After the dark pandemic night comes an inspiring new dawn along with the opportunity to safely discover the world anew. In the case of ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea, it also marks the genesis of a new era in luxury cruising with the late March inauguration of the 10th member of its fleet, the dazzling Silver Dawn. The Silver Dawn was the third in a trinity for Silversea in nine months. The Silver Moon debuted in Greece in July and destination-specific Silver Origin was christened in February in the Galapagos. Onboard for Silver Dawn’s inaugural voyage in Portugal, I experienced Silversea’s new Otium Spa concept, where the art of indulgent well-being is paramount and celebrated at the spa and bespoke in-suite experiences. The Silver Dawn also broadens its highly acclaimed, deeply immersive SALT (Sea and Land Taste) program onboard and ashore.
Whether you are a luxury cruise aficionado or a never cruiser who loves luxury travel, there is no better time to book a Silversea cruise to savor the delights of the Silver Dawn experience.
Smaller ship, big on luxury
The 698-foot stunning Silver Dawn is the third triplet in Silversea’s Muse class along with sister ships, the Silver Muse and Silver Moon. Subdued elegance is the theme with stellar views reigning supreme as the outside is brought in with outdoor seating at most lounges and many restaurants. Views are enhanced by museum quality art in spacious public areas. Luxurious repose is guaranteed in 298 all-suite accommodations for 596 guests.
This is the sweet spot for a luxury cruise ship. Large enough for expected high-end bells and whistles – swimming pool, jacuzzi, casino, observation library, theater, boutiques, beauty salon, barber shop, restaurants and lounges, state-of-the-art fitness center and of course, the new Otium Spa – with enough people to keep it interesting, yet intimate enough so that guests never wait for anything, ever.
The sweetness of all-suite staterooms
Suites commence at 387 square feet – far larger than my first east coast apartment – include a private balcony and are luxuriously outfitted with elegant Italian sensibilities in a warm, calming palette. For those needing more space, even larger suites are available in various configurations up to 1,389 square feet.
Champagne on ice awaited my arrival. Notes were apparently taken from my last Silversea cruise as my preferred beverages were present in my fully stocked refrigerator. Sizable granite and marble bathrooms have a separate large shower, soaking bathtub and Bulgari amenities. A bespoke Otium mattress, 400-count Rivolta Carmignani Egyptian sheets and a memory foam pillow from Silversea’s extensive pillow menu ensured deeply satisfying sleep. For those wishing to stay connected, suites have outlets aplenty, a comfortable working space with charging station and unlimited, ship-wide WiFi.
Each suite on the Dawn is assigned a superbly trained personal butler to ensure guests desires are continuously met. They assist with unpacking on arrival, make dinner reservations, shine shoes, arrange laundry, and deliver in-suite canapes (my daily, pre-dinner nosh).
The butler also arranges Otium Spa’s new, bespoke in-suite experiences. In the Comfort Food Experience, he delivered caviar and lobster brioche with creative cocktails, while in the Movie Experience, truffle popcorn and artisan sweets. The Bathing Experiences was heaven: bath pillows and aromatic salts, and Otium music with champagne and macaroons. I came to firmly believe my assigned butler had clairvoyancy skills with his capacity to know what I wanted, or what I thought I might want, often before I did. If a state of nirvana exists on the high seas, I’m pretty sure it includes a Silversea butler.
The Dawn has 411 impeccably trained crew. With nearly a one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio, a consistently ultra-premium level of service is ensured. Anywhere you are on the ship, service will exceed expectations.
In addition to one’s butler, housekeepers assure spotless suites and often provide delightful surprises, such as eyeglass cleaners strategically placed to find just when needed. My suite was comforting, caring cocoon of perfection.
The Dawn also has 24/7 room service, and here too waiting wasn’t on the menu. Ordering cappuccinos at various hours, they were promptly delivered delightfully hot. One evening caviar and champagne was delivered on ice, with a piping hot, perfectly prepared filet. Once orders were placed, whatever time of day or night, they were immediately prepared, and delivered by my butler.
In awe at Otium Spa
It seemed fitting that the Dawn’s inaugural voyage and Otium Spa debut departed out of Lisbon with its confluence of old and new, as the Otium Spa concept embodies the best about the past – abundant leisure time in Roman, art driven surrounds – married to today’s modern comforts – highly skilled therapists, chilled champagne coupled with gourmet bites, and the ability to indulge in the holy pursuit of unadulterated bliss.
Entering the Otium Spa senses are first struck by Roman-inspired museum quality art. The relaxation area’s central, immense tub of chilled champagne and artisan bites set the stage for pleasure over sacrifice. And pleasure it is since Otium signature services – over a dozen – aren’t the typical 50 or 75-minutes prevalent in most spas, but 100 blissful minutes.
Selecting the Otium Experience, a signature service combination of heated stones, bamboo elements and traditional massage purged any remaining stress from my flight across the pond. Afterwards, a selection of aromatic oils and salt scrubs followed by steam, shower, and sauna had me so relaxed, it was all I could do to return to the relaxation lounge and make certain the champagne temperature was still perfect for day drinking. It was indeed.
Food fanatic bliss
If food is your friend, the Dawn is definitely your ship. Restaurants abound, including La Terrazza for Italian specialties, Kaiseki for Japanese, Atlantide for Continental, Arts Café for small bites, The Grill for salads and sandwiches transforming into Hot Rocks for grilled steaks and seafood in the evenings, Spaccanapoli for the sea’s best pizza, Silver Note for gourmet small plates in a jazzy, NY-style supper club atmosphere and La Dame for traditional French cuisine served in elegant surrounds.
Silversea’s SALT (Sea and Land Taste) Program commenced on Silver Moon and continues on Silver Dawn. Using food to delve into local culture, SALT Kitchen explores regional foods prepared with local ingredients. SALT Bar likewise pays homage to destinations by mixing creative artisan cocktails.
At SALT Lab, led by chefs and local food and cultural experts, guests learn to make regional specialties in a state-of-the-art U-shaped space. One class, “In cod we trust,” we learned to make various mainstay items of Portuguese cuisine providing a strong sense of connection to the destination. There are also SALT lectures by local food experts and small group curated excursions ashore further enhancing the cultural deep dive.
Entertainment on the Dawn is some of cruising’s finest. Cruise Director Vicki Van Tassel – her real name she quickly points out – brings heart, humor, and hilarity to the stage. In one show, “Ship Happens,” Van Tassel delivers a personal and professional chronology from her start on a Colorado farm to NYC, Tokyo – where she was employed to mimic Marilyn Monroe – Las Vegas, and beyond, all delivered with sidesplitting humor, a wonderful voice, and passionate heart. After five minutes, I decided I would watch her do anything, even laundry.
Whether enjoying Jazz at Silver Note, instrumentals at one of the lounges or the uber-talented Voices of Silversea, simply put, the onboard entertainment is excellent.
Easy access, great destinations
Given the Dawn’s perfect size, it’s able to dock where mega ships cannot. This makes going ashore a snap as guests can simply walk off the ship and start enjoying the destinations without needing a time-consuming tender, typical of larger ships.
For the next few months, the Dawn will be cruising through various fantastic Mediterranean ports in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Then will transition to Caribbean and Central America itineraries during winter months, after which it returns to Europe in Spring of 2023. Whether the Mediterranean or the Caribbean calls, cruising on the Silver Dawn will be unforgettable and the biggest challenge disembarking. Happy cruising!