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Celebrity Cruises: Silhouette

  • Celebrity Cruises Inc.
  • Celebrity Cruises Inc.
  • Celebrity Cruises Inc.
  • Celebrity Cruises Inc.
  • Celebrity Cruises Inc.
  • Celebrity Cruises Inc.
  • Celebrity Cruises Inc.
  • Celebrity Cruises Inc.

Silhouette Review

Insider Take

Overview

The fourth ship in the Solstice-class - it has all the features of the class but no added capacity like Reflection.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Small-ship cruising, whimsical decor, singing and dancing waiters, an active onboard sports program.

Celebrity Silhouette is the fourth in the Solstice class of cruise ships from Celebrity, (the second is named Equinox, the third is Eclipse) and while it is practically impossible to tell Silhouette apart from Solstice there is nothing wrong that. After all, why toy with perfection?

Is "perfection" too strong a word? Not according to the accolades given to Celebrity Solstice by the press and the cruising public when she was introduced in 2008. Now with the addition of Celebrity Silhouette there are now four of these nearly identical sister ships, masterpieces of design and decor, with one more on order.

Decor

The relaxed yet vivacious atmosphere of this vessel will surely please everyone. Every piece of furniture has been people-tested for comfort as well as eye-appeal. The beds are sublime, as are the chairs in the restaurants and the loungers on the sun-soaked outside pool decks.

There is nothing sparse or boring about the interior decor. Most interesting are the views of rooms like the library and the unique Hideaway from across the twelve-deck sun-soaked atrium. When you can see around the living "flying tree" you get a diorama-like view of these special rooms that makes them look like they were placed there solely for visual appeal. Not so, of course, the library has over 8,000 books.

At the bottom of the atrium is this Grand Foyer with a majestic unbroken three-deck staircase and billowing drapes hanging from three decks above to create a memorable setting for the string quartet and solo guitarist who play there, amplified organically by the marble and glass surroundings. Looking down on the foyer are several seating areas for cafes and bars. The ship is full of glass partitions giving long views into several rooms at once from several spots on the ship. There is always something of interest to catch your eye wherever you are.

There is more shopping onboard than almost any ship I can remember; 18 different boutiques and shops, including the "Boutique C" jewelry shop. This one, open by appointment only, features the "Silhouette Diamond," the unique 86- faceted star shaped diamond that comes as a single stone, in rings, necklaces or earrings. You can order a Silhouette diamond to be custom cut for you. I saw a 1.1-carat sample, color-F and clarity VS-1, carrying a price tag of "only" $25,000.

Tipping

Celebrity suggests a per-person per-day gratuity of $3.50 for the waiter, butler (Suites only) and stateroom attendant; $4.00 for Concierge Class stateroom attendant; $2.00 for the Assistant Waiter; and $.75 for the Assistant Maitre d' and the Assistant Chief Housekeeper.

All guests are given a form to sign if they wish to have these gratuities charged to their shipboard account. Children under 12 who are the third or fourth person in the stateroom pay only half these amounts. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion.

Cabins

All of the staterooms on Silhouette share certain things in common. They average 15% larger than previous Celebrity cabins and most of that space is given over to the bathroom. The bathrooms are large enough for two people to get ready at the same time. There is ample storage space and the showers are approximately 25% larger than the average cruise ship.

All staterooms feature flat-screen televisions of at least 32-inches. Although the televisions are placed over the desk instead of directly in front of the bed, it is possible to adjust the angle of the screen so it is squarely visible to both people in bed. All beds can be separated into two twin beds or put together as a single queen-sized bed. All have a rounded corner to make it easier to walk around.

All staterooms offer wireless Internet access at an additional fee, with data throughput nearing broadband speeds - impressive for a satellite service. All cabins come with a generous sofa directly in front of the television. In cabins that can accommodate extra guests, these sofas are trundle beds. Silhouette does not have pulldown beds with ladders.

The desk area has plenty of shelf space and both US 110-volt and European 220-volt outlets - perfect for a computer setup, or a vanity area with lighted mirror. There is an adjustable-height coffee table. The staterooms all have doors that open outward towards the hallway instead of inward. All of the doors are recessed from the hallways so they do not open into public traffic lanes.

Every stateroom features an Apple Computer-based interactive television. A Mac Mini running special software allows the user to interact with various cruise services like shore excursion bookings, onboard accounts, on-demand movies, restaurant menus, ordering room service and more.

Fitness/Spa

The AquaSpa area has all of the usual fitness machines and classes. Some of the classes carry a service charge.

Persian Gardens, a sensory treatment area within the spa area, features aromatherapy rain and mist showers, wet and dry saunas and hot ceramic lounge chairs to warm your body throughout. This is now available on a day-pass basis for $18-day. The Solarium is beautiful but has no thalassotherapy pool like previous Celebrity ships. It has a "no one under 16 allowed" policy that was not being enforced on our cruise, although the kids in residence were well-behaved. The spa also offers extensive acupuncture treatments which are surprisingly popular. The most common requests are for sleeplessness, backache, stress and seasickness.

