Silversea

Silversea Silver Moon Cruise Ship Review

 Silversea Cruises

Silver Moon

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Overview

Dedicated to the upscale traveler, or for cruisers looking to splurge, Silversea’s newest and most elegant cruise ship Silver Moon lays on the creature comforts in grand style.  There are just a few add-ons you’ll ring up a bill for — two dining options and top-flight cognacs and whiskies — but otherwise the all-inclusive package features not just all drinks, butler service and included WiFi, but such niceties as Ossetra caviar, hands-on cooking sessions, and a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rosé Champagne deposited in every suite.

Compared to my last experience aboard Silver Spirit a decade ago, Silversea has matured favorably.  Gone are the heavy, outdated Italian stylings and stuffy ministrations.  In their place I found luxe quarters in tune with today’s design trends, upbeat service from an attentive crew, and a soothing ambience has blossomed.  And while Silversea’s dining was always above-average, the line’s new S.A.L.T. (Sea And Land Taste) program, which debuted on Silver Moon, takes it to a new level, coming into play in a restaurant and unusual bar, cooking classes and lectures, and even into shore excursions at many ports.

4.7/5

Porthole Cruise and Travel Ship Rating: 4.7 out of 5

The subdued Atlantide, what would typically be classified as the Main Dining Room, serves breakfast and dinner daily, plus lunch on sea days.  There are no set dining times, and reservations are unnecessary.  The surprisingly broad menu features about 10 different starters at dinner, plus soups and salads, and about 10 entrées ranging from poached Greenland cod and pan-fried Mediterranean seabream to New Zealand lamb and Argentinean beef.  Several vegetarian selections are available nightly.

Next door is S.A.L.T. Kitchen, which offers cuisine of the region Silver Moon is sailing.  One half of the menu — called Voyage — remains through the itinerary.  On my Central America sailing this included such fare as quinoa salad, pastelitos of Honduras and a Peruvian-style duck breast.  The daily-changing Terrain Menu represents the food of the specific port of the day, even to the point of offering a selection of Cuban entrées on the sea day as we sailed past Havana.  For the incurious, the focus on food culture may feel overbearing, but I found discovering destinations via the kitchen both ambitious and satisfying.  Also of note: the S.A.L.T. Bar, where a bespoke cocktail menu is curated specifically for each voyage, using exotic liquors and ingredients tied to the destination, a mixologist’s dream assignment.  Downside: The venue seats only 15 or so comfortably, and it’s located at the entrance to the ship’s two main restaurants, and therefore crowded from the moment doors open at 6 p.m.

La Terrazza operates as Silver Moon’s buffet option for breakfast and lunch, with a breezy outdoor terrace on Deck 7 aft.  Eggs, pancakes and sides can be ordered from waiters, or retrieved on your own; I loved the selection of fruits and veggies for custom smoothies.  For lunch, a themed menu takes over, and at dinner, La Terrazza shifts into a la carte mode, with a menu of house-made pasta dishes that can be ordered as appetizer or main course, along with meats and fish in Mediterranean presentations.

On the pool deck, the Grill is the ship’s most casual option, serving lunch fare such as sandwiches, burgers, and salads, while at night, this space transitions to Hot Rocks, where diners can grill their own meat or seafood over sizzling volcanic stones (bibs on request), or leave it to the chefs to cook at the grill.  It’s a great outdoor setting, but as I found on Silver Spirit a decade ago, the meats are not quite up to par for steak aficionados.  Silver Note is another Silversea specialty, a jazz club offering a lighter, tapas-style menu, accompanied by pianist and singer starting at 8 p.m.

Two other dinner options carry a surcharge.  Kaiseki ($40) features an Asian menu and such fare as Wagyu beef and king crab tempura.  The intimate, windowless setting of Kaiseki is a nice change of pace, but I preferred the food at lunch, when a roster of quality sushi was on offer (with no add-on).  La Dame is Silver Moon’s French gourmet experience ($60), with foie gras, soups poured tableside, buttery Chilean sea bass, and soufflé for desert.  It’s a special evening.  With their limited seating, Kaiseki and La Dame were the only restaurants where reservations were encouraged.

