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QueSeraSera

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My wife and I have made it to retirement.  We are going on our first cruise ever on Silversea to Alaska in September on the Silver Muse.  Silversea stood out to us by their inclusive fare, reviews, and the comments we read here (as well as the people at SS Ft. Lauderdale we talked with).  I have read and appreciate the many informative posts you all have made here, but we are honestly a bit nervous about the commitment we have made.  Our questions are:  (1) If we fail to pack something, are there options to buy on ship or in ports?  What must be packed?  (2) Can we pack in a manner that relies on using shipboard or port laundry?  (3)  If we elect to have dinner in our suite one or two nights, exactly how does that work?  Have your experiences been favorable? (4)  OK, we are total newbies at this whole cruise thing, so probably don't even know what to ask.  Your advice to first time cruisers would truly be appreciated!  Thanks in advance...

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5 minutes ago, QueSeraSera said:

My wife and I have made it to retirement.  We are going on our first cruise ever on Silversea to Alaska in September on the Silver Muse.  Silversea stood out to us by their inclusive fare, reviews, and the comments we read here (as well as the people at SS Ft. Lauderdale we talked with).  I have read and appreciate the many informative posts you all have made here, but we are honestly a bit nervous about the commitment we have made.  Our questions are:  (1) If we fail to pack something, are there options to buy on ship or in ports?  What must be packed?  (2) Can we pack in a manner that relies on using shipboard or port laundry?  (3)  If we elect to have dinner in our suite one or two nights, exactly how does that work?  Have your experiences been favorable? (4)  OK, we are total newbies at this whole cruise thing, so probably don't even know what to ask.  Your advice to first time cruisers would truly be appreciated!  Thanks in advance...

 

My responses:

 

1) Essentials can be purchased from butler -- razor, toothpaste, contact lens solution, etc.  There will be plenty of opportunities to purchase in ports if you really need to.  Pack as if you were going to a resort (minding dress code).

2) There are free self-service laundries for guests, and you can send laundry out for valet service. Give it to butler by 9 am, and it will be returned by 5 pm.  Reasonable prices.

3) Talk with your butler about dinner in suite.  The room service menu is quite large (steaks, pasta, salads, desserts, etc.) and you won't go hungry.  I have had very good luck, though I try to order only one or at most two hot dishes, so they don't get cold while I am eating.

4) Advice:  Relax and enjoy.  The crew will help you at every step if you need assistance.

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As "observer" said, relax and you'll do just fine. My wife and I have been on three Silversea cruises (and over twenty on other lines), and we've never had to panic. The only real essentials I'd mention are: 1) be sure you bring your passports (at least if your cruise includes Vancouver or any other non-U.S. port); 2) take a long, hard look at the clothes and toiletries you're bringing. Yes, if you under-pack you can always buy a replacement somewhere, but it will cost you a lot more; 3) Alaska is cold, even in September---especially if you're used to a place like Richmond. Bring gloves, hats, and a warm vest or parka. But the scenery makes it well worth it. I think you'll love Silversea.

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You must be prepared for any weather in Alaska - 'layers' are the key. That being said, figure out what you think you'll need... then take half the clothes and twice as much money.

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13 hours ago, QueSeraSera said:

My wife and I have made it to retirement.  We are going on our first cruise ever on Silversea to Alaska in September on the Silver Muse. 

 

One year ago, my wife and I were in the exact same boat. Retiring, never cruised. We booked a SS Alaska cruise and pre-cruise Denali trip (which was spectacular) after researching options on Cruise Critic, and with a nice offer of OBC from our SS consultant as a deal closer. We had an awesome time on and off the ship and we love the Silversea experience. Cruised with them again in March and have booked the Med. in October and Ireland/Scotland/Iceland next year on the Cloud.

 

We booked our excursions independent of SS  - saved some money and had excellent, small group excursions. Best by far was a small-boat whale watching in Sitka with Gallant Adventures. Sea otters, a grizzly, sea lions and seals, whales and thousands of sea birds. Highly recommended! 

 

We did two room service dinners after long excursion days. On the Muse, however, you'll have more dining options than we did on the Shadow. In advance of your cruise, you might make a few reservations at La Terrazza and/or La Dame and play the rest by ear. We also used the self-serve laundry on a sea day and it worked out well.