Attire

There are two formal nights on a seven-night cruise, three on longer ones. On two informal nights gentlemen need only jackets and no ties. On formal nights most men turn up in dark suits rather than tuxedos, while ladies choose dressy pantsuits or dresses. By day, don't even consider wearing anything other than shorts, sneakers, polo shirt and a baseball cap.

Best For People Who Want

A spacious premium ship with plenty of dining options and an active nightlife; a relaxing but elegant onboard ambience; onboard shopping; large bathrooms in all staterooms.

Onboard Experience

If you already like Celebrity you will love Silhouette, the fourth ship in Celebrity's Solstice class (number two is named Equinox, three is Eclipse). Is it too big? Is the Hearst Castle too big? Size is relative and in many ways Silhouette is like a roomier version of the Celebrity Millennium-class. The designers more than compensated for the larger capacity, making her the perfect size - alive with activities and never too crowded.

Silhouette is also beautiful with many of the same features that make the Millennium class appealing. There are long drapes cascading down from three decks above to frame the Grand Foyer staircase. There is a beautiful chandelier in the dining room while the alternative dining spots are generously apportioned with plenty of space between the tables.

The vast majority of staterooms have balconies, and they average 15% larger than the Celebrity Millennium-class, Most of the extra room is given over to the bathroom where there is enough room for two people to get ready for dinner. The large showers feature sliding doors rather than plastic curtains that hug against you and there is more storage than most cruise ships.

The staterooms were designed by a team of five women with various kinds of cruise and design experience. Hence there is more light, more storage and the shower has a ledge to rest your foot while shaving your legs.

One major extravagance is shopping with 18 outlets for "retail therapy" onboard. There are gift shops exclusively for women and for men, jewelry shops, dress shops, souvenir shops and kiosks. One does not generally cruise to shop, but these stores are certainly tempting and you can always go in just to chat. The art gallery is low-key and not hard-sell. Look for the 86-facet diamond-pattern round cut Solstice Diamonds - available in all sizes.

Ten dining options will satisfy any craving, especially for fine coffees with pastry or gelato. Wine tastings by the glass are offered. There is an extensive library and game room.

The Corning Glass Museum has been replaced by "The Art Studio" where guests can go to try their skills in painting, sculpting and bead jewelry, etc.

Public Rooms

There are two different shopping areas; the "Galleria Boutiques" offers more indulgent ideas such as jewelry and a shop just for men with exclusive watches. "Shops on the Boulevard" features impulse buys such as Celebrity logo-wear, kitchen accessories, snack items and spirits.

The dining rooms are spectacular, each in their own way; with perfect light and color coordinated table settings. The main dining venue, the Grand Epernay, is particularly attractive with white tables, walls and pillars accented by a silver chandelier and railings over glass panels. Alternative dining rooms Muranos, Tuscan Grille and Silk Road as well as other themed rooms include the wine bar Tastings, each have their own decorative flair. The martini bar, Crush, features an ice covered bartop to keep your drink cool to the last sip. There is nothing stark or minimalist on this ship, nor is it overly garish or baroque. The decor fits each room just right.

Michael's Club offers a very sophisticated, intimate, yet clubby atmosphere, with high backed leather chairs, and cocktail tables in small groupings. One can sit close to the piano player or jazz quartet, or go around the corner to quieter areas for conversation As mentioned - there are 50+ brands of bottled beer on sale.

The Cafe al Bacio and Gelateria offers specialty coffee and pastry high above the Grand Foyer. Across the spanse of the atrium on the same deck is Bistro on Five, the first creperie we have seen on a cruise ship. Breakfast, lunch and dessert crepes are available for a $5.00 service charge.

Fortunes Casino, deck four mid-ship, is roomy and features a high variety of table games; including craps, roulette, let it ride and a recently added Texas Hold'em poker table. Numerous slot machines include two-cent and nickel slots.

As with many Celebrity ship lounges, the forward observation lounge on deck 12, Sky Observation Lounge, becomes a live music dance venue at night and is comparably breathtaking. The two-deck Silhouette Theater seats 1100 for three Broadway-style floor shows per 7-day cruise.

But, oh the views from the interior glass elevators. These lead to the Oceanview Cafe, one of the best buffet-style eateries at sea. The layout offers several stations for many kinds of food. No long line here to get salads, entrees and desserts all at once.

Above the eatery and pool decks is the Lawn Club, the first patch of live grass at sea. While grass on its own is not an attraction, what happens there certainly is. On the lawn you will find bocce ball, a putting green and croquet. Next to the lawn is the Lawn Club Grill, open for dinner, and the Porch, open for breakfast and lunch. You will also find the Alcoves surrounding the lawn.

Cellar Masters offer tastings of fine wines in an unusually convenient way. You purchase a card for any amount you wish, and use the card to buy wine by the ounce from a pouring machine loaded with the original bottles of fine wine. Of course, different wines have different prices per ounce, so you select the wine and much you want to buy. There is also a bartender/winemaster on duty to discuss the various wines and to give you palette cleansing snacks.

