This New Cruise Ship Has an Unprecedented Design, Elegant Suites, and 'Quirky' Cocktails

Here's a closer look at the Silver Nova, one of the newest ships from the luxury line Silversea.

<p>Courtesy of Silversea Cruises</p> Silver Nova.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Silver Nova.

On my first trip with Silversea, more than a decade ago, I cooed over risotto flecked with gold leaf. I swooned when my husband and I were serenaded by a jazz duo in an intimate supper club. I loved that the bartenders would remember our favorite drinks — each one presented on linen napkin — and I learned what it was like to have a butler who polished my shoes, seeing that they were sorely in need of a shine.

I also noted things Silversea didn’t have. Those bartenders didn’t hand me a bill to sign, no hands were out for a tip. There were no pushy announcements hawking tours, shopping lectures, or onboard art auctions, nor photographers plaintively begging for a pose so they could sell me a snapshot later. There were, in short, none of the annoyances you sometimes find on ships.

So when I boarded Silver Nova in 2023, I had a feeling the ship would be defined as much by what it didn’t have as by what it did. And, true to that Silversea DNA, I found that this vessel seemed to almost disappear. Instead, the seagoing experience blossomed, as my fellow passengers and I sighted islands and enjoyed the weave of coastlines. Many of today’s most talked-about cruise ships work to focus our attention inwards; Silver Nova, by contrast, reminds us to look out — and to appreciate where we’re going.

This bit of alchemy is all thanks to the remarkable, asymmetrical design of Silver Nova. This aesthetically pleasing choice also allowed designers to eliminate most structures on the upper decks, allowing the sea and landscapes to tell their story. To take just one example, the pool doesn’t sit on the ship’s centerline, as is common. Instead, it unspools along the starboard side, yielding an openness that is unprecedented on a small cruise ship.

“On the open decks of other ships you see a lot of stuff — attractions, distractions, a lot of things that keep your eyes busy,” explained Andrea Tonet, Silversea’s vice president of product strategy. “We did the opposite, we removed everything that was not necessary, every obstacle, to create this unobstructed view of the sea and the destination.”  As a result, I always felt like I had a clear sense of being somewhere while aboard. I gained a deeper sense of connection to my environment.

That said, Silver Nova is on the larger side, at least among true luxury ships, with space for 728 passengers. But it also has a capacious passenger-to-space ratio that lends the vessel a welcome openness.

A ship of glass and curves, a desire to bring the destinations to the guest, and a chart marked for some of the world’s most appealing places — here is my review of Silversea’s Silver Nova.

  • Though larger overall than is typical for a luxury ship, Silver Nova is spacious and uncrowded, offering more elbow room per passenger than almost any other cruise vessel.

  • Silversea’s groundbreaking S.A.L.T. program has been elevated for Nova, providing localized culinary immersion both at sea and on land.

  • With its ample outdoor deck space, the ship is well-suited for warm-weather voyages and scenic areas, such as Alaska’s Inside Passage and New Zealand’s Milford Sound.

  • In a first for Silversea, Nova has aft-facing suites, including eight with wraparound balconies offering remarkable panoramic views.

The Staterooms

<p>Courtesy of Silversea Cruises</p> The living area of a Silver Nova suite.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

The living area of a Silver Nova suite.

The all-suite Nova has nine different stateroom layouts, starting with standard veranda categories, which make up more than 75 percent of the ship’s accommodations. These measure 301 square feet inside and feature a subdued palette of grey and cappuccino tones. The 54-square-foot teak veranda is big enough for two to enjoy a meal, and marble bathrooms are equipped with a roomy shower stall (many have both a full tub and separate shower). All suites include a walk-in closet, vanity table, a large TV, and stocked minibar. A butler is available at all hours, and in-room dining is provided by most of the ship’s venues.

<p>Courtesy of Silversea Cruises</p> A Silver Nova suite.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

A Silver Nova suite.

Throughout, Silversea’s custom mattresses are sumptuous and sleep-inducing, with combed Egyptian cotton bedding by Milan’s Rivolta Carmignani. There’s a pillow menu, with feather/down blends, memory foam, and two hypoallergenic options, medium and firm.

A variety of larger suites are available, but the star is a pair of Otium Suites, each spanning 1,324 square feet and each featuring a huge wraparound balcony with private hot tub. Thanks to the ship’s asymmetrical design, these balconies protrude in a way that allows for 270-degree views.

Bars and Restaurants

<p>Courtesy of Silversea Cruises</p> Indoor-outdoor dining on Silver Nova.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Indoor-outdoor dining on Silver Nova.

Silversea’s culinary program is a point of pride for the brand. Atlantide is Nova’s de facto main dining room, a handsome venue that offers a selection of steaks, lobster, and caviar in a plush, comfortable setting. Next door, the ambitious menu at S.A.L.T. Kitchen evolves by day, taking inspiration from the destination in which the ship is sailing.  For example, on trips to Croatia, guests might find Dalmatian sardines marinated in lemon; along Central America you might encounter hearty escabeche.

