The Silhouette was as beautiful as its sister ships. We're loyal Celebrity cruises, so we expected the best, and generally got it. We flew in a night early and stayed at the Titian Inn at the airport - very nice experience. Modern, clean and very friendly and helpful staff, and a wonderful breakfast. The rooms are small, as they are in all European hotels. They arranged a taxi for us and 2 other couples (and all our luggage!) to the ship, about 12:00. Our embarkation was smooth; we just had to wait a few minutes to drop off bags then walk over to the check-in. Our elite status allowed us to zip through the check-in and the security after the check-in. Celebrity cabins are spacious, with plenty of storage space.
We loved the ship -- lots of little nooks and crannies beautifully decorated to get lost in. Although it's a large ship, we never felt crowded--even when debarking in the ports. One of our favorite spots was the "Hideaway" on deck 7, mid ship. It had a coffee machine and tea available throughout the day.
Fellow passengers were a mix of nationalities, predominantly North American and British, but there were people from all over the world. There were 300 odd kids on board, but most were teenagers delighted to be having their first trip to Europe.
The ports were all hot and, with the exception of Ravenna, crowded. We had arranged either private tours with other cruise critic members or to follow Rick Steves' self-guided tours in almost all of the ports. Local public transportation was relatively easy, and much cheaper than the Celebrity shuttles--again with the exception of Ravenna. This trip would be much more pleasant in the late fall, when the temperatures are cooler. We did one of the ship's tours, but the large crowd made it difficult to hear the largely un-understandable tour guide. The private tours had better guides, more flexibility, less crowds, better transportation, and much more enjoyable fellow passengers (all cruise critic members, of course!) At all of the ports (except Ravenna) you could also easily find local tour operators as well as some multi-media shows. Most also had hop-on hop-off buses which were much cheaper than the ship's tours, and which you can do as you want when you want. Many of the ports, it was very easy to find your way around with a good map to see the sights. It was so hot in Dubrovnik, we walked halfway around the city walls, then found a glass-bottom boat trip in the old port for an amazingly low price (and much better temperatures, plus seeing the beautiful sights from the water. In Ravenna, they were renting bikes right on the pier. Otherwise, you needed to ride the Celebrity shuttle (which we thought was excessively expensive) to town. Once in town, buying a ticket at one of the major mosaic sites gave us a map and entry to several of the other sights. We found it fun to wander around in all the port cities and see the squares, the architecture, the museums and cathedrals, as well as the shops, the cafes, the people and the history. Malta was one of our favorite ports. We had bought tickets on-line for the Hypogeum before leaving home, and while there also visited the amazing nearby Tarxien temples (which date back more than 5000 years.) There are also some excellent hop-on hop-off buses in Valetta. We docked within walking distance of the old city, with too many sights to see in one day. We'll have to go back! We were there on a Saturday, and most of the shops and sights closed at noon or 3:00 PM. Our private tour in Catania took us to Mt Etna, Taormina and the beach. This was one of our favorite days. Our private tour in Civitavecchia took us to Hadrian's Palace and the Villa d'Este in Tivoli. Venice we did on our own--the vaporetta (water bus) and people mover to piazza roma were just a few steps away from the ship--but the ship also offered a water shuttle that went back and forth to near St Marks Square. (I think it was around $22 pp) We caught a water taxi to and from Murano offered by one of the glass houses for 15 Euros pp. They gave us a glass blowing demo and tour of their showrooms. A tip for seeing the Doge's Palace--first go to the Corer Museum and buy a ticket good for all the St Mark's museums. The Corer is interesting and not at all crowded. Then skip the long, long line at the Doges Palace and go in the entrance for people already holding tickets.
Paul, the cruise director, has an amazing voice, and sang at one of the shows and several of the late night parties. The production shows were all very good, the other shows less so, but still entertaining. Most of the performers were Brits, and the other Brits seemed to like the shows better than we did. The on-board music was fabulous, especially the jazz group, the orchestra and the a cappella group (who did the show the last night).
The food was good, and the service impeccable. We ate at Qsine twice--it was so much fun the first time, we decided to do it twice. It's more fun if you have several people at your table. Everything is served family style at Qsine, so you get to try more things that way. But I wish the price were lower than the $40 pp.
Debarkation was very easy. We spent another night at the airport at the Titian Inn before our 7:00 AM flight.