Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Review by MNDutchGirl: Venice to Rome on the Silhouette
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Venice to Rome on the Silhouette
Background: I am a 47 year-old single woman who loves to travel! This was my 27th cruise, and my 5th on Celebrity. On this cruise, I traveled with my mom. We are both very active and chose this cruise because of the interesting ports, most of which we had never been to before. Out intent was to just wander around each port and take in the culture and atmosphere.
Ship info: This ship was really sleek and beautiful, but there are some things about it that didn't work for me. The one thing that most impressed me was the staff. I've never seen a group of officers (including the Captain) who were so engaged, visible, friendly and fun. They truly were EVERYWHERE and made each passenger feel like a guest in their home. Now my expectations are so high for my next cruise! The ship itself is really beautiful and well designed. I rarely felt I was in a crowd as there were so many different areas. The only couple of complaints I have are these. The grassy area on the top deck is a More complete waste of space. It was always roped off and there was never anyone there. Also the restaurants that charge a fee on that grassy deck were always empty. It' s just a shame that half of the top deck is mostly empty. Just open it up and stop charging a fee. Also, there is really no central atrium or gathering point.
Activities: My only true complaint was the complete lack of anything fun to do. When you looked at the daily activity guide, it appeared to be full, but when you really looked at it, most activities were for a fee (food and/or beverage related) or occurred during the day when you were in port. In the evening (between maybe 6-10pm) there was absolutely nothing to do other than whatever the main show was. The assumption is that the entire ship would be just drinking and eating and entertaining themselves. But we saw many people just wandering around looking for something to do. There wasn't even a great band playing where you could sit and listen to music. I honestly thought the Cruise Director was completely worthless as it related to entertainment
Service: Impeccable! And soooo friendly!!!
Port & Shore Excursions: We did not book any shore excursions through the ship. We arranged two excursions on our own through Cruise Critic boards, and then just wandered around on our own. The ship did provide (for a fee) some shuttle services that we did use in Venice, Ravenna and Dubrovnik. These were fairly priced and very well communicated and arranged.
Embarkation: Super easy. Took all of 7 minutes and we were on the ship by 1pm
Cabin: We booked cabin 1200, which was a Concierge class balcony. The cabin is pretty well designed, but there definitely is a lack of drawer space. The bathroom was fantastic. Very well designed and spacious for a cruise ship cabin. We completely rearranged the furniture and made the room seem bigger. The beds and bedding were extremely comfortable.
Dining: We had "anytime" dining so we could do what we want, when we wanted. We ate breakfast everyday in the buffet and LOVED the eggs benedict. I thought this was one of the best organized buffets on any ship I've been on. Very spacious and lots of choices. For dinner, we split between the main dining room and the buffet. Sometimes the dining room just made us too full, so we opted to graze at the buffet and eat a little lighter. One evening we ate at the Tuscan Grille and that was superb! Overall, I thought the prices for the specialty restaurants were too high. $45 for a specialty dinner when you are used to eating for free is just too steep.
Entertainment: Not much. The production shows were good. The guest entertainers were ok. The bands were non-existent. There was a good acapella group, but they only played for 15 minutes at a time. The "party" band was terrible. There were two "one-man" guitar players. Really? That's entertainment? This is my one complaint about Celebrity. They really skimp on the entertainment, especially the live music
Summary: For me, Celebrity is all about the ports of call and the service. If you are not looking to be entertained, but you are looking for great ports every day and being treated like a guest in someone's home, this is for you. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Dubrovnik is beautiful! This was our second time here, and both were bright, blue, gorgeous days. We took the ship shuttle ($16?) RT to town and then made our way to the funicular ($10?) to take us to the top of the mini-mountain. Unbelievable views at the top! We sat with a coffee at the top and just marveled at the view, living in the moment. The last time we were there, we hiked down the switchback path. That took about 45 minutes. This time we took the funicular back down and then wandered all around the old town. We walked down to the harbour and would have loved to have taken a harbour cruise, but chose to walk around instead. After an afternoon of walking, eating, drinking and shopping, we made our way back to the ship for a gorgeous sailaway.
This port was a lovely surprise. The sail in and out was just gorgeous. At the end of the river was a little lake where we anchored. The surrounding mountains were lovely and the little old town was so fun. We took a short tender to the dock and easily walked the old town in 2 hours. More walking, eating, shopping and drinking. Only about a 10 minute walk down the main road was a little beach where I whiled away the afternoon. The sail out was fantastic with a bottle of wine on the back deck enjoying the gorgeous views.
We had no plans and no expectations for Malta, but this turned out to be a pretty interesting port. Much more like a city than the earlier ports. After getting off the ship, we decided to take one of the hop on-hop off buses. Although it was advertised for 20 euros, we paid 10 euros, which we thought was a bargain. There are three loops you can choose from and take them all if you want. We chose the loop that went to Mdina, where we got off for about an hour and wandered around. Back on the bus, we got off in Valetta and wandered around. We took a tour of the Casa Rocca Piccola, which is the home of a nobleman, the Baron Marquis de Piro. How lucky were we that the actual Baron himself guided us on our tour! It was truly one of the highlights of our trip and so personal. We again wandered around the town, seeing the sights and eating, drinking and shopping our way back to the port.
We booked a private tour which took us to Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii. We had 1 1/2 to 2 hours to wander around each place on our own, which was just perfect. Getting to Positano is all along mountainside winding roads. Then the town is built right up into the mountainside. Great to walk around and go down to the beach. Then Sorrento is much larger and you can take an elevator (or walk) down to the water. Pompeii really does require 2 hours to do on your own. Make sure you get a map and have a plan!
Split is a tender port, and very walkable on your own. The promenade is long and a great place to sit and sip a coffee overlooking the harbour. Most of the old town is within old city walls with great promenades and little alleys full of history, shops, restaurants and lots of people. If you are there on a Sunday, everything will be closed. We hiked up the large hill to the north of town and had a beer at the restaurant at the top while enjoying a great panoramic view of the city and countryside. This is Croatia, so you must use Kuna still.
Forza D'Agro & Savoca
The actual port was Catania, where we had booked a private excursion with Sicily Life Tours. Antonio, our driver and guide, took us to some of the Godfather villages where scenes were filmed, and to another village that I will never be able to spell. There is a lot of driving as you have to get from village to village through mountainous switchback roads. Not for the queasy! But Sicily was absolutely beautiful and I cannot wait to return. The sky was crystal clear blue this day and you could see every nook and cranny of Etna in the morning from a distance. By the afternoon, fog and clouds had surrounded the top. But this country and the vistas are absolutely stunning.
Venice is a great embarkation port! The airport is small and manageable, and only about 20 minutes from the port. Venice is just great to wander around in for a day or 2, and I love that we get some time on the ship to recover from jet lag before we sail the next day. I would keep going back to Venice for cruise departures. The sailaway is fabulous. If possible, get a veranda on the port side (left side) so you can sit and drink a glass of wine while watching Venice go by.
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