 

Solid advice from Bill about half the clothes and twice the money!

 

Hope you have a great cruise and Happy Retirement!

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On the Shadow you can order dinner in your suite off the main restaurant menu. On the Muse you are limited to the room service menu. Still plenty of options if you care to eat in.

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Welcome to the world of cruising:classic_biggrin:....most of us LOVE IT.....me included in that category.  I have not done a land trip in many years.  2 years ago was my first time with Silversea and then I sailed with them again last year so, yes I love their product.  (I have multiple cruises with other lines over the years but SS is my fav:classic_smile:)

 

As for packing? I have been to Alaska (on cruises) 3 times over the years. One of my suggestions is to layer....it is the best way (in my opinion) to pack for that climate.  As for what to pack? Daytime, long pants (jeans, casual stuff), long sleeves, sweater and/or jacket...….throw in a pair of gloves and remember to pack socks too...….daytime I wear a walking shoe or sneaker.  Evenings, I wear nice slacks with nice tops, some jewelry and a flat or low heeled sandal.  I cruise on my own so nobody else is part of my radar about what to bring.

 

Dinner? I agree with the other folks, if you want to dine in your cabin, talk to your Butler. They are usually very accommodating.

 

I have not sailed to Alaska with Silversea but I am quite sure it is wonderful:classic_smile:. I hope you love cruising as much as the rest of us!

 

 

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On 5/16/2019 at 8:52 PM, QueSeraSera said:

My wife and I have made it to retirement.  We are going on our first cruise ever on Silversea to Alaska in September on the Silver Muse.  Silversea stood out to us by their inclusive fare, reviews, and the comments we read here (as well as the people at SS Ft. Lauderdale we talked with).  I have read and appreciate the many informative posts you all have made here, but we are honestly a bit nervous about the commitment we have made.  Your advice to first time cruisers would truly be appreciated!  Thanks in advance...

 

For QueSeraSera, welcome to these Cruise Critic boards.  Don't be shy!!  Follow-up and ask any and ALL questions.  The only "dumb" question is the one you do not ask.  Know Richmnd, Va., well.  Our son and two grandsons live in Charlottesville, Va., and we have visited Richmond often.  

 

Observer, wripro, Lois, etc., have already given some excellent tips and insights.  This will be our first visit to Alaska and for parts of western Canada.  We are on the Silver Muse July 25, sailing north from Vancouver to Alaska.   Will you do the Denali excursion before or after your September cruise?  How much added time will you have in Vancouver?  During our sailing, I will be doing a live/blog with many pictures and details as to the ship and key ports.  Join in during our sailing on the live/blog and feel free to ask any added questions.  If needed, I can check on the ship during our cruise and/or post pictures to satisfy your curiosity and info hunger.  

 

This will be our sixth cruise with Silversea and the first on the Silver Muse.  Below is a link to our June 2017 sailing on the Silver Spirit that gives many details and visuals for the food offerings, entertainment, staff, etc.  Keep it coming with your questions!!  As already demonstrated, those on the CC Boards are knowledgeable and very helpful.  

 

FINAL CRUISE PREP POINT?:  Relax and enjoy!  The crew and fellow passengers are happy to be helpful and share more.  There are no "right or wrong" answer or ways to do things.  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Live/blog, June 2017 from Portugal to France along scenic Atlantic Coast.  Now at 28,298 views.  Many interesting pictures, details for history, food, culture, etc.:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358

 

One of the options on the Silver Muse is called Silver Note that offers small plate tapas-style dishes of international cuisine that is complimented with entertainment in the smooth sounds of jazz and blues.  Below are some visual examples from two years ago on the Silver Spirit when this dining venue was called “Stars”.  Here are some of my photo samples.  First was Tuna with curried aioli, Buffalo Mozzarella with plum tomato and Prosciutoo di Parma with walnuts. Like?  Am I correct that currently Silver Note now serves similar items or has their menu changed significantly?:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger!)