For lighter meals, Spaccanapoli serves mouth-watering Naples-style pizzas al fresco for lunch and dinner, and the Arts Café has light snacks through the day — yogurt parfaits, pastries, and finger sandwiches, along with the full line of caffeinated options.  Located on Deck 8, the café’s aft terrace is a quiet place to hang while at sea.

Silversea also features 24-hour “all around dining,” which provides a robust menu that can be served in-room, or within any of the ship’s public areas.  Go ahead: Spoil yourself with an order of caviar for your cabin.

With its generous passenger-space ratio, Silver Moon lays on what may be, for many of us right now, the greatest luxury: breathing room.  The Zagara Spa includes a range of expected treatments along with a salon and fitness center stocked with cardio equipment, weights.  The pool deck is endowed with a large and deep swimming pool (long enough for laps), and ample loungers.  In addition to pool towels there are light blankets available for any post-swim chills.  Above, a running course is good for a short circuit.  There are two whirlpools on Deck 10 next to the pool and a “secret” one aft; a larger, shaded whirlpool is also found on Deck 6 aft, next to the fitness room.

The most unique feature on Silver Moon is, again, one keyed to its culinary program.  The S.A.L.T. Lab offers hands-on, fast-paced cooking lessons once or twice a day in a made-to-order kitchen-in-the-round.  The lessons focus on the cuisine of the region you are sailing, and reservations are necessary.

Immediately next door to the Panorama Lounge is a Silversea standard, the Connoisseur’s Corner, an indoor-outdoor cigar lounge stocked with Davidoff and Cohiba stogies and premium cognacs.  A small casino snuggles up next to Silver Note. 

While children are allowed to sail with Silversea there is no dedicated kids area or assigned staff to supervise when parents want to do their own thing.

Cabins are located on all of Silver Moon’s public decks, in the center and forward sections of the ship (on all decks the aft third is dedicated to dining and other services).  Veranda Suites make up more than 80 percent of the ship’s compliment of accommodations.  Measuring 323 square feet (plus balcony), they are among the most generously sized “standard” cabins at sea.  Throughout, the suites feature a marble bathroom with bathtub and separate shower, walk-in wardrobe with storage sufficient for long journeys and lots of smaller shelves, table that can be configured for in-room dining, ample outlets for charging, and balcony.  A dozen similarly-sized oceanview suites are available (no balcony) and three of them are configured for accessibility.  Butler service, Bulgari bath amenities and a stocked minibar are found throughout.

The 34 Silver Suites are the next category up, and are wider, measuring 657 square feet, so double the size of Veranda Suites.  The living area has a sofa that can be converted to a bed for a third guest, and there’s a dedicated dining area.  Other features here (and in higher categories) include Illy espresso machines, Bose sound system with Bluetooth connectivity, complimentary laundry, and daily canape service.  Silver Suites, along with the larger Royal, Grand and Owner’s suites, can all be connected with a standard suite to create a two-bedroom unit.

Silversea does not cater to the party hearty crowd, so don’t look for the hairy chest contest poolside.  Actually, while I appreciated that canned music was kept to a minimum, the dearth of live music around the pool deck, where many congregate for lunch and a tan, was disappointing (perhaps a side effect of pandemic protocols?).  Otherwise, live music was offered only after 6 p.m. and this ranged from guitar and piano soloists, to a band that performed pop hits, to a jazz duo that performed nightly at Silver Note. 

The Venetian Lounge is Silver Moon’s theatre, and the Voices of Silversea perform several times per cruise, with individual shows dedicated to opera, crossover tunes, or focused on a genre like 60s British pop.  Individual musical acts are brought on board (a trumpet soloist and pianist on my cruise)

In addition to the Lab, the S.A.L.T. program includes culinary demonstrations held in the Venetian Lounge, and guest lecturers on an array of subjects also do their thing here.

A native of San Diego, David Swanson’s writing and photography has been featured in the pages of National Geographic Traveler, American Way, and the Los Angeles Times for more than 20 years, and he served as President of the Society of American Travel Writers in 2018-2019.