Cuisine

Celebrity Cruises was long associated with the culinary guidance of 3-star Michelin chef Michel Roux of London. That association began when Celebrity was under the auspices of John Chandris and lasted almost two decades before the line sought the guidance of dining expert Elizabeth Blau. Within her portfolio of culinary experts was the new "go-to guy." Now serving as Vice President of Food & Beverage is Jacques Van Staden in charge of creating the menus for each of the ten different dining destinations onboard Silhouette and all other Celebrity ships as well.

Restaurants

The Grand Epernay: this two-level dining room features a stunning decor of mostly white walls and angular pillars, chairs and tablecloths. There is a grand staircase with silver railings and an immense chandelier of hanging silver bubbles. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu features continental European cuisine and champagne from the rooms' namesake region.

Tuscan Grille: Italian steakhouse and specialty restaurant offering fine Italian wines and panoramic views along with your Caesar salad, made tableside. Surcharge $25 pp.

QSine: This restaurant replaces the Silk Harvest restaurants of Asian fusion cuisines found on Solstice and Equinox. The restaurant features unusual shared dishes served in quixotic presentations. Describes are a "tapas-like" experience, the cuisine is tasty and just plain fun. The cuisine was specially designed by Celebrity executive chef Jacques Van Staden. Surcharge.

Blu Restaurant: The specialty restaurant set aside as the exclusive dining venue for the AquaClass suite guests, serving healthier (but not true spa cuisine) fare in a sophisticated and soothing atmosphere.

Murano Restaurant: Savory multi-course meals featuring a blend of classic and modern continental cuisine with an extensive and superb wine list. Surcharge $30 pp.

Bistro on Five: This small, bistro-like room hidden behind glass walls in the public areas of deck five, this room features crepes of all kinds from breakfast to luncheons with beef or chicken and, of course, desserts. There are also soups, salads and quiche. The surcharge is a simple $5.00 per person.

Cafe al Bacio and Gelateria: across from the Bistro on Five, this upscale coffee house features mostly pastries and gelato or Italian ices by the scoop. There is a small charge for the gelato. Coffee and gelato cost from $3.00 to $5.00 per serving.

AquaSpa Cafe: not for the exclusive use of the AquaSpa suite guests (that is "Blu.") This restaurant is inside the Solarium and features lighter, healthier fare such as salads, fresh raw vegetables and small sandwiches.

Mast Grill and Bar: the poolside grill serving up the usual poolside fare; hamburgers, fries, tacos, chicken wings, bratwurst, gyros, rubens and onion rings.

The Oceanview Cafe and Grill: this is one of the nicest Lido cafeteria-style buffet rooms this cruiser has ever seen. With a multitude of dedicated stations of different types of food, it is easy to see all of the possible selections and lines are always short. Dedicated stations include the carvery, salad bar, dessert bar, Asian stir-fry, grilled steaks and chops and more.

The Lawn Club Grill is a new concept developed by Celebrity Chef Jacques Van Staden. The idea is "family barbecue" where each group picks one of its own as a "grillmaster" who helps the group pick the cuts of meat he (or she) will cut with the assistance of a staff member there to watch the big picture. Each group also selects a "flatbread maker" who will create a pizza or other items. The cost is $30 per person. The meat is all from the midwest (U.S.) and the vegetables are all fresh

The Porch is an a la carte restaurant with about 40 tables that has a $5 cover charge which includes many kinds of eggs and omelets for breakfast or sandwiches and delectable desserts for lunch. The restaurants are next door to each other and occupy the building that was formerly the Corning Glass studio.

Service

The service on our sailing was exceptional. A decade ago one would find Celebrity Cruises' staff very professional yet stoic in service. These days, they are encouraged to make the service friendly as well as professional. Beyond exceptional is the tuxedo-clad service in Murano, the specialty restaurant.

Entertainment

Silhouette has something for everyone in terms of entertainment. While it isn't as sports-oriented as sister company Royal Caribbean, many of the outdoor elements are there. There is a basketball court, a jogging track, putting green and Bocce ball.

Indoors during the daytime the library is extensively informative and the card room has plenty of tables and games.

The pool area is ample with plenty of plush loungers, two pools and two hot tubs. The cabana loungers are comfy and plentiful. The Solarium is an adults only greenhouse style swimming pool with great temperature-controlled sunning in any climate. The AquaSpa restaurant is inside.

Online at Celebrity has been replaced on Silhouette with an Apple Computers iLounge, a combination web cafe using iMacs plus a store and computer education center featuring Apple products. Celebrity plans to put iLounge on all of the Solstice class ships soon.

Nighttime entertainment begins in the Silhouette Theater, which features three different shows with a full cast of singers and dancers on every seven-night cruise. The theater is a two-deck venue with a forward thrust proscenium stage and extensive balcony seating. The singers and dancers are very talented and the show has universal appeal.

Other diversions include the casino with several table games including craps, roulette, 21, let it ride and more. There are hundreds of slots including nickel and 2-cent machines. There are poker tables with an electronic "dealer" that allow from five to eight players to challenge one another.

