Having previously travelled on Celebrity Eclipse once before and loved it, we chose the Silhouette firstly for the itinerary but also being another one of the amazing Solstice class ships. As we hoped, the Silhouette did not disappoint!
As a solstice class ship, everything is thought about so carefully. They really have, in my opinion, got everything pretty much right on here. The ship is easy to get around, logical, and the directions outside every elevator are really handy. The ship was a little over a year old when writing this, and still has a lovely new feel. Facilities on board were fantastic. It never feels crowded, even when you are told it's sailing full. Sun loungers on sea days were never a problem and the pool butlers take care of empty reserved beds quite religiously which is refreshing to see. There is a perfect choice of restaurants including the fabulous main dining room, Grand Cuvee and a small selection of speciality restaurants which are nice if you are happy to pay a cover charge. I found the main dining room quality equally as good as the speciality restaurants and therefore no need to use them unless you want a change of scenery? The buffet restaurant is well designed and very easy to get around without bottle necks even on a sea day. The Solstice class ships have the real grass lawn on the top which was nice on the Eclipse, but a little spoilt now with the addition of "The Alcoves" on the Silhouette. The Alcoves are meant to be a small private area to sit and enjoy a complimentary picnic etc. However, the price tag was way too high at what I believe was nearly a hundred dollars. This makes the lawn area less accessible to guests who do not want to participate in paying for an Alcove, but none the less, it doesn't make your holiday any less enjoyable!
We chose a Concierge class Guarantee cabin which was allocated on deck 9. Unfortunately, it was only a few cabins in from the very back of the ship and therefore suffered from a little vibration when manoeuvring in to port in the early morning. However, it was by no means something to spoil your holiday, just something to think about when choosing a cabin next time! As chose a guarantee cabin, we didn't get a choice in this. The bathrooms on the solstice class ships are really fantastic. So well thought out and very user friendly. Top marks there. The cabin was comfortable with plenty of storage. Our stateroom attendant was really fantastic, very happy and always wanting to make sure you have everything you need. I heard her on many occasions having chats with our elderly neighbours in the next door cabin which I think they enjoyed. Fresh towels and sheets were never a problem. Concierge class also benefit from lovely Frette bath robes, Afternoon Canapes Daily, binoculars (although they didn't work too well), fresh fruit, flowers and a rather neat tote bag and brolly. You also have access to an extended room service menu and you can order full cooked breakfast to the room if you wish. No tray charge was in place at the time either which is another bonus. The cabins have really great flat screen TV's and a very good interactive systems on there with all the info you need plus the ability to order shore excursions and room service on the TV! Plenty of films available if you want them and a good selection of music too. Again, it really was the best entertainment system I've seen in a long time.
Being in concierge class, we expected access to a dedicated concierge person throughout our stay. However, this isn't the case. Our stateroom attendant took care of any room service orders and delivered them personally which was a really nice touch. The main dining room staff were fantastic too. We used the coffee shop on many occasions and there was too lovely South American ladies (Ruth and Beatriz) working there who were not only efficient at anticipating your needs, but they were also very funny and entertaining. We found most of the staff that you came into regular contact with we're indeed excellent at anticipating your needs. This must be a credit to the team.
My only disappointment with the staff was Guest Relations, not from the service provided by the team there, but the fact that their management generally left just or two staff working the desk which resulted in horrendous waiting lines before you could speak to someone. I noticed on several occasions that other guest relations staff walked around the back of the desk doing other things but made attempt to step and help out with the guests waiting. I heard someone who appeared to be a supervisor telling another staff member to go and get any other guest relations staff out of the back office and to stop hiding.
I found the food on the Silhouette very slightly less impressive than my previous cruise on the Eclipse. However, the Celebrity standard in general is far superior to that of the other main strain cruise lines. I have travelled with P&O, NCL and Costa and it beats all of these hands down. Main dining room breakfast each day is by far the best way of starting your morning. The staff have literally got your hot drinks, juices and Danish all taken care of as you are sitting down. The selection is great and nothing is a problem. We tried breakfast in the Garden Cafe buffet once, but its way too busy and crowded. And you're on holiday, why would you want to serve yourself?
