Last week Silversea Cruises launched the 12th ship in its ultra-luxury all-suite fleet with a pre-debut architectural voyage on the Silver Nova. Over the four nights onboard, it quickly became clear that this was no ordinary launch. The 728-passenger Silver Nova's arrival – the largest ship in the fleet – marks a milestone towards Silversea's 'Net Zero' and is one of the most ultra-luxury ships ever built. At 801-feet long and 97-feet wide, its novel, sensational beauty is a sight to behold.
All of the engineering and construction feats make Silver Nova "dramatically more efficient" as Jason Liberty, president and CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Group noted. Indeed it marks a new environmental benchmark for the cruise industry. However, it's the ship's mind-boggling asymmetrical design, use of glass, and high ceilings that make the Nova breathtaking, as the ocean, scenery, and destination ports are the focal point from almost every onboard location.
Bringing in the outdoors
There is nearly a constant sensation onboard of suspended animation at every turn as even the elevators and staircases are ocean facing, bringing the outside in. In fact, as Silversea president Barbara Muckermann noted, "Ninety-five percent of ship's public areas have outdoor views and 100% of suites have balconies."
The revolutionary asymmetrical ship design also results in an utterly stunning pool deck.
"Nova's horizontal layout allows for the highest ceiling heights giving a greater sense of spaciousness," Muckermann said. "Silversea used over 43,000 square feet of glass in constructing the ship, nearly sending our engineers into therapy."
If any engineer ultimately did require therapy, by all measures, the end result was well worth any therapeutic sacrifice.
The Suite life
There are seven new suite categories on Nova providing, as Muckermann said, "More suites, more options, and more luxury." Travel Market Report stayed in a Deck 7 Deluxe Veranda Suite mid-ship that provided 330-square feet of Silversea's trademark "whispered luxury."
The suite's neutral, calming color palette has dark turquoise pops of color in the pillows, rich brocade black-out curtains, and carpeting. The king-sized bed is flanked by nightstands boasting multiple U.S. and E.U. outlets along with both USB and fast charging ports. The 60-inch swivel flatscreen TV is wall-embedded in a separate seating area with a full-sized sofa, ottoman, marble-topped coffee table, and a combination granite desk and bar area stocked with guests' beverage choices that faces an exceptionally large balcony.
Seriously impressive is the large walk-in closet with plenty of hanging and storage space. The intuitive, waist-level in-room safe is a design gift. A separate granite-topped vanity area with magnifying mirror, boasts additional storage, and a streamlined laundry drawer.
One of the main suite design changes that Nova introduces are the bathrooms which happily resemble those in six-star hotels. Otivm spa amenities in multi-use dispensers grace both the enormous, walk-in Carrera marble-tiled shower, and large, gray-and-white granite countertops. The dual-faucet sink also has abundant space.
All of Nova's accommodations come with Silversea's signature butler service that provides unparalleled service to meet even the most discerning guests' needs. With a crew of 544 providing a crew-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.3, waiting isn't on the menu.
Food and wellness
Silver Nova has nine dining options and 10 bars and lounges so food boredom is not possible. New to the already impressive line-up is the al fresco Marquee on Deck 10 with forever views and magnolia trees accenting the expansive space. The Marquee encompasses The Grill for its 'hot rocks' culinary concept – think tender steaks and the freshest seafood – while Spaccanapoli has pizzas that will have guests singing "O Solo Mio" in no time.
There's Kaiseki for Japanese fare; Silver Note, the New York-style supper club reminiscent of the 1920's with live jazz music; Atlantide for continental cuisine; La Terazza for delectable northern Italian cuisine, including the finest tiramisu ever eaten; and La Dame for French cuisine in an elegant, formal setting with handmade Lalique crystal panels, and a Hirondelle crystal chandelier.
The S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste) Kitchen, which debuted on the Silver Moon, is expanded on Nova and has two nightly menus. A Terrain menu inspired by the seasonal specialties at port – the night we dined, the menu was based on Zadar, Croatia – and a Voyage menu for eastern Mediterranean cuisine.
One of the best dining experience at sea is S.A.L.T. Chef's Table located in the gorgeously eye-popping S.A.L.T. Lab. By day, guests can partake in culinary instruction, by night it metamorphoses into an 18-seat, symphonically wine-paired, multi-course, small plate menu, focused on local ingredients providing an authentic, unforgettable, and intimate experience under the direction of the supremely talented and amiable Chef German Sanchez.
There's also 24-hour room service with caviar and accoutrements anytime.
"Nobody has ever lost weight on our ships," Muckermann said, just slightly tongue-in-cheek.
Weight gain is not mandatory, though as Nova has a large, state-of-the-art fitness center with Technogym equipment and free weights and an outdoor walking/jogging path.
The Otivm Spa has a full menu for men and woman, including medi-spa treatments, and an indoor pool and sauna. The beauty salon is one of the largest we've seen at sea and likewise offers a full array of high-caliber services.
Art lovers will be awed
Throughout the ship, including the stair landings, there are are 1,800 pieces of art, made by 60 artists from 25 countries. It's worth skipping the elevators at least once to see the stairwell art, but be sure to give yourself time. Admiring the collection often made us hopelessly late to our destination.
British artist Esther Miles and Ukrainian artist Irina Yermolova's pieces are vibrantly whimsical, while Iranian Batool Showghi has a mesmerizing framed multiple tin-box piece. Even at guests' perennial favorite, Arts Café – caffeinating and sweetening the good life – the ceramics and tea tins were perfectly selected to add panache.
"All of this colorful, quirky, interesting, and sometimes weird art complements Silversea's concept of whispered luxury," Muckermann said.
Silver Nova is not just beautiful, but is of course a technological brain child.
As Captain Cosimo Pontillo, who has been with Silversea since 1996, so eloquently stated, "From a navigational, safety, and handling standpoint, this ship is also totally self-sufficient, which is important given that Silversea voyages in remote locations. The technology is so superb, piloting this vessel feels like a vacation."
Piloting Silver Nova may feel like a vacation to Captain Pontillo, but this remarkable vessel will, without doubt, provide guests with an overall cruise experience they won't soon forget.