Celebrity Silhouette May 11-June 3 Back To Back Cruises
We did back to back cruises on the Silhouette between May 11 and June 3, 2013. We reserved this cruise while on a Hawaii cruise last year. We had the same balcony cabin for both cruises.
We flew to Venice one day before the cruise and stayed at the Marriott hotel near the Marco Polo airport for one night. The hotel desk clerk asked if we would like him to make reservations with a taxi to take us to the ship. He said he could match us with another couple so we could split the fare and it would be added to our hotel bill. We asked him to arrange it and it worked out fine. The cost was 27.50 Euros per couple, which was less than the cost of taking the celebrity bus. It worked out fine except for one minor problem. The taxi driver dropped us off at the entrance to the ship, but our bags were supposed to have been dropped off about two blocks away at a collection point. He apparently did not know about the bag situation. I had to walk the two large bags through traffic and past other passengers trying to get to the ship. Once I got to the drop off point, I had to wait in line for quite a while as other passengers were filling out luggage tags that should have been done before they left home. The whole process was very slow and disorganized. We usually just hand the bags over to a porter and board the ship. Once I was rid of the bags, I made my way back to the entrance and we were immediately processed through and on to the ship. The cabins were not ready, so we went up to the lido restaurant and had lunch. Around 1 PM, an announcement was made that the cabins were ready and we went to ours to drop off our carry-on bags and check out the cabin.
The cabin was about 195 square feet in size, larger than many other cruise ship cabins. It was very well arranged with adequate storage. Two VERY SMALL night stands next to the bed were not very convenient for storage of anything beyond a couple of small items, but a large cabinet above the head end of the bed held a considerable amount of items and was a great place for socks and underwear. The closet was adequate for hanging clothes and had more than enough room for our twenty three days on the ship. The room had a very large couch (much longer than necessary) and it did interfere with access to the right side of the closet (my side) but my wife had no trouble getting to the left side (her side). The closet had drop down rods that allowed clothes to be hung on two rows, one above the other. This was a nice feature that we have not seen on other ships. Wall hung reading lamps were on each side of the bed, a definite plus. The heater/air conditioning system was extremely efficient. The cabin could go from warm to cool in a matter of minutes.
The safe was larger than most and conveniently located next to the vanity. The vanity was large and had a large mirror above and a drawer below. There was a frig and three deep drawers next to the vanity. My wife could have used another drawer or two, but I was satisfied with my one drawer for items that would not fit in the cabinet above the bed. There was a large, flat-screen TV hung from the wall and it could be pulled and turned so it was visible from any place in the room.
The only drawback to the cabin layout was having the vanity between the bathroom and the bed. I found it difficult to get by my wife when she was sitting at the vanity. We noticed that the cabin to the right of ours had a better arrangement of bed and bathroom and made a mental note to choose that layout on any future cruise. Each set of left and right cabins up and down the hall had the same arrangements of furnishings. Our deck had a table and two chairs and was of adequate size.
All in all, we were quite satisfied with the cabin.
Our room steward, Rachel, and her assistant, Clifford, did an excellent job of caring for our cabin and satisfying all our needs during the two cruises.
The bathroom was large and very conveniently arranged. The shower was not quite as large as we have had on other Celebrity ships, but it had solid plastic doors instead of a shower curtain. This is a much better situation as shower curtains frequently want to get very friendly while the shower is in use. The sink area had two long cabinets to the right of the sink. Each one was capable of holding far more personal items than are usually brought on a cruise. There was also adequate counter space. The towel rods held two sets of towels for each person.
There are no self-service laundry facilities on the ship. We had three loads done by the ship’s laundry. The service is very inconsistent. The second load was returned with the shirts and pants on hangers. The first and third loads were returned folded and in a plastic bag. I would describe it as a “lump” of clothes. You can imagine the condition of the items.
The artwork in the cabin and halls was like a bad dream. If you woke up at night and turned on the light, you would want to bury your head under the covers as soon as you spotted the picture on the wall opposite the bed. The guy that selected this stuff must have been popping pills while he was shopping.
Horrible is too kind a word to describe it.
The food and service in the main dining room were excellent during the whole time we were on the ship. The quality of the beef dishes was outstanding. We had anytime dining and went to dinner at different times between 5:30 and 8:30 PM. We never had to wait more than a minute or two to get a table. We had a variety of waiters and found all of them to be very professional and highly qualified. The head waiters were always very visible and concerned about the quality of service. We just wished the main dining room was open for lunch as it is on many competitive lines.
The only specialty restaurant we tried was The Porch. It was just OK. The location was exposed to the wind and was not a comfortable place to be while at sea. We went on a day when the ship was docked and it was pleasant. The quality of the sandwiches did not encourage us to return. There was a $5.00 per person cover charge to eat there. We did not try any of the other specialty restaurants, but people who did seemed to be happy with them.
The food at the Oceanview Café was generally tasteless and lukewarm. The only good items were those prepared to order for breakfast. We avoided this restaurant as much as possible, but were forced to use it on occasions when nothing else was available.
The hamburgers at the Mast Grill were probably the best we have ever had. We had lunch there on several occasions and were never disappointed. The fries were also excellent and the soft ice cream cones were an excellent finish to our meals there. We loved this place.
The production shows were quite different from other lines we have been on. Most lines have a lot of dancing and singing in their production shows and it gets old in a hurry. Celebrity has brought in a lot of specialty acts and incorporated them into the shows. They are very well done. The single performer acts were so-so and can’t complete with those on sister line Royal Caribbean. Most of the comedians were English and a little difficult to understand. Other acts like a piano player and a violin player were just run of the mill.
The tours were well done and had good English speaking guides. The only problem was that most of them ended around 2:30 in the afternoon. By that time most of the restaurants on the ship were closed or had limited food available.
Shuttles were provided in four ports. Venice was $20 for a one day pass and $30 for a two day pass. Ravenna was $14, Dubrovnik was $12, Bari was $8.
Getting around Venice
For those on their first visit to Venice or people that have not been there in several years, there is a very convenient people mover about a 10 minute walk from the ship. It takes you to a square where you can start a walk through several different neighborhoods in Venice. It costs 1 Euro per trip and is well worth the price. If you walk to San Marco square, you can then take one of the boat buses back to the square where the people mover starts.
We had some problems on the first few cruises we took with Celebrity and were a little apprehensive about these two. We had avoided this line for several years before taking the Hawaii cruise last year. That one turned out well and we decided to give them another try. We were very satisfied with these two cruises. The few problems we encountered were overcome by the quality service. We will definitely consider Celebrity for any future cruises.