There is acres of space between the marvellous restaurants and luxurious suites on Silversea’s new Silver Nova.

It’s early morning off the Croatian coast and I’m on deck, enjoying a green juice and a bowl of Greek yoghurt drizzled with honey. A perfect flat white coffee arrives. The Mediterranean sun filters through the slatted shades around The Marquee and in the distance, the sea glitters. There’s nobody about and I savour the silence and the space. 

Acres of space is a recurring theme on my cruise on Silversea’s new Silver Nova, the 12th ship in the luxury fleet and, with hybrid battery power, the most sustainable to date. The ship may carry 728 passengers, more than any other Silversea ship, but on board, there’s a blissful sense of uncrowded luxury. 

Silver Nova Suite showing bed desk and sitting area.
A Silver Nova Suite.

Onboard Silver Nova

Silver Nova incorporates all the much-loved venues of her fleet mates – but looks and feels different. Why? Because of the much-hyped “asymmetrical design”. It’s only when you step onto the vast pool area on Deck 10 that this makes sense.

Instead of being in the middle of the deck with loungers facing inwards, the long, U-shaped pool is set to one side, gazing out at the sea through a wall of glass. Loungers, too, face the sea. So you feel as though you’re at some luxurious beach club, where the shimmering Hockney blue of the pool merges into the sparkling ocean.

The Silver Nova Pool Bar with chairs facing a bar and blue sea int he bakground.
No top deck hems in the view from the Silver Nova Pool Bar with views to the blue sea.

There’s no upper deck hemming in the pool, either. Instead, there’s just a walkway on one side of Deck 11, which incorporates an oversized infinity whirlpool, The Cliff. Squashy loungers are dotted everywhere – in the sun, in the shade and in little private nooks. No sunbed bagging at dawn here; there’s space for everybody.

Throughout the ship, there’s glass on the outside and sweeping views. In my veranda suite, all soothing shades of stone and pale gold, floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto a balcony with a glass balustrade. Double-height ceilings in the public areas, which flow seamlessly from one to the next, give a further illusion of light and space.

I’m familiar with Silversea’s earlier ships and that’s probably why I keep getting lost on Nova, which has a completely different layout. There are no central lifts, for example. Instead, there are two banks of glass elevators, one on either side, so even riding in the lift is fun.

The library shows rows of bookcases and comfortable armchairs,
The library is hidden behind a Harry Potter-esque door.

An atrium flooded with light

The heart of the ship is the three-deck atrium, where a wall of glass floods the space with light. This will certainly come into its own in the northern-hemisphere summer, when the ship sails in Alaska before heading south to Australia. 

The Shelter, a tiny champagne bar, is a new space on the lowest level, Deck 3, although it never seems very busy on my short cruise. On the next level, Deck 4, is the Arts Café, buzzing with guests nursing hangover coffees in the morning and gossiping over comfort carbs.

On Deck 5, the elegant Dolce Vita Lounge works better on Nova than on the other ships, where it just seems too big. Some of the seats look down into the Atrium and as such, offer a prime location for people-watching. 

Adding a little S.A.L.T.

The Salt Lab cooking school showing workbenches.
The S.A.L.T. Lab cooking school concept is hugely popular.

Silversea makes much of its S.A.L.T. concept, which means Sea and Land Taste. The idea is that you can try cuisine on board that reflects the area in which the ship is sailing, and continue the foodie theme with immersive shore excursions in port. These include visits to wineries, cookery classes in gorgeous Mediterranean locations, and tasting menus in celebrated restaurants.

There are three S.A.L.T. venues. The S.A.L.T. Kitchen is one of the main restaurants, with two menus: a “Voyage Menu” that reflects the region in which the ship is sailing; and the daily changing “Terrain Menu”, which drills right down into the cuisine of the day’s port. In Venice, for example, we have cicchetti (Venetian antipasti), and sea bream with cuttlefish risotto, while the Voyage Menu includes delicious buffalo mozzarella and arancini. 

The S.A.L.T. Bar, which offers regional wines and cocktails crafted from local spirits, is much bigger on Silver Nova than on her predecessor and is the go-to place for after-dinner drinking. The S.A.L.T. Lab, meanwhile, is a glossy cookery school that morphs into the S.A.L.T. Chef’s Table in the evenings. 

Raising the bar

There are three new venues that I immediately love on Silver Nova. The Dusk Bar on the port side of Deck 10, overlooking the wake, has echoes of the Ibiza-chic Sunset Bar on sister line Celebrity Cruises. A solo sax player entertains with moody jazz as the light fades behind the red-roofed Croatian town of Zadar. The library, too, is gorgeous, an almost secret, Harry Potter-esque space hidden behind a heavy door in the Observation Lounge. It’s dark and cocoon-like, the books displayed on backlit shelves and the custom-designed ceiling sparkling with pinprick “stars”. 

