Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Review by When and How: An Almost Perfect Cruise
When and How
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An Almost Perfect Cruise
After a gloriously speedy embarkation, this cruise hit a few little glitches. As with just about every cruise we have ever been on, we were given the wrong bed configuration and the wrong dining time. I would swear that the cruise lines pay no attention to these requests. However, both were fixed more easily than usual, so we didn't mind. The ship is beautiful and the cabin quite lovely, though certainly short on drawer space with exactly three drawers.
The dining room is attractive but much too crowded and noisy for proper enjoyment of the lovely food. Our table for two was about eight inches from the next table for two. We were both closer to the person at the next table than to each other. If you want a quiet meal with your loved one, either opt for ordering from the dinner menu via room service, or request one of the tables for two that is separate. Note that only about a quarter of the tables in Blu are beside windows unlike many specialty restaurants. Your best More chance for a window table is usually in the aqua spa, Oceanview or Porch.
The food is very good indeed, especially the lamb and the beef. The salads (except the caesar) are better than most cruise's. The bread is good, the butter is not frozen for once, and they give you some tasty hummus and flavoured cream cheese to go with it. Some of the diabetic desserts are quite good. Try the orange cheesecake.
The service was slow, even for a cruise dining room, because they would not take the orders until everyone was there. They wanted to do bulk service like at a banquet. Another annoying thing was that at breakfast or lunch in the dining room, they insist on seating you all huddled together in one corner of the room and treat a request for a table for two like an imposition. While this is more efficient for them, it detracts massively from the pleasure of the diners. In the Oceanview, the lack of trays and shortage of tables made getting food troublesome. Eventually we learned to each take two stacked plates. He chose meats and I collected salads and then we could put them on the extra plates. If you leave your table to get another course, they clear it away and you have to wander around looking for another table. I never saw any waiters help anyone with carrying food, either, though there were mostly seniors on board. Once or twice they sent coffee and juice around on trolleys. Strangely, tables were usually available on the back deck, which is usually full on other cruises.
There is a corridor along one side of the casino, so the smoke is less of a problem than is usual on cruises. Actually, there seemed to be very little smoking on board which was wonderful.
Noise was certainly a bit of a problem. Either the walls are poorly insulated between cabins or we had really noisy neighbours. The dining room and Oceanview were also afflicted with loud muzak. The aqua spa was a nice quiet place to eat, but the Porch ($5 surcharge), though it was uncrowded and the food was nice, had the same drawback. The open to the elevator shaft design of the library made reading there almost impossible as elevators were dinging continuously. If you value peace and quiet, Holland America might be a better bet for you.
One wonderful thing about Silhouette is the amazing number of deck chairs. There were always hundreds available and theoretically this was a full ship. The only time we felt crowded was in the OceanView and the Main Dining Room.
There are some interesting doors on this ship. Of course, the showers have glass doors, which is much better than the usual curtains. There are also several automatic sliding doors out to the promenade/boat deck which helps a lot in high winds. The bathroom door has a closer so that if you adjust it to admit the amount of "nightlight" that you want, it actually stays put. No more banging doors when the sea is rough.
We loved the solarium, which was never crowded. There is no thalassotherapy pool, but the pool was nice and the fountain was beautiful by night. We wondered if the squares in the glass roof above were solar panels.
Cabin: the cabin steward, Anaclet, was excellent. We had a balcony with an obstructed view but the obstruction was not a big deal. I loved that the duvet was between triple sheets, so we were not doomed to roast under it or do without covering as on some cruises. Silhouette has some adjoining cabins with an extra set of double doors so that they meet each other and form a little inner hallway between the two rooms. This means that you can close one or both of the actual cabin doors for privacy or noise reduction and still be connected without an inner connecting door. This looked like a great option for parents with children along.
We don't bother with the entertainment much, but there were performances in the atrium from time to time. A classical guitarist and the Neptunes (an a capella group) were both enjoyable. Television looked unintersting so we didn't bother with that either.
The announcements were not troublesome, but the weather forecasts and port maps were both poor. They never show you where the ship docks because they want you to book tours or shuttles, which are never complementary anymore. In Bari they suggested that it would be 2 kilometres of walking to get to the city when it was less than half of that and perfectly safe on a painted path behind cement barricades. There was also a hop on hop off bus beside the ship. In Dubrovnik, the map was rotated 90 degrees off true North. Getting off and on the ship was unusually troublesome at some ports on this cruise. In Naples, an officious port person forced us to walk back into the terminal and up and down flights of stairs to force us past the shops (which were not even open yet!) instead of letting us cross where we knew we wanted to go. In several ports there was the whole security process to go through TWICE, once in the port and once on the boat. I presume this was not Celebrity's idea. We noticed the first ever surly cruise security person at the first few ports. Perhaps there were complaints as she was not seem thereafter and we were back to Celebrity's normal, friendly security staff.
We did this cruise in October, and the weather was mostly perfect. I would think that summer would be dreadfully hot and the ports really, really crowded as there were crowds in most places in the shoulder season. It seems to me that September or October would be ideal unless you really love the heat. This was a great cruise but not a perfect one. There isn't much of a promenade deck if you love walking the deck. Service in the dining room can be annoying. The absence of trays in the Oceanview and the lack of space in the dining room do detract from the experience. However, the ship is beautiful, and quite efficiently run; the food is wonderful and it came about as close to being excellent as any cruise we have ever taken. Less
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Cabin review: Celebrity Silhouette Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Veranda Continental Deck (6) 6188
view about 25% obstructed by lifeboat. We noticed that about three cabins forward, the lifeboats were shorter and would obstruct the view less. While you cannot see straight down into the water, we got most of the benefit of a balcony for very little more than the price of an inside. No noise from public areas below, though as it was shops. Some people on this floor complained of noise from clubs, etc. Needs more drawers. Night light a little bright, so adjust the door accordingly. Bed near the window variation.
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