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Silversea’s Shining New Silver Nova: Redefining Ultra-Luxury Cruising 

By Julie L. Kessler

Last week Silversea Cruises launched the 12th ship of its ultra-luxury all-suite fleet with a pre-debut architectural voyage on the Silver Nova. Attending this four-night event departing from Trieste, Italy, it quickly became clear that this was no ordinary ship. The 728-passenger Silver Nova’s arrival – the largest of Silversea’s fleet – marks the line’s milestone towards ‘Net Zero’ and is one of the most environmentally conscious, ultra-luxury ships ever built. At 801-feet long and 97-feet wide, its novel, sensational beauty is a sight to behold. 

The engineering and construction feats make Silver Nova “dramatically more efficient” noted Jason Liberty, President and CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Group. Indeed, it marks a new environmental benchmark for which all other cruise lines will no doubt be green with envy. However, it’s the ship’s mind-boggling asymmetrical design, use of glass, and high ceilings that make the Nova breathtaking, as the ocean, her vistas, and destination ports become the focal point from almost every onboard location.  

The Outdoors Come In

There is nearly a constant sensation onboard of suspended animation at every turn and even the elevators and staircases are ocean facing, bringing in the outside. In fact, as Silversea President Barbara Muckermann said, “95-percent of ship’s public areas have outdoor views and 100-percent of suites have balconies.” 

The revolutionary asymmetrical ship design also resulted in an utterly stunning pool deck. Additionally, as Muckermann stated, “Nova’s horizontal layout allows for the highest ceiling heights giving a greater sense of spaciousness.” She also noted that, “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 Is Very Sweet Indeed

The Silver Nova is an all-suite ship and they are all large, starting at 357-square feet, up to 1,055 square feet. There are seven new suite categories on the Nova providing as Muckermann said, “More suites, more options, and more luxury.” I stayed in a Deck 7 Deluxe Veranda Suite, mid-ship, where the design portrayed Silversea’s trademark “whispered luxury.”

The suite’s neutral, calming color palette had dark turquoise pops of color in the pillows, rich brocade black-out curtains, and carpeting. The king-sized bed was dreamy with linens from Rivolta Carmignani and flanked by nightstands boasting multiple US and EU outlets along with both USB and fast charging ports. The 60-inch swivel flatscreen television was wall-embedded in the separate seating area with a full-sized sofa, ottoman, marble-topped coffee table, and a combination granite desk. The bar area was stocked with my beverage choices and faced an exceptionally large balcony. Seriously impressive was the roomy walk-in closet with plenty of hanging and storage space. The intuitive, waist-level in-room safe was a design gift. A separate granite-topped vanity area with magnifying mirror, boasted additional storage, and a streamlined laundry drawer.

One of the main suite design changes are the Nova bathrooms which happily resemble those in the finest 6-star hotels. Otivm spa amenities in environmentally sound, multi-use dispensers grace both the enormous, walk-in Carrera marble-tiled shower, and large, gray-and-white granite countertops. The dual-fauceted sink with modernist Nobili fixtures also had abundant space.

Of course, all Nova’s accommodations come with its signature Butler service that provide unparalleled service to meet even the most discerning guests’ needs anytime. With a crew of 544 providing a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:1.3, waiting is never on the menu.

Art Lovers Will Be Awed. 

Throughout the ship, including the ocean-facing stair landings, there are 1,800 pieces of art, made by 60 artists from 25 countries. While I normally take the stairs onboard attempting to eradicate a few calories at sea, on the Nova it was challenging as admiring the collection often made me hopelessly late to my destination. However, taking the ocean-facing elevators was its own form of entertainment as it provided inspiring oceanic vistas.

British artist Esther Miles and Ukrainian artist Irina Yermolova’s pieces were vibrantly whimsical, while Iranian Batool Showghi had a mesmerizing large intricate 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. As Muckermann noted, “All of this colorful, quirky, interesting, and sometimes weird art complements Silversea’s concept of whispered luxury.”

Food Matters and Wellness

The Silver Nova has nine dining options and 10 bars and lounges, so food boredom is not possible. New to its already impressive line-up is the new al fresco Marquee on Deck 10 with forever views and magnolia trees accenting the expansive space and high ceilings. 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 debuted on the Silver Moon and was the first large scale regional restaurant at sea. On Silver Nova it was expanded and has two nightly menus. A 'Terrain' menu inspired by the seasonal specialties at port – the night I dined, the menu was based on Zadar, Croatia – and a 'Voyage' menu for eastern Mediterranean cuisine. I selected a starter from one menu and a main from the other to deliciously leave no stone unturned.

Arguably 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 in a state-of-the-art kitchen; by night it metamorphoses into an 18-seat, intimate dining experience, that is symphonically wine-paired, providing a multi-course, small plate menu, focused on local ingredients and made in front of guests. What results is an authentic, unforgettable, and utterly delightful culinary extravaganza under the direction of the supremely talented and amiable Chef German Sanchez. 

There’s also 24-hour room service with caviar and accoutrements anytime. While as Muckermann said just slightly tongue-in-cheek that, “Nobody has ever lost weight on our ships,” weight gain is not mandatory as the Silver Nova has a large, state-of-the-art fitness center with Technogym equipment, free weights and an outdoor walking/jogging path. The Otivm Spa has a full menu for men and woman, including medi-spa treatments, acupuncture, and an indoor pool and sauna. The beauty salon is one of the largest I’ve seen at sea and likewise offers a full array of high-caliber services for men and women.

The Silver Nova is not only beautiful, but is also 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 the Silver Nova may feel like a vacation to Captain Pontillo, but this remarkable vessel will, without doubt, provide her guests with an unforgetable ultra-luxury cruise experience second to none.

Julie L. Kessler is a journalist, attorney, and the author of the award-winning memoir: “Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight.” Her work has appeared in several major publications, including The LA Times, The SF Examiner, The Asia Times, The Jerusalem Post, and The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, among many others.  She can be reached at

Julie L. Kessler

Written by Julie L. Kessler

Julie L. Kessler is Money Inc's Senior Travel & Luxury Editor and writes for several major media outlets in the U.S. and overseas. She is also an attorney and legal columnist and the author of the award-winning book "Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight." She can be reached at

Read more posts by Julie L. Kessler

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