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Silversea SALT culinary initiative

REVIEW: Silversea’s new Silver Moon is all about the food – and it’s “scrumptious”

Silversea has long been an industry leader in all-inclusive luxury, with an emphasis on highly attentive service, an astounding array of destinations and scrumptious cuisine.

With the debut of the brand-new Silver Moon ship, Silversea has fully realised its vision of melding the culinary and destination experiences. These are intricate parts of a sailing holiday that passengers have grown to love so much, and Silversea’s S.A.L.T. program combined with other eateries featured on Silver Moon make cruise-ship dining an extra-special event.

The ship began sailing this summer in the Greek Islands, and its official naming ceremony took place 28 July pierside at the Port of Piraeus (Athens) with a delegation of Silversea Cruises and Royal Caribbean Group (the line’s parent company) executives on hand to celebrate another important milestone in the resumption of cruising after a shut down that lasted more than 15 months.

The godmother of the ship is Gaia Gaja, representing the Gaja Winery, a now five-generations estate in the Piedmont region of Italy that has been producing wines for more than 160 years. The Silversea partnership with Gaja brings onboard a nice variety of wines from one of the most highly regarded estates in the world – so the choice of ships’ godmother also is a nod to the line’s emphasis on culinary excellence and local flavours.

The S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste) project aims to give cruisers an immersive way to savour the flavours, traditions and stories behind dishes and drinks that are culturally important in the destinations the ships visit.

Silver Moon is the 10th ship in the fleet, and it’s the first to feature the new, fully integrated culinary concept. It’s executed in a number of ways. Onboard, passengers eat in the S.A.L.T. Kitchen restaurant, enjoying a menu offering specialties from the port visited that day. We’re in Greece, so this means flavours of Syros (like traditional sausages served with roast potatoes) or delicacies from Patmos or Mykonos, for examples.

Cooking workshops and tastings are held in the ship’s S.A.L.T. Lab, and regionally inspired craft cocktails are enjoyed before or after dinner in the S.A.L.T. Bar.

Onshore, Silversea curates excursions that bring you to iconic restaurants or vineyards for tastings, cooking demos and interactions with restaurant owners, farmers and food historians. On our sailing, S.A.L.T. excursions include visits to an organic farm in Paros; to Omodos Village in the heart of the wine-producing region of Cyprus; to a farm on Crete where the owner has developed a version of the famed healthy Cretan diet; and to a cheese factory and ouzo distillery on Mykonos.

The feedback from the early sailings reveal that S.A.L.T. is a hit, says Silversea Chief Commercial Officer Barbara Muckermann, who was a driving force behind making the program a reality.

Adam Sachs, the former editor in chief of food magazine Saveur, has spearheaded the development of the programme, which will be added to future Silversea ships.

He said the dishes served up onboard Silver Moon are picked for how they tie in to the region, “through the ingredients or name or a unique story or history.”

“It has the ambition of sharing with you how food shaped the culture,” Ms Muckermann says.

The dining choices don’t end there. The ship also offers Kaseiki, serving Asian cuisine; La Dame, a French eatery; and The Grill, a poolside venue for lunch and as a lava-rock cooking experience under the stars for dinner.

Also, for connoisseurs of cruise ship pizza, Silver Moon features Spaccanapoli on Deck 11 overlooking the pool deck. This al fresco eatery offers a variety of Neapolitan-style and classic pies that are easily among the best you will find at sea.

Silver Moon shines in other ways, too. The new ship carries up to 596 passengers (though, we sailed with just 291, a reduced capacity in order to allow for physical distancing measures), and the attentive service and elegant design make for pleasant and relaxing environment.

This is what you expect on an ultra-luxury cruise, after all. The all-suite ship features balconies and butler service for all cabins. I witnessed several crew members going above and beyond for passengers, with unsolicited offers to bring a refreshing gelato treat to guests who were lounging by the pool or bartenders remembering a cruiser’s favorite beer from a visit more than a day earlier.

Entertainment is pretty standard fare, with a guitarist, pianist, DJ, jazz duo and production shows featuring live music and singing performances. Bars and lounges are smartly located throughout the ship, giving cruisers a number of options for socializing and relaxing. The Observation Library on Deck 10 at the front of the ship offers views of the bow though large windows and also serves as a game room with card tables.

Dolce Vita is a fantastic bar and lounge area midship on Deck 5, a definite evolution of the use of this space compared with near-identical twin Silver Muse. I also think passengers will really enjoy the Arts Café, offering light bites all day long in an eclectically decorated space, and the Zagara Spa, which offers serene spots to relax in addition to its sauna and treatment rooms.