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Silversea Cruises’ Silver Nova – Goldring Travel Checks Out This Game-Changing Ship!

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Nova (and her soon-to-be-delivered sister,  Silver Ray) is a game-changer in the classic cruise market. With her asymmetrical layout, extensive use of glass – focused on bringing the outside in – and modern design sets her apart from not only the rest of the Silversea fleet, but just about every other luxury cruise ship, whether old or new.

Silversea Silver Nova
Silversea Silver Nova

Silversea invited me to experience Silver Nova on a short four-night cruise from Manta, Ecuador to Lima, Peru, but I didn’t think I could really appreciate the ship in such a short period of time because she has so much to offer. And, let’s face it, do you really see me traveling to Ecuador for only a four-night cruise?

So, I’ve decided to extend my cruise and travel down the coast of South America – something I have always wanted to do – for an additional eight nights – including three sea days – ending in Valparaiso, Chile; a place I’ve always wanted to explore, but have been prevented since a longtime labor unrest shifted ships up to nearby San Antonio, Chile. 

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A Couple of Personal Travel Perspectives

Besides experiencing Silver Nova, this will be a classic example of my response to people who ask me, “How many countries have you been to?” Yes, I’ve been to Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, but of all the ports we will visit, I’ve actually only been to Lima, Peru!  Manta, Ecuador; Salaverry, and Pisco, Peru; as well as Arica, Coquimbo, and Valparaiso, Chile, are all going to be new experiences. Clearly, at least to me, “counting countries” is just not a thing!

One thing I hadn’t really thought about until the sail date came closer is that for the past couple of years, I have been invited on a variety of different ships and approaches, but it has been a while since have experienced a “classic cruise” experience including: (1) a bit of formality, (2) both ship and independent shore excursions, (3) dinner reservations, and, importantly, (4) a number of guests that are taking the cruise focused more on the Silversea onboard experience than the onshore ones.  

None of those things should be read as being negative, but rather simply as different – and classic – experiences.  To be honest, I am looking forward to my reaction not only to each of these elements, but the combination of them!  (Heck, this cruise is not only about learning the classic Silversea experience better, but – as always with travel – learning a bit more about me!)

Silver Nova Asymmetrical Pool Deck
Silver Nova Asymmetrical Pool Deck

Back to the Silver Nova before I discuss my journey any further!

Delivered earlier this year, Silver Nova is Silversea’s largest ship, with a guest capacity of 728 and crew of 544.  As with Explora Journeys, the first thing some will say is that she is too large and carries too many guests. This is a concept that is more associated with the older style cruise ships than those of truly modern design, as Silver Nova spreads guests out in a wide variety of public and dining venues, with each being focused on space, light, and – importantly – different personalities.

One highlight of the ship is what Silversea calls its “Asymmetrical Design” of the outside decks. Silver Nova’s pool (the largest in the Silversea fleet) is not midship, but rather shifted to starboard, affording most everyone that enjoys the Pool Deck a view of the ocean. In hindsight, this seems so logical.  (On older and smaller cruise ships engineers originally were concerned with centering the weight of the water due to structural integrity and stability on the older and it just became the norm. With modern engineering, and creativity (including that of Silversea’s parent company, Royal Caribbean, that may well be a thing of the past.)

Another highlight is that with modern noise and vibration techniques, the previous need to isolate public spaces and ship operations in order to isolate them has been eliminated. This has allowed Silver Nova to have a more integrated flow across the various decks rather than suites having to be stacked on top of each other and public venues similarly so. I am looking forward to seeing if this makes a difference in my onboard experience or how public spaces are designed.

Silver Nova The Marquee
Silver Nova The Marquee

Silver Nova has the expected dining venues, but most with new designs and updates (subtle or more):

  • La Terrazza (casual by day, Italian by night) with both interior and al fresco options; 
  • Atlantide (traditional) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; 
  • S.A.L.T. (Sea AND Land Taste) Kitchen (focused on continually changing local cuisines);
  • S.A.L.T. Chef’s Table (exclusive experience you can only book onboard)
  • Kaiseki (Asian cuisine) 
  • Silver Note (Jazz Supper Club);
  • La Dame (French cuisine – Formal Attire)
  • Arts Cafe (Casual coffees, pastries, sandwiches and cocktails throughout the day)
  • The Marquee (Al Fresco combination of the Spaccanapoli pizza venue and The Grill casual dining venues, which changes to the Hot Rocks dining experience in the evenings)
Silver Nova S.A.L.T. Chef's Table
Silver Nova S.A.L.T. Chef’s Table

Reservations are required in the evening for La Terrazza, Kaiseki, Silver Note, La Dame, and Hot Rocks. Kaiseki has an $80 per person upcharge, La Dame is $160 per person, and S.A.L.T. Chef’s Kitchen is $180 per person. The others are included.  Honestly, I am not a fan of charging extra for nice but not extraordinary experiences (La Dame has never impressed me), but Silversea guests line up to make reservations at both Kaiseki and La Dame venues. (I have booked Kaiseki and am hoping to experience S.A.L.T. Chef’s Table.)

