This was our first cruise and after extensive research, we decided on Celebrity. We couldn't have made a better decision. We are already beginning planning our next Celebrity cruise, probably in the Mediterranean. We were looking for sophistication, great food, and adult, fun activities, not climbing walls, water slides, etc, and Celebrity delivered.
Embarkation: One tip here, allow more than enough time for your embarkation process, simply because the traffic entering the cruise port is pretty bad. There are security checkpoints before entering the main port (6-7 ships were leaving at basically the same time)and the 4-5 lines of traffic moved very slowly. Once past that, Celebrity was very organized. Drop your bags off with the porter, and enter the terminal. Our line had about 30-40 people ahead of us, but there had to be approximately 20 people checking you in, so the wait was only about 15 minutes. Then the ID pictures are taken. We arrived at the terminal at 11:30, and were boarding the ship 20 minutes later, so it was very fast and efficient.
We had lunch at the Ocean View Cafe, and our stateroom was ready at 1:15 (public announcements are made). Our bags were delivered at about 2:00.
Ship information: Spotless, sophisticated decor, contemporary, very clean ship. I was a little worried about time spent waiting for elevators with 2800 passengers, but it wasn't a problem at all. There are 8 elevators at mid ship with another group in the forward part of the ship. At times we had to wait for a second elevator to have room, but this was not the norm. This was a pleasant surprise.
Activities: Both the entertainment and activities were first class. We attended the main Silhouette Theater 4 nights, and enjoyed all of the, particularly the "Cirque du Soleil" type show on Thursday. We had concerns that we might be a little bored during the two sea days, but it was just the opposite. We had to make choices of which activity to participate in. Definitely go to the Galley tour, the Captains presentation in the main theatre, the engineer officer's presentation, the celestial navigation on the top deck. There are also lectures by naturalists, and authors, audience participation "celebrity chef" cook-offs, family feud games, trivia. There is really a lot to do, and the high energy staff makes it a lot of fun.
Service: Service was top notch. Stateroom steward (Dominidor) couldn't have been more helpful. It seemed like every time we left the room, we came back and the room had been straightened, cleaned, etc. He delivered feather pillows within 5 minutes, delivered beach towels the night before a beach excursion, and was very professional. The staff at the excursion and guest relations desk were always friendly and helpful. Another positive example was in the Grand Cuvee dining room. We had dinner reservations at 6:15, but wanted to see the early show at 7:00. We thought we' be late, but mentioned it to the hostess as we checked in. All of the waiters and servers mentioned this time schedule to us, and we were able to leave and make the show on time, after three courses were served very quickly. This is really good communication and customer service.
Stateroom: Sophisticated and spotless. The room was bigger than I thought it would be. I had read some complaints about space for luggage and clothes, and bathroom toiletry items, but we had no problem. There were more hangers than most hotel rooms have, and we were able to put everything away, and store all the luggage under the bed. Shoes, hats, bulky items were put away in the storage above the bed, which was easy to reach. The bathroom has four shelves with a glass door, that is more than adequate. The curved shower has adequate space, and the water pressure was very good. I was surprised that the flat screen TV had many channels available (CNN, Fox, ESPN, Sky, BBC, and a few others). Also many free movies, and a great navigation channel that shows where the ship is, speed, wind speed, heading, etc.
Dining: Very happy with the high quality, variety and presentation of the food. Most nights were in the Grand Cuvee (MDR), and most breakfasts and sea day lunches were in the Ocean View Cafe buffet. The Ocean View has stations for omelet's and eggs Benedict, where the wait was only 4-5 minutes after ordering, along with a wide variety of other items. We ate our breakfasts on the rear deck overlooking the ocean, which was lovely. The Grand Cuvee had a good variety, for all tastes. Veal chops, lobster, chicken cordon bleu, lamb, steak, multiple fish entrees, wild berry soup, all very good. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants, since we were so satisfied with the MDR. Also don't miss the hamburgers at the pool bar (Mast Cafe).
Disembarkation: Very organized on Celebrity's part. Leave your main bag outside your stateroom door before 11:00 P.M., and your attendant gives you luggage tags that are numbered. Our number was 17. The next morning assemble in the main theatre at your appointed time (ours was 9:00 A.M.), and wait for your number to be called. The wait was about 30 - 45 minutes. The lines are long in the terminal. After retrieving your bags, they are set in rows according to your number, then the wait for customs was pretty long. There were only three customs inspectors (due to the Sequester budget cuts we heard), so the wait there was about 45 minutes. Then the cab lines are long, so a little advice, don't schedule an early flight if you are leaving the same day. Give your self enough time.
Summary: We were extremely pleased with this voyage on Celebrity's Silhouette, and already thinking about our next cruise, especially on the Solstice class ships.