Review: Silver Nova

Aspire hops aboard Silversea Cruises' first Nova Class ship

Location: Silver Nova launched in Venice in mid-August. The ship sails in the Mediterranean until November when it repositions across the Atlantic to offer sailings in the Caribbean and South America. From May to September next year, Nova will sail in Alaska for the summer season before heading to Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

First impressions: You feel a little discombobulated when you step on board. The 728-passenger ship is so different to its predecessors in the fleet that loyalists will likely feel a little unsure at first, but after an hour or so they’ll quickly discover that all of the Silversea staples are present and, if anything, improved. The ship is the first in the industry to not follow a symmetrical design, which makes you feel somewhat off-kilter.

The pool lies on one side of the ship, providing epic vistas for swimmers, and the glass-clad lifts sit on the outside – as opposed to the traditional location in the centre of a vessel – again providing scenic views day or night. This ship is groundbreaking for so many reasons.

The facts: Nova has 364 suites across 13 category types – the most categories of any Silversea ship. All suites have balconies. The lead-in category is a Classic Veranda Suite, of which there are 64, but high-flyers will want to book one of the six Master Suites, two Grand Suites, two Owner’s Suites or two Otium Suites. For the first time in Silversea’s fleet, Nova has a horizontal layout – suites run the length of four decks while other decks are dedicated to public spaces. There are nine bars and lounges, my favourites being champagne bar The Shelter on deck three; main bar Dolce Vita (where a pianist plays each night); the Salt Bar on deck 10, which serves divine cocktails; and the stunning Dusk Bar, at the aft of the ship and the best sunset spot on board. 

Silversea has always excelled on the food front, and Nova definitely delivers. There are nine culinary venues, from casual to formal and covering cuisines including French, Italian and Japanese. La Terrazza has historically been a Silversea favourite, and that will no doubt still be the case on Nova. The intimate Silver Note restaurant will likely prove popular for its 1920s jazz club vibe. New venue The Marquee was my favourite spot, and feels akin to a Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental venue. The design is stunning and the food is perfection, offering healthy dishes at breakfast, followed by extensive lunch and dinner menus. The spa sits at the bow of the ship. There are eight treatment rooms, a relaxation room and an indoor pool.

Ideal for: Warm weather cruisers. This ship was made with warmer climes in mind, and Silversea president and chief executive Barbara Muckermann has stated that Nova’s itineraries would likely follow the sun. The line actively targets baby boomers, and they’ll lap up this luxurious addition to the cruise industry.

Explore: Foodies should consider some of the line’s Salt tours that aim to delve deeper into cuisine at the destinations visited. These tours come at an extra cost.

Wow: As a former cruise reporter, I’ve sailed on many ships so it takes a lot to impress me. I can hand on heart say I was wowed constantly by Silver Nova during my short sailing. The design really is impressive and begs the question why no ship has broken the symmetrical mould before. My favourite experience was the Chef’s Table in the Salt Lab, where an 11-course tasting menu was enjoyed over several hours. The staff, ever accommodating, tailored the menu to suit fussy diners such as myself.

Book it: A seven-day Anchorage to Vancouver sailing starts from £6,100, including flights, based on an August 8, 2024, departure.

Hollie-Rae Brader

Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.