The Sky Observation Lounge features a live band and large dance floor. It is high atop deck 15 forward and has an eclectic decor of white and red couches and chairs. The Quasar Dance Club is the ship's "disco" with pod-like seating and a loud sound and lighting system. This is the late night hot spot. The Martini Bar is located in the main public area next to "Crush" and both feature mixed drinks with the stronger spirits.

Michael's Club is no longer the "Gentlemen's Club" it was on the previous Solstice ships. The decor remains somewhat masculine but the space is now a meeting place for anyone who enjoys a good beer or glass of wine.

The Passport Bar is a casual nightclub perfect for conversation with mixed company. Cellar Masters is for oenophiles looking to taste the finest vintages by the glass. The Ensemble Lounge is the late night live music venue. Galleria Tastings is for sampling malt-based scotches, brandies and other spirits.

Throughout the day and night various musical artists can be heard throughout the ship. A singer/guitarist plays sets poolside, in the atrium and in the Ensemble Lounge. A string quartet plays in the Atrium during the day and in Michael's Club and the Solarium at night.

A Jazz Trio plays in the Ensemble Lounge nightly, A pianist fills the atrium Grand Foyer daily, A steel drum player plays poolside and the pop/rock band "Top Secret" plays poolside during the day and in the Sky Lounge at night.

Silhouette keeps up the tradition of Celebrity having an excellent A Capella vocal group onboard. There is a quartet group that performs at least twice a day in the Ensemble Lounge and in the Court.




Ship Overview

The fourth ship in Celebrity’s Solstice-class, Celebrity Silhouette was launched in 2011 with all the premium features previously introduced by the cruise line and more, including cabanas on the Lawn Club and an adjacent outdoor Lawn Club Grill restaurant. The line’s signature Michael’s Club offers up to 50 international beers. Celebrity Silhouette sails the Mediterranean and through the Greek Isles in summer months from either her Rome (Civitivecchia) or Venice home ports on 11- and 12-night voyages and then heads to her winter homeport of Fort Lauderdale to offer weekly Western Caribbean cruises.

While Solstice-class ships are contemporary in design—even a bit edgy for Celebrity—the line included enough spaces with old-world ambience to satisfy traditionalists. The atmosphere is not unlike a hip boutique hotel filled with grand spaces as well as intimate nooks and crannies. Celebrity Reflection adds an additional deck for more high-end suite accommodations.

The Lawn Club, a half acre of real grass on deck 15, is where you can play genteel games of croquet, practice golf putting, indulge in lawn games and picnics, or simply take barefoot strolls. In a nearby open-air "theater" on Solstice, Eclipse, and Equinox, artisans demonstrate glassmaking in the Hot Glass Show. A similar space on Silhouette and Reflection houses an outdoor grill restaurant, and those ships, along with Solstice also have private cabanas in the Lawn Club (for a fee). These ships have a lot to offer families, with a family pool and the most extensive children's facilities in the Celebrity fleet.

Since it was founded in 1989, Celebrity Cruises has grown from a single refurbished ocean liner into a fleet of premium, sophisticated cruise ships that have a reputation for professional service, fine food, and some of the best design in the industry. Signature amenities have grown with the fleet, including gourmet specialty restaurants that carry an additional fee, large staterooms with generous storage, fully equipped spas, and butler service for guests in the top accommodations categories. Valuable art collections grace the stylish modern luxury ship interiors.

Although spacious accommodations in every category are a Celebrity standard, Concierge-class, an upscale element on all ships, makes certain premium ocean-view and balcony staterooms almost the equivalent of suites in terms of service. A Concierge-class stateroom includes numerous extras, such as chilled champagne, fresh fruit, and flowers upon arrival; exclusive room-service menus; evening canapés; luxury bedding, pillows, and linens; upgraded balcony furnishings; priority boarding and luggage service; and other VIP perks. At the touch of a single telephone button, a Concierge-class desk representative is at hand to offer assistance. Suites are still the ultimate, though, and include the services of a butler to assist with unpacking, booking spa services and dining reservations, shining shoes, and even replacing a popped button.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • An interactive TV system allows you to book shore excursions and order room service
  • Aqua-class has its own staircase direct to the spa
  • A Hospitality Director oversees restaurant reservations

Cons

  • Closet space is skimpy in standard cabins
  • There are no self-service laundries
  • Dining choices are plentiful, but pricey
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,253
  • Entered Service 2011
  • Gross Tons 122,400
  • Length 1,047 ft.
  • Number of Cabins 1,425
  • Passenger Capacity 2,886
  • Width 123 ft.
  • New

