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Silversea Cruises’ Silver Nova – Goldring Travel Checks Her Out: Finally Onboard!

The time to finally board Silversea’s Silver Nova arrived!

Silversea Silver Nova's Asymmetrical Designed Pool Deck
Silversea Silver Nova’s Asymmetrical Designed Pool Deck

I survived a canceled flight, civil unrest (OK, actual riots), cancelation of ports, an additional flight, and an unanticipated four-night stay in Lima, Peru, so boarding the ship should be easy, right? Well…not exactly.

The plan, seemingly OK with Silversea, was my boarding in Callao, Peru (the port for Lima) on the last day of my original four-day cruise and then continue on with the following eight-day cruise. So, I ordered an Uber which quickly took me to Callao only to find out that the port (the worst port I have ever encountered) does not allow anything other than shuttles to enter it. However, Silversea never sent me this bit of information or where to meet the shuttle. Fortunately, my Uber driver wouldn’t give up, eventually flagging down the shuttle bus and quickly had me and my luggage on our way.

The port security checked its list and we were on it, so we were “in”.  I then boarded the Silver Nova with a warm welcome and a “You aren’t supposed to be here until tomorrow.” Huh? 

Silver Nova's Arts Cafe
Silver Nova’s Arts Cafe

Eventually, we were welcomed to the Arts Café to wait for a solution to be found. Arts Café on Silver Nova is different…and I don’t like the change. In fact, any anticipation of Arts Cafe being as it is on the other Silversea ships needs to be forgotten. Here there is a massive bar in the center of a room that houses the Cafe on one side and the Reception and Shore Excursion Desks on the other. As a result, this massive bar only has about 30 percent of it being guest-focused…and, as I later observed, at peak times it can get crowded.

I immediately noticed that the offerings are not as diverse as I have seen on other Silversea ships. Even more disappointing is that it does not serve alcohol; not even mimosas or Bloody Marys.  So for a morning “pastry and” it isn’t going to happen at the Arts Cafe.  And because of this change, it also closes at 6:00 p.m., rather than the expected 10:00 p.m. for that quiet after-dinner cocktail or coffee. Again, disappointing.

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Anyway, I was off to the Panorama Lounge to have my mimosa while I waited.  And, it was then explained, that the problem with just giving me the original suite was that many folks were supposed to disembark in Manta, Ecuador, and, obviously, could not.  I hadn’t thought about that until my delay was explained as they needed to get a suite ready for me as a result. But, in true Silversea fashion, they got it done and I was welcomed into my Medallion Suite. Whew! 

Silver Nova Medallion Suite Living Room
Silver Nova Medallion Suite Living Room

My Medallion Suite is beautiful and very well laid out with a separate bedroom, a large dressing room with a vanity, a good size desk (nicely hidden from both the bedroom and living room, but still with a view to the sea), an entry table, an espresso maker and more. My only niggle is that the bathroom and WC doors are very heavy and automatically close, so if you are getting ready you can’t simply wander back and forth from the bathroom to the dressing room. 

Silver Nova Medallion Suite Bedroom (Second TV not shown)
Silver Nova Medallion Suite Bedroom (Second TV not shown)
Silver Nova Medallion Suite Bathroom (Separate WC not shown)
Silver Nova Medallion Suite Bathroom (Separate WC not shown)
Silver Nova Medallion Suite Walk-In Closet
Silver Nova Medallion Suite Walk-In Closet
Silver Nova Medallion Suite Vanity Desk
Silver Nova Medallion Suite Vanity Desk

Also, a nice touch is an actual laundry locker with a hanging cloth bag.  With the included same-day laundry service for Medallion and higher suites, it upgrades the in-suite experience nicely.

I took a brief walk around the Silver Nova and she is beautiful.  I am going to withhold most of my impressions until I get to live on her for a few days.  But I will say I really like the asymmetrical pool deck layout and my suite. And, without question, there is a huge amount of space, so any concerns about 700 guests being too many and places being crowded so far seem to be more of a theory than reality.

