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First Look: Silver Nova Lights Up the Seas

Silver Nova rendered at sea.

A taste of Silversea Cruises’ new ship.

Typically, cruise lines are excited to trumpet their latest ships’ go-kart tracks, towering waterslides, submarines, and robot bartenders. The seas are brimming with diversions. So I was delighted to discover, while sailing on the Silver Nova in the northern Adriatic, what Silversea Cruises had subtly and with little fanfare put forward with the ship’s design. It wasn’t luxuries such as high-thread-count bedsheets or caviar and Champagne. Instead, Silversea’s newest ship is designed to showcase the seas, ports, and coastlines around which it sails.

Light-dappled Marquee.

Sitting in the top-deck Marquee, a new alfresco restaurant serving breakfast, proper Neapolitan pizzas, and grilled fare, I could not only view the sea on both the port and starboard sides, but also, a two-story, slatted pergola allowed the sky to illuminate the space. At the Dusk Bar, perched atop Deck 10, shelves are loaded with tempting spirits to concoct drinks such as the Centaur (coconut rum, vermouth, amaro, lemon, and watermelon), inviting sunset selfies against a panorama that spills for miles in almost every direction. And the pool area, an afterthought on many ships, is Silver Nova’s irresistible standout, with elevated walkways circuiting the pool on one side to create an amphitheater-like setting against a Technicolor backdrop. Never for a moment across this ship’s upper decks will passengers feel disconnected from the world.

Wide-reaching views from the Otium Suite.

Inside Silver Nova, copious window glazing keeps travelers aware of their seagoing environment. The elevators are see-through, riding on the outside of the ship, and even the tender boats are ringed with more windows than usual. Every cabin on the all-suite ship offers unimpeded balcony sea views, while Master and Otium suites positioned at the ship’s corners are framed in floor-to-ceiling glass with wraparound balconies, affording 270-degree views – notably, these are the first Silversea accommodations to offer aft views. What you won’t see is plastic – instead of disposable water bottles, there’s a nifty sea-colored metal flask to take home.

Silver Nova is Silversea’s first ship powered by liquid natural gas, a fuel source that necessitated an increase in the size of the vessel, making it the largest in Silversea’s fleet. But while the 728-passenger ship will definitely feel bigger to Silversea’s past guests, it also has more elbow room per passenger than any previous Silversea-built vessel, and more than almost any other cruise ship currently sailing.

S.A.L.T. Lab, where guests partake in hands-on cooking demos, has been relocated to Deck 10 in Silver Nova’s airy new configuration, with a raised ceiling, plus a wall of windows. The space is inviting enough that it’s been assigned a second use, serving an 11-course S.A.L.T. Chef’s Table menu. The dining experience focuses even more tightly on the regional cuisines of each itinerary, with chefs procuring specialty items – red prawns from Sicily, say, or artisanal pumpkinseed oil from Slovenia – and sharing the stories behind them.

Silver Nova will spend its first winter and spring in the Caribbean islands and circumnavigating South America, followed by a summer in Alaska with seven-day crossings between Vancouver and Anchorage, before heading to Asia and Oceania in the fall.

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