Oct 13, 2016

Mediterranean

Celebrity Silhouette September 24-October 8, 2016 15Day/14-Night Mediterranean Cruise Concierge Class Review by Lan Sluder Overview: Our two-week Mediterranean cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette from Rome generally was another good experience for us with Celebrity, although there were a few glitches and weak spots. About Us: We are a couple over 60 from Asheville, North Carolina. I am a former newspaper editor and currently

am a writer who has authored more than 20 books on travel, retirement and other subjects. My wife is an attorney. We are occasional cruisers, having been on a total of seven or eight cruises over the years. This is my third Celebrity cruise, my wife's second. We also have been on Royal Caribbean, Silver Sea, Norwegian and other lines. Itinerary: Rome (Civitavecchia); Naples; 2 sea days; Tel Aviv/Jerusalem (Ashdod), Israel for 2 nights; Haifa, Israel; sea day; Santorini, Greece; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; sea day; Malta; sea day; Rome (Civitavecchia). The Ship: Silhouette is a Solstice-class ship, the fourth of five ships in this class delivered to Celebrity. It made its maiden voyage in late 2011.The Silhouette is 1,047 feet in length (about one-fifth of a mile) and can carry almost 2,900 passengers with a crew of 1,500. The captain and many senior officers are Greek, and the crew serving passengers is predominantly from Eastern Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia and South America. The ship is due to be dry-docked later this year for refurbishment. While Celebrity maintains all its ships extraordinarily well, and the Silhouette still looks good, it no longer has that "new ship" feel. If you look closely, you may see a little wear and tear around the edges, mostly in small things such as tiny holes in cabin curtains, thin, worn towels or perhaps a chair that had held a lot of behinds. Getting to and from the Port: This cruise is billed as departing and arriving from Rome. However, Rome's seaport is Civitavecchia, a town of little visitor interest about 50 miles northwest of Rome. From Rome to Civitavecchia is about 1½ to 2 hours by road, depending on traffic. Celebrity provides transfers to and from Rome to Civitavecchia at a cost of US$75 per person each way. We spent three nights in Rome before the cruise at the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria (excellent!) and so took a taxi on our own from the hotel to the port. The taxi fare was 155 euros, so we didn't save any money, and as the taxi driver turned out not to be very familiar with the port we were dropped at the wrong place and had to take two shuttles (free) to the ship. On our return we used Celebrity's shuttle service, a comfortable 40-seat bus with a helpful Celebrity staffer acting as a guide. We were staying additional days in Rome after the cruise at the Hotel Indigo Rome-St. George (also excellent, with a great location), so we got off the bus at the Roma Ostiense train station where our Celebrity guide got a taxi for us. I recommend using the Celebrity service for transfers. Embarkation and Disembarkation: Except for the goof in being dropped at the wrong place by our taxi driver, embarkation was fairly quick and easy. At a little after noon, there was a short line, but it took only a few minutes to leave our luggage and board the ship, where the Oceanview Cafe was serving lunch. Two weeks later, disembarkation was also easy and painless. The only negative was that all passengers had to be out of their cabins early, by 7 am. We joined other Concierge class passengers waiting in the Tuscan Grill (coffee and pastries were available) until a little after 9 am, when we moved quickly to the waiting bus. We were among the last passengers off the ship, as we did not have a same-day flight out of Rome. Overall, embarkation/disembarkation on this cruise was a breeze, compared to our last Celebrity cruise from West Palm Beach, where there were huge crowds coming and going. Our Cabin: We were in cabin 1025 on Deck 10, Sky Deck. This Concierge-level cabin is far forward and perhaps 150 feet from the forward elevators. This would not be our top choice for Concierge class accommodations "“ we like being closer to the elevators and more amidships "“ but it was what was available at our price point and was fine. Our cabin was pretty much a standard Solstice-class room, with veranda, a queen bed (next to the veranda, a configuration we prefer), sofa and small bathroom with a shower, no tub. There was plenty of closet space and storage. The cabin was in very good condition, although it has seen a lot of guests since the Silhouette was launched in 2011. We were not always completely happy with our room steward. It was mostly small things, such as failing to bring our laundry back in a timely way, forgetting to serve us canapés or sparkling wine as requested or accidentally leaving our door open. At one point, our regular steward was replaced by someone else, so there may have been something going on with this particular person. It was no big deal, but it was a contrast to the excellent room stewards we have almost always had on previous cruises. Passenger Profile: Anecdotally, I'd say the typical passenger on this two-week cruise was early 60s in age, retired, moderately affluent and an experienced cruiser who has been on Celebrity ships before. Some outliers were in their 30s and 40s, and a few in their 20s. There were a small number of families traveling with children. Probably a little more than one-half of the passengers were from the U.S., with lots of Brits and people from Western Europe, some from Canada and Australia, and a mix of others including Chinese, Indians and South Americans. Weather: September-October is an ideal time for a Mediterranean cruise. You miss the hot summer weather and cold or rainy winter weather. All of our sea days and shore stops had excellent weather. It was sunny, with no rain except one or two brief showers, and daytime temps were generally in the low 70s F/22-23 C. Dining: We had most of our dinners in the main dining room, Grand Cuve. On this cruise we chose not to spring for the specialty dining. We ate at most of the same specialty restaurants on a previous cruise on the Equinox, and while the restaurants offer a nice change of pace, especially on longer cruises, but we did not find them exceptional. Other passengers said they especially liked the Tuscan Grill, but I don't like to pay extra for the restaurant and then have to pay another surcharge to order a steak. For that money, I could eat a great steak at Ruth's Chris! We found the food at Grand Cuve good but not excellent. We always enjoy the classics such as escargot, Caesar salad and creme brûlée. However, some other dishes were disappointing. That especially goes for the beef, except for the prime rib, which was delicious and perfectly prepared -- I had it on two nights. Dining room service, as expected on Celebrity, was superb. We had "Celebrity Select" dining, which means you can come to the main restaurant at any time from 5:45 to 9:30. On two or three nights, we had to wait 10 or 15 minutes (the maitre d' gives you a pager), but that was no problem. We usually had a light lunch at the Oceanview Cafe and on a number of mornings had breakfast there. This venue was often quite busy, but the food was plentiful and pretty good at lunch and at breakfast. We ate dinner there one night, and it was a dismal, depressing experience. On our last Celebrity cruise a couple of years ago, to Central and northern South