We sailed on the Silhouette Feb. 3-10, 2013, and had an enjoyable time.
The Good: Beautiful ship, friendly crew, fantastic entertainment, no-smoking in cabins, verandahs, casino, most lounges, or theater. Huge towels, nice amenities for concierge level. Great party for past guests.
The Bad: Celebrity messed up the beautiful lawn club on Deck 15 by putting in alcoves. Thinnest toilet paper we have ever seen. Shore excursion agent mislead us.
The Ugly: Nothing
The ship was immaculate, and we constantly saw crew members cleaning the ship. Very friendly crew, from the Captain on down. She is basically the same ship as the Eclipse that we went on in 2012, but with some major disappointments: They have put alcoves on the lawn club and they take up a lot of space; we never saw anyone use them, but we were not there every day. I do not know why anyone would want to pay $149 per sea day, and $99 per port day to use them. We hope Celebrity wises up and removes them. Celebrity has done away with the Corning glass show and put in another grill, which costs $30 extra for lunch and $40 extra for dinner--never saw anyone eat there, but we did not check it out every day. On the positive side, Celebrity has eliminated smoking almost everywhere, even in the casino. We never smelled smoke at all until we walked around the port side, aft, where they allow smoking. We wish other ships would eliminate smoking inside.
We were on deck 10, concierge class, port side, forward, and had an excellent view of the bridge. Celebrity has a touch of class by giving you a glass of champagne when you board, and a chilled bottle in your cabin (for concierge), as well as fresh flowers and fruit. Celebrity raves about the shower head, but it was worse than the one we have at home. The shower was pretty small, and I do not know how really fat people got in it since the opening was only 22 inches wide. The safe is under the TV and a mini-bar frig is under the safe. We took all of the drinks out of the little frig since we never buy this overpriced stuff. We put our wine in the frig, but it would not cool; a call to the customer service desk fixed that, and a new frig was installed in a couple of hours.
Since we live in Tampa, we drove to Ft. Lauderdale on Sat, Feb 2, and stayed at the Comfort Inn South in Hollywood, Fl. We had booked this hotel in March 2012 through Stay123.com, and that turned out to be a disaster. We paid Stay123.com $28 in March 2012, and were supposed to pay the hotel $27 when we arrived. The hotel would not honor our confirmed reservation, although we had the original email from Stay123.com.
The manager, David Preston, called Stay123.com, and we talked with Jodi Cotta. She said she had no idea how they approved a rate so low, but she would not honor it. So we had to pay Comfort Inn a total of $137.64 ($124 plus taxes). Ms. Cotta did agree to refund the $28, and she had done this. However, we had to pay over $82 more than the original contract with Stay123.com, and we are not happy campers. I consider this consumer fraud, and I have contacted Pam Bondi, Attorney General of Florida, and see if there is anything her office can do about this. Mr. Preston did agree to give us two free sandwiches at their poolside grill, and that was nice, but he should have worked something out with Stay123 to honor our original contract. I prefer to never deal with Stay123 again, although I have used them in the past with no problems.
We did get round trip transportation to the cruise port, but that was a hassle. We were told that we could not depart for the Silhouette dock at the port until 12:30 pm. This was totally unacceptable for us and several others, so we contacted the KSA rep (who arranges the transportation), and he worked it out so 6 of us could leave around 10 am. We were able to leave our car at the hotel (included in the room charge). On our return we did not see the KSA van, so we called, and the van picked us up in about 10 minutes; several people were taken to the airport first, and then we were driven to the hotel.
The rooms at the Comfort Inn have safes in them, but ours did not work--no great deal, but when we checked out, I noticed a $2 fee for the use of the safe. When I told the desk clerk that the safe did not even work, she removed the fee. Charging $2 for the use of a safe is a total rip off in our opinion. Don't believe we will use this hotel again.
Embarkation was fairly easy as we were concierge level, and they had a special check-in line for concierge and aqua level guests. We boarded about 11:15, and had the buffet lunch. Our cabin was ready about 1 pm. We then toured the ship until time for the lifeboat drill, which was a joke. Celebrity, and other cruise lines, have you gather in the main lounge or smaller lounges, and they play a video of what you should do in case of emergency. You do not have to get your life jacket or go to your lifeboat--how stupid can you be?? If the ship is going down, I am sure as hell not going to a lounge; I am going to the life boat.
Sunday night was the super bowl, so there was no show in the main lounge. The game was shown in the lounges, but not in your cabin. Guess Celebrity wanted to sell you some more high priced drinks in the lounges.
Monday- A sea day and it was very windy, so we had limited use of our verandah. We had breakfast at the Aqua Spa Cafe--very healthy, but they had a limited menu, so we never ate there again. We attended an introductory Apple class, and it was free, but the other Apple classes charged a fee. Don't know why Celebrity does this, except to make more money. Holland America does not charge for its Microsoft classes.