I had a dinner reservation that evening in Lima at Maido (another of the World’s Best Restaurants) which I had really been looking forward to…and which I booked long before I was able to dine at Central. Between the full-on dining experiences I already had in Lima, the hassles of the past days just getting to the ship, the shuttle ending early in the evening, and just being happy to be onboard Silver Nova, I – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – canceled the reservation.

Silversea Silver Nova's Silver Note Jazz Club & Restaurant
Silversea Silver Nova’s Silver Note Jazz Club & Restaurant

However, when I boarded the Hotel Director asked if I had dinner reservations and if he could assist. So I said I love to dine in Silver Note; which is a very difficult reservation to secure. Done!

It was a lovely dinner at Silver Note; a favorite dining venue for me. The pianist and singer were lovely. I would say they weren’t very “jazzy” but did offer a nice array of dinner music. The space is beautiful and even a bit glamorous. The service was both charming and efficient. I was offered a red and white wine selection I didn’t care for. No problem, I was quickly given three options for each…with the bottles properly presented to me. Perfect.

The next day the Silver Nova remained in the Callao port and I treated it as a sea/work day as I had more than enough of Lima and I did not want to deal with the shuttle service. Unfortunately, next to Silver Nova was a freighter that was unloading stones of some sort from very early morning through our departure. The noise and dust were relentless, so spending much time out on deck wasn’t happening.

Silver Nova's The Marquee/Grill
Silver Nova’s The Marquee/Grill

I went to Spaccanapoli, the pizza restaurant with the larger, semi-al fresco Marquee; a beautiful, but very large casual dining venue.  This is a multi-venue venue, so to speak: Casual dining and pizzeria by day, The Grill for Hot Rocks dining in the evening (by reservation).

The Marquee really struck me as being a very large venue; something that Silver Nova has in a few areas. As pretty as it is, and I do love the sofa seating option, it just seems have lost is intimacy.  If there was a way to visually break up the areas with plants, artwork, or something, I think it would be better.  I will give it time and see if it grows on me.

As for my pizza, being from the New York area I am very particular about my pizza and I knew from previous experiences on other Silversea ships, the pizza was probably not going to be up to my standards…and it wasn’t. While I appreciate the need to tone down spices in order to not offend the majority of the guests and their dietary needs, but there has to be a way to also have some options that have more flavor and spice.

That said, Spaccanapoli is quite popular and many of the guests downright love the pizza…and leave with none of the beloved – by East Coasters – grease stains or heartburn! 

Thankfully the sun set on the freighter berthed next to Silver Nova and the Port of Callao!
Thankfully the sun set on the freighter berthed next to Silver Nova and the Port of Callao!

We finally departed Callao, Peru as night fell.  I was never so happy to leave a port…and I’ve been in a lot of ports. One cannot blame Silversea for this. In fact, the Seabourn Quest and the Norwegian Sun were berthed within eyesight in this massive facility.  The quiet and clear air was very much appreciated.

Dinner was a La Terrazza. Fortunately, I was offered a table in a smaller area as it too has a very large main area for seating and, unlike The Marquee whose design dissipates sound, that is not the case in La Terrazza. In this quieter section, I enjoyed great pasta (which is always perfect on Silversea), a nice wine selection, and wonderful service with jovial but very professional servers. 

S.A.L.T. Bar local cocktail Pisco-based, of course!
S.A.L.T. Bar local cocktail Pisco-based, of course!

After dinner I retired to the S.A.L.T. (Sea. Air. Land. Taste) Bar. I love this venue. It is far more intimate, has a lovely violinist later in the evening and focuses on cocktails based on local spirits and ingredients. This will become a favorite, for sure.  And a perfect way to conclude my first full day on Silversea’s Silver Nova.

Next up: Pisco, Peru (not the drinking kind!)

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