Under bright blue skies in Ancona, Italy on Thursday, Silversea Cruises and Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilder, celebrated a big step in the ultra-luxury line’s fleet growth as the new 596-passenger Silver Moon touched water for the first time.
During a celebratory float-out event, hundreds of Fincantieri shipyard workers, local VIPs, government officials, member of the military and media, peered over the railing as water began flooding the drydock for the 40,700-ton vessel. It was a proud moment for many shipyard employees as the ship they created from scratch has now entered wet dock and its next phase of interior design and outfitting. It will set sail in summer 2020.
Just before the water began flowing into the drydock, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the ultra-luxury line’s executive chairman, spoke to the crowd, telling them: “Not only was I brought up with ships in my veins, but I was brought up with Fincantieri in my veins.”
Lefebvre said he first visited Fincantieri with his father when he was 12, the first ship his family built with Fincantieri was in 1987, a Sitmar vessel, and Silversea’s first ship with Fincantieri was the Silver Spirit in 2009.
Silver Moon, the ninth ship in Silversea’s fleet, is an enhanced sister to Silver Muse, which launched in 2017. A third sister, Silver Dawn, launches in 2021. Next year, Silversea will decide whether or not to exercise its option for a fourth in that class. While that is still under discussion, Lefebvre told the invited guests: “I hope so.”
Separately, the line will has firm orders for a new expedition ship, Silver Origin, and two Evolution-class ships.
“Today, with the float out of Silver Moon, we draw ever-closer to achieving my father’s dream of a 12-ship fleet,” said Lefebvre. “I look forward to fulfilling my father’s vision, and, with the support of Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL), expanding the fleet further still in the future.” RCL took a 67 percent stake in Silversea last year, bringing the financial clout and resources that Silversea has needed to expand.
Lefebvre also noted that the celebratory event also was important as it's the ultra-luxury line’s 25th anniversary year. Since it set sail in 1994, Silversea has carried almost half a million guests on 4,100 voyages. That’s 9.4 million cruise days for guests.'
Adam Sachs and Barbara Muckermann show journalists the S.A.L.T. spaces onboard Silver Moon.
The day started with a ceremonial coin event onboard Silver Moon. A small crowd gathered to watch as Lefebvre, Giovanni Steconni, Fincantieri’s shipyard director for the Ancona yard, and Roberta Bonisol, the ship’s “madrina” (float-out event godmother); each donned an industrial apron and took turns welding a ceremonial coin into place along the pool deck’s back wall.
Bonisol is payload engineer within Fincantieri’s project management organization. She’s responsible for interior design in public areas and accommodations, overseeing the Silver Moon project from start to finish.
Manfredi Lefebvre and Barbara Muckermann, chief marketing officer, Silversea Cruises, then accompanied guests on a quick tour of Deck 4’s spaces for the innovative, new S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste) culinary program; this includes S.A.L.T Lab, S.A.L.T Kitchen and S.A.L.T Bar. S.A.L.T. will delve deeply into cuisine on the local level, using food and drink as the means to the destination. Travel Agent sailed aboard Silver Muse last March and got a taste of what S.A.L.T. is all about.
For the float-out event, though, the ship in its entirety was clearly the star. As the crowd gathered dockside under white tents outfitted with blue carpeting, officials addressed the guests in Italian and English, a Catholic priest blessed the ship and military officers stood crisply at attention as the Italian national anthem was played.
The crowd clapped and cheered as Bonisol did the honors of chopping a string to send a bottle of champagne flying into the ship’s hull, breaking it—a good-luck symbol for smooth sailing ahead for the ship and its guests.
As the drydock began to fill with water, a process that could take up to a day, guests headed to the tents for a light lunch, as Muckermann and Adam Sachs, former editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine, who is curating the S.A.L.T program in partnership with the line, talked about that innovative new culinary program. Muckermann also outlined what else is new for the ship.
For example, La Dame, the line's signature French restaurant, will move from its present spot on Deck 4 on Silver Muse to Deck 8 on Silver Moon; that will allow both indoor and outdoor views and seating. Capacity will nearly double from 30 seats to 56 seats.
While the open-seating Atlantide will remain in the same spot as on Silver Muse, seating capacity will be increased from 176 to 220. Kaiseki, the Japanese restaurant, will have an enhanced design and more seasonality in its Asian offerings.
Arts Café will have the same look and feel as it does on Silver Muse, but it will move to Deck 8’s starboard side. Silver Note will have optimized visibility with a repositioned performance area; Connoisseur's Corner will be repositioned to Deck 9 and expanded, with both indoor and outdoor areas. Additionally, the Zagara Beauty Spa will be larger.
The new ship will also have some other enhanced spaces, including. The Dolce Vita lounge and the Pool Deck.
Readying for New Horizons
In addition, Silversea’s press release on Thursday had comments from Roberto Martinoli, CEO, Silversea: “We are delighted to celebrate this milestone with our partner and expert shipbuilder Fincantieri. From 2020, Silver Moon will leverage on the success of our beloved flagship, Silver Muse, to unlock immersive new travel experiences for our guests around the world. With a range of pioneering new features that will push the boundaries of luxury travel, Silver Moon will be the most elegant ship in her class.”
The ship will be eco-friendly as it carries a “Green Star 3 Design,” assigned to ships that are built and equipped to prevent air and water pollution.
Silver Moon’s all-suite accommodations will be all ocean-view, and 96 percent will have private balconies. Guests in all suites will have butler service. Silversea says that “although in popular demand, suites are still available on Silver Moon’s maiden voyage" between Trieste, Italy and Rome (Civitavecchia) on August 6, 2020.
After an inaugural season in the Mediterranean, the ship will cross the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas in November. The new vessel will then sail to Central America and the Caribbean, before making a circumnavigation of South America on the “Grand South America 2021” itinerary, which will visit 37 destinations in 20 countries between January 7 and March 17, 2021.