deck Nine will be resurfaced to provide a more ergonomic underfoot experience.
It all adds up to a comprehensive and mouthwatering array of refinements for the 28,258-ton vessel that will ensure it is properly Muse-ified and able to keep the finest company once more. It will be ready to resume service on December 3 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when it will sail a seven-night voyage to San Juan, Puerto Rico. And this Silver exemplar will truly be able to offer a golden finish.
Have you cruised on Silver Shadow before? What aspect of her makeover most appeals to you? Give us your thoughts in the Comments section below.