June%202017A%201561_zpsnc1uci1f.jpg

 

Second was Scallops with mango, Asparagus with caviar crea and Veal with artichoke.:

June%202017A%201562_zps55cen1je.jpg

 

Our third course was Rascasse with raisin brandy, Pike Perch Lavender with green asparagus and Tiger Prawn with Kumquat.:

June%202017A%201563_zpsfhv9f40c.jpg

 

As main course, it was Beef, Tamarind Venison and Veal, all with excellent and very tasty sauces, etc.:

June%202017A%201564_zps5gdpfyis.jpg

 

Finally for dessert, it was Grilled Apple, Forest Berry and Cinnamon/Lemongress, etc. YES, was very pleased and impressed by the “art” of this food and its quality/taste!:

June%202017A%201565_zpsu80nt2ht.jpg

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Thank you all for your advice.  I'm already feeling "welcome aboard" thanks to you!

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Looks delicious.  Bummed that Silver Note is fully booked for our Alaska cruise on the Muse in August.

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15 hours ago, philw1776 said:

Looks delicious.  Bummed that Silver Note is fully booked for our Alaska cruise on the Muse in August.

 

When we were on the Spirit in March, we booked the cruise three days before sailing and both Silver Note and La Terrazza were full every night. So we chatted with the maitre d's and were able to get into the Note on the first night and La Terrazza twice. 

 

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Terry, the food photos are fantastically fabulous:classic_biggrin:...…….had to use that alliteration.:classic_smile:

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15 minutes ago, Lois R said:

Terry, the food photos are fantastically fabulous:classic_biggrin:...…….had to use that alliteration.:classic_smile:

 

Appreciate, Lois, your absolutely awesome alliteration!!  How's that for a response with triple alteration?  For philw1776, agree with JohnGinPBG to check back later and/or with your Butler when you get on the ship.  Hopefully an opening will happen for being able to enjoy the dining and entertainment at Silver Note.  

 

For our upcoming Silver Muse sailing on July 25 from Vancouver up to Alaska, we do have reservations at Silver Note for one night and La Terrazza for two different evenings.  That offer a decent amount of variety for a seven-day cruise. 

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

For latest live/blog, see “Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East.  Connect at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/

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We had a wonderful dinner at Silver Note with the most delightful server named Pan!

 

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2 minutes ago, JohnGinPBG said:

We had a wonderful dinner at Silver Note with the most delightful server named Pan!

 

Very nice pictures!!  Look great.  Am I correct in assuming that the menu and/or serving method has changed at Silver Note since we did that type of venue in June 2017 on the Silver Spirit?  Inquiring minds always like to know more. 

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise from Copenhagen, July 2010, to the top of Europe. Wonderful scenic visuals with key tips. Live/blog at 235,149 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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3 minutes ago, TLCOhio said:

Am I correct in assuming that the menu and/or serving method has changed at Silver Note since we did that type of venue in June 2017 on the Silver Spirit?

 

I believe it has, Terry. I was expecting a wide variety of small dishes and instead it's the traditional appetizers, entrees and deserts. Here was our menu.DSC02968.thumb.JPG.11ddc716b8c746bff75051f938826e4b.JPGDSC02969.thumb.JPG.1fe7769eff53eb38ff363ea4341d5505.JPGDSC02970.thumb.JPG.dd48c0a045455c6286a2996a17c095a0.JPGDSC02971.thumb.JPG.048d8ef3ef745781a67142eb9a660691.JPG

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I still don’t get the whole menu concept of Silver note. We’re booked in there on our first night onboard 29 days from now and still haven’t a clue what to expect. 

 

 

 

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The change from the expected tapas-style menu was a surprise when we arrived mid-January on the Silver Spirit and, to most of the servers as well.  Each course was served with great enthusiasm.  Looking at JohnGinPBG's photos,  the menu looks much the same with the addition of Red Snapper to the mains.  Food and Service were excellent but it was the supper club atmosphere with the piano and singer duo that really made the experience top notch.   We're booked for one dinner on the Muse in June and hope, as on the Spirit, the Muse has a nice bar setup for an after dinner drink on other nights.

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4 hours ago, JohnGinPBG said:

I believe it has, Terry. I was expecting a wide variety of small dishes and instead it's the traditional appetizers, entrees and deserts. Here was our menu.