America, we enjoyed having breakfast on the veranda of our cabin. On this trip, though, room service breakfasts were hit and miss. On several days, our orders were totally mixed up (a telephone discussion with a room service manager fixed this issue). Sometimes the food wasn't as hot as it should be. In every case the breakfast pastries and breads were of poor quality. The Silhouette needs to improve its pastry department. Someone needs to tell the pastry chef that croissants are supposed to be flaky! I finally decided on the Cafe al Bacio for my breakfasts. I usually had cappuccino or caffè latte -- specialty coffees here were around US$5 but they were included in our beverage package -- and a donut. The ship served Lavazza coffee exclusively. Lavazza is a large Italian coffee company. It's not bad, but it doesn't match the coffees you get at specialty coffee shops in the U.S. or Europe. I'd like to see Celebrity raise the bar on its coffee service. On several days I enjoyed an afternoon cheeseburger, fries and a Peroni Nastro Azzurro at the Mast Grill near the outdoor pool. Killer fries! Bars: We got the Classic beverage package when we booked with "Pick Two" (our other pick was included gratuities, though we tipped our room steward, maitre d' and bartenders a little extra) and upgraded to the Premium beverage package. This is a small extravagance, and, yes, it does encourage you to drink more, but it's nice to be able to get almost any cocktail without paying extra or being told you can't get the martini you want. Celebrity's policy on this seems to vary. At some bars we saw other passengers without a Premium package being told they could pay the difference for the upgraded cocktail, but at other bars Classic beverage package guests couldn't get any specialty drink without paying the full US$13 or whatever the price. With the Premium package, you get all the Classic package brands plus premium brands such as Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin and Johnny Walker Black Scotch. The premium package also gets you unlimited soft drinks, water and specialty coffees (but only one at a time). It covers most wines by the glass. There are a few super premium liquors and expensive wines that aren't included with the Premium package. It does get to be a nuisance to have to show your card every time you want to order a drink. On a Silver Sea Alaska cruise last summer, we enjoyed having drinks without having to show a card or sign a chit. I predict that eventually lines like Celebrity will go to an all-inclusive system for drinks. My favorite bar remains the Martini Bar, or Ice Bar as I always call it, on Deck 4 near the Grand Cuve. The bartenders are friendly, the drinks are strong, and I enjoy the ice shelf around the bar and watching the bartenders juggle bottles and drinks. On the other hand, my wife loved the World Class Bar, which replaced the Molecular Bar on Deck 5. The bartenders at the World Class Bar (that's a terrible name for it, by the way) are skilled, and the drinks are interesting and creative. I also enjoyed the Passport Bar on Deck 3, near the service desks. It was always quiet and a good place to sip a G&T and read a book. The Sky Bar, far forward on Deck 14, ought to be a good concept, with views of the sea over the bow of the ship, but it didn't cut it for me. It was often closed for private functions and when it opened in the evening it was too dark to see the sea. Shore Excursions: We used Celebrity's shore excursions in Naples, Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, Ephesus, Santorini and Athens. We did Valletta, Malta, on our own and did not get off the ship at Haifa, Israel, as we were tired out by long, strenuous excursions on two previous days. Celebrity's contract tour company guides were all very good "“ friendly, knowledgeable and professional. However, all of the tours suffered from the usual disadvantages of many cruise tours "“ they try to pack in too much in too brief a time, and they often require you to spend time at their "preferred" shops. Enough, already! When are cruise lines going to realize that many passengers don't want to shop for jewelry or Turkish carpets?! Our favorite ship's excursions were probably a 5½-hour tour of Jaffa and Tel Aviv ($116 per person) and a 10-hour tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem ($130 per person). The ship's excursion we liked least was a four-hour tour of Athens and Plaka ($60 per person). If we go on another Celebrity cruise, which we probably will, especially if Celebrity introduces a new ship or two, we'll do fewer Celebrity excursions and do more on our own. Entertainment: We went to a few shows in the Silhouette theater. I don't expect much from cruise ship entertainment, and my expectations were met on Silhouette. Internet: I bought the Accelerate internet package for one person (around US$250 after discounts, as I recall), which permits unlimited internet usage via satellite for any number of devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.) but only one at a time. I was pleased with this package. Speed was fast enough to stream Netflix. Cruise Cost: We paid slightly over US$4,000 for the Concierge class sailing for the two of us. This included a Classic beverage package and shipboard gratuities for each of us. With upgrade to Premium beverage packages, internet service, shore excursions, laundry, additional tips and miscellaneous, our total cost for the 14-night/15-day cruise was about US$5,800. That doesn't include airfare from Charlotte, NC, to Rome (we used American Airlines frequent flier miles to book business class air) or hotels in Rome and London before and after the cruise (four of the six nights were booked with Hilton and IHG frequent stayer miles). Hits and Misses: Here is what we liked about this Celebrity cruise and what didn't quite meet our expectations. HITS: Value: We feel this 14-night cruise offered excellent value for our money. The Concierge level cruise cost about $430 a night total for the two of us, including everything from food to booze to laundry to tours to tips. We'd pay that much or more just for a four-star hotel room in a major European city. Celebrity Staffers: Celebrity does a great job with its employee training. Virtually every Celebrity officer, crewmember or hospitality employee we encountered had a smile, a friendly greeting and tried to be helpful. Ports: This cruise offered a good mix of ports. Our favorite stops were Ashdod for Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and Santorini, Greece. Bars: We loved the World Class Bar and Martini Bar. Yahoo! MISSES: Dining: Dining on Silhouette was fine. It just wasn't exceptional. Perhaps if we had opted for the specialty restaurants for four or five nights we would have had a better overall experience. In-Room Breakfasts: We love having breakfast on the verandah in our cabin. Unfortunately, Celebrity fell short on this cruise, with mixed-up orders, occasionally cold eggs and poor pastries. Entertainment: Mediocre at best. The "mentalist" was awful. Would We Cruise Celebrity Again? Yes. After this cruise, we'll be Captain's Club Select, which offers a few extra benefits. However, before booking Celebrity again we'll probably want to explore cruises with super premium lines that we haven't tried yet such as Regent Seven Seas and Azamara (Azamara is part of the Royal Caribbean/Celebrity family of cruise lines). We also likely will wait until Celebrity introduces the new "Edge class" ships, which are positioned as offering small ship itineraries with large ship amenities.

