SEVERAL years ago I travelled on Silversea’s Silver Muse on a taster cruise for just three days. I have to admit to coming home and feeling a little disappointed with the experience. I am not sure what I had expected at the time, but the fact it rained the entire journey did affect my overall impression of the product.
Come 2023 and I recently did something I have never done before – I took myself off on a six night Silversea cruise from Ho Chi Min City to Singapore. I’ve travelled by myself many times for work, but this was the first trip like this I had done alone. Again, I was not sure what to expect but I went with an open mind and also excitement to have a little escape. The itinerary included three days at sea and only two days on shore, which suited me fine as I was going to have a rest.
Well I have to say that I have had to eat my words! I was definitely not disappointed this time. I now understand why many cruisers are wedded to Silversea: there are so many reasons to choose them.
Firstly – my cabin was fabulous, spacious and well appointed, so much storage and plenty of space to sit and read a book, or watch TV. A generous balcony was also a nice spot to sit.
During the cruise I was looking forward to spoiling myself with some spa treatments. The Zagara Spa offered lots of options to indulge in. Massages, facials, skin treatments, even acupuncture. Not to mention the beauty salon for hair and nails. I opted for a massage and a pedicure. I would have had more, but the spa is very popular so bookings are essential. But there is also the option of visiting the spa for a sauna, or the outdoor hot tub for more unwinding. Plus if you are really enthusiastic the gym is also located within Zagara. I decided to do my exercise in the pool. The pool is large enough that you can do laps, and early in the morning I had it to myself. Of course later in the day it’s a great spot to lie and work on your tan.
I managed to fill my days at sea easily – in fact I was pretty busy, between spa appointments, lectures, lessons and relaxing. I attended the lessons on better use of mobile phones for photography. I came away feeling quite smug with all the new things I had learnt. I loved that there were a variety of guest lecturers covering different areas of interest. Plus of course bingo and trivia every afternoon.
During the days in port I went on different shore excursions. I’m not one to do the long all-day excursions as I like to spend some down time on board. Our port for Bangkok was two and a half hours from the city so I opted for the closer-by excursions. Both were excellent – ‘Introduction to Buddhism’ visited several temples and museums located out of Pattaya, while on the second day our excursion visited ‘The Sanctuary of Truth Museum’, the most amazing building built entirely of carved wood.
Travelling alone can be a challenge at meal times if you don’t like to sit alone. I have no problem, but the staff at all the restaurants went above and beyond to ensure I was ok. They greeted me by name and were incredibly attentive but also respectful if I wanted to just sit quietly. In fact the service onboard in all areas was exceptional. As an independent person I’m not used to having a butler at my beck and call, but if I wanted anything they immediately sprang into action.
And then there is the food. I have to confess that I love food. There were so many options to choose from that I actually didn’t get to eat at every venue. For breakfast and lunch, La Terrazza offers a buffet with so many delicious things to choose from it’s hard to not overindulge. At night it turns into an a la carte Italian restaurant (bookings are required). Other lunch options include Spacaccanapoli, located on the deck above the pool for pizza. Or try sushi at the Japanese Kaiseki, or a la carte in the main dining room Atlantide. The Grill Deck offers burgers, salads and main meals, or the Arts café has light bites, plus of course there is 24 hour in-room dining.
Dinner options are also amazing – Atlantide and Indochine offer a la carte, and no booking ahead is required. The Grill Deck at night turns into a la carte with the option of cooking your own meat on a hot stone. Pizza, of course, at Spaccanapoli. La Terrazza offers fabulouse Italian food, while Silver Note is a perfect venue after 8pm for tapas style dishes while listening to live music. Then there are two specialty restaurants which I had the pleasure of enjoying Kaiseki (Japanese) and La Dame (French); both have an additional charge, but it is well worth it as the cuisine was exceptional. Both were my most memorable meals of the trip.
I could go on about all the different spaces on the ship to sit and relax, with its many bars, lounges and sitting areas where you can find a nook to be by yourself, or an area to sit and play cards or games, or just chill with friends old and new.
A Silversea cruise is definitely an experience I would highly recommend – not just because of the luxurious ship but they offer some amazing itineraries. Where will I go next??