Ultra-luxe line Silversea Cruises marked a milestone in the construction of its new-build Silver Ray with a keel laying ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, on March 24.
A centuries-old maritime tradition, the keel laying signifies the launch of the ship’s construction. As part of the custom, a commemorative coin was placed inside the ship to ensure good luck for her captain and crew.
Silver Ray Construction Set to Begin
Construction of Silversea Cruises’ Silver Ray will shift into high gear now that the ship’s keel laying ceremony was celebrated by cruise line and shipyard officials, along with select members of the trade community.
Silver Ray is the second of the line’s Nova class vessels and is scheduled to debut in the summer of 2024. Steel was cut for the ship’s construction in November 2022.
Silver Ray’s launch will follow the first Nova class ship, Silver Nova, which is under construction at the same shipyard and due to enter service in August 2023. Originally set to debut in July 2023, Silver Nova’s delivery was delayed by a month due to supply chain issues, the line said.
Silversea Cruises, a luxury brand operated by Royal Caribbean Group, has designed both Nova class ships to be low-emissions vessels that utilize fuel cells, batteries, and dual-fuel liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines, enabling them to operate with zero emissions while in port. Hydrodynamic hull designs will add to their fuel efficiency.
Meyer Werft Managing Director Jan Meyer said, ”The Nova class will set new standards on the way to net zero emissions cruising. We are therefore delighted to take another symbolic step in the construction of Silver Ray today with the keel laying. I am sure that the ultra-luxury ship will be able to meet the high demands of her guests and will inspire them with her innovative design.”
Both ships are projected to weigh in at 54,700 gross tons, making them the largest vessels in the Silversea Cruises fleet. Silver Ray and Silver Nova will each have the ability to accommodate up to 728 guests and 556 crew.
Silversea Cruises’ President and CEO Barbara Muckermann said, “Anticipation is building for the introduction of our pioneering Nova class ships, with Silver Nova set to join the fleet this summer.”
“In addition to being two of the most sustainable ultra-luxury cruise ships ever launched, the Nova class ships will introduce an asymmetrical design and a horizontal layout for the first time in our cruise line’s history, as well as all-new public venues that are among the most spacious at sea,” Muckermann added.
Nova Class Ships’ Itineraries
After her debut in June 2024, Silver Ray will operate a series of Mediterranean and Adriatic cruises between Venice, Rome and Athens. Her first sailing is described on the Silversea Cruises website as a 12-day voyage from Southampton to Lisbon, Portugal, departing June 3, 2024.
The ship will operate two additional cruises, from Lisbon to Rome and Lisbon to Venice, before shifting to the Eastern Mediterranean and Adriatic in July 2024.
Silver Nova‘s new inaugural sailing will be a 7-night roundtrip cruise from Venice departing on August 14, 2023, and visiting ports of call in Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro. Silver Nova will offer several more cruises from Venice and Rome, as well as voyages departing from Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Lisbon, before she makers her first transatlantic crossing in early November 2023.
Aside from the two Nova class new-builds, Silversea Cruises also is poised to begin a major refit of one of its expedition ships, Silver Endeavour.
The ship, which launched in 2021, was constructed by Crystal Cruises before its financial collapse in 2022. Royal Caribbean Group bought the ship, formerly named Crystal Endeavor, for its Silversea brand.
A dry dock refurbishment will begin April 3, 2023, at the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard in Genova, Italy, and add 10 suites to the ship’s existing 100 staterooms. Two new suite categories, Master and Signature Suites, will be created.