Silver Nova: Senior Officers Onboard

On August 14th, Silver Nova will embark its first passengers for its inaugural cruise departing from Venice. Silversea Cruises has announced the lineup of its expert senior officers for what will be one of the most environmentally-conscious cruise ships ever built.

Silver Nova will visit many of the Adriatic’s most iconic destinations in seven days, including Piran in Slovenia; Zadar, Dubrovnik, Split, and Rovinj in Croatia; and Kotor in Montenegro during its inaugural itinerary.

“I am incredibly proud to take the helm of Silver Nova for its inaugural journey,” stated Cosimo Pontillo, Captain of Silver Nova. “Having been with Silversea Cruises for nearly 30 years, I have witnessed the fleet’s evolution firsthand. Silver Nova represents the pinnacle of ultra-luxury cruise travel, and I am excited to welcome our guests on board to experience its numerous innovations. I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this significant milestone and to thank Barbara Muckermann, President of Silversea, for granting me this honor, as well as my colleagues at Silversea Cruises and the Royal Caribbean Group for their valuable collaboration in launching this beautiful ship.”

In addition to marking a significant milestone in the Royal Caribbean Group’s journey toward Destination Net Zero, Silver Nova and the future ships of the Nova class will introduce an unprecedented openness to the world and a completely innovative vision of luxury at sea.

Here are the key figures onboard to welcome Silver Nova’s first guests:


Captain Cosimo Pontillo, also known as Mino, was born in Scilla, a small Italian town on the Strait of Messina. Pontillo graduated from the Nautical School of Messina in 1983, subsequently working on frigates in the Navy for a year and studying underwater rescue techniques for six months. After his Navy service, Pontillo began his career as a deck cadet on various merchant ships worldwide. He quickly obtained his Captain’s license and moved into the cruise industry, working with several cruise companies until 1994 when he joined Silversea Cruises, following the various ranks of Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, eventually rising to the position of First Officer.

Since 2000, Pontillo spent six years working as a pilot in Messina, later returning to Silversea, where he was promoted to the rank of Captain. Pontillo has commanded most of the ships in the Silversea fleet, including various expedition ships. After completing the Northwest Passage, Pontillo joined the construction team of the new Silver Nova, overseeing the project from its inception with extensive experience and technical knowledge.

LESTER WOODFALL – Hotel Director

Lester Woodfall was born and raised in southern India. After graduating from hotel school and completing his apprenticeship in luxury hotels in India, Woodfall expanded his horizons, working in various five-star hotels in the Arabian Gulf. His international career began in luxury hotels in Bahrain, then he moved to the United Arab Emirates, where he worked at several five-star resorts before aspiring to a career at sea. Woodfall entered the cruise industry in 2001, climbing the ranks to become a Food and Beverage Manager. He is now proud to be aboard Silver Nova as the Hotel Director for its inaugural season, using his knowledge and experience to lead the hotel team, which spans various departments, from food and beverages to room cleaning, from shore excursions to entertainment. Woodfall looks forward to meeting all guests during Silver Nova‘s maiden voyage and its subsequent inaugural season.

VICKI VAN TASSEL – Cruise Director

After an illustrious and extensive career in the entertainment world – spanning from Broadway theater, national and international tours, TV shows to motion capture work, commercials, and stand-up comedy – Vicki Van Tassel began her career at sea with Silversea Cruises in 2011, performing as a singer on three World Cruises and many Grand Voyages, learning from the best in the industry. In 2015, she joined Silversea as a Cruise Director. Since then, Van Tassel has held the position of Cruise Director on almost all ships in the Silversea fleet, proudly launching Silver Moon and Silver Dawn, as well as welcoming guests on the 2023 World Cruise. Now, with the greatest sense of “honor and pride,” Van Tassel takes on the role of Cruise Director for the opening of Silver Nova and eagerly anticipates welcoming guests aboard the company’s latest ship.

Other senior officers who will be onboard Silver Nova for its inaugural voyage include First Officer Jorge Rodriguez Ferreira, Chief Engineer Rosario Costagliola, Executive Chef Rohit Dimri, and Guest Relations Manager Sascha Strack. An experienced and prepared team ready to welcome the first travelers discovering Silver Nova and ensuring the luxury and excellent service standards that characterize the company.

Stay tuned for more information, photos, and videos of Silver Nova on Cruising Journal, with reviews, tips, and offered cruises.

Gabriele Bassi