Silver Nova restaurant La Terrazza is open to the elements .
Silver Nova restaurant La Terrazza.

The Marquee, too, is a lovely idea. It’s an alfresco, sea-facing space on Deck 10 adorned with ornamental trees (artificial, but pretty) and a stylish tiled floor. There are three menus here: Spaccanapoli, Silversea’s fabulous pizzeria; made-to-order burgers and salads for casual lunchtime dining; and in the evenings, Hot Rocks, where you cook your own steak on a sizzling stone. 

The S.A.L.T. Lab offers cookery classes that reflect the cuisine of the region. For my session it’s soparnik, a delicious Croatian chard pie with a tomato relish. By night, 18 guests sit around the marble counter and tuck into a spectacular tasting menu, each dish prepared in front of you. If you’re inclined to pay a supplement to dine anywhere, make it here. I had the veggie options of all the dishes and the attention to detail, and the intensity of the flavours, was second to none. It’s US$180 ($275) per person, though; you need deep pockets for this ship.

Dining options aplenty

There are plenty of other restaurants, all of them Silversea favourites. Atlantide is for fine international dining, with lobster and caviar on tap. La Terrazza is a tempting buffet for breakfast and lunch, with Italian classics served à la carte in the evenings. Be sure to ask for an outside table on a balmy night. 

Kaiseki offers Japanese, and La Dame, French haute cuisine. Both carry a supplement – and Silversea has rather audaciously made this bigger on Silver Nova than on its other ships; La Dame, for example, is a whopping US$160 ($245). If you love sushi, go to Kaiseki at lunchtime, when there’s no charge. 

Of 13 suite categories on Silver Nova, seven are new, the most covetable being the Otium Suites, with aft and side views, wraparound balcony and a private hot tub. I was in a deluxe veranda suite which was exceptionally comfortable and, like all suites on board, came with butler service and, to my delight, a bathtub.

A panorama lounge and bar on Silver Nova.
The Panorama Lounge and Bar on Silver Nova.

I’m pleased, too, that there are no more mini plastic bottles of Bulgari, which I’ve always found too heavily scented. Now, Silversea’s custom-made Otium is in every cabin, in big (although smart-looking) containers. There’s no paper daily program anymore, unless you request it, instead the Chronicle appears on the TV.

Room service is suitably decadent and many of the jetlagged passengers on my cruise opt to dine “in” on the first night, feasting on truffled popcorn, champagne and lobster rolls brought by their butlers. 

But to me, it was Deck 10 that held all the magic. If I were to sail on Silver Nova again, I’m pretty sure I would spend all my time here, shuttling between the beautiful pool, the Marquee for healthy breakfasts and salads, the occasional cookery class, the Dusk Bar for sundowners and the hipster S.A.L.T. bar for late at night. My happy place, indeed.

The Otium Spa and Beauty Salon.
The Otium Spa and Beauty Salon.

The verdict on Silversea’s Silver Nova

Silver Nova is a ground-breaking new ship, with top sustainability credentials and a real connection to the outdoors.

Capacity: 728 passengers

Crew: 556

Passenger decks: 9

Gross tonnage: 54,700

Launched: 2023

Highs: The beautiful design, specifically the pool deck and the high-ceilinged interiors.  The Marquee has to be one of the most attractive al fresco restaurants at sea.

Low: You’ll pay a hefty premium for specialty dining.

What the experts say about Silversea’s Silver Nova

What should I pack?

The dress code on Silver Nova is more relaxed than on the rest of the fleet, perhaps a nod to the Gen X and even millennial audiences who will love this ship. There’s no more strict formal night, just an Elegant Casual dress code and, once per cruise, Formal Optional. The latter means full evening-wear if you wish, or a minimum of a jacket for men. For women, it’s always easier, but cocktail dresses and silky palazzo pants are easily posh enough. Don’t hold back on the bling.

Favourite meal?

Sometimes, simpler is better, which is why I love The Marquee. A porcini mushroom pizza with fior di latte and fresh basil, washed down with a crisp rosé, is exquisite.

Top tip?

Check out the new suite categories at the aft end of the ship, overlooking the wake. The two Otium Suites are here, as well as the Master Suites, Premium Medallion Suites and a couple of Premium Veranda Suites, all with dreamy aft views.

Silver Nova Suite 9097 Otium 0644
One of the two Otium Suites.

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