Colour us slightly biased, but when Silversea Cruises unveiled the latest videos for their forthcoming new ship Silver Moon this month, we were already eager to see and hear more about this latest exemplar of cruising’s most distinguished luxury line.
Having spent a fair bit of time aboard the trail-blazing <em>Silver Muse</em> not too long ago, we were smitten by the sheer all-round style of Silversea’s 2017-built flagship, as it fitted the idea of contemporary luxury to a veritable ‘T’.
With its all-suite accommodations, dazzling array of dining opportunities and uber-sophisticated décor and furnishings, all allied to the suitably smooth onboard service – honed to maritime perfection over 26 years of operations – this was an all-new template that genuinely raised the bar on cultured cruising.
Then, within a few months of Muse’s debut, the company announced she would have a sister ship of similar design, and we sat back in anticipation of something extra special.
The early details were definitely promising – enhanced dining, more Spa space, greater opulence in the top-level suites and an all-round technological advancement, called “Green 3-Star Design,” that reduced air and water pollution for their 596-passenger newcomer.
In October 2019 they upped the ante still further with the announcement of a new cuisine programme called SALT. This novel ‘Sea And Land Taste’ concept involved introducing new onboard dining venues and giving each voyage a direct culinary connection to its ports of call.
SALT would feature a signature Kitchen (the restaurant), Bar (offering regional cocktails, naturally), and, most imaginatively, a Lab, which would combine elements of a test kitchen and demonstration venue that allowed a hands-on approach to showcasing local dishes.
The possibilities for making each cruise a journey of immersion would be enhanced by special shore excursions to complement the onboard dining, allowing passengers to discover unique aspects of an area’s culinary heritage.
As Silversea Chief Marketing Officer Barbara Muckermann explained: “One thing that came out very clearly with our focus groups was a love of food and food culture, but not just eating it. They all see that food is the key to getting to the soul of a destination, of understanding it.
“At Silversea, we don’t feel luxury is necessarily about adding a new restaurant or champagne bar. It’s not just about food, it’s about understanding food, and we feel our role as a travel brand is to give that context to explain a destination.”
Further previews followed in the shape of a series of monthly SALT Bar cocktail recipes on the company’s YouTube channel, offering more nautical temptations, with some of the luscious libations we can expect to discover on a typical voyage.
These handy videos included the crisp and zesty spritz of The Prospectors; an enticing twist on the classic martini in the shape of the Perfect Sphere that mixes Danish and Australian influences; and, most recently, the Natural Selection, a fruity gin and tonic variation inspired by the pioneering work of naturalist Charles Darwin (how’s that for cocktail creativity!).
Well, Silver Moon has now been handed over to Silversea by the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, and Muckermann has returned with a series of videos to highlight specific aspects of the vessel, and it is these that have turned our curiosity all the way up to 11.
We fully expected the new Moon to be a source of genuine sea-going sophistication, but these charismatic cameos by camera were something altogether more attention-grabbing.
Just consider these tasty tidbits – the 298-suite new arrival showcases Italian tailor-made furniture, award-winning Steve McCurry photographic artwork, a signature Lalique Crystal work of art, a sauna with an ocean view (!), a stunning LED screen in the main lounge, and the “Food Temple” of the three SALT venues that don’t so much tickle the tastebuds as outright slather them in gastronomic succulence.
There are still all the essential Silversea touches of Butler service throughout the accommodations, Bvlgari toiletries, walk-in closets as standard, the best pizza at sea (thanks to the on-deck Spaccanapoli restaurant), fully stocked complimentary mini-bars and an overall air of effortless graciousness, but these have now been polished to a radiant level of precision, proof positive that you can improve on perfection.
But take a few minutes (actually, 16-and-a-half in total) to let your eyes and ears feast on the five new introductory videos as Ms Muckermann presents the various facets of Silver Moon, and the parade of peerlessness is almost overwhelming.
The video on Suites delivers a breathless array of cosseting indulgence, from the simple spaciousness at every level – the Silver Suites feature a 130sq ft balcony for instance, as large as the cabin on some ships of yore, while the Grand Suite boasts a 600sq ft balcony, more space than some New York apartments! – to the sheer splendour of the bathrooms, with their regular choice of shower and bath-tub.
Muckermann’s video tour of the restaurants is an all-out assault on the tasting senses, highlighting that “Food Temple” of the SALT venues but also detailing the other enhancements from Silver Muse, notably the enlargement of the Atlantide dining room and the re-positioning of gourmet French choice La Dame from Deck 4 to Deck 8 to add sea views.
Other chic choices remain Japanese-inspired Kaiseki with its sushi bar, The Grill on the pool deck that converts into Hot Rocks at night (with the chance to cook on lava stones), the authentic Italian of La Terrazza and the jazz-infused glory of Silver Note, simply the most civilised bar/restaurant at sea.
The ship’s public rooms get their own video, too, with accents on the redesigned lounge of Dolce Vita, a new space for Connoisseur’s Corner (with open deck area), the ever-popular Panorama Lounge and Observation Library, and an expanded Zagara Spa. Guests at the Venetian Lounge will benefit from that stonking great LED screen and other high-tech audio-visual improvements.
Finally, there is SALT. This new outpost of cooking culture will be a feature of each voyage and a special occasion that should be different each time. Silversea bills it as an onboard “travel experience” and it sounds every bit of it. The SALT Lab is the real curiosity, though, and we can easily see paying several visits here during the course of a cruise and really learning something new that we’ll want to take home with us.
SALT Kitchen looks enticing enough with its promise of speciality regional dining and a menu that changes daily, while SALT Bar will showcase some of those exciting cocktails from the preview video series. But SALT Lab – aha. Here is a truly unique and dazzling space that looks like it might be straight from the Starship Enterprise, with an opportunity to “touch, smell and prepare” some of the local dishes – with fresh ingredients – from the day’s port of call.
If ever there was a new feature that offers an explicitly luxury take on our favourite sea-going pastime, this is it. For indisputable culinary appeal, we’ve seen nothing like it.
And, if we haven’t kindled your interest in looking up where Silver Moon is going by now, well, we probably need to take up a new career!
What aspect of the new Silver Moon most interests you? Give us your thoughts in the Comments section below.