Silversea’s newest ship sets a new standard in Culinary Cruising
Guest post by Monte Mathews
The writer was a guest of Silversea Cruises for the purposes of this review.
Delayed for months by the never-ending pandemic, Silversea’s magnificent new vessel, Silver Moon finally welcomed her first passengers this Spring. Silver Moon began a series of cruises beginning and ending in Athens. And each and every one of them showcased what’s on board this wonderful ship.
Greece rescues the Cruise Industry
The Greek Government, recognizing that the Tourist Industry represents over 21 percent of its economy, sprang into action. First, they made a concerted effort to vaccinate everyone on the “tourist” islands. This was not just a monetary consideration. They realized that medical facilities on these famous islands could easily be overwhelmed by Covid-19. And their task was made easier by some startling statistics. The year-round population of Mykonos is just 12,500 people making it far easier to vaccinate the total population.
The Greek Ministry of Tourism took things a step even further. They united with the Cruise Industry to provide the vaccine to every single crew member sailing from Greece. As cruise ship crews hail from under-vaccinated countries like the Philippines, India, Malaysia and points everywhere else on earth, this allowed ships to sail with fully-vaccinated crews. And to enter Greece, tourists themselves must be fully vaccinated. Thus Silversea was able to introduce its magnificent new Silver Moon to its admiring group of luxury cruisers.
Silver Moon is simply magnificent.
The 596-passenger 40,700-ton vessel is the ninth ship in Silversea’s fleet. Boasting a crew of 411, Silver Moon has one of the highest crew-guest-ratios in all of cruising (almost 1:1.5). Silver Moon is sister ship to Silver Muse, the line’s flagship launched in 2017. Past guests on Silver Muse will notice some subtle alterations on Silver Moon and many familiar favorites. As on Silver Muse, the Arts Café displays an impressive collection of contemporary Italian art and is a popular destination for its selection of yummy bistro treats. The Connoisseur’s Corner cigar bar has been repositioned to Deck 9, with a Winter Garden added as well. The popular Pool Deck bar has increased in size and its waiters bring you your Aperol spritz in moments. The Zagara Beauty Spa has been expanded. In addition to its fitness classes and complete beauty salon services, it offers Medi-Spa treatments by a licensed physician. These included Botox, Dysport and Restylane injections with a promise to make us look 10 years younger! We passed on that promise but not on a single one of Silver Moon’s fantastic dining options. The line’s signature Fine French restaurant La Dame has doubled in size and moved from Deck 4 to Deck 8. It now includes outdoor dining. Striking Lalique crystal panels welcome guests at its entrance and along its walls as if René Lalique himself was aboard. The open-seating restaurant Atlantide has grown in size. High on our favorite menu items was a magnificent serving of Caviar with all its accoutrements. The authentic and popular Japanese restaurant, Kaiseki, has become a more intimate space. Kaiseki offers both a la carte and a set menu that we found irresistible. Both venues are on Deck Four and that is where Silver Moon’s most striking additions reside.
S.A.L.T (Sea And Land Taste) makes its debut and Culinary Cruising will never be the same.
The brainchild of Silversea’s newly christened Chief Commercial Officer and marketing maven, Barbara Muckermann, S.A.L.T. sets sail on Silver Moon. Under the guidance of Adam Sachs, James Beard Award-Winning Food writer and former editor of Saveur Magazine, S.A.L.T sets a new standard in Culinary cruising both aboard ship and at every port of call. S.A.L.T Restaurant achieves a remarkable feat: Menus that reflect the individual specialties that are the hallmarks of every single port. On their Greek Island itineraries, menus for Syros are completely different from those of Paros—islands just 49 km. (30.4 miles) apart. S.A.L.T. Bar is an intimate cocktail lounge under the direction of a Mixologist named Carlos whose potions are works of art. And S.A.L.T. Lab is the place for hands-on instruction in cooking the very items sampled aboard ship and ashore. You don’t need to have ever taken a cooking class before to enjoy every minute of your class. We loved using Phyllo pastry where in the course of an hour we made both Spanakopitka –Greece’s Spinach Pie—and an amazing version of Baklava called Saragli.
Presided over by incredibly talented Silversea Chefs like Dave Bilsland, the intimate size of the classes offer instruction to just 12 people. S.A.L.T.’s popularity was highly visible when Guest Chef and author of no fewer than 3 Mediterranean cookbooks, Yasmin Khan, took to the stage of the Venetian Lounge for S.A.L.T. talks. Her recipes were demonstrated by Silversea Chef Cyril chosen for his international culinary background. Samples were generated for dozens of guests as they sipped on Greek wines. (Silversea’s sommeliers have assembled a staggering cellar of over 60 wines from the region.) And S.A.L.T. is not just confined to the ship. S.A.L.T. Ashore offers excursions with enticing names like “Tastes of the Cyclades: Food and Flavours of the Beautiful Islands”. This one took us to an organic farm and a divine meal at a world-class restaurant right on an Aegean Beach. There are S.A.L.T. Food and Wine expeditions at virtually every port and each one we sampled was a smashing success.
Silver Moon’s Suites are out of this world
Virtually every Silver Moon suite has a private veranda. And every suite has an ocean view and the astonishing services of a butler. (To assure guests continued good health on the fully vaccinated Silver Moon, a morning temperature check was taken by our wonderful Rodolfo who, along with our housekeeper Eleanor, looked after us so beautifully.) Guests can choose from an array of suites the smallest of which, the Vista Suite, measures 333 sq. ft. From there, the Veranda suites measure 387 sq. ft. and include a 64 square foot veranda. Silver Suites are among the ship’s most popular and like all premiere suites on Silver Moon can be combined with neighboring Veranda suites to make 2-bedroom configurations. Or step up to a Royal Suite boasting a lavish living area and sweeping views over the bow. Four Grand suites offer semi-circular terraces and up to 1572 square feet of living space. Finally, there are the two Owners Suites. Situated midship, their master bathroom offers its own spectacular views of the sea.
Silver Moon is a Green Star 3 Design certificate vessel
Given to ships that adhere to proscribed methods of water treatment, exhaust systems and environmental features more and more cruise passengers embrace with every sailing.
After her summer in Greece, Silver Moon is set to depart on over 120 itineraries to places as far flung as Singapore and Hong Kong, Dubai and Reykjavik. How we wish we could be aboard every one of them.