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Silversea Cruises’ Silver Nova – Goldring Travel Checks Her Out: Reflections

Silverseas’ Silver Nova is, in many ways, a next-generation cruise ship with many innovations, and, as a result, the guests are better dispersed, resulting in a wonderful sensation of space and privacy.

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

There has been a lot of talk about Silver Nova’s asymmetrical design. It has resulted in what I believe is an extremely attractive and well-thought-out Pool Deck where everyone has a wonderful view of the ocean either looking over the pool or away from it…along with a sufficient amount of shade. (The pool bar service needs to improve, however.)

While these are my reflections, you can read more details of the Silver Nova and my entire travel experiences on this trip in my prior articles:

Chef German heads The Chef's Table Experience on Silver Nova
Chef German heads The Chef’s Table Experience on Silver Nova

Before I boarded Silver Nova, I was a bit skeptical of the S.A.L.T. (“Sea And Land Taste) concept. It has won me over.  Top of my list of reasons is the S.A.L.T. Chef’s Table, which was not only delicious and interactive, it was fun.  Second on my list is the S.A.L.T. Bar which incorporates spirits and cocktails that are from or inspired by where the ship is sailing. (The space is beautiful, warm, and cozy as well; augmented by violin or saxophone in the evening.)  And there is the S.A.L.T. Kitchen, which is actually a restaurant in a more intimate setting with the menu focused on local cuisine…along with some standard options. (I did not try the S.A.L.T. cooking classes, but they exist. With no knives or hot cooking surfaces, it is more of a nod to a cooking class…which is perfect for most on a cruise.)

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I also enjoyed Silver Note’s design being a bit sexier and an homage to a theatre in the round. 

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

While the guests truly liked La Terrazza for casual breakfasts and lunches, it was just too large and noisy for my personal taste. Dinner as an Italian restaurant was much better…and you can’t beat the pasta on Silversea!  (I had the same feeling for Atlantide, the classic restaurant.) 

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

Another venue that won me over is The Grill (Hot Rocks); something I didn’t really care for on the other Silversea ships. On Silver Nova, it is located in The Marquee – the semi-covered al fresco restaurant, which gives it a more polished and comfortable experience. (I love the sofa seating option.)

One disappointment was Kaiseki, the Japanese extra-cost restaurant. The space is nice, but it needs to be significantly revamped. It was my only real disappointment on the ship.

On other Silversea ships, the Panorama Lounge is sort of a hub for entertainment and cocktails. On Silver Nova, it is more of a functional afterthought despite its wonderful views off the stern and a nice alfresco area. It seems with the number and layout of the other public spaces on Silver Nova, it just isn’t used for much more than trivia and the like. If you want a quiet cocktail, it is a great option! And if you want a nice aft-viewing outdoor cocktail, The Dusk Bar is a great spot too.

While Dolce Vita remains the main lounge, the Arts Cafe was a bit of a frustration for me. On the other ships, it is a more tucked away space with diverse snack and cocktail offerings as well as freshly made espresso. On Silver Nova, despite the large bar centered in the room, only a small variety of pastries and sandwiches are offered along with coffees. No cocktails or even a mimosa to go along with a croissant.  The bar is also used as a separator from the Reception and Shore Excursion desks, so really only one side of it is guest-friendly.  Adding champagne, juices, and soft drinks, with a more diverse snack offering would be an easy fix.

I was also disappointed that Deck Four, where the Arts Cafe is located, there are large windows designed to bring the light and views in, but both are blocked by superstructure and equipment giving a closed-in feel.

One thing I noticed was that there is a good bit of empty space in public areas; especially heading toward La Terrazza (which gave me the impression of a hotel area for coffee and pastries outside of a conference room). Overall, Silver Nova is just plain spacious. In fact, I had the thought that the basic Silver Nova size and design might just be used for Silversea’s sister brand, Celebrity, but with more guests and different venues. That is pure and unequivocal speculation, so let’s not start any rumors!

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

My Medallion Suite was beautifully laid out and well-appointed. One of the most comfortable suites I have cruised in. Not too big. Not too small. Just right.  And my butler, David, was a true butler; engaging me just enough to use him for this and that…and always greeted me with a smile and a truly polished approach. (If you move up one category you have a dining table. But there is an attachment to the coffee table that creates a nice-sized table that is easy to dine at.)

Atacama Desert, Chile
Atacama Desert, Chile

And then there were the tours. I did a combination of private, Silversea extra cost, and Silversea included. The private and extra-cost tours were very good and worth the upgrade. I had excellent guides, an uncrowded bus with Silversea, and well-timed and interesting itineraries. 

I had feared the included tours because of three things: the number of guests, having one of “those” guests, and what would be included in the tours. My fears were, unfortunately, met in each instance. Honestly, I have never been a fan of the included tour thing on Silversea or its competition. I wish they were eliminated from the Silversea product, as I see it as a downgrade. I know some see it as a value add, but if I need to pay extra for the higher quality experiences, I’d rather pay less for the cruise and more for the tours.

Overall, Silver Nova provided me with an excellent experience and made an itinerary available to me that is just not offered by many cruise lines. My experiences in Lima, the Peruvian wildlife, desert, and cuisine were amazing. The Atacama Desert in Chile was breathtaking. And my intake of a wide variety of Pisco cocktails both on Silver Nova and in Peru and Chile was incredible…and fun! 

Silver Nova handled some fairly rough seas, a fairly full ship, a diversity of guests, and the change of itinerary due to civil unrest in Ecuador (where I was supposed to embark) extremely well. It also won me over when it comes to The Grill and the S.A.L.T. experiences and, of course, the asymmetrical design…not to mention the excellent service throughout the ship!

It is an absolute joy to see how Silversea, now being owned by Royal Caribbean Group, has opened up options, approaches, and designs that previously were not imaginable. Yes, Silver Nova is a bit different than the other ships in Silversea’s classic fleet, but that is the whole point! 

As Silversea grows so shall the diversity of her ships, itineraries, and offerings. But as Silver Nova has shown me, the quality of Silversea is improving at the same time!

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

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Email: eric@goldringtravel.com 

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