As always, it’s good to be home. We had a little delay in the airport in Nice for a couple of mechanical problems, but we landed only a few minutes late. And the Silver Muse Captain could take a lesson from our pilot, who came out to the gate area to explain to all of us exactly what was going on and apologize for the delay. No such luck from Silversea.
Despite the well-documented problems we encountered on the Silver Muse, we had a good time. It was nice spending an extended time with Zelda and Matteo. It was nice not having to pack and unpack every couple of days, as we have on our last several trips. It was nice to have extremely friendly and attentive staff who got to know what we liked over the two weeks we spent with them. Our cabin, while not large by hotel standards, was extremely well designed (1), felt roomy enough, and had more storage than we needed. It was cleaned each day before we came back from our activity, and looked eacvh day (except for our stuff) like no one had ever been in it before. It had a remarkable number of electrical outlets, all accessible, in all the right places (2).
We booked five private guides, and they ranged from good to excellent. We found Max the taxi driver on the street in Citivecchia, who made our day in Rome even better. Keeping the theme of disappointment with Silversea, the ship’s Mt. Etna tour was very disappointing.
There were really three sets of problems with the cruise.
- We really were beta testing their ship. And we didn’t even get a discount. From the mechanical issues like lights falling off the wall to the really stupid way they mangled the dress code and restaurant reservation system, we suffered through all of the growing pains of a brand new operation. Presumably these will be improved in due course.
- The tender situation went beyond simply uncomfortable to a safety issue. On more than one ride I was on, passengers were bouncing around and could have easily been injured from a fall or hitting the wall of the boat (and yes, they were all seated). Passengers were bounced in the waves for extended periods while the crew tried to figure out how to deal with conditions that just didn’t seem that unusual to us, and which the other ships we encountered seem to handle just fine. As gracious and competent most of the crew was, the tender crews seemed like the B team.
- The worst part was the food situation and their ability to deal with Sally’s garlic intolerance. The last time we were on a Silversea ship, the restaurant staff had it all figured out after 24 hours. They made it easy for Sally, with the head of the restaurants finding her each day to plan for her dinner the following night. That just never happened here – the head of restaurants was useless. Instead Sally had to find someone each evening, often by going to the next evening’s restaurant and speaking to the head guy there. They then compounded the problem by either sometimes saying they lost the order, or not knowing if the dish they put in front of her was actually garlic-free. You can make her sick, people! This is not a matter of taste, this is a matter of health. I shudder to think about the consequences if they were dealing with a life-threatening allergy such as nuts or eggs. The result of all of this was that a part of the cruise that should have been relaxing and enjoyable turned into a daily ordeal.
But I hate to end on a downer. The picture above shows the beautiful Villefranche bay, where the Silver Muse is waiting for its next load of
victims passengers. Because cruise ships never dock in Nice (3).
And oh yeah, I got warm nuts on the flight home. I ate them; they weren’t so warm, or so bad when washed down with a gin & tonic.
(1) That’s if you ignore the lights falling off the wall, the bathroom door that wouldn’t close properly and the heat that took almost two weeks to fix.
(2) There were an array of outlets along the desk/dressing table area, with US, European and USB sockets to accommodate everyone. Strangely, there were outlets by one night table but not the other (mine). A minor problem.
(3) I know that’s snarky, but I can’t help myself.