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By SENR_CR

  • New

Apr 29, 2016

Transatlantic

This 13 Day transatlantic cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette from Ft Lauderdale FL to Southampton England exceeded expectations. With 17 cruises taken including transatlantic crossings my husband and I decided to try our first Celebrity cruise. Our primary cruise line is Norwegian and we have also sailed Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America and Princess.The itinerary began with 9 days at sea before the first of 4 ports, Lisbon Portugal, Vigo

Spain, LeHarve France and Southampton. This was an excellent cruise that started with the ship itself. The pictures on the Celebrity site give an idea but experiencing sailing on the Silhouette was more than the pictures could depict. Especially attractive are the Sky Lounge and the library. Also the casino, which is located across from the main shopping, is totally non-smoking. Overall this was a very nice cruise with excellent service by all of the staff and crew, beautiful accomodations and an interesting itinerary. The food in the main dining rooms was good and comparable to other cruise lines including a fixed nightly menu and a menu of selections that changed every week. Sample menus are available on the website. We noticed the portions were smaller than on some other cruises we have taken which we thought was a plus because you could always order more and the waste was less. There was also a separate vegetarian menu that was provided on request that featured mainly Indian and Asian selections. The food in the Oceanview Cafe buffet was also good and featured a variety of cultural offerings including Mexican, Asian, Indian, and British in addition to the usual buffet menu selections. The service in the main dining room and the cafe was very good with attentive servers who were professional and personable. Celebrity eliminated formal nights that were replaced with "cruise chic" 3 nights on this cruise and only a few passengers were formally dressed. We prefer non-scheduled dining and Celebrity did an excellent job with their select dining format. Our evening dining time preference is between 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM and it was very convenient from the first evening. We were able to be seated immediately and were shown to our preferred table by the window without having to request each night. Other cruise lines have not perfected the anytime dining format and we have experienced waiting in line for 30 minutes to get a table. Our veranda (balcony) stateroom was very nice and well maintained and was larger than comparable balcony staterooms on some other ships. The furnishings were not new but were in good condition and even the balcony furnishings were of good quality. The entire ship was very attractive, modern and well maintained. Excellent marks for activities. There was a lot of variety including very well done lectures by professional presenters in a series entitled Beyond the Podium. There were 5 presenters in all in the Beyond the Podium series that gave lectures on their individual topics each sea day. Dr. Sam Glassner's series on the history of medicine and Sherry Hutt, PhD author of "Cruise Through History" series was on the history of the ports of call were well done. Other activities included an art lecturer that combined presentations with painting classes. There were Tai-Chi classes in addition to the standard trivia, line dancing and classes and presentations by the spa, photography department and all the usual cruise activities. There were also scheduled competitions that matched the ships officers against passengers in activities that included golf putting and ping pong tournaments, bean bag toss, and other games. The entertainment was good with offerings for a variety of tastes at a variety of times, The evening and afternoon shows were all between 45 minutes to an hour long which we appreciated after experiencing shows that ended after 25 or 30 minutes on other cruise lines. All of the headliner entertainers can be found on YouTube or by searching the internet. The acts were: James Delisco (singer and cabaret style show), Tom Foss (comedian), Mark Nizer (juggler), Lionardo (pianist, singer and trumpet player), Fred Becker (magician, comedian), Nicola Loud (concert violinist), Katy Setterfield (singer and impersonator), Beatles Celebration (Beatles impersonators). All of the entertainers also performed in afternoon shows during the sea days and there was an afternoon talent variety show that featured the passengers and some crew members. The Celebrity Silhouette cast performed 3 evenings in productions entitled, Life, Pearl and Cosmopolitan and the audience was encouraged to record and post the shows on social media and there was an afternoon performance by the cast singers entitled Beyond Broadway. The Silhouette house band was Front Row and the lead singer Christine did an afternoon show impersonation performance of Adele in a show entitled Just Adele. The ship's musical entertainers also included Ray Brown Jr jazz band, Liv & Joe (singing duo), Terry Dobson (guitarist and singer) and the Cruise Director Paul teamed with other singers from the production cast and house band in several performances. We selected and scheduled tours on the Celebrity website in advance and found out that we saved $10.00 on each tour by not scheduling the tours on the ship. We took tours in Lisbon, Vigo and LeHarve. All of the tours were very well organized with excellent tour guides and very nice buses. The prices were worth the convenience and quality of the tours. If interested, the Normandy D-Day beaches and cemetery full day tour in LeHarve is very interesting and well done. This 13 Day transatlantic cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette from Fort Lauderdale FL to Southampton UK was an excellent vacation. Noticed but not missed were in stateroom towel animals and a farewell show salute with officers and crew from various departments presented on stage. Nice touches were complimentary cocktails served upon embarkation, during dinner the first "chic night", at the future cruises presentation and at the buffet lunch extravaganza (champagne and chocolates) on the last sea day at the Oceanview cafe. One evening the Spa offered complimentary neck and shoulder massages in the Grand Foyer to anyone who wanted one. Celebrity Silhouette exceeded our expectations for our first cruise on a cruise line where we do not have loyalty status that included any perks! A very enjoyable cruise experience and enthusiastic recommendations for Celebrity and the Silhouette.

