By Monte Mathews
On March 31, in Lisbon, Silversea Cruises may have set a cruise line record by introducing its third new ship in just nine months. Joining its sisters, Silver Muse and Silver Moon (launched just last July in Athens), the newbuild was welcomed by some 300 guests from around the world. A 7-day preview voyage cruised the coast of Portugal from Lisbon to Portimao in the Algarve and then north to Portugal’s second city Porto. Returning to Lisbon the ship’s Godmother, Emmy-nominated Television Personality and Former Editor of both Food and Wine and Epicurious, Nilou Motamed launched the signature bottle of Champagne against the ship’s bow. The ship was named Silver Dawn to the applause of an audience of dignitaries, travel journalists and Silversea aficionados.
Silver Dawn incorporates Silversea’s Two most remarkable new features.
For this writer, who has now sailed on all three Muse-class Silversea ships, Silver Dawn was a homecoming. Her 40,700 tons incorporate nine classes of suites from the 1,389-square-foot Owner’s Suite to the ship’s smallest Vista Suite, which still encompasses 334 square feet. The majority of Silver Dawn’s accommodations are Veranda Suites, gloriously imagined in 387 square feet. Every single suite is assigned a butler and a steward whose attention to detail is a hallmark of sailing on Silversea. There is virtually nothing these trained professionals can’t do for their guests. Meanwhile, outside their staterooms, guests will find no fewer than eight restaurants, public rooms for every possible activity from concerts to conversation, from fitness to the fine art, which adorns every corner of the ship. But the biggest surprises aboard this 596-passenger, 411-crewmember ship are two additions we’ve been waiting for since Silver Muse set sail.
Silver Dawn launches Otium, a Spa Concept unlike any other on land or at sea.
We were privy to the beginnings of Otium last summer aboard Silver Moon. The brainchild of Silversea’s remarkably inventive Chief Commercial Officer, Barbara Muckermann, Otium revolves around Silversea’s promise of complete comfort while sailing the world. As its inventor points out “No one expects to lose weight on a cruise.” But what no one else, including this writer, expected is what’s on offer at Otium. There is the Otium Spa itself. It’s an oasis of calm, of caring and of sharing. Here after a choice of body blissful treatments, spa goers can repair to lounges where they can sip champagne to their heart’s delight.
But Otium extends well beyond the Spa. Your suite becomes your private Otium oasis. You can summon a menu of scents and oils that your butler can draw upon as your bath is drawn. Your mattress has been redesigned so that you sink into sleep on sheets specifically selected for Silversea. Pillows? Why there are five to choose from. But wait … there’s even an Otium menu of over-the-top indulgences. Fancy a Foie Gras Burger or a lobster roll? A little caviar amuse-bouche? Or how about watching that movie you’ve wanted to see accompanied with Truffled Popcorn and Champagne. Just dial and your butler will deliver! There’s even an Otium Balcony experience where you can sip hot chocolate and eat bon bons. Otium is reason alone to sail on Silver Dawn.
Silver Dawn Showcases the Single most Extraordinary Culinary Experiences at Sea: S.A.L.T.
It is indeed fitting that Nilou Motamed, a glamorous, engaging beauty and television personality, was chosen as godmother for Silver Dawn. Her background includes a 20-year career in food and travel. Born in Iran, raised in Paris and New York, Nilou is fluent in four languages. None is more important to her than the language of food. “Food is a language of its own, one in which everyone can find comfort, compassion and community.”
In the company of her husband, Peter John Lindberg, travel journalist extraordinaire, she has sampled the world’s great cuisines. Both Nilou and Peter (who this writer calls “God Mister of Silver Dawn”) were my companions in the very beginnings of S.A.L.T. (Sea And Land Taste). Silversea’s Barbara Muckermann conceived this program and enlisted the culinary genius of Adam Sachs, former editor of Saveur Magazine and James Beard Award Winning Writer, to make it happen. Nilou, Peter and I watched as the adventure took shape. Now on Silver Dawn, it is in full bloom.
There’s S.A.L.T. Kitchen, a restaurant whose mission is to bring local tastes aboard Silver Dawn at every port. There’s a regional menu and there are menus so local they distinguish the cuisine between places just miles apart. There’s S.A.L.T. Lab–classes for those among us who have to get our hands into making local dishes. There’s S.A.L.T. Bar – the most convivial and intimate place where local cocktails reign. And then there are S.A.L.T. Shore excursions that bring Silversea passengers to local genius in cuisine.
On Silver Dawn, our guide to Portuguese cuisine was Miguel Andrade, an engaging Lisboan who has just co-written the definitive “Portugal: The Cookbook” with Chef Leandro Carreira (Phaedon 2022). Miguel gave talks, accompanied us to Cooking School, introduced us to local chefs like 31-year-old Chef ‘Ze of Lisbon’s hidden treasure “‘Cacué’ Restaurant.”
Nilou Motamed Says It Best
“It’s a great honor to have been selected as the Godmother of Silver Dawn and to have been on board for her naming ceremony in Lisbon,” Nilou says. “Growing up in multiple countries has helped me recognize that one of our deepest common bonds, wherever we go, is food. Like many of Silversea’s guests, I always pair my cultural explorations with culinary ones. That’s why I’ve loved seeing the world through Silversea’s S.A.L.T. programme. I’ve dedicated my career to celebrating authentic, local cuisines and cultures. For me, nothing is more rewarding than connecting with people over a shared meal.” And this writer couldn’t agree more.
Silver Dawn will spend the summer in the Mediterranean.
She is scheduled to sail on a variety of itineraries starting at 7 days and extending to 28 days. She will then cruise to West Africa before sailing across the Atlantic in November. Following stops in the Canary Islands, she will begin a season of adventures in the Caribbean and Central America. For details, visit www.silversea.com