Live From Celebrity Silhouette: Mowing Through the Lawn Club

July 22, 2011 | By | 16 Comments

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the terrific ideas found in Silhouette make their way back to the other Solstice-class ships,” said Celebrity Cruises president and CEO Dan Hanrahan, referring to the just-launched ship’s grass-covered Lawn Club. Whether Silhouette’s Lawn Club is an improvement on one of cruising’s most novel spaces is debatable, but one thing is not: This newest grass-cover iteration is much more exclusive — and expensive — than the now-iconic versions planted on Silhouette’s three older sisters.

  • The Lawn Club Grill. “Pretend this is your backyard,” said my waiter at Silhouette’s new $30-per-person Lawn Club Grill, an interactive dining experience during which passengers cook the meal. “Are you sure I should do that?” you’ll undoubtedly ask. While the new restaurant may take some time to perfect the grill marks, the open-air concept — which replaced the Corning Museum of Glass’ fee-free “Hot Glass Show” — is daring.
  • The Lawn Club Grill is one part churasscaria — choose as many lamb chops, filets, rib eyes and chicken kebobs as you can stomach — and one part cooking class. Not everyone gets to cook, however, and there’s a bit at stake (sorry) for the two grill masters. They’re at least partially responsible for the final flatbread pizza and filet. (I ordered a steak kabob medium rare; it came out still breathing.) Orders are taken, and the grill master begins the quest with the ceremonially washing of the hands (pictured). He then kneads dough or selects the meats, adds toppings or dry rubs and cooks to spec, all under the tutelage of Celebrity’s resident grill men. While they wait, diners head to the salad bar, and pre-cooked sides (baked potato, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese) arrive with dinner.
  • The Alcoves. The final version of the ship’s eight private Lawn Club cabanas — there were many prototypes — look impressive, especially backed by Elbe River windmills. But I’m on the fence over whether ot passengers will warm to the idea of paying $99 (port day) or $149 (sea day) for exclusive, but not so private, access to padded chairs, a loaded iPad 2 (movies, magazines), fresh fruit and a few other perks. During the 12-hour rental period, drinks are extra. Passenger who simply dropped towels to claim land on the Solstice, Equinox or Eclipse greenery may be more inclined to keep their distance from Silhouette’s paying customers.
  • The Porch. With just 48 seats and a Lawn Club view, it’s understandable that Silhouette’s new breakfast and lunch restaurant couldn’t stay “free” for long. According to PR folk, waiters and executives, the venue will adopt a $5-per-person cover charge. After a first meal (an egg, Swiss and tomato panini), the cover is clearly more about service, location and crowd control than gourmet dining experience. Don’t misunderstand: The sandwich was sufficiently crusty, but paying $5 on Silhouette for a somewhat limited menu of panini, parfaits and pastries has a taste of exclusivity. And, yes, specialty coffees are extra.
  • The Other New Space. An art studio where classes, some free and some for-fee, will be held has replaced the Corning attraction at the port entrance to the Lawn Club. There will be two resident artist-teachers who will live aboard Silhouette. Also new are eight hammocks and two novelty-sized Adrirondack chairs. My first attempt at lying on a hammock resulted in a 180-degree flip. Somehow none of the 30 people nearby witnessed the slapstick, but don’t say you weren’t warned.
  • Wondering about other parts of the ship? Check out our live reports from the ship’s launching, including dispatches on Silhouette’s beer-packed brewpub and our reporter’s first impressions.
    Silhouette has some company. Check out more than 2,600 Celebrity Cruise reviews.
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      Comments

      16 Responses to “Live From Celebrity Silhouette: Mowing Through the Lawn Club”

      1. Cal Russell
        July 22nd, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

        I agree with Dan Askin, I’m gonna reserve final judgement on both the Lawn Club Grill and the cabanas. While I was excited to embrace these new features (as long as they don’t take away the glass show on the other ships — hey, I enjoyed the show), I’m not keen on the new fees.

        The Grill fee is akin to a specialty restaurant, and quite frankly I’d rather spend the money on an inside restaurant.

        And as for the fees on the cabanas, I realize they’re steep for ‘crowd control’, but I must admit my jaw dropped a bit when I first saw them posted. We have no intention of paying that kind of fee when we’re already in a stateroom with a veranda.

      2. Russ
        July 22nd, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

        So is the $99 price for the Alcove per person? How many people can each accommodate? When you book it you have 12 hours – starting when? Can you get “room service” to deliver food?

      3. Cruise Critic
        July 23rd, 2011 @ 3:24 am

        @Russ, the price is per alcove and there’s seating for about four. Word was that there’ll be extra-fee food options (like wine, a cheese plate), and that fruit is included in the deal. They didn’t mention room service, but I’ll find out … that said, Silhouette’s buffet venue is one deck below. PR folks told us that the 12-hour period will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but such things are often tweaked after the launch.

