Well let me just say besides the bad flights both coming and going, Celebrity Silhouette was defintely the rose between the thorns!
We arrived almost a day late in Venice (thank God we decided to fly out a day early) because of bad storms in Philly and had a three hour delay, with missing our connection in Paris (and staying about 7-8 hours there until we could catch the next flight). We got to the hotel with just enough time to check in and sleep since we were travelling for almost 24 hours! Got to spend the morning walking around Venice which is probably our most favorite city on this itinerary. Have to admit though Venice is hard to get around and not only because of its many winding streets that you can lost pretty quick. But there is really no EASY way to get to the port from the main part of town. We paid a "professional porter" to carry our bags through town to the Alilaguna Boats, which then boated us to the main port where we met the Celebrity Silhouette.
With such a rough start we were hoping to get on board rather quick. This is probably the only really bad part of the entire cruise, but we had to stand in this long line with all our luggage to drop it off which is across the street from the actual cruise ship. And I won;t even blame Celebrity, but I will tell you...whats with all the pushing, shoving and line cutting by all these older people who think they deserve to be ahead of you?? I will never understand it! Plus having these two older women constantly pushing in front of us and then yelling at us...they cut in front of at least 2-3 groups of people in front of them! So beware of cranky old senior citizens who think that because they are 80 they don't have to stand in lines!
As for checking in on the boat it was rather quick and pain free. We got on board around 1:30 which was perfect because the rooms were ready to go to. The muster drill was better on this ship because there was no need for the life jackets and they didn't make you stand outdoors in hot sun, you got to sit in the theater area and watch a video!
As for our cabin, we purchased a Aqua Class balcony cabin which was really nice. The room was spacious enough, plenty of room for unpacking your clothes, the balcony was a bit larger than most we have been on, and more importantly...air conditioning that was really nice to come back to being in 90+ weather every day! The bed was a bit soft, but we survived, the showers were so cool with huge shower heads and power jets that made it a pleasure. We received canopies every day (they were average at best). Our room stewards were the best, always gave us what we needed and most times without even asking. The staff on this ship was above and beyond what we have experienced in the past. So friendly, willing to engage in conversations, and just overall a joy to be around. We noticed this from the first day and it continued all the way to the end of the cruise!
Now let me get to the food! I will say as an Aqua Class member your dining room is Blu. Now we were not so impressed with Blu overall, but the service was impeccable. The food lacked some choice and flavors, but you have choices of other dining as well. There are specialty restaurants that were so good that I would recommend them like Qsine, Lawn Club Grill and Murano which we were so pleased after that all we wanted to do was crash! We went to Qsine twice because of the fun choices and IPAD menu. (I only gained 2 lbs, YEAH!) Plus the buffet was awesome, no standing in cafeteria style lines, they have food stations which are spread out so you can go from line to line without waiting long for a person in front of you. So we definitely give the food a good rating!
The itinerary was pretty intensive, we left Venice, then next day was Dubrovnik, Croatia. Beautiful country and a an even more beautiful walled city that should definitely be explored. We also got to visit a small town with a farmhouse that gave us a beautiful home cooked lunch of some Croatian standards of salad, pasta and meat sauce and a cherry strudel for dessert. We had one of two sea days next which are sometimes my favorite days because you can do as little or as much as you want. (we always chose the little end) Relaxing, reading, eating, just doing whatever you like. Then we went to Rome. We have done Rome before that's when we decided to keep it more local (going into Rome from where the ship docks is an easy 90 minute train ride), by doing an excursion which included a small town of Toscana (miss it if possible) and doing an olive oil tasting. DO NOT DO THIS EXCURSION! They say its a tasting, but its more of going to a B&B farmhouse and trying 2 different kinds of olive oil, basically regular and one with peperoncino, which was not at all that spicy. We had friends who also did the gelato tasting excursion and they said they were given a ticket to stand in a long line and given a free ticket to get ONE cup of gelato. So if you see tasting in any description for an excursion, stay away! Then we were off to Naples. We decided to go into the island of Capri which should not be missed. Its an hour long hydrofoil to get to the island and then we went to the top of the island and got to ride the "skilift" to the very top of the island. Its a beautiful view and really worth it. We found this really cool place (that was outside but totally shaded) and one of the best meals we ever had on the trip. After that we sailed into Sicily and the port of Catania. We decided to do a tour of Taormina, which in my opinion was the best little town ever! Just so many shops and local culture it was really nice, just wish we had more time there. We had the best EVER cannoli too! Then off to Mt Etna up in the higher levels of the island. Being 90+ almost every day on the trip, this was the best because it was at least 20 degrees cooler and a really cool wind to help cool you down! The beautiful views of the craters were amazing and it made it a more pleasurable day! After Sicily we went to the island of Malta. I wish I could tell you a lot about here but it was 95 that day and just unbelievably hot that we basically only went to the one town of Mdina, which was definitely beautiful but are not prepared to deal with 21st century tourists. Not much A/C on that island at all and Mdina is another walled city which makes you feel that you inside an enormous oven! I think most of these places we went to would have been more fun and worth exploring if the heat wasn't so intense. But that's the downfall of going on a cruise in the summer. We then went to Split Croatia which again is a beautiful city, another walled city as well, and I think This was the hottest day ever. Maybe one or two degrees cooler than hell! We did explore the island, did some shopping, ate at an outdoor cafe which was very nice, but again had to call it an early day because of the unbearable heat. Next port was Ravenna Italy which was so not a tourist area. We heard that the main thing to do there is bike, but since we are lazy we just decided to go into the town and walk around. We didn't get to see much other than businesses and local flavor, but it was a nice town nonetheless. And then we sailed back to Venice for an overnight stay on the ship. As I said before Venice is one of our favorite cities ever, so we did get to enjoy more of this city, its food and its culture. We did it on our own which we ended up doing most of these towns on our own. We are not that adventurous so I believe if we can do it, mostly anyone can!
The ship itself is so beautiful and well taken care of, I can't find any faults with it. As for on board activities, there seems to be a lot to do...we took advantage of the sea days to do things but when in port, we basically only had time to eat and maybe see one of the shows, which were better than average.
I would so recommend this ship and Celebrity to anyone who hasn't sailed before or to ones who have done many cruises. We loved it and think it was our favorite cruise ever!