This is our third Med cruise with Celebrity, 11th cruise overall, and this was my personal favorite. Although I'm sure there are better cruise experiences to be had, I feel we could hardly do better for the money. We chose a balcony guarantee and ended up with a sixth floor cabin at the front of the ship, 6127. I was concerned that it might be more prone to motion, but although we had a few stormy days, it was never a problem. Our balcony had a 3 foot ledge that extended beyond the glass wall (which actually made it feel larger) but no obstruction whatsoever as we were in front of the lifeboats.
We have loved all the S class ships and the Silhouette is no exception. It is amazing to me that there are almost 3,000 passengers on board and yet you seem to run into the same people over and over again. I'm not sure if this cruise attracted a particularly interesting group of passengers due to the port-intensive itinerary, but we met the most amazing people. During the day we did port tours (or DIY) with people we met on cruisecritic, and at night we often shared tables with others in select dining. By the end of the cruise, we had made many new friends that I hope we will stay in touch with. The select dining staff was just wonderful as well. From the charming hostess and assistant Maitre D, to the wait staff and our favorite sommelier from Bulgaria (can't believe I forget his name)we often closed down the dining room conversing with the staff or our new dinner friends.
We absolutely loved each and every port on this cruise. I have detailed reviews of some of them although Ravenna and Koper, Slovenia aren't on the list. I'll leave those at the end. We had gorgeous weather in the highly scenic ports of Malta, Croatia, Venice and Montenegro was such a blessing. Most of my pictures look like postcards, the sky was that blue. Clearly you take a chance with rainy weather in October (I hear the cruise that followed ours wasn't as lucky)and we did have a washout in Corfu but it was so worth it to have moderate temperatures and smaller crowds than during peak season. I can imagine some of those ports would be miserable in the heat of the summer.
A few observations related to dining....... Oceanview does get tiring. You need to take turns with a partner holding your seats and filling your plates or your items will be cleared away. We opted twice for room service (not bad). The warm food was warm, but sometimes the cold food (fruit or yogurt) was too. I guess it's hard to have it both ways with everything packed tightly together. We ended up eating breakfast in the dining room the last few days and found it much less stressful. I do love lunches in Oceanview, the salads are fresh and plentiful and we really enjoyed the curries but we didn't get too many of them as we were in port most days.
We ate in the main DR every night. I like the specialty restaurants, but the surcharge is just a bit too high IMO. I find the beef and slow cooked meats (braised short-ribs, lamb shank, osso bucco) to be outstanding. I've learned to stay away from fish as it is sadly, almost always overcooked. Quite a few fish entrees were sent back (or should have been) by our table mates. I've learned that salads, which are usually excellent, are on the small side so I always ask for a "double". Berries and cream can always be had for dessert, even though it isn't on the menu. Truly, I find the waitstaff will do whatever it takes to make diners happy if you ask nicely........
I do find the coffee to be a huge disappointment, not that Celebrity is alone in this shortcoming. You shouldn't have to go to a pay coffee bar (which many people I talked to also found to be sub-par) to get a decent cup of coffee. I predict the first cruise line to really understand how important good coffee is, at least to most American cruisers over 40, will win over a share of new cruisers, just like Celebrity did when it was one of the first to go with strict non-smoking policies.
One other quibble. I wish there were more moderate and affordable wine offerings in the dining room. We aren't connoisseurs but do enjoy both red and white wine with dinner. There are very few offerings in the $25 to $30 dollar range and yet there are many fabulous wines available in U.S. stores for $9 to $13 a bottle and certainly inexpensive Italian and Spanish wine can be very nice.
I was sad to read that some don't feel Ravenna to be worth the stop. We followed the maps to the major mosaic sites in town, covered under the museum pass and thoroughly enjoyed it. The sites are absolutely stunning and the walk is pleasant and easily doable. Lots to see and do along the way. I recommend taking the ship shuttle for $14 pp. We priced taxis and they weren't any cheaper.
I was really looking forward to Slovenia as I had read what a beautiful country it is. I booked a tour with Graeme at Four Seasons Travel which was excellent. My only disappointment had nothing to do with the tour, but with the fact that we had so much to try to see and do in such a short time. Graeme picked us up first thing (8:15) and we were off to Ljubljana. It is a beautiful city with a decidedly European (as opposed to Mediterranean)feel. We only had time for a quick walk through and a few photos, but not to shop or linger anywhere. Next was Lake Bled and the beautiful castle. Again, so worth a visit, but not much time to walk the lake or eat a meal. We only had about 45 minutes to grab a quick bite or shop or whatever, before it was time to head back to Koper. Graeme rightfully wanted to be sure we were back by 3:30 pm as the ship sailed at 5. The travel time is lengthy (an hour and a half)and you never know if something will come up to slow things down. It was a mostly scenic drive along a good highway with nice bathroom stops. Once in Koper, he gave us an optional tour of old town which was also very charming. There was a lively band playing on the docks as we boarded the ship with lots of tents set up for tasting local wines and salamis etc....The band continued to play until we set sail, with many locals lining up along the wall of the port to wave us off into the sunset.......magical!
Overall, a fabulous cruise experience that leaves me ready to start planning the next one!