It was back in 2014 that Silversea signed the contract with Fincantieri to build the 596-guest Silver Muse, conceived as an evolution of Silver Spirit. When Muse launched in 2017 she was the largest ship in the fleet, and the announcement of sister ships Silver Moon and Silver Dawn soon followed. Then, in 2018, came the game-changing news that Royal Caribbean had acquired a majority stake in Silversea, with significant investment and a new class of ships promised.
Since then we've had the unprecedented disruption of a global pandemic, during which Silversea have not only welcomed three new ships to the fleet - Moon, Dawn and new Galapagos ship Silver Origin - but also announced the exciting first details of that new class of ship first hinted at in 2018.
Silver Nova follows the recent trend in the ultra luxury arena for building bigger ships, weighing in at 54,700 grt and accommodating 728 guests. We know that this will raise eyebrows amongst fans of Silversea's intimate small ship ambience, but if we take the ratio of tonnage per passenger as a crude measure of onboard space, we can see that Nova will be comparable to Regent's newest ship Seven Seas Splendor, which is not exactly poky.
The feeling of space on board will be accentuated by the ship's novel asymmetrical design, which aims to open up the public spaces with the extensive use of glass walls, balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows, flooding the ship with light and affording panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. The first batch of artist's renderings feature beautiful new areas such as The Marquee, an open air food court that will house Silversea favourite The Grill and casual pizzeria Spaccanapoli, which will be familiar to those who have travelled on the Muse class ships.
The clever use of glass to maximise the views of the ship's surroundings, which can also be seen on board Silver Origin, is one of the main points of difference between Nova and the Muse class ships, though arguably more important is what's going on in the bowels of the ship.
The ship will be powered by a combination of dual fuel engines that use LNG as their main fuel, battery technology, and fuel cells which will allow the ships to operate emissions-free while in port - an industry first. While we have seen hybrid-powered ships from cruise lines such as Ponant and Hurtigruten, this is the first such vessel from one of the cruise industry's 'big three' stables.
Silversea have recently unveiled details of Nova's suites, all of which will have a private glass balustrade balcony, and there are seven new categories, including new suites at the aft of the ship with 270-degree panoramic views.
There are eight restaurants on board, including the destination-inspired S.A.L.T. Kitchen, first featured on Silver Moon, and a new open-air Dusk Bar at the stern of the ship.
Silver Nova launches in July 2023, and the inaugural season is already on sale, beginning with a leisurely 10-day sailing from Southampton to Lisbon. After a summer spent in the Med she will cross the Atlantic to New York in November, before departing Fort Lauderdale on a 72-day South America Grand Voyage in January 2024, an unforgettable circumnavigation of the continent that takes in highlights including the Chilean Fjords, the scintillating cities of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon River and the paradise islands of the Caribbean.