 

Appreciate the menu postings/details/pix's from John GinPBG, plus the comments and follow-ups from Daveywavey70 and Fortunate2.  I vaguely remember a couple of the menu items listed from June 2017 when on the Silver Spirit.  BUT, it always fun to try new and different foods/setting, especially if the sauces and/or tastes are fun and exciting.  We've got our Silver Note reservation for the sixth night of our Silver Muse cruise.  Depending on the food likes/success at the Atlantide or Indochine during the earlier part of the cruise, we can be flexible/ready to decide at that time what works best for our dining interests on that evening in keeping (or not) our reservation at Silver Note.  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Amazon River-Caribbean 2015 adventure live/blog starting in Barbados. Many visuals from this amazing river and Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, San Juan, etc.).  Now at 63,772 views:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

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I wanted to let you folks know I'm reviewing your thoughtful comments as we now have less than a month before our flight from RIC to Vancouver & then on to the Muse.  Over the last 3 months I feel like I've gotten to know many of you by following your posts and comments, and I feel happy and comfortable about that.

Perhaps you remember the kid in class who asked too many questions, but here I go with a couple more.  1. How are any recent experiences with self serve laundry? 

2. I will pack dress shirts and slacks, but should I pack a sport coat or use the space for an extra layer of warmth?  I'm watching JPAlbany (? on name) and dealing well with cold weather seems essential.

3.  There is no roll call for our cruise, should I start one?

4.  Any last minute suggestions as to what a rookie couple should look out for will be appreciated!

 

 

On 5/18/2019 at 11:10 AM, TLCOhio said:

Will you do the Denali excursion before or after your September cruise?

Sadly, after looking at your pictures and reading your comments, we did neither.  Confession time - we were worried about leaving our dogs too long at the kennel!  So I'll add that as another question, how long is it OK to leave or fur babies?

 

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A  navy sport coat if you plan on using it for formal night with dark pants, shirt, tie.  Otherwise, a cardigan or other sweater is more useful, IMHO.

Think about your ears and head...if you are on deck watching glaciers, it might be windy.  Do you have ear muffs, a head band, ball cap, or other item? Lightweight gloves so you can use your camera easily?  Glove liners work well for that.

Yes, layers are the key.  Perhaps long sleeved T-shirt, flannel or other button shirt, sweater, and lightweight water-resistant jacket that can be mixed as needed.  Good warm socks.

It might take up extra room but do take at least 2 pairs of shoes.  If one gets wet, you will be glad you have a back up because wet shoes can cause blisters quickly and are also cold.  And shoes are tough to buy.

I did think the self-service laundrys were very crowded, especially on sea days.  Not sure how early they open.  If you send out your shirts, ask that they be put on hangers instead of folded (I have a thing about creases...).

Flights...have you considered driving up to Dulles and flying to Vancouver from there?  I say that because my brother has encountered a lot of problems out of RIC.  Lost luggage, missed connections.

ENJOY!  Our first SS cruise years ago was Alaska on Shadow in early September and we had beautiful weather.  Rained in Ketchikan but that's normal.  Incredible weather for helicopter glacier walk in Juneau.

Oh, donate to the crew fund!  And if you have an extra-great crew member, do list their name on the survey.

Missy in Maryland, 2 hours north...4 hours if I-95 is backed up

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Hi Que Sera....  We are on your cruise also.  I, like you, have read the comments about Alaska being a little less "formal" than other itineraries but if  our past Silversea cruises are an indicator, yes, you will need a sports coat IF you want to go dine anywhere other than the Grill on "Formal Optional" night. Someone on a recent Alaska cruise will probably be able to answer that more precisely.  Usually men wear sports coats (no tie) on "informal" nights, & embarkation & last nights are always casual.  I see that the 2nd night is our "formal optional" night so if you don't want to take a sports coat, you might want to make reservations at the Grill.  Since we are in the inside passage and there are heaters at the pool grill,  it should be comfortable.  Terry who posts here regularly has just returned so let's hope he will answer.  My husband will carry both sports coats, & suit for formal night but we are on the crossing also.  I'll look forward to meeting you both.  We're really getting close now & I'm very excited.  Are you spending a pre-night in Vancouver?  We are staying just across the street from the port so we can walk our luggage over (or the bell person can.)  Someone started a roll call but I don't see a M & M.  If you start one, we'll sign up.  