We had signed up for the Cruise Critic meeting online. Celebrity does a good job of organizing this assuming there are 25 people signed up. Unfortunately, Celebrity scheduled this CC meeting the exact time (10:30 am) as the galley tour. We went to the CC meeting, but should have gone to the galley tour. You get champagne at the galley tour and coffee at the CC meeting. We won't make that mistake again.
Celebrity has reinstated Park West art auctions, so we attended the auction Mon afternoon. It was supposed to start at 1 pm, but did not start until much later. At 1:30, the waiter finally brought out the champagne, and you were lucky if you got one glass. We left after we got our champagne, as did many others. Most, if not all, of the art is way overpriced, and not only do you have to pay a premium buyers fee, you have to pay for shipping. Although I have bought from Park West on ships before, I would never do it again. You can get a much better deal online.
We had lunch at the buffet, and it was good; excellent seafood, but their beef was almost always overcooked. Had dinner in the main DR, and had requested a table for two--we got one, but it was about 2 inches from another table for two, so it was certainly not private. We requested a move to a more private table, and got it for the rest of the cruise. There was a Captain's reception that evening before the show, and you got a glass of champagne as you entered the theater. The Broadway show was fantastic.
Tuesday- Did not do much Tuesday am except eat and walk around the ship. Celebrity wants to charge you $2.50 for a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice (Holland America gives it to you for free). We arrived in San Juan about 3 pm, and we got off and took the free trolley to see Old San Juan. You can search online to find out how to do this, because we never saw anything from Celebrity telling you about it. You can hop on or off the trolley at many stops, and catch the next trolley back to the dock. We had dinner in the main dining room--had excellent trout. The magician show was very good in the theater.
Wednesday- Arrived in St. Maarten about 8 am. We took the water taxi ($7 RT) to town, did a little shopping, and played video poker in one of the casinos. We actually got free drinks and we were playing nickel slots!!--try getting free drinks on the ship doing that. We came back to the ship for lunch, and just lounged around until time for dinner, which was a disaster. The rib eye was cooked correctly(med rare), but it was tough and full of fat. I had ordered fish also, but it never arrived. After sitting there for 2 hours, we left in frustration, because we did not want to miss the show. The show was Velocity, and it was fantastic--lots of high energy dancers.
Thursday- Arrived in St. Thomas about 7:30 am, but could not get off the ship until after 8. We took the Blackbeards Castle tour, which was very good, but do NOT book this through the ship; you can do it on your own much cheaper. A few days before we sailed, I called Celebrity and asked if RT transportation was included in the tour, and I was told that it was, so I decided not to buy the tickets directly from Blackbeards. When we made the reservation at the desk, I specifically asked the agent if the tour included round trip transportation, and he said it did, so we bought the tickets at $24.75 each. The agent handed me the tickets in an envelope, and I did not look at them until we were off the ship---my mistake, because it is printed on the back of the ticket that transportation back to the ship is not included. Well, the agent was wrong--you had to pay your own way back to the ship at $4/person. Our advice if you want to go on this tour: buy your tickets online, and catch your own taxi to and from Blackbeards, or you can walk the 1.25 miles each way. Our cost for dealing with the ship tour was $49.50 plus $8 taxi = $57.50, and if we had done it on our own, the cost would have been $44, or a savings of $13.50.
Lindsay Hamilton was the featured singer at the main show, and she was fantastic. Do not miss her if she happens to be on your ship.
Friday- We attended the "Conversation with the Captain" in the main theater, and the Captain told us about his career, and then answered questions from the guests. He was excellent; do not miss this. The show after dinner in the theater was excellent.
Sat- Our last day at sea; still beautiful weather. Friday morning we attended a talk on the Bermuda Triangle, and it was fairly good. We went to the brunch at the Grand Cuvee Restaurant, and it was very crowded since we did not get there until about 11:15. The food was excellent, with both breakfast and lunch selections, plus dozens of desserts. Don't miss this. We did not see a special announcement on this, but it is listed under "Culinary Delights" in the daily program.
At 1:30, the Captain had the classic member past guest party in the Sky lounge, and it was superb. Free wine, champagne, beer, and tons of food. Unfortunately, we had stuffed ourselves at the brunch and were not hungry. The Captain gave a little talk, and all of the officers were very friendly. They had a band and a few people danced. We can't get into dancing at 1:30 pm, but it was a nice touch. Unfortunately, it only lasted an hour.
The show at the theater was excellent, as usual.
Sunday- We were docked about 7 am. Since we had self-assist walk off, we had an early breakfast at the buffet, and were in line to disembark at 7:30. We were told to be in the dining room by 7:45, but it was full so we stood in line extending back to the lobby. For some unknown reason, Celebrity had us gather here, and then we all proceeded through the dining room and back out to the lobby elevators, where we crowded onto the elevators, and went to deck 2, and got off the ship at the back of the ship. We then had to drag our luggage on the dock to the area in front of the ship, where we went into the terminal to go through customs. I do not know why we could not have gotten off the ship at the bow instead of the stern, but we had to walk 1000 feet or so.
Overall, a very enjoyable cruise, and we look forward to our cruise on the Equinox next year.