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In a class of its own: Silversea's Silver Ray review

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Alex joined Silversea's Silver Ray in Lisbon as one of the first guests to board prior to its early June naming launch. Read our Silver Ray review below.

Described as a white paper ship, where the architects could create a vessel entirely from scratch, Silversea's Silver Ray is part of a radically different class of ship and quite unlike anything else in the ultra-luxury cruise sector. With a horizontal and asymmetrical design, expanded culinary offering and an eye to the future of Silversea it was fascinating to see how these elements combined to create a phenomenal experience that is sure to tempt many new-to-cruise guests, while aspects of the renowned Silversea experience will delight their loyalists.

As we embarked the bright skies of Lisbon we have to say Silver Ray looked fabulous; a mix of gleaming glass and muted tones. It was the first time we'd seen one of the Silversea classic vessels in their new colours - and as we quickly came to realise, this symbolised a marked change taking place amongst the Silversea fleet with Silver Ray, and sister ship to the 728-guest Silver Nova which launched in 2023, being noticeably different to previous Silversea builds, with each of the key features combining for an extraordinary effect. Let's consider the most significant in turn.

silver ray in lisbon

Horizontal design

In a significant departure for Silversea, although not unique amongst ultra-luxury ships, Silver Ray has a horizontal design. This means decks are entirely given to either public spaces or guest accommodation, from forward to aft, rather than public spaces and restaurants being located at the rear across all decks, and guest accommodation mid and forward.

The significant benefit is it allows for an all-balcony ship with a wider range of suite types, some utilising the space at the back of the vessel where I saw the large Master Suite and huge Otium Suite, which provides 1,324 square feet of space and is the only Silversea suite type to include a private jacuzzi on the 431-square-foot balcony. The horizontal design also combines with the ship's asymmetrical layout in the public areas to dramatic effect.

suite on silver ray

Asymmetrical layout

Silversea have ripped up the rule book completely by introducing an asymmetrical layout. A nightmare for the engineers, it's a huge enhancement for guests. It's difficult to overstate just how large an effect it made to the feeling I had on board, one that that permeated throughout the entire ship. It's most noticeable on the expansive pool and sundecks that have so much room if every guest onboard chose to head there, they would have 6 sq. metres of personal space each.

As a result of this design, sailing on Silver Ray felt more akin to being in a seafront hotel rather than on a ship, nowhere more so than when by the pool. With a welcoming beach club vibe, the swimming pool is offset to the side directing views outwards to sea or over port and gives space for a sociable central bar. It really did feel like the trendiest hotel rooftop.

pool area silver ray

The multi-level design has numerous areas with plenty of quieter lounging and seating areas with or without shade. Within the ship this layout has allowed Silversea to play with the ceiling height in several areas. Upon boarding, a triple-height space gives an airy, hotel lobby feel to the reception, arts café and The Shelter, a lovely bar-cum-meeting place just outside the largest dining venues, Atlantide and S.A.L.T. Kitchen. A two-story theatre shares the ship's width with the French dining restaurant La Dame, impressively providing suitable capacity for the popular talks I attended as well as being an intimate space with sea views!

Sea views are the order of the day in almost every single area, even the lifts - where glass boxes (either forward on the left or aft on the ship's right) whizz guests up and down, with glorious views. There is clever use of The Shelter, provided by the asymmetry in the airy La Terrazza and Panorama Lounge, to offer outside space at the curving back of the ship.

terrace silver ray

Culinary excellence

Silversea's culinary offering has been expanded and refined in recent years and the advancements on Silver Ray are clear. Each restaurant feels like a destination and particular favourites of mine were The Marquee and S.A.L.T. Chef's Table. Both located on the pool deck, each offers fantastic views but with very different experiences.

The Marquee, a refined pool grill, offers a casual dining experience throughout the day, and in the evening becomes a sheltered, open-air venue with the feeling of a stylish Mediterranean town square, hosting Hot Rocks, Silversea famed table BBQ concept. It was wonderful to be dining outside in relaxed comfort, especially when sailing. The main restaurants Atlantide and the Italian La Terrazza serve familiar favourites.

restaurant silver ray

Then there was S.A.L.T Chef's Table, part of the expansive S.A.L.T programme that both we at Mundy and our Silversea guests have been hugely impressed by. Offering just 18 guests an expansive tasting menu, it's one of just two of the seven venues on board to have a supplemental charge (the other being La Dame). Hosted by one of Silversea's talented team, and supplemented at times by renowned local chefs, each course was introduced with its inclusion on the menu reflecting the local destination. I enjoyed European gastronomy enhanced with some local flavours of Lisbon, including the famous grilled sardine as the city geared up for June's Santo Antonio Festival, where the locals pour into the streets and setting up their own barbecues to grill sardines for an amazing street party. This is just one small aspect of the S.A.L.T programme which boast an astonishing 1600 dishes across 210 different menus.

The adjoining S.A.L.T Bar serves speciality cocktails, with Silver Ray offering its very own special creation! The S.A.L.T Kitchen offers two destination-inspired menus - the Terrain menu offering dishes specific to the port visited, and the Voyage menu, drawing inspiration from the journey as a whole. The S.A.L.T excursions are exceptional, small-group tours focused on local flavours, with the entire concept based around regional and micro-regional food, so guests can understand not just a country's culinary highlights, but the differences between the north and south of a country like Portugal.

SALT kitchen silver ray

Silversea standards

These differences combine with elements that past Silversea guests love. The suite layout will feel instantly familiar to past guests where no corners have been cut, apart from the actual corner of the walk-in wardrobe to cleverly create more space without comprising on storage. And of course, the Silversea service aligns with the rest of the fleet, with butlers attending to every guest, and the evening atmosphere matching Silversea's refinement.

It's clear that this ship marks the future for Silversea. Not just a vessel aimed at attracting cruise guests who might not have considered the brand before, but an ideal ship for those who are new to cruise, combining as it does the style and sophistication of a chic luxury hotel with the chance to enjoy a taster, literally, of a region.

deck silver ray
Meet the author

Alex is Director of Sales & Marketing at Mundy Cruising, having worked with the company for 10 years and in travel for over 18 years. Most recently he's cruised on Silversea and has also sailed with Seabourn, Crystal, SeaDream, Tauck, Regent Seven Seas and Ponant. His favourite destination is South America however he's also enjoyed cruises in the Western Mediterranean, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, India, Myanmar, South East Asia and Antarctica. When he’s not travelling he loves walking holidays; a favourite included a trek to Everest Base Camp.

More about Alex

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