Our travel agent referred to Celebrity as "Crystal Light." We've never sailed with Crystal but I have to think she knew what she was talking about. First let me praise Lisa Laffin of Prestige Travel in Las Vegas for all the help she gave in securing us a handicapped cabin on board the Silhouette, even as my wife, though walking impaired, does not yet need a wheel chair. For those in similar circumstances, the handicapped cabin is about three feet wider than the standard veranda cabin and has a larger bathroom with a shower seat. The door to the cabin opens and closes at the press of a large "button" on the wall or the insertion of a key card on the outside. Along this same line, we were pleased to discover a nice elevator back stage in the theater allowing us to sit down front without climbing steps to the main level. My wife does not do steps well.
I am 67 and relatively fit. My wife is slightly younger and...well...not so much. We spent two days in Venice at the Hotel All' Angelo just a short walk from San Marco Square and the waterfront. The hotel was nice, though the building was some 400 years old and the elevator, perhaps, just as old. In any case, it didn't work while we were there. I had to carry my wife up and down the stairs (not really, but she, no doubt, wished I could have). It was quite a relief to board the vertical rapid transit system aboard the Silhouette. On board, the only walking problem was that our cabin was located near the forward bank of elevators and the dining rooms were on the opposite end of the ship. It's a lonnnnng ship. As for the vessel itself, it's exquisitely modern both functionally and in appearance. It was thoroughly immaculate.
Like the ship, food and service was equally exquisite. We ate at the (Italian) Tuscan Grill one night ($35 per person surcharge) and the Lawn Club Grill ($55 extra per person). Both experiences were quite memorable for the high levels of service and cuisine. Be advised, the Lawn Club Grill attempts to fill you up on their "flat breadd" (glorified pizza) before the broad open selection of meat is presented. With both courses you're invited to help in the preparation. We declined. My wife insisted she'd not come all that way to help fix a meal costing some ten dollars more per person than specialty restaurants on other ships we've sailed. We found the ship's photos to be similarly more costly as well.
I chose the Adriatic/boot of Italy itinerary for the ports. Selecting the cruise line and the ship was by default. My wife tends to cruise for the ships. She complained about the low level of planned activities for days when the ship was in port (all but two days on our itinerary). I reminded her the cruise was supposed to be "restful." As for myself, I played trivia (quite difficult questions) and took two painting classes ($20 each), which I enjoyed very much even though I'm a retired art instructor. The instructor was highly experienced both in art and in teaching art.
Shore excursions were exciting and well planned, exiting the ship effortless and efficient. The sun was merciless. Returning excursions were welcomed back at the pier with iced water, and iced towels. Whew...thanks! Embarkation and disembarkation were typical of most cruise lines despite the 2,300 passengers on what would be classed today as a medium-size ship.
The entertainment was uneven. I can't say enough about the delightful Claire Maidin, an attractive young pianist/vocalist whom we'd met last year performing aboard the Norwegian Sun sailing the Baltic. She was fantastic! She even posed with us for photos. The comedian, Fred...something or other...was also quite good, if a bit quirky. I can't say much for the Italian tenors or the violinist. The ship's orchestra, singers, and dancers were pretty much what we've seen before and come to expect aboard cruise ships. The Cruise Director, Alejandro, from Argentina, took some getting used to, but by the end of the cruise we'd sort of come to enjoy his patter.
About the only major fault I could find in the entire cruise experience was the lack of porters at the dock to help us old codgers with about 150 pounds of luggage prior to boarding. I'm not sure whether to fault the cruise line or the port authorities, but, even with wheels, lugging our luggage some 200 yards from the water taxi to a warehouse check-in point was no pleasant task in the noonday heat. Be advised, the trek from the air terminal in Venice to the water taxis is even longer, though we were fortunate to rate free handicap transportation from terminal to dock. A water taxi directly to our hotel, though fast and trouble free, "soaked" us for 120 euros. After absorbing that, two days later we decided to take public water transportation from the San Marco waterfront to the cruise terminal (25 euros), even though it meant two eight-minute trips from the hotel with luggage in tow.
I could go on and on detailing each port and each excursion but this is already quite lengthy. In making this long story short, Celebrity has now become our favorite cruise line, if and when we can ever afford to sail with them again.