La Terrazza’s menu features Italian specialties, with pasta made onboard, while Silver Note is a swank supper club, where gourmet tapas are served against a backdrop of live jazz. Located up top, the Marquee is capped by an airy, two-story pergola that dapples the venue with shade; views from every table are almost unimpeded.  Full breakfasts are served at the Marquee, and at lunch you’ll find an al fresco rotisserie with salads, burgers, and Neapolitan-style pizzas; at night grill your own chops.

<p>Courtesy of Silversea Cruises</p> Silver Nova.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Silver Nova.

Although Silversea is a mostly inclusive cruise line, three of the restaurants require a surcharge: La Dame does a selection of French classics ($160 including wine pairings), and Kaiseki has a full-on Asian menu ($80). S.A.L.T. Chef’s Table has seating for up to 24 diners, with 11-course tasting menus embellished with anecdotes about the history of each dish or signature ingredient ($180 including wine and cocktail pairings).

<p>Courtesy of Silversea Cruises</p> Arts Café.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Arts Café.

The ship has several bars, including Panorama Lounge, a retreat found aboard all Silversea vessels. On Nova, the bar’s outdoor terrace includes a small fireplace, a feature I don’t recall seeing on any other cruise ship.  Also of note is the Dusk Bar, which sits aft on Deck 10 and is stocked with interesting spirits. (I found it to be a great spot for sunset selfies.) The S.A.L.T. Bar was probably my favorite spot, with graceful outdoor seating and a menu of unusual cocktails featuring quirky ingredients cued to the ship’s regional itinerary.

Where Silver Nova Sails

Through early 2026, Silver Nova will summer in Alaska and spend northern hemisphere winters in Australia and New Zealand, places where top deck views should prove ceaselessly rewarding.  In the spring and fall, as the ship transits between the two hemispheres, watch for voyages along the coasts of Asia, including some circumnavigations of Japan.

Shore Excursions

On Nova, a selection of both included and added-cost shore excursions are offered. In places like Alaska, the included tours cover a variety of activities, from coach rides to scenic areas, whale watching, e-bike trips, hiking, and kayaking. In Australia and New Zealand, options include kayaking in the Whitsunday Islands, a vintage steam train ride near Melbourne, and a Maori cultural experience.

In Alaska, helicopter trips to a glacier where a dog-sled camp is based, or a private fishing and crabbing tour are among the added-cost tours. In Australia and New Zealand, add-on tours include a private car and guide in most ports, Hunter Valley wineries by helicopter, and a tour of the Lord of the Rings filming locations and Weta Studios. Other tours are built around the S.A.L.T. program and focused on regional culinary angles, available at extra cost.

Amenities and Entertainment

<p>Courtesy of Silversea Cruises</p> The pool on Silver Nova.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

The pool on Silver Nova.

Silver Nova’s asymmetrical design allows for a chic, expansive pool deck — a grand total of more than 42,000 square feet across two decks. With that kind of elbow room, there's hardly a need to wake up early to claim a deck chair. The swimming pool sits close to the starboard side, and the seating and elevated walkways around it create an amphitheater-like effect, with a backdrop that can go on for miles. To me, it felt like being at a supercool rooftop bar or cliff's-edge resort — with a panorama that's ever changing.

Silversea’s S.A.L.T. ecosystem, which is on several of the line's ships, deserves special mention as an amenity, too. The acronym stands for Sea and Land Taste, and describes numerous food-focused experiences on and off the ship. Some of the core moments are available at the previously mentioned S.A.L.T. Bar, Kitchen, and Chef's Table; there's also a gorgeous S.A.L.T. Lab, a space that allows for hands-on culinary lessons. The culinary programming extends to talks and demos held in the ship's Venetian Lounge, as well as on shore excursions branded as part of S.A.L.T. Bottom line, if deep-diving into the cuisine of a specific destination is your goal, look for the S.A.L.T. "stamp."

Elsewhere, the Otium Spa has among its features a steam room and indoor thermal pool with floor-to-ceiling sea views. There’s a fitness center, and personal trainers are available for individual or group sessions.  The spacious Venetian Lounge spans two decks — a rarity on a smaller ship — with cabaret seating and tiered banquettes for music performances, movie screenings, and other group programs. A few more intimate spaces include the Connoisseur’s Corner, a cigar lounge and bar, and the small yet delightful library, tucked behind the Observation Lounge.

Family-friendly Offerings

Without dedicated kids areas, Silver Nova was not designed for children. But families who don’t need high-powered diversions to keep children engaged will find a welcoming environment at sea and, during holiday periods, possibly other children to socialize with. Silversea allows children over the age of six months, as long as they’re accompanied by an adult over the age of 21; babysitting services are not available.


Public areas of Silver Nova, including all restaurants, bars, and the spa, are wheelchair accessible. Embarkation and disembarkation are also typically accessible, with a gangway that's flat enough to accommodate mobility devices; in ports where stairs are involved, crew members can provide assistance. The vessel also keeps some wheelchairs for guest use.

Nova has braille/tactile public room signage, elevator buttons, staircase handrails, and stateroom numbers.

The ship has six ADA accessible suites, on various decks, in the Premium Veranda and Silver Suite categories. Each is equipped with wider entrance doors and appropriate paths of travel for wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility equipment, and each includes an accessible bathroom and shower. All areas within these suites are reachable without the need for additional ramps, and features an accessible bathroom with vanity and separate shower.

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