      4. Karen
        July 23rd, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

        The Porch was featured as complimentary on the Celebrity site. Complimentary does not sound like $5.00 fee to me. Also, when I looked to book the Alcove’s within my reservation, it stated $99 per person on a sea day and $65 on a port day. Did that change too?

      5. Larry Thornton
        July 24th, 2011 @ 12:41 am

        We are on a 7 day TA next spring. If the weather is nice, I think we will be getting a cabana for a sea day.

      6. Markus
        July 24th, 2011 @ 3:15 am

        These ships don’t pay for themselves! Cruise lines have a relatively low profit margin comparatively… So I don’t fault Celebrity for charging for these new offerings. It boggles my mind when people complain about additional charges for premium dining/service/amenities, etc. These things are voluntary people! Sit by the pool, eat in the MDR, don’t buy ANYTHING! And please stop whining about additional charges! I personally chose to enjoy my vacations, and if that means sipping a manhattan in my $150 a day alcove while deciding which specialty restaurant to dine at later that evening, the so be it!

      7. Kelly
        July 24th, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

        I agree with Markus. I appreciate the cruise lines keeping the base prices down and then we can all decide for ourselves which extras we want to add. I don’t have a cruise scheduled on Silhouette yet, but I absolutely loved my last two cruises on Eclipse!

      8. Joe
        July 25th, 2011 @ 5:49 am

        I sailed on the Eclipse back in March and my family and I enjoyed the wide open, uninterrupted space of the Lawn Club. It was a great place to lay down and get some sun or just read a book. My kids loved running around and playing in the grass. Looking at the Silhouette’s Lawn Club kind of makes it look like the separation of classes. There’s barely any space to walk around, let alone let the kids frolic and have fun, without having to be stared down by the wealthy, kid-hating cabana snobs. Makes it seem as if the area has to be avoided by families with kids. Which is totally unfair. Their main excuse is: \Hey we paid $99/$149 for the day and I want my peace and quiet.\ Wake up people, the Titanic days are over.

      9. Cruise Critic
        July 25th, 2011 @ 9:47 am

        @Karen, since these are new venues/amenities, Celebrity is still tinkering. We learned about the Porch’s $5 surcharge during the pre-inaugural. The price to rent an alcove comes from a Celebrity press release issued on July 20.

      10. Brad
        July 27th, 2011 @ 12:12 am

        GREAT! Sailing to ALL!
        Celebrity Silhouette here We Come (May 18,2012)

      11. John
        July 27th, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

        We sail on the Celebrity Silhouette Sept 3 for 12 nights. If anyone wants us to try any of these special venues out before you sail, just let me know and I’ll send you my email address so you can transfer the costs to my Paypal account.

      12. Gordon
        July 27th, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

        Joe, we all appreciate that you love your kids. However, you’re absolutely right about some of us REALLY enjoying a quiet time on deck. The main swimming pool is great for the kids and nobody minds that. Kids SHOULD have places that are enjoyed by them…..as long as it doesn’t interrupt people who had rather have peace and quiet and purposely stay away from the main pools. Cheers! Psst! Try Disney Cruise Lines, they’re wonderful!

      13. Phyllis
        August 10th, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

        Hi
        There are six of us travelling and we want to book an alcove so it will be interesting to see if they take us all in one alcove. The other thing is that if we buy the premium drink package would it cover everywhere on the ship including the speciality restaurants? Alls how much are the cocktails or congac per glass?

      14. Patrick
        January 4th, 2013 @ 9:58 am

        The price of the cruise, includes the state room, food, entertainment. I bought the basic beverage package for $ 350.00, and that includes alcohol beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, water and juices. Nobody is putting a gun to anybody’s to rent an alcove or go to the Porch. So stop your bitching, and have fun.

      15. Dave Bighinatti
        January 15th, 2013 @ 8:13 am

        I would not book the alcoves in advance. We were on the original repositioning cruise from Rome to Ft Lauderdale in November of 2011. We had extremely bad weather during the 6 day crossing. The seas were 33 to 43 foot swells. They did not let anyone on deck for 5 of the 6 days. Refunds took forever to appear on your credit card.

        db

      16. Sheila
        October 18th, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

        We just booked 4 for our upcoming trip in 2014. We have a group of 16, and thought this would be a great way to spend the day all together! There is 4 on each side of the ship, and we will have an entire side for our group!!So looking forward to it!! And I think well worth the cost!! BTW I am on vacation…right!! They will charge you for drinks, but if you have a drink package, your drinks are included as stated in the package you purchased!

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