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  • New

Dec 16, 2014

caribbean

We had a very disappointing cruise to say the least. Hardly anything about cruising on the Silhouette was worthwhile. To begin with, we were deceived into believing that we sailing to three ports that we paid for only to be notified on printed paper that we were not going to Puerto Rico. We were then notified the following day that we would go to Puerto Rico but not to St. Kitts. There was one excuse after the other because the Captain knew fully

well that he was commanding a sick ship that should have been in dry dock. This was disappointing to a great amount of passengers as most of us were looking forward to visiting St. Kitts. Entertainment was pretty much nonexistent. No Caribbean band, not even for the sail away. The house band played only elevator music. The only place to dance was the disco which opened late at night. This was the most boring cruise that we have ever been on. We went on a seven day cruise and had only two ports and no entertainment whatsoever especially during the daytime. It's a miracle some of us did not go overboard due to boredom. The food was fine but could not believe that were served only one half of a small lobster tail on one of the formal nights. Based on the way we were treated, we believe that this cruise ship does not care about it's guests. There are there to make money, no matter the cost. That being said, we did meet a few very nice and considerate crew members which meant a lot. We absolutely would never cruise with Celebrity again. The food was fine. Great state room I felt the entertainment was absolutely nonexistent Took bus tour of New and Old San Juan, not too exciting

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  • New

Dec 15, 2014

Carribien

The ship left the dock with only one engine running correctly, we were told we would miss one of our ports because of the head winds, well we had a tail wind, then we were told we were missing the port because some one got hurt on the ship, then we were told that we would go to that port and miss another one, let me tell you we missed one of our stops because they left Fort Lauderdale with only one engine and knew it and this size ship running on

one engine could not make the destinations, we were lied to time and time again, that being said we were stuck on the ship for extra days with 3rd class entertainment at best, the disco was open one night, the last night. The ship rocked from side to side so bad because the outrigger could not be used because with only one engine there simply was not enough power. Then when we returned to home port they loaded up and took off with a new cruise knowing of the engine problem, I will never cruise Celebrity again and warn you to go elsewhere. The food was good The stateroom was good size and clean Should have picked another line, But I did enjoy being with my wife.

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  • New

Apr 25, 2014

Western Caribbean

There was something very wrong going on behind the scenes on this cruise. The food in the main dining room was a joke ! Left much to be desired. The cabin was concierge class handicapped accessible for three women aged 56, 66 and 71. The third bed ended up being cushions placed in a frame on the floor which was a corner seat when we first entered the cabin. The bed was never put back to a seat for the entire cruise. There was only one

chair in the cabin so two people had to sit or lay on their bed when trying to relax. Cozumal was nothing more than a movie set. Falmouth, Jamaica was a disaster. At one church a woman tried to prohibit people from exiting without making a donation. A nursery school was another case of children being exploited. This was my first cruise and will be my last. Most of the amenities stated on Celebrity' s website never happened. Celebrity didn't deliver!

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