We recently sailed the Celebrity Silhouette from January 6 - 13, 2013. This review will be sort of mixed, I'll address the hotel and restaurant we ate at in Ft Lauderdale as well.
We arrived Ft Lauderdale the evening before sailing. Our group consisted of three couples in all. Two couples from Arkansas and one couple from Ohio.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn, North Cruise Port, Ft Lauderdale. The staff at the Hampton were fantastic, Diane, Sarah, and Alejandra were absolutely wonderful. The shuttle staff was equally as great. The Hampton provided free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and then from the hotel to the port. Yes I know that service seems to be expected. They went the extra mile. That evening when deciding where to eat we were told the shuttle would take us to the restaurant and pick us back up between runs to the airport, no charge! Service with smile and very prompt.
We chose Lester's Diner for dinner. We were seated immediately and promptly greeted by our waitress Dawn. Dawn took our drink orders, no alcohol at Lester's, and told us the specials and explained the menu. She answered our questions and gave recommendations. When our meal arrived it was an OMG moment. The portion size was awesome. One sometimes thinks, lots of food low quality. Not the case, the meal was as good as it looked. After dinner, Dawn explained the desserts. Seems if you order one of the main platters select desserts are included in the price. We opted for separate desserts, the dessert servings were equally as plentiful as the dinner portions.
I'd say you can't go wrong staying at the Hampton or eating at Lester's.
Morning arrived, a quick continental breakfast at the hotel prior to our 10:15 shuttle to the port. Drop off was quick and easy.
Once there we proceeded to the terminal. Never having sailed Concierge Class before, we were surprised to find a separate line for check in. All six of us were checked in in less than 10 minutes. We went to the waiting area and by 11:30 were onboard the ship.
On our last cruise aboard the Eclipse, we found Bistro on 5, and decided to forego the lines in the buffet and have lunch at the Bistro. There is an extra charge of $5 person, but well worth the individual service. After lunch we hung out until our cabins were ready. About 1:15 it was announced that cabins were ready.
We proceeded to our cabin, 9287. One bag was there waiting us, and the second bag arrived maybe 30 minutes later. So by 2 we were unpacked and settled and ready to sail. No need to describe the cabin, you can go to Celebrity's web site to view the offerings.
The evacuation drill went smoothly, we headed for the Sunset Bar for sail away.
We opted for traditional late seating. We made reservations for three of the specialty
restaurants, The Tuscan Grill, Q-Sine, and The Lawn Club. If I were to grade the three, the order would, The Lawn Club, Tuscan, and last Q-Sine. This is just personal preference. Rating Q-Sine last place might be a bit unfair, we arrived at 8pm and left at 11:30pm. For me, that was just too long and too late to be eating so much food. I'm not blaming the restaurant, just stating an opinion, so please don't slam me for it.
Our dining room table was 345, place setting for six in a great location. Lesme and Sergio were the waiter and assistant respectively, both were great. Only glitch in the dining room were tables 344 & 346. The adults at table 346 sat all the children, about 10 of them, ages 10 and under, at table 344. I fault the Maitre'd for allowing this setup. Think about it, a group of children seated at a table away from the parents, use your imagination. I'll help a little, the younger ones climbing on the chairs and table, while the older ones were wrapping themselves in the window curtains! Very distracting and it did impact our dining experience. Four us are our in late 50's and mid-60's, the other couple with us are late 20's and mid-30's, first time sailing with Celebrity; sailed once with NCL. For months prior to the cruise we told them how much they were going to enjoy Celebrity and the wonderful dining experience. Didn't work out that way as we continually apologized for what took place.
Ports of call were San Juan, St Thomas, and St Maarten. Experienced liquid sunshine (rain) in St Thomas. Other than some pretty hard wind and few showers the weather was basically pretty good.
I did find ship board activities on sea days was lacking. And was surprised that the only time they announced the activities was immediately following the Captain's morning update. I know all that is in the Daily, just thought it odd for them not to provide a reminder, again just my two pennies worth.
The ship was clean and for the most part, staff and crew were very friendly.
Disembarkation was a mess. Won't go into details because it only affected those that were participating in the Express Walk Off and were directed to report to the Silhouette theater. If you would like details ask and I shall provide them.
Only other glitch were our neighbors in 9289. Mom, dad, and young son, maybe 5 years old or so. He liked to run the length of the cabin repeatedly and sing off the balcony at 7 in the morning. We complained to guest relations, but situation was never resolved. Guess that was just our luck of the cabin draw!
Overall we had a very enjoyable cruise and a nice Celebrity experience. If you've sailed with Celebrity before you will notice the effects of the personnel cut backs.