Lunch, we tried various venues including the buffet and the porch. I have to say the porch is well worth the $5 cover charge. It's generally quiet there, the staff are superb and the view worth every penny! The Mast Grill does fantastic burgers for lunch, very much homemade and not frozen like some cruise lines. The buffet offered a great selection as always too, although there were a few staple items which repeated on a daily basis. Ice cream station was nice, and always popular.
Dinner, we chose main dining room late sitting. Yes, the late sitting is very late at 8.45pm but when you see that the entrees are cooked to order, you know why it's not a quick meal service. Our first table allocation was a little less pleasant being in an annexe of the main restaurant, but a quick word with the Maitre D and we had a new table the next day which was nicely located in the main dining area. The waiters can't do enough for you, and again, they quickly pick up on your likes and dislikes. Our preferred beverages were quickly delivered each meal time without needing to ask. Our waiter knew exactly now we liked our steak cooked and nothing was a problem. I can't praise these guys highly enough.
Alcohol was generally expensive given that everything comes with an automatic 15% gratuity added. If you are used to P&O prices, then it will come as a little shock. Not being a huge alcohol drinker, it didn't bother me. However, the non-alcoholic drinks package was well worth taking and also included speciality hot drinks in the coffee shop and freshly squeezed juices. It didn't take long to realise we had our monies worth out of the $7 or 8 a day we paid for this.
One positive thing with Celebrity is that there always seems to be a good selection of free drinks available in the buffet including lemonade, ice tea, juice, water and tea/coffees. Having travelled with some lines that only offer water, and sometimes not even that, this is a nice thing to do.
Our cruise director Lisa was very nice, very efficient etc, but somehow, didn't seem warm. I can't put my finger on it. However, they all did a great job and her team were always visible even if she wasn't. The theme parties seemed a great success and the program of activities were always plentiful and varied.
The Evening shows were sometimes a little hit and miss and the one thing I would change there is the constant changing of the show times. Most cruise lines, you know that the show is either the same early or late time each day. However, on Celebrity, they change quite variably and we did miss one show because of this. An illusionist was listed twice, but turned out to be nothing more than a card trick show which was a little disappointing. There was an opera singer and a violinist also appearing which we decided to give a miss. The main production shows were excellent as always and they really do make a fantastic effort with the stage, costumes and special effects.
This cruise called at Naples, Malta, Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, Kusadasi, Santorini, Crete finished with an overnight in Venice. The itinerary was amazing, such lovely ports visited. Everything is always well organised in each port and when the plan changed from a tender in Mykonos to being docked at the pier, the cruise line on coaches to take every to and from the main town where the tenders would have landed. This was all free. When you arrive back, the staff are always waiting outside the ship with an arrival tent including cold towels and refreshments. Again, another nice touch.
An extensive port guide was left in the cabin each night with the turn down service which covered everything you needed for the following day. We didn't opt for any ships tours as it's not our thing, but this itinerary was very easy to get around and do your own thing.
There was a lovely atmosphere on this cruise and we met some lovely fellow passengers on board, so if you are reading this...
Wendy & Her Mum from South Africa - Thank you for chats and for bumping in to one another every day! We enjoyed your company!
Luda & Robert from Upstate NY - We enjoyed spending some time with you guys too, thanks for sharing a couple of great trips!
Nina & ID from Fort Myers - We missed at the last night Dinner! We enjoyed sharing your stories too, thank you.
The cruise was another amazing holiday and I can't wait to get back on Celebrity again in the near future. We took the option to book an "Open Passage" future cruise credit on board which offers a guaranteed room credit, well worth doing! I can't highly recommend this cruise line enough. Well done Celebrity!