Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Review by SCbadger: October in the Med
Overall Member Rating
October in the Med
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
We love the Solstice Class ships having cruised twice in the Caribbean on the Solstice. So when friends suggested we do a cruise in the Med on the Silhouette we jumped at the opportunity. The Silhouette is the latest in a fine line of ships with a few improvements. The staterooms are well thought out with adequate storage for a reasonable amount of stuff. Raising the beds slightly makes it easy to store your luggage once you have unpacked. And the beds are actually comfortable! With the verandas they are almost roomy.
Embarkation and disembarking were handled very smoothly. The port for Rome is a good 90 minutes north from Rome so be sure to visit your Roll Call to find a group to share the costs. Celebrity has really worked to make disembarking less of a pain and it showed. Depending on your hotel location in Venice getting to the ship takes some planning. However bus service to / from the airport is reasonably priced. And Piazza Roma where the buses arrive is adjacent to the More People Mover (train) which will take you to the port or from the ship.
The Silhouette's public spaces are warm and inviting. They provide various options for enjoying a drink before dinner with friends, listening to the various musical groups, or to find a space to curl up with a good book. There is something for everyone so go explore. The elevators move guests between decks with a minimum of wait time. And if you are on decks 6 or 7 the stairs offer a reasonable alternative.
We found the entertainment to be good and varied. To be sure the performers are not Las Vegas headliners but it is Las Vegas lounge quality. And again there is pretty much something for everyone. The staff in the lounges were friendly and eager to serve. They really made you feel at home. The Martini Bar is the hub and a show in itself. We generally gathered there before dinner.
Several previous reviewers have made a point about saying the food is not 5 star and I have to agree. But then we were not paying 5 star prices. That being said we found the food in the main dining room to be very good. Our waiter Salvio knew his menu and steered us to the best every night. Our party of 8 all agreed that we had very good meals all 12 evenings. With the exception of an occasional shrimp cocktail or French onion soup we ate from the nightly (right side) menu. The food was plentiful and well presented. I will admit steaks in main dining are not the best but the lamb, veal, seafood, and even chicken dishes were excellent! Salvio and his assistant Mathew provided excellent, attentive service. And Anna our sommelier was ready to suggest very interest but reasonably priced wines. One tip, you can also pick up some very good wines ashore which they will also serve for a small corkage fee. Because the cruise was so port intensive we ate breakfast in our stateroom usually on our veranda as we sailed in and as we prepared for the day. The food was good, delivered hot and on time. The buffet brunch on our one sea day was excellent. We didn't try any of the Speciality Dining options because the food in the main dining was so good and didn't feel the need to pay any extra.
The cruise is very port intensive - 10 ports in 11 days. There is only one sea day. You really need to invest some effort to understand the various ports of call and what they have to offer. Cruise Critic, Trip Advisor and a couple of good travel guides are a must. And by all means check out the Roll Calls for your cruise and others with similar itineraries. We had a lot of fun and saw many wonderful sites because we had done our homework. We used private guides in Rome and Venice from TA. We also arranged private tours in Naples (Pompeii) and Koper (Lake Bled). The only mistake we made was also booking two tours through Celebrity's excursion desk. In Sicily we did the "Taste of Sicily - Mt. Etna and Taormina". The guide was not very good and we really didn't have much time at either stop due to the size of the group. In Kotor we had signed up for an olive oil tour with a lunch of local foods. Imagine our surprise when our bus took us instead to a small village just out of Kotor for a boat ride to a small island church and then back to Kotor and a lap around the village square. No olive oil and no lunch! When I got back aboard and could get to my records, I went to the tour Desk And was informed "headquarters" had changed the tour but not the name and should have notified us. They did refund our money but bottom line they stole a day from our vacation. Not happy!
I would strongly suggest doing your homework. You can do better with private tours. Let me illustrate. One of our party had heard about Lake Bled in Slovenian at the foot of the Alps. After checking our Roll Call I found the contact info for After Fly in Ljubljana (see my review for Koper). I started out planning for our group of 8 but ended up with Jasharevic22 new CC friends in 3 vans. For just over half what Celebrity charged we had a much better day! This was my first venture in planning my own shore excursions but through the majic of the Internet you can have a much better experience for a whole lot less money. One note four of the ports are a bit of a haul from port to the city (Corfu, Bari, Dubrovnik, and Ravena). To their credit Celebrity has organized shuttle bus service which I learned of through CC. It seems strange but when I called Celebrity's customer service they knew nothing about these buses. OK enough about this. I only spent so much time because the ports are such a big part of this type of cruise and I learned a lot in preparing for this cruise. A big thanks to the members of the best and biggest Roll Call!
Let me end on a positive note. The staff of the Silhouette are what set the ship apart. They are warm and genuinely friendly. They will not pass you without a smile and warm greeting. They go out of their way to be helpful. When about 100 of us from our Roll Call showed up in the Sunset Bar for an impromptu get together during our first sail away, they hustled up an extra bar tender and staff. And then they joined in our party. Thanks to all of the crew and staff for a job well done. They do make a good ship great! Less
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