New Luxury Cruise Ship Offers Guests Gourmet Adventures Through the Mediterranean

As Lisbon began its St. Anthony’s Day celebrations, marking the anniversary of the saint’s death, the cruise world celebrated the birth of a new luxury cruise ship, Silversea Cruises‘ Silver Ray, with a christening ceremony in the heart of the Portuguese city.

The 544-passenger vessel is the 12th ship in the Silversea fleet and the identical twin of Silver Nova, which debuted last year with a novel design that set it apart from other Silversea ships.

Like its sister, Silver Ray is covered with more than 4,000 square meters of glass to bring views of the outside in and a top deck designed to emphasize the sea and sky. Its space-to-guest ratio of 75 gross register tons per passenger and crew-to-guest ratio of 1:1.3 up the luxuriousness of the ship with spacious suites and public venues, a lack of crowding and attentive service.

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Silver Ray also embraces Nova’s dedication to exceptional culinary experiences both on board and on shore with several fine-dining restaurants and Silversea’s signature S.A.L.T. (Sea And Land Taste) program, created by Adam Sachs, former editor-in-chief of Saveur Magazine. Guests eager to delve into the local food-and-wine scene of their cruise destinations can take part in hands-on cooking classes at S.A.L.T. Lab, savor regionally inspired dishes and crafted cocktails at S.A.L.T. Kitchen and S.A.L.T. Bar, and explore shore excursions that not only present local flavors but also the people behind them.

Silversea has also embraced the mantra of “otium,” an ancient Roman concept of leisure. This indulgent approach to self-care is prevalent throughout the ship. The Otium Spa offers rejuvenating treatments along with a complimentary sauna, steam room, and spa pool, plus a choice of chocolate truffles and spa-inspired cocktails to enjoy post-massage — or whenever you need a lift. Otium-labeled in-room services encompass aromatherapy showers and baths, sophisticated snacks and movie night treats, and an in-room dining menu featuring lobster and caviar. Each suite also benefits from the dedicated services of a butler who can deliver these delights.

Whether showcasing the world through expansive views from almost every public area on board or facilitating deep explorations through shore excursions and culinary experiences, Silver Ray fosters a connection with both land and sea. Hence, it was fitting that the ship was christened by Dr. Maria Josefina Olascoaga, a professor of ocean sciences at the University of Miami. She will be co-leading Royal Caribbean Group’s OceanScope program, which outfits the company’s ships with the tools and labs necessary to gather data about ocean health for the university.

“I hope this ship will inspire its guests to connect meaningfully with the ocean,” she remarked before pressing a lever to break a bottle of Champagne against the hull of the ship in christening.

Also on hand to name his first ship was new Silversea president Bert Hernandez, who has a long career with Royal Caribbean Group and its previous upscale brand Azamara. “It is fitting that we are launching such an innovative ship in a milestone year,” he told guests, referring to Silversea’s 30th anniversary.

Jason Liberty, CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, also spoke about how innovation and guest satisfaction are key to the entire company, including the Silversea brand. He referenced how when Royal Caribbean bought Silversea, its goal was to grow the brand, and since 2018, Silversea has taken delivery of six ships (five new and one bought from another cruise line).

Silver Ray will depart Saturday on its maiden voyage from Lisbon to Barcelona, calling on Cadiz, Malaga, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca in Spain. The ship will spend the summer and fall crisscrossing the Mediterranean before sailing for South America in December, capping its first year of service with an epic 71-day voyage around South America.

For its second season, Silver Ray will once again spend spring, summer and fall in the Mediterranean but will spend winter 2025-2026 in the Caribbean and Central America.

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