WE BOARDED SILVERSEA CRUISES’ newest ship, the elegant, intimate Silver Moon, in Athens in late July. We were sailing to some gorgeous Greek Isles for ten days on a marvellous itinerary – and it was heaven! We called at small island gems, all three new to me and each with its own unique charm – Syros, Paros, and Patmos. We also visited Crete, Mykonos and historic Rhodes, a perennial favourite and sailed to Cyprus – giving us a lovely day at sea. The Greek Isles always seem to cast a magical spell, and this time, with very few crowds, they were even more enjoyable. Sailing on my first cruise in 18 months – well, it was sheer bliss to be on the sea again, to interact with the international guests, and the happy crew thrilled to welcome us aboard.
The luxurious Silver Moon would typically carry up to 596 guests with a crew complement of 441. We numbered 291, and Silversea has currently committed to sailing at a maximum capacity of 70 percent. We were incredibly pampered, with staff numbering just under 400, and it was evident that everyone on board felt privileged to be sailing. At times, there was a light, lively, almost giddy sensibility – a marvelous feeling. Under those masks, you just knew everyone was smiling.
The intimate and beautiful S.A.L.T. Bar
AND HOW IS THE SHIP HERSELF, you ask? Well, she is gorgeous – stunning and classically elegant. And there have been some lovely design and décor changes that truly enhance one’s onboard life. La Dolce Vita Lounge on Deck 5, which is the hub of the ship, has been redesigned and now features a circular bar at its centre, all the better for gathering and meeting fellow guests. It breaks up the space and affords more interesting seating throughout.
We loved the stylish Arts Café, a small and beautiful space with both indoor and al fresco seating, perfect for casual snacks and treats, and morning coffee and fresh juices. A long-time favourite is La Terrazza, where one can enjoy breakfast and lunch inside or out, served by staff from a well-planned buffet with excellent choices. We dined there in the evening on several occasions, loving the Italian menu (which changes some offerings part-way through the cruise) and the tasty pasta dishes, fresh fish and attentive, friendly service. All drinks, Champagnes and wines are included, so we imbibed a lovely French rosé most days at lunch, some robust reds from California, Australia and Italy during the evenings, and quaffed numerous pool-side drinks and aperitifs during the day. I love an all-inclusive shipboard atmosphere where gratuities are included – it makes life easier, and it also inspires an even more relaxed atmosphere for the guests.
Casual menu offerings from the S.A.L.T. Bar
The focus of this sailing was the introduction of S.A.L.T. – an acronym for Sea and Land Taste. This exciting, enjoyable new culinary concept from Silversea features the authentic cuisines of the world and is indicative of the region in which one is cruising, ensuring that each destination is brought to life at the table. S.A.L.T. takes guests on a deeper dive into the culinary heart of each destination for a more profound experience – perfect for food lovers of every kind.
The program includes tailored and insightful shore excursions and fun cooking classes and lectures, all of which enable participants to learn more about tastes ashore and onboard. Some of the most significant changes include the new S.A.L.T. Kitchen restaurant, which is beautiful and has a menu that changes daily, showcasing local specialties. And there are no reservations required. The intimate S.A.L.T. Bar is incredibly popular and very beautiful. The bartender – a superb mixologist – creates the most delicious and unusual cocktails, making it a great spot for pre- or post-dinner drinks. I would say it’s become my favoured bar at sea! The elegant La Dame is now higher on the ship with a view and more seating for about 60 guests who can enjoy this fabulous dining experience for an additional fee. Think caviar and Champagne, superb beef, escargots and other classic dishes with a spin on flavour and taste – accompanied by the finest wines chosen to enhance the meal.
The S.A.L.T. Kitchen restaurant has a menu that changes daily, showcasing local specialties.
The S.A.L.T. Lab offers delectable cooking classes, demonstrations and tastings focused on the area in which the ship is sailing, and they book up every session – be sure to reserve in advance. We enjoyed one on “How to Mezze,” taught by a local food expert who presented several informative lectures, one of which was “Ripe Figs: recipes and stories from the Eastern Mediterranean.” It’s an immersive and excellent program, and the shore excursions that feature S.A.L.T. are fascinating. One can meet and interact with the locals, enjoy their hearty cooking and hospitality and visit farms, greenhouses, restaurants, kitchens and more. On one tour, I was delighted by our guide referring to “pomgrenades”, which we quickly realized meant locally grown pomegranates! We tasted fresh figs, sourdough bread from a stone oven, and an array of tasty Greek morsels, including olives, fresh calamari, and spanakopita with freshly rolled phyllo pastry. Delicious!
And yes, there was more food to come… There are 11 dining choices ranging from L’Atlantide, with a continental menu, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner without reservations required; Kaiseki for Asian fusion; and the pretty Silver Note Supper Club for light bites and jazz music. Try the best pizza at sea at Spaccanapoli located outside on Deck 11 and serving from 11 am to 11 pm - it’s perfect for a casual meal with no dress code and you can even enjoy some ice cream! Other dining spots include the Grill by the pool, which in the evening becomes Hot Rocks. Try this fun, casual dinner spot where guests can grill their chosen meats or seafood on a sizzling hot rock. Or if you have a hankering to stay in for the evening, choose to dine ensuite with a beautiful table setting and a meal served course by course.
Longtime favourite, La Terrazza
Our accommodations in one of the 34 Silver Suites were charming and spacious - a home-away-from-home, offering a gloriously comfy king-size bed and large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, a separate shower, and two sinks.
We had a massive walk-in closet with numerous drawers and loads of hangers – ideal for those guests sailing on longer or back-to-back voyages. There was a dressing table, two televisions, a dining table in the suite, a couch and two chairs as well as a bar fridge stocked to our preference. The spacious balcony contained two loungers, two chairs and a table. It was a lovely, welcoming, calm space, and our butler, Jerry, and stewardess Rosalie made our stay outstanding. They truly could not do enough for us. Every suite features the services of a butler who will bring room service, afternoon canapes, stock the bar, and generally took care of one’s needs. And on our cruise, our butler took our temperatures every day – another good safety measure and all part of the pampering Silversea service!
Silver Moon Veranda Suite
And of course, the ship features a wide range of daily entertainment, several bars and lounges, a theatre and a terrific gym, pool and fabulous spa. The dress code is casual during the day and ranges from casual to informal or formal at night so while there’s no need to take a tuxedo, gentlemen do require a suit and tie, while ladies will be perfectly attired in cocktail dresses for the formal nights.
Silversea is better than ever, and our cruise was all we could imagine. With all those dining choices, an excellent range of included shore excursions and an all-inclusive atmosphere on board, I highly recommend their ships. The S.A.L.T. culinary arts program enhances the whole experience and continues to raise the bar for this outstanding cruise company. Colour me impressed!
Shore excursions featuring S.A.L.T. offer local cooking classes, farm visits, greenhouses, restaurants, and more.
Written by Vanessa Lee for Cruise & Travel Lifestyles (Winter 2021/22). All photos courtesy of Silversea.