This was our third time sailing with Celebrity and the first time sailing out of Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale). We stayed at The Renaissance at the Port. They nicely upgraded us to a Jr. Suite since we are Mariott Rewards guests. Room was nice. No complaints. We could see a few ships in port from our room. Walking distance to Walgreens across the street. We ate at Bimini Boatyard a block away. Would stay there again.
EMBARKATION: What should be a 10 minute taxi ride at the most took 50 minutes. Due to heavy rain around 11am, the port was backed up. We were in the very back at Pier 25. Cost should have been $8 and cost us $25. Wasn't the taxi drivers fault. The police directing traffic were terrible. You'd think it was everyone's first day on the job and they had never seen rain.
We finally pull up to our pier, luggage comes out. The guy just leaves it basically in the road with about 500 other bags. No joke. I guess due to the rain, they weren't loading the luggage onto the carts let alone taking anything on to the ship. I was very uncomfortable just leaving our luggage out there like that but there wasn't anything else to do. Never seen anything like that in our 10+ cruises. Ever. Proceed to the boarding area and security and the ticket counters are all in one big warehouse type room. They tried to jazz it up with cruise flags but again, we had never seen anything like this. Usually boarding is one of my favorite parts because I get excited about getting on the ship and starting vacation. No, this felt like a basement where you pick up the luggage. Not a great first impression.
No more champagne or mimosa welcome aboard. Again, if you've sailed with Celebrity before, you come to expect this and it's a nice touch whether I accept or not. We heard others later saying it had been moved to Sail Away. Not sure if that was just our cruise or something new from now on.
DRINK PACKAGE: We took advantage of the 1-2-3 offer Celebrity was giving and did the free Classic Drink Package. Had our first drink at Martini Bar and heard others upgrading. You could do this for both in the cabin or just one. Not like online where both have to upgrade. Since I usually have a specialty martini each night and I like nicer wines, I upgraded to the Premium with no issue. They jus put a sticker on your card. Hubby was fine with Classic but did use my card if he wanted a certain beer not offered. Just handing over the card and not signing was great! Very easy, no issues with that at all.
BAR SERVICE: Service however was another problem. Most cruises you can't hardly sit down in a bar or at a bar without someone asking you if you want a drink. Not this cruise. We even recognize some of the same staff and bar staff from Eclipse but the service was poor. No one seemed to be very friendly. It was like a doom and gloom attitude with staff. Had never seen that before, especially on Celebrity. I know most people, like us, sail with them for their service.
SERVICE: Service seemed to be lacking everywhere, even in the dining room. It did get better as the week went on but very poor the first 2-3 nights. Again, we had never had that on other Celebrity cruises. Even our room attendant, while very nice, didn't seem to be overly nice. Not that they need to but it just went with the theme of the staff not seeming happy to be there.
FOOD: Food choices were as expected in the Oceanview Cafe. Not great but not poor either. We had breakfast there each day and lunch some days. We even did dinner 2 nights because the dining room menu looked terrible. We're not picky eaters by any means but the food in the dining room wasn't great to put it nicely. One of the worst we've seen on all of our cruises. Not even as good as Eclipse. Century had some of the best food we've even eaten on a cruise. This time it was bad. We really only had 3 good meals: basil crusted fish the first night, a beef tenderloin one night that was excellent and the lobster. The lobster was large and cooked perfectly.
DISEMBARKATION: What a nightmare this was! Everyone around us thought so as well and all of us that have cruise many times agreed we had never seen anything like it. From the time we got off the ship, it was 50 minutes of waiting in lines to get luggage and go through customs. Customs was the fast part. Seems like something is wrong with Pier 25. I'd think Celebrity would complain since it looks bad on them.
All in all, it wasn't the best cruise we've ever had. The cabin of course was great, like the last time but we know what to expect with balcony cabins since that's what we always get. The new lawn alcoves looked cool but we didn't use them. The grass had seen better days. Overall, Eclipse is a nicer ship than Silhouette with nicer staff. Skip Silhouette if you're trying Celebrity for the first time, you may be disappointed.