Silversea Silver Moon

For over a year, we’ve received daily updates from Cruise Week with regards to cruises and how ships are handling the Covid situation. The big ships (2 000+ guests) have been operational for over a year and doing very well with mostly none otherwise very few Covid cases onboard. Unfortunately the media focuses on the negative stories and for the last few months, the feedback has been mostly positive.

Silversea has cruises operational in Greece, Alaska and the Galapagos and the feedback has been great. Herewith some reports from Cruise Week on the Silver Moon in Greece:  

Cruise Week’s report on the Silver Moon (August 2021)

Silversea's Newest

Cruise Week correspondent Art Sbarsky reports on Silver Moon, the newest ship in the Silversea fleet.

Spaciousness At Sea

Silver Moon comes in at 40,700 gross tons for 596 guests, equating to a space ratio of 68. And with a crew complement of 411, the guest/crew ratio is 1.45. Both figures are among the industry’s best.

On this particular cruise, with the guest count affected by the return from the pandemic, there were 291 guests on board, a bit under 50% of max capacity. Thus, as one can imagine, there was virtually never any crowding or waiting for service anywhere anytime.

Dining and Drinking

Somewhat amazingly for a ship of its relatively small size, Silver Moon has three places for breakfast, six for lunch, and nine for dinner.

Mary Jean Tully, founder and CEO of Tully Luxury Travel, commented: “The ship and all of its different dining venues blew me away with so many choices and innovative menus. Plus, caviar throughout the ship and the service was exceptional.”

The two biggest dining rooms—the new S.A.L.T. Kitchen with 158 seats and Atlantide with 222—did not require reservations, and it was easy to get a table of any size at any time.

The same holds true for two casual spots, Art’s Café (for a variety of coffees/drinks and snacks throughout the day) and Spaccanapoli for outrageously good pizza. I went to the eponymously named café for morning cappuccino and the latter for a freshly-made pizza snack at various times.

Other spots without a surcharge included La Terrazza for buffet lunches/Italian dinners, Silver Note for a diverse type of meal with a live jazz combo accompaniment, and Hot Rocks for a fun poolside treat where guests essentially cook their own main courses. 

Only Kaiseki (for Japanese) and La Dame (elegant/French-style dinner) came with a surcharge. An almost hidden treat is that Kaiseki was open for a sashimi/sushi lunch daily with no fee at all.

All received high praise from a variety of guests, travel advisors, and press I talked with while onboard.

A nice selection of wines was available with the meals, and upgraded selections were available for extra charges. And the beer choices, which included an assortment of Greek options, were excellent.

Top-notch Service

I was in a Deluxe Veranda Suite which had everything I needed and more than enough drawer and closet space for a couple for even an extended-length cruise.

The assistance provided by the butler and assistant was excellent: Early in the cruise I needed to have my shoes shined. It was done quickly and very well, delivered wrapped with shoe trees inside. Later in the cruise, they must have figured I needed them done again and did so without me even asking.

Evolutionary Changes

Silversea has made a variety of changes on this new ship compared to its predecessor, Silver Muse, which was introduced in April 2017.

S.A.L.T. Kitchen, part of the excellent new program, has replaced Indochine and works very well.

La Dame has been increased in size and moved to a higher deck with both inside and outside seating (the room has lots of mirrors and chrome features, my only design quibbles). Art’s Café is much larger and still great. The bar area in the deck five Dolce Vita Lounge has been wonderfully increased in size, made circular, and becomes the focal point of the entire room.

All in all, Silversea has done a great job with design changes.

Cruise Week correspondent, Art Sbarsky, reports on his ten-night cruise on Silver Moon and the changes brought about by Covid have not diluted the delights of experiencing new destinations while traveling on a cruise out of Athens or revisiting old favourites in the Med.

Ten nights on Silversea in the Greek Isles was outstanding and dealing with the mask protocol was not too great a burden to bear for the pleasure and peace of mind received in return.

GREECE

At the beginning of the very first tour and all subsequent ones, the tour guide read a printed statement from Silversea stating how they and the ground operators had worked together to make landside activities safe. We were told we needed to wear our masks all the time, inside and out, practice social distancing as much as possible, to use only the front door of the buses. No food or use of  bus bathrooms on board. And use the hand sanitizers provided on board.  Other than the masks, not a really big deal. It’s part of traveling now and it’s good to know Silversea is working hard to prevent issues.

Panoramas in the Med

So far: three small Greek islands new to me; one larger one, Rhodes which I’ve been to before and have always enjoyed; and Limassol, the main seaport for the island nation of Cyprus.

The three new ones, Syros, Paros and Patmos, are all relatively small but each has a combo of historical highlights as well as a look at modern day life in Greece. On two of the three I did what essentially was a panoramic tour of the island; I think this is the best way to get a sense of what’s going on. On the third one, Patmos, I did the S.A.L.T. shorex which is part of the overall culinary program Silversea is introducing on Silver Moon

Next up is Rhodes, a place I’ve been to before but not in many years. So, my shorex choice was a panoramic tour, more or less a refresher course. The island has been developed a lot more but the archaeological sites are still there and the views of the surrounding waters were amazing. Due to timing I also had plenty of time to wander through the old city (which is still an active residential area). It was less crowded than I’ve ever seen it so on this very hot day that was a very good thing.

After a lovely day at sea, next up was Cyprus, the physically split and politically divided island. I did a morning tour that took in three historical sights, all really great to see and then in the afternoon/evening it was a six-hour S.A.L.T. tour.

On Taking In Athens

The cruise began and ended in Athens, one of the greatest, largest, most historically significant cities in the world. There were people on board that didn’t spend any time there (it’s no more than an hour or so from downtown or the airport to the port itself). I’ll make a value judgment here and say that’s a mistake; there’s just so much to take in; one way to do would be to stay there both pre and post and really see a lot.

Shore Excursions Thoughts

On all of my shore trips the guides were excellent; all spoke English well. The bus drivers, the unsung heroes of the tourism industry, were superb. And Silversea does not pack the buses full, even before COVID protocols.

In each port, guests were able to choose a tour that was included in their fares and there were multiple levels of physical ability needed; quite logical especially  in a place where ancient ruins are involved.

I wrote years ago that reading a Silversea cruise atlas/brochure was a delight unto itself. This cruise represents that. Tiny new places. Larger well known places. Days at sea.

Mid-cruise and the last day, guests had to have antigen tests administered (and higher grade tests when required). This was done very efficiently by medical and ship staff. No positive cases were identified: very nice for peace of mind.
 
Ten nights on Silversea in the Greek Isles was outstanding and dealing with the mask protocol was not too great a burden to bear for the pleasure and peace of mind received in return.


Sbarsky says, “It was great catching up with Stevie Friedman, a very well-respected travel agent who was loving the Silver Moon cruise, with high praise for the ship itself, the food and the service.

We receive too much information to pass it all on so please let us know if you’d like us to discuss any concerns in more detail. We are all so delighted to have cruises operational again and do recommend booking as soon as possible for 2022 and 2023 as the cruises are selling very well with a number of them already sold out.

We hope that you’re keeping well and we look forward to hearing from you.