In sharp contrast to the usual flamboyance and pizzazz of a ship launch, she finally entered into service with low fanfare in June, since when luxury cruisers, starved of their Silversea fix, have returned to their home from home (never mind that Silver Moon is new, any Silversea ship is home) alongside a sizeable contingent of sophisticated travellers who have never been on board a Silversea ship before.
It was my great pleasure to catch up with one of Silversea's most loyal couples, Sue and Barrie Payne, just back from 20 blissful days in the Greek islands, to find out just what their experience was like.
After a nerve-wracking start getting all their tests done and their paperwork in order, the airport experience was relatively pain free despite testing at Athens airport on arrival, with the result sent through by text (we understand testing on arrival is no longer required.) A 2pm arrival at the cruise terminal was strictly enforced, with more form filling and a lateral flow test, waiting for the result before proceeding to the usual passport control and embarkation procedures. On board, nobody was allowed to occupy their suite until 4pm. Up until then, a comprehensive deep clean is taking place including mattresses and curtains.
Guests on back-to-back sailings leave their suite to sit in the lounge for the morning, before going ashore for a test and coming back on board. Each morning, as you leave your suite, you message your butler who comes to take your temperature, logging the full results electronically. Then it's mask on, and off to breakfast. No masks are required on the pool deck, nor when seated in the lounges or restaurants - they simply need to be worn when moving around. For the crew, though, it is a different matter, with masks worn at all times.
The Greek authorities are happy for Silver Moon guests to go ashore independently. On shore excursions, coaches are laid out with empty seats, and you can download an app on your phone to listen to your guide using quietvox technology so you don't need to huddle closely in order to hear what is being said.
As for the buffet, it is presented beautifully as always but with no self service, so the crew numbers are high to ensure someone is always available to serve your choices straight onto your plate.
As for the ship, she is beautiful, with extraordinary attention to detail in the construction. Spacious bars and lounges boast elegant and tasteful décor, and the comfort levels are very high.
Like her sister Silver Muse, she has a number of dining venues, and new to the fleet on this ship is the new S.A.L.T. concept which includes a restaurant serving cuisine from the region in which you are cruising, an opportunity to cook for yourself in the lab, and a number of dedicated excursions ashore focusing on local food and wine.
In these early days, the ships are by no means full and Silver Moon was no exception, although numbers are increasing later in the season. For the moment, though, an extraordinary crew to guest ratio, and crew members who are overjoyed to be back on board, make for an outstanding level of care and attention.