There are a host of public spaces ranging including the expected Dolce Vita Lounge, Panorama Lounge, Observation Lounge, and Connoisseur’s Corner (cigar lounge) plus various indoor and al fresco lounges and the Venetian (show) Lounge. And, yes, there is a large Otium Spa, Casino, Fitness Center, and more.

In other words, Silver Nova has a wide variety of public spaces which can easily provide comfortable and relaxed spaces for everyone.

Another new trend for Silversea, tweaking its former formality, is a less strict approach when it comes to dress code. Rather than Formal, Informal, and Elegant Casual, the Silver Nova has Formal Optional and Elegant Casual. Sailings of seven days or less, are only Elegant Casual. Sailings of eight to fourteen days will have one or two Formal Optional evenings; where men are asked to at least wear a jacket when inside the ship. I do hope this concept is installed on the remainder of Silversea’s classic fleet.  (There are outside dining options for those that do not want to bring, no less wear, a jacket…even to simply place on the back of their dining chair.)

Silver Nova Junior Grand Suite
Silver Nova Junior Grand Suite

And that brings me to the suites. Silver Nova has a dizzying number of suite types (though Premium, Deluxe, Superior, and Classic Veranda Suites only vary by location) so going through all of them here is not really helpful. However, I will be sailing for the first four days in a Deluxe Veranda Suite (357 square feet) and then will move to a Medallion Suite (527 square feet) for the final eight days. 

Silver Nova Medallion Suite Floor Plan
Silver Nova Medallion Suite Floor Plan

The Medallion Suite offers, in addition to more space, a separate bedroom, a bathtub, a separate vanity table, a separate toilet room, an espresso machine, and complimentary laundry, pressing, and wet cleaning.

So what is my plan?

I will fly into Quito, Ecuador late at night on January 10, 2024, stay at the Holiday Inn Quito Airport hotel (with a transfer waiting for me), and then fly to Manta, Ecuador early in the morning, staying at the Oro Verda Manta Hotel, paying for an early check-in so I can relax, enjoy the beach, pool, etc. and then wander into Manta proper. After that day of chilling out and independently exploring Manta, the next morning I am off on a private guided nature tour of the forests and more remote beaches of Manta before boarding Silver Nova in the afternoon.

A combination of Silversea tours, private tours, independent exploration, and sea days follow – which I will detail along the way – exploring the cultures, cuisines, and nature of the west coast of South America, while giving me time to explore Silver Nova, enjoy the classic but updated Silversea onboard experience and, alas, get my work done.  (I am always working; something I believe – hope? – my clients find enjoyable.)

I do have to note that I’ve been to Lima, Peru a few times and while its culinary scene is one of the best in the world, Lima itself isn’t too inspiring…at least for me.  So, my focus is – not surprisingly – on Peruvian cuisine.  It was actually very difficult to get a reservation at most of the best restaurants (especially since many are closed on Mondays), but I did snag a late afternoon reservation at Maido; which should be an extraordinary experience. 

The cuisine is a combination of Japanese and Peruvian, referred to as Nikkei. Most recently it has been rated as No. 11 in the World and perennially rate in the Top Five in Latin America; often No. 1.  Even if you aren’t into ratings (I’m not) or Michelin stars (Michelin is not in Peru), it does mean a memorable experience is pretty much assured!

At the end of the cruise, after overnight on Silver Nova in Valparaiso, Chile, there is an unavoidable long day to bring the journey to a close. With the flight back to the United States departing at 10:45 p.m. I have arranged – as I have done in the past – a 7.5-hour transfer to Santiago, Chile starting at 9:00 a.m. stopping at a few wineries along the way as well as having a nice local lunch.  (If you do the math, that will still leave me with about two hours to hang out at the airport before I can check in…so that I can wait another three hours before the flight departs.)

A Visit to a Chilean Winery on the Way to Santiago
A Visit to a Chilean Winery on the Way to Santiago

So with that I shall continue to get my head into my return to a more classic, but moderized, Silversea cruise experience, delving deep into the Silver Nova’s innovative design, and, of course, embracing the journey along a part of this world that I have long-desired.

Interested in a Luxury Journey by Cruise, Expedition, or Land?

Contact Goldring Travel For Truly Expert Advice!

Email: eric@goldringtravel.com 

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