 

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13 hours ago, nowornever said:

Are you spending a pre-night in Vancouver?

Yes, although we get into Vancouver around midnight (3 AM home time) so we booked an airport hotel.  I think I just signed my wife and I up for a M & M.  Will bring a sports coat but I think packing for a cruise will be a learning experience.  Thank you to you and MHF for the specific advice, I know it will help.

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1 hour ago, QueSeraSera said:

Yes, although we get into Vancouver around midnight (3 AM home time) so we booked an airport hotel.  I think I just signed my wife and I up for a M & M.  Will bring a sports coat but I think packing for a cruise will be a learning experience.  Thank you to you and MHF for the specific advice, I know it will help.

 

Great to know your cruise is getting closer and that the research/planning is progressing well.  Agree on needing a sports coat for men.  Packing can be a challenge as your conditions can vary much from being cold, rainy, sunny and warm.  All . . . in just one day.  Need to be flexible.  BUT, agree that things on the Silver Muse are relatively relaxed and comfortable on this wonderful ship with excellent service and food.  Appreciate your dropping by on my live/blog with so many very good questions and postings.  Don't be shy!!  The only "dumb" question is the one you do not ask.  Keep asking and being involved.  For those other planning Alaska trip in the future, below are just a couple of quick, fun samples.  Hope that the EXCITEMENT is building.  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Just completed Calgary, Jasper/Banff National Parks, Western Canada Rocky Mountaineer rail adventure, Vancouver, sailing up to Alaska, post-cruise excursion to Denali, etc.  Lots of visuals and details!!  That live/blog is at: 

www.boards.cruiseccritic.com/topic/2682584-live-terryohio-silver-muse-alaska-canadarockies-pix’s/

 

Or, you could simply do a quick Google search with these terms: 

“Live Terry/Ohio Muse Alaska”

 

Flying with Wings Airways near Juneau is the best way to sample mountain drama and witness glacier glory.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)

573082666_SailingNorth1789.jpg.444a275f5ae6b8cc234370629a5e5e86.jpg

 

585940523_SailingNorth1788.jpg.819cbd3be4c7e3b41749d5fecaadb6de.jpg

 

Near Sitka with a small boat from Gallant Adventures, the four of us had a "trifecta" of sea otter, puffin and eagle, plus lots of whales, etc., etc.:

1637324021_SailingNorth1785.jpg.7a2dd87d9ae524a6ee7952cc9bc05979.jpg

 

1330324709_SailingNorth1784.jpg.8bcc398668fa3b4e62caff47151be726.jpg

 

 

956435641_SailingNorth1786.thumb.jpg.97d054382a6f0ed101a4d27abd28e0a8.jpg

 

Yes, we finally saw a moose near Denali!. So much to enjoy and experience in Alaska!!  Many more visuals on the full live/blog.:

1123622435_SailingNorth1787.jpg.a57a6afaa0a3195eb632dbdd8973a88a.jpg

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We just completed our first cruise, and we had a truly wonderful experience.  I thank the people who posted above and elsewhere on the SS boards.  Their posts were truly helpful.  We have no regrets about booking with Silversea.  A few thoughts I'd like to share for any others who might be in the same position we were "pre-cruise" before letting this thread fade away:

1.  Advice from experienced SS cruisers is well worth heeding, we found no experience that contradicted it.  The advice can be found among many threads on this board.

2.  Get ready for some spectacular food!  Every day, every meal!

3.  We used the self-serve laundry twice on our cruise, on one occasion we had to wait a bit.  We found it effective and the laundry room clean.  We also sent a few things "out", this was reasonable in cost and 100% satisfactory.

4.  We did overpack a bit (my example: too many t-shirts).  Men, do bring a sport coat.

5.  Our butler was a delight, very helpful but not at all obtrusive (thank you Rodolfo!).  As others point out above, if unsure, just ask, the butler is there to enhance your cruise.

6.  Included wines are quite good. 

7.  Do some on-board activities.  DW and I enjoyed our beginning Italian class, and the on-board lecturer's classes were interesting and helpful as he interpreted the lands we were visiting. 

A theme in the comments above: relax and enjoy.  So true.

 

 

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