Some history for us, this was only our 5th cruise, but we cruise now once a year and look forward to many annual cruises in the future. We go to get away from work and craziness of kids and just get R&R. Our first cruise was Royal Caribbean, the next 2 were Carnival, and the last 2 have been Celebrity (which we took both of them within 10 months of each other).
Just a quick note about our first Cruise on Eclipse (March 2011)... it far exceeded our expectation. The service and food was superior, and we liked that we could get an alcohol package. The only complaint was that we are beer drinkers, with our choice being Miller Lite. According to the staff, there was a pricing dispute and Celebrity no longer offers Miller Lite. We weren't thrilled to drink Bud Lite and Coors Lite, but it was nice not to have to worry about your bar tab at the end, and it was nice not to have to sign slips each time. I hear that other cruise lines have also started having alcohol packages but still require you to sign slips each time, and that makes you feel obligated to leave an extra tip (even through you pay your tips for the alcohol package in advance).
OK now for the review on this ship. Again we bought the alcohol package. Apparently after we made our reservations, Celebrity offered a deal where you could get your alcohol package free... and apparently they didn't plan for the supply and demand of drinks. We left on Sunday, and by Wednesday they were out of Bud Light and by Friday out of both Bud Lite and Coors Lite with 2 more days of the cruise left. Really??? We paid allot for our package, and what can I say... we like Miller Lite and settled for Bud Lite or Coors Lite... if your not a beer drinker you wouldn't understand... but big disappointment. I spoke to the bar manager and asked for a credit, not for the whole thing... but we paid for a package that advertised a product that they couldn't produce. Late at night I like a coktail, it was the same for liquor too... frequently what I asked for they did not have. The bar manager said he would inquire, took my room number and never followed up. Even a $25 credit would have been appreciated, but nothing. Disappointing.
The food was OK. It seemed like when we went to the cafe they were always at a time where they were closing for a new venue... I'm on a cruise, I want to sleep in and still get breakfast late morning... make sure you get up there by 10:30 or you will miss out. Eat breakfast late, then you're eating lunch late... same thing, they start clearing off the buffet and roping off the cafe. What really impressed us on the Eclipse was the dinner food... my husband loves steak. On the 3rd or 4th night on the Eclipse one of our choices was Fillet, it was one of the best steaks I have ever had.... my husband requested it for the following night and they were more than happy to offer that to him. Delicious!!! Very satisfied customer. No fillet on the Silhouette. However when my husband asked part way through the cruise, they offered to get a fillet from one of the restaurants you pay to go to... Nice right? Good intentions, however they cooked it in the other restaurant and brought it down from there... it was way overcooked, dry and lukewarm. Apparently the meat was sent raw on the Eclipse and brought out sizzling hot and cooked like it was ordered. I admit we couldn't be happier with our table waiter...he was great and it wasn't his fault about the steak. Still a disappointment from what we had on Eclipse.
This boat rocked a lot. We felt it from the first day to the last. I do recall feeling the Eclipse rock the last night, but the Silhouette was rocking the entire cruise. My parents just got back today on the Silhouette, same itinerary and said the same thing. They heard other people talking that the Stabilizers cost more money to run, and that perhaps ships are trying to save money. Not sure if that is the case, but be prepared you can feel it move.
OK so this next comment is petty, but I just have to vent. We loved the beach towels in our room, pretty yellow color. We inquired about purchasing them but were told the ones for sale were not the same color (they were white), so we were a little disappointed and decided not to purcase. So the last day they were recruiting for people to participate in the pool olympics... I am not an athlete, and have never volunteered for something like this. One of the Celebrity staff begged me to participate... not sure why, but I said "if you can get me a beach towel I'll do it". You could tell he was disparate, so he said OK. I must admit I had fun, but afterwards you better believe I reminded him of the deal (I really liked the towel). I assumed he would come find me later... nothing. I saw him later that night, and he acted a little funny about it, but asked for my room number and said he would have it delivered. Guess what no towel. Not a big deal, agree this will have no influence to most, but come on. Really... follow through and make good on your word. First the bar manager and now this.
The Brunch that replaced the midnight buffet...Again Eclipse was great, maybe (just maybe) it was that first impression as I had never made it to the midnight buffet so this was a real experience. This time, again I was a little disappointed. It seemed like the same stuff that was on the breakfast and lunch bar with a chocolate fountain and a few ice sculptures. Because we eat late in the morning, we thought we would go there when it opened to have breakfast, the crowd was horrible! People we cutting line and people reacted (as expected) rude. Lines to the food were crazy and unmanaged. Not worth it... maybe later in the afternoon would be better.
Not sure why, but we could never find Ranch in the cafe. To me its one of the most common dressings. We asked someone the first day, they seemed surprised it wasn't out and 15 minutes later they brought it to us. Every day we looked but still not on the salad bar... We decided not to ask again.
The morning walking off was one of the worst that we have experienced anywhere. Usually there isn't a big crowd in the morning, but on this ship there was. They had us walking through tables in the main dinning room looping us around. The guy behind us was Aqua class and mentioned he was supposed to get priority of getting off. Evidently not, or at least not for him. I must admit he was being overly vocal/rude about it, but if he was right I would be upset too. It was a long line, which seemed to not be managed well.
All things considered... I love the service on Celebrity (except for the Activity guy and Bar Manager... ugh, I need to let it go)... the ship was incredible. I love all the areas you can go and relax in, either by the pools or other areas. We don't go to the shows (sorry I can't review that)... but my parents did note the shows seemed to be a little lacking compared to other ships they have been on. They also commented that the food didn't seem to be as good (they cruise a lot). If we have a choice we will definitely pick Celebrity over any other cruise line. I tell people it is an older crowd (I'm 38) not a lot of people our age and less than a dozen kids on board (which is great), but we don't go to hang out and party with young people, we go to get R&R by the pool, eat well and enjoy the scenery. That you are guaranteed to